Dr. Gio, we have heard that you do a lot more continuing education than most dentists in the Winchester area. Can you tell us more about this?
Well, first I have to explain my own predisposition to learning. Every few years, I get an itch to learn something new. A few years ago, it was dental implants; then, the last two years it has been with our CEREC machines, the ability to do crowns in one visit without sending the work out across the country.
With CEREC there have been all these new materials, and we updated and upgraded the software, the camera, and the milling machine to make the crowns. All of these activities required advanced training.
Now that we have this in place, I turned my thirst for knowledge to the world of breathing and sleep disorders and how sleep dentistry can work wonders on our patients’ overall health and quality of life. It may be the most satisfying work I’ve done to date.
It sounds like you are probably a leader in the Winchester, VA area for advances in dentistry and how dentistry can significantly impact someone’s overall health and ability to sleep efficiently and thoroughly.
Many dentists do a lot of continuing education to stay up to date on advances in dental technology. I think I get more intensively involved in my training and then do a lot more, because once I learn a little about something new, I don’t feel complete unless I become an expert. Becoming an expert at dental treatments for sleep apnea, as just one example, requires a lot of training.
In the last five years there has been a huge influx of new information. I think taking continuing education or these mini-residency programs is very important for dentists to stay up to date on the latest information pertaining to health, equipment, and procedural techniques.
Where have you taken continuing education for dentists in the last month, and what have you studied?
The last four training sessions I attended were in four different locations over the last month, one session per weekend. I had one in Dallas, one in Salt Lake City, one in Tampa, and one in Toronto, Canada. The Salt Lake City and Tampa trainings have all been focused on learning more about TMJ disorders and sleep facial pain, and how that correlates to breathing disorders in adults and in children. Then, the mini-residencies in Dallas and Toronto were both for TMJ and sleep disorders because we find that most patients have TMJ disorders with sleep apnea at the same time (comorbidity).
This kind of focus on continuing dental education requires a lot of travel.
What is the best thing you have learned over the last month of studies?
Learning how to make people feel better in a short period of time.
Any concluding thoughts?
My goal is to be the best I can be in general; and specifically, the best dentist in Winchester, VA, as that is how I see that I best serve our patients. If I then also become the most popular dentist in the Shenandoah Valley, this will simply be icing on the cake! My ability to stay current on all educational opportunities is the cake.
With Dr. Gio’s current focus on sleep dentistry, knowing how to make sleep apnea appliances involves an in-depth knowledge of how to manage the TMJ. Dr. Gio, in turn, shares and educates local physicians about dental appliances such as the DNA appliance, which helps treat sleep apnea as well as symptoms of sleep apnea. Winchester Dental has already received referrals from those whom Dr. Gio educated. While Dr. Gio insists that he cannot state that these treatments will “cure” sleep apnea, he is thrilled with the vast improvement, and even disappearance, of symptoms—such as snoring—that are related to this annoying and often life-threatening condition.
Winchester Dental also makes appliances for patients of other local dentists (referred to Winchester Dental by the dentists themselves). According to these patients and referring doctors, Winchester Dental is gaining the reputation of being the best place to go for treatments of sleep apnea and TMJ disorders in the Winchester and Shenandoah Valley, VA area.
To read more about Dr. Gio’s current area of focus, please also check out this eye-opening article about snoring.