Open Wide and Say Spaaaa
Not Your Grandma's Dentist
by Elisa Smith
“Progressive dentistry in a relaxing setting” is how Beth Skovron, D.D.S., defines her Heritage Dental practice. She and her staff perform state-of-the-art dentistry in a spa atmosphere to put even the most dental-phobic patients at ease while restoring and maintaining optimal oral health.
“Our patients actually arrive early for their appointments so that they can enjoy our spa amenities, which are all complimentary,” Skovron says. Those amenities include a relaxing reception area with soothing waterfall, chair massagers, warm aromatherapy neck wraps, paraffin wax treatments for hands, blankets and pillows, and even a glass of wine. Gentle sedation is available for the ultra-anxious, and Skovron says they often see patients who have not had success with other dentists due to anxiety issues.
Pampering aside, dentistry is the ultimate reason patients choose Heritage Dental, which is why Skovron and her staff offer technologically advanced therapy options geared toward achieving optimal oral health. She is among fewer than one percent of general dentists to offer in-office 3D CT scans, which reveal a full head and neck image in only 14 seconds, while exposing the patient to far less radiation. “This scanner allows me to do a much more thorough diagnosis,” says Skovron. “It reveals things we weren’t able to see using the older technology, like polyps in the sinuses and cysts in the jaw and neck.”
In addition to being an excellent diagnostic tool, 3D tooth images provide a highly accurate template for placing dental implants. In fact, Skovron refuses to place implants without a CT scan, saying it offers perfect placement due to its precise 3D image of the jaw bone. The scan is used in the creation of a guide worn during the implant procedure that guarantees the implant “goes where it’s supposed to go without surprises,” she says.
Another efficient, high-tech service offered is metal-free crowns in one day using Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEREC, technology. Instead of the old clay-based tooth impression, a digital impression is captured on camera and a ceramic metal-free crown is created in-office on the same day. “The days of temporary crowns requiring multiple appointments and long wait times are over,” says Skovron, adding that today’s ceramics are so strong there’s no more need for metal. Though some metals can be well tolerated by the body, others—like nickel—can break down and leach into tissue, causing problems. “Ceramic dentistry is not only healthier, but prettier, eliminating the grey or opaque hue often associated with metals,” she says.
Skovron’s practice is not only metal-free, but mercury-free, as well. Noting that she hasn’t used mercury in 23 years, Skovron adds that she performs mercury amalgam removal using the protocol established by the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology. Her practice has one room dedicated solely to this procedure, using filters, drapes and multiple charcoal rinses to minimize the risk of airborne mercury vapor being absorbed back into the body.
Oral health consists of more than pretty teeth, and Skovron estimates that about 20 percent of her practice is related to sleep apnea and TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) issues. Citing multiple studies showing that sleep apnea shortens life span by contributing to heart disease, stroke and obesity, Skovron says, “Sleep apnea is a serious health issue, with most unaware that they suffer from it.” Snoring and teeth grinding are the most prevalent symptoms of both conditions, and Skovron says the two conditions often overlap. In the past, a sleep apnea diagnosis most often meant a prescription for a bulky, noisy and uncomfortable CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Modern technology allows that to be replaced with a sophisticated small appliance similar to a bite guard fitted to the top and bottom of the mouth to pull the lower jaw forward and open the airway. Skovron says the appliance often corrects both issues simultaneously, and while any potential insurance coverage requires a medical doctor to write the prescription for the appliance, she can facilitate precertification, accelerating the process.
Heritage Dental offers a full menu of basic dental services including teeth cleaning and whitening, tooth-colored fillings, bridges, dentures, root canals and gum disease treatment—even pediatric dentistry. Yet, it seems to be the combination of high-tech dental options and high-touch pampering that resonates most with patients. Skovron’s practice has grown to the point where she is actively searching for a larger building to move into in 2016, allowing the expansion of spa services to include an oxygen bar and shiatsu lounge. “We like to think we’ve created a better, happier way to deliver excellent dental care,” says Skovron.
Heritage Dental is located at 595 Bethlehem Pike, Ste. 302, in Montgomeryville. For more information, call 215-822-3860 or visit HeritageDentalDDS.com.
Elisa Smith is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings. She can be reached at [email protected]. February 2016.