Do You Seek “Health” Or “Disease” Control?


What are your long-term (10+ years) goals regarding your dental future? As a health-centered dentist in Los Altos, I have spent my career interviewing patients, getting to know them, learning their dental concerns and asking that very question. They have all had similar answers. People want to prevent future disease, reduce their risks of losing teeth, succumbing to more tooth decay or gum disease. So why is this such an odd question to some people? I would say it’s likely because it’s never been asked before. I think it’s the most important question I could ask a new patient for two primary reasons. First, I can collaborate with that individual in a meaningful way, educating them on the causes of dental disease and assisting them to reach the level of health they desire through a carefully constructed long-term plan. Second, I’m offered the opportunity to reveal to them their responsibility in this goal-minded process.

Oral Inflammation wreaks havoc

Bacterial plaque is primarily responsible for both gum disease and dental decay. At the core of a health-centered approach is helping patients better understand the detriments of bacterial plaque and resulting inflammation, and helping them see that it’s much more critical what daily efforts they make in this area than what our hygienist does every few months. One of the challenges we face is that inflammation of the gums (Gingivitis) is a disease, but most patients succumbing to it are either unaware or belittle its existence because it doesn’t create symptoms. Oral inflammation can wreak havoc in the mouth, but more and more science is showing a direct connection between oral inflammation and systemic health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.

I’m dumbfounded by the traditional dental hygiene model that continues to be the standard of care in this country. That model is one where many patients present for their hygiene appointments with heavy amounts of both bacterial plaque and inflammation and have an expectation that the dental hygienist can rid them of their ill health. They either aren’t aware of their role to their own health and aren’t doing what’s necessary to control plaque on a daily basis OR they don’t care. Perhaps they would care and take more responsibility if their dentist/hygienist would take the time to empower them.

Best Dental Fitness Program in Los Altos

When new patients tell me what’s important to them and what they want to prevent or achieve over the long term, I believe we are in a unique position to help them get what they want, but it’s often a paradigm shift. Achieving health and preventing disease requires an actively engaged patient participant. Our dental hygiene program is unique in that our main impetus isn’t simply cleaning teeth. We understand that without a patient assuming responsibility for their own effective plaque control, that bacterial plaque will be back 1-2 days after their “cleaning” in our office and may live in a perpetual disease state. Our hygienist is more effective as a dental health coach than simply a teeth cleaner. We focus on oral hygiene instruction, helping patients grow their plaque-controlling skills so that they can become more self-reliant. We have a unique DENTAL FITNESS PROGRAM that records plaque and bleeding levels so that patients can gauge their progress and then work with their hygienist to improve their scores over time.

Why do we do these things? Quite simply, because we’re listening to what our patients say they want for their dental future. We’re proud of our Dental Fitness Program as we’ve seen many more patients take ownership of their own health and significantly reduce their future risks for both dental and systemic disease. Would you like to reduce your dental risks and that of your family over the course of your life? Would you like to avoid preventable dental interventions and expenses? Please come visit with me and learn how our Health-centered approach and Dental Fitness Program can help you see your dental destiny.

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Dr. Schweifler has spent years in continuing education focused on understanding the nuances of functional and dysfunctional chewing systems. Dr. Schweifler and our Los Altos Dentistry team are committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. If you have any questions about our Dental Fitness Program Services, or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at 650-941-2166 for a complimentary consultation. The outstanding experience of our Los Altos Dentist Dr. Schweifler, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating oral problems in our patients who visit us from different parts of Los Altos, Palo Alto, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Saratoga, and Mountain View.