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The ICP Of Dental Mastery

The ICP Of Dental Mastery

– By Dr Nav Ropra.



You may be familiar with the term Intercuspal Position also known as I.C.P. of occlusion defined as: ‘The position of the mandible when the cusps and the sulci of the maxillary and mandibular teeth are in their greatest contact and the mandible is in its most closed position.’ 

There is another definition which I have coined as the I.C.P. of Mastery.  It represents the Inform, Conform and Perform that we have to do in order to provide Mastery in dentistry.   Let me explain what I mean by these.


We need information from reliable sources.  We need to be informed about the latest clinical techniques in order that our knowledge as health care professionals is current and up to date.  The latest research, clinical trials, our own practice audits and the result of these.  Understand this information so that we can be better equipped to answer patients’ questions and to provide quality care to patients.  Going to theory courses with hands on practical dentistry is essential for us to maintain and improve our skill set.  Learn form colleagues, study groups and peers.  However, you will only remember information if it is high on your values and you can conform to it.


We all have a set of values which are unique and specific to us as individuals.  These values determine how we see the world and how we act upon things in the world.  If we go to a course, and the course is high on our values, then we have a greater probability of remembering the information, thinking about the information and acting upon the information that we have learnt.  We conform to the information as we see value in it.  We will have a heightened level of attention, intention and retention about the information.  In other words, we will think about the information we have learnt, act upon things in practice that make the information practical and we will remember the information in our long term memories.

If for example you only like to provide implant treatments and you go on an implant course, then you will not only remember the course, but chances are you will put what information you have learnt, into your treatments and gain a return on the investment of the course.

Conversely, if you only provide implants but you go on a composite course as an example, then unless you can link or relate to how the knowledge learnt at the composite course will help you to provide implants, the chances are you will not engage with the skill set you learnt at the composite course.  You will not have as much attention, intention and retention of the techniques and skills you learnt at the composite course as you will have with the implant course.

How we generally remember things and what we do is determined by our hierarchy of values.  It is absolutely essential that we understand our hierarchy of values in order to only do the things which we will be most efficient and effective at doing.

If you want to find out your values then attend The Dental Mastery Experience on 25-26th April 2015 in London.

Click here for further information.


Dentistry is a performance based profession and we are judged on our performances. Key performance indicators include; the quality of a root filling on a radiograph, the appearance of composite fillings, asymptomatic occlusion on prosthesis, our communication, our consent etc.

In order for us to improve our abilities we need to practice our skills until we can Master them.  This means going from unconsciously incompetent to being unconsciously competent.  A way what I used to do this was to practice in-between my patients.  This is what great actors, performers, dancers and orators do.  They practice in-between their performances.  This is something we can learn from the performance arts, which is to practice in-between our patients.  Practice your communications, learn your lines, handle objections, critique your techniques so that you are perfecting in your performances with patients instead of practising on them.  This is where the Mastery of dentistry is magnified.

When you can Masterfully articulate and communicate the information that you have conformed to and perform this in your procedures, then your patients are receiving the greatest level of service and care from you.  You get to translate the love in your heart and the wisdom in your mind into tangible practical results.  Your patients will thank you for the extra time, care and attention you have taken in Mastering your performances by practising in-between patients.  That is called the ICP of Dental Mastery.

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