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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

Advances in dental medicine has meant better smiles and better overall health

When asked to define the link between dental health and overall personal wellness Dr. George Mantikas doesn’t hesitate with his answer. “It’s critical,” he says. 

Dr. Mantikas points to a case of a patient who came in for a routine visit. The state-of-the-art panoramic X-rays taken revealed something to the Doctor not seen on a previous year’s image. The updated image exhibited calcification in the carotid artery in the patient’s neck, which set off alarm bells for the Doctor. Calcification can be an indication of heart disease, so Dr. Mantikas referred the patient to a Cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment. 

Until the advent of advanced radiological imaging like panoramic X-rays Mantikas says, that kind of diagnosis wouldn’t have been possible. 

“You never would have thought in a million years that a dentist would find that kind of calcification,” he said. 

The strides made in dental medicine in the time that he has been practicing, he said, has played a significant role in patients’ overall health.

Poor dental health can lead to a myriad of medical disorders. In his office, Dr. Mantikas said, he and his staff have the screening tools and extensive training to identify issues in the mouth that can signify disease elsewhere in the body. For instance, certain bacteria in the mouth, which may be diagnosed using a simple saliva DNA test, can be an indicator of several different medical conditions, including arthritis, heart disease, including stroke, certain cancers, and even low birth weight in the babies of pregnant patients. When there is bleeding and inflammation in the mouth, more than likely, it is elsewhere in the body.

Additional, progressive technology that Dr. Mantikas uses in his practice includes 3D Cone Beam Imaging, the most advanced diagnostic imaging available. “It provides us with more clarity, which enables our team to provide a more accurate diagnosis.”

His practice also employs a chairside CAD/CAM system “which allows us to produce same-day crowns, veneers, onlays, inlays and more.” 

Further dental technology implemented in the practice includes the Waterlase MD laser, which uses a combination of water and laser energy for a range of traditional dental procedures that can be completed with less anesthesia.

The revolution in dental technology that has taken place during his years in practice mirrors the similar dramatic changes that have occurred in cosmetic dentistry, Dr.Mantikas said. Nowadays, dentists focus on both the emotional and medical needs of patients and how they feel about their smile. 

He credits a television ad campaign by a toothpaste company in the 1970s for helping to usher in the age of cosmetic dentistry and an overall focus on the importance of dental health. That ad encouraged people to visit their dentist twice a year. 

As more people began heeding that advice more insurance companies started offering dental insurance and many offered to pay for dental checkups twice a year. In the 1980s people began asking for more procedures to improve their smiles. Hollywood helped push cosmetic dentistry into the stratosphere as more actors demanded flawless, bright white smiles. 

Fortunately, as a result, people’s overall health has benefitted from regular, preventive care. 

Recognized as a “Top Dentist” for multiple years by Connecticut Magazine, Dr. Mantikas said his dental team provides comprehensive, restorative dentistry in a warm, caring environment. 

Currently located at 142 East High St., Dr. Mantikas has practiced in East Hampton for nearly 30 years. His 3,700-square-foot offices include a large reception area, several exam rooms and a consultation office where the Doctor meets with each of his patients prior to initial exams. 

“What differentiates us is that we develop strong relationships with our patients. We meet initially with them to talk about their goals for their mouth and teeth. We’ve been very fortunate to have so many patients who have been with us for several years.” 

His dental team, some of whom have been with him for over 25 years, include a part-time associate dentist, and three each; hygienists, dental assistants, and administrative staff. 

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