Q: What is your motivation to open a new practice after 30 years as a dentist?

Dana: Let me describe my transition first as professional, then from a personal perspective. I can tell you that as a professional, after 31 years of doing primarily restorative dentistry–in other words, fixing things that were wrong–I have decided to change the focus in my professional journey. And that would be to work on what I call wellness-based dentistry.

Wellness-based dentistry is helping people achieve better health, or remain healthy – both orally and systemically, as opposed to treating disease–cavities and periodontal disease, etc–after the fact. I refer to the interrelated connection between the mouth and the body as the oral-systemic connection. I’ve studied the oral and systemic connection extensively, and I’m very aware that what happens in the body shows up in the oral cavity and visa-versa. What’s happens in the oral cavity can play a major role in the overall health of an individual.

So at this point, after 30 years of performing restorative-type work, where I’m fixing issues after they have occurred, I’m now proactively pursuing a wellness approach to dentistry. This approach looks beyond the immediate condition, like an oral cavity, and considers symptoms like myofacial pain, which could be the result of an oral issue or a systemic issue. All the symptoms and conditions I’ve described are interrelated and can only be diagnosed by considering the big picture.

Sleep apnea and gum tissue (periodontium) health also are interrelated with the rest of the body. Although I will continue to offer traditional dentistry services, my ultimate goal and focus is to help prevent disease rather than simply repair and treat conditions.

My own personal transition towards living a healthy lifestyle started about three years ago. I finally came to the conclusion that I was sicker than I wanted to believe and began to make the necessary changes to turn my life around, both health-wise and spiritually. Over that time, I’ve lost a great deal of weight and corrected my blood chemistries that were a result from taking a good amount of medicine. These changes occurred after I learned, for myself, the importance of nutrition. The expression that ‘you are what you eat’ is absolutely true. Today, I’m feeling better than ever; feeling healthier than ever. I continue to study and learn what it really takes to be healthy.

And now, at this point in my career, I have the opportunity to help others to live healthier lifestyles through my practice and through speaking at various conferences.