How DenMat's Snap-On Smile benefits dental patients

September 13, 2012

How often does a new patient come into your practice for an emergency appointment with a specific concern, such as a toothache, and with this excruciating pain the patient’s self diagnosis is the tooth must be extracted?

How often does a new patient come into your practice for an emergency appointment with a specific concern, such as a toothache, and with this excruciating pain the patient’s self diagnosis is the tooth must be extracted?

This might happen often, but with today’s communication skills, we are able to help patients realize the value of their complete oral care with one thought provoking question during the new patient consultation:

“Mr. Smith, I am not trying to be smart with you, but the question I would like to ask is would you like to keep your teeth for the rest of your life?”

When asked this question the patient usually stops to think for a moment, with a look of perplexity as if surely this dentist must be joking, and then says, “of course I do doctor.”  

With this remarkable yet simple question, we have now opened the door to ask, “do we have permission to share any changes with you that we may see during this examination?” To date we have not had a patient say “No.”

Another option
When this scenario happened most recently, we listened to the patient’s concerns regarding his obviously abscessed tooth and showed further changes with the intraoral camera. This real-time video showed profound wear on both maxillary and mandibular. The patient admitted that it had been more than 10 years since his last dental visit. He also said he was embarrassed by his smile and that his previous dentist told him he would eventually need dentures. Learning that the patient was prepared for dentures as the next step in his dental care, we knew we must discuss other possibilities, such as crowns.   

After carefully considering the pros and cons of each treatment, the patient agreed to crowns though he couldn’t afford them right away. While he got his finances in order, we followed a few simple steps of traditional impression taking, bite registrations, digital photography and lab scripts for a Snap-On Smile from DenMat for him to wear in the mean time.

By using Snap-On Smile, a remarkable temporary innovation, we helped him envision a possible future. Using Snap-On Smile was important to our complex case, as it allowed him to test drive the opening and vertical dimension of occlusion, esthetics and phonetics for a few months. With Snap-On Smile the patient can eat and drink as normal. He also was given proper instructions on cleaning the appliance. This allowed him to see there is hope for a beautiful smile, which made an impossible solution seem possible.

Changing lives
We’ve been using Snap-On Smile for about a year and a half. Dr. Mark Hyman first saw Snap-On Smile featured at a dental conference. He became interested and decided to implement it into the practice to see if it would work as a temporary solution for patients who needed it.

And it has. We had a senior citizen who had financial issues but wanted a beautiful smile. She gave us a picture from 20 years ago and said she wanted that smile again. Unfortunately to do that costs thousands of dollars and she couldn’t afford it. But Snap-On Smile served as a temporary solution while she got her finances in order to accomplish that. It’s a transitional appliance for patients like this one who can’t get optimal care yet. We’ve used it for patients who are having implants done. Instead of making traditional temporaries we can use Snap-On. We had a woman whose partial was eaten by her dog right before her wedding, so Snap-On was a quick fix for her before she headed to Vegas to get married. We had a hospice patient who always wanted a beautiful smile, and one way to do that quickly for her was Snap-On Smile. There are just so many examples of patients who have benefited from a Snap-On Smile. It just gives people hope and lets them know there are possibilities.