I’m back in the office today after a very short vacation (ie 3 days off) and our second patient today was a special needs child. It’s really not fair to refer to him as a child as he will be 18 any second now. He is very heavily Autistic and non-verbal. Which makes, as you can imagine, doing dental treatment a real challenge. We get better and better at it and in fact, I feel we have a special rapport. Through the years, due to a fall in the past, he has needed a crown and then eventually an extraction of a front tooth. His parents care very deeply about this young man’s appearance so we chose to do an implant some time in the past. I went to the operating room with the Oral Surgeon who at the same time removed his wisdom teeth and we placed the implant, which I later restored. Due to a functional habit of some grinding and actually percussing his front tooth, fractures developed in his crown and a decision to make an abutment and crown that were one unit was made. To make it slightly less technical, a dental implant has three parts generally the part placed within the bone (like the root of a tooth) and the abutment which is the substructure upon which the dental crown is placed.
So for him, the substructure and the crown were manufactured as one unit to give it strength and that unit will be torqued into his dental implant. The reason I wrote this headline is because it is always a challenge to choose to take care of patients who require more. More diligence, more heartfelt worry, more management, more sedation, more learning….more chair side manner.
But in my mind that is why I chose to become a Dr., Dentist, caregiver, whatever title I really wear. I chose to do two years of elective residencies that often placed me in situations where I was very, very challenged. And doing those things made things like taking care of this patient less of a choice and more of a responsibility. At the end of the appointment or day, this is why we choose to take care of other people. Its not always easy, and its often not even profitable. And more than I like its not even appreciated.
But when I return from time away from my office, team, and patients I find this why I am doing exactly what I am doing. Without this part of my life, I am not sure whom I would really even be.
I’ve been playing a lot of smooth jazz by Fourplay today not just to relax folks but also because I did a lot of reading while listening to it yesterday and it’s a chilly rainy day outside and it seems to fit…..
P.S. I’ve got to figure out a new way to embed music but needless to say I recommend you tune into Fourplay’s version of Stevie’s Higher Ground on youtube or somewhere.
P.S.S. I’m going to learn how to format this darn blog one of these days.