Looking back

About 4 years ago I attended ‘The Young Dentist Conference’ in London. One of the lecturers was Ken Harris, who I had already seen lecture before about porcelain veneers. He was funny and charismatic as ever. I went away inspired, and with the above handout, which was an article he wrote on occlusion.

The article sat around my desk for a few weeks, and I eventually got time to read it.

I remember the paper being a difficult read. ‘What the hell is a Kois deprogrammer?’

‘Envelope of..function?’

The article was confusing. It left me with more questions than it gave answers. An article titled ‘Solved: occlusion confusion’ that was just 3 sides long and left me perplexed. It didn’t make any sense.

For some reason, that article somehow managed to escape several spring cleanings. Last week, 4 years later, I found it amongst some other publications.

This time I read it again, and was a completely different read to 4 years ago. I found it a really succint, simple way to think about occlusion, with respect to Kois’ 3 steps. First, achieve a stable, reproducible joint position. Second, achieve a stable posterior occlusion. Lastly, achieve suitable anterior guidance, in harmony with the patient’s envelope of function. Totally idiot proof!

What changed?

The article was still the same.

I had changed.

We often like to look ahead to reach certain milestones, gain more knowledge, acquire new experiences and keep striving for excellence. When you constantly look ahead, you may not realise how far you have come. Only by looking back, can we really appreciate how you have grown.

The article served as a great reminder that hard work and dedication to lifelong learning can transform your practice. The growth is incremental with marginal gains, which eventually culminate in to surges and advances in knowledge and understanding.

‘You don’t know, what you don’t know.’