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AUDIO - HSP #194 - Kristi Lind
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VIDEO - HSP #194 - KRISTI LIND
Kristin Lind AKA kalinjax discusses how she got started on YouTube, the psychological effects of tooth loss, and closing the communication gap between dentist and patient.
My name is Kristi but most know me as Kalinjax. I am a stay at home mom of four in Jacksonville, FL. After years of struggling with major tooth decay which affected me both physically and mentally, I decided to do something about it. I had all of my teeth extracted and received dentures from Coastal Dental in December of 2010. There was no other option for me, as my teeth could not be saved and I could not afford implants. Shortly after getting my new dentures, I started a channel on YouTube, which turned into an "all about dentures" channel over time. On January 1, 2013, I won a contest hosted by Dr. Golpa's Dental Implant Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. I received All-on-4 dental implants, sponsored by Nobel Biocare and placed by Dr. Mike Golpa. I enjoy sharing my experience with others who are faced with the challenge of tooth loss.
Howard: Nn nIt is a huge honor today. This is the most special Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran podcast I've ever done. I'm interviewing Kristi, known on Youtube as Kalinjax and what you've done is just something, I mean you are a special person. Every woman I know who gets a denture will tell me that she was married to her husband for 50 years, he never saw her with her teeth out, when they come in the room and talk to you, they want you to shut the door. It's a very private personal matter and you knew that other people wanted to talk about this, this very personal thing, losing your teeth and getting a denture.
You just, I mean to me, you're like the Susan B. Anthony of dentistry, you really are. You must be so grounded and so real and such a good person and you got on Youtube and you start making videos about your story and losing your teeth and getting dentures, the different types and you're just doing your journey. It's like the only reality TV show on the internet of a very special person who lost her teeth and have them replaced. I just want to tell you, I just think you're a saint. I really do. You are a very special person. How are you doing today?
Kristi: I'm doing good, doing good.
Howard: Doing good? Because what percent of women do you know that talked to you, it's a private issue and would never tell anyone?
Kristi: Pretty much everybody. I mean and it's not just women, nobody really wanted to talk about it honestly. It is a private matter and I think that that's what makes it so taboo in the first place is because nobody's talking about it.
Howard: Well, my audience ... I mean, we're on the internet so anybody could technically be your audience but my audience is almost all dentists. I'm not aware of a non-dentist ... Maybe there are dental employees like they work at a company like Ivoclar who makes denture teeth or what have you but why I was so excited is when I got out of school, dentists were mostly men. Now, the dental school registering class are half men and half women but I wanted to talk to you and try to have you talk to the dentist from a patient's point of view, what do you think the dentists need to be more aware of, more sensitive to? How should dentists think when they're making a full mouth denture on anyone, let alone a beautiful woman?
Kristi: Well, a lot of it is psychological. You know, a dentist is coming from more of a professional standpoint and just very straightforward, "I want to do my job to give you something that's going to make you healthy." From the patient side of things, there is like there's all kinds of things going through your mind. A lot of it is anxiety and fear, shame then you're thinking about the financial aspect of it and what are people going to think of me, just a whole bunch of different things going on at once that the dentist is probably not even aware of. I think that the biggest thing is to have more empathy towards the patient and what they're going through pscyhologically when the lose their teeth.
Howard: I've always thought that every time you pull a set of wisdom teeth, the dentist gets more numb. They don't realize that everyone only loses their wisdom teeth one time in their life. When you talk to some dog like me whose probably pulled thousands and thousands and thousands sets of wisdom teeth, you get numbed that this is a special experience for them. They've never gone through it, they have anxiety, they have fear and we just can never be too empathetic and sympathetic. I noticed that you had a denture made then later, you went and had a more fancier, more beautiful denture made and I want to talk to you about that. How many sets of dentures have you had?
Kristi: I had my temporary set, I had my final denture, removable denture, I had my transitional hybrid denture, the implant retained denture and then the final denture there, the final hybrid there and then I moved onto ... I have a [Phonares 00:04:37] which I currently have now so that's five altogether.
Howard: How many implants do you have now?
Kristi: How many implants?
Kristi: I have four on top and then four on the bottom. It's the all on four system.
Howard: Did you like that a lot? What percent in better would you say that was, was that like a little better, a lot better, a revolution?
Kristi: It was a lot better and this is coming from ... You know, I didn't have really any challenges out of the norm with my dentures, with my removable dentures. I think I had probably one of the better experiences that somebody could have.
Howard: How many years did you have a denture before you went implant?
Kristi: About two.
Howard: Two years?
Kristi: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Howard: You felt like you got used to them and were you able to eat mostly like you were before you had dentures?
Kristi: Better because before, my teeth were so brittle and had broken off so much that my diet was horrible. Like I couldn't chew with them at all so when I got dentures, my diet improved. I could eat more than I could before dentures.
Howard: Yeah and I noticed some people on Youtube were saying what were you doing to cause you to lose your teeth but you didn't have a drug problem, a meth problem, you didn't have any of that, you just had traditional decay and you said something that I agree with on your Youtube video that I think a lot of dentists don't agree. I mean, people only know what they know, they don't know what they don't know but I totally believe that some people are born with genetic susceptibility to more decay, more advanced decay. I mean, I've had patients forever that literally never take care of their teeth and they're fine. They have plaque and tartar but their gums are fine, their teeth are fine. They just have something in their immune system and some people just have massively, rapidly advanced decay.
Kristi: Yeah, I totally agree with that because like out of my siblings, I was the one ... I have a brother and a sister and I was the one that had the worst teeth of all. Then with my children, I have four, my three youngest, no problems whatsoever but my oldest has had so many cavities and he's 11. He's already have like four cavities. I care for his teeth the same way that I care for theirs so he's just got more sensitive teeth than they do and I think that's that really what happened with me.
