What Does a Dentist Do?

Dentistry has come a long way from the days of the local blacksmith pulling out infected teeth while the terrified/desperate "patient" was held down by a few strong friends. Today dentists are involved with the diagnosis, treatment, restoration, and cosmetic enhancement of the patient's teeth, gums, and facial appearance. We look for signs of disease from periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, malalignment of teeth, TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), MPD (myofacial Pain disorder), to diseases which affect the head, neck, and oral cavity including cancer.

Our goal is to restore to optimal health and educate our patients to maintain that healthy state. Dentistry has been at the forefront of prevention, education, and preventive maintanence. Time, money and effort spent on prevention saves so much aggravation, future expense (which could be in the thousands), and suffering.

We have specialized tools,rinses and medicines for treating periodontal disease. Nano-filled composite materials with the look and strength of enamel are replacing the old white and silver fillings. We have appliances for treating bruxism (grinding teeth), snoring, and even for straightening teeth. We can replace missing teeth in many ways from dentures, crown and bridge, to implant dentistry. We can improve your smile with veneers, recontouring, and whitening procedures. We now have all porcelain crowns (LAVA) that rival the beauty of natural teeth.

We encourage you to make the decision to come in and become established in our prevention and recall program.

Do you have any tips for maintaining good dental health?

Yes! The following is an article by Dr. Mar that appeared in the Northwest Asian Weekly.

Ten tips lead to a healthy smile

This is a list of some of the advice we have shared with our friends and patients over the years that they have found most helpful. We trust these will be of benefit to you too:

1. THOROUGHLY CLEAN YOUR TEETH EVERY DAY. Each tooth has at least five sides or surfaces you need to clean each and every day. Not every tooth surface is as easy to clean as the front surface of your front tooth. Too many people brush twice a day but do a poor job of it. Do it right. Pay special attention to the tooth surfaces at and below the gum line. Most gum disease and root decay begin right here.

2. USE THE PROPER "TOOLS" TO CLEAN YOUR TEETH. You wouldn't use floss to clean the front surface of your tooth, so why do so many people try to use a toothbrush to clean between their teeth? Toothbrushes, floss, tongue scrapers, toothpaste, pre-rinses, fluoride rinses, water piks, Sonicare, etc. are effective when used properly.

3. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS/USE THE PROPER TECHNIQUE. Believe it or not, there are recommended ways to brush and floss your teeth. Different oral rinses are most effective only if used properly. The new Sonic toothbrushes are great when used correctly. Non-fluoridated toothpastes may be best for very young children who have not learned to rinse after brushing. These are just some of the things your dentist can help you with.

4. SEE YOUR DENTIST REGULARLY to evaluate your oral health. Don't wait until it hurts! Regularly doesn't mean every few years or when it hurts. Routine evaluations and cleanings help prevent problems that cost you much more in time, pain, inconvenience, and dollars. Many people make the effort to see their dentist routinely, approximately every six months.

5. LEARN TO BE A WISE DENTAL CONSUMER. "High-tech" dentistry is fascinating and appealing. However, high quality dentistry is performed every day throughout the world in more modestly equipped offices. "High-tech" does not necessarily equal high quality. Look for quality in your dentist.

6. SEEK VALUE FOR YOUR HEALTH DOLLARS. Neither the cheapest nor the most expensive treatment is necessarily the best. Weigh the value of the proposed treatment in relationship to your personal condition. Is it a good decision to place a crown, dental implant, or porcelain veneer if your gum and bone condition is not controlled? A root canal may seem expensive until you consider the replacement cost of the tooth you chose to extract because it was "cheaper" at the time.

7. LEARN WHAT LOOKS AND FEELS HEALTHY. Your mouth is not a dark, hidden cave, full of surprises. Learn to recognize the healthy appearance of your gums. Become aware of how good your mouth feels when it is clean. When you know what healthy is like, disease is easily recognized and treatment sought.

8. CARE FOR THOSE AROUND YOU. Do you have elderly parents? Don't assume that their teeth and gums are in good condition. Many have periodontal disease that affect how they eat. Do your children brush and floss regularly and thoroughly? Has your spouse been too busy to floss well lately? Practice gentle persuasion to encourage them to good health.

9. RESTORE BALANCE TO YOUR LIFE. Stress can affect your health in so many ways. Decide to establish priorities and balance your life. Are your work, family, spiritual, school, recreational, and social areas in balance? Stress results in less resistance to disease and trauma.

10. BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR SMILE. A smile is good medicine for both the giver and the receiver. Your dentist will appreciate it too!