Dentures Do Not Replace Teeth, Teeth Have Roots...

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Are you using soft skills to create powerful word pictures for your patients?

If you’ve been in dentistry for as long as I have, you could retire if you had a dollar for every time you heard a patient say some form of “I just think you should take out my teeth and give me a denture.”  Maybe it only happens in Texas, but I doubt it.  It’s because the public perception is that dentures replace teeth.  This statement is accurate but not true. I know this sounds like an oxymoron.

Often folks with a history of lots of dental treatment or unattractive teeth see the TV ads that show a glowing beautiful smile at a candle light dinner; steak, corn on the cob, salad.   What it should say is, “she looks great, but she can’t eat.”  Recognizing we’ve all had patients in our past who were successful wearing a denture or dentures.  We should also be willing to admit that for years we weren’t as good at helping them understand that the only reason the bone in their face from nose to chin is there because teeth (and roots) are there.  In other words, dentures replace NO TEETH not YOUR TEETH. This is what I share regularly with patients who seem confused about what they will have (and not have) with dentures.

“Your teeth, MS. Patient, have roots, dentures do not have roots.”  This is where we are thrilled to share with patients that we now know there is a better way.  “Today, doctor will be talking to you about replacing the roots and the teeth.”    A dental implant is a man-made root, as defined in my first book.  And then we put man-made teeth on top.  Now, you just need to decide if you want removable teeth or non-removable teeth.

When we use soft skills to create a picture or image with patients in mind, we help them see the possibilities as well as the consequences.  The truth is I absolutely love being in the role of comprehensive care coordinator in my husband’s dental practice.  The opportunities I have to share in better detail than ever before, thanks to bone models (we LOVE Salvin Dental for these great tools), implant and tooth models, CT Scans, photographs, videos or whatever and however the patient wants to receive the data.

We’ve come a long way from plugging amalgams in the palm of our hands (with no gloves). We also believed that dentures function as teeth. That was no truer than believing a glass eye would function to see. Now, we can prove and share with patients through science and soft skills that dentures are only a replacement for no teeth, not “their” teeth. Are you and your team using soft skills to create greater value for care and for the relationship we want to build in our practices? When you’re ready, we’re here to help!

See you on the road,

JoAn