1. The First Visit and Information Gathering
2. Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment
3. Planning for Prevention
4. The Restorative Phase of Treatment
5. Management of the Dental Emergency
6. Recall Strategy
Good treatment planning for the developing dentition gives the child patient life-long benefits. Indeed, getting things right in the management of developing dentitions may make a major contribution to many more patients enjoying the benefits of having teeth and oral health for life. Treatment planning for the developing dentition is therefore an onerous responsibility, with tremendous implications for patients, let alone oral healthcare systems. Furthermore, there is enormous professional fulfilment in seeing young patients mature dentally fit, subsequent to effective management in the developing dentition phase of their formative years.
Treatment Planning for the Developing Dentition, Volume 26 in the very successful Quintessentials series, gives excellent, new insight into the many, interlinked complexities of the management of the developing dentition. The need to adopt a forward-looking, holistic approach to developing dentition management is the thrust of this most helpful book. Needless to say, being a volume of the Quintessentials series, this addition to the dental literature is well produced, easy to read and attractively illustrated. In congratulating the authors on a job well done, I am pleased to recommend this Quintessentials volume to all those who care, and anticipate caring for patients with a developing dentition. I consider it a disappointing day if I do not learn something new about clinical dentistry. The day I read Treatment Planning for the Developing Dentition was a very good day, given all that I learnt about the complexity of the development of the dentition. Hopefully, you, like me, will find this book both informative and most worthwhile—a pleasure to read and a reliable text for future reference.
Treatment planning is the foundation of good clinical practice. But how much time and thought is actually put into a treatment plan? For some practitioners, the process may be intuitive, while others may spend considerable time weighing up the pros and cons of alternative plans according to each patient’s particular needs and circumstances. Whatever the approach, we hope this book will help to outline some principles of good treatment planning for the young patient. Treatment planning for children involves greater responsibility than for most patients. As early dental experiences may shape future behaviour and attitudes, the aim is to ensure that the child has a pleasant and positive introduction to dentistry. Good dental care in childhood helps attain a healthy, functional and aesthetic adult dentition. Conversely, ill-made decisions at an early age may lead to a compromised dentition in later life. A good treatment plan should be:
• Realistic – don’t expect too much from young patients.
• Personalised – every child has different social, medical and dental needs; one treatment plan definitely doesn’t fit all.
• Holistic – a treatment plan is not just a sequence of procedures, but something that, in children, includes behaviour-shaping, prevention and interceptive orthodontics.
• Flexible – circumstances and dental status change, therefore a treatment plan should not be too rigid.
• Progressive – it is essential to introduce children gradually to the more demanding aspects of their treatment plan, rather than diving in, for example, with a dental block on the first visit.
• Forward-thinking – it is important to consider the longer-term picture, keeping options open or carrying out interventions that may avoid, or at least reduce, the complexity of future treatment.
Spending time to develop a treatment plan is not only beneficial for the young patient and their parents, but it also helps the operator by:
• reducing stress levels
• optimising time management
• increasing job satisfaction.
Skilled treatment planners are much less likely to run into difficulties with patients refusing to cooperate or agitated parents who claim not to know what is going on. Certainly, litigation problems are substantially reduced if one can demonstrate a comprehensive treatment plan for each patient that has been discussed and agreed with all concerned. As we are now increasingly working with professionals complementary to dentistry, it is mandatory that we provide these colleagues with a clearly itemised programme of treatment for young patients. This book does not set out to dictate rigid treatment plans for every clinical scenario, but rather aims to explain the basic principles behind good decision-making. On reading this book we would hope that the reader would have an understanding of the following:
• the importance of the child’s first visit to gain all information necessary to form a comprehensive treatment plan
• the importance of interceptive orthodontic treatment planning
• the preventive phase of a treatment plan
• the restorative phase of a treatment plan
• how to manage the emergency presentation
• recall strategies for the young patient.