Howard: I should start a survey on Dentaltown for dentists who married a person and had babies and the had came from a family with lots and lots of cavities because I have had more than a dozen dentists [inaudible 00:07:02] it was crazy and now, we have four kids and the one that looks just like her family, every time we go in there, they've got two or three more cavities and we line them up in the bathroom and do the same brushing, same flossing, same everything and this kid cannot stay cavity-free for six months. I'm sure a thousand years from now, almost everything we know in dentistry will look almost silly, you know what I mean? I wanted to ask you another question, you're a beautiful woman and when us, short, fat, bald, grandpa, boy dentist who would actually look better with a paper sack over our head, we always wonder where does a women draw the line? I mean, you got to do Ivoclar, what type of teeth did get from Ivoclar?
Kristi: The Phonares II.
Howard: Now, sometimes guys like us will say, "If you make it too gorgeous, maybe they'll look fake and then if you make it too natural, maybe it'll look really natural." Then the patient might sit there and think, "Well, they're too yellow. They're crooked." I noticed on your Youtube videos, sometimes you would say things like, "This teeth is a little short and this one's a little longer but I like it because it's more natural." How should a dentist think about how much it should be ... I'll give you some other examples like your hair. When I look at your hair, I mean obviously, you've altered it somehow and we're all good with that. Obviously, when women put on lipstick or mascara or whatever, I mean, people realize that that's not natural and so how do dentists think about teeth being too pretty or more natural. What are your thoughts on that?
Kristi: I think it's really how you define what perfect is and I think that when somebody says that their teeth are too perfect, what they're really implying is that they're completely straight across, no character whatsoever, just laid out kind of like piano keys perfect. Nobody's born that way and a lot of people don't really want them to look that way because that looks fake, that looks unnatural. If you have slight character like maybe a tooth turned slightly or varying lengths or something like that, not completely crooked or anything, just something to mimic how teeth would naturally grow or how they would look if you were to get braces on them, something like that, then they would still look perfect but not perfect like piano keys laid out, you know? I think that's the difference.
Howard: How many followers do you have on Youtube? How many people are you interacting with?
Kristi: Now, I'm up to about 10,400 something last time I checked.
Howard: What I was wondering watching those videos, going through the comments, what I'm worried about is when people go to the dentist and they're going to get a denture, do you feel like from your followers that the dentists are offering them low cost, simple versus higher quality, more expensive, natural looking, like the teeth you got from Ivoclar versus the implants? On the implants, are they offering like over two, a little more money over four, you know what I mean? Did you feel like they're getting presented multiple treatments or do you think the dentists are just being an engineer and just pulling teeth and putting in dentures?
Kristi: A lot of the times, I think that's what it is. I think it's what the dentist is comfortable with doing, what they're familiar with, what the majority of people are going for such as like when I went to get my initial set, when I had all of my teeth extracted and I got my temporary set. I came at the dentist like I'm working on a limited income here, I don't have enough money to afford anything amazing. The option that he gave me was basically what I could afford which was bottom of the barrel, the cheapest that he had to offer. It's like $800 for the set, something like that and so a lot of the times, that's what they're doing. I guess, they're gauging how much a person's willing to spend and saying, "This is what I'm going to pitch to you."
Howard: Yeah, it's kind of funny because when I was in dental school in 1987, my instructors kept saying that removable is a dying art and 10 years later, it'd be gone. Here I've been out 28 years and there's a lab in Arizona and I mean, they're three times bigger now than they were. Removable just keeps growing bigger and bigger and I think a lot of dentists when they think of cosmetic dentistry, they think of like porcelain veneers but there's a lot of cosmetic dentistry to be done on the removable denture side. I wish more people would think about here's a low cost but here's some nicer teeth for just a little bit more money and then here's two implants or four implants or six implants. It seems like the dentists are all either, "Here is the lowest, cheapest thing we can do," or "Here's this Mercedes Benz, $50,000, four on the floor, up or lower bridges that don't come out." Yours is a hybrid so yours comes in and out?
Kristi: Yes. No, no. No, these don't come out. The dentist takes them out. Yeah, these are fixed.
Howard: Okay. Do you like that or do you wish you could take them out?
Kristi: I like that. For one, it's the stability because if I could take them in and out, there's going to be some kind of mobility to them. With these, there's none. I like that and then also, I am bold and I'm open and honest about this and my husband does know everything. He's been there with me through the whole thing but I'm still young and I don't want to take them out in front of him so I never really have.
Howard: You haven't taken them out in front of your husband?
Kristi: No, the only time he's ever seen me without is when I went to get the implants placed and that was it.
Howard: Yeah, I mean I'm not an arm chair psychologist or anything but that's just something you just wouldn't think about doing, huh?
Kristi: No, no. It's just the idea of me without teeth is just ... I haven't even fully accepted that myself. When I had my dentures, I didn't really dwell too much in the mirror while I was doing my cleaning regimen and like look at myself that way. I want to perceive myself with teeth and I want that image in my head. Yeah, I like the fact that I don't have to take them out. I did with my dentures, it's just wasn't when he was at home.
Howard: Yeah, that's a troubling thing for me because sometimes you remove all the teeth, the lady says, "I want a mirror, I want to look." Having handed women mirrors in the past, that's turned out to be a very emotional breakdown. I just say, "No, no, no, no, you can do that later." You know what I mean? It's like I don't want her to look. "Just don't look. Let's put the denture in there, let it heal and everything," I don't want her having some image in my dental chair of seeing that for the first time because a couple of times in the last 20 years, that's turned out to be just a very, very sad experience. I mean, everyone in the operatory started crying, you know? Do you care if I post your Youtube videos on Dentaltown if I started a thread on Dentaltown?
Kristi: Not at all, not at all. I actually like the fact that I have dentists and dental professional, lab technicians that watch my videos on Youtube and they message me and they're thankful to see a patient's perspective that they otherwise wouldn't have really been able to get so yeah, that'd be great.
Howard: We don't let non-dentists on but I'm going to let you become a member and because what I was really hoping is we have 204,000 dentists on Dentaltown and how many videos do you have?
Kristi: A hundred something.
Howard: Yeah. Do you think I should just post the first one or should I just post one after the other on a thread? It's a message board but I really think it would be very powerful for them to spend time seeing this from the patient's perspective. It's technical. If you go to a denture course, the questions, they're all technical. You would think it was a room full of iPhone engineers, you know what I mean? That denture goes into a human being with a lot of feelings and it's a very emotional subject. It's not like getting your hair trimmed or your toenails trimmed. This is the mouth. It's very sensitive so I didn't want to post all of those 'till I asked you and I'm going to put those up because I want my homies to listen to you and get more intuitively, emotionally in touch with that patient that's on the other end of those removal, fixed, what have you. Tell us about your journey to go from removable to fixed. Why did that come about after two years?
