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Patients for whom you thought you had no answers

March 1, 2011
I am sure my practice is typical. We all have patients we have been seeing for quite a while who either can't or won't adopt the treatment plans ...

by Dr. Tyler Green

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: Snap-On Smile, patients, no answers, restorations, crowns, arches, Dr. Tyler Green.

I am sure my practice is typical. We all have patients we have been seeing for quite a while who either can't or won't adopt the treatment plans we have developed for them, yet they still come in for basic hygiene or emergency work. They cannot pursue treatment because they simply do not have the budget for a $20,000 reconstruction program, or they will not because they have no interest in their teeth and, in many cases, themselves.

This is an article about one of those people. His name is Happy, though the name was decidedly misleading. He had been coming to me for years and his visits consisted of emergency extractions, root canals, and fillings.

Due to financial considerations, he had not been able to complete any treatment with permanent restorations, and his teeth were, quite simply, breaking down and wearing out.

Happy is a young man working hard to get his life going in the right direction. He took odd jobs, but could never make the financial commitment necessary to take proper care of his teeth. I repeatedly warned him that his teeth were falling apart and his choices were decreasing, but each year he continued to neglect them. In short, he simply could not afford to worry about his looks.

I knew I could make him look good, but if he fundamentally didn't care about his looks, there was no way he would even begin to consider investing the $12,000 to $30,000 necessary for a full mouth rehabilitation. Taking the appropriate records and waxing-up models to show him a new smile just didn't make sense.

Everything changed about one month ago. He came in with a very minor emergency, which I handled in the office. Then I sat him up and told him about Snap-On Smile.

I explained to him it was a cosmetic solution and not permanent, but that he could easily reap the benefits of having a great smile without the significantly high cost of permanent crowns. To my surprise, he agreed! We chose a shade he liked (he had always wanted whiter teeth, he told me) and we took photos and made impressions.

He ordered both upper and lower Snap-On Smile arches, then took care of his payment and made his delivery appointment. I can tell you that the delivery was one unforgettable appointment for my staff, my patient, and me.

As soon as we placed his new Snap-On Smile, his entire demeanor changed. He not only looked like a different man, I felt like he was taking a new direction in his life. Just one look at his face and we saw the most powerful testimonial I could imagine. Don't tell anyone, but even I felt tears in my eyes.

And if, in the future, Happy wants a permanent smile, I can match his new crowns to his Snap-on Smile. His teeth can be restored sequentially by using Snap-On Smile as a temporary while he saves up for each phase of treatment.

As I write this, I can tell you that Happy has been going on job interviews and is actively looking for a girlfriend. His confidence has skyrocketed and he has a totally new respect for himself and the way he looks. His future is as bright as his smile. I know that he can finally live up to his name, and there's nothing better than that. Snap-On Smile is a versatile, affordable, and potentially life-changing treatment option for patients, one that I'm glad we're able to offer.

Dr. Tyler Green maintains a private practice in Conroe, Texas. He designed and executed the protocols that led to FDA clearance for several adjunctive oral cancer screening devices, including the VELscope system. He lectures internationally and throughout the U.S. about implementation of adjunctive screening devices and magnification. Dr. Green can be reached at (936) 588-4433 or [email protected].

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