When Karen Williamson and her classmates tackled a high school assignment to write on a profession they’d like to pursue, she chose dentistry. It would be interesting to see how many of those students even came close with their selection. Karen hit the nail on the head. “From that day I was focused on becoming a dentist, and I can’t imagine any job that would have fit me better,” she said. Always interested in medicine but equally attracted to artistry, Dr. Williamson is able to combine her two passions in her Rockwall dental practice. “My mom is very artistic and my dad was a NASA engineer,” she said. “I suppose I’ve combined the two.”
Oral and General Wellness
And as for her love of medicine, Karen is happy to be practicing dentistry at a time when medical science is waking up to the many correlations between oral health and the overall health of the body; to be actively pioneering the model for advancing dental/medical partnerships. “My practice is about dentistry and oral health, yes. But what happens in the mouth affects the rest of the body. And what happens in the rest of the body affects the mouth,” she said. “According to the Surgeon General’s report, oral examinations can reveal signs and symptoms of more than 90 percent of systemic diseases. My contact with my patients—of all ages—allows me to evaluate their general health: blood pressure, acid reflux, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and sleep apnea, for instance. When I lean someone back in the chair, I’m able to see how they breathe (or don’t) and how they hold their tongue, and then often recognize indications that lead me to recommend a sleep study or referral to a sleep physician.”
When the study shows signs of sleep apnea, Dr. Williamson is able to construct a custom dental appliance which can open up the patient’s airway and allow them to breathe naturally as they sleep. “Doctors are beginning to realize that anyone with a history of cardiac disease or stroke should be screened for sleep apnea,” Dr. Williamson said. “Children with ADHD often suffer from sleep issues as well. Dentists can be the first line of defense recognizing the signs and recommending appropriate studies are performed. Many of my patients dislike the idea of going to a sleep lab for a study, but sophisticated sleep studies are now being done right in the comfort of the patient’s home. Sleep is vital to health and, as dentists, we’re able to spend time with our patients, screening for the warning signs of interrupted sleep.”
In practice for 23 years now, Dr. Williamson is beginning to care for her third generation of patients. “Many children came to me along with their parents,” she said. “I watched those children grow up and head off to college. I watched them get married. Now they’re returning to me with their own kids. Happily, in dentistry we’re still able to take our time with patients, to really get to know them personally. I’d have to say that’s my favorite part of the job, the friendships I’ve been able to forge with my patients and their families.”
Advancing Dental Technology
No two work days are the same for Dr. Williamson. “Every patient is unique and every situation is unique,” she said. “I enjoy the problem solving aspect of my job. I love that when a patient comes to me in pain, I’m able to relieve that pain. When they have a problem or question, I’m able to find the right answer for them. If they’re unhappy with the look of their teeth, I’m able to help with that, too. I learn so much from my patients every day and really enjoy spending time with them.” Dr. Williamson stays current with advancing technology with equipment such as the CEREC same-day crown system. Rather than spend two weeks wearing an unreliable temporary crown, her patients are provided with their permanent crown right there in the office in just one visit. But for all the technology, there still needs to be a personal touch, which will always be more important to Dr. Williamson—to have her patients feel like family.
Highly Experienced Team
Dr. Williamson can’t say enough about her dynamic dental team. “Many of these ladies have been in dentistry 20 years plus,” she said. “They do it because they love it, and they’re extremely knowledgeable. I attend many hours of continuing education each year—far exceeding what’s required—and my team does as well.” In fact, for the past few years, Dr. Williamson and her team have sponsored continuing education for other area dentists and their teams on subjects ranging from sleep apnea (which was attended by 50 local dentists) and the diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer. “We’re passionate about continuing education, for ourselves and others in our field,” Dr. Williamson said.
They’re also passionate about giving back to the community wherever they can and love to get their patients involved in the giving. One of their favorite nonprofits is Patriots Paws, an organization that trains and provides service dogs free of charge to disabled American veterans, those with PTSD, and anyone with mobile disabilities to help restore their physical and emotional independence. They also sponsor local sports teams. And Dr. Williamson has undertaken medical mission trips to Ethiopia and Guatemala.
When not on the job, she loves spending time with her husband and four kids and singing in the choir at First Baptist Church of Rockwall. She enjoys decorating cakes for friends and family, and she and her husband have what she admits is an unusual hobby. “We like to visit courthouses in small Texas towns,” she said. “We spend time in the town square, tour the courthouse, and we kiss on the courthouse steps.”
If you’re looking for a forward thinking and compassionate dental team, visit KarenWilliamsonDDS.com to find out more about the dental professionals at Karen Williamson, DDS, PA.
Dr. Williamson and her team are happy to offer:
- CEREC same-day crowns
- Digital radiography
- Laser dentistry
- In-office crowns
- In-office advanced deep whitening[/one_half]
- Diagnodent high-tech cavity detection
- Oraverse anesthetic reversal agent
- Low-interest long-term financing (for qualified patients)[/one_half_last]
560 West Ralph Hall Parkway, Suite 104
Rockwall, Texas 75032
Text: Meredith Knight
Photo: Marcie Florance