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Smiles of Chevy Chase

Dr. Despina Markogiannakis is changing lives by creating extraordinary smiles

Article by Marie Robey Wood

Photography by Ronald Flores

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

Dr. Despina Markogiannakis is the founder and lead dentist at Smiles of Chevy Chase, an advanced general dental practice specializing in crowns, veneers, implants, Invisalign and comprehensive dental care. The practice's mission combines cutting edge, state-of-the-art digital dentistry with the personal touch of listening to each individual patient’s concerns and needs. Dr. Markogiannakis knew she wanted to be a dentist from the age of 10, as it is a profession that she believes can change people’s lives on a daily basis.

Dr. Markogiannakis is sensitive to the apprehension many patients have when visiting the dentist and caters to what will make them most comfortable, whether it be spending time simply consulting about their needs or offering headphones for TV viewing, bluetooth connection, a soft pillow, lip cream or any other unique requests. She also continues to place emphasis on advanced safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, including using an extra oral aerosol evacuation unit and a surgical clean air system. In addition, the office has a new chair-side technology that breaks down any sort of virus to 0.3 microns.

When patients first enter the Smiles of Chevy Chase office, Dr. Markogiannakis meets with them to discuss their dental history and health. It is important to her that her patients feel they are part of both a collaborative and a comprehensive approach. To achieve this collaboration she helps them understand how they arrived at their current stage (ie. decay, fracture, tooth failure, misalignment), what the symptoms are and what the next steps are in their treatment. Before treatment, she offers the opportunity for in-person or Zoom consultations. The office follows up with phone calls both before and after treatment.

Dr. Markogiannakis believes that a comprehensive approach for treating the whole mouth leads to higher quality dentistry. This can include routine cleanings, fillings, crowns, bridges, tooth alignment, implants and partial dentures. “Everything we do is really unique in dentistry, for everything we do today (in treatment) is staging our patients for tomorrow.” And it doesn’t necessarily take months or years to see incredible results: “In as little as two weeks, years of hiding one’s smile because of misalignment, discoloration, or decay can fall away,” she says.

The office’s advanced digital machines help make the diagnosis and treatment more precise and thorough. These include using an intraoral camera, a small pen-like device able to show a better, high-resolution view of teeth and gum. Other high-end tech devices include the Orthophos, a 3-D Xray Machine, and Primescan 90, which generates digital impressions.

For Dr. Markogiannakis, dentistry is both an art and a science. She explains that the word “cosmetic” can be confused as being something optional, but that is not always the case. “Many times a poor cosmetic appearance of the mouth is a result of teeth being out of alignment, affecting its function. For example, if there is a lot of crowding of the teeth it can lead to increased bone loss, plaque, and periodontal disease.”

It is not unusual for the office to treat high-profile people such as politicians, journalists, television personalities, and others who are required to appear before a camera. Some patients are internationally based and are available for just a week or two for their dental work. “This doesn’t make their needs any more important than our other patients", she says. "However, we are set-up for the attention to detail needed for some of our time-pressed patients.” She adds, “We want to offer ALL of our patients a 5-star, world class dental experience.”

Although the Smiles of Chevy Chase staff specializes in treating adults, they love treating children as well, especially those of their adult patients. As a mother of three young children herself, Dr. Markogiannakis realizes the importance of teaching good dental hygiene to children at an early age.

Dr. Markogiannakis firmly believes in the power of dentistry to change the world. To further her mission, her practice pays it forward by donating to foundations, such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Red Cross, and the American Brain Foundation. This year the practice has already donated more than $100,000 to different foundations. “I’m excited about the change we are able to make in the world by taking care of our patients.”

Visit smilesofchevychase.com for more information. 

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