Transforming Patients’ Lives: A glidewell.io™ Practice Report
A recent case reminded me that giving patients a new smile can be much more than a cosmetic change — sometimes it’s an opportunity to restore their self-esteem and give them a chance to pursue their full potential.
When I first examined Chris in my office, I knew his case would be life changing. He presented with extensive and disfiguring dental caries, which had drastically affected his quality of life. Poor dental esthetics can be emotionally damaging due to the social stigma, and many patients report a reduced sense of confidence and well-being. When a patient confides that he hasn’t smiled in years, it’s an emotional moment. That’s when I realized that this case wasn’t just about improving the patient’s esthetics — it was about removing an obstacle that stood between him and his future goals.
My associate, who first saw the patient, recommended extraction of all upper teeth and lower posterior teeth and replacement with complete and partial dentures. This solution was not acceptable to the patient because he was in the process of trying to enlist in the armed services, and edentulism could complicate his application. In fact, it was likely that he would be rejected by the military because of too many missing teeth, and he didn’t want to take that risk.
Years of neglect jeopardized this patient’s dream of joining the military.
I used an iTero Element® (Align Technology, Inc.; San Jose, Calif.) to perform an intraoral scan. To complete the diagnosis and treatment plan, I also took a CBCT scan to evaluate the extent of endodontic involvement. Before recommending any treatment, however, I decided to take a step back and address his poor oral hygiene, which contributed to his current condition.
It was important for Chris to demonstrate a commitment to his oral health for the long-term success of any planned treatment. I created a detailed dietary and oral hygiene plan that effectively required him to change his lifestyle and discontinue his habits of consuming high amounts of refined sugar and going days at a time without brushing or flossing.
When he returned three months later, he had reduced gingival inflammation and significantly lower plaque accumulation. He showed enough improvement that I felt he was ready for the next step.
Tooth preparation was initiated after the patient returned to the office showing signs of improved oral hygiene.
I performed endodontic treatment on tooth #10, and I prepared teeth #4–11 for individual crowns. Next, I extracted teeth #1–3, #16, #17 and #30–32. Finally, I took a digital impression, and I used a 3D printer to create reference models.The patient was fitted with BioTemps® temporaries for about two weeks so I could confirm that his occlusion and speech were correct and that he wasn’t suffering from joint pain. Then, using the fastdesign.io™ Software and Design Station and the fastmill.io™ In-Office Mill, I designed and milled BruxZir® Esthetic NOW crowns for his anterior and premolar teeth. From the scanning stage to designing and milling the crowns, the glidewell.io™ In-Office Solution made the process easy and stress free.
When Chris looked in the mirror for the first time after finishing the treatment, he couldn’t stop smiling. Seeing a patient develop the confidence to smile and interact with others as well as gain the ability to chew efficiently is incredibly rewarding. It’s also a great feeling to help a young person with big aspirations overcome something that could have limited his potential. I’m happy to report that he enlisted in the armed services and is headed to boot camp!
Dr. Michael Buck delivered BruxZir® Esthetic NOW restorations on teeth #4–11 milled in-office with fastmill.io™.
MY DIGITAL DENTISTRY JOURNEY
In 2019, I was researching different mills on the market. I was interested in learning more about the glidewell.io In-Office Solution, so I asked Dr. Justin Chi, director of clinical technologies at Glidewell, to fabricate a crown for one of my patients using the fastmill.io In-Office Mill. The results were so impressive that I had to try it for myself. The training was fantastic, and the programs are so user friendly and intuitive that my staff and I caught on very quickly. We even set a record among glidewell.io users for the most crowns milled in 60 days.
When it comes to adopting new technology into my practice, I make my decision based on what will provide the most benefit to my patients. The ability to scan, design and mill same-visit crowns is a game changer in providing the best care for my patients. It’s a remarkable feeling to give a patient a brand-new smile.