In the 21st century a dentist wears many hats. We check for oral cancer. We can move teeth with invisalign. We can save teeth from decay, trauma and gum problems. We can help a patient discover and treat, through an oral appliance, sleep apnea. Laser Dentistry is a reality today. We can safely sedate a patient that is fearful. But one thing that is often overlooked is the degree to which we can change the smile of a patient that is not happy with his or her smile. Two recent cases that we have treated stand out as great examples of our work in this office. In the first, a patient that has been a patient for over twenty-five years, chose to have four porcelain veneers on her front teeth. In the second, a man who was never happy with his smile underwent orthodontics for two years and then had us reconstruct his entire mouth. What do these cases have in common? Trust.
Trust is fundamental to all relationships. When a patient agrees to have work done in our office, we take that consent seriously. You ask why is it the practice of dentistry or medicine? Because we grow into our professions with time. We practice. The first patient I ever treated was thirty-five years ago. Frank allowed me to work on him knowing that it was my first time doing the procedure on anyone!!! Now that is trust. But ever since then, I have taken the trust that my patients have given to me and my staff very seriously. It goes to having the latest knowledge of materials and techniques. Using the technology of today that can best serve the patient. And using a dental laboratory that is beyond reproach in helping to create the best restoration that we can provide.
Creating a smile. As a dentist that does full mouth rehabilitations, you can imagine that I am always looking at smiles. It is a study that never has an end. Do we need to move teeth? Do we need to reshape the teeth? What length for the central incisors? What will be the final chroma, hue and value that comprise the shade. But ultimately the questions begin with what does the patient want. And here is where the trust is. Because it is one thing to offer a solution and quite another to be able to accomplish it.
In the two cases that I mentioned earlier, trust allowed me to discuss with these patients the options that were available to get the best results. In the case of the four veneers and the top front four teeth, this patient is a high school teacher that had teeth that had yellowed and changed shape from wear over the years. These teeth also had some older composite fillings that needed to be replaced. It is the art of listening to the patient that makes the end result so successful. Listening and then performing to one’s maximum potential. It becomes a synergy of the patient’s thoughts, the materials and techniques, my wonderful staff and laboratory that come together to create excellence in what we do. Nothing is more exciting for us.
The second patient that had the reconstruction completed a few months ago has always wanted a great smile. He was also fearful of all his teeth being “drilled.” We sedated him a half dozen times to complete the full mouth reconstruction. The results were fabulous but more than that, this was a life-changing experience for this man. He recently told me how he appears more friendly to people. Something he had always desired. He had, from a very young age, always had significant dental problems. The need for dental work was always there. When he and I sat down and created a comprehensive plan to reconstruction, I was able to see and understand how much this meant to him.
But I come back to the trust. And it is very humbling to have patients, such as these, that have a problem, come to me and ask for my help to bring them to a better place. Excellence in dentistry, just like excellence in anything, requires a vigilance. I am very thankful that our patients have found our office to be worthy of their trust.
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