Dr. Tim Kelly stresses the importance of oral health. General dentistry - most importantly, regular check-ups and exams - can guard against the development of conditions like periodontal disease and oral cancer. Dr. Kelly also strives to make patients proactive caretakers of their own oral health.
I think that really one of the most important things a patient can do for themselves is getting their teeth cleaned and checked and evaluated on a regular basis. The problem in today's society, I think, is that patients stay away from the dentist and as a society we're living much longer so we need our teeth much longer. We know patients that keep their teeth healthy and strong tend to live longer. So a regular dental check-up is probably the cheapest insurance they can do to promote the health of their mouth.
For years, dentists have known that the health of the mouth or oral health has a significant or a profound effect on our overall health. We know patients that have periodontal disease have a higher incidence of heart attacks because there's bacteria in the mouth that are circulating throughout the body. We know patients that have infection in their mouths from gum disease, the immune system's working overtime all the time to fight the infection, which is not a good thing. So a healthy mouth is a way to promote not only your oral health but your overall health.
We always try to have our patients involved in their own care because I think once they understand their role in their health they're more a participant in it. So getting your teeth cleaned on a regular basis, like every six months for most people, is important because what patients do at home, day in and day out, every day to the health of their mouth that leads to health.
They need to brush properly and floss properly. Some patients think they brush correctly but they may not. And what we try to have our patients do is if they're an active participant in their own health, they tend to do a better job at it. When they know what they do is beneficial, they'll continue to do it and if they know what they're doing is causing harm, they might change their ways.
We are a general dentist even though we do all the TMJ stuff because we have to get people up to snuff to make sure there are no cavities or no cracked teeth or no gum disease. They have to have a healthy basis before they move to more advanced dentistry, which could be bleaching, veneers, TMJ stuff. So the general dentistry aspect is important for all of our patients.