Dr. Lynn Locklear and Life Enhancing Dentistry
Mar 07, 2014 04:26AM
Since beginning her dental practice 22 years ago, Dr. Lynn Locklear has been on a quest to help her patients find health from more than a filling or a root canal. Locklear looks for treatment modalities that will enhance their lives—not just in their teeth, but in their whole being.
Locklear has owned and operated Life Enhancing Dentistry, one block from the Takoma Metro station, for the length of her practice. She came to Washington to attend dental school at Howard University, after receiving her undergraduate liberal arts degree from a college in Massachusetts. Not the typical path for a future dentist, but according to Locklear, she used this liberal arts training to develop a greater sense of the human condition and the whole person, which has enabled her to develop strong relationships with her patients.
Initially, her practice followed the path taken by most dentists, focusing on general family dentistry, while managing insurance companies and its accompanying paperwork. In her first ten years, Locklear perfected her skills as a practitioner. While there was great care and concern for her patients, she knew that to make her vocation a passion, she needed to discover greater depth in her work by training in and performing procedures that would truly make a difference, seeking ways to control her practice rather than being controlled by it.
Participating in a one year course for leadership development for dentists, Locklear came to understand that her work needed to align with her own values and with the care she strove to give to her patients. From that deep inner analysis, Life Enhancing Dentistry was born, with the mission “to significantly enhance the quality of people’s lives in a way that is meaningful and lasting”.
To fulfill that mission, Locklear has taken extensive post-graduate work on neuromuscular and cosmetic dentistry at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. The field of neuromuscular dentistry proposes that the alignment of the jaw, the bite, is fundamental to the health of the teeth, and in fact, the overall musculoskeletal system. It contributes to the longevity of teeth, the ways in which they chip and wear. Neuromuscular dentistry uses a holistic approach, addressing jaw position and balanced facial muscles, while diagnosing and treating both traditional dental problems, as well as headaches, back and shoulder pain, ringing in the ears and tingling in the fingertips.
“I have been able to help a lot of people who suffer from headaches, neck and shoulder pain. Most often, the best mainstream medicine can do is to medicate. So often, the problem can be reduced to bite issues—many of those patients know it intuitively, but no one had been able to identify it,” says Locklear.
Locklear continues to expand her practice, as she looks for synergy between the other medical specialties and dentistry. Her newest interest is in nutrition as it relates to periodontal health. Research has shown a strong correlation between dental plaque and bacteria with heart disease and diabetes. Locklear suggests that by looking at it from a holistic perspective, these issues are associated with the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection. “If a patient has a low-grade, chronic infection in her mouth that isn’t healing, this is going to affect other areas of her body,” says Locklear. Along with traditional treatment modalities, she recommends looking at the health of the intestine, which is largely influenced by diet. She is excited about new findings that show that the use of probiotics and certain dietary supplements are boosting the body’s ability to fight oral inflammation.
Locklear has gained national recognition from Black Enterprise magazine in 2006 as the Business Innovator of the Year, regional recognition as Top in Washington in 2012, and her cosmetic work has appeared in The Journal of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. While she offers her expertise in her specialties, her practice also sees general dentistry patients for preventive and restorative care.
To learn more about Dr. Lynn Locklear and her work, visit LifeEnhancingDentistry.com.