Let’s say you’re in the mood for spaghetti. One restaurant uses a jar of pre-made sauce, some store-bought, boxed noodles, and artificial Parmesan sprinkles. Another restaurant crushes tomatoes grown in a garden behind the restaurant, uses fresh basil leaves, makes their pasta on site, and imports their Parmesan from Parma, Italy. Both charge exactly the same for a bowl of spaghetti. Which one would you like?
Sometimes it can be tough to choose a dentist or know if they are doing a good job because, well, what does the average person know about dentistry? A whole lotta nothin’. So, we base our decisions on how nice the staff is, how short the wait time is, and whether our similarly clueless neighbor recommends them. No offense to the neighbor. And I’m not saying chair side manner isn’t an important consideration. It’s just not the ONLY consideration.
So, instead, I choose to base my choice in dental professionals on their philosophy. I figure, if a dentist eagerly reads research or attends continuing education events to find the best products, but they still charge the same as other dentists, then they must take pride in their work.
But how do you know if a dentist falls into that camp? Well, I happen to have a unique insight on that front. I work for a dental manufacturer who makes a lot of products. Some are on a level playing field with the competitors’ products. Some are quite a bit better. One product in particular is undeniably the best in the market and ALL the research confirms it. You heard me: 100% unanimity. The product happens to be the adhesive used to stick tooth-colored fillings to your teeth–one that determines how long your filling will last and whether it causes you sensitivity. So, I would say that’s a pretty important product in the scheme of a dental treatment. Now, the product is pretty new (released in the last five years or so), which means that most practicing dentists didn’t learn about it in school. That means that if they are using this product, they either read the research or learned about it at a continuing education event. You may wonder if advertising or sales reps could have had an impact. Well, adhesives are kind of a comfort zone product for dentists, so they don’t tend to change their system of choice very often. It’s actually a pretty tough sale that probably involved presenting the research, anyway. As for the advertising, I don’t think any dentist would change their adhesive because of an ad.
So, based on the whole story I just gave you, my recommendation for a Flower Mound dentist is actually a dentist in Argyle. He works the best for us because he also has an office in Bedford, meaning my husband has easier access from work in Dallas, while I can easily go to Argyle from Flower Mound.
Now, to my experience at Dr. Studer’s office.
The office is located in an unassuming little commercial strip in an area of town that can only be described as “Texas.” It seems a little bit rural and it’s sure pretty out there. The waiting room is small; I think there were only two or three chairs. That’s a good thing, because it means they don’t expect you to wait long. In fact, I sat down and pulled out my phone to check email, but I didn’t even get to read one message before I was called back. The other patients there were not hoity-toity Dallas types, but real Texas folks with dirt on their boots. The receptionist calls everyone “Darlin'” and “Sweetie.” It’s charming.
I was led to the first operatory in the office, where the hygienist asked me a bunch of questions about my teeth, my health, my family, my job, etc. This all happened while I was seated upright, looking at her eye-to-eye. It was time for a full series of x-rays, which they took using a digital gadget, the results of which I could instantly see on a monitor on the wall. After they captured all angles of every tooth, Dr. Studer came in and introduced himself. Again, I was sitting up. The hygienist told him everything she had learned about me, including details about my life and job, without looking at any notes. He asked a couple questions of his own, then tilted me back and began a very thorough exam. He performed an oral cancer screening, checked for clicking in my jaw (TMJ screening), asked about my tonsils, and looked at every single tooth, giving the hygienist instructions of what to chart about each one.
After all that, Dr. Studer looked at the x-rays and explored potential issues with a dental instrument while he explained things to me. “Do you see that gray area there? It looks like a void, but when we transluminate it, you can see that it’s uniform. That means it’s probably adhesive under your composite filling–nothing to be concerned about.” I made some comment about how my last dentist didn’t use my company’s adhesive (which shows up on x-rays instead of looking like a void). Dr. Studer said, “Yeah, I really like your adhesive. You know which product I can’t live without, though? The caries indicator.”
Our caries indicator was originally invented to assist inexperienced dentists in finding and removing all the decay in a tooth. The inventor never intended to use it himself, thinking he was experienced enough to do it unaided. After one of his colleagues nagged him enough, though, he started using it himself and was surprised at how much decay he was leaving inside the tooth. He was a believer from that point forward. I told this story to Dr. Studer. He said that he’d had a similar experience. His assistant had learned about the product and recommended it to him, but he had been dismissive. Then she said, “Dr. Studer, you’re always telling me to ‘be scientific,’ so why don’t you just try this sample?” So, he did. After he was completely finished excavating and 100% positive he had removed all the infected tooth structure, he would paint on the caries indicator. He was shocked. He had been so certain that he had removed everything, and yet, there would be some green stain, indicating remaining decay. Since that day, he has not put in a filling without the use of a caries indicator. He even went so far as to say, “If I’m out of caries indicator, I will reschedule appointments. I am absolutely not going to bond a restoration unless I’m positive the surface is completely clean.” Wow. Talk about no ego. For me, this was such an impressive view of Dr. Studer’s character.
Following the exam, the hygienist, Kristen, cleaned my teeth using an ultrasonic scaler. (That’s like the regular scraping instrument hygienists always use, but it has a vibrating effect like an ultrasonic toothbrush.) She fine tuned the cleaning with the regular instrument afterward and then painted a fluoride varnish on my teeth. Before sending me to the front, she gave me a hygiene kit with the usual stuff, plus some plastic tooth picks, small brushes on a stick to strengthen my gums, and the lip balm she had used on me prior to cleaning my teeth. The receptionist printed out a treatment plan for me that included the full amount of the work I needed performed, the amount my insurance would likely pay, and what my responsibility would likely be. She said they would be happy to file a pre-determination with my insurance company to get the exact numbers.
So, by the end of the appointment, I can honestly tell you that I have never felt like someone cared as much about my teeth as the professionals working at this office. I can enthusiastically recommend this office without hesitation.
Now, if a drive to Argyle doesn’t work for you, I did find a few dentists in Flower Mound who also use really good products . . . just not the adhesive, which I’ll admit is kind of a soap box product for me.
I actually price checked Drs. Studer, Revering, and Cleveland. All charged roughly the same for every procedure, though Dr. Cleveland was slightly higher.
Any questions? Just let me know.