Many of us have experienced the treatment of a loved one in a hospital setting. When care is coordinated, the facility functions like a well-oiled machine. If it isn’t, it doesn’t. My dental practice must coordinate the unique needs of each patient, alongside the materials from our suppliers and top-notch dental labs. A good example of this was Betty’s case, a distinguished older woman with unique tooth discoloration since childhood. The dental term for this is “fluorosis”. Betty had been to dentists that wanted to make 16 oversized and bright crowns to cover her front teeth because, from their perspective, their patients all wanted “new teeth”. Their labs used one of three shades and did no “personalization” to reproduce the color gradation, shape and contour of a patient’s natural teeth. Betty didn’t want “movie star teeth”, however. That’s where coordinated care takes over. It is my responsibility to draw pictures that indicate the use of several tooth shades and explain the contours desired so my lab understands the case. I speak by phone with the dental lab if anyone is confused. Sometimes, I even ask my patient to visit the dental lab so they create a masterpiece with shading.
For Betty, I suggested that we tackle her first crown on one tooth that had a loose filling, halfway back on her lower jaw. She could then pass judgment on whether the resulting crown looked natural, rather than “Movie Star”, in an inconspicuous spot. I offered to work closely with my dental lab to create the coloration that would complement her complexion and take her age into account. She agreed.
My staff has always been outstanding with details and follow through. After prepping the tooth, we wrote up a thorough description for the coloration, gradation, and shape of this tooth and submitted it to a dental lab known for clarifying details, if uncertain. We submitted a picture of Betty’s existing smile. One assistant agreed to be our liaison, for consistency.
Betty’s story has a happier ending than one might imagine. Yes, she went on to have 17 teeth crowned at our practice. Then, she “modernized” her hairstyle and started taking yoga classes. Her wardrobe seemed to change. She referred over 20 people to our dental practice, and had a few more crowns herself. Then she married a man that wanted to travel during retirement. That meant lots of photo opportunities with her smile!
Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.