Diary of a First Time TLC User
Dr. Barry Freydberg, an internationally respected expert on high tech dentistry, kept a diary of his experience with the TLC. Here are some excerpts from his first weeks of using the TLC
I didn’t rush right out to purchase the TLC, as it wasn’t one of my highest priorities, and I didn’t fully understand its benefits. I will learn more as time passes. I knew I should try it, but I now realize that the TLC has more value than the vendor was able to convey to me (or that I was able to understand).
Surprisingly, the very first thing I noticed was the benefits for ME, not the patients! This week, when doing endo (an exam where I already have radiographs), while removing caries, and for indirect pulp caps, I now had the X-rays and camera images on the TLC monitor screen, directly ‘in my face.’ No change in my vision correction. No turning to see the monitor (or holding the X-rays to the light), in other words, completely smooth, seamless and ergonomic.
And while I was using the monitor to improve my own needs and comfort, the images were also ‘in the patient’s face.’ This involved them in their own treatment in a way I have never seen before. Previously, I would have to stop, move the patient to look towards the monitor (or get a mirror in the old days), reposition them, and go back to work.
During a difficult procedure, or on a busy day, I’d usually just ‘skip it.’ I have always believed and taught that if a technology isn’t convenient to use, you simply won’t use it. The TLC takes convenience to the next critical level.
Another benefit I’ve discovered is the value of the ‘orange filter’ on the light. I am using it every day because I can see better with it than with the room’s ambient light when I’m bonding.
The TLC impresses patients more than I ever thought it would. They are telling their friends. The general level of patient stress reduction is very noticeable and took me by surprise. Why would a TLC reduce stress? The patient has known me forever. I don’t know why it reduces stress, but it does, and everybody loves it!
The entertainment factor is a big hit with the patients. I used to think that my patients could see a monitor in the corner when they were being worked on, but now I know they couldn’t really see it. They tell me the TLC makes their visit seem shorter.
I had a feeling the TLC might help me in my work, but the improvement has been enormous. In order to maximize all of the tools in my digital world, they have to be both ergonomic and convenient – available to me at any time, and easily accessible. Now they are. During a procedure, if I had to sit the patient up to look at something, or if I had to turn around to look at it, or if I wanted to show patients something in the middle of a procedure, I had to disrupt my flow, and sit them up. Sometimes I just wouldn’t bother. Now, I don’t have to sit them up, suction, let them finish talking, show them, and then lie them back down again. The convenience of using all of my technology has increased, making it even more valuable and productive for me.
The TLC has become as important a part of my everyday work as my handpiece. I didn’t realize how much my productivity and comfort had improved until I worked in a room that didn’t have the TLC. With the TLC, the overall mood in the office is more upbeat, and I feel that I must be at least 10% more efficient now.
I realize this TLC solves another major problem. It seems obvious that it should be a part of any new dental office. But I don’t have a new office. Not many people do. For me, it completely solved the retrofit problem – big time. I can’t think of a better way to upgrade or retrofit an existing operatory to function 98% as well as building a new operatory from scratch than to install TLC. As it is, most of us put stuff wherever we can, and it’s not a pretty sight. The TLC is surely the best way I know to modernize an existing operatory, and increase efficiency and aesthetics at the same time.
Yesterday, I was taking an image of a cracked tooth to submit to a patient’s insurance company. He saw his tooth on the DLP overhead monitor and exclaimed, “This is very cool.” He grabbed the camera out of my hands and proceeded to take a tour of his own mouth! He criticized his own oral hygiene, and asked, “Why didn’t you ever show me this before?” No sweat, now. I had my TLC. But his interest surprised me greatly.
The very next patient also asked for a tour of her mouth as I took images of her Empress crown. Weird. Then she said, “I can’t wait to tell all my friends.” At first, I felt embarrassed, no only for her, but for my not realizing what effect the TLC monitor was having on my patients.
Vanessa, Carrie, and Laura (my main care team) are having a blast with the TLC. It’s their new cool tool (or toy). They are having a blast showing it to the patients and watching their excitement and response.
When I have a new patient (and I ‘tour the mouth’), or when I perform a status exam on an old patient, I now use the digital cameras (intraoral and extraoral) and TLC monitor system to show the patient what I see. This used to require moving the patient, sitting them up, or having them put on their glasses to try to see a monitor mounted elsewhere in the room. Now, I simply pull down the monitor, and we do the tour together, in real time, in a relaxed and easy manner.
The TLC marketing materials suggest showing movies, Cable TV, education and so on. These are fine benefits for the patient, but I find I am discovering new time saving and patient satisfaction benefits every day.