Less than 5% of dental offices offer formal diet and nutrition counseling for their patients. It is no wonder that brushing, flossing, and twice a year check ups have failed a lot of people. It is simply impossible to disconnect what we eat from oral wellness issues. We know that obesity is an epidemic that is burdening our entire healthcare system. With those two factors in mind, we have decided to throw out the traditional ( which is not working) and start over from the ground up.
Our facilitation model is about assisting self-discovery. Our ultimate goal is to help the patient choose a behavior change that supports his desired future. Whether it is helping a patient better care for their teeth, lose weight, or better control their unstable diabetes, the same principles apply.
All of our children, young adults and even some grownups now participate in a program designed to educate them as to the why and allow them to make some choices of their own. Kids hate to be told what to do but they often respond completely different when an explanation accompanies a request. Our learning lab provides a unique, hands on educational experience. The first half of the dental visit will involve fun and interactive laboratory experiments. You will learn about sugar, bacteria, blood pressure, reading nutrition labels,and making healthier choices. It is progressive program with over 60 age appropriate experiments that will culminate when they are in their late teens. They will understand that oral health impacts their overall health and it will greatly assist our parents in teaching them about personal responsibility.
Treatment options in our decay management system varies slightly from our gum disease management system because they are two different infections. Decay or dental caries is also a disease that is uniquely impacted by salivary pH which needs to be addressed individually.
Phase 1: All patients begin with a CAMBRA questionnaire. This is where we begin to determine an individuals's risk based on a set criteria. We also take a baseline bacterial test. We need to know what your individual bacterial profile is. The bacterial test for decay involves swabbing the back of you front teeth and placing that sample in a meter that can give us a reading in a matter of minutes. In some instances we may do an advanced culture that could take a few days to read.
We may also do a salivary function test that addresses the issues of pH in the mouth. Both of these tests give us the information we need to begin your treatment plan.
Phase 2: One of the most dramatic differences in our approach that you may notice is that contrary to standard of presenting you with a large and expensive "treatment plan" at the conclusion of your first appointment , you may be advised to DELAY treatment such as fillings, crowns and other elective procedures until bacterial risk levels can be decreased. Our treatment plans and home care recommendations are based on your unique and individual bacterial load. We use a variety of products and tools, some prescription strength, in a carefully crafted and monitored approach. It is a more deliberate and longer term horizon because our ultimate goal for all patients is a life free from decay and gum disease. If you do need a filling or crown, we intend for it to be your last one!
Treatment options in our Gum Disease Management protocol involve some version of what we call Total Mouth Disinfection.
Phase 1: We begin with an initial baseline bacteria test. We need to know what your individual oral bacterial profile is. We can accomplish that with two very simple tests. The first involves a small sample of biofilm and putting it under a phase contrast microscope. Most people are amazed when they see the living organisms in their mouth for the first time. The second more sophisticated test at our disposal involves DNA pathogen testing. We can zero in on the exact bacteria associated with gum disease. In either instance, by measuring and treating you to specific therapeutic targets, we know with certainty whether your treatment was successful or if we need to modify treatment. No more guessing!
Phase 2: Once we have an accurate diagnostic classification, treatment is very straight forward. For the earliest stages of gum disease a simple change in home care products and routine is all that may be necessary. For more at risk patients, we always do a total mouth disinfection which in the old days was called scaling and root planing (SRP). Now with the assistance of advanced antimicrobials, lasers and ultrasonic instruments, we can aggressively and effectively disrupt the disease process and initiate a healing environment. These treatments are extremely successful and predictable, but they require one thing. A commitment on the part of the patient to support the treatment phase with diligent and consistent home care. With this commitment in place, we can truly show you how to keep dental disease to a minimum for life!