Ask the Missing Question

Feb 01, 2010 No Comments by

The first thing I notice about people is their teeth. I was born missing a tooth, which led to self-consciousness and years of orthodontic treatment to maintain the correct space. I always wondered what it would be like to have a big, beautiful smile.

Although I wore a flipper for years, I was too embarrassed to take my tooth out even if many of my friends found that cool. When I turned 18, I was prepped for a bridge. I was thrilled to finally have a fake tooth that didn’t come out every time I ate!

I was happy with the bridge, but what I really wanted was an implant that would offer the most permanent, life-like solution available. While working for a dentist in Utah, I requested an implant and crown. The crown required several shade corrections, and I grew frustrated. Even after I received an “acceptable” crown, it was the first thing I noticed each time I looked in the mirror.

When I later became a doctor relations representative at Arrowhead Dental Laboratory, I saw “before and after” pictures daily and was amazed at the remarkable transformations. Not only did I love working for a company that I believed in, I realized they could help with my dental issues as well.

When word got out that I was going to get full arch reconstruction, people said, “Why? Your teeth are already in great shape.” I begged to differ. Every tooth was discolored. The contours were not proportionate, and all of my incisal edges were uneven. I was not confident with my smile. It seemed like the wider I smiled, the worse it got.

During my appointment, Dr. Jim Downs asked what I didn’t like about my teeth, and he listened carefully. This was a first! I explained my story, and he said, “Megan, we can fix that.” I felt instant comfort and faith in his abilities.

As other doctors watched during the teaching session, I shared a surprising realization I’d had. Too often, dentists assume patients are happy with their teeth. They assume patients will just show up every six months for cleaning if their teeth aren’t prone to decay. Dentists never think to ask the missing question—whether patients like their teeth. Had affordable, comprehensive treatment been offered to me previously, I would have pursued it years ago.

The reconstruction process was meticulous. In the end, my new Empress crowns gave me the teeth of my dreams. I couldn’t believe how excited I was to see my new smile.

I’m so proud to tell people that my crowns were done by Arrowhead. It was a privilege to be a patient of Dr. Downs and work with Dr. Barnes and other exceptional people. I now have the big, beautiful smile I always wanted, and I got it from Arrowhead Dental Laboratory!

Clinical Notes

Megan presented with a chief complaint of esthetic inconsistency in her teeth.  The proportion of her centrals were distracting as well as the multi-colored appearance due to hypocalcification marks along with a dark striation band through the middle of the coronal structure. Tooth number 7 had an existing PFM crown with a low color value. Full arch models were taken with the Borderlock trays. A horizontal stick bite was taken for soft tissue symmetry analysis. A new esthetic proportion was designed with an emphasis on slenderizing the centrals.  A full wax-up was created and reviewed. A hard model of the wax-up provided the fabrication of a prep and soft tissue stent. A siltex matrix was made from the wax-up model so that the transfer of the new proportion in the form of provisionals could be accomplished. Material of choice for the restorations was Empress Esthetic. All restorations were bonded with Variolink Veneer cement. Follow-up of her occlusion was completed with T-Scan III.

Cover Story, Winter 2010

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