What is comprehensive dentistry?
By Dr. James Forester | Dec 9, 2022 | General Oral Care
When you visit a dentist, you’re looking for well-rounded care that enhances both your oral and overall health. But if your current dentist doesn’t offer comprehensive dentistry services, then you may not be getting the all-around, exceptional care you need for a healthy mouth and body.
At the dentist office of James G. Forester, DDS in Johns Creek, GA, we believe that you deserve versatile care that benefits your entire body. Contact our friendly team today at (678) 730-6754 to see how we can transform your smile and body with comprehensive dentistry services.
If you’ve never heard of comprehensive dentistry, then keep reading.
In this post, Dr. James Forester and his knowledgeable team discuss what comprehensive dentistry is, and why it’s the highest level of oral care you can receive.
Defining Comprehensive Dentistry
Decades of research indicate that the mouth and body are intrinsically linked. This means that whatever issues appear in the mouth may cause or stem from issues throughout the body.
Indeed, experts find that patients with advanced gum disease are also 40% more likely to have chronic, systemic health conditions, such as:
- Respiratory conditions (including pneumonia)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney and liver disease
- Neurological disorders (like Alzheimer’s disease)
- Pregnancy complications
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Metabolic syndrome
- Psychological disorders (like generalized anxiety disorder)
Clearly, it is almost impossible to have a healthy body without also having a healthy smile (and vice versa). Medical professionals call this natural relationship between oral and systemic health the mouth-body connection (or the oral-systemic connection).
One of the key principles of the oral-systemic connection is the belief that the mouth is the gateway to the body. This means that our oral and bodily health are directly impacted by the foods we eat, the habits we form, and the oral care we conduct daily.
Because of the mouth-body connection, experts find that a holistic approach to oral healthcare may be the best way to combat or improve chronic health conditions. Subsequently, comprehensive dentistry services with Dr. Forester are an ideal way to improve your oral health while also enhancing your physical and mental health.
Why is comprehensive dentistry considered the gold standard?
Many healthcare professionals consider comprehensive dentistry to be the gold standard of oral healthcare. This is because holistic dental treatments do much more than fix the issue at hand–they also serve to pinpoint and fix the primary cause of the issue.
For example, a patient may experience frequent cavities. Ordinarily, a traditional dentist treats cavities without treating the primary cause of the cavities (like imbalances in the patient’s oral microbiome). As a result, the patient may continue to get tooth-destroying cavities that degrade their oral health over time. And, as the patient’s oral health degrades, their physical and mental health also degrades.
Comprehensive dentistry treatments investigate why oral health issues appear and persist. This allows patients to address the underlying health issue at the root of their oral health concerns rather than temporarily treating the symptoms.
By treating the underlying condition, patients can reestablish a harmonious connection between the mouth and the body. And, by reestablishing a harmonious connection, patients can save themselves from preventable (and costly!) oral and systemic health issues in the future.
What can I expect?
Comprehensive dentistry services may vary between patients and providers. However, new patients at Lifetime Smiles can expect proactive care that requires three separate visits.
The First Visit
This in-depth appointment allows patients to discuss their medical history, their past dental work, and their oral health and aesthetic goals. Our team also gathers x-rays of the mouth, head, and neck to assess the health of hidden structures (like tooth roots and the jaw bone).
Depending on the patient’s overall oral health, a prophylactic dental cleaning may complete this first appointment (which may take roughly 1.5 hours).
The Second Visit
Using the information that we gather during the initial visit, we further investigate patients’ oral and systemic health at a second appointment.
Dr. Forester examines the individual parts of the mouth to assess how they work in collaboration with the rest of the oral cavity, such as:
- Gingival (gum) health
- Jaw bone density
- Dental conditions
- Bite alignment
- Dental aesthetics
The information that we gather at the second appointment can help us:
- Locate systemic health issues that may be disrupting oral health
- Formulate a treatment plan aimed at total-body health
- Improve the connection between the mouth and body for life
The Third Visit
The third appointment that new patients attend serves as the action plan for their long-term, oral care.
During this visit, Dr. Forester and our team discuss all of their findings with the patient. We also share our recommendations on long-term oral health programs that foster and repair the connection between the mouth and body.
Together with the patient, our team can strategize a treatment and prevention plan that fits the patient’s:
- Health and aesthetic goals
Exploring Comprehensive Dental Treatments
Once our team establishes a personalized treatment plan that meets the patient’s needs, then it is time to explore comprehensive dental treatments, like:
Gum Disease Treatment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, periodontal (gum) disease affects nearly half of all Americans aged 30 and older. These comprehensive treatments remove the oral bacteria that are responsible for gum disease and related, systemic health issues.
Bruxism (also called teeth grinding) is a sleep condition that drastically affects the health of the teeth and jaws. Simple solutions (like custom-made night guards) can prevent bruxism-related health issues, such as:
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs)
- Tooth sensitivity
- Increased cavity rates
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that usually occurs when the tongue blocks the airway, resulting in loud snoring, restless sleep, and oxygen deprivation. Custom appliances (like mandibular advancement devices or tongue retaining devices) can prevent sleep apnea, and, subsequently, systemic health issues, like:
- Cardiovascular conditions (including heart attacks)
- High blood pressure
Get a Healthy Mouth and Body with Comprehensive Dentistry in Johns Creek, GA
You deserve well-rounded care that benefits your entire body. At Lifetime Smiles, we can help you do just that.