I started practicing as a Dental Hygienist in 1996. Everything was recorded on paper, the radiographs were developed by hand in a tiny darkroom, and my dentist was still using the old “spit bowl” cuspidor! My, how things have changed! Many things are better – for example, everything is digital today, making charting more efficient and reducing radiograph exposures. However, with modernization and change in any profession, the bad also comes with the good. Twice in my career, I found myself working long-term with wonderful private dentists, who ended up for one reason or another selling their practice to dental corporations. Almost overnight the way I viewed my profession changed. It became faster, more rushed, and for the first time, I was made aware of how much money I was bringing into the office each day. I started having this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach – Was this what I signed up for? What a relief it was when I finally found Dr. Tarantola! He had all the modern technology but was still putting the patient first with one-on-one care. No more was I squeezing as many patients into the schedule as possible. I could take care of one patient, take the time to listen to their needs, and create an individualized plan for their dental health.
With almost twenty-five years of experience, I have learned that individualized care is #1 in empowering the patient to be successful in their own home care routine. To achieve this, the dental professional has to take the time to really listen to the patient. What is the patient currently doing for home care? What are they struggling with their routine? Has the patient ever been shown how to take care of their mouth or just told? So many questions – and these are just a few!
Over the years, I have noticed a few surprising stumbling blocks that prevent optimum oral health. One is not being aware of the changes occurring in our mouth as we age. Bone loss, crowding, missing teeth, dry mouth from medications, having a lot of dental restorations, and root exposure are some of the changes happening in the oral cavity that most of us are not even aware of. An excellent home care routine of brushing and flossing that may have worked wonders in our 30’s, may no longer be enough in our 40’s. So many times a patient comes in for their recall appointment and are saddened to be diagnosed with cavities at the gumline or a periodontal pocket in an area they have been flossing the same way for years! Yet another issue is understanding nutrition, oral bacteria, and its role in oral health. To explain this simply, the bacteria in our mouth does not know the difference between healthy sugars such as fruit and carbohydrates, or bad sugars like a candy bar. It sees it all as sugar, and all of it will cause cavities. The more we sip or snack on any of these things, the more opportunity there is to get cavities. To bring back the topic of root exposure and aging again, these cavities can develop very easily and quickly at the root surfaces. So as you can see, all of this must be addressed and corrected during your next hygiene appointment. Here at Tarantola Dentistry, we are committed to using natural products whenever possible and do not apply Fluoride pastes or treatments on the teeth. Dr. Tarantola and I look forward to seeing you and giving you the individualized are you deserve. Come and see the holistic difference!