By Joan Holstein
In fact, his zest for his chosen field includes lecturing at UCLA School of Dentistry-Division of Advanced Prosthodontics, Biomaterials and Hospital Dentistry for more than eight years, as well as conducting and publishing research. He also presents papers nationally and internationally on intra- and extra-oral implants and attachments as they relate to quality of life. Williams even creates facial prostheses for cancer and trauma survivors, plus serves as a valuable resource to fellow dentists who may need to refer a particular patient with specialized needs.
Williams, simpy put, is an expert. But far from being a typical reclusive researcher or ivory tower academician, he is a caring, personable professional driven by a deeply held philosophy. That philosophy is best summarized by three words on his business card: Function, Stability, Aesthetics.
“I believe you have to treat the whole patient, not just one component,” Williams explains. “You can’t just focus on making the teeth look great without addressing all aspects related to proper function and oral health. If the facial muscles are balanced, the bite is perfect, and the Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) is working properly; if all those are in harmony and functioning as one, the result is great aesthetics and a stable restoration that will last the rest of the patient’s lifetime.”
Doing Dentistry Right
Dr. Williams’ philosophy focuses on: Function, Stability, Aesthetics.
Toward this end, initial office visits may run at least an hour as Williams conducts an extensive interview to gather information and uncover any symptoms. Naturally, digital X-rays, which reduce a patient’s exposure to radiation, are taken. A thorough evaluation of the muscles of mastication and TMJ is performed using Doppler technology and mounted study models are created. In addition, facial muscles are palpated, intra- and extra-oral photos are taken, and a thorough periodontal exam is done.
“It’s like creating a blueprint. We can find out what problems exist, the cause of the problems, and present several solutions to the patient. We can reconstruct things in phases, taking care of the most important things first, and ultimately reach the desired outcome of function, stability and aesthetics,” William says.
Along with being thorough and taking time to educate patients, Williams is adamant that patients aren’t kept waiting and that any needed injections are painless. “Those are usually the two biggest complaints about seeing the dentist,” he says. Another common objection—the expense of dentistry—can be eased thanks to today’s affordable financing plans.
Additionally, Williams goes above and beyond to provide patients with a positive experience. “I want them treated the same way I’d want to be treated if it was me in the chair,” he says. With this in mind, staff members take time to listen to patients’ needs and play a role in their care. In addition to formal industry training, Williams’ staff has more than 12 years of progressive experience in public health education and health care quality improvement. Williams’ staff stands behind his comprehensive care philosophy and dedication to total patient care.
Williams is equally big on educating his patients about oral health as it relates to overall health throughout their lives. That can be a challenge when a patient has no dental pain and is tempted to buy that new plasma television or other wants rather than undergoing much needed dental work. Today’s state-of-the-art technology can address that obstacle by providing patients with hands-on, computer generated images of their case, thus creating more opportunity for patient education.
“Technology is a real boon to patient education. Patients can hold their study models and see photos of their mouths instantly. They can see the decay and other potential problems and understand that various solutions exist to remedy these problems, even if it doesn’t hurt at the moment,” Williams says.
A proven practitioner, he sold his established Mesa practice in 2001 after 22 years and continued to work part time for the new owner. Unable to resist devoting himself to the profession he loves and the satisfaction of owning his own business, Williams opened a new practice in February at the foothills of the scenic McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale. Focused on preventive and restorative dentistry, his practice is located east of the Loop 101 near Bell Road and 98th Street in Scottsdale.
“Everything is state-of-the-art,” he says. As example, the new practice has digital X-ray sensors, digital photography, computerized record keeping systems, and laser diagnostic instruments. Even with all this technology, Williams still enjoys doing much of his own lab work, even creating dentures.
Williams, scuba-diving in Palau, loves to share these types of experiences with his diving students.
Impressive Education. Extensive Experience.
Williams’ passion for practicing dentistry is obvious.
“I’ve enjoyed it since the first day I went to dental school,” he says. “I enjoy patients of all ages and all of the challenges, from general dentistry to full-mouth reconstruction and difficult maxillofacial cases.”
After graduating from Scottsdale’s Coronado High School, Williams attended the United States Naval Academy before returning to graduate from Arizona State University. Next came dental school at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. Following his general practice residency and several years in practice, he was asked to participate in the UCLA postdoctoral program for studies in maxillofacial prosthodontics. He has since stayed on as a leading international lecturer and researcher for the university—roles he has held since 1999. He is one of a few trained dentista who provides services in maxillofacial prosthodontics in the United States.
“I’ve had the privilege of being trained by some of the best in the industry,” Williams says proudly, citing mentors at UCLA, the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco Veteran’s Administration, where he did residency.
With impressive experience and education, it’s not surprising that Williams is a member of numerous fraternal and professional organizations, such as the International Association of Dental Research, International College of Prosthodontics, International Congress of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
Dental Sleep Medicine? That’s right. While his research is currently focused on quality of life related to intra- and extra-oral implants and attachments, Williams has helped many people with snoring problems and sleep apnea. He makes sleep apnea appliances that often eliminate the need for patients to sleep with the traditional and cumbersome oxygen masks called C-PAP units and avoid unnecessary surgery.
Williams also works with ear, nose and throat physicians (ENTs) and plastic surgeons to help cancer and trauma patients who have lost facial features that cannot be reconstructed with normal tissue. Helping to restore not only their missing features, but also their quality of life, he creates a prosthesis by first taking a facial impression then sculpting a body part that is cast into silicone. Obvisously skilled at working with his hands, Williams paints the silicone prosthesis to match the patient’s facial features and attaches it with specialized adhesives or implants.
During the past 22 years, he has presented lectures and clinics on everything from dentures and local anesthesia to oral cancer, implants and attachments. Williams has been published in a number prestigious professional journals, including the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry and Journal of Dental Research. Adding to his impressive list of awards, he has twice been honored for “Most Outstanding Research Presentation” by the International Society for Maxillofacial Rehabilitation. He is on staff at Mayo Clinic Hospital and Banner Desert Hospital, and as a lecturer at the UCLA Division of Advanced Prosthodontics, Biomaterials and Hospital Dentistry. As a hospital staff member, Williams can treat not only complicated cases, but also “dental phobics.” who prefer to be entirely asleep during procedures.
Williams, who grew up in Scottsdale and has three grown children, enjoys deep-sea fishing, biking, and tennis. A PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor, his interests also include underwater photography. Williams also is an avid tennis player who frequently plays in tournaments, as well as mixed doubles with his fiancé Dawn Holata.
In other words, his passion for life runs as deep as his passion for his profession.