Illustration, Brodie WIlliamson, 7th Grade
When we meet new patients, or have current patients who present us with a problem, we spend time listening to their perspective. Too often doctors and their team can overlook this. But here at Central Park Dentistry, when we listen to our patients we hear ideas for treatment, we hear their history (what has seemed to work or not work for them in the past), we hear fears, we hear feelings toward treatment and we hear patient hopes on timing of treatment.
When we listened to Debbie, we heard fears of treatment. She has also had troubles with vertigo so does not feel comfortable laid fully down. One of her front lower teeth was hurting her. Because of insecurities about the appearance of her teeth, she rarely smiled and would keep it covered when she did. She didn’t feel like her teeth did well with previous dental care. Keeping all of this in mind we asked her more questions and showed her some options.
As a general rule, we approach treatment plans for patients according to set priorities: health, function and esthetics. Approaching cases in this order helps us find long-term success for our patients. Following common sense and conservative treatment to meet these goals leads to happy, life-long patients. Debbie’s case was no different.
Together we crafted her treatment plan. Our first priority was Debbie’s health and how to relieve the pain she was having. Toothaches had dogged her for the last couple years so we decided to first extract a painful tooth. Next we addressed function by looking at how to establish a new, correct bite. We decided to set the bite plane of the bottom teeth first. We then needed to take a look at the esthetic results she longed for. Being pain free, removing infections and bacteria, setting a strong and even bite to chew effectively, and helping create beauty and confidence in the appearance of her teeth are all ways we are helping Debbie have the smile she’s always wanted.