A word with Dr. Oded Bahat, Winner of the AAP Master Clinician Award

The renowned clinician and dedicated researcher reflects on current trends in dentistry and lessons he learned throughout his clinical career.

Dr. Oded Bahat receives the Master Clinician Award from the American Academy of Periodontology 2018

Dr. Oded Bahat has been contributing to dental implantology through new and innovative concepts and ideas for craniofacial development. For his impressive body of work, he recently received the Master Clinician Award from the American Academy of Periodontology at the organization’s annual meeting in Vancouver. 

When asked to reflect on current developments in the field, Dr. Bahat says that using the latest technology does not always guarantee clinical success. “Medicine is rapidly evolving, and so is dentistry with new technologies routinely brought into our field,” he explains, “We often rely on these new avenues, but they cannot replace proper judgement nor guarantee the final outcome. In addition, they often require a steep learning curve, and this is where mistakes will occur.”

One of the main lessons Dr. Bahat learned is that in the medical field one must deal with probabilities rather than certainties and that failures often come because of small mistakes adding up over time.

While working collaboratively is always the right approach, he cautions “We should also be cognizant of the result depending upon the weakest link of the therapeutic team, and therefore mistakes will increase algorithmically when the number of team members increases.

Therefore, aspiring clinicians should always be critical of their own work. “It takes confidence, strength and honesty to face our own failures and then own them,” Dr. Bahat points out.

He also values collaboration with other dental specialties and over the years has learned a lot during his work as a surgeon, seeking guidance from different fields of medicine including plastic surgeons, anatomists and forensic scientists.

“I have been very fortunate to collaborate with some excellent clinicians in all specialties,” he says. “The old model of medicine ‘See one, do one, teach one’ is outdated and passé. We are all better off with see many, analyze, and then perform the procedure.”

Quoting the American author and humorist William Bruce Cameron who in 1963 wrote “Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted.”, Dr. Bahat concludes: “During treatment of our patients we should concentrate on what counts.”

An internationally renowned clinician and dedicated researcher, Dr. Bahat has published and edited over 50 scientific and textbook articles over his extensive clinical career. He also remains one of the few dental surgeons who maintains a private practice in addition to lecturing and teaching clinicians worldwide in surgical and esthetic reconstructive techniques.

*Image courtesy of AAP