Splint Therapy: Time Is on Our Side Part 2

August 6, 2018 Will Kelly DMD

Early in my career, I became frustrated with splint therapy. In the clinical area it was working. In theory, it made sense to me that I should be able to take the appliance back through well-articulated CR casts and ultimately to my patient’s mouth.

Turned out, patients treated with splints were not beating down my door for definitive dentistry. Like Mick Jagger, I Couldn’t Get No Satisfaction. A decade later, I have experienced something magical happening and am singing a new Rolling Stones song in my head, Time is On My Side. (Yes it is!)

Time and Splint Therapy

Perhaps I was not waiting on my patients or more than likely they were waiting on me. I have hundreds of splints on unrestored patients that visit me a couple of times a year. They bring along the plastic to have it ultrasonically cleaned, sometimes tweaked, sometimes repaired.

There was a time when I believed the transition to treatment was a given once the appliance was well-adjusted on a patient willing to trust me with their investment in therapy. (I mean geez, that happens every time for the folks who taught me how to make one, right?) The presentation of the next phase was a conversation that probably sounded a whole lot like a sales pitch and generally fell flat on its face.

Time is on our side. I’ve grown to realize the virtue of patience and listening. Specifically, I listen for compliments, appreciation of the appliance, and sometimes simply a statement of dependency on the plastic. Sometimes this takes years. This is the time to ask, “Would you like to discuss dentistry that can make your teeth feel this way?” Sometimes they outright ask me.

Time is on our side. Appliance therapy is a seed. Our caring attention is a well-nurtured garden. Patients will bloom when they are ready.

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Will Kelly DMD

Dr. Will Kelly attended the North Carolina State University School of Design and received a BA in Communications. He went on to spend two additional years in post baccalaureate studies in Medical Sciences at both UNC Chapel Hill and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Kelly graduated from the top ranked UNC School of Dentistry in 2004. His good hands and clinical abilities led to his being chosen as a teaching assistant to underclassmen in operative dentistry. In addition to clinical time in the dental school, Dr. Kelly had valuable experiences working in both the Durham VA Hospital and for the Indian Health Service in Wyoming. As a child, Dr. Kelly had the opportunity to assist his father on several dental mission trips in Haiti. After completing dental school, Dr. Kelly joined his father in private practice and served on the dental staff at Gaston Family Health Services, where he maintained a position on the board of directors. At this time Dr. Kelly also began his studies in advanced dentistry at the prestigious Pankey Institute in Miami, a continuing journey of learning that has shaped his philosophy and knowledge of the complexities of high-level dentistry. Today Dr. Kelly devotes over 100 hours a year studying with colleagues and mentors who are regarded as "Masters of Dentistry".

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