I think that for new dentists, that grew up with technology, the future is really bright, says Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko, a General Dentist practicing in the heart of Downtown Edmonton. She first became attracted to dentistry because it allowed her to work for herself and determine her own future, while still having time for a family.
She realized that she could work in a health care profession and help people, without the long hours doctors have to deal with. Throughout her career, it has become increasingly evident that with the connection and impact of the mouth on the rest of the body, dentists are in fact, “Mouth Doctors”.
Later, she expanded her knowledge and practice into cosmetic, and neuromuscular dentistry, which works to correct jaw misalignment that can lead to headaches, grinding and clenching of the teeth, and sore and tired muscles.
She uses a variety of “technology to help us help them”, such as a Tens device (Myomonitor) to relax the muscles, and K7 jaw tracking computer software to track and measure the muscles and the mouth opening. This gives information about what is going on behind the appearance of your smile, as well as how a misaligned bite can affect your overall health and well-being.
She is extremely thankful to Dr. Bill Dickerson and his team of dedicated clinicians who were instrumental in her Continuing Education Journey at LVI (Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies). Their motto is to always “be the best that you can be” and to never stop the quest for more knowledge.
While a night-guard might be a treatment solution for some problems, others need a more advanced appliance to help correct a misaligned bite. Over a series of appointments an orthotic is designed with, “the hills and valleys of the teeth carved into it, so that when you close your mouth, you only close in one place, then that allows your muscles to rest and relax and work the same on both sides.”
A good balance between the muscles and the teeth is necessary to reduce how hard the muscles need to work to bring the teeth together. Sometimes, when the patient’s symptoms have improved, the orthotic splint can eventually be used only at night. In other cases, neuromuscular braces or porcelain is put on the teeth to bring them into the correct position, which again, is verified with the help of the K7.
It is important to analyze the bite before moving into cosmetic dentistry, according to Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko. The will give the patient a good understanding of the limitations that a “bad bite” presents.
She feels that treatment needs to carefully align with the needs of her patients. After a comprehensive examination, all treatment options are discussed, options presented, risks of leaving things untreated are discussed, and then the patient can make an informed choice on their treatment.
Each patient is given a DISC personality assessment, so that busy people are not kept waiting and have accurate estimates of how long things will take, but other types of patients do not feel hurried, and there is time and someone available on the team to answer their questions.
“Some dentists will see a lot more people in a day that I do, but I focus on one person at a time, comprehensive care, and lots of education on the procedure, so they can make an informed choice on what’s going to work in their mouth and give the alternatives and risks of not moving forward.” Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko.
Making every patient feel like, “They are the most important person in the world,” while they are in her care is important to Dr. Fialka-Eshenko. The other main key to her success, she emphasized, was having a good solid team-base. In the last ten years, there have been many new procedures added to the practice, so like Dr. Fialka-Eshenko, all team members demonstrate dedication to their careers and continuing education has been absolutely essential. This was especially poignant last year when Dr. Fialka-Eshenko was diagnosed with breast cancer, but continued to work and keep the office running with the additional help of a retired classmate.
“The team members and the patients rely on you, and I wanted to make sure their care wasn’t disrupted…I think that it gave me incentive. I thought, ‘I’m not going to sit at home and feel sick.’ I think with the sort of medications they give you to help you feel good, during and after the treatments, chemotherapy is not the kind of scary thing it used to be.” Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko.
Some of her patients thought she was away on holidays and people at the treatment center were always surprised to hear that she was continuing to work, but it was a vital part of balancing her care with that of her own patients. Her office can be reached at: