I wanted to share another true story with you that will highlight the benefit of dental disaster prevention. Dental disasters almost always strike when people are on vacation. They’ve planned an entire vacation down to the T but never do people plan on having dental emergencies.
We received a desperate phone call recently from one of our participating doctors. His patient was enjoying a vacation abroad when disaster struck: the denture broke. As you can imagine, the element of being out of the country provided even more agony on top of an already stressful situation for this patient.
A call was made to the doctor who in turn called us for help. Luckily for this patient and doctor they had decided to use the Altadonics mould technique, the only method in the world that can capture and store an exact 3-D blue print of the comfortable denture for life.
A huge sigh of relief was felt from both doctor and patient. We reassured them that since we had the 3-D mould prior to the trip, we would be able to create and ship the comfortable denture quickly with ease. The patient was relieved that through this simple and preventative act, all was not lost and they would be able to enjoy the rest of their vacation abroad.
From a doctor’s standpoint, there is nothing worse than not being able to provide care to your patient in situations like these. By using Altadonics, this doctor was able to provide the necessary care to this patient in an otherwise helpless situation with a simple phone call.
We have heard similar stories countless times from doctors. This story illustrates what sets us apart from other methods of denture fabrication. By developing our specialized 3-D mould technique and storing these moulds, doctors are able to provide comfort in more ways than just the fit; they provide their patients with the comfort of knowing they’ll never be without their denture, even when enjoying a vacation abroad. We are so pleased to have been able to help a patient and doctor in preventing a dental disaster.
Due to Ester’s dementia, it became difficult to get the most reliable impressions from her bite. It wasn’t that Ester didn’t want to cooperate with the process; it was just one of the difficulties she suffered with this debilitating disease.
I began to work on what material could be used to preserve this vital information for Ester so that she’d never have to go through the agony of this experience again. After many trials, we found a material that would allow for the comfort and proprioceptive information to be captured and stored without distortion. It also allowed us to remake Ester’s denture without having to break it apart, a key factor in disaster recovery for her should she ever lose the denture again.
We made her a new set of dentures and had her try them in for the initial fit. Checking to make sure we’ve got a comfortable fit and beautiful look for Ester’s face, she began to smile. Tears ran down her daughters cheeks. We had finally made it work; reproducing a comfortable feel that Ester was satisfied with.
“I really can’t believe it,” her daughter said to me. “I can’t tell you how thankful I am for this.” Her daughter and I were now at a point where we knew that Ester’s suffering from lost dentures would never happen again.
I can say that without Ester’s initial problem of losing her dentures, I’d never given thought to coming up with a remedy for this type of dental crisis. The traditional stone method of making dentures was just how things had always been done.
Ester’s case began as a patient in total distress but ended up being my “Ah-ha” moment; most of us have experienced this after we’ve wrestled with a problem and then discover a better approach to solving it. Contributing this kind of advancement in dental technology for all dentists was not my original goal; however, I am proud to have done so. My inspiration was simply to solve a problem for a dear patient. To develop and share a simplified, precise and improved technique for making and storing vital denture information, improving the patient’s quality of life. This has been my most meaningful contribution to both my patients and my profession.
Ester was the elderly mother of one of my dear patients. Her daughter vowed to maintain her mom’s dental health and brought her back to see me after her second set of dentures disappeared. Inadvertently, Ester had placed her dentures in a napkin on her food tray and they were gone. This is a common occurrence in most facilities and winds up leaving the patients with even bigger problems: inability to chew food, embarrassment about their appearance and even an inability to speak with confidence. Unfortunately the spiral continues downward with loss in weight, deterioration of health, self-worth and quality of life. This is especially true for patients experiencing progressive dementia as was Ester. Her daughter was frightened that this was going to be her mother’s fate.
Gone were the two previous sets of dentures. Now my challenge was to create a third pair for her from scratch, no blueprint to go by and very little patient cooperation due to Ethel’s dementia. I asked myself:
What If I could restore a comfortable denture for her?
A denture that could be blueprinted and stored in case she lost it again?
As you know, the process of making dentures hasn’t changed much over the past 100 + years. The old procedure demands you break the stone mold and in so doing the very important information regarding fit, comfort and proprioception is lost. If a denture is lost or broken, the old process requires a dentist to start from scratch. If only I had a way to save her personal blueprint, the comfortable fit she’d had and enjoyed for years.
TO BE CONTINUED…