Dr Andrea Shepperson is Kois Center Graduate - trained at the Kois Center in Seattle. What does that mean for our patients, and how does Kois Center thinking influence our approach to dental care?
The Kois Centre is a group of dental professionals who are passionate about holistic dental healthcare and have the discipline to pursue excellence. Kois Center graduates are dentists who have completed all nine courses in the Kois curriculum which focuses on commitment to excellence and doing the best for you – the patient.
What does it mean when your dentist autographs their work with excellence?
Decisions that will affect your oral health and well-being for a lifetime must be made in collaboration with someone who is looking out for your best interest now and in the future. Excellence cannot be static. The doctors and staff that you entrust with your dental health must continually seek new knowledge to enhance the predictability of their work and remain connected with exceptional colleagues who support continuing professional growth.
As a patient of a Kois-trained dentist, recommendations made to improve your dental health often use evidence-based dentistry. When dentists base their practice on evidence, they are using the latest reliable research to make decisions and recommendations for you, their patient. They use their knowledge and experience to properly apply the available evidence and may adapt their treatment recommendations based on trustworthy and responsible research.
For example, when evaluating a tooth with a large filling, your dentist knows from published studies how much weaker it is based on the size and width of the filling coupled with the strength of your bite. The evidence gives your dentist reliable information about which teeth in your mouth are more likely to break and why. Your dentist can apply the evidence to make recommendations on how best to protect vulnerable teeth.
How do we know what you need? The dental examination forms the foundation for treatment decisions that can affect your mouth for the rest of your life. The exam must be thorough and complete. We collect detailed information about your mouth in many ways, each of them critically important.
The information you provide about your overall health—as well as details about previous dental treatment and experiences—provides your dentist with an informed starting point when gathering information about you. Systemic diseases and some medications can make dental problems more likely, and successes (and failures) of past treatments are important clues about your unique situation.
Complete radiographs (or X-rays) provide information that cannot be seen when your dentist looks in your mouth. Photographs and scans of your teeth allow your dentist to evaluate your teeth from every angle.
The part of the dental exam where your “teeth are checked” actually is much, much more. We will make measurements of gum health, check teeth and fillings for disease and weakness, look for worn teeth, evaluate muscle and jaw joint function, and look for oral cancer. We consider all of this evidence when making a diagnosis for your mouth. Once the diagnosis is made, we can recommend the best course of dental treatment for you.
We aim to to develop a plan for your mouth: a plan that will fit together well, improve your oral health and lessen your risk for future dental problems.
Past dental disease and treatment is a very important and significant indicator of future dental health and disease concerns. After we complete a thorough examination, we have an excellent understanding of your specific risk for future dental problems. Traditionally, a dentist would treat a cavity or a gum disease issue after it caused a problem or hurt. The standard model was to fix problems after they developed or caused symptoms. A different approach uses a risk assessment strategy.
This method takes you, specifically and individually, into account during the examination process in developing a plan to maintain or improve your dental condition. When you and your dentist understand that you may be likely to have a problem develop, special efforts can be made to focus on preventing that problem or catching it at a very early stage. Just as importantly, knowing that your particular risk of developing a dental disease is very low may help avoid unnecessary dental treatment.
Your dentist’s recommended treatment and preventive regimens will be based on exactly what you need—not some predetermined list that is applied to everyone. This is critical in designing dental care that will help you reduce your risk of future dental problems. In an effort to clarify where you may be most at risk, the dentist will classify your risk as low, medium or high in each of the four dental risk groups using the dots green, yellow or red. Green is Good. Red is Bad.
How does we reduce my risk of future problems for you? We choose treatments that give you the best chance of keeping your smile, your teeth, and your oral health for your lifetime! Kois Center principles teach dentists how to fix one area of your mouth without harming a different area.
For example, when a Kois-trained dentist fixes your smile, they will choose a method that does not harm your gums. When your dentist thinks about risk reduction, it means they are planning for the long term—your lifetime—instead of using techniques that only help your mouth for a few years.
A Kois Center Graduate performs dentistry that is predictably long-lasting and clearly built to last. While the durability of your dental work is influenced by your individual risk for dental disease, your dentistry will last longest and have a much better prognosis when it is expertly created using the finest materials and best techniques.