What Is Comprehensive Dentistry?

June 11, 2021
3D tooth illustration with spiraling arrow

A few weeks ago I was driving my truck on the freeway and just before I was about to take my exit, my right rear tire blew. Luckily for me, a tire shop was within a short distance, so I hobbled my car slowly to the tire shop. I was hoping that they would be able to patch the hole and I would be on my way. However, after their inspection they told me that the alignment was off and I actually needed all four tires replaced due to uneven wear. In that moment I was in a hurry and did not want to spend the money to have all the tires replaced so I opted to just have the damaged tire replaced and the alignment corrected. The technicians told me that I would most likely be feeling the uneven ride especially at higher speeds until the other tires were replaced. They were right! Having maintenance done on my truck is one of my least favorite things to deal with. Since then I have only annoyed myself with every trip I make in the truck, feeling the added bounces and bumps because I didn’t replace all 4 tires.

Your mouth is a lot like a car, it’s an extremely complex system with many important “parts” functioning together at the same time. The maintenance and completion of treatment diagnosed is critical in maintaining a healthy and functional mouth. At Dr. Sullivan’s office we believe in practicing comprehensive dentistry. Everyone receives a full comprehensive exam so that the entire mouth can be assessed to make sure everything is working in balance and harmony. As mentioned before, the mouth is a complex system with muscles and ligaments playing a role, as well as occlusion, and para functional habits that may be unique to each individual. Genetic tendencies for decay and/or periodontal disease may also determine your specific re-care schedule for visiting your hygienist. Hormones, certain medications, and systemic disease are all considered when we assess and diagnose the condition of your mouth. Nutrition and oral hygiene habits are also part of the comprehensive exam. We consider all these factors in order to educate our patients on what they can do at home to prevent decay and gum disease which cause the breakdown of teeth.

In contrast, limited focus dentistry is like the equivalent of taking your car to the tire shop with a flat tire, they look at that one tire and fix it, but fail to check the alignment or the other three tires to determine why the problem occurred and what the risks are for not moving forward with what is recommended. Dr. Sullivan and his team of hygienists work together to provide our patients with comprehensive exams to ensure you are always aware what is needed to best maintain the health, function, and aesthetics of your mouth.

Brittany – RDH