by Dr. Amanda Seay
In my practice, mock-ups play a significant role, serving two distinct purposes. First, they are instrumental in showcasing possibilities to our patients and promoting dentistry. Second, they are essential for evaluating shade, layering, and overall treatment outcomes after a patient has accepted the proposed plan.
Mock-Ups to Sell Treatment:
In every operatory, we keep a small plastic container stocked with essential tools: my favorite composite contouring instrument, a mandrel with coarse discs, a scaler, and disposable composite, and "throwaway composite" refers to any composite samples or expired materials. These items are used to create mock-ups on as many patients as possible.
It's important to note that some patients may not even realize that they have options to enhance their smiles or may associate significant procedures with the process. We aim to change that misconception. Whether it's a single tooth or multiple, the goal is to illustrate what's achievable. We perform these mock-ups during regular hygiene appointments, for new patients, and during cosmetic consultations.
My team members are well-versed in engaging patients in conversation and asking pertinent questions to gauge their interest. When I enter a room and see the plastic box ready, I know my team has initiated the conversation, and I'm prepared to execute a mock-up in under five minutes. If the dialogue hasn't taken place, I can easily start it by asking non-invasive questions. For example, "Mrs. Jones, you have lovely teeth, but I noticed a slight rotation on your front tooth. Does that concern you at all? If you'd permit, I can perform a quick mock-up, like trying on a wig, except we're trying on teeth. It takes just a minute or two, and I'd be delighted to show you what it would look like if we corrected this rotation." It's rare for any patient to decline such a non-pushy offer.
After the mock-up, we emphasize that it's not about how it feels to the tongue but how it enhances their overall smile. If they express interest, we explore ways to achieve the desired outcome.
Mock-Ups for Scheduled Treatment:
When a patient is already scheduled for composite artistry, I conduct a trial run by mock-up the tooth in the colors I plan to use. This is crucial because I want to perform this just before dehydration can affect color matching. It also allows me to practice layering to achieve the desired results. Following the mock-up, I prepare my composite in the chosen shade on a clean glass slab, ensuring it's covered while I attend to hygiene checks and other tasks.
Mock-ups are an integral part of our practice, whether we're welcoming new patients or working with established ones. I encourage you to practice mock-ups on your team members and family to become more comfortable with these conversations and enhance your hands-on skills for efficient execution.
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