Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. Michele Holzinger, what was the single influencing factor that helped you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in dentistry?
The biggest factor for me was my father, also a periodontist, with whom I am now in practice. Growing up, I saw how much he really loves the profession. He came home from work every day happy and fulfilled, and he always spoke very highly of using his hands and coming up with new ideas on the fly, and getting to spend his day with patients. As I got older, I started to shadow him as well as other dentists, and I also love that dentistry allows me to combine different skills and to get to know patients on a whole different level.
As a periodontist, you do a lot of different procedures. What are your favorites? Why, as a patient, why would I want to choose you as my periodontist?
My favorite procedures are the ones that involve saving teeth. Traditional osseous surgery is used when a patient has periodontal disease. We open up the area, clean the bacteria and tartar that is attached to the teeth, and reshape the bone, allowing the patient to maintain the teeth for a long time. I think for most patients, maintaining their teeth is their primary goal. It makes me happy when a patient who had this procedure 10 or even 20 years ago keeps coming back to the office with their natural teeth. I also enjoy it because it is different every time. I have to think outside the box and figure out how to make it work for the individual patient.
Another procedure I like to do is gingival augmentation or root coverage, which is performed when a patient has a lot of gum recession. The goal might be to improve aesthetics or reduce sensitivity, or simply to thicken the tissue to save the tooth. I think I’m good at these procedures because I’m very meticulous. I hold myself to a high standard, and I won’t stop until I get the results the patient and I are looking for.
What are the key differentiating factors that would make someone want to choose your practice over other periodontists?
What really makes us stand out is that we’re willing to go above and beyond for our patients. From the second that they come in, our front desk staff and assistants work hard to provide a comforting environment. Then, my father and I try to treat our patients like family, because we know that it’s really hard to go through surgery. Patients are putting their trust in us, and we want to make them as comfortable as possible.
We get to know our patients to learn how we can help best. Some patients want us to talk them through everything, step by step. Others want a distraction, so I’ll talk about my dog or my dad will talk about golf. I think understanding our patients as individuals and giving them personalized support really sets us apart and makes them want to come back.
We’re all taught how often we should see our dentist for regular checkups. How often should a patient visit his periodontist, and at what age should this process start?
If you have healthy gums with no bleeding or tenderness, we recommend visiting your regular dentist twice a year. However, there are different stages of gum disease. The mildest form is gingivitis, which can cause some bleeding during brushing or flossing and occasional tenderness. This stage is when treatment is easiest and most successful. There is no set age, but if you start to see signs of gingivitis, or if your regular dentist or hygienist recommends seeing a periodontist, it is important to go right away. Without treatment, gum disease will get worse, and you could eventually lose your teeth.
Ready to Get Started?
Holzinger Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a father-daughter practice serving patients in Middletown and New Britain, CT. If you are seeking compassionate dental care from a team that treats each patient as an individual, contact us today at 860-347-8457 (Middletown) or 860-224-0433 (New Britain) to schedule your first appointment.