Kristi: Well, it was always my goal. I was, at least, aiming to get the implants supported dentures. Those are the ones that snap in and out for financial reasons. That would probably the only ones that I'd be able to afford in the foreseeable future but somebody messaged me saying that there was a contest being hosted in Las Vegas by Dr. Golpa of the Golpa Dental Implant Center and you could win a $20,000 smile makeover. I entered it and I already had amassed a following of some sort on Youtube and just posted my video explaining why I thought that I would benefit from getting the implants and they voted for me and I won.
Howard: You won that and that's Dr. Golpa? G-O-L-P-A?
Howard: In Las Vegas. That's amazing and that's a win-win for him because now he has a patient that almost every patient ... Every time you get great before and after pictures. "Do you care if I post these on Facebook?" "No, no way. No way." It's very hard to a.) Get a good case, it turns out great. One that you'd want to show off and then to have the patient [centered 00:17:20]. I mean, I should start calling you the dental unicorn. You're that magical, mystical person that doesn't exist. There's a few ladies I know intimately that have removable and they just applaud you. I mean, they do. They just think it's amazing that you have the strength and courage talking about it. Tell us about your experience with Dr. Golpa. How did that go? How many times did you have to go to Vegas?
Kristi: Altogether I went three times. I flew out there initially, I believe, it was March of 2013 to get the implants and that was when they placed them and put the transitional bridge in and that was a great experience. I mean, they were very hospitable. They put me and my husband up in a hotel and chauffeured us around and everything. It was a really friendly atmosphere. I felt really comfortable and that was the first time I experienced IV sedation. I was really paranoid about that as are a lot of people but that was the best way to go. I'm so glad I did that because it was like going in to his office, taking a nap, they had a blanket for me and everything and then I woke up and the implants are in there so it was great.
Howard: I mean, when young people lose teeth, it's from meth because meth shuts down your saliva so there's nothing to fight the bacteria that take over your teeth and you didn't do that, you couldn't even imagine doing drugs and here you are talking about you are afraid of the anesthesia. I don't think people would like to get high or afraid of any drugs going in their vein. In fact, they usually ask with stars in their eyes like, "Am I going to get fentanyl or morphine?" Here you are, you're afraid about that. You went down there and you won a free $20,000 makeover but everyone wants to know how much money did you lose on gambling while you're there [crosstalk 00:19:15] did you?
Kristi: Nope, probably like a couple of dollars.
Howard: Did you lose more than 20,000?
Kristi: No. Like maybe $2. I can't, I'm bad at it.
Howard: You went there three times. What was each visit for? The first time was it just consultation? X-rays?
Kristi: The first time was to get the implants placed and get the transitional bridge. The second time was to receive the final bridge which had the titanium reinforcement. Then, the third time was we thought that maybe something was wrong with the implant because the bridge had become lose but it ended up just being the abutment needed to be tightened up and that was that.
Howard: Wow, nice. How many days were you down there? The first one, how many days were you down there for?
Kristi: I believe I was there for four.
Howard: Four days?
Kristi: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Howard: What about the second and third trip?
Kristi: That one maybe five.
Howard: Would you recommend Dr. Golpa to your friends and family and loved ones?
Kristi: Yes. Yeah, he was great. I mean, he's like a machine. He's just really efficient at what he does so definitely.
Howard: That's how you get good [inaudible 00:20:22] you do ten thousand of one thing over and over and over and you'll be probably the best on the planet. What could you not eat with removable that you can now eat with hybrid or is it not about what you can chew like an [engineer 00:20:38] with removable versus a hybrid. Is it more about psychological benefits or is it more functional benefits?
Kristi: For me, it's psychological. Everybody is different, everybody has a completely different set of circumstances but like I said, I had spent so long with my natural teeth just completely deteriorated where I couldn't eat anything. When I got my dentures, I was determined to make it work so everything that I couldn't eat, I could eat with my dentures. I could eat ribs and chicken and crunchy like peanuts and things like that with no problem. Now with the implants and how secure they are, there's no movement, there's no worrying about whether they're going to pop out or anything like that. Like I can really clamp down on something and just know that it's fine, I'm going to be able to eat this.
Howard: That's a good point because a lot of dentists, they shouldn't be asking, "Well, do you have any problems chewing with your denture?" Because what you're saying is that's not the issue.
Kristi: Well, no. For me, it wasn't. A lot of people do have problems chewing. I guess it all depends on the way that your mouth is. Everybody's mouth is different so their dentures are going to function differently. Like I had no problems but my mom, she had lost so much bone on the bottom that she couldn't even wear her bottom dentures so I mean, eating with those was just worthless for her. She just couldn't do it and she's my mother so that just shows you how different circumstances can be from one individual to the next.
Howard: The first implant denture case I made were she had removable dentures and she went with six implants on the lower and six on the upper for 12 tooth, fixed bridges that couldn't come out. She was 80 years old, she was a widow, she's the sweetest lady. I said to her, "Well, what do you have problems eating?" "I can eat anything." I kept saying, "Well, what is the deal?" She goes, "Well, I'm 80 years old. All my friends are starting to die and they always die in their sleep and I can't wear my dentures when I sleep. I don't want to die in my bed and have them find me without my teeth in." I just thought, "What?" I was 24 years old and I'm just looking at her like a deer looking in the headlights. I said, "What are you talking about?"
We had this long talk and I had to be older before I really got it. It was worth all that money and all the surgeries and everything to a lady who didn't have a single mechanical functional chewing problem. In fact, she was overweight, she was well overweight. She could eat anything and she did all the time. As a man, you're like, "If I'm dead, you can throw me in the river and feed me to the turtles and alligators. I certainly wouldn't ever wonder or care what two paramedics thought when they pick me up." You know what I mean? I mean, those thoughts just would never ... If you said to me, "When you die, we're going to just throw you in the river to the turtles each," and I'm like, "All right. We're good. We're good." She was going through all of that just so the paramedics wouldn't find her without her teeth in.
