THE TEAM APPROACH
The requirements placed on the dental profession by the increase in the demand
for dental care require many different programs to expand capabilities. The most
promising answer appears to be the use of the four-handed method (TEAM approach).
The progress of programs being developed by the U.S. Army Dental Corps requires
knowledge of these methods for you to become an integrated part of the dental health
team. The four-handed method involves the constant, efficient use of the hands of the
dental specialist and the hands of the dental officer. A full-time chair-side assistant is
trained and expected to perform all duties that need not be done by the dental officer.
All unit modifier instruments are set up on prearranged trays for routine procedures. All
equipment and supplies are oriented to the patient's mouth in the most convenient
position to the operational team. Each team member follows a procedural outline
planned and practiced in advance.
a. General. In the four-handed method, the dental officer and the dental
specialist work together and perform prearranged procedures. For example, a rubber
dam is used to isolate the surgical site so that the dentist may work without interference,
distraction, and contamination from adjacent structures. It is equally important that the
dentist isolate the teeth during restorative procedures in the mouth. Advantages for the
dentist include an isolated and controlled operative field, improved visibility, and a dry
field for the manipulation of restorative materials. The rubber dam and its use in the
dental clinic are discussed in subcourse MD0503, Dental Instrument Setups.
b. Rubber Dam Application; Prearranged Procedures. The dental officer and
the dental specialist work together and perform prearranged procedures to put a rubber
dam in place.
The dental officer flushes and the dental specialist evacuates the mouth.
The dental specialist passes the assembly to the dental officer.
The dental specialist coats the patient's lips with a lubricant to prevent
The dental officer positions the clamp on the tooth distal to the one being