Smart Mouth: At Natoli Dental, a healthy smile leads to a healthy body.
As the New Year approaches, resolutions are typically at the forefront of people’s minds. Topping that list of things we promise to do better is taking care of our bodies, which usually means eating less and moving more, right? What many people don’t realize, however, is that the health of our teeth and gums paints a bigger picture about the health of our bodies. Yet last year, 55 percent of Americans did not see a dentist, mostly due to their fear or embarrassment.
Joseph Natoli, DMD is trying to change that. At Natoli Dental, his private practice in Turnersville, Natoli wants patients to feel comfortable when coming in to his office. “We want to put our patients at ease and get away from the bad attitude that many people feel when it’s time to visit the dentist,” he says. Natoli Dental has an at-home feel to it, with earth-toned colors and a relaxing waiting area. In each operatory, TVs are positioned overhead for patients to watch while having work done. Small touches like this make Natoli’s patients look forward to returning.
“We specialize in family care and, once we’ve treated one member of a family, we usually end up treating them as a whole. We have a high percentage of patient-based direct referrals,” Natoli says. Combined with the welcoming atmosphere, Natoli Dental’s small staff allows patients to get the individualized attention they deserve. “We don’t allow our patients to sit around waiting for their appointments. We know their time is as valuable as ours.”
Oral health & your body
Natoli says periodic dental exams—whether for the young, middle aged, or senior citizens—are one of the most important things to keep up with for your health. “The key is to treat things before they become a major issue. Cavities can be small and treatable, but as time lapses, the health of your teeth between visits will deteriorate and may lead to the removal of teeth,” he says. The most common procedures at Natoli Dental include crowns and bridges, tooth-colored fillings, and implants.
Significant links between oral health and a person’s overall well-being have been discovered in the past decade. Natoli says periodontitis—a severe form of gum disease—is something the dental community knew little about 10 years ago, but today some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and strokes may be linked to oral bacteria. Periodontitis originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria and other materials left behind from eating. Early warning signs include chronic bad breath, tender or painful swollen gums, and minor bleeding after brushing or flossing. Natoli adds, “Periodontitis is treated in a number of ways. One method, called root planing, involves cleaning below the gum line to smooth the roots. If effective, this procedure helps the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure.”
Other health risks that have been linked to poor oral health include endocarditis, caused when bacteria from your gums enters the bloodstream; osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle and may be associated with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss; and Alzheimer’s disease, of which tooth loss before age 35 is a risk factor. Natoli says the expanding knowledge of how a person’s dental health can impact them later in life or put them at risk for more serious medical conditions allows him to treat his patients even better, putting them on a path of maintaining good oral habits.
The staff of Natoli Dental welcomes new patients and prides themselves in the personalized attention they provide. Natoli says, “We sit one-on-one with all of our patients and thoroughly evaluate their medical history, discuss their needs and also any bad experiences they’ve had in the past with dentists. We want to cater to each person’s individual needs to make them feel comfortable.” Patients will oftentimes have a series of X-rays taken to assess the health of the teeth and gums. Thanks to the advancements in digital radiography, patients are able to look at the X-rays on monitors along with the doctor, while at the same time being exposed to considerably less radiation than traditional X-rays. “When we’re discussing treatment, patients can see their teeth on screen and from there we can see what area is a priority. I don’t want to just dictate the treatment; I want them to understand and be involved in it.”
Natoli Dental is a fully computerized operation with state-of-the-art equipment. Patients never have to fear when it comes to insurance questions because the staff is knowledgeable about the coverage for all major plans. “We take the guesswork out of what is covered and what isn’t and we won’t proceed with anything until it’s understood by our patients,” Natoli says. After major procedures, the staff members make sure to walk patients through the home care instructions and are happy to answer questions if an issue arises after the patient has left.
Dedication to the community
Being a part of the South Jersey community means a lot to Natoli. Born and raised in Gloucester Township, Natoli attended La Salle University where he majored in biology and received his doctorate from Temple University School of Dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the New Jersey Dental Association. “Being part of the South Jersey community is a strong point for us,” he says. “My children attend the local schools and staying active allows us to see many families throughout the area. We’re committed to serving the families in the surrounding areas and keeping their smiles—and bodies—healthy.”
Fries Mill Pavilions
188 Fries Mill Road, Suite M-5
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 10 (December, 2012).
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