Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Patient Retrospective

I saw a patient today for a repair of his denture.  His re-connection with our office really moved me.

His name is Steven.  When Steven first came to me he was 26 years old.  He received a grant from Access to Recovery (ATR).  ATR at the time, had funding to provide dental work for those in recovery from drug (meth) addiction.  Steven had been in his addiction for several years.  He ended up in prison - I didn't ask specifically why. At the time of our first meeting he was living in a half-way house as he was integrating back into society..

The unfortunate reality of his addiction was that among the consequences that he suffered, his teeth were beyond repair and needed to be removed.  He was 26 years old and was going to lose all of his teeth.

I remember the conversation that we had.  He confided in me that he was excited to get his teeth taken care of.  He was no longer a meth addict and he didn't want to look like one anymore. I discussed the process of making dentures.  I painted the picture that dentures are prosthetics and there will be a learning curve with getting used to them.

I told him, "If you lost your leg, a prosthetic leg can be made, but you won't be running a marathon on it anytime soon.  You may be able to in the future, but it is going to take some patience and some work on your part."

He understood, "When can we get started?!?!?!"

The making of dentures, as with anything in dentistry, is an art-form that must be blended with sound science. Combined with experience, it is a fairly standard procedure.

What I am constantly amazed with is the impact that creating a custom smile has on my patients.

I got to see that today with Steven.

Three years later - Steven, a former professional felon, is now supervising large window installing teams in various areas around the country.  Most recently in Chicago.  He is buying a new house.  He has a good job.  He is sober. He is no longer in pain or self conscious about his smile....

He no longer feels like a drug addict.

Holistic approach to dentistry addressing the mind, body and spirit...Success!   

 Steven's teeth ravaged by Methamphetamine addiction

 His new smile