Some patients may still fear the dentist’s chair, but according to Dr. Clifford Cook, the old days of painful dentistry are over.
“Lasers have created better work and require far less anesthesia — many times none …,” says Cook, a dentist with Broadwater Dental in D’Iberville. “Oral health is important to overall health, and I think many people are realizing that and are more accepting of seeing the dentist.”
Born and raised on the Coast, Cook has wanted to be a dentist since he was 6 and his brother went to college to pursue the field. The profession proved a great fit, he adds, because he loves people and enjoys working with his hands.
“Dentistry is very procedural and technical; it allows me to do what I love,” Cook says. “I love the challenges and connections of oral health to overall health. Now more than ever, the systematic/oral connection creates new and exciting things to study and implement for my patients.”
The dentist acquired a strong work ethic by following his brother’s example and by helping on his dad’s two farms while growing up. Cook says his early experiences taught him to “never stop until the job is done” — an attitude that has served him well in his education and career.
After graduating from the University of South Alabama with a degree in biomedical science, Cook earned a master’s degree from Mississippi College and completed his studies at the University of Mississippi Medical School.
Having practiced for a dozen years, seven of those in D’Iberville, Cook has learned to balance his many roles, including husband, dad of three daughters, dental provider and boss.
“I use my background of growing up to push myself to the greatest of limits,” he says. “I want to learn more and be the best. I have the greatest staff on Earth, and they give me the drive to have the best team possible.”
On a given day, Cook performs anywhere from 10 to 20 procedures — and utilizing the latest technology has helped him streamline the processes. He’s especially excited about laser therapy, which he says has revolutionized dentistry, and implant advances are reducing the burden of tooth loss.
“Most treatments have less post-op complications; same-day treatments are increasing,” he says. “We have really become a well-oiled profession invested in the overall health of the patient.”
Over the next 20 years, Cook expects technology to continue to make treatment easier and more comfortable. He’s also optimistic about eradicating tooth decay in the coming decades, as dental professionals know what causes it and have the power to target and eliminate it. Cosmetic dentistry is another area in which he expects big advancements.
“We have drastically improved materials over the years, and they will only get better,” he says. “This will help many more find their confidence.”
To those who are reluctant to visit the dentist, Cook suggests, “If nothing else, just go for an exam.”
“We want to hear our patients’ concerns, and we want to help,” he says. “Your overall health is our greatest concern, and it all starts with great oral health.”