The first thing we do with every new patient is listen. To provide quality care, we need to know what’s important to you.
After listening to patients for years, we started to recognize a pattern. The most common goal we hear is:
“I just want to keep my teeth!”
That’s certainly understandable! And we can help.
We know that helping people keep their teeth for life requires a lot more than just polishing and drilling teeth at the dental office.
So, we created a system for our team to use to support our patient’s most important goal of keeping their teeth. We call it “Make Teeth Last”. Here’s how it works and what our team does to help you keep your teeth.
1. We check in with you as a person first
Sometimes, your oral health might not be the first thing on your mind. You might have other challenges you need to take care of first. We understand that, so the first thing we do is listen to you. How are you feeling? What’s important to you right now?
To make your teeth last, we have to understand how we can support you, the person, because it’s all connected. Your teeth are just small parts of you, and to care for your mouth, we need to know you!
2. We’ll ask about your overall health
Did you know that your dental health and overall health are related? For example, gum disease has been linked to increased risk of pneumonia and asthma.
So before we begin talking about your teeth, we’ll ask about your overall health. Understanding your history and any issues will help us care not just for your mouth but also the whole you.
3. We’ll examine the health of your gums
As we continue to understand your health history, we’ll examine your gums and the soft tissue in your mouth. Again, before we really look at your teeth. Why?
Dentistry can have a huge impact on protecting you from other diseases, especially when we care for your gums. The teeth tend to get all the headlines, but your gums are a very important part of your body. Your gum health doesn’t just affect the health of your teeth but also the rest of your body. So we look at your gums and soft tissue next.
4. We will work to preserve your ability to eat and chew
Good nutrition and the ability to chew go together. Your bite function is a critical part of your health, because we all need to eat to be healthy! So, during each exam, we’ll check your bite and look for issues related to chewing.
You’d be surprised how often a minor adjustment to bite can completely change a patient’s ability to chew and be healthy. For example, because of discomfort caused by an improper bite, a patient might avoid certain foods. A small, painless adjustment can make a real difference.
5. Last, we’ll look at your teeth.
Some people think dentists just want to get in there, look at the teeth, and do some drilling. But we know that a drill is the least powerful tool we have. There’s so much more we can do to help you keep your teeth without picking up a drill.
That’s why looking at your teeth comes last. Yes, we are a dental practice. It might seem odd that we look at your teeth last, but helping you keep your teeth requires that we consider a lot more than just the teeth alone. Your teeth stay healthy if the rest of you is healthy. So, to help make your teeth last, we look at your whole health, and then create a care plan for your mouth last, after we understand the big picture. It’s the best way to keep those teeth healthy.