I've never fallen off a horse but they say if you do, you have to get back on quickly or you lose your nerve.

About three years ago, I was mentoring another dentist in a large implant case. Whilst all the implants went well, the sinus lift went poorly.

The schneiderian membrane tore and attempts to repair it made it worse until it totally destroyed. Although there were a number of reasons why this happened, the result was losing my confidence in sinus lifts for a long time.

I still did them, but it is much easier to do a procedure when you feel confident. When you know you can do it. When you feel like it will be successful.

In fact, believing you will be successful is important to the success of the procedure both subliminally and literally.

So how can you deal with a crisis of confidence?

We all get them. Whether it's our blocks not working, or a run of implant failures, or a cluster of non-healing endodontic cases.

The first step is to acknowledge that we are now actively avoiding the procedure because of the disaster. To admit we have a crisis of confidence. That we are treatment planning to avoid that procedure.

Then we have to decide that it's a procedure that's worth pursuing. If it is not, then refer.

It is natural to want to learn more about things we are good at, and less about things we struggle with.

Now to rebuild confidence, we need to do the exact opposite of our normal response. Our normal response when we fall off a horse (after blaming the horse, the saddle, the weather, the dog that barked, the owner of the horse for giving you the nastiest brute in the stable) is to avoid riding or learning about it.

But we need to do the opposite

We need to focus our learning on this area, and do another procedure quickly. Do more CE, not less. Do more cases, not less. Get more mentorship, not less.

The longer we wait, the greater our fear build up making it harder and harder to get the procedure going routinely.

Get back on the horse that threw you

What do you do when you lose confidence in a procedure?