Tooth Be Told The Mouth Will Tell The Story

Dr. Bahar Esmaili Dentist Boulder, CO

Dr. Esmaili Grew up in Iran and immigrated to the United States when she was 20 years old to join her family and pursue her dream of becoming a Doctor. Dr. Esmaili is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in 2009. She graduated top in... more

For the last 5 years, I have been shifting my dental practice to be more medically oriented and also finding ways that dentistry is affected by medical conditions. I was recently introduced to Myobrace's research. I am intrigued by how breathing, swallowing, function, and posture affect teeth. I diagnose and triage a lot of patients with TMD and pain. Since I practice in a college town with one of the biggest universities in Colorado, I see a lot of young patients with poor habits and posture issues that are causing their TMJ issues, acute and chronic pain problems.

I am determined to devote the rest of my career to the prevention of these problems from birth. I want to be an ambassador of health that begins in head and neck and more importantly nasal breathing. The medical system is designed to wait till people are sick and dysfunctional and then we keep treating their symptoms while ignoring the culprit. I want to help other doctors focus on preventions, to reduce the need for treatment. I want to make other dentists aware of this so much that we can start demanding that dental benefit providers would reimburse such preventative actions instead of paying to fix them piecemeal style. 

It is disappointing to see how dentistry and patient education is treated as an adjunct instead of a gateway to health, as it should be. I want to be a philanthropist and save all the underprivileged children from the culprit of their future issues, which is poor habits and mouth breathing. In one word, I want to help everyone learn how to breathe correctly. That right there is my mission. 

I am a lifelong student and thirsty for knowledge. I have been taking many CE courses from Spear to Other mentors in recognizing pain disorders, diagnosing, and many different modalities. But I have been piecemealing all the knowledge. I am looking for a conglomerate course that helps me treat patients, especially young ones that have TMD issues, breathing, and sympathetic sleep.

My goal is to be as comprehensive in the treatment of head and neck issues without getting distracted by the teeth. As I believe teeth only tell part of the story and I don't want to be distracted by that. Therefore, I want to focus on working less in day-to-day mind-numbing dentistry that includes single tooth repairs. That is merely fixing problems in isolation. I want to find leaks and close them, not keep mopping the floors. But I can't do that if I am doing single tooth dentistry day in and day out. 

My goal is to be the most comprehensive physician of the head and neck; from malocclusion to airway breathing and myo-functional dysfunction to TMD and neck posture. Since all these areas can potentially lead to some sort of destruction of teeth and referred pain, joint and muscle dysfunction, headaches, behavioral problems, and the list goes on. It is that reason why I am trying to step away from single tooth dentistry. As I believe teeth only tell part of the story and I don't want to be distracted by that.

I want to expand, oversee, and coach many dentists in multiple locations to be head and neck tune-up centers instead of molar mechanics. Bring the entire medical and dental specialist together in treating and diagnosing patterns and making that mainstream, not a luxury. 

I am baffled that with all the literature that has proven the connection between mouth and total health there is still such a void in connection with dental and medical insurance reimbursement. We need to bridge that gap and raise expectations in the general public for a comprehensive triage and diagnosis. Doctors are geared to recognize certain boxes when it comes to diagnosis. As they encounter symptoms they only try to fit them to the boxes they know! It is awesome to know all the diagnostic boxes, but then thinking outside of that. 

Therefore, depending on which healthcare provider patients choose to go to, they get molded into their diagnostic boxes. If they go to a PT, it has to be a neck issue if they go to a dentist, it is a Para function (which sometimes they don't even know why), and for a neurologist, most head and neck pains are migraines. This has to explain why we know we have an epidemic with Opioids, narcotics, and ADHD meds! 

Wouldn't be amazing if triaging patients would be at the tip of our fingers, where multidisciplinary medicine wouldn't be a privilege but a norm. In fact, I want to create an app for that, given now that telehealth is becoming the norm. We know symptoms are just symptoms and they should not be silenced but managed in order to achieve resolution. Unfortunately, the average patient does not have these expectations and so insurance companies get away with deviating from reimbursing MD and DDS for collaboration. I think that is my life mission to make that a reality. Is that wishful thinking? I feel like I want to write a book about this, I even have a name for it "Tooth Be Told the Mouth Will Tell The Story."