After the revelry of the holidays, January is the perfect time to focus on health and wellness in 2023, and a healthy mouth is essential to overall well-being. We spoke to Dr. Wai Kee Fung to learn how she helps patients of all ages ensure optimal dental health. A graduate of the NYU School of Dentistry, Dr. Fung has over 20 years of experience with advanced training in full mouth reconstruction, TMJ issues, implant dentistry, Invisalign orthodontics, and cosmetic dentistry.
What led you into dentistry?
I've always had a strong, humanitarian connection to all living creatures. As I approached my teenage years, I was drawn to both the complexities of hand workmanship and the intricacies of science. When I explored the possibilities of dentistry, I was fascinated by the combination of what I might be able to do by applying my passion for creativity and my love for improving the health and well-being of individuals of all ages.
I see that you focus on the concept of "Complete Dentistry." Please explain.
"Complete Dentistry" refers to achieving an obtainable goal of optimal oral health in each masticatory system (the functions that help us break down food). Complete Dentistry requires an understanding of every structural part of the head and neck, including your jaw joints, muscles, and teeth to diagnose issues promptly, helping avoid further extensive treatment. In the long run, this can save patients from years of pain, suffering, and excessive costs for dental work.
Can you expand on some of the tools or technologies you use to improve the "dentist experience” for your patients?
During the exam, our patients can enjoy a pampering massage in one of our massage dental chairs. We have the latest scan technology which allows us to see three-dimensional views of the jaws for implants, joints, and airways. Our Tek-scan enables us to visualize a computer image of the patient's bite, which is useful in full-mouth reconstructions, implant restoration, and TMJ appliance adjustments. Our dental scan replaces impressions and delivers products such as crowns and dentures in half the time of conventional dental procedures. We perform temperature checks and use high-suction air purifiers with UV light sterilization to absorb aerosols and maintain clean airflow in compliance with COVID safety protocols.
As a family-focused practice, how do you lay out a plan of care beginning from small children through adulthood?
Certain growth and development stages are important to observe and examine for early diagnosis and treatment.
We recommend scheduling your child's first dental visit before age two. This appointment includes a counseling session with the parent regarding oral health and disease prevention and provides guidance on how to avoid future dental problems.
As a child grows and permanent teeth come in, we check for permanent tooth bulbs, the growth pattern of the jaws, and the interrelationships of the teeth. Tracking the growth of the mouth and making simple corrective changes can potentially avoiding extensive orthodontic work later in life.
Adults may experience the shifting of jaws and teeth, varying joint positions, the movement of teeth, and muscle tightness. When a specific issue is diagnosed, the patient is advised accordingly regarding appropriate interventions.
What are other conditions that may warrant a dental appointment?
Patients often seek assistance from their primary care physician, ENT, or neurologist for conditions related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Symptoms such as ear, neck, and/or jaw pain, uncontrollable muscle tightness, and headaches/migraines may originate with TMJ issues. We can address these issues to inhibit further deterioration and the need for future surgeries.
What are the key “non-negotiables” to a healthy mouth?
I recommend brushing your teeth three times a day, especially after meals. This is a highly effective strategy for preventing dental diseases such as cavities and gum infections. Flossing is important to clean between teeth. I also recommend regularly scheduled dental visits.
How do you give back to the community through dentistry?
Our practice enjoys active involvement in giving back to the community in various contexts. We donate dental treatments to eligible individuals at our office in Old Tappan through Lifeline Network, a program sponsored by the New Jersey Dental Association in conjunction with the State of New Jersey. We also offer continuous support to our Old Tappan Senior citizens.
Today’s dentistry makes it easier and more painless to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime. Dr. Fung and her team are passionate about serving the community and helping their patients achieve optimal dental health.
Dr. Fung graduated from NYU School of Dentistry with an award in Adult Comprehensive Care. She has over 20 years of experience with advanced training in full mouth reconstruction, functional occlusion for TMJ issues, implant dentistry, Invisalign orthodontics, and cosmetic dentistry. She is a member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry as well as the Dawson Academy of Full Mouth Reconstruction and Smile Design.
1 - The Complete Dentistry concept can save patients from years of pain, suffering, and excessive costs for dental work.
2 - Certain growth and development stages are important to observe and examine for early diagnosis and treatment.