Know Your Work: Complex Clinical Skills

January 26, 2018 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Clinical competence is a requirement of a successful practice. If people are going to seek you out rather than just going to someone who is contracted with their benefit provider, they need a reason. Clinical results are clearly one of those reasons.

Leadership Through Knowing Your Work

That being said, how well do you know your work? How well does your team know their work? Do the specialists and technicians that you work with make you better? Becoming highly competent in clinical dentistry begins with a decision. Have you made it?

If you have, are you maintaining that decision in the midst of all the resistance that you encounter as you try? Leadership, at its core, is about making a decision and maintaining that decision in the midst of pressure to do otherwise. Your clinical competence begins with a decision to be competent. How well it continues and develops depends on how important being highly competent is to you.

8 Complex Skills of Clinical Dentistry

Although clinical dentistry is not always complex, it requires a variety of complex skills. This includes:

  1. Examination, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning
  2. Spatial Relationships & Esthetics
  3. Biologic Principles
  4. Local Anesthesia
  5. Tooth Preparations
  6. Provisionalization
  7. Materials Application
  8. Patient Management

You can add many more to my list. All of these skills are important in uniquely different ways. This is why continuing education and professional development in dentistry is so vital.

It is just plain difficult to develop so many skills and move them toward competence and mastery. Dentistry is both extremely rewarding and extremely demanding. So how are we going to develop competence that is moving toward mastery?

We need a plan that develops specific habits. We need the habits to serve our WHY. We need great teachers, leaders, and institutions that help us pursue the limits of our possibilities. It is a journey that never ends as long as we are given the gift of caring for another human being.

Related Course

E3: Restorative Integration of Form & Function

DATE: March 30 2025 @ 8:00 am - April 3 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute


Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

Understanding that “form follows function” is critical for knowing how to blend what looks good with what predictably functions well. E3 is the phase of your Essentials journey in which…

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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