Kristi: I completely understand that because of the experiences I had, I had those thoughts cross my mind and it's sad that I'm sitting here thinking, "Well if my house catches on fire, I'm going to have to run out and get my kids and what if I don't get my teeth?" I mean, it's crazy that that would even cross my mind but it's something that you think about, you know?
Howard: When you had removable, did you not sleep with them in?
Kristi: I did sleep with them in. I'm a stay-at-home mom so I had the luxury of being at home and letting my teeth soak while my husband is at work.
Howard: How long would you let them soak?
Kristi: About six to seven hours, somewhere around there.
Howard: During the day? You go six or seven hours during the day without your teeth and did that bother you psychologically being around your kids that way or ... ?
Kristi: Not really, they were younger so they ...
Howard: Don't remember.
Kristi: Yeah, they're not weirded out by it.
Howard: That's why this story is so special because if you took a hundred hours of continued education on dentures, it's all about the mechanical civil engineering of making and restoring and the function and the teeth and it's everything that pretty much doesn't matter to the patient. Everything you're talking about psychological ... I've also heard psychologists say that one of the difference between men and women is something like 90% of women by age 40 will have had at least one nightmare about her teeth, losing their teeth, something going on with their teeth whereas men, it's only like 10%. I'm 53, I've never had a dream about something happening to my teeth. You had this dream of the house on fire and where's your teeth and all. This is so good for dentists. I'm going to start a thread on Dentaltown. What shall I call it? Do want me to call it Kristi's Personal Denture Journey or what would you want me to call it? How can everybody listening find your Youtube videos, what would they do to Youtube?
Kristi: You could search by username, Kalinjax.
Howard: K-A-L-I-N. Jax, that's two words or one word?
Kristi: One word.
Howard: K-A-L-I-N-J-A-X. Kalinjax on Youtube would take you there. Do you remember the name of your first video or what should I call this thread on Dentaltown? You Should Listen to Patient Kalinjax's Denture Journey or ... ?
Kristi: I usually refer to it as my journey, yeah. My journey with dentures.
Howard: Okay. Ryan, can we do that? Probably put one in each thread, that way they could reply to certain threads and I'm going to let you be a member. You'll be our token non-dentist member on Dentaltown.
Howard: No, I would like that because 204,000 dentists in 206 countries, they need to hear a patient's perspective and once again, you're a unicorn because no woman in the world would ever talk about this outside of the privacy of her own ... You know what I mean? This is a purely private matter that you've had the strength and courage. What do you think it was in your childhood that gave you the strength and courage, the conviction to say, "If I'm having pain and suffering, I want to share with them so they have a place to talk to." What did you think happened in your childhood that made you like that?
Kristi: Well, I've always been empathetic. I've always been a compassionate person. I take after my dad and so I'm always trying to make sure that everybody else is okay. I had wasted probably what I thought were the best years of my life, when all of my friends are out, they're having fun, going to parties, going to the nightclub and dating and things like that. I lived in kind of constant paranoia, constant fear that I was being judged, that nobody would really ever take the time to get to know who I am as a person. My life trajectory changed because of that, like I probably would be in a different circumstance right now if I didn't have that looming over my head then. I probably would have stuck it out in college and things like that.
Knowing the pain, physical and mental, anguish that I went through for so long, I knew that other people would possibly be going through that too. I mean, these are people I get messages from. "I would like to be a nurse but who's going to want me to be a nurse if they're looking at my mouth that I can't even take care of my teeth." "I would like to be a model." I'm talking about ranging from high school on up to senior citizens. I mean, age is no issue here. It's no factor here. I knew that if they could just get that boost to see somebody had went through it and overcame it, then they could change the course of their life and that's what kind of keeps me going and it gives me purpose because it's like, "Well, I went through this for a reason. It's for a greater good." I'm good with that. It wasn't all in vain. I just wasted 10 years of my life for nothing. Now, I can do something with it and so that's kind of what kept me going.
Howard: You've mentioned something a couple of times that is so painful to society and that's judgmental. If a person wants to be judged, they can go to their friends or they go somewhere else but when you go to a doctor, it seems that what a doctor does follows the insurance too close. I mean, if all the doctors work for insurance companies then who are the doctors, you know what I mean? Doctors can't be judgmental. I see that person in myself with weight loss. I mean, I exercise two to three hours every morning, seven days a week and I have family members that are a 100 pounds more than me and then people just said they ... They always give you advice, "Well, you should do this and this." Like really? You think I don't know that? I mean, I look at a lion that's born 38% body fat and a cheetah is only born 1% body fat. I mean, do you think a cheetah can drink a protein shake and be a lion and do you think a lion can go on a diet and be a cheetah? I mean, at some point, you were born with more susceptible teeth to decay. Obviously, I was born with far more susceptible [inaudible 00:30:07]. My body is just damn good at storing food and doctors need to be massively less judgmental and they need to be more ...
Kristi: Right. Well, I mean, even still I was more susceptible. I did have sensitive teeth as a child. My gums bleed and I was sensitive to hot and cold beverages and things like that but because of that, because they bled, I didn't take as good care of them. Six years old, brushing my teeth, gums are bleeding, blood means stop, stop whatever it is you're doing. I didn't have the best cleaning regimen and then by the time I became a teenager, it gotten where I was like, "I don't really care about my teeth. They look terrible." I didn't have somebody standing there over me saying, "This is how you needed to do it. You need to do it this much," and then taking me to the dentist. I didn't have a good hygiene regimen and I was eating a lot of sweet things and I smoked cigarettes. It's not completely genetics. I also didn't take as good care of them but even still, I'm human.
We're all human and we don't always make the best choices but when a patient comes in to your practice, whether they brought it on themselves or not, they're here to get help and that's the bottom line. I think that's the big thing. I've gotten a lot of messages from people who said that they've had really bad experiences with dentists making assumptions that, "You must have done drugs. You must have done meth." It takes a lot of courage for a lot of people. Like for me, it took a lot of courage just to make that first step to go into the dentist. The last time I did that, I was probably like 15 and they said that they were going to pull my teeth out. I didn't go back until I was 18. A lot of people will go a decade not going back to the dentist just because they had a bad experience there with being judged, you know?
