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A Gift

Posted Apr 09 2009 7:14pm

    My boss and I are attending a Turbyfill prosthetic course and if you ever have the chance to attend, do it.  Dr. T. is 76 years old and absolutely delightful.  He brings a patient in who is having problems with a denture and remakes the denture during the three day course.  It's really something to see.
    The patient today was a very sweet 68 year old woman named Mary.  Her full upper and lower dentures fit so poorly that she said she takes them out to eat.  Now, where's the logic in that?  When she started talking about how it affects her, it was an eye-opener. 
    She is very mild mannered, but when she began talking about her journey with these dentures she became agitated, upset and somehow seemed almost ashamed because she had gone to a "discount" denture clinic since she couldn't afford her dentist's fee.  Her general dentist was there and had been asked if he could supply a patient for the course.  He was obviously very grateful to have her getting some help.  As she told us about her denture I realized that denture patients may often feel like a lesser class of denture patient.
    As Dr. Turbyfill stated, we need to be very compassionate and caring with our denture patients and make them feel good about what we are doing for them.  So often these days, we are classifying dental IQ's and feeling that patients who accept implants must have high IQ's because they are choosing optimal treatment.  Being able to afford something better doesn't make a patient smarter than someone who has to choose within the limits of their budget. 
    After listening to Mary, I gained new insight into the feelings and experiences of a denture patient.  Thanks to her, I think I have more empathy for what our denture patients may experience.  Dr. T. has assured us that Mary will not only join us for lunch tommorrow, she'll keep her dentures in her mouth to eat it.  I can't wait.  What a gift for her and what a satisfaction it must be for Dr. Turbyfill to be able to give that gift.

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