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Evaluator Spotlight: Stephen Gordon

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Q: Did/do you have a mentor who has helped to shape the mission and vision you have for your practice?

A: That would have to be my father. When I was a young boy, I?d watch him prepare Kodachrome slide presentations for his regular lectures, and that certainlylaunched my interest. When I was in dental school, he was teaching the Integrated Dental Concepts course (as both a DDS and CDT) at Northwestern. His vast knowledge of older and new techniques helped me develop a vision of the type of dentistry I wanted to provide. The concept was?and is?to always locate and use beneficial technology at its earliest inception.

Q: Can you give us a brief history of your practice?

A: This practice was established in 1941 by my uncle Wilbert Gordon. An admitted technophile, Uncle Wilbert was a fan and user of SS White?s AirDent (precursor to air abrasion), white noise machines for sound control, and even hypnosis. When my father (and Wilbert?s brother) Theodore Gordon joined the practice, he continued the tradition of innovation and technology adoption. He authored the definitive paper in the 1960s on telescope reconstruction, was the first dentist to also become a certified dental technician, helped Midwest (now Dentsply Midwest) develop the first high-speed air-driven handpiece, and was instrumental in popularizing 4-handed dentistry. Fast forward. We are now Dentistry at Millennium Park and are focused on providing minimally invasive care with appropriate use of cutting-edge technologies. I ?computerized? the practice in 1980 with a single IBM PC.

Q: Can you talk about your minimally invasive dentistry philosophy and how you implement it?

A: I believe in performing the least invasive procedures possible for any particular clinical situation. I perform significantly more inlays and onlays, in-office with the CEREC system, than I do full-coverage crowns. I have had a lot of success reversing and slowing caries as well as eliminating sensitivity with the CMU3 ozone treatment unit (Lime Technologies). Because the final result depends on how far along decay has progressed, I offer a guarantee with every Adult Ozone treatment to let patients try this noninvasive therapy. If it?s successful, the patient is thrilled; if we attain a less than ideal result, the patient?s subsequent treatment fee is offset by the ozone treatment fee. When I can, I use KaVo?s RONDOflex Plus air abrasion system for small tooth preps without anesthetic. I also use and prescribe MI Paste (GC America) to help with remineralization, thereby reducing the number of composite fillings I need to place. I promote the PerioProtect protocol as an initial perio therapy, with surgery as a last resort, along with a diode laser for minimally invasive perio treatment?with great results. All of these modalities and techniques help my patients attain optimal oral health with minimal or no damage to existing structures.

Q: What steps do you take to ensure your office is environmentally friendly?

A: In 2006, when I was designing our new office, my main objective was to minimize the practice?s impact on the environment. First and foremost, I wanted to create a paperless practice. I had been an early adopter of digital radiography, both intraoral sensors and a digital pan unit, so we eliminated processing chemicals. Among other ?green? practices we use are compact fluorescent light bulbs, a Pelton & Crane water filtration system to eliminate the need for bottled water, and the Solmetex HG-5 amalgam separator to reduce waste water contamination. I also see our CEREC CAD/CAM system as greatly reducing our environmental footprint. Obviously, we?ve dramatically decreased our use of impression material, trays, temporary material, and anesthetic. Less obviously, the elimination of the second cementation appointment reduces the need for disposables and cleaning supplies for operatory prep.

Q: Professionally, what are you most passionate about?

A: I am so lucky to be able to make a living doing something I love while helping people improve their lives. There are so many amazing techniques and technologies that I can take advantage of to provide my patients with the services they need in the most efficient and painless ways possible. Seemingly small improvements in the way we do things yield big results. After a lot of research, I have become a big proponent of ozonated water for its purity and antibacterial properties. We have a system that provides ozonated water in all clinical areas, including hygiene. My diode laser has been invaluable in reducing, or even eliminating, the need for anesthesia and speeding healing for many procedures. Since its launch in 2008, I?ve used Oraverse to shorten the effects of anesthesia; many of my patients return to work directly from our office and they love it. I offer appliance therapy for TMJ and sleep apnea, which further expands our ability to get our patients to optimal health.
My primary motivation for trying new materials, instruments, and protocols is my patients? health and well-being; if embracing the latest products energizes me and my staff, makes us more productive, and improves the bottom line?that?s a bonus. Above and beyond the clinical component, I am really excited to be part of the vibrant downtown Chicago community. Our location makes it easy for people who work in the city to visit our practice. That said, we?re proud that we continue to see many patients who travel in from the suburbs because they have formed a strong relationship with our team. My hygienist Kyle has been with the practice for more than 3 decades and has a huge loyal following.

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