Dr Inna Rostker is a dentist at The Dental Suite, a clinic in San Francisco that performs cosmetic, routine and emergency dental procedures. The dentists at the clinic take advantage of modern technology to provide better service to their patients, and provide full-service dentistry – from routine check ups to surgery.
Inna, how did you decide you wanted to be a dentist?
I got introduced to dentistry by chance. I went to medical school in Russia, where I grew up, and intended to continue medical studies after relocating to the US. I knew it would be a long time before I could focus on education and would be able to afford it.
But first, I had to get a job, any job to provide or my family. I was told about an on-job-training opportunity but that would be for a dental assistant position. I grabbed that chance, worked as a dental assistant and luckily, realized how much I enjoyed dentistry.
Where did you get your training?
In the US, you have a better chance of getting into a dental school if you have a bachelor’s degree from college. So I went to university first, where I studied molecular biology and computer science. After that, I was admitted into the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry, which was a great honour as it is one of the leading and most prestigious dental schools in North America.
I was incredibly lucky to be trained by many renowned dental clinicians and the leading experts and innovators in the field. Under their guidance, I participated in important researches that paved the way to many methods and techniques used in dentistry today, such as the use of fluoride to prevent dental decay and the use of lasers in dentistry.
What kind of procedures do you specialise in?
I am a general dentist which means that I was trained and has been practicing almost all dental procedures. After 20 years doing that, of course I have my favourite procedures. I would say that two areas I enjoy most are emergency care and cosmetic procedures. Obviously, it’s incredibly rewarding to get people out of pain. Getting them feel more confident is important too that’s why cosmetic dentistry is rewarding as well.
Does The Dental Suite do routine dental check ups or just aesthetic procedures?
We have 5 dentists working at The Dental Suite now, all of whom are general practitioners which means they are trained and skilled in multiple areas of dentistry. When we see a new patient, we all start with detailed examination, screening and diagnosing. We utilize the latest available technologies such as digital X-Rays, no radiation fluorescent cavity detection, and oral cancer screening, intra oral photography.
Depending on the patient’s need, we can remove tooth decay and restore teeth with plastic or porcelain restorations. For patients seeking aesthetic improvements, nowadays we use digital design to truly customize their smile to their facial features taking function into the account as well.
How do you deal with an anxious patient?
First let me state that we absolutely understand how most people feel an immediate anxiety once they’ve stepped into a dental office. And many even for days prior to that. So we don’t judge and we are compassionate towards them. That’s a very important approach! And of course, we have medications that we can use to make people relaxed and comfortable.
What are the most common requests your patients have?
I’d say most people are concerned with 2 things: pain and unnecessary treatment.
We’ve already talked about taking care of pain related anxiety. In regard to the second area of concern, that’s why we use such an advanced tools and technologies in our screening and diagnosing process. This way we’re able to pinpoint the exact problems they might have and they can see them too through the imaging that we offer.
Are you seeing any new trends in dentistry?
I’d say the biggest trend in dentistry now, as in many other customer service areas, is a true customization. Which most often means the use of IT. Right now, there’s a digital boom in dentistry. We can take 3D images, process them and use to create truly individualized treatments.
We can scan people’s smile and duplicate them exactly which comes in handy when they loose their teeth, let’s say in an accident and want new teeth to look exactly like what they’d had before. Or if for example a mom loses her teeth over her lifetime but admires her daughter’s smile, we can use the exact duplicate of the daughter’s teeth shape to create mom’s new teeth. That’s just an incredible opportunity given to us by all the advances of the century and the emotional impact on people is priceless.