Howard: Yeah, I'm wondering. You have 10,000 followers on Youtube on something this rare and personal and private, I'm surprised people even post because some will assume, figure out that this person INVX123 is removable, if you trace that back and find out, "This is my friend." What is the overall experience from your followers? I mean, when they're talking to you. If there was a theme of the typical denture experience, how would you sum that up for these dentists listening and how they could treat their patients better?
Kristi: Well, the three biggest concerns across the board and I don't even think one is more important than the other. I think these are all equal. They're scared, they've got anxiety, is this going to hurt? How is it going to feel? Is it going to be painful? Number two would be how are they going to look, what am I going to look like? Am I going to look the same? Am I going to be able to function the same, talk the same? Then, number three is how is this going to cost and a lot of the messages that I get coming in are from people who are just overall confused. Confused about the whole thing because you go to school for however many years you go to school for and you know the ins and outs. A lot of it, you have to learn through experience also but you've got this knowledge-base that a patient is going in blindly and just following your lead.
It's so easy for somebody like myself to go into a dentist and just say, "Whatever you feel is best. Whatever your recommendation is, just do it, take care of it. As long as I can afford it, then go for it." We're just blind to everything that you're doing to help our situation. I think that that's a problem because you go to one dentist and it's like, "Okay, this is the treatment plan that we've got mapped out for you," and it's like, "Well, I don't have enough money for that," or "Maybe I don't agree with that." You go to another dentist down the street and it's something totally different and we don't have enough knowledge on our part to know is this the way to go. A lot of people will message me, asking me for personal advice. It's hard for them to believe that I'm not a professional, "I'm a patient just like you are, I don't have a whole lot of knowledge on it."
They're asking just what do I do? Should I pay this much here or should I go down the street and try to save a little bit of money? It's just complete confusion all around. I think that people need to be a little bit better informed so they can make more informed decisions. That's the biggest problem. If a dentist can try to come at this like this patient is sitting in this chair and they're nervous and they probably haven't opened their mouth like this to show somebody in like the past 10 years but I need to figure out a way to get the information across to them so that they can make a good decision for their treatment plan.
Howard: You were put to sleep for the procedure with an IV in your arm?
Kristi: For the implant procedure, yeah.
Howard: Yeah and do you recommend that?
Kristi: Absolutely. A lot of people do have that anxiety about being put to sleep. It's kind of unnerving but it just made the experience so much better because it's like you go in and you go to sleep and then you wake up and it's done.
Howard: Yeah and you know what? There is a dentist anesthesiologist that just only do the anesthesia and you can call them up and they come by your office. The dentist doesn't have to do that. In fact, I don't even think a dentist should do that because if you're concentrating on a surgery, you can have a nurse anesthetist and an anesthesiologist, a dentist anesthesiologist and I think a lot of dentists who do that their patients love it and they get patients referred that drive an hour away or two hours away just to have this done because it's so big.
How do you think if someone was trying to address that on their social media, their website and how they could make patients like you feel easier? I mean, should there be a paragraph like ... Or do you think dentists should offer more like, "Look, if you're nervous, scared and stressed and just want to come in and have a cup of coffee and talk?" Would you rather not talk to the dentist? Was that more threatening? Would you rather talk to the dental assistant or hygienist? What do you think would make that first appointment where you just want to talk about all your options? Would you rather do that with the dentist or do you think with an assistant or a hygienist?
Kristi: With the dentist. Absolutely with the dentist.
Howard: With the dentist?
Kristi: Yeah and a lot of people feel that they kind of pushed off by the dentist and I spoke with a dentist in Sarasota when Ivaclor sent me to attend one of their training courses on their removables on how to make a denture. I was able to sit down and talk to dentists and their line of thinking was, "I think that patients feel a lot more comfortable with my assistant so I usually will leave the assistant there to kind of build a rapport with them and talk to them and make them feel comfortable," and I was like, "No." It feels so much better when you feel like this person cares about me, he cares about what I'm about to go through and is taking time because we know that you're busy and you're probably seeing other patients but when you can take a few moments to sit down and actually have a one-on-one, it just makes you feel a lot more comfortable.
Like I had a dentist here in Jacksonville that I went to, Dr. Gielincki here and he actually brought me into a room where I'm not fitting in the chair underneath this bright light in an awkward situation. We're sitting at a table discussing a treatment plan like I'm sitting here talking to you. Things like that go a long way because you build trust with the dentist. From our standpoint, we feel like the dentist has something to gain from this. You're going to make money off of this. It's easy for us to assume that that's what you're after, that's your motive behind everything you do but when you take time to actually sit down and talk person to person, not dentist to patient, then it really helps build that trust and we're more likely to go back.
Howard: I really applaud Ivoclar on this. Ivoclar reminds me of Starbucks and the fact that ... I'm 53, I was born in '62 and I tell people that at your age, I don't think they believe me, but do you realize when I was your age, coffee in any gas station was free. Every gas station had a coffee pot and a stack of Styrofoam cups and you could just pour that black, thick crap into a [inaudible 00:38:35]. I mean, you didn't even pay for coffee and when somebody came along and said, "We're going to charge $5 for a coffee but we're going to make you the fanciest [inaudible 00:38:46]." I mean when I saw this, I thought, "Well, that's not going to go anywhere." They're going to try to sell something free for $5 and look at the success of Starbucks.
I think that's what Ivoclar is trying to do with dentures and teeth and removables is that ... Again, when I was little, all the fillings were silver fillings or gold fillings and denture teeth, they all look like they were made, the lowest cost, on an assembly line and they thought, "You know what? People will pay a little more for a Starbucks denture tooth or a Starbucks filling and a beautiful woman doesn't want the lowest cost, cheapest thing. The people will actually pay extra for their psychological beauty and their self-esteem and all that." I just think that's so cool that they had you come down to a meeting and talk about that. How is your experience been with Ivoclar? Talk about that.
