When I was a kid, I remember a very distinct moment in my life, an Ah-Ha moment, that made me realize my passion for helping people and making them comfortable could be pursued through the Dental Industry. As I sat in my Uncle’s Dental chair, I remember always asking him for anesthetic to numb the pain of the dental work he would perform. The anesthetic never worked, and I remember wondering what was worse as I sat in the dental chair; hearing the high pitched whir of the drill, or the pain that would shoot through my mouth as the drilling began. Feeling this pain and enduring all this discomfort had made me realize that as a dentist, I want my patients to be comfortable and pain free in my dental chair. AZ Healthy Smiles is built on that, the idea of bringing a pain free, comfortable experience every time.
When I graduated Arizona State University, I went to Portland, OR with my Maroon and Golden roots, and attended the Oregon Health and Science University, graduating in 1989. After graduating, I served in the Army and completed my Dental Residency there, becoming a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and The Arizona Dental Association. I then migrated back to the Phoenix area in 1994 and invested myself into many group Dental Practices. Dr. Steich treated his patient base so well, and I thank him for all his work, and how he reminded me how important it is to give back to the community.
Community service is very important to me, and is something I bring to my dental practice as much as possible. It allows us to give back to people who are in unfortunate circumstance and having a bad day, week, or month. Community Service lets the people you see at the store, the gas station, and local restaurants know that they have support behind them. It is similar to the feeling I get when I have a patient who leaves my office with a brighter, pain free smile.
“We have all heard “You should have a dental cleaning every 6 months.” Why is it important to have these bi-yearly dental check-ups?”
A lot of my patients tend to ask my dental philosophy questions related to cleanings, and pediatric dentistry, and I feel like it would be a great opportunity to share my dental philosophy. Oral Hygiene can be a great indicator of how the rest of the body is doing, however, insurance companies are in business to be profitable, and that is why they emphasize the bi-yearly styled cleanings. The average patient would really benefit from more than two cleanings a year based on diet, lifestyle, genetics, medications, and other things that affect the oral cavity. Cleanings allow me to evaluate the patient’s dental health, and the immune system can share a lot about itself through the oral cavity.
“Some families have special dentists for their children. Is there a cut-off age when children can see a family practice dentist?”
Another Question I get a lot is if you need a special dentist for your kids. Pediatric Dental specialists are amazing, and they provide a valuable service, and I have been treating families for 28 years, with the first exam at around 3 years old with the mom or dad in the exam room next to them. We pride ourselves at Healthy Smiles with how we accommodate families, and we emphasize from that first exam the importance of preventative dentistry and cleanings and exams every 6 months. Treating a family leads to accountability and good family habits.
“With Invisalign gaining popularity can people get fitted at a dental practice, or do they need to see Orthodontists? If they don’t need orthodontic specialists are things like Invisalign covered under dental insurance?”
One hot topic that that has been going around the industry lately is Invisalign, and I am huge fan of Invisalign. I personally have been delivering Invisalign in my Dental Practice since 2007, and I attend yearly Invisalign courses to stay as up to date as possible, and I do refer many patients to orthopedic specialists. A lot of my patients had braces in high school, but did not wear a retainer after removing them, which lead to a relapsed orthodontic case, and these are easily treated with Invisalign. Relapsed dental cases like this are covered and reimbursed by insurance, and we also offer other financial solutions like Care Credit, Chase Credit and other forms of payment.