Help your patients eat less!

Aug. 1, 2004
Something interesting occurred in the dental industry just a few short months ago. It will be very interesting to see how it will play out.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS

Something interesting occurred in the dental industry just a few short months ago. It will be very interesting to see how it will play out. On May 19, the DDS System introduced a behavior-modification appliance to help people eat slower and eat less. The dental appliance, when worn by the user, forces that individual to eat slower, which then triggers the satiety response. The satiety response has been known in nutritional literature for a long time. Basically, it takes 10 to 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it is full. We in America eat much too fast and fail to utilize this satiety response to warn us that we are full. This has certainly been a big factor in the obesity crisis in America.

The DDS System is a behavior modification way to train people to eat slower, letting their brain know that they are full, so that, ultimately, they will consume fewer calories and reap the benefits.

The device is quite intuitive and easily mainstreamed into the dental practice. After an initial examination, our auxiliaries have all the skills needed to create this device. It is as simple as taking an alginate impression, pouring the model, filling out a lab form, and sending the case into the lab.

This device was created and patented by a woman with torus palatinus, and it basically mimics her condition. She realized that at dinner, while she was sitting across from her husband, it would take her 25 bites to finish a hamburger, while it would only take him five bites. She was thin and he was heavy. Knowing this small piece of information, you can now look at your patients with large maxillary torus palatinus differently to determine whether they are perhaps generally thinner than those without a torus palatinus.

The DDS System can only be dispensed by certified dentists. A certification course is available through the company for a yearly fee. I must tell you that I was quite impressed with the certification course, because I am usually skeptical of these kinds of things. This was solid information that really informed me about the major issues in eating behavior today. With this information, it makes it much easier to talk to patients about this DDS device.

When information about this device hit the media, it hit like a virtual thunderstorm. Just about every major newspaper across the United States picked up the story, as did CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, and hundreds of other channels across the United States. An estimated 50 million people saw a story about the DDS System. The company reported three million hits on its Web site in the first three days of launch, with 250,000 people doing searches for a dentist near them. If you had to put a price tag on the public relations that the DDS System received, it would be in the range of $30 million of free publicity.

There were a number of skeptics in these news reports as well. In my opinion, the skeptics added a real dimension to this form of behavior modification. Certainly, people don't need this device; they just need to learn to eat slower. The problem is they don't learn to eat slower and that's why this device can be a valuable addition to their efforts in weight management. I have had a number of patients who have chosen to use this device, with all of the informed-consent issues clearly spelled out.

The comparison to custom-tray bleaching when it was first introduced to dentistry almost 30 years ago is amazing. Dentists were skeptics then, with many saying no one would want bleaching because it was too expensive, people would lose the trays, and the process wouldn't work. Here we are in 2004 and it is estimated that 95 percent of dental offices offer custom-tray bleaching. Could the same thing happen with the DDS System? Only time will tell!

Weight control in this country is a $55 billion business, and it is clear that patients are interested in tools to help them. Dentistry now has a new tool for patients to help them combat their obesity problems, in addition to all of the other wonderful services we now offer.

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an international lecturer and author known for hiscomprehensive and entertaining style.An evaluator for Clinical Research Associates, Dr. Malcmacher is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. For close to two decades, Dr. Malcmacher has inspired his audiences to truly enjoy practicing dentistry by providing the knowledge necessary for excellent clinical and practice-management skills. His group dental practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988.For details about his speaking schedule, Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or via e-mail at [email protected].

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