Dental Fitness Program
When I ask my patients what they want for their dental future, their responses tend to center on the same goals. They want NO DENTISTRY. They want to prevent dental problems, avoid tooth loss, avoid pain, and preserve what they have. They want to avoid the unnecessary expenditure of time and money for dentistry and avail that time and energy for other life pursuits.
We believe that helping patients achieve this goal of “NO DENTISTRY” requires a complete exam and a Master Plan for dental health. We believe that without a plan, patients tend to make reactive, short-term decisions that aren’t consistent with their long-term desires.
The Dental Fitness Program- Health is a Function of Participation
The majority of dental disease (gum disease, tooth decay) is caused by bacterial plaque and our immune reactions to that plaque. The dental hygiene experience in a typical dental practice emphasizes teeth “cleaning,” spending all or the majority of a visit removing the bacterial plaque that a patient hasn’t managed to remove on their own. Very little or no time is spent on preventive education and coaching on effective homecare techniques so that a patient can better control their own oral condition on a daily basis.
The problem with this model is that once removed, bacterial plaque can return within 24 hours, especially if a patient’s oral homecare practices are inadequate. So, the rationale for 2 covered “cleanings” per year from the typical insurance company clearly isn’t centered on achieving health and preventing future disease. It’s an arbitrary frequency that’s purely a business decision. In essence, it’s NOT designed to give patient’s what they want- NO DENTISTRY. In my experience, many patients who are having 2 hygiene appointments per year are far from healthy, and aren’t even aware of it.
Our dental philosophy coincides strongly with the old English proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The focus of our hygiene program is to actually help you achieve your desired dental future, one free of disease. We believe this occurs through raising your awareness of your own condition, giving you more effective strategies to control plaque and coaching you to a higher level of oral health.
The Dental Fitness Program is a computerized tool that we’ve implemented to do just that. Much like a tangible cholesterol score, we can score three specific markers in the gum tissue:
We know from experience that patients that can control plaque and inflammation at 90% or greater on their own, have far less disease and far less dental intervention over the course of their lives. From visit to visit, our hygienists can coach you to help raise these scores as you become healthier from your own improved self- management. This program works ideally for those patients who want to be active participants and want to take their healthcare into their own hands.
Our dental philosophy coincides strongly with the old English proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”