We are dentures only practice located in the Brisbane suburb of Jindalee. Not everyone wears dentures, so the understanding of what we do is not widely known or understood. This became evident recently when updating our website. We engaged a copywriter to edit the many pages of information I had written, to ensure the content remained informative but not overwhelming. Having no experience with dentures, Lin asked a series of questions to help her understand what it is that we do. She suggested that my answers would be a good for our first newsletter as a means of introduction. So here they are.
Q. Do you prefer using the word, ‘client ‘ or patients?
- Patients. People come to us seeking advice and treatment for an oral health concern. Either they are just about to have teeth removed or their old denture/dentures are causing concerns. We provide a course of treatment that aims to meet those concerns and let them get on with their life. So patients is the appropriate word.
Q. Do you prefer using the word, ‘clinic’ or ‘practice’?
- Practice. Clinic is the name of the business, ‘Metro West Denture Clinic’ but it is our practice.
Q. I think one of your great advantages is the fact you’re a family-run business. How do you ‘personalise’ your service? Do you spend longer than usual on consultations? Do you tend to have clients who stay with you for years?
- The connection starts at the front desk with Katherine. Her experience as a social worker and nurse in community based aged care is a help with understanding people who are often quite anxious. She has an ability to make our patients feel comfortable and at ease.
- Making good dentures requires a series of appointments Most appointments are booked for 45 minutes (longer if needed) to ensure we are not rushed. We never finish dentures until we are confident that are correct clinically and technically.
- And yes, we do have many patients that return for their next set of dentures and being trusted with their care again is most rewarding. New patients are important to our practice, as dentures are not replaced frequently. While patients do come to us direct seeking treatment, you know you are doing something well, when you receive a referral from an old patient or from a dental practice who recognise that we look after our patients and do good work.
Q. You make your dentures on site. Is this unusual? Do you personally make them? What kind of technical skill and experience does it take to get them right?
- Yes we make all the dentures we fit on site. I find it an advantage to have seen the patient and being able to relate their individual oral condition when making/designing their dentures. I believe this aids me to make better dentures.
- Great dentures require both accurate clinical records and precision in construction. One without the other makes for a poor result. There are several appointments before a denture can be issued, after each clinical step; there is a technical step.
- Experience, attention to detail, understanding, knowledge, and taking the time to engineer/construct each technical step correctly makes great dentures a possibility.
Q. You say you established Metro West Denture Clinic in 2004 as a ‘Dentures only Practice’. Why did you decide to do this? Is it unusual to specialise in this way? Are there many other practices around that offer denture care only?
- The Dental Board of Australia regulates the scope of practice for my profession, ‘Dental Prosthetist’. (http://www.dentalboard.gov.
au/Codes-Guidelines/Policies- Codes-Guidelines/Guidelines- Scope-of-practice.aspx).
- DBA regulations do not allow Dental Prosthetists to say they specialize in Denture care, but certainly with a selective focus; there is opportunity to develop a high level of experience and expertise.
- The majority of dental prosthetists are dentures only, though some employ dentists and run a general dental practice using their services.
- All my training both initially and subsequently, is related to the provision of denture car directly to our patients
Q. You say you have as your core principle ‘Quality because it matters’. You also say ‘Quality without compromise’. Which one do you prefer?
- Quality without compromise is a commitment to our patients to do everything possible to give them the best dentures possible. Quality because it matters is just a statement of fact.
Q. You mentioned that you are starting to see more competitors. What do you think you offer that’s different from the others? Is it the fact you make the dentures you fit? Are there new innovations in dentures that other practices may not offer?
- Expertise developed through experience and ongoing training, along with a genuine commitment to deliver the best denture care possible is a major asset. We like to believe that we offer affordable quality denture care.
- Continual development of skills and knowledge as essential to my ability to deliver the highest levels of denture care.
- I have sought and benefited from excellent mentors.
- A ten-year period serving on the education committee of my professional association,ADPA, offered the oppertunity to organise/coordinate training and education and further develop my skill and knowledge.
- We are one of the first Brisbane practices to be trained in the new Lower Suction Effective denture technique
- First Brisbane practice to be CQR Dentures accredited a technique which offers high levels of denture security and comfort.
Q. Are your patients from all over Brisbane? Are most of your patient’s retirees and pensioners – or is it possible that younger people might also need them (sporting injury or otherwise)?
- We have patients who travel from as far afield as Roma, Toowoomba, and the Sunshine coast, but mostly, our patients live in Brisbane’s western suburbs. As the practice has matured, increasingly patients are travelling further to seek our services.
- Our patients are predominantly 45 years plus with the oldest being 102. It does happen that younger people seek our services following an accident or electing to have a tooth extracted, as the cost of saving the tooth is financially prohibitive.
- Many seeking our services are getting dentures for the first time, having had many years of complex and now failing dentistry. It may be one tooth that is being extracted or sometimes all remaining teeth. We provided this service in collaboration with a dentist who does the extractions.
- It is not uncommon for a patient currently wearing a partial denture to have another tooth added to their denture or to seek a more aesthetic prosthesis. We have the experience to help them.
- Many patients have had a lifetime of struggle with their dentures. New advances in techniques and technology has seen some major advances which offer even those patients even higher levels of comfort and stability.