While he says cosmetic dentistry makes up only about 20 percent of his practice, Dr. Robert A. Rees emphasizes that giving patients a smile of which they can be proud is an important and especially gratifying part of his work. He calls the feedback he's received over the years "wonderful."
"I've had more than one individual thank me after-the-fact for giving them permission to smile," he said. "They've gone through life ashamed of or uncomfortable with the appearance of their teeth and don't realize how guarded their mannerisms have been. When I give them the smile they've dreamed of, it's natural that the next time I see them they've gained a big and genuine smile."
Rees' small office on Herschel Avenue (himself, a dental hygienist, a front office manager and an assistant) first opened in 1999 when he took over from "one of the first dentists established in La Jolla." Overall, Rees has been practicing for 25 years. He values the "smaller, more personalized" atmosphere of his office. "It's like a family environment here — very relaxed and professional," he said. "It's all about trust and communicating, and of course, quality care."
Pointing out that "Dentistry is one of the fastest moving sciences out there, of all the professions," Rees speaks with admiration about his patients, whom he calls "better educated with the advent of Google and information that's out there. Patients tend to be more involved. It's a new type of patient compared to years of the past."
But all the information about dental care available on the Web can be a double-edged sword. "I refer to it as 'Dr. Google', diploma unknown," Rees explained, "the problem being that there are heavily biased posts and presentations on the Internet. More commonly, there is lots of wonderful information, but Dr. Google can't quite integrate that to practical dental care and health. It's sound bites and not a song.
"The preponderance of unsupported information that's out there, outside the office, is an interference and a challenge to the doctor's expertise."
Rees is always building on his own expertise, keeping up with the evolutions of his profession. "Our advances come frequently," he said of dentistry. "From oral cancer screenings to pain-free anesthesia, to the use of laser technology to refine the health of gums and tissues. Also, improved materials for fillings and standard crowns and such have really come a long way."
In line with his own approach to a dental practice and an office, the future is bright, Rees said. "I think the quality of care from materials to innovations that will come along will make it easier to deliver proper care in a comfortable and pleasing way."
Dr. Robert A. Rees, D.D.S. is at 7761 Herschel Ave. in La Jolla. Office hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 7 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday. (858) 454-6181. lajollasmile.com
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