Board Certified Periodontist

52 – February 2022

Hi and welcome or welcome back to The Perio Hygienist Podcast a podcast for my professional colleagues – dentists and dental hygienists — and anyone else who cares to listen. If this is your first episode, you have jumped in on number 52, which means there is a lot of earlier information that is definitely relevant to you. The best two ways to look at previous episode topics are to (1) subscribe to this podcast through whatever podcast site you get your downloads and then scan topics there or (2) go to my website and there you will find podcasts listed in the various information tabs. The ones specifically for dental hygienists and dentists will be found under your tabs. All the other podcasts are produced for periodontal patients – which you are in fact encouraged to listen to because it will help you understand what treated periodontal patients, at least coming from me, are listening to. For them, I have discussed insurance, the fact we no longer need lead shields when taking x-rays and dozens of other topics.  

Also, it is a good idea at least watch the 15-minute video on my website’s home page called A Tooth Has Four Parts. 

I call it this because I tell patients that is all a tooth has, just four parts. The point being that it is not so complicated that they can’t understand important information at a fairly sophisticated level, about what periodontal disease is, what causes it, and how to managed it – which is one of the two jobs I assign to them. I also tell them what our two jobs are. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch the video because it will help make managing periodontal patients so much easier.  

A little background on how I developed this presentation – and I have told this story elsewhere, so this might be a little review for some of you.  

I created this story while a young captain in the Air Force when I was stationed overseas at Hahn AB Germany. I was a general dentist and had just come out of a one-year General Practice Residency – and because I had this extra year of Air Force directed dental training, I was then assigned to a base with only one specialist – a prosthodontist. So my boss, Colonel Helder assigned me as the clinics go-to guy for periodontal problems.  

Because my workload began to take on many new periodontal cases a week, it quickly became clear to me that I needed to formalize my presentation. This did a number of good things for both me and the patients. First, trying to explain things in new and creative ways for every patient is exhausting. It also leaves you with the problem of not remembering exactly what you have told each patient. By standardizing the presentation I could understand how much time I needed to give it, I could also train others to give it and I now could look each patient in the eye and tell them what I told them even years before. It was no longer possible for someone to say they were never told. This is huge when managing patients with chronic conditions. And don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect people to remember things. It is fair for them to forget. It is just that I would no longer fall into holes because I couldn’t remember what I did or did not tell a particular person. And I also kept the forms I used to tell the story in their records. And then years later, finally I made it a video presentation. This helps enabling patient to review on their own time thus reducing chair time for this activity.  

Eventually in my Air Force career I became the director of the Periodontal Therapist Program – which was at that time essentially a one-year training program for enlisted dental assistants to be trained in dental hygiene procedures in order to support periodontists and periodontal patients at Air Force clinics all over the world. A Tooth Has Four Parts became part of that curriculum as well. 

So what does all this tell you about me? First, that my career path is not a normal one. I have been trained an equivalent of four additional years following dental school within the Air Force. I have also spent a great deal of time in education on the teaching side. I have taught everyone from dental students, dental hygiene students, graduate periodontal students, and dentists at local, regional, and national meetings.  

Following retiring from active duty, I started into private practice here in San Antonio, Texas. For a little while, I came out of private practice to help develop and promote a technology start-up company that both won a national award and hit an economic iceberg back in the 2007 to 2008 timeframe. So that is when I came back into private practice the second time.  

And as is always the case in careers, I took my previous experiences to change my present method of practice. Here are some of the things I decided to do differently.  

For one thing, I started and maintained my presence professionally as a solo practitioner without a dental hygienist. I love working with dental hygienists and I don’t want to compete with them. I also want to focus on those procedures I have been specialty trained to perform.  

To reduce repetitive teaching to individual patients, I wrote a book to help them with one of their two responsibilities as explained in the video — daily plaque control or daily health activities – the things they need to be doing every day to maintain their own health. This is 80% of what they need to stay healthy. The remaining 20% are all the things they cannot do for themselves and why they need to see you and me.  And the title of the book is The Joy of Flossing. It’s on Amazon both in soft cover and as a Kindle download. I actually wrote it for families in order to help young people avoid periodontal disease in the future by learning and practicing flossing every day.  

Because I work with dentists and dental hygienists who are taking on more of the Supportive Periodontal Therapy than they do with other periodontists who have their own hygiene team, I started two podcasts – one for patients and the one you are listening to right now. Podcasts are an efficient way to transfer information when convenient to you.  

Something else that changed my second time into private practice was I took my extensive cutting-edge-at-the-time knowledge about guided surgical procedures and the placement of dental implants to improve outcomes in this area of periodontal practice.  

And finally, probably the best for last, I incorporated the power of the Millennium gated-NdYAG soft-tissue laser to speed up the healing of periodontal disease, with much less discomfort over conventional methos and with few appointments. Overall, this lowers lower cost and time compared with the equivalent conventional methods. It is frankly a blast to be able to arrest periodontitis and regenerate tissues rapidly and then get them back to their home dentists.  

Finally, I think it’s time for me to get out a little and visit many of you. I have a small fax referral form that can also be imaged on a phone and sent via message to my office. I will be popping in and dropping this note pad size fax form to your front office. So in the future, if you want to refer someone, you just write down a few things on this form and send a picture of it to my office number.   

Well that’s plenty for now. I hope you and yours are doing well.  

You have been listening to the Perio Hygienist Podcast and I am still Dr. Ben Young. Thanks for listening. Bye for now.