The Patient is a Person at Providence Dental
Nov 09, 2012 11:32AM
By Thomas Masloski
Upon visiting a traditional dental office, the dentist usually examines a patient’s teeth as the first order of business. At Providence Dental Health & Wellness Center, in Grand Prarie, Dr. Latonia Smith will first regard the “total you.” Unless there is pain or some immediate attention needed, it might be the second or third visit before treatment begins.
“My goal is to provide dentistry that enhances your overall health and improves the quality of your life,” says Smith. “I see my role as a partner in your health, helping you make informed decisions. Before I perform the exploratory exam, I’ll sit with you, away from the operatory, and have a one-on-one discussion about you and your physical and emotional health.”
Smith believes that a person’s lifestyle affects their total health, which includes mouth and gum health. She explains, “We chat about eating habits and oral hygiene, but more importantly, I want to know about the stress my patients are under, if they have suffered any significant losses and what frustrations they have in their lives.”
There is a health history form to complete, but it’s the face-to-face contact that really helps Smith develop a treatment plan for the patient. Childhood experiences in a dental office may be discussed, as may the patient’s personal relationships. All of it is important background for an effective total dental care and health plan. The compiled information enables her to explain the plan and why certain tests or actions are needed.
Removing bacteria and infection is always the first step in treatment before whatever more complex and sophisticated procedures may be necessary, but helping a patient understand the cause of decay and how to minimize future decay is equally important. Dietary changes, vitamin supplements and stress relief are some other ways dental health can be improved.
Smith notes that Providence Dental treatment plans are not limited to the mouth. She notes, “I might, for example, recommend massage therapy or acupuncture to a patient with chronic back pain to help them with their overall comfort, as well as during their time in the dental chair. My experience working in community health clinics taught me the value of having a deeper connection with my patients, of understanding them and communicating my concern.”
Location: 2701 Osler Dr., Ste. 10. For more information, call 972-641-2400 or visit ProvidenceHolisticcare.com.