Let your teeth do the talking

You will find that this issue is packed full of exciting information that will help you manage the business side of your practice. In terms of total pages, we are extremely proud that this is our largest issue since at least the 1960s. A special thanks to our advertisers, our sales staff, and our production staff for their help in making this possible. An extra special thanks goes to Mark Hartley, who is the Group Editorial Director and is the technical genius behind Dental Economics. He provide

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor

e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

You will find that this issue is packed full of exciting information that will help you manage the business side of your practice. In terms of total pages, we are extremely proud that this is our largest issue since at least the 1960s. A special thanks to our advertisers, our sales staff, and our production staff for their help in making this possible. An extra special thanks goes to Mark Hartley, who is the Group Editorial Director and is the technical genius behind Dental Economics. He provides the journalistic expertise every month that gives us great layouts and terrific artwork. By the way, Mark is Editor of PennWell`s RDH magazine and is responsible for the great success that magazine is having in the dental marketplace.

As I was attending annual meeting of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) in Vancouver in June (tough duty, huh?), I was struck by the thought of how many dentists I meet all over the country whose smiles are compromised. I see large stained composite fillings, old stained crowns, rotations, one anterior tooth longer than another, bicuspids stained gray by large amalgams, and just plain yellowed teeth.

Most dentists I meet say they are doing cosmetic dentistry in their practices but how can this be if their own smiles are compromised. In my mind, it would be very difficult to talk to patients about cosmetics if my own mouth was not in the best of shape.

I grew up in that era before fluoride. I spent a lot of time in the dental chair as a youngster. By the time I got to dental school, I had a mouth full of amalgams, silicates, and two centrals that had the mesial corners chipped. All the dental students in my class wanted to crown my upper teeth, but I resisted.

Early on in my career, I took a lot of continuing education courses and was exposed to some of the occlusion greats like Peter K. Thomas, Pete Dawson, and others. About 12 years after graduation, I decided to have my mouth redone.

One of the great rehab dentists in St. Louis and I were in the same study club, so I asked him to do a complete exam. He did a treatment plan and I paid to have my mouth restored properly with gold inlays and crowns.

I did it for two reasons: One, I knew that if I was going to keep my teeth for a lifetime, they needed to be properly restored; and, two, I felt that I needed to experience the excellent dentistry that I was recommending to my patients. After my mouth was completed, I was much more enthused about complete dentistry.

I kept my chipped centrals until the early 1980s when veneers came on the scene. Porcelain veneers were the ideal solution for my case, and I quickly found someone to place them. They looked terrific and were still in place when I had my mouth redone in late 1997. I must have shown my veneers to thousands of patients who were considering cosmetic treatment and wondering what veneers looked like. The fact that I had it done was also quite a testimonial for the technique.

Pam Whaley, my hygienist, had teeth that were rotated and slightly prominent (probably as a result of not wearing a retainer). She asked what I could do for her, and she became one of my early "instant ortho" cases. She was so proud of her new smile, and she would never miss an opportunity to show patients her "before" models and photos and then show her beautiful new smile.

I am sure that over the years she has shown her veneers to thousands of patients as well. I know that she referred hundreds of cosmetic cases to me for treatment simply because she had her smile "redone." These were two simple, inexpensive but highly effective ways to market the cosmetic part of my practice.

My point is this: Sometimes we look for outside help to market our practices when we should get our own house in order first. Take a good look at yourself, your team, and your surroundings; they should all reflect an excellent, quality image of your office.

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