Oral health means much more than good teeth – it’s a critical part of your overall health, longevity and wellbeing. Oral cancer, for example, is far too often discovered in late-stage development which is the main reason for the high death rate. But when detected early, it’s 90% curable! That’s why it’s so important to choose a dentist committed to comprehensive care.
Comprehensive care involves looking at you as a whole person, not just your presenting complaint, such as a hole in your teeth. I strongly believe that, if your oral health is suffering, it will reflect in other areas of your body. As a profession, we must be systematic in our approach. This means being aware of your underlying medical health, your medications and how they may interact with your oral health. Comprehensive dental care is a technique of practicing dentistry that takes many years to develop. This is partly due to the complex nature of how oral and systemic diseases interact and also the willingness, motivation and determination of the dentist and team to provide complete care.
We certainly don’t graduate from dental school with the innate ability to provide such high levels of care. In no way is this an indictment on our tertiary qualifications, it just reflects the absolute need and, in my mind, duty of care to continue learning and applying new proven concepts and treatments to better the oral health of our patients.
Because continuing care is the most important aspect of maintaining your teeth, so you can keep them for life, your dentist needs to examine all hard (teeth) and soft tissues (gums). It’s also vital they examine your jaw joint and surrounding muscles, as well as assess your bite. Your dentist should also explore the real concern of associated headaches, migraines, neck pain and ear problems that can arise, as well as assessing erosion where the teeth become flat and concave. And, of course, every patient should have an oral cancer exam. Once we have an appreciation of the overall conditions occurring we can develop a treatment plan that’s all inclusive. In this way, you can rest assured we’re providing top-quality care.