Vol. LXV, No. 7
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
DEFINITIVE DENTISTRY: It is so rewarding to be able to make a positive difference in someones life. In some cases, I have even helped patients to turn their lives around. Dr. Lekha Tull, DDS, FAGD, looks forward to seeing patients at her state-of-the-art dental office on North Harrison Street.
Has that Million Dollar Smile slipped a bit? Showing some wear and tear over time? Coffee, tea, and red wine taken their toll?
There are so many factors that can affect ones teeth, including the acids in fruit, which can cause the enamel to erode, and of course, staining from coffee, tea, and red wine.
Regular check-ups are crucial to ensure the health of your teeth, and in addition, there are many other dental services available today from whitening, implants, one-visit crown fabrication, and even dental appliances to control sleep apnea.
Dr. Lekha Tull, DDS, FAGD, offers all of the above, as well as veneers, bonding, Velscope oral cancer screening, and Invisalign braces.?
Her office at 214 North Harrison Street (you cant miss it; its the light purple building near the Princeton Shopping Center) offers the latest state-of-the-art technology and top-notch equipment.
A graduate of Northwestern University Dental School, Dr. Tull was born in India, where she also earned a masters degree in human genetics. I had not originally planned to be a dentist, she explains, but I always liked doing things with my hands, and I wanted to be in a field where I could interact with people. One day, I was waiting in my dentists office, and overheard the dentists conversation about ceramics relating to crowns. A light bulb went off in my head! It seemed similar to the work I was doing in my art classes, and I immediately took the dental school admissions test.
Passing with flying colors, Dr. Tull entered Northwestern, which afforded her excellent experience in many areas of dentistry. I loved dental school, and I worked hard, she recalls. In 1984, Northwestern was THE training ground for implants, and I had very good instruction for that.
She opened her practice in 1986, moving to the current location six years ago. Establishing a family practice, Dr. Tull has enjoyed all aspects of her work, and she takes the well-being of her patients very seriously. When a patient comes to me, they are placing so much trust in me. I feel I should be worthy of that trust, and I work hard to earn it.
Helping nervous patients to be calm is important, and she works to ensure their comfort. The best thing is to let patients know that they are in control. I always explain the procedure to them, and always stop if they have a problem. Most of the time, we fear the unknown, so if they know what is happening, it is better for them.
As part of every examination, in addition to cleaning and checking for cavities and gum disease, Dr. Tull includes a Velscope cancer screening. Early detection can save lives.
Periodontal (gum) disease was a very serious problem for many people in past times, but it is now less of a worry, reports Dr. Tull. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria and poor dental hygiene. We can prevent it by looking for signs early on, and using localized antibiotics, if necessary. We work with patients to educate them about proper dental hygiene.
Important tips for all patients are brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, replacing the tooth brush every three to four months, flossing daily, eating a well-balanced diet, and visiting the dentist regularly for routine cleanings and oral exams.
Implants are an increasingly important part of Dr. Tulls practice, and she is impressed with the difference it can make in patients lives, not just their smile!
People can have broken or lost a tooth, and they are very self-conscious about it. This procedure can make such a difference, and our implants are state-of-the-art and long-lasting.
In the past several years, teeth whitening has also become very popular, she notes. Due to enamel staining, the teeth may have lost their glow, and Dr. Tull offers in-office laser whitening, with follow-up maintenance. Many patients are asking for this service.
With her state-of-the-art equipment, Dr. Tull is also able to provide CEREC computerized dentistry, for crowns. Every room has a computer and intra-oral camera, she explains. Because of the technology, we are able to create and customize the crown all in one visit. We can match the color exactly to the other teeth, and there is no waiting period. It is all done in our lab. The crown is compressed porcelain, and very durable.
One of the latest services Dr. Tull offers is helping patients who suffer from sleep apnea. I became interested in this because of a friends experience with it, and the more I learned, the more I felt dental appliances could help.
Caused by a blockage of the air passage, sleep apnea occurs when one is asleep, and it can interrupt breathing. It is said to be one of the most severely undiagnosed problems today, and studies have linked it to conditions, such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, GERD, and dementia.
Dental Sleep Medicine
Symptoms include snoring, waking up and choking or gasping for air, feeling tired upon awakening in the morning, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
I took several courses, reports Dr. Tull, and I became certified in several dental sleep medicine academies, including the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
After a test to determine if a patient has the condition, and the level of severity, various treatments are available from Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machines to surgery. Oral dental appliances, similar to orthodontic retainers or night guards, are another method. They can keep the airway open by positioning the lower jaw forward and preventing the tongue from falling back over the airway.
I am very pleased to offer this service to patients, says Dr. Tull. It can really be a life-saver.
Providing the best care to patients is her top priority, and everything is done with great care from not over-booking to three procedures of sterilization for all instruments.
We do not make people wait, she says. I know my patients time is valuable. I am also very involved in ongoing education, and it is important to keep up with everything. We now have a pediatrics dentist in the office, because of the special experience required in that field.
In my 25 years of practice, there have been tremendous advances in technology. I knew that was happening, but what is amazing is how rapidly it is advancing.
Dr. Tulls hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (609) 924-5171. Website: princetondentist.net.
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