Kristi: It's been awesome. It was Grace Gerrity that discovered me on Youtube. She, I guess, because of her line of work, she just gets on the internet and scours for different things relating to her field and she just stumbled upon my videos. She messaged me and she just wanted to tell me that she thought that I what I was doing was great. Like to be able to get up on Youtube and talk about something so personal. That's how we met was that she just happen to come across my videos and thought that what I was doing was a really good service to other people. We just started talking and everything and over the course of a few years, she thought, "Well, what if we put you in our products so that you would be able to show people what's available to them." That's how we've been working and they've been great. They've been awesome.
Howard: Have they ever tried to drag you up to Amherst, New York, their headquarters?
Kristi: I'm going there in a couple of weeks. I'll be there [crosstalk 00:40:32].
Howard: You're from the south so do you have a parka picked out? You have a parka and a snow cap and some cross country skis to make the journey? Yeah, I just think that's cool and they got to be loving you because like I said, I've never met another woman in my entire life that will talk about it. It reminds me of the song by Sade, The Sweetest Taboo. You might be the only person they'll ever find that talks about it. What else do you think dentists should think about? You talked about anxiety of the procedures, is it going to hurt, there's pain and you talked about how you just love having anesthesia and IV, go to sleep with the blanket on, wake up and it's all done.
How do dentists think about the anxiety and what it's going to look like? How should we communicate to patients? I mean, how does a dentist sitting there, talking to a woman, talking about what it's going to look like afterwards? I mean, do you think the dentist should show photos or do you think they should do a ... What do you think the dentist could do to help lower the anxiety of what is this going to look like?
Kristi: Try to get the patient involved as much as possible. You, as a professional, you know what's going to look good and what's going to look kind of weird looking but a patient should be involved in that as much as possible. For instance, I wanted to have really super white teeth with my last hybrid that I had with Dr. Golpa and everybody was saying, like my dentist here in Jacksonville was like, "You know, that's probably going to be too white. That's not going to look real. I don't think you should go with something that color. Maybe stick to a more natural bleached shade. Tone it down a little bit." I was like certain that's exactly what I wanted, I want that color and he tried to talk me out of it and I was like, "Nope. No, thank you." I went with it anyway. Well after a couple of years, I was like, "That probably was a little bit too bright and I would like to tone it down a little bit on the next set."
I think that if you just work with the patient, give your recommendations but don't just say, "Well, I don't think that's going to look good," and then try to talk a patient into something that they're not going to be happy with because they're going to end up coming back. I had that experience. I had a wax try in at a place that I'm not going to name but they just kept telling me, "That looks great on you," and I'm like, "No, it doesn't. This looks terrible." I'm looking at myself, my facial structure has changed, the teeth look very unnatural and they're just like, "That looks great." What are you talking about? Because their perception of what looks good, looks totally different from what mine does so that's why it's critical to have that open communication and like really take into consideration what the patient wants, you know?
Howard: Yeah, I agree. Being a man, when you're watching CNN or whatever and they show the runway models. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen a runway model walk out and then I think to myself, "Well, that looks pretty goofy." You know what I mean? I don't think I've never looked at a model and thought, "That looks really nice." I always thought, "That looks just literally crazy." Really, it's up to the patients. They're the ones that's going to wear it. They're going to own it. I've always wondered about a dentist will talk about shades but they almost never will lay out three different kinds of teeth, like here's low cost teeth, medium cost teeth, high cost teeth where you could look at not just shade, it's teeth. What do you think about that? Do you think they should be showing them different kinds of teeth?
Kristi: Yeah, I do. I think that they should be presented with a variety of options. Don't overwhelm somebody with options but just show them the difference. I think that pictures where somebody can get a visual because my dentist here in Jacksonville, Dr. Davis at Coastal Dental, he's the one that did my initial set of dentures, he gets people in all the time saying, "I want exactly what Kristi had. I want my teeth to look exactly like hers." I don't think they really want their teeth to look exactly like mine. I think that they just want a nice looking set and I am an example of a human being that's talking, that they can see and they know that it looked good.
That's why I think that it's important to have examples that you could show a patient to say, "This is what this teeth look like on this person." For instance, my last set of bridges that I had. They were made completely straight across. There is no varying lengths so I went and filed down my lateral incisors with a nail file because I was that serious about having the character there. If I could have brought in a picture of what I wanted, like of a celebrity like say Kate Hudson. She has that look with the two bigger more prominent front teeth and shorter laterals then the dentist would be able to get a good visual of what I want and I'd be able to see what would look good so I think that would be important.
Howard: I wonder how many dentists just said, "Who the hell is Kate Hudson?"
Kristi: [crosstalk 00:45:38].
Howard: I'm glad I'm not on Jeopardy. I could not take Kate Hudson for 200. I don't even know. Is she a singer? Movie? Dancer? What is she?
Kristi: She's just an actress. She's somebody that I look at her teeth and there are other ones.
Howard: You think there should be far more communication and with photos and with pictures and maybe companies that sell denture teeth like Ivoclar, maybe we should have more photos of different models of different types of teeth. When I go to Ivoclar and I look at the different kinds of teeth, they're very different. We see that with cars, I mean there's a huge difference. You go to General Motors, they have a Chevy, a Pontiac, an [inaudible 00:46:22], a Chrysler, a Cadillac and not one of those cars looks like the other one. I would never want a Cadillac. Everybody wants something different, you know what I mean?
Howard: I would never want a Cadillac and there's other people who'd want a pink Cadillac so they need to get involved. Then, the last thing. You said anxiety about the pain and the procedure, how that would be better with an IV sedation. The looks, there needs to be more communication, more photos, more pictures. The cost, what do you think dentists should think about when they're thinking about the cost because these things are costly?
Kristi: Yeah. The cost is really the challenging thing because it's like as if you were to go into a fast food restaurant and there's no prices on anything. You have no idea how much you're going to pay. You say I want a Big Mac and fries and then you get up there to pay for it, you have no idea how much it's going to cost and they say, "This is going to cost $10 for you but for them, it's going to cost 15 and maybe for them, it's going to cost 6." It's just you're so blind to how much things are going to cost.
