HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD BY A DENTIST THAT YOU HAVE A CAVITY? Maybe too often for some, but has the dentist ever sat eye-to-eye with you to explain why?
At Staffordshire Dental Group, P.A., patients aren’t left wondering if there is something they could do to improve their oral health, instead, education is the priority.
“We take pride in making patients feel welcome and we want them to feel as though they are part of our family. We don’t just see this as a dental office, it’s an opportunity for our team to educate and serve the community,” says Dr. Joseph Gallelli (Dr. Joe), a second-generation dentist at Staffordshire, where patients are able to sit down and talk with the doctors in order to come to an understanding of their personal needs. “Patients have individual needs and to meet these unique needs, a personalized approach is necessary.”
This philosophy has been at the core of the practice since it was founded in the early ’80s. Staffordshire has a staff of four full-time dentists, including founders Dr. Pasquale Gallelli and Dr. John Lenahan, along with Dr. Ian Caldwell and the aforementioned Dr. Joe. They are supported by nearly 40 employees, who all feel like family.
“We are so lucky to have such a great team, it’s what makes our office so special. When a patient walks into Staffordshire, we strive to make patients feel welcomed, we want them to feel at home, and we want them to feel supported by our team,” Dr. Joe says.
“Our office manager, Sandy, and the front desk do an incredible job. They make it easy for patients to schedule appointments, answer questions, review treatment plans and financing options. The front desk also works with patients to have a better understanding of their insurance benefits,” he says.
For patients, this team effort amounts to more convenience and better service, including weeknight and Saturday hours, as well as an inhouse dental plan that takes 20% off most procedures for patients who don’t have insurance coverage.
When asked what is most important to prevent cavities, Dr. Joe believes patient education is key. Patient education can make a significant impact on oral health. “Dietary habits play a significant role in the development of cavities,” he says. “Every time you take a bite of food or sip on a beverage between meals, it creates an acidic environment in your mouth. This acidic environment causes damage to the teeth. If you are sipping or snacking too frequently it can cause an imbalance in pH, resulting in generalized cavities. Saliva, which neutralizes these acids, is the body’s natural defense to cavities. It takes about 20 minutes for saliva to neutralize these acids. Once the acids are neutralized, saliva heals and strengthens teeth. If you’re constantly sipping or snacking, this creates an imbalance which is a problem.”
Another important habit is brushing prior to bed. “While you sleep, saliva production drops. Brushing before bed is the most important time to brush,” Dr. Joe explains.
Additionally, just because something doesn’t hurt, does not mean there isn’t a problem. “Small- to medium-sized cavities generally do not cause any pain. It is important to have your teeth examined every six months to diagnose cavities early. This is important to prevent the need for a root canal,” he says.
Staffordshire Dental offers a variety of services, including but not limited to, fillings, root canals, same-day crowns, veneers, extractions and implants. Dental implants can be used to replace single or multiple missing teeth. Furthermore, implants can also be used to provide additional support for dentures.
You also might not be aware that a dentist can assess and treat patients for sleep apnea. Dr. Joe says sleep apnea likely affects 25% of the population but many people aren’t even aware they suffer from it.
“We don’t just examine teeth; we provide oral cancer exams and evaluate the airway. If you’re always tired, sleep apnea might be the reason for it,” he says. “If you have sleep apnea, your airway collapses while you are sleeping. These collapses prevent oxygen from entering the lungs and cause your blood oxygen levels to decrease. The brain and heart become strained because of the lack of blood oxygen. Therefore, heart attacks and strokes are more common in people with untreated sleep apnea. It is also associated with other diseases like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
“While a CPAP machine is the gold standard for treating sleep apnea, only a small percentage of patients can tolerate wearing it. If you can’t tolerate a CPAP, you still deserve to have a better night’s rest, and there are oral appliances, similar to nightguards, that can act as an alternative to CPAP therapy for these patients,” Dr. Joe says.
“It all boils down to patient education. We have an amazing team, fantastic doctors, our office is beautiful and we have state-of-the-art-technology, but our greatest tool is education,” Dr. Joe explains. “My favorite part of this job is not necessarily the dentistry, it’s getting to know all of these wonderful people in the community and being able to ensure we do everything we can to provide them with the best care. It starts with the front desk before you even walk through the door, and it never ends. As a dentist, we don’t just fix teeth, we are responsible for bettering the oral health of our community and we take our job seriously.”
Staffordshire Dental Group, P.A.
1307 White Horse Road, Building E, Suite 500 | Voorhees | (856) 627-3400
Photography by Alison Dunlap
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (October 2020).
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