By Julie Workman
It’s not easy to be a dentist. When you meet new people, and they ask you what you do, you say, “I’m a dentist,” and your new almost-friend says, “Oh. I HATE going to the dentist.”
Sad. But dentists are underappreciated. They help us keep our pretty smiles; they keep our teeth functional so that we can maintain proper nutrition; they can even spot significant health problems during routine checkups by looking at our tongues! They’re essential to the overall health and well-being of our families and our communities, and they do all those things for us even when they know some people will never like them just because of their job.
Dr. Emil Verban, Jr., DDS, has heard it all since he moved to Bloomington and opened his first dental office in 1978, but he remains enthusiastic about the profession.
“My practice philosophy has always been to help, to educate, and to deliver the best dental care. I want our patients to have a confident smile and to eat and drink comfortably as long as they can,” Verban says.
Dr. Rita George, DMD, found that she shared his practice philosophy and joined Dr. Verban’s office, McLean County Dental, back in June. Trained at both Gandhi University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, she has been practicing in central Illinois since she and her family relocated to Normal in 2005.
Dr. George is passionate about her work and says, “I truly love what I do. I treat our patients just the way I would treat my family.”
The shared commitment to helping others and treating patients like family convinced Dr. George to join McLean County Dental. She knew it was the best move after shadowing Dr. Verban for just one hour.
Both doctors agree that offering a comprehensive continuum of care is best for their patients. At many dental offices, a dentist can diagnose a particular need like an extraction, but they must send their patients to a different practice to have the procedure. The doctors at McLean County Dental can treat up to 95 percent of dental needs without sending their patients to a different office.
As a comprehensive care dental office, Dr. Verban, Dr. George, and their highly trained support staff offer everything from preventative 6-month checkups to full-mouth extractions and cosmetic reconstructions. The ongoing education, treatment, and maintenance of various conditions their patients present is a point of pride for the practice.
“Proper dental care should begin before pre-school and continue throughout a patient’s lifetime,” according to Verban. “Unfortunately, not everyone has access to that care while growing up, and serious problems can develop.”
Due to the comprehensive practice philosophy at McLean County Dental, they can fix nearly any dental issue, which is one reason they find their work so rewarding. Both doctors agree that having a smile they can be proud of improves patients’ self-confidence and how others see them, too.
According to Dr. George, diet, lifestyle choices, genetics, and many other factors contribute to dental health. “Aesthetic work, or improving the way a patient’s smile looks, is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” she says.
One of her patients was a woman in her early 30s. She was in constant pain because all of her teeth were decayed and in terrible shape. After a series of consults, the patient committed to doing “whatever it takes.” Dr. George did a complete extraction, removed all the damaged teeth, and then fitted her patient with a full set of dentures.
“While it is always best to keep natural teeth if possible, sometimes we just can’t. In this case, my patient’s entire face changed after she got her dentures. Suddenly, the constant pain was gone. She could eat again, so she stopped losing weight. The treatment plan improved the quality of her whole life.”
“When we’re able to help improve someone’s smile by correcting the underlying problem, we deliver something they’ve always wanted: a pretty smile,” Dr. George adds. “When we’re finished with the last stage of the treatment plan, and our patients see the final results for the first time, they are overjoyed. A strong, healthy smile indicates good overall health and can change everything for the people we treat.”
Dr. Verban’s expertise in dental implant technique and technology is one of the features that sets McLean County Dental apart from other dental practices. Dental implants are a science unto themselves, and Dr. Verban is a nationally recognized leader, lecturer, and educator in implant and restorative dentistry. He has published numerous articles on implant dentistry and developed and patented surgical products that significantly increase implant surgery’s safety and precision. He also serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Implant and Advanced Clinical Dentistry.
“Truly, dental implants can change a person’s outlook on life,” he says. “One of the best success stories was years in the making but is one of the highlights of my career because I know for sure that I contributed to allowing my patients to live fully. The confidence the dental work imparted contributed to success in all areas of their lives.”
The patients were a pair of twin girls who were born with a rare genetic condition called ectodermal dysplasia. That’s a general term for a group of disorders, but the girls’ teeth were affected in this case. They each had just a few teeth when they came to Dr. Verban for help.
“While they were growing, they wore removable dental appliances to give the appearance of a normal smile,” he says. “But they didn’t smile much because they knew their smiles weren’t real. When they finished growing, I was able to give them each a full set of dental implants, and at last, they both had beautiful smiles that they could be proud of.”