Common sense says that you've got different situations that you're going to walk into with different patients like some cases are more complicated than others. It's going to cost more but to have no idea how much it's going to cost you, that keeps a lot of people out of a dentist's office. I think that's what looks so attractive about the franchise is that they've got like these packages. Like the three tier packages, the bottom, middle and then the top and they've got that price there, set and firm. A lot of people are going to sacrifice and compromise the quality of what they're getting just because they know what they're going to pay for it.
Howard: I agree. I just can't agree anymore. Your followers, the corporate chain's doing, the three prices. About what are you hearing are the three prices and what does each one cover?
Kristi: Well, you've got like your economy which is probably going to be around maybe $800, $900 for just your bottom of the barrel dentures.
Howard: Full set? Upper and lower?
Kristi: Yeah, full set, upper and lower.
Howard: $800 to $900, full set.
Kristi: Something like that and then maybe the next step up would be about $1,200 and I can't even think of what they would call that but I know that there's like a ultra deluxe which is the top quality and that's like $1,400 to $1,600 for that. They hear that key number, $1,400 to $1,600 for ultra deluxe and it's those buzz words that's like, "That's going to give me the best smile possible and I know what I'm going to have to save for." They're going to be able to plan on how they're going to pay for it and they're going to go for it. Whether it's going to look good or not, they can at least project.
Howard: I know and I scold some of my friends all the time because I'll do second opinions on some of my friends across the street, up the street, whatever and their problem is that he could not tell them what it was going to cost. Then, I call my buddy, "What do you mean you can't tell them the cost?" They say, "Well, you know when I place the implants, sometimes I might need to bone graft or sometimes I might need to add a membrane." I'm like, "I don't care, you got to look at how many times you're going to do that? A hundred times."
You're going to have to average that because this [inaudible 00:49:47] is upset and she's scared because ... When you say I don't know, she might be thinking, "Is this going to cost another 1,000? Another 2,000?" They have to know and I think the dentists would make a lot more money by just going a fixed price. In some cases, you might lose money or break even because you had to do a bunch of stuff but overall, like say if you did a hundred cases, they're going to make a great living. Just because a couple of cases, you can lose your shirt, doesn't mean you can tell everybody else you don't know what the price is. This place is huge. You have to work back your price.
Kristi: Yeah, that is so attractive to a person to know what they're going to walk into and how much they're going to pay because insurance is a joke. It only serves a very small portion of the people in this country. The people who maybe need a couple of filings or routine cleanings but people who need extensive work like extractions and things like that, like they're not benefiting from that. A lot of times, they're having to either take out a line of credit like with CareCredit or even their credit card to pay for this or saving. A lot of people have to save, just cut back on daily expenses and get to a point where they can afford to pay for it because you don't plan on losing your teeth.
Even if you can anticipate, "Maybe around this age, I might be looking at getting dentures." It's something that you don't put money aside and say, "I need some money aside for dentures." Usually, it will come out of nowhere. You, absolutely, have to know how much you're going to need to budget in order to pay for it because life happens. You've got other things that you're obligated to and that's why they're going to those franchises. It's not that they've got the best quality out there, I think it's hit and miss depending on where you go. It's just because they know what they're walking into, they know what to expect.
Howard: Yeah. Well, if one of those franchises has a 100 dentists, it's going to be like a 100 regular dentists. There's going to be the best one, the worst one and the average. It's like when people say cops are bad. Yeah, if you have a 100 cops, one of them is going to be crooked. My two older sisters are Catholic nuns, if you have a 100 priests, yeah, one of them is not going to be very priestly, you know what I mean? People are people. I do think that all on four, you've heard of the all on four, you mentioned that earlier.
Kristi: Yes, I have.
Howard: I think that's one of the things that they do the most genius is that the prices are firm. I mean, you go in there and it doesn't matter how high or bad or how much you think it is or what you're expecting and I'm sure everybody wishes it was free but they get that anxiety away like this is what it will cost you, A to Z, boom. You go to an oral surgeon, a periodontist, whatever and they give you three page treatment plan and all these different numbers. It's Greek mythology and I know because they bring it into me and it's like, "I'm a dentist for 28 years and I can't figure out what the hell they're going to do." You know what I mean?
Then, all these things there that we might have to do this, we might have to do that, those are the doctors issues. Those should not be the patient's issue. I mean, if I was going to go in to have my gall bladder removed, I'd want to know it's going to cost this much or not. We get in there and your gall bladder is stuck to your appendix and we have to whatever ... You don't want to hear all these other good stuff. I only got you for seven more minutes. Your followers, we talked about their average story. What tips have you heard from your followers that you think dentists should incorporate more? What advice would you give them from not just you personally but from your extensive followers on Youtube?
Kristi: Advice as far as?
Howard: How the dentists can relate better to these patients. Let's say one of your followers is going into the dentist for the first time and right now, these people listening, they're going to meet this ... One of your followers for the first time, going back to that first day of their experience, how could they have been better on the new patient experience? How could the new patient experience could have gotten more successful? They didn't have to go get five different opinions and see three different people and have stress and anxiety, how could we have a more wow new patient experience?
Kristi: Talk to them like a person. Just person to person, not dentist to patient. Like you would talk to your brother or your best friend. That makes them feel a lot better. It makes you feel a lot more comfortable and just understand that you're looking at this person a certain way and you're not seeing everything that's going on in their mind. You're not seeing all the anxiety that they're experiencing while they're in there. "Is this going to hurt? How much is this going to cost? I'm really uncomfortable, I don't want to have to show my mouth to this person that I don't know. Are they going to judge me and think that I've done drugs." All these things are buzzing through a person's head.
The dentist needs to understand that and just kind of level with the patients, spend a little bit more time, don't leave them with the assistant, show them that you care about their well-being and that you want to talk to them and inform them. You could give them as much information as you want but if you know that they're sitting in that chair with anxiety, it's probably going in one ear and right out the other. Maybe give them a pamphlet, an informational pamphlet and go over things and encourage them to maybe go to their blog, if they have a blog, to kind of read up more information. Just connect. Connect better with the patient and I think that would give a better experience for everybody.
