Dr. Ken Morgan of Mini Dental Implants & Family Dentistry (3100 Kingman St., Metairie, 780-7006; www.neworleansminiimplants.com) began his career with a stint as a dental assistant in the National Guard. That motivated him to earn his doctorate in dental surgery at the LSU Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry. Nearly 10 years later, the native New Orleanian opened his Metairie practice, where he enjoys relationships with long-term patients, some of whom he's known since childhood.
"We get to interact with our patients more like friends and family," Morgan says. "I have friends in other fields who work in the hospital setting, and they do not get this nice benefit of familiarity."
For Morgan's patients, familiarity breeds strong social bonds — and strong teeth. His key advice for maintaining dental health is to frequent his office.
"Visiting a dentist frequently, at least twice a year, gives you the opportunity to have your teeth cleaned professionally," he says. "Clinical exams and X-rays allow for monitoring of issues that may go undetected by the patient."
Invisible braces have gained popularity, and teeth whitening has become a mainstream cosmetic procedure, but Morgan considers dental implantation the most exciting recent advancement in dentistry. This minimally invasive surgery involves installing a titanium post (which acts like a root to secure dentures or replace a tooth) in the jawbone. The procedure, which takes less than two hours, and recovery is short because the gum tissue doesn't have to be cut open.
"You can have a new permanent tooth without ... having to grind down the healthy enamel of other teeth," Morgan says.
While implant surgery is the focus of his practice, Morgan stays abreast of various areas of dentistry and provides a comprehensive range of procedures. "I don't like having to refer my patients to other offices once they become comfortable here, so I try to keep myself educated and involved in the many different specialties in the field," he says.
Morgan performs root canals, wisdom teeth removal and gum therapy, as well as other services that often would require a referral to another doctor.
"I like being able to give people something they don't have when they come in — whether it be their smile, their ability to chew, or a restoration of their confidence in public — to simply be comfortable again," he says.