INSIGHTS GAINED FROM MY FULL MOUTH RECONSTRUCTION.
My experience with full mouth reconstruction was amazing from the very start. When I made my decision to get my teeth done, I chose a dentist whose working style was very similar to my own professional style. After speaking with a close associate at Arrowhead Dental Lab, I chose Dr. Jason Lewis in Draper, Utah. Having a comprehensive dentist treat my dental needs confirmed the beliefs I had developed regarding comprehensive dentistry, based on my own clinical experience and presentation style. As I went through the procedure, I viewed the whole process through the eyes of a patient.
From the experience, I gained great insights—one of which concerned the length of time that such procedures take. I realized that in the grand scheme of things, even though the procedure doesn’t last very long (considering how much work is being done), if you’re the patient sitting in the chair with your mouth propped open, it feels like a long time.
I’m a very active individual and because of that, I got a little antsy. As I sat through my full mouth procedure, I made a clear decision. From then on, when I performed a full mouth reconstruction on patients in my practice, they wouldn’t have an option of sedation. They would all be IV sedated. With IV sedation, patients can totally relax and wake up to a dazzling new smile.
As soon as my permanent Elite porcelain crowns were seated, I was in love. Honestly, these teeth are luxurious. When comparing my own teeth with the Elite crowns, I often use an automobile analogy. My original teeth seemed like ‘driving a Chevy’—they worked well and they looked pretty good. Many people were shocked that I even thought about doing any dental work to my teeth. But I knew from clinical experience that there was room for improvement, and I felt I should be an ambassador for the possibilities that comprehensive dentistry can accomplish.
With my old teeth, the occlusion was good due to all of the orthodontic work I had done over the years. Yet, after one second with the Elite crowns, I realized that everything was completely different. I was no longer driving that Chevy, but I was now cruising down the highway in a Caddy! My own teeth, while good, were nothing compared to my new Elite smile.
A month after my full mouth reconstruction was completed, a patient saw me in a business meeting. I could tell out of the corner of my eye that he was staring at my smile from across the conference table. The next day, he phoned me and said, “Cress, I couldn’t stop staring at your smile. I want that!” Of course, I told him I could do it. He immediately visited my office and we got the ball rolling—we did his impressions and his white wax-up that very day. He liked my teeth so much that we just recreated my smile for him; we did the same color formulation and everything.
Now, not a day goes by without someone saying, “You have the most beautiful teeth. I love your smile.” Such comments come from all kinds of people: my patients, business associates who see me in meetings or seminars, friends-of-friends and even, surprisingly enough, complete strangers (even when I am on the ski slopes!).
None of these people know that my teeth are Elite porcelain crowns—they just assume that these perfectly shaped, radiant teeth are my own. When I tell people they are crowns, they will often ask me more about my smile and if they might be a good candidate for the procedure. Once this conversation starts, it opens doors to a host of opportunities. Whenever I’m paid these compliments, I am reminded how important it is to think comprehensively as a dentist. I am so glad that I decided to do this!
Having strategized comprehensively about my own case has given me the confidence to present comprehensive dentistry to every patient who walks into my office. From simple fillings to tooth replacement, from treating patients with TMD to those with obstructive sleep apnea and those in need of full mouth rehabilitation, I am committed to treating comprehensively. I now look at the overall health of my patients. Treating comprehensively has given me great confidence and satisfaction in my chosen profession.
With each and every interaction, my new smile opens up doors of possibility for both the patient and me. Not all patients accept comprehensive treatment, and for those who don’t I know the seeds of possibility have been planted. They now have a clearer vision of dentistry’s potential to improve their lives. Many of these patients have left my consultation room with the realization, “Hey, if he did it and his teeth look that good, then I can do this too. I want a smile like that.” Once a patient sees my Elite smile, they know what’s possible and that I can deliver. My smile is my most effective case presentation tool.
I’m often asked if my full mouth reconstruction has benefited my practice in a financial way. My answer to that is simple: YES! Before I had my full mouth reconstruction, I was doing one or two cases a year. Currently, I’m doing one or two of these procedures every month. I kid you not. The numbers don’t lie and I directly attribute that rise in productivity to the fact that I diagnose comprehensively and I’m a walking billboard for what is possible in cosmetic dentistry.
After I completed the Full Arch Course with Dr. Jim Downs in the beginning of 2013, I performed 16 full mouth reconstructions that year. Not full arch, mind you . . . full mouth. As of April 2014, I have already completed six full mouth cases for this calendar year.
When I am asked if I ever felt nervous about having this procedure done, I answer with an emphatic, “Absolutely not!” The dentist was someone whom I respected and trusted. The best dental lab made my crowns. I had absolutely no fears at all. I had one hundred percent confidence in the entire process and I knew that the aesthetic outcomes would be magnificent and the form and function would be perfect. There was no question in my mind that I would love the results and I absolutely do. The only regret is that I didn’t do them sooner!
COVER STORY CREATIVE TEAM
Aesthetic Dentistry: Dr. Jason Lewis, Draper, UT
Porcelain Restorations: Roy Petersen, Arrowhead Dental Laboratory, Sandy, UT
Photography: Justin Grant, www.JustinGrantPhotography.com
Hair and Make-up Artist: Melinda Johnson, www.melindajae.com