WOODBURY — Dentists Robert F.C. LaRosa, DDS, MAGD, FICOI and James B. Marshall, DMD, MAGD, FICOI are passionate about what they do for a living. They head Family & Preventive Dentistry, 357 Main St. South, and consider their focus of medicine as more than just caring for teeth.
Dr. Marshall told Voices, “This is another avenue of healthcare. The mouth is the entryway into the body and where everything starts. We consider everything in the mouth and how it interacts with the body, such as the jaw, muscles, salivary glands, and more.”
Dr. LaRosa agreed. “There are studies that show a correlation between gum and heart disease. It’s important to remember that the mouth is not separate from the body but connected to it.”
The dentists spend a significant amount of their time learning more about their profession.
Both are fellows in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and have received their masters from the Academy of General Dentistry.
Less than two percent of all dentists nationwide reach the latter level of academic achievement.
“Without question, things change so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with improvements. They happen about every nine to 12 months,” Dr. Marshall commented.
State requirements dictate that dentists in Connecticut must complete a minimum of 25 hours of continuing education every two years; the dentists at Family & Preventive Dentistry take or present more than 100 hours of education each year.
“You wouldn’t think it’d be very interesting to spend an evening with a bunch of dentists but it’s what we like to do,” Dr. LaRosa said. “I left school in 1989 and half of what I do in a day now I couldn’t even conceive of doing then. It’s amazing to me what I can do in the office today.”
He described the ability to create imagery in the office and display it on a computer screen so that an implant can be properly positioned. “We don’t need to send the patient to a hospital to create the image and advances like that really impact treatment.”
The range of restorative services and materials has also changed for the better as has the ability to access expert opinions.
“What’s nice about the courses we take, there is generally a small group of dentists so the setting is intimate and we get to know the instructors. That means we can email questions and get answers to ensure we’re always current with the best materials and procedures,” Dr. Marshall pointed out.
Dr. LaRosa said, “Most people in our profession are solo practitioners. Honestly, I didn’t like that much and prefer to have a colleague so we can bounce ideas off one another. We get along really well and always have a lot of fun here.”
He feels that dentistry encompasses all of the things he likes to do. “It’s science, math, working with my hands, working on small things, and helping people. We can use education and treatment together to make people’s mouths and their lives better.”
His business partner agreed with the level of interest they both bring to learning more about their chosen profession. “As we learn more and share that knowledge with our patients, the outcomes are better.
“No one likes to come to the dentist. Most people are scared to death to come here. But, if we make the experience less mysterious and more open, talk about what we do and why, make people more comfortable and help them understand, then they’re more likely to floss, brush, and have their teeth cleaned twice a year.”
Dr. LaRosa noted that he’s often heard how that exam is the most thorough the patient has ever experienced.
“When someone comes to us, we talk with them about their needs and get to know them before we walk into a treatment room. There is no hard sell here. We perform a thorough exam and show them their current dental condition and what could be done to improve it.”
Dr. Marshall said, “Typically, there isn’t just one way to do something so we help patients choose what is best for them.”
The two dentists merged their practices in 2002 to form the existing practice.
The length of employment for staff members is a testament to the type of work environment that exists at Family & Preventive Dentistry; the shortest term is 11 years and the longest is 34 years.
“We’re passionate about what we do and take the time to educate ourselves to be better at doing it,” Dr. LaRosa said. “This office is exactly the place that we wanted to create.”
More information is available at www.woodburyctdentists.com and Facebook.
Appointments are available weekdays with select evening hours to accommodate patient work schedules and may be made by calling 203-263-5575.