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Experience Required Changing the Face of Dentistry Part 4


By Alexander Germanis

Anyone who has looked for a job is probably very familiar with the two main criteria with which employers are concerned: schooling and experience. A degree in the required field and a minimum number of years working in that field are nearly always the foremost — or at the very least among the essential — factors an employer takes into account when deciding which candidate to choose.

In short, experience matters. This is especially true in the medical field, as the oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Doran, Capodice, Efaw, and Ocheltree, LLC, well know. Whenever faced with the possibility of needing surgery, choosing a doctor who can demonstrate the three cornerstones of good surgery is the best bet.

According to Jack Capodice, Jr. MD, DMD, those three cornerstones are training, experience, and safety. “Whether we’re talking about somebody having a brain tumor removed or having a knee replaced or having oral or maxillofacial surgery, the patient should be very aware of the level of training the practitioner performing the procedure has had as well as their level of experience,” he says.

How does a patient find out about that level of experience in their doctor? “A measure of quality and experience is board certification and advanced educational degrees,” Dr. Capodice instructs. “I would always encourage patients to consider that before they decide who is going to do surgery on them.”

That the patient has the decision-making power may come as a surprise to many people. The age-old thinking has always been “doctor knows best,” but Stephen Doran, DMD, says it is not that simple anymore, nor should it be. “I think patients have become more aware over the last couple of decades that they need to ask questions, engage in their treatment better, and understand things better before they embark on any kind of treatment plan or path,” he says.

Looking for the right doctor or treatment and understanding the three cornerstones of surgery are especially important when it comes to newer methods, such as the latest techniques for placing dental implants.

As discussed in earlier segments of this series, although dental implant technology has been around for a few decades, there are often recent improvements such as digital impressions and more rapid implant fabrication. “These are newer technologies and they’ve gotten to the point where the digital impressions are more accurate than traditional impressions, and they are a significant benefit to the overall restoration,” says Thomas Ocheltree, DMD. “Those things are changing a lot about the way we handle these cases.”

Truly grasping the science behind it all is part of that training and experience necessary for a safer, faster, successful dental implant procedure. “Because dental implants are restorative driven, they’re very similar to building a house, and we’re the ones putting in the foundation,” explains David Efaw, MD, DDS. “So you have to have a really good foundation and know how to accomplish that surgically. Experience in those arenas is really important.”

“It’s not very difficult to make a hole and put a screw in the hole,” he continues. “What is important is the science and the biology behind that — making sure it’s done appropriately, and being able to deal with the complications, should those arise. That’s kind of the art of it all.”
Dr. Efaw adds that a deep understanding of the science is still just a portion of a successful dental implant surgery. Having a deep respect for one’s patient is just as important, which of course falls under the safety aspect of Dr. Capodice’s three cornerstones.

When safety, training, and experience come together, a patient can feel confidant they have chosen the right doctor for their procedure.

If you missed the previous articles in this series, you may read them online at www.Healthy or contact Cheryl at 309-664-2524 or To learn more about dental implants, their origin and evolution, read future installments of “Changing the Face of Dentistry” in upcoming issues of Healthy Cells Magazine.

Drs. Doran, Capodice, Efaw, and Ocheltree provide a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery with expertise ranging from wisdom tooth removal and dental implants to bone grafting procedures, corrective jaw surgery, and cosmetic facial surgery. Their office is located at 109 Regency Dr. in Bloomington. For more information, you may call 309-663-2526 or visit them online at