The foundation upon which all evidence-based wholistic dental care is built is what we at Liberty Dental like to refer to as the Cross of Dental Health. If proper attention is paid to each of these four critical areas, a person can be confident of enjoying a lifetime of dental health and comfort. On the other hand, failure to adequately attend to even one of these is likely to lead to dental disappointment. When describing these four aspects of comprehensive dental health, sometimes we will use the acronym “PROS”.
“P” stands for periodontal or gum and jaw bone health. “Peri” means “surrounding” and “dontal” of course refers to teeth. So, periodontal treatment involves the tissues around the teeth. Infections and breakdown in this area are actually the number one cause of tooth loss in America, and thus are a vital component of comprehensive dental care.
“R” stands for restorative and prosthodontic treatment, which is what most people think of when they think about dental work; in other words, fixing and replacing teeth. Except for simple minor treatment that simply maintains the existing tooth’s shape, the only predictable way to accomplish this part is to do it in three steps; to actually do the work three times! The first step is to do a diagnostic mock-up; to design and complete the patient’s chosen plan in wax on very accurate plaster models. Secondly, once the initial design is worked out, the plan is done in the patient’s mouth with diagnostic provisional restorations. This critical step allows the patient to try out the look and feel of his or her new teeth before making a final commitment. At this point, changes can easily be made until both the doctor and patient are completely satisfied with the results. Then, and only then, are the final teeth fabricated and delivered to the patient. Going through this three step process is what allows a master dentist to be able to predictably make beautiful teeth that you know will last. Anything less is simply guesswork.
Next is “O”, or occlusion. Occlusion refers to the way your teeth bite and rub together. If the biting forces are not properly and evenly distributed around the mouth, all of the preceding work is bound to fail. Aside from making sure the teeth look great, getting the bite right is one of the major reasons that the diagnostic provisionals are so critical! If the bite is off even just a little bit, teeth can get loose, break, wear down, and/or get painful. Headaches and jaw joint or TMJ pain can develop. And nothing is more frustrating and discouraging than to spend a lot of money getting your teeth fixed and then have all that work start falling apart 2-3 years later!
Finally, a healthy systemic immune system is also very important. This is what the “S” stands for. A sick body can make keeping your mouth healthy very difficult. Nutrition, stress, smoking, and diabetes are just some of the well-known factors that can have a significant impact on the health and longevity of your teeth. Therefore, any dental plan that does not consider systemic health is really in danger of an increased risk of failure.
It is this comprehensive approach to dental care that distinguishes long lasting wholistic dental care from the more common usual-and-customary and holistic dental options.