This month we would like to take some time to feature the most recent addition to our team here at Falmouth Dental Arts: Dr. Antonios Karagiorgos (pronounced “kara-george-us“) or simply “Dr. K.” Dr. Karagiorgos also goes by Adonis, so please feel free to call him by that name as well. We think he’s a really interesting fellow and we can’t wait for everyone to get to know him as he settles in with us.
- Welcome to the Falmouth Dental Arts team. How has it been so far?
It has been a lovely experience; I have really enjoyed meeting the patients and getting to know the staff. Since Glen retired officially, I am now coming in full-time four days a week from Monday to Thursday. I thank both the patients and the staff for making this a smooth transition – it has been a great experience.
- How did you decide you wanted to study dentistry?
It’s kind of a long story. I have a cousin from Greece who lived with my family in Massachusetts when I was 18 years old. She was doing an international program to become a pediatric dentist. At one point I remember her telling me: this would be a perfect career for you, since you’re artistic, kind, outgoing, and you love talking to people. At the time I told her that I couldn’t imagine myself working in peoples mouths for a living, so I just dismissed the idea completely.
After graduating with a degree in civil/structural engineering, I worked in the field but I disliked my job. At that point, I was counting the hours to when I would be able to leave work for the day. I was 27 and I knew I didn’t want to do that as a lifelong career. I did many different things; I worked as a project manager for the Olympic games in Athens, Greece, and after that I started the process of joining the Air Force as a pilot but disqualified myself by getting laser eye surgery to correct my vision. Around that time, I went through a health scare that made me decide to pursue a career that would be meaningful and satisfying to me. I thought more about what my cousin had suggested: dentistry. So I went back to school to take all the prerequisites to go to dental school, and meanwhile I worked for the Tufts’ Oral Surgery department as a Dental Assistant, where I assisted in surgical procedures such as extraction, implant placement, and even cosmetic surgery. This experience solidified my desire to pursue dentistry. I really enjoyed the surgical aspect of dentistry and considered specializing but the great thing about general dentistry is that you’re able to do a little bit of everything.
- What do you want to bring to Falmouth Dental Arts?
Right now I bring extractions and surgical extractions, but in the future I hope to also bring implant placement and IV sedation to Falmouth Dental Arts.
With my past experience assisting in surgery, I hope to make a bigger contribution to the surgical aspect as far as extractions, and hopefully doing implants in the future. I am trained in intravenous or IV sedation, which is a treatment option that would help patients who are nervous or anxious at dental appointments. Right now we offer oral sedation, where patients take a pill and wait for it to take effect, but hopefully within the next year we can begin to offer IV sedation as an option. IV sedation is more predictable with the added benefit of a faster onset. The goal is to provide moderate conscious sedation, where patients are conscious, still breathing on their own, still able to follow instructions, but relieved of any anxiety to keep patients completely at ease with their dental care.
- Where did you practice before coming to Falmouth Dental Arts?
Well, while I was training for IV sedation, my wife and I lived up in Bar Harbor for ten months, basically on the doorstep of Acadia National Park. During my training, I also worked full-time in public health dentistry in Ellsworth, where we provided clinical access to those who don’t have the financial means to obtain dental care. After completion of my training we moved to Portland, where I continued to work for public health dentistry in Augusta while working part-time at Falmouth Dental Arts. Although I am now full-time at FDA, I continue to work a few days a month working for public health dentistry as a way to give back.
- What do you love about working at Falmouth Dental Arts?
It’s the people. The patients and staff here make my job feel like it’s not even work. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a team like this. And we meet patients from all walks of life, so it’s great to talk to everyone and get to know them.
- What do you think the future of dentistry looks like?
This is a very interesting time in dentistry because technology is changing at such a rapid pace and the amount of research going on is unprecedented. We’re on the precipice where we can’t even imagine the changes that will be coming to the field. Dentistry is going to be unrecognizable in 20 years. I look forward to a time when we can help the body repair itself, including the dentin beneath the enamel of patients’ teeth. Whereas now, if a tooth is decaying or breaking down, we intervene with a filling to stop the process of decay, so if we can induce the body to heal itself that would be a great advancement in the field. I’m not sure when it will happen, but regenerative dentistry would be a huge leap forward in dentistry.
Is there any particular piece of technology that you’re really interested in?
I am very interested in 3D imaging. This technology gives us an accurate three-dimensional image of the oral and facial structure, which then functions as a guide in simulated surgery and precision implant placement, which makes surgery less invasive. This will lead to shorter surgery time and faster recovery for the patient. 3D imaging can also make taking impressions for dental work a lot easier and less messy for the patients.
- What is an interesting dental fact that most people may not know?
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body– even harder than bone.
- When you’re not taking care of patients’ teeth, what do you like to do? What are some of your hobbies?
I definitely love cooking – that’s a hobby of mine. I also like fly-fishing, snowboarding, and biking, and those are some of the great things that brought us to Maine. My wife and I enjoy being near the water to take advantage of water-related activities.
In high school, I started flying small planes as well; someday I hope to pick that back up again.
- What is your favorite part of dental practice?
The patients. I have the opportunity to meet all different kinds of people – which I was missing when I was in front of a computer screen all day as an engineer and didn’t get to interact with others. On top of that, each individual presents different challenges that constantly keep me on my toes. Every day is about finding the best dental solution for each individual while keeping each patient’s special circumstances and aesthetic vision in mind, as well as the financial aspects involved to create the best possible treatment plan for every individual.
There’s also an aspect of artistic expression to what we do: it’s making a filling look like a tooth. In a way, dentistry is a very satisfying form of artistic expression on a small scale.
- Your biography on the website reads that you’re licensed to practice dentistry in Maine and Alaska. How did that come to be?
The original plan was to move to Alaska with my wife after training in Bar Harbor but family and our love of the area kept us here. I would like to renew my Alaska license – it recently expired – because in the future I would like to do mission trips, either to underserved communities within the United States, South America, or the Philippines, where my wife is from, and donate my services to people in need.
- Do you have any pets?
We have our dog, who has been with us seven months now. He is an Aussie doodle, which is an Australian shepherd-poodle mix. His name is Roux. He is a beloved member of our family.
- Favorite dental tip?
Floss, floss, floss!!! Flossing can remove plaque and food debris particles in places where toothbrush bristles cannot easily reach, like under the gum line and especially between your teeth. Plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which daily flossing can help prevent!