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.