Wax-ups are for Dentists (so are articulators)
This is a beautiful wax-up, isn’t it? I never got to do the case. That wax-up is stored in a box someplace, most likely never to be retrieved. The patient had the work done in another practice and paid a higher fee than I would have charged her.
I was under the mistaken belief that this patient would say yes to the treatment plan I proposed after she saw all the hard work that went into figuring out the case. I thought that no one could resist the beautiful contours and perfect occlusal corrections that I made with the cooperation of my ceramist.
The truth is, the wax-up represented MY treatment plan, not my patient’s. I did it before she was ready to hear it, before she fully understood her present condition, the implications of no treatment, and what other options were possible.
Our patients really don’t care about the wax-up, articulators or any device that helps us as treatment planners. They want to know if they really “need” to do the treatment, what it will look like (wax doesn’t really do that, you know), if it will hurt and how much it will cost. But they only want to know all of that if they really believe this is something that fits within their value system.
Our patients struggle with big decisions just like we do. Our job is to support that struggle, help them experience their current condition and then create awareness about possibility. If we can do that, then they may be ready to hear how we might do the case.
Are your ears on? Do you listen to what your patients are asking you? Can you help them connect the dots with pictures, a hand mirror and examples of cases similar to theirs? Those are the keys to higher case acceptance. Don’t pay for the waxup until you need it to do the case.