“At their last appointment, they wept with joy. Years later, one of the twins gave birth to a son with the same condition. We were able to apply the same treatment methodology to him, and now that he is grown, he is getting dental implants, too.”
Dr. Verban is also certified to perform “sedation dentistry,” which involves administering one of three levels of sedation to patients who are apprehensive about their procedure or need surgical treatment. The sedation services are another cornerstone of McLean County Dental’s unique practice philosophy. Most dental offices do not have the training, equipment, or expertise to offer sedation at these levels.
Sedation dentistry can help relieve many people’s anxiety about going to the dentist. Level One sedation involves taking a mild sedative tablet an hour before the appointment and using nitrous oxide during the procedure; for many, that removes their anxiety just enough to help them get through the appointment.
Level Two sedation, also known as IV or light-conscious sedation, is administered intravenously. IV sedation is used primarily for pain control in more severe cases where an infection is present or more comprehensive care is required.
For autistic patients, those with Down Syndrome, and some geriatric patients, general anesthesia (Level Three sedation) is a godsend. In those cases, an anesthesiologist is present. Other applications that may require general anesthesia include complex, comprehensive care cases or procedures that make it difficult to maintain an airway.
Education and Prevention
McLean County Dental is proud to offer the ease and convenience of comprehensive dental care for their patients in one location. While that applies to dental services and procedures, it is much more. Dr. Verban and Dr. George count on a team of eleven industry pros to support their work and keep the office running smoothly.
Dr. Verban thinks of the support team as athletes think of their trainers or business leaders think of their life coaches. “Our hygienists and dental assistants are here to help patients keep their teeth strong and healthy for a lifetime,” he says. “Treatments last longer and hold up better over time when patients care for their teeth properly at home. Specialty treatments require special care, and even routine procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, and dentures require care.”
“We strive to help patients maintain their natural teeth for as long as possible, but we can’t duplicate mother nature. All procedures have a certain life expectancy, like the crowns and fillings that need to be replaced sometimes. Our support team teaches patients how to take care of their dental work and make it last as long as possible.”
Dental hygienists Jill, Cassi, Beth, and Jamie have nearly 100 years of combined experience. They answer dozens of questions daily, ranging from “What’s your name?” and “What is the best toothpaste?” to “Do I really have to floss every day for the rest of my life?”
The hygienists all agree that working together to help patients improve their oral health and overall well-being is what they like best about their work.
And like Dr. Verban always says, “You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep!”
Nanci, Susan, Cheryl, and Ciera make up the team of dental assistants. Taken together, they have an average of 15 years of experience in the industry and have all been with McLean County Dental for about four years. They answer many questions too, but the one they most often hear is, “How much is this going to hurt?”
They all enjoy working as a team, learning from the doctors, and helping patients improve their smiles. Their work is always interesting since every patient is different, and no two days are the same.
Of course, they know the doctors do their best to minimize discomfort, but when pain relief is required, they almost always recommend “Two Extra Strength Tylenols and three ibuprofens (600 Mg), taken all at once, every 4 to 6 hours. Works every time!”
Office Manager Brittany, along with assistants Amy Z. and Amy S., manage claims and billing, help navigate insurance questions, and encourage patients to maintain a healthy dental hygiene routine to avoid expensive dental work.
They also enjoy working together and being part of the team, plus developing professional relationships with the patients and their families.
Appointments in Days, Not Months
Aside from the dental anxiety experienced by over 50 percent of the population and all the other reasons people have for not going to the dentist, sometimes it’s just tough to get an appointment.
Dr. Verban continues to see patients, just as he has since 1978. Now, with the addition of Dr. George, even patients who are new to the practice can get an appointment within days, not weeks or months.
The expert, experienced support team will continue to record detailed health histories, offer in-depth assessments, and prepare patients for their dental visits. The office manager will continue to help with scheduling and insurance questions, and McLean County Dental will continue offering the best preventative, routine, and specialty care. If you’re looking for a new dentist, would like to ease your anxiety around dental visits, or learn more about dental implants and the benefits of building the perfect smile, call McLean County Dental today.
Emil Verban, Jr., DDS, and Rita George, DMD, welcome you and your family to their state-of-the-art dental care facility at 2103 E. Washington in Bloomington. Schedule an appointment at McLean County Dental by calling 309-662-8448 from 8am–5pm Monday– Thursday, Friday by appointment, or learn more anytime at mcleancountydental.com.