Best of Moffat County: Technology and teeth
July 5, 2012
“Some of the things that people just gloss over and let it go, that’s the big frontier that’s coming up with understanding the implications of your oral health to your systemic health. That’s something that you can do that really changes somebody’s life.”
— Dr. Dushan Voyich, named Moffat County’s best dentist
Dr. Dushan Voyich thinks people have some misconceptions about going to the dentist.
"There's a few things that everybody's afraid of and that would be getting an injection and also drilling," the 49-year-old Livingston, Mont. native said.
However, as with most areas of medicine, Voyich, who was named top dentist in the Craig Daily Press' Best of Moffat County contest, said new technology has made the process of maintaining dental health easier on the patient.
Smaller-caliber needles and new delivery systems have eased the pains resulting from an injection, and the same kind of advances have been made in the area of drilling.
"More efficient drilling techniques — electric drills rather than air driven drills — have increased the effectiveness," he said.
Staying current with technological advances in oral health is important to the Montana State University and Oregon Health Sciences University graduate, who said he has been interested in advances in stem cell research, bone grafting materials, treatment for periodontal disease, the study of biofilm and computer integration, among others.
"Those things that make it easier for me always make it easier for the patent," Voyich said. "I think that is going to be kind of the future of dentistry — more integration of computers, more integration of stem cell research in a perhaps more affordable sense."
Providing quality care with a minimum of unnecessary pain helps Voyich, who lives in Craig with his wife and two children, establish connections with his patients, something he said attracted him to the field.
"I just kind of like being able to have personal interactions and develop one-on-one relationships with people, and kind of change people's lives in a positive way," he said.
Forming those relationships is a key step in making sure patients get regular checkups, which is important to their overall health, not just dental, Voyich said.
"People are beginning to understand that there are a lot of conditions that are systemic conditions that are related to your teeth," he said.
For example, one dental condition that can affect the rest of the body is periodontal disease, a condition where bacteria attack the gum and bone around the teeth, according to the U.S. National Library of medicine.
Voyich said the disease has been linked to coronary artery disease, low birth weight in babies and heart valve problems, to name a few.
Ignoring the condition can result in the spread on antibody resistant bacteria throughout the body, making it hard to treat any resulting ailment, Voyich said.
"Some of the things that people just gloss over and let it go, that's the big frontier that's coming up with understanding the implications of your oral health to your systemic health," he said. "That's something that you can do that really changes somebody's life."
Helping people in Moffat County is something Voyich has taken pride in since he began practicing in Craig in 1989, and the community has reciprocated.
"The community has been very supportive of my practice and my kids grew up here," he said. "I just want to thank the community for that support."