by Kenneth Hamin, DMD, BSc

Imagine hearing a story that you know realistically could be the truth, but when you sit down and dissect it, the story seems surreal.

We all remember what we were doing when we heard the news about the planes crashing into the World Trade Centre on 9/11. Recently, I met a dentist from New Jersey who lost his brother on that fateful day. His brother was a security guard who just started his first day shift after working a long stretch on nights. He was back from two weeks vacation, and God only knew the first day on day shift would be his last. He was on the 88th floor when the plane hit the 92nd floor of Tower #1.

Two months ago I was in New York and can only imagine what went on in that family’s life for the months that followed. I visited New York in August 2001 for the AGD, one month before the day that changed the world. Who could have predicted the events of 9.11 just one month later?

Imagine now the patient who comes to you with a story which you can only perceive as surreal because you have not lived it. As a dentist, you must listen and ask questions to understand. A dentist treating halitosis, like any procedure in dentistry, must ask questions, listen, and most of all, care!

When I first entered into the field of treating and diagnosing halitosis in 1996, it was brand new! It was, to say the least, way outside the box. What I was taught in school was completely, or almost completely wrong. For patients who have halitosis, we must understand what Steve Anderson and Walter Hailey talked about years ago….. PERCEPTION IS REALITY!

These patients have a problem, that no one has listened to (properly), and most of all, no one has helped them! They have seen doctors, they have seen dentists, they have surfed the internet, and to no avail and they are now sitting in your office! You may be their last hope; because they read about you in an advertisement or a story.

I can tell you that if you want to enhance a person’s life (like you do with whitening or cosmetic dentistry) you need to listen, because what you may do may make cosmetics seem like nothing.

The breath industry is multi-billion dollar, and just like whitening, everyone wants to be better than they are, at one time or another in their life, and just like whitening, there are some products that work well and some that don’t work so well.

It is not rocket science, nor is it something we should be scared of. It is something we need to learn because we are it! We are in disparate need of thinking of ourselves as doctors rather than tooth mechanics, we need to educate ourselves. We tried to look at the “whole person” and how the oral cavity impacts their overall health, whether it is an oral cancer screening or a question about their breath, it all comes down to “you only know what you know” and more importantly, “you don’t know what you don’t know!”

Over the years I have seen hundreds if not thousands of patients who came to me because they had a concern about their breath. They were wives, husbands, managers, secretaries, janitors, cooks and CEO’s of large organizations. It did not matter whether they made $20,000.00/yr or $800,000.00/yr because they are people. They had one common element and that was they had a perception about themselves.

I know I don’t have a lot of space to write about diagnosis and treatment of halitosis but what I do know, is that if you can listen to what the research shows and what a wet-fingered dentist has to say, it may change a person’s life.

In more than 18 years of dentistry there are three things I love because it makes a difference in a person’s “what I think of me” attitude. If anyone has heard Dave Weber the author of “Sticks and Stones” talk about “the Seven Me’s,” you will know what I mean.

First Cosmetic porcelain Veneers.

Second Take home and laser whitening.

Third Halitosis diagnosis and treatment.

I was asked to give a talk in Vancouver at the Pacific Dental Meeting in March, 2007 because I, as a dentist, have seen more people with this particular chief complaint than probably, anyone. I was given 2.5 hours and know it will be hard to condense the knowledge into this time. It will be nuts and bolts, it will also be a great investment in time to allow you to start helping people in a way you have never done before. Come learn with the best! The CAED offers some great experiences, all you need to do is show up!

Dr. Ken Hamin maintains two cosmetic practices in Winnipeg, MB. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1988 and is a part-time clinical instructor at the Faculty of Dentistry since 1994. Currently completing his Proficiency Certificate in Esthetic Dentistry, Dr. Hamin is also the Regional Director for the AGD for Western Canada and a founding member of the Canadian Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. He currently lectures on cosmetics and halitosis diagnosis and treatments. hamin smile@aol.com

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