Surveys reveal that ghosts, snakes and public speaking are among our most dreaded fears. Though for many, a trip to the dentist ranks at the top of the list. Whether she’s working with terrified children, anxious adults or anyone with special needs, Dr. Natalya Carmichael has mastered the art of com- forting patients in her Rancho Penasquitos practice while taking an advanced approach to cosmetic, implant and general dentistry.
Having earned doctorate degrees from the presti- gious Loma Linda University’s School of Dentistry, she brings a wealth of experience to this established family practice she recently took over.
Her office is equipped with veritable creature comforts that help fearful patients glide through their visits. She offers them everything from pillows and blankets to lumbar support, music and a coffee cart—a first-class experience that other dentists often don’t match.
“I want my patients to feel safe and comfortable,” said Dr. Carmichael. “For me, the highest compli- ment I receive is when patients say they get a warm, fuzzy feeling when coming here.”
Dr. Carmichael is keen on providing complete health care. Half of all Americans 30 years and older have some form of gum disease. That trans- lates to 64.7 million people, according to the Academy of Periodontology. With the use of modern technology, she tackles the problem gently and efficiently.
The inflammatory condition, she points out, is signaled by swollen and bleeding gums. It not only affects the bone structure of our teeth when left unchecked, but it can eventually become life-threatening when bacteria festering in the gums infiltrates the bloodstream.
Dr. David Rosenthal concurs. He’s an eminent nephrologist at Kaiser Permanente who previously completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic.
“As a practicing kidney doctor, I see some very sick patients who have neglected their teeth and oral health,.” he said, citing a recent case in which gum disease lead to a chronic infection in one of his patient’s heart valves.
“The bacteria stuck to the valve, which resulted in the need for open-heart surgery to replace the valve. That ultimately caused kidney failure. The patient was on antibiotics for six weeks,” he added.
Dr. Carmichael added: “If we have chronic inflammation in our body, such as in our gums, it increases the risk factor for other things like stroke, heart attack, arthritis, respiratory disease and chronic tiredness.”
She equates the bacterium to “having bugs in your mouth,” saying that people often don’t know they are lurking just beneath the gum line until bad breath sets in and bleeding from brushing and flossing starts to occur.
Those are the early warning signs. But in many cases this silent disease can be detected and addressed beforehand through regular checkups and periodontal treatment by a dentist like Dr. Carmi- chael, who vigilantly watches for the presence of such bacteria.
In cases where gum disease has taken root, she employs one of the best tools of the trade for eradicating the “bugs.” It’s known as the diode laser, which in many cases effectively replaces the traditional use of antibiotics for combating the aggressive bacteria. It can also spare patients subsequent trips to a periodontist.
The laser goes under the gums and pinpoints unhealthy tissue with precise accuracy, thus cleaning and rejuvenating the gums in a fast, painless manner.
“It feels a little warm, and that’s it,” Dr. Carmichael assures, comparing its technological capabilities to those of Smartphones versus long-outdated flip phones.
Dr. Carmichael is acclaimed for her unprecedented transparency. She has invested in technology that affords patients high-resolution images of the procedures she performs, whether they are root canals, crowns, dental implants, laser treatments or other therapies. Using a state-of-the-art intraoral camera, she is able to show patients step-by-step the procedures she carries out. It’s an important amenity that beckons to when she would bring her car to a mechanic for repairs or maintenance. No matter what the issue, the final charge was always $1,000 on average.
“The Secret To Caring For Your Patients … is Caring For Your Patients”
Dr. Francis Peabody from Harvard Medical School
Eventually she was referred to a mechanic who replaced her brakes. He actually showed her the wear and tear on the old ones, and explained in detail why the replacement was perti- nent to her safety. “I felt like he actually cared about me,” she said. Such proof of service and depth of understanding are what Dr. Carmichael and her staff extend to every patient who walks through the door. She demystifies the experience behind the procedures taking place in our mouths while we normally sit clueless in the dentist chair. Inspired by the late Dr. Francis Peabody from Harvard Medical School, she adheres to his patient centric advice about running a medical practice: “The secret to caring for your patients is caring for your patients.”
It is that level of compassion that makes Dr. Carmichael fully accessible to her patients. She lives in proximity to the office; she answers to weekend emergencies; and she offers extended hours to patients with restricted schedules. She is also commit- ted to giving back to the community, which has so readily embraced her. Motivated by her 16-year-old son in sports, Dr. Carmichael is on a mission to make durable mouth guards available to student athletes. Because insurance doesn’t cover them, she is exploring avenues to donate them to schools in the Rancho Penasquitos area.
“The heart of my practice is my patients,” Dr. Carmichael insists with words of gratitude to them and to her expert staff as well. “We are here to serve you with all of our knowledge and experi- ence for making you healthier, stronger and better.”
Dr. Carmichael’s office is located at 9728 Carmel Mountain Road. For more information, call 858-484-2560 or visit www.carmichaeldds.com.