I recently received the designation of Master of the Academy of General Dentistry (MAGD), which is a rigorous dental education program with a demanding set of requirements. Included in these requirements is the completion of 1,100 continuing education (CE) hours covering all dental disciplines.
Completing this program was a tremendous amount of work. However, it has allowed me to enhance my skillset and improve patient care. Three things that I learned during my MAGD certification are:
- Enhanced surgical skills for the extraction of third molars
During the course of my studies, I was able to train under a well-known oral surgeon who specializes in the extraction of third molars, or wisdom teeth. This is a procedure that I hadn’t done too much of since dental school, as my patients are typically referred to a specialist for this course of treatment.
I spent three days studying the latest techniques and performing procedures on patients in Toronto, Canada. I found the course to be very helpful to renew my surgical technique and anatomical structures that are important for any surgical procedure in dentistry. I have a new level of understanding that will allow me to better treat patients and better refer them to a specialist that can meet their needs. This has been very helpful to patients in pain that cannot wait to see an oral surgeon. I can now treat a large percent of these patients safely in my office. I plan on taking this refresher course every other year.
- Complex bone grafting for implant procedures
The field of Implant dentistry is constantly evolving, making it especially important for dentists to complete training in this field. The courses that I completed during my studies taught me a great deal about implant procedures, particularly those that require complex bone grafting. This has allowed me to better advise my patients on these procedures and provide more options when bone grafting is necessary. I still do not choose to do complex bone grafting but I have a deep understanding and knowledge of all the choices out there and the techniques as well. I align myself with surgeons that agree with my position on this topic and I have significant input into every case that I refer. My role in these procedures has become much more significant. I am able to increase success and predictability for my patients.
- Better treatment for special needs patients
Altering treatment plans to better care for special needs patients is not something that I have ever studied. However, having now completed a course on this topic, I better understand the needs of these patients and am more confident in my ability to create a comfortable environment for them to receive care. Special need patients are part of every general practice and it has been helpful to have better insight in how to offer these patients dental care in a competent and comfortable way.
While completing the coursework to receive my MAGD took several years, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and all that I have learned. Doing so has allowed me to be a better resource to my patients and provide better care to those in my chair. I always tell my children when they are complaining about homework that the homework continues your whole life so embrace this. They have seen that in practice with me as I continue to strive to offer excellence in the great field of dentistry.