Any time a patient has a dental problem, there's a chance it won't be a boilerplate fix. The tooth—and its restoration—may be compromised as a result of something completely out of the practitioner's hands.
Of course, the ones that get written about are cases in which solutions are within reach but practitioners have let slip through their fingers. Sometimes one poor decision turns a routine restoration into an expensive, time-consuming series of additional procedures and discomfort. I think there were two poor decisions made in my case. Check one for the practitioner and one for me.
This is the story that pretty much dominated my summer.
Part 1—The Overview
I haven't really had many dental issues over the years but I always knew, if I did, my former husband, Rob, a DMD, was there to take care of them. He especially loved the challenging cases; they stirred his passion for dentistry. The more complicated the problem, the happier he was; they made his day.
However, after our divorce and because his office was an hour away, I used a local dentist for cleanings, check-ups and minor issues.
This time, I sensed I was going to need a new crown or two or maybe even an implant.
But a few years ago, Rob retired.
The smart thing would have been to drive a little out of my local area to one of his recommended peers. Certainly, if I needed an implant, I'd head right to a specialist. But if I only needed a crown, because it was a molar, I thought: "How risky can it be to let the local doctor restore this tooth? I should be more trusting."
Besides, my now-husband Andy had a crown made there [chairside CEREC] without incident. This practice knows I publish LMT, works with a local laboratory and figured I'd want the lab to handle my case. I was, however, very curious to see how a chairside crown would compare. In the back of my mind, I wondered if getting one could be turned into a story. I didn't realize at the time that it would be THIS story.
What's sad about this tale is that it is one that's far too common for most Americans. The difference is that, after the fact, they don't realize there were options. Because of my ties to our industry, I do.
The purpose of telling you the details is that I hope it will encourage you to act. You can play a significant role in changing the work quality of the average Joe Dentist when you see the work he sends you.
You know what a healthy prep should look like and you certainly know when it's an abomination. Get those clients enrolled in a course. Be an educator. You have tremendous power.
The next part of this series will be posted on Monday, August 12th. Until then, I'd like your feedback on how often you return an impression or poured model because the prep is not up to par for restorative integrity.