Hows your own smile?

Oct. 1, 1999
I have some sad news. Dr. David Tom, Jennifer de St. George`s husband, had a massive heart attack in Australia and died. This is a tragic loss to Jenny and to the profession. David was an exceptional human being and always had a ready smile for all those who crossed his path. He was excited about returning to his home state for the ADA meeting in Hawaii next month. Please keep Jenny in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor

e-mail: [email protected]

I have some sad news. Dr. David Tom, Jennifer de St. George`s husband, had a massive heart attack in Australia and died. This is a tragic loss to Jenny and to the profession. David was an exceptional human being and always had a ready smile for all those who crossed his path. He was excited about returning to his home state for the ADA meeting in Hawaii next month. Please keep Jenny in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

The wonders of a beautiful smile

The perception of a smile is often in the eyes of the beholder. How often have you looked at someone`s smile and thought to yourself that you could do wonders with that smile? I was reminded of that yesterday when I checked in at a TWA gate and was asked by the gate agent, "What kind of a doctor are you?" I replied that I was a dentist, and she said that she should have known that because I have such a great smile. I spent the rest of the day walking on air!

I had a very difficult time deciding to change my smile. People kept telling me how much better I could look, but I still had a hard time deciding.

This process gave me a better understanding of the questions that must go through my patient`s minds as they decide whether or not to have their smiles changed. There is more to it than just saying "yes" and getting it done. There are a number of deep-seated feelings attached to our smile and the perception of how we look to other people.

I redid my wife`s smile in the early 1980s when I first started doing cosmetic dentistry. Last fall, I again redid Sue`s smile and, thanks to a wonderful artist named David Block, the results were outstanding. Now David began hitting on me as well, telling me that I could have an outstanding smile like Sue`s.

I chose Dr. Mark McClure of St. Louis as my dentist. Mark bought my practice almost three years ago, and he is doing some great cosmetic cases. I also found out that Rhonda Hunt (my clinical assistant for 18 years) would be available to assist him with the clinical procedure. Having her there gave me a peace of mind that I would not have had in any other office. Mark did a terrific job - I never felt a thing and left with beautiful temporaries.

I had the veneers seated on my birthday. David, who is with Aesthetic Porcelain Studios, had worked his magic again. The teeth looked and felt outstanding. My teeth had been very thick, and now they feel natural. I cannot believe the difference in the way they feel and look.

Now I don`t know why I waited so long. I am sure that many of our patients feel the same way when they see the results.

I have two questions for you. How can you possibly expect to sell a beautiful smile if you don`t have one yourself? What would it take for you to have your smile redone?

Walking the fine line

Be sure to read the article by my friend, Dr. Bill Dickerson. Just in case you feel the article sounds self-serving, I really believe in what he is saying. If we have a successful practice and if we charge a fair fee, we can take care of some of those who are less fortunate.

I routinely saw patients who were referred to me by a Catholic group that helped the poor in a rural community about 75 miles south of St. Louis. Many of these people were on Medicaid, but could not find a dentist to treat them. I did not charge the patients or Medicaid. I have seen many examples in the last few months of dentists all over the country volunteering their time to help others.

This charity work does not involve a hidden agenda and it is not a marketing ploy. The only motive is helping people.

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