By Deborah Bostock-Kelley
Dr. Lyndsay McCaslin loves helping people.
When she was a college undergrad in 1998, she came to New Port Richey, Florida, to work during the summer at her uncle’s dental practice. Under the tutelage of her uncle Dr. Shelton, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. VonSick, she knew she had found her calling and decided to go to dental school.
A cum laude graduate of the University of Kentucky, Dr. McCaslin started her first practice within Dr. Shelton’s practice.
In 2011, she moved to her own location and founded Expressions Family and Cosmetic Dentistry with two employees. She had no idea that six short years later, she would outgrow the property and move because of her practice’s popularity.
“The community of this area blessed us. We outgrew our first practice, so we had to look for a bigger building right by Eastlake High School. The Eastlake area is a hometown atmosphere, which is why I love practicing here.”
Now, three years later, her dental office on Ridgeline Boulevard has expanded to thirteen employees, and the addition of Dr. Laura Goodwin, an associate dentist. Expressions Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is recognized for exceptional care in her tight-knit community.
“Dentistry is a very artistic and very social profession. Being able to help people, change smiles, change lives, is a big reason why I got into dentistry.”
Not only does Expressions Family and Cosmetic Dentistry provide comprehensive cosmetic dental offerings of teeth cleaning, bridges, fillings, dentures, gum therapy, teeth whitening, and Invisalign invisible braces, Dr. McCaslin and her team go a step beyond. Being a primarily digital office, they don’t provide temporary crowns but can make new crowns within two hours. They also offer state-of-the-art, non-invasive technology for oral cancer screenings to every patient.
Having lost her mother and having a brother a survivor of oral cancer, Dr. McCaslin uses an advanced screening technology for her patients. Sometimes oral cancer can be asymptomatic.
“We have invested in the VELscope® fluorescent light for oral cancer screenings to illuminate abnormalities not visible to the naked eye. We give our patients an extra screening tool, especially those at a high-risk population. We recommend all of our patients have a VELscope® exam at least once a year. The cost is $19. We keep it a low price so that we’re able to provide that service to our patients.”
Dr. Laura Goodwin joined the practice in 2018, enabling the office to be more readily available and allowing for convenient Saturday hours twice a month.
“Dr. Goodwin is an asset to our office. She does the same dentistry I do, but I work Monday through Thursday, and Dr. Goodwin works Tuesdays through Fridays. She’s been a blessing. We can keep our office open longer for our patients by having an associate dentist.”
While Dr. Goodwin has a focus on dental implants, in 2020, Dr. McCaslin’s concentration is on sleep apnea, airway obstruction dentistry. She became interested initially in sleep apnea when still training at her uncle’s practice. Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder that happens when your regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. In children as young as three, Dr. McCaslin looks at tonsils and adenoids and monitors any airway obstruction issues that can lead to adult sleep apnea.
“Dr. VonSick was at the forefront of bringing dental and sleep apnea medicine together. As a mentor, he talked to me about it,” she said. “Last year, I was able to go through all of the hours of continuing education and learn how to help our patients by not just concentrating on their teeth, but helping them breathe better, which allows them to live healthier lives. Dr. VonSick was the one who originally got me interested in this. I wanted to be able to help my patients in a different way, especially those who don’t want to wear a CPAP. It is another benefit we can give our patients.”
Dr. McCaslin asks her patients about symptoms like high blood pressure, headaches, shortness of breath, diabetes, depression, daytime sleepiness, acid reflux, snoring, lack of ability to lose weight, among others.
“There’s a lot of things in our body that can be affected if we don’t get enough rejuvenation sleep that we need. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, a dental device is the gold standard. For severe sleep apnea, a CPAP is recommended. The problem is there is only a 45% compliance with the CPAP machine, so something is better than nothing for the people who don’t want a CPAP or aren’t going to wear a CPAP. The device we use gives them an alternative.”
Instead of a CPAP, Dr. McCaslin opens up the airway with a bite guard.
“It is an upper and lower device that brings the lower jaw a little bit forward to open up the back of the throat, the airway, so people can breathe better as they’re sleeping. As dentists, when we look at the airway on every patient. There are certain things that we examine and evaluate for airway obstruction whenