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Dr. Michael Koczarski Reflects on 25 Years in Practice

Becoming a dentist was the best decision of my life.

If you were around in 1989, you might have been listening to Bon Jovi on your Walkman or catching an early episode of The Simpsons. If you were me, you were starting your career in cosmetic and general dentistry.

As you may know, I grew up in the Seattle area and went to dental school at the University of Washington. After graduation, I set up my dental practice in Woodinville, where I continue to see patients to this day.

Becoming a dentist was the best decision of my life. Even after 25 years, I still get excited by dentistry—learning about new technology and techniques, teaching other dentists, and most of all, helping patients look and feel even better than they could have imagined.

Dentistry has always been my passion, but I never would have been able to enjoy it for so many years without my many wonderful patients. It’s always nice to see your smiling faces, year after year. And it’s especially gratifying to see new patients who come in based on a friend or family member’s referral. I’m truly thankful for your trust and loyalty.

Together with my team, it’s been an honor to serve the Seattle and Eastside communities for almost half of my adult life, and I hope to be doing so for many years to come. I love you all!

Helping Dad enjoy better dental health

Your dad takes care of things at home, but does he take care of himself? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, men are less likely to pay attention to their health, and that includes their teeth. In honor of Father’s Day, here is some advice for helping him—or any other man in your life—enjoy a healthier smile.

1. Get him to the dentist: Would it surprise you to learn that men are more likely than women to see a dentist only when something goes wrong? As you probably know, preventive care visits are important for maintaining good oral health, and can make sure that nothing goes wrong in the first place.

2. Encourage him to brush: The average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day—less frequently than recommended. If your dad has been known to cut corners, you might want to give him a gentle reminder to make brushing (and flossing) a habit.

3. Watch out for snoring: Can you hear Dad’s naps from a mile away? He might be suffering from sleep apnea, a condition where the airway narrows or collapses during sleep. This can cause problems ranging from daytime sleepiness to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. An oral appliance can cut down on loud snoring, as well as help prevent other problems. For more about sleep apnea treatment, click here.

4. Mind the grind: Another common sleep-related problem, bruxism refers to involuntary clenching and grinding, which can cause cracks, damage, and wear to the teeth. Most people are not aware they are doing it until a dentist notices the evidence. If Dad suffers from bruxism, a simple fix exists. A custom mouthguard worn during sleep effectively protects teeth from the damage. Read more about it here.

5. Safety during sports: If Dad likes to play contact sports such as soccer or football, or if he rides a motorcycle, his teeth have a greater potential for trauma. Wearing a mouthguard can help protect him from errant balls, and his motorcycle helmet should also have some sort of mouth protection.

6. Tools belong in the toolbox: A major cause of tooth damage or fracture is using teeth as tools. While it may be tempting for Dad to open bottles or other items with his teeth, he should be reaching for a real tool instead.