Saturday, July 22, 2017  

Dr. Eric Miller, DDS
More than Meets the Tooth

Part of the charm of our region is knowing you can buy milk and see a friend in the dairy aisle. You may own land that has been in the family for generations. Maybe your family name is on a local gravestone or monument. These rarities in modern times contribute to the unseen wealth of our community. People passing through on the way to the beach may wonder if living here means sacrificing the quality products the city has to offer, such as great coffee, fresh produce and medical care. Good coffee is a fairly relative concept and we may never agree on where that can be found. But our vegetable stands surely rival Whole Foods Market. And our region can offer you the finest medical care so your pearly whites can bite into our fresh, local corn. Dr. Eric Miller, DDS, aims to support the quaint yet quality life of this region by providing the highest standard of dental care, right in Urbanna, Virginia.

Dr. Miller’s friendly office physically reflects the philosophy of his practice. The polished space is a small shrine to local culture, ordained with sailboats and local maps. A few art books and local magazines add an intellectual element, and support the understated and quiet atmosphere. One feels inspired to open up the books and get a deeper understanding of what is actually displayed. Similarly, Dr. Miller’s aura of quiet professionalism and casual conversation readily reveal his commitment to serving the local population and his affection for the region. Dr. Miller’s goal is to assist his patients in maintaining their teeth for a lifetime by educating them about dental health and providing them with the highest standard of dental care (check out www.ericmillerdds.com). Digging a bit deeper, however, uncovers his genuine expertise in dentistry, as he will not boast or wear his achievements on the sleeve of his white coat. His affability and acquired skills are an excellent combination to bring dental care that is informative, innovative and excellent to this region.

Examples of Dr. Miller’s education and commitment to best practice are found throughout his office, demonstrating his forward thinking as well as the possibility to receive state-of-art dental care right around the corner from your sailboat. Instead of film x-rays, digital technology for dental x-rays, which are more accurate and allow less exposure to radiation, are standard. Another significant use of digital technology is employed to fashion dental crowns right in his office. Formerly, a mold was taken of a tooth and delivered to an outside lab which designed the crown and returned it the dental office. At Dr. Miller’s, an in-house crown maker, called a Cerec® machine, has replaced the older, more time-consuming process of making crowns. Now, using a computer, he can take a picture of a tooth and produce a crown on the spot, eliminating the need for a second appointment (and a second numbing).

Even more sophisticated is Dr. Miller’s ability to use dental implants. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. A number of restorative options are available for the treatment of missing teeth, but dental implants are proven to be the most durable and functionally effective. Implants are generally stronger then bridges or dentures and provide a permanent solution for tooth loss. Even if a patient has lost all of his or her teeth, Dr. Miller can secure a removable appliance using implants. He enjoys seeing patients limited by tooth loss or the embarrassment of wearing a bulky appliance being free to smile beautifully and indulge in all the foods they like to eat.

Dr. Miller’s personal commitment to excellence expands to his desire for his patients to have an unprecedented experience at his practice. He seeks to keep his patients comfortable and informed about their dental procedures, and is therefore intentional about listening to patients’ needs and involving them in their treatment. When he makes recommendations for dental issues, he explains exactly what is involved and ensures that is patients are geared up for the procedures, to avoid confusion or feeling rushed. One first-rate tool Dr. Miller employs to involve patients in their procedures is an intraoral camera. This camera is actually placed inside the mouth, granting the patient a true-to-life picture of what is occurring during treatment. As a patient receives a better-than-an-x-ray view of the mouth, he or she clearly has a better understanding of procedures. Who needs the Discovery Channel anyway? During extended treatments, patients can relax listening to music through headphones or by viewing a movie while reclined in the chair. If you have missed a new release, perhaps you should try Dr. Miller’s office before Netflix.

His fresh approaches to dentistry are a testament to his open mind. Another supporting fact is his clear admiration for the population he serves. The breadth of diversity among his patients composes one of the most appreciated aspects of his practice. People from all walks of life pass through his door and he celebrates in participating in their healing. The stories they share with him contribute to a valued and interesting tapestry of discourse he has developed as a local dentist. Above all, he aims to be impartial to the various backgrounds of his patients and treat each one as a valued individual. His patients’ diversity does intersect at one common point however—and that is his belief that full dental health, enabling a fuller life, is achievable for all patients.

The bottom line is that people are the main reason Dr. Miller chose to be a dentist. As a bright undergraduate student at East Carolina University, Dr. Miller studied Biology and considered various health-related fields. He isolated two goals: patient contact and the prospect of building long-term relationships. Dentistry fulfills both of these. His daily life provides literal hands-on contact, from routine fillings to advanced dental cosmetic dentistry. Because of his holistic approach to patient care, he builds relationships with the young and old, the flossers and non-flossers, the toothsome and the toothless. His patients “feel like family.”

After committing to dentistry as a profession, Dr. Miller attended Virginia’s own School of Dentistry at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV), part of Virginia Commonwealth University. MCV’s excellent reputation is common knowledge. The four year program leads to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Three broad areas of study are covered: biomedical sciences, clinical sciences and behavioral sciences. Laboratory and clinical experiences are a requirement of the extensive program. About ten years ago, Dr. Miller returned to MCV, his beloved alma mater, to give back as an instructor in the undergraduate dental program.

The acquisition of his advanced skills in implants and cosmetic dentistry occurred in several energetic places in the United States. As a resident at Montfiore State Hospital in New York, New York, he began his education in implant replacement. He in turn completed an intensive comprehensive program on all facets of implant treatment through Implant Seminars, which are held nationally. He journeyed out West to study full mouth restoration and cosmetic dentistry. At the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (www.lviglobal.com), he completed a premier program taught by professionals who train the Hollywood dentists. This world re-known post graduate school trains dentists from all over the world, and he studied alongside international colleagues. You will not be taking a gamble trusting Dr. Miller with caring for your advanced dental needs, as he is clearly highly trained.

Dr. Miller established his Urbanna practice in 1998, after graduation from MCV because he was attracted to this lovely and blossoming area. The river community intrigued him—the local people and the wealth of outdoor activity. Again, looking deeper, one finds that Dr. Miller is much more than an excellent dentist. He boasts a surprising amount of outdoor hobbies including snow skiing, mountain-biking, windsurfing, fishing, kayaking and just enjoying the great outdoors. He is also employed as a full time husband and father, welcoming his first child recently.

As Dr. Miller considers the vision for the future of his practice, he hopes to assist as many people as possible maintain their teeth for a lifetime. The art and science of modern dentistry is “not your parents’ dentistry.” He believes folks can boast good teeth for the rest of their life if their teeth are properly cared for. Even after extended stages of neglecting dental care, he is able to direct patients to options that bring restoration and healing for the long-term. His greatest joy as a dentist: bringing healing back to our region’s smiles.

—By Rebekah Spraitzar Madren