An interview with Intown Smile Studio’s Dr. Susan Estep
ML: Your reviews from patients are full of praise for the unique total wellness care you provide. What are a few links between dental health and common ailments that people may be surprised to know?
SE: There are several important health links which can be impacted by the health of your mouth, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pregnancy, infertility, Alzheimer’s, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. A major contributor is inflammation. Periodontal disease spreads inflammation throughout the body. In addition to the inflammatory link, periodontal disease is a bacterial infection. And, we now know mouth-specific bacteria can cause a heart attack/stroke and are closely linked to the other diseases. We offer a simple saliva genetic test that will reveal if you have any of these bacteria, and we have non-invasive (and non-drug) treatments to eliminate the bad bacteria. This is just the tip of the iceberg in oral systemic diseases.
ML: Your staff is known for being forward-thinking, using sophisticated and innovated techniques. Tell us about a few that patients will benefit from.
SE: There are several techniques and products that we use that aren’t found in most dental practices. One of the advancements that we love, and have been using for a number of years now, is perio trays to treat gum disease. It’s a tray system that’s an alternative to deep scaling and root planning of the teeth. You wear trays carrying a patented gel over your teeth for 10 or 15 minutes a day. The gel kills the bacteria deep in the pockets eliminating the infection and allowing your gums to heal themselves. Another advanced technology we use is our top of the line ultra low dose x-ray system. We are able to take most x-rays without having to place a bulky, uncomfortable sensor in your mouth. If you have a gag reflex and dread dental x-rays, you will love this new and better method. Another new technology we recently added is ozone therapy. We use ozone in many applications in our integrative dental medicine approach. Ozone can kill infections, remineralize teeth, treat periodontal disease, desensitize teeth, boost the immune system, treat herpetic lesions/cold sores and ulcers, and we use it in all of our dental equipment lines to keep them sterile.
ML: My husband has a phobia about going to dentist. What can your office do to help?
SE: One of our specialty niches is treating people with dental anxiety and phobia. We spent years studying the many root causes of negative dental experiences. We have identified and eliminated those things from our practice. We intentionally created a place where dental visits are easy, unstressful, and even relaxing! Our dental practice doesn’t look like a typical dental office. When you walk in the door and smell the light fragrance of lavender, you experience a non-threatening and relaxing environment. We spend a few minutes getting to know you in a comfortable consult room where we discuss your dental needs, dental and medical history, goals for your health, and you have the opportunity to get to know your hygienist before starting with any treatment.
Our team members are nonjudgmental, people pleasers and experienced, skilled caregivers. During your appointments, we’re always checking in with you to be sure you’re comfortable. You’ll have your own set of wireless headphones and can choose from movies, TV or music on your own screen.
ML: This office is so sophisticated. What does your appointment look like when you have a kid in the chair?
SE: We love kids. Your children’s experience is especially important and can impact them positively or negatively for years ahead. Recent advancements in children’s dentistry provides our team the opportunity to deliver minimally-invasive options like reversing cavities and alternatives to general anesthesia, sedation, and stainless steel crowns. Our dedicated kid zone gives us a chance to observe and modify their brushing and flossing technique while they get to try different brushes and flossers of their choice. We also include a science experiment that has a nutritional component to help them avoid cavities and make healthy lifestyle choices. We make the experience fun and educational. We wrap up the appointment with the hygienist’s clean and polish, and then I spend a few fun minutes with the children checking in on their world before proceeding with their checkup exam.