Th 147537

A Twist on Pain Reduction

April 1, 2004
"A Rosewood Periodontal Establishment" ... "Neiman Marcus Periodontics" ... The names may sound ridiculous, but is the concept?

"A Rosewood Periodontal Establishment" ... "Neiman Marcus Periodontics" ... The names may sound ridiculous, but is the concept? Such institutions as Neiman Marcus and The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas represent customer service at its finest. Their hallmarks include addressing customers by name, taking time to learn their needs and concerns, and of course, offering the best quality goods available.

What a concept for a dental office! How can we make patients feel this comfortable and special? A friend of mine who lives in a Rosewood-managed high-rise property came home from vacation late one night, exhausted, to find a note on his door from the doorman. The note read, "Mr. Smith, I noticed the front left tire on your car was low. I took your automobile to the service station where they found a nail in the tire. Enclosed is the receipt for $16 and the nail. Please reimburse me at your convenience." My friend was incredibly "wowed." I took this story to heart and made it my goal to try to "wow" every one of my patients — not only by giving them the very best patient care, but by giving them emotional care as well.

Rosewood Corporation, based in Dallas, operates some of the finest hotel and condominium projects in the world, offering 24-hour concierge and valet service, room service, housekeeping, dog walking, plant watering, car service, grocery shopping, gift purchasing or returning, and much more. The establishments not only address their patrons by name every time they leave or arrive, but they ask about their day, significant others, and/or parents. In short, Rosewood-operated establishments offer a variety of amenities which cater to premier customer service. Our periodontal office strives for this level of service.

It is our office policy to know every patient's name when he or she arrives for the first visit. An assigned personal assistant tells the new patient about the doctor and describes our practice philosophy. Next, the patient is asked about individual concerns and the reason for the visit. The personal assistant will then introduce the patient to the rest of the office, assist during each visit (including surgical therapy), and remain the patient's primary assistant throughout treatment. We believe this adds a personal touch to our services.

Another top practice philosophy is placing high priority on our patients' time. In a recent survey we conducted, only one person out of 87 reported waiting in excess of 10 minutes for patient care.

Periodontal treatment is extremely difficult for patients. The discomfort and cost involved can be overwhelming, so we strive to make the process as pleasant as possible. We believe it is important to make patients feel welcome, comfortable, and cherished in our offices.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when it was assumed that as people aged, they would eventually join the ranks of denture-wearers. Unfortunately, because the loss of natural teeth was seen as inevitable, attitudes toward oral care often helped to fulfill the prophecy. Thankfully, recent advances in knowledge, technology, and our approach to oral health care enable us to preserve our clients' teeth and their natural, healthy smile for a lifetime.

About 70 percent of tooth loss is triggered by the silent, painless advance of periodontal disease caused by bacteria, although genetics, diet, tobacco use, pregnancy, certain medications, stress, and diseases (like diabetes) can also impact periodontal health. Recent studies show that the bacteria related to gum disease may be even more dangerous than previously thought. Periodontal disease doubles the risk of heart disease, and the bacteria in plaque has been linked to endocarditis, arterial constriction, and a weakened immune response. In pregnant women, bacteria is tied to an elevated risk of premature and low-birth-weight babies.

Periodontal therapy can help stabilize and restore periodontal health. This beneficial therapy involves deep cleaning, antimicrobial therapy, or even surgery to clean the roots of the teeth and/or add supporting bone. Our office signature is periodontal plastic surgery, including gingival grafting and esthetic crown-lengthening. We agree with the philosophy that "there are generally accepted proportions for teeth so that they relate to each other correctly to create a beautiful smile."

One common concern for patients occurs when the soft tissue around the tooth recedes as a result of periodontal disease, overly aggressive brushing, or genetic factors. These areas are often sensitive. Once portions of the gum tissue have become thin and fragile, there is increased risk of further recession. Soft tissue can be grafted from the roof of the mouth to restore these areas, allowing greater esthetics and more stable teeth. While some patients have teeth that are missing gum tissue, making their teeth look unattractive, others have too much of the tooth covered by gum tissue. For these patients, we reshape the gumline with contouring and crown-lengthening to allow the right amount of tooth to show. Crown-lengthening can even out the gumline by adjusting the apparent height of just one tooth or correcting the visual height of several teeth. Highly precise gingival sculpting is made possible by newer technology. Our operatories are equipped with specialized microscopes and magnifying loupes with fiberoptic lighting to ensure exact proportions of the teeth.

Procedures to replace missing teeth with dental implants have improved dramatically in recent years. Advances in implant technology have enabled the development of better materials and techniques, leading to higher implant success rates.

Because we believe that patient comfort is of paramount importance, we use intravenous conscious sedation in about 95 percent of all procedures. A visit to the periodontist can be stressful, so our goal is to make each visit a comfortable, positive experience. We also offer nitrous oxide and oral sedation to patients. In keeping with our philosophy of providing quality care, our staff has received training in radiology and nitrous oxide administration, and is fully ACLS-certified (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) to ensure the maximum level of patient safety.

We use state-of-the-art monitoring and emergency equipment during each surgical procedure, and we have an automated electronic defibrillator in our office. An automated EKG, blood pressure monitor, and pulse oximeter are used to monitor every patient throughout the dental procedure. We also keep emergency drugs on hand to treat any unexpected adverse reactions. These precautions give our patients confidence, peace of mind, and the highest possible level of safety.

Strict adherence to sterilization procedures is another important part of patient safety. Our office abides by OSHA standards, but we exceed the standard in many areas. For example, we use isolated water bottles in each unit to decrease the bacteria in the water lines, glutaraldehyde and barriers on all equipment in treatment rooms, and all instruments are autoclaved to ensure sterility.

The current literature, advanced technology, and improved techniques give us alternatives for conservative care that didn't exist in the past. We believe the addition of Neiman Marcus/Rosewood levels of customer service, combined with these advances in care, gives our patients the optimal periodontal experience. Signed, sealed, delivered — we're yours.

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Sunie Marchbanks, DDS
Dr. Marchbanks, a periodontist, has been in practice since 1994. She has been approved by the Texas Academy of General Dentistry to present continuing-education lectures. Dr. Marchbanks has offices in Dallas' Highland Park and McKinney, Texas. Contact her at (214) 522-9700.