Howard: You said additionally and I agree that it shouldn't be in the operatory room. Do you think it matters if I sit at my desk and you're on the other side or do you think we should be more like in two chairs sitting next to each other by a coffee table? Is having a desk in between us, like a banker authoritarian, like you know? You notice how congress does that? How the supreme court sets up their high benches and they're in robes and the people talking to them are down much lower. It's such a shame, guilt power trip, the government. Do you think the dentist should not have a desk in between you and I? Do you think we should be sitting in two chairs?
Kristi: Yeah, I think that a casual conversation so it doesn't feel like you're being interviewed, you know? That does kind of give off that impression. Like I said with Dr. Gielincki, we have like a round table and he had a flat screen on his wall showing examples of cases that he's done before and it was just casual conversation. It wasn't that high intensity anxiety situation where you're sitting in a chair and there's these lights in your face and they've got all their tools there. I mean, that's stressful and for most patients, they don't want to hear anything you have to say, they want to leave, they want to get out of there as soon as possible. You're going to have a better experience with conveying the information you want to give to them if you're sitting down and having casual conversation like you would a friend.
Howard: I also believe showing your own work is more convincing to a patient, not showing you a pamphlet that I bought at a store [inaudible 00:57:07] but yeah, here's a paste I did, here's some people I did. You mentioned that, you remembered enough to have mentioned it to me right now.
Kristi: Yeah, I mean, it's like an artist. If you create art, show us what you've done, not what another artist has done. Let us see what you're capable of doing and that'll make us more inclined to say, "Well yeah, I like that." Like with my first dentist, he had a book right there when you go to make your appointment or when you sign in for your appointment, his book is sitting right there on the counter and he's got examples of all the different cases that he's done before and after and things like that and that made me feel really good because I'm like, "Okay well, he's proved that he can create an attractive smile." That helped.
Howard: I'm wondering, Ryan, if we should have on Dr. Golpa come on after her. Would you mind if I ask him after you to come on and talk about your case and all of that? Would that be okay with you?
Kristi: Well, I've actually had three dentists. Yeah, that'd be great. My dentist here was Dr. Davis at Coastal Dental. He's the one that did all of my extractions. He's the one that had the book sitting there and [crosstalk 00:58:22].
Howard: Well, do you think for the dentist to get a better view of this, do you think I should interview some of those dentists? You said you've had three dentists, you think I should interview any of those?
Kristi: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Especially like Dr. Martin. He's the one who I've been working with for the new set. He's in Gainesville, at the University of Florida. He has been amazing because every time I've gone to Gainesville, it's been like I'm hanging out with friends. He's got the Pandora station set, my favorite like The Beatles and everything and so, we've got the music playing in the background and we just talk. He answers all of my questions, he takes time to explain things, very down to earth, very laid back and I would hands down recommend him to anybody. He's probably like my favorite dentist ever and it's because of how personable he is.
Howard: My favorite endodontist root canal man is from the University of Gainesville.
Howard: Yeah, Dr. [inaudible 00:59:22] from Nigeria, Africa. An amazing genius and I asked him one time, I said, "How are you the smartest guy I know in root canals?" He said, "Because in Nigeria, we hadn't learn to do it one way. Like in America, they teach you to do it this way. In Europe, Germany, they teach you another way. In Japan, they teach you another way. In Nigeria, they said, 'Well, this is how the Americans do it. This is how the Europeans do it.' We had to think. We always were comparing different countries how to do stuff whereas other countries just say, 'This is how you do it.' They give you a [inaudible 00:59:54]." Well, I'll tell you what, you have my e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and if you would e-mail me ... Do you have their e-mail addresses?
Kristi: Yes, I do.
Howard: If you'd send us a joint e-mail and saying what's going on, I would like to have a follow-up because this is just a very personal thing to me, removable, especially with women and interesting. What percent of your followers would you say are women versus men?
Kristi: Maybe 60 something percent? I know it's higher, like when I checked the backend, like the demographics and everything, I know that there's a higher percentage of women that are watching my videos.
Howard: Do you think men have any more or the same issues of the guilt and shame and [inaudible 01:00:40] as women?
Kristi: Yes, yes. Actually, I've gotten messages from police officers, from hockey players, big burly men that are just as nervous about it as somebody ...
Howard: Are they nervous about the pain and extraction or are they also nervous about the psychological of not having their teeth?
Kristi: All of it.
Howard: All of it?
Kristi: All of it. The pain, dating, what is my wife going to think about this, the whole thing. They're just not as likely to be as vocal as a woman is. They're kind of hush hush about it but yeah, I think it's just as much of an issue for men as it is for women.
Howard: Have you ever been to Dentaltown?
Kristi: No, I haven't.
Howard: Okay, so go to Dentaltown and register and them they're going to deny you. Then, e-mail me the denial and I'll get it through and then e-mail those other dentists and I'd like to podcast them and then, I'm going to start that thread and my son, Ryan and I are going to start posting those videos. Again, we're out of time, it's an hour but I just want to tell you, I think you're the coolest patient I've ever met in my life and I just think you need to tell ... Your Mom and Dad are still both alive?
Howard: Well, tell them they raised the most amazing young woman I've ever met in my life who is out there talking about something that no one else would talk about. Like I say, you're the Susan B. Anthony unicorn of dentistry.
Kristi: Thank you.
Howard: Thank you for all you're doing on this journey and a big thanks also to Ivoclar for getting behind dentures and taking it from a free cup of black coffee to a Starbucks and taking it serious and I hope that someday that dentists get more empathetic, more intune, knock off all the judgmental. Even if you did lose them for something you should have been doing like lighting firecrackers from our mouth or whatever, that's not our business, we're doctors. We're not in the judging business. Thank you for all that you do.
Kristi: Thank you so much for having me.
Howard: All right and I can't wait to meet you some day.
Kristi: Yes, absolutely.
Howard: We're going to have you come to Las Vegas, we're going to have you come to our annual meeting.
Kristi: That would be great. I love it there.
Howard: I know.
Kristi: I did see your video on Youtube and I saw the kind of fun that you have there and I would be very upset if I missed out on something like that.
Howard: Okay. Well, we have to have a gambling contest because I don't think I've ever gambled more than $2 in Vegas at one time either so maybe we'll get together and see who can lose three.
Howard: All right, have a great day.
Kristi: Thank you. You too.