Personalized Dental Care for Adults

April 2009

Dr. Scott Harden

The benefit of relationships goes far beyond our professional daily existence. The ability to improve our patient’s dental health is a small part of what we can do to enrich their lives and carry forward a valuable sense of self-esteem. Possessing this privilege and further realizing that this opportunity exists allows Dr. Harden, his entire staff at Fountain View Family Dentistry and his patients to experience this special gift every day.
After nearly a quarter century of devotion and professional commitment to dentistry, Dr. Scott Harden has performed hundreds of extensive dental reconstructions, cosmetic smile enhancements, gum surgeries, root canals and general procedures for adults and children alike. He admits in a recent interview that although his passion for dentistry is as strong today as it was in the eighties, and he still appreciates all areas of dentistry, his favorite aspect of dental care is helping senior adults. It is this specialized group of adults over fifty that cumulatively beckons all of his professional talent and allows Dr. Harden to provide them dental care that sets a benchmark for their needs and expectations.

“There are many aspects of dentistry for patients 50 and older that offers unique dental challenges”, says Dr. Scott Harden, and are discussed below. “The key to dental care for adults, however, has more to do with the entire patient experience than strictly the treatment itself.”
Dr. Harden’s success is founded on several cornerstones: open communication, excellent patient care, educated staff and a tremendous focus on patient comfort. In a time when most healthcare professionals spend less time with patients, Dr. Harden has formulated a unique approach to ensure he focuses more time with his patients while utilizing state-of-the-art diagnostic technology. Camera images and digital photographs of the patient’s mouth, support the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and provides unparalleled communication between the doctor and patient. Their office also has CONSULT ROOMS that are great for patients and their spouses to have one-on-one time with Dr. Harden and staff and to facilitate a thorough discussion regarding care before, during and after treatment. In direct contrast to feeling like a number in many healthcare offices, they offer a refreshing approach to healthcare that we observed during this interview.

Quality of care, compassion, relationships, friendly staff, a knowledgeable and personable doctor and an amazing modern spa-style office all translate to a caring approach at Fountain View Family Dentistry, and these values that they have cultivated mean as much to the doctor and staff as it does to their patients — and it shows.

In this challenging economic time, Dr. Harden is very aware of the costs of dentistry and their office has very competitive fees and easy financial arrangements to ensure their patients receive tremendous value coupled with Dr. Harden’s vast amount of experience.

“There are many specific and unique dental concerns associated with patients fifty and over”, states Dr. Harden. A typical example involves a person with gum recession and therefore root exposure, commonly found in adults over fifty. Root exposure often leads to root decay and is enhanced by medications, reduced salivary flow and decreased immune response, which are also age-related. The root decay often goes undetected by the patient because of decreased nerve sensation common in adults over 50, and creates a similar problem for decay under and around old crowns, bridges and fillings. Plaque-induced decay is caused from lack of dexterity associated with age possibly including arthritis, and also due to infrequent dental check-ups. Plaque build up on your teeth also contributes to gum disease or “periodontal disease”. Teeth associated with periodontal disease can develop spaces, collect food and make the periodontal condition worse. Infected teeth and infected gums can lead to tooth abscesses, gum abscesses and can result in the very harmful bacteria circulating through your system to your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and other organs, creating the potential for much more serious health problems later in life.

Other dental problems associated with senior adults include, extensive tooth wear over the years from tooth grinding leading to broken teeth and dental restorations, improper function, and the potential for TMJ or jaw joint problems. Teeth from ill-fitting and old dentures become loose and often require extractions.

Dr. Harden is well aware of all these issues, having treated thousands of patients with similar problems, and believes in a very personalized approach to dental care. “Regular visits are at the heart of this program and permits personalized diagnosis, treatment planning and instruction. The key to helping any patient, especially patients fifty and over first begins with relationships.” It was clear to observe that patients have a special connection with their wonderful dental staff and Dr. Harden that offers them a value far beyond dentistry. “Leave it to me to think like a dentist and believe it had to all be about their teeth”, stated Dr. Harden referring to his earlier years in dentistry. “It is way beyond this. They are seeking a sense of belonging, a person who can listen, understand, and comfort them in a time of need. In dentistry, we maintain a continued relationship every six months that has translated into decades with many of our patients. A routine of taking care of their teeth maintains a state of normalcy in their lives, and establishes a friend who is happy to listen. We extend the opportunity to let them feel good about their dental health and themselves, which may include a new smile, eliminating their tooth decay or gum disease, and ultimately they find a spark of happiness in another realm of their lives, and it all happens at the dental office — believe it or not.”