Unlike traditional dentists, comprehensive dentists work in collaboration with their patients. Most patients of traditional dentists only go into the office on an "as-needed" basis. Moreover, when they are there, they typically will not receive any education on their condition. Their dentists do not tell them how their symptoms manifested, what other health problems they could indicate, or how to address the root causes of their condition.
In contrast, comprehensive dentists take a more integrative approach. They focus on treating a patient’s total health through treating their oral health. By looking for the root cause of a patient’s symptoms, comprehensive dentists can often identify signs of broader health conditions. As such, they are more directly involved in their patients’ care — and provide them with the necessary education needed to do the same.
This includes some basic advice on nutrition, as a patient’s diet directly affects their oral health. Once food enters the mouth, it will inevitably affect the tissue's health. Conversely, oral health will affect a patient’s ability to eat. Healthy eating habits can keep both of these potential problems in check. Patients are well-advised to avoid natural and added sugars, processed starches, and low pH-level acids.
Practicing good oral hygiene is also a critical part of improving dental health. This means brushing teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing nightly, and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash. Patients should ensure that they are brushing correctly — taking the time to move the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions rather than over- or under-brushing.
Since nothing can replace a comprehensive dentist’s expertise, patients should go in for regular wellness visits at least twice a year. Some patients may need to go more frequently, depending on their needs.
Many people are hesitant to see a comprehensive dentist because they do not know if it will be covered under their insurance. However, comprehensive dental offices operate just as conventional dental offices do. Many practices are covered by various health insurance plans, though some cosmetic and restorative treatments may need to be paid for out-of-pocket. As insurance carriers consider dental coverage to be a non-essential benefit, it is always best for patients to confirm with their insurance company and healthcare provider before making any plans.
As several conditions have direct relationships with oral health, all members of a patient’s medical team should have contact with each other. This allows for a more thorough understanding of a patient’s total health. However, primary care providers rarely ask a patient about their oral health. With a patient’s permission, a comprehensive dentist can alert any relevant healthcare providers about any warning signs indicative of disease and work together to create the best treatment plan for their unique needs.
An excess buildup of plaque typically causes periodontal disease. Once hardened under the gum line, this plaque will turn into tartar and develop into gingivitis, a milder form of gum disease. If left untreated, it will eventually lead to periodontitis.
Some lifestyle choices can put a person at risk for periodontal disease. These include excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and poor nutrition. Age, bruxism (also known as teeth grinding), genetics, medications, and stress can also play a role. Everyone has a unique risk profile. We can help identify and work through yours.
Yes. Chronic gum inflammation is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease. This creates pockets between the gums and teeth, filling them with plaque, tartar, and bacteria. These pockets become deeper over time, and the inflammation may spread to other parts of the body.
Without a basic understanding of what is affecting them and why, many patients feel helpless, intimidated, and left to the healthcare system’s whims. Moreover, they are unable to make informed decisions about their condition. Patient education can empower them to be active participants and make informed decisions about their care.
As every patient has a unique and distinct risk profile, there is no conclusive, one-size-fits-all answer. Smile Dental Studio can help determine what would be most appropriate for you.