For more than three decades, PermaDent has served the South Bay, specializing in implant dentistry and periodontics. PermaDent surgeons offer care for a wide range of services—from routine tooth extractions, dental implants and gum grafts to the most complex reconstructions involving bone and tissue regeneration and full-mouth rehabilitation.
What is your practice known for?
Dr. Rodriguez: Our professionalism and commitment to individualized patient care are things we hear about often—both from our patients and the doctors who refer them to us. We comprehensively evaluate and recommend a course of treatment that will set up our patients for long-term success, which is unique in a world where health care is becoming increasingly less personal. Our ability to deliver exceptional esthetic results is where we shine—especially for patients who have not been successful before.
In what ways is your industry changing with the times?
Dr. Yang: We’re making great use of medical discoveries and looking more to integrated therapy and viewing the mouth as part of the overall health condition. Advances in medicine have improved our therapies with medical materials like growth factors and other bioactive proteins that help the body rebuild lost support around teeth. It used to be that harvesting tissue from the patient was the only option when attempting a soft tissue graft. We now have dermal matrices to successfully treat recession, and it’s far less painful for patients!
Tell us about a unique approach you took to solve a patient’s problem.
Dr. Yang: One patient battled chronic periodontal problems for years with no response to conventional therapy. A culture and sensitivity test revealed a bacterial pathogen that was resistant to multiple antibiotics. The test identified an effective antibiotic treatment that was used to successfully resolve her periodontal disease.
Tell us something unique about yourself.
Dr. Rodriguez: I was born and raised in Mexico. My access to education was very limited and, as a female, not especially valued or encouraged. But I was ravenous about learning. My family and I were migrant workers, spending five months a year in California and Oregon, and I was fortunate to have learned English along the way. When I was 19, I took a bold step and—against strong cultural norms—left my family in Mexico to come to the United States and dedicate my life to learning my profession. I have a reputation for working hard and being passionate about learning; both are a product of that experience.
What is on your bucket list for the remainder of 2022?
Dr. Klokkevold: After 35 years at UCLA, I will retire from my full-time faculty position teaching periodontics and implant surgery to students, residents and practicing dentists. My academic career has been an amazing journey that gave me the opportunity to make significant contributions to dental education around the world. For the remainder of 2022, I look forward to time with family and continuing to care for patients at PermaDent.
What has been one of your biggest joys in your career?
Dr. Yang: When my daughter entered dental school and stated that she found my specialty “kind of interesting.”
What do you enjoy about dentistry?
Dr. Klokkevold: I am grateful for the many things I have learned from colleagues, mentors, students and patients during my journey. I feel very fortunate to have pursued a career in academic dentistry. I have learned a lot, traveled the world and gained tremendous experiences. These opportunities enhance my ability to provide exceptional care for patients.
What motivates you?
Dr. Yang: I am very fortunate to work with wonderful dentists who truly care for their patients’ well-being and trust me to provide the best care possible. This motivates me, as we are a team working to provide overall health and function for our patients while keeping their best interests at heart at all times.
What issues do older people face in terms of oral health care?
Dr. Rodriguez: As we age, many challenges present themselves, and oral health care is no exception. Since our oral health is directly linked to our overall health, a variety of problems can present themselves—from heart disease to pneumonia—when our oral health declines … not to mention how much enjoyment we derive from our food as we age!
How do you handle delivering tough news to a patient?
Dr. Rodriguez: I try to be honest and transparent with every patient; I don’t beat around the bush. I work hard to educate patients so they are empowered and understand their options, as well as the prognosis of each. I know we can help, and I am confident about the difference we can make in people’s lives.
How did the pandemic permanently change the world of dentistry?
Dr. Klokkevold: The pandemic changed many things for everyone and every business including dentistry; however, we were already practicing good infection control using universal precautions. We continue to be confident in our ability to prevent disease transmission.
What is “exceptional patient care”?
Dr. Klokkevold: Exceptional patient care means providing high-quality treatment with comfort and compassion. It means taking the time to listen, understand and appreciate the concerns of each patient. An essential part of exceptional patient care is communicating exam findings and treatment options in a way that is understandable so each patient is better informed. We believe that educated patients are more engaged and empowered to achieve optimal oral health for life.