Bill Zortman: Dr. Dennis Miller and Dr. Lou George with us from Siouxland Oral Surgery. Gentlemen, good morning.
Dr. Denis Miller: Good morning.
Dr. Lou George: Good morning, Bill.
Bill: So, when do you call in an oral surgeon? Is there a team that you work with? How does that come together?
Dr. Miller: That’s a great question, and the way we run our practice is it’s a collaborative effort — a team approach with our referral base of dentists. And luckily in our region, we’re blessed with just a tremendous cadre of really good dentists, both technically and from an experience standpoint and knowledge base. So, when you come out of dental school, you’re given a toolset of different things that you’re really good at and you’re trained and competent in, and that grows over the years. And in our referral network and our collaborative team approach, we get called in when a general dentist looks at a case and says this is something that belongs in the focus of a specialty where we’ve gotten additional training. Typically, that occurs with the more difficult wisdom teeth, with dental implants, and then with some of the facial reconstruction surgeries and grafting that occurs, because that’s where our focus is for four years after dental school.
Dr. George: And also, Bill, we always want to be a support system for all of our referrals, and they know that. And those referrals, who know us very well, know that they could call anytime, and we would gladly work with them and work with their patient to make sure that they get an expedient resolve with us.
Dr. Miller: And I just want to add on to that. One of our fortes is to take care of patients that need emergency treatment — somebody who has a big infection, they’re in pain, a broken tooth that happened yesterday — and both Dr. George and I, we really want to take care of those people because nobody wants to be in pain or infected and be told, “Oh, I’m sorry we’re too busy to take care of you.” We go the extra mile, we stay the extra hours, we’ll work through lunch to take care of that patient pool in specific. And that’s I think how we really support our referrals and the dentists we work with, and that’s kind of our block, our plugin, as part of the team approach.
Dr. George: And this is always very consistent; this isn’t anything that’s new, Bill. This is something that has been part of our practice philosophy for well over a decade, so we’re very happy to be able to be those people that folks know they can call.
Bill: Collaborative effort – it’s what you not only do for those that call, but you offer training for those and that can come together with you to learn and talk as a group.
Dr. Miller: Yeah, and we do that specifically within our study club. We meet once a month, seven times out of the year. It would be nice to meet 12 times out of the year, but let’s face it, there’s Christmas holidays and summer. Seven months out the year is plenty, and we talk about different topics, not only in dentistry but a lot of them in medicine. We have lectures on cancer treatment and how the dental field fits in with that. We have lectures on anesthesia. We have lectures on ER medicine and general medicine, cardiology, and then, of course, we have lecturers come in from around the region that talk to us about all the different disciplines of dentistry, so we all learn together.
Bill: The IV sedation is something that your office has worked very hard at and offers in a way that people should know about.
Dr. Miller: The IV sedation is an integral component of oral surgery, so when you come out of dental school, you’re trained as a general dentist, and if you’d like to provide anesthesia services, and some general dentists do, you go on to different additional training, and that allows you to offer light to moderate sedation in the office for dental procedures. In our world, we’re trained under the anesthesiologist in the residency setting, and we could go a little further into the deep sedation area, and it has to do with different levels of being able to support the airway. But again, oral surgery by its very nature is invasive, so we need that extra tool in our kit to be able to take care of patients in a safe and, for lack of a better term, humane manner to make it as comfortable as possible.
Bill: The background that you both have as dentists, and then getting specialty training, puts you in a position you know what the dentists are going through or have. And now you have additional education, additional training, and experience to serve the customers.
Dr. Miller: Yes, I think both Dr. George and I, we went for additional training after dental school, and we did a lot of things that a general dentist would do. So we didn’t just come out of dental school and into oral surgery and “voom” started doing oral surgery. We know the ramifications of what oral surgery does to the dentists. Let’s say if you’re removing a lot of teeth and doing some bone smoothening work, we know how to do that and as we do it how it’s going to turn out and what impact that will have on the dentist making the dentures. And that’s a whole different scenario versus someone who comes right out of dental school and goes right into oral surgery. They’ve never really had to make, let’s say, dentures out in the real world and deal with some of the problems that can occur if these things aren’t done right. So that’s why having that additional training after dental school I think makes us better oral surgeons.
Bill: Your experience, Dr. Lou, you got some big communities involved — Philadelphia, Temple. We don’t normally think of those as the prairie of South Dakota. You’ve seen lots of things in your side of it that you bring to the table that a lot of times people from this part of the world will never see. That’s part of your experience.
Dr. George: Yes, Bill, that is very true. Where Dr. Miller and I both trained for oral surgery was Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, which is a very, very busy level 1 trauma center. We deal with trauma from all over the region there. So in terms of managing traumatic injuries and reconstructive procedures, our training, we feel, is not only beyond adequate but exemplary for what we’ve had to face and encounter out there. We like to bring our knowledge of dealing with different, let’s say, urban problems that we were able to manage appropriately there, back here to our area. So seeing a lot of the patients that we encounter here, let’s say, it’s — nothing really stifles us or kind of throws us for a loop.
Bill: You’ve been there done that.
Dr. George: Yes sir, that’s not any way to puff out our chest or anything in that manner at all. We just feel very comfortable with what we’re doing after having been through a very rigorous residency program like we both attended.
Bill: So if I’ve got a need for Siouxland Oral Surgery, how do I get started?
Dr. Miller: One really good way to get started is to visit us on our website at siouxlandoralsurgery.com and take a look at the different services that we offer. We’ve got a number of nice videos and explanations — you get to meet both of us — and then give us a call: 335-1080.
Bill: Dr. Lou George, Dr. Dennis Miller, thanks for joining us.
Dr. Miller: Thanks, Bill.
Dr. George: Thank you, Bill.