Vienna School of Interdisciplinary Dentistry

Education in Occlusion Medicine

Interview with Prof. Rudolf Slavicek

Interdisciplinary Dentistry

VieSID: Professor Slavicek, what does your concept of ‚interdisciplinary dentistry‘ mean?


Prof. R. Slavicek: At university dental studies and general medicine are two separate studies.

Nevertheless I consider all stages of the dental education and formation as well as practical work integrated in general medicine, whereby interdiscipline issues must not be neglected in any of these areas.

Interdisciplinary dentistry means the cooperation and coordination between different medical specialist areas and dentistry. In dentistry we include for instance orthodontics, prosthodontics, parodontology and all the others, and not to forget prosthetic dentistry. But for a responsible approach in interdisciplinary dentistry other medical fields have to be called in.

The interdisciplinary approach should be a concept which can be used in a standardised way for all patient cases. Problems can be identified already at an early stage without taking the risk that health problems settle or become chronic. 


VieSID: Will there be a team of different doctors for each patient?              

Prof. R. Slavicek: With due regard being paid to the patient’s requirements and wishes an exact diagnosis and hence a detailed case planning has to be made. This gives the necessary evidence if a specialist of another medical field has to be called in.
In any case, the patient always is the centre of attention.


VieSID: Has the patient to deal with different doctors? Who will be the reference person?

Prof. R. Slavicek: To guarantee a successful and a frictionsless procedure, the main contact person will be the dentist responsible for the restauration. In the final therapy
plan he /She will involve other specialists, e.g. orthopaedics, physiotherapiests, ENT physician, eye specialists or psychotherapists.


VieSID: You just mentioned the domain of psychotherapy.

Prof. R. Slavicek: For patients with psychic or psychiatrical problems it is necessary to be very sensitive and empathic. In these cases psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists play an important role to support both the patient and the dentist. This team should consist of a well matched group of very experienced specialists.


VieSID: Diseases caused by false posture are increasing drastically. How would you describe the role of the dentist in cooperation with other disciplines?

Prof. R. Slavicek: The various and increasingly occuring problems due to bad posture are mainly caused and intensified by our sedentary way of life.  Our upright posture is one of the risk factors which we have to owe to evolution and our becoming two-legs.
Posture problems, backache, headaches and tension are caused by shortened and weakened muscles. A large part of the problems and of the pain can be put down to a lack of mobility. For these cases we call into action the parallel disciplines of manual medicine, first of all physiotherapy for a physical treatment of muscle problems.
The treatment of posture problems with pain resulting out of it and other symptoms has to be done in consultation with the dentist.


VieSID:  communication within the interdisciplinary team – a difficult subject?

Prof. R. Slavicek: During treatment of complex cases the dentist, as the main contact person, should in any case be informed by all other attending physicians about diagnosis, therapy plans and medication.
Well performed communication with the regular exchange of medical findings can make it easier to establish a good therapy plan and to get optimal and satisfying results.


VieSID: you are developing special concepts for the treatment of youths and children.

Prof. R. Slavicek: Especially during childhood and youth it is important to focus on dental prophylaxis. Early disorders can lead to serious consequences if not noticed in time. Regular checks in all stages from primary dentition to mature dentition must also be seen from an interdisciplinary aspect and are therefore a definite must.