About the Expert
Dr. Brent Fleming’s expertise in dental care encompasses advanced education and practice in implant rehabilitation, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry and Invisalign Clear Aligners. He received his dental degree from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and is a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Dallas County Dental Society, Academy of General Dentistry, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Are you noticing more issues with patients amid the pandemic?
Yes. We’re seeing more incidence of cavities, broken teeth, and diseases of the mouth — especially if someone hasn’t been seeing a dental provider frequently. Gum disease is a chronic disease, so if you don’t stay ahead of it, it becomes difficult to maintain health. We are seeing these types of issues at a higher rate than we normally see.
We moved to a new office. Our norm was strict cleaning protocols, but with the pandemic, and with our new office being under construction during that time, we have things exactly the way we want them. Our HVAC system is top-of-the-line for infection control. We knew exactly what to do, and we didn’t have to retrofit anything. We took everything we learned during COVID to make our offices even better.
Do dentists need additional training in cosmetic dentistry?
It takes a higher level of detail and skill to pull off cosmetic dentistry, especially larger cosmetic dentistry cases. Dental school teaches the basics. After that, you pick which avenue you want to go into, and cosmetic dentistry is one of them. The minimum requirements for dental continuing education in Texas are 16 hours a year. Our practice has three dentists: myself and Drs. James and Michael Guirguis. We each do approximately 150 hours annually.
I just returned from the Kois Center in Seattle, the leading comprehensive dental training center in the country. Cosmetic dentistry requires putting the pieces in the right place and making them work together. You can make things look pretty, but they have to function properly so that they last for a long time. There’s a lot of nuanced skill that goes with that.
What are some advancements in dentistry?
Salivary testing, which reveals what bugs are living in your mouth, and how that affects the condition of your mouth. Comprehensive and advanced protocols for gum disease. Using amazing products and rinses for those patients who are more susceptible to cavities. We’re not only looking at the mouth, but the whole person.
Heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s — these are all linked to how healthy a person’s mouth is. There’s such a correlation between a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Most inflammatory diseases play well with diseases of the mouth — gum disease in particular.
Traditionally, cleaning teeth has been scraping and polishing them. AIRFLOW is kind of like a power washer that eliminates the sticky bacteria on the teeth known as biofilm. It is a combination of air, water, and specially formulated powders. The longer I practice, the more I want to know why things are happening and the reason behind them, get to the source of the problem. Our practice is proactive, not reactive. People don’t think of going to the dentist as the most comfortable place to be. Our goal is to be as best as we can for our patients, to make their experience as unobtrusive as possible, and to make them as comfortable as possible.