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Sutton Dental Arts most significant moments of 2016

Hello All!  As we begin a new year and look back on 2016, we thought that it would be appropriate to write a few lines about some of the Sutton Dental Arts highlights. It was pretty much a typical year, but some new events and changes certainly came along. We do our best to make those changes as positive and valuable to our patients as possible.

Dr. Stefanie Beckley

One significant change in 2016 was the welcome addition of Dr. Stefanie Beckley. She has returned to work as an associate dentist here at Sutton Dental Arts after having finished her training at OHSU School of Dentistry in 2015. As many of you know, Dr. Beckley worked for Dr. Sutton for several years as a hygienist prior to deciding to pursue her doctorate degree. Many people don’t realize though, that she also worked for Dr. Sutton some 20+ years ago as a dental assistant! We are very happy to have her back on board helping to ensure that our patients continue to receive the finest, highest quality dentistry achievable anywhere.

Dr. Sutton and Caitlin

In February of 2016, Dr. Sutton, along with his wife Rachel, daughter Caitlin, and her boyfriend Sam, travelled to Mexico to participate in providing free dental care at a Rotary sponsored dental clinic in the small town of Mulege on the Baja peninsula. Roseburg endodontist Alan Liesinger and his wife Susan maintain a home there and are tremendous backers of the free dental clinic. At their invitation and with their gracious hospitality, we provided care to the local residents at the free clinic. It was a humbling and somewhat frustrating experience at once. Trying to care for peoples’ dental needs with limited materials and resources made it very clear how privileged we are in America. At the same time, it was tough knowing how simple it would be to improve things “if only we had a ______”; it makes one think how easy it is to remove a bolt with a wrench and how impossible it is if you don’t have one! The people were wonderful and appreciative and the chance for us to share our gifts with others was as good for our hearts as it was for their teeth.

2016 also had quite a bit of emphasis on the ties between overall general health and dental and oral health. From many areas, research is consistently showing that signs and symptoms of many diseases have some relationship with the conditions seen in the mouth. The dentist can often be a critical part of the early detection and diagnosis of significant health problems. An example of this is a large correlation between gum disease and heart disease. We see a possibility that people who seek regular dental care may see a reduction in their medical insurance rates, much like non-smokers get lower life insurance rates. Along these lines, oral cancers as well as head and neck disorders of numerous types may be initially diagnosed at the dentist. This last year I have found several such items ranging from oral cancer to gastroesophageal reflux disorder. I have even had a patient that presented for unusual facial numbness and my suspicion of a brain tumor was confirmed. Regular visits to the dentist may save your life!