What Does Proactive Dentistry Mean Anyway?

If you are a patient at either our Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay or Algoma practice, you may have heard us refer to our type of dentistry as ‘proactive dentistry’, well what does that really mean anyway?  For us it means honestly addressing potential issues before they become painful and problematic.  Getting to the root of the problem and taking care of it in the best way possible for long-term success.  Yes, many times this puts the expense on the front end, but in the long run it saves you from being in pain, spending more money than you need to and more time in the dentist chair than you should. It’s definitely a different way of approaching your dental care.

Let’s put it into perspective. If you come into our office for an appointment and we notice that you have some separation between your tooth and its filling, we see it as our responsibility to inform you of this and make a plan of action to correct it, even if it is not causing you pain or discomfort at the moment.  By replacing the filling when the problem is found, you remove the opportunity for bacteria to slowly creep into the opening over time and cause infection.  Once infection has set in the procedures to correct the problem are more in-depth and costly then doing a replacement filling when the separation was first noticed.

 Cycle of Dental Neglect Dentistry By Design Door County Dentist(Infographic courtesy of Smiles in the Gardens)

Often we have patients come to us and say “Well, why didn’t my previous dentist see that?” To be honest, there are many factors for this. Did it happen in the time since you were last seen by a dentist?  Do they use an inter-oral camera that can see what is hard for the human eye to see?  Was your dentist keeping an eye on the issue in an effort to save you money at the time? Dentists have different beliefs when it comes to diagnosing and suggesting treatment, it doesn’t mean one is better than the other, patients just need to be on the same page with their provider.

At our practices we feel it is essential to long-term oral health to be proactive as opposed to reactive.  It is our practice policy to tell you upfront what we see, give you a plan of attack and suggest steps to have it addressed.  Of course the next step is always up to our patients, but we are always going to passionately suggest doing what is best for your overall oral health.

History of Dentistry by Design’s Volunteer Days

Dentistry by Design’s “Volunteer Days” began back in 2014 as a way to utilize the skills of our team members to give back to those in our community. We strive to have three volunteer days per year at each of our locations; Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay and Algoma.  On each of these days our team members, who previously agreed to volunteer a half day, come in on their day off to see patients for dental cleanings and various procedures. What makes this day different from any regular clinic day is that not only is our team volunteering their time, but they donate two-thirds of the funds they receive to the community.

“When the team donates their time, it eliminates our greatest expense. We then take two-thirds of that half day’s production and donate it back to the community. We retain a third to cover expenses like lab fees and supplies that pertain to that specific day, but nothing more. With donated time and expertise and only having to cover costs we incur from outside sources we are able to make a more impactful donation.” states DBD Controller, Teri Hooker.

Sturgeon Bay Dentists, Sister Bay Dentists and Algoma Dentists Give Back to Their CommunityOur volunteer days were established as a result of an unsuccessful attempt to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity. Dr. Paul Feit states, “Originally we wanted to get a crew of DBD team members together to help build a house for a family in need, but due to conflicting schedules and weather challenges our team was unable to help build in 2014. We all felt strongly about giving back so we decided that the best way to do so was to utilize our professional talents. We presented the idea and our amazing team jumped on-board right away. It is a great way to help organizations like Habitat and individuals in our area in need in a way that fits into our busy schedules.”

Our volunteer days are a collaboration between our team members and patients. Since the inception of the program in 2014 we have been able to donate more than $52,000 to various organizations and individuals and families in need in the Door County and Kewaunee County communities. The donation recipients from each volunteer day are collectively agreed upon by our DBD team members.

Some of the organizations that have received funds from our volunteer days, since 2014 include Backpack Buddies, Bark for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin, Boys and Girls Club of Door County, Door County 4K & 5K Teachers, Door County High School Senior Banquets, Door County Veteran’s Council, Friends of Crescent Beach, Go Bo Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, HELP of Door County, Loaves & Fishes, Neighbor to Neighbor, Northern Door Children’s Center, Open Door Bird SanctuaryRonald McDonald House CharitiesRoots Revival, Special Olympics, Sturgeon Bay Kiwanis ClubThe Ridges Sanctuary, and United Way of Door County.

Numerous individuals and families who have fallen on hard times and/or facing major health challenges have also received donations, however out of respect for their privacy we do not list them.

The success of our volunteer days wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful team members who give freely of their time and talents as well as our amazing patients who schedule their treatment on these days, it is a collective effort by all that benefits our friends and neighbors!

Get To Know Our Dental Hygienists – Part 5

We are wrapping up National Dental Hygiene Month with our final “Get To Know Our Dental Hygienists”.  Today we introduce you to Heather Greene who has been at our Sister Bay practice since 2012.

Heather Greene Dental Hygienist from Sister Bay Dentist Office Dentistry By Design

What is your favorite part about being a dental hygienist?
Meeting the patients and learning about them and their families.  Many of my patients are like my extended family.  I also enjoy helping our patients achieve and maintain optimal oral health!

What’s your best dental hygiene tip other than brushing/flossing daily?
Visit your hygienist at the appropriate interval for YOU!  Some patients need to be seen every 3 or 4 months rather than 6 months.  Also, I highly recommend a Sonicare electric toothbrush.  Your mouth will feel like you just left the dental office!

What is something about you that very few people know?
I am petrified of frogs!

If you weren’t a dental hygienist what would you be?
I would be a Physical Therapist.

Get To Know Our Dental Hygienists – Part 4

So far this month we have introduced you to three of our five dental hygienists.  Today we are highlighting the newest hygienist to join our team, Kelly Curtin.  Kelly has been seeing patients at all three of our locations since starting at DBD this past June.

Kelly Curtin Dental Hygienist from Door County's Dentistry By DesignWhat is your favorite part about being a dental hygienist?
Getting to meet new people and help them achieve or maintain optimal oral health.

What’s your best dental hygiene tip other than brushing/flossing daily?
Using a waterpik.  They are so helpful and beneficial for your oral health.  Also, keeping up with regular cleaning appointments and avoiding tobacco products!

What is something about you that very few people know?
I love to be outdoors. I enjoy going hunting in my free time.

If you weren’t a dental hygienist what would you be?
A dermatologist.  Growing up I always knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare atmosphere that involved helping people.


Get To Know Our Dental Hygienists – Part 3

Welcome to part three of our “Get to Know Our Dental Hygienists”.  October is National Dental Hygiene Month and all month long we are highlighting our dedicated team of dental hygienists who help you with your dental hygiene.

Gina Luett Dental Hygienist for Door County's Dentistry By DesignToday it’s time to get to know Gina Luett a bit better.  Gina has been a part of the DBD team for the past 4 years.  She sees patients at all three of our locations.

What is your favorite part about being a dental hygienist?
I absolutely love meeting new people and visiting with all of my patients.

What’s your best dental hygiene tip other than brushing/flossing daily?
I think electric toothbrushes, such as Sonicare, are a HUGE advantage to personal oral home care.

What is something about you that very few people know?
I have played the violin (by ear/Suzuki style training) since age 3.  I took 1st place in a fiddle contest at the Brown County Fair at age 9.

If you weren’t a dental hygienist what would you be?
Eastern forms of medicine and holistic styles of healing and wellness have always intrigued me, so possibly an acupuncturist or Feng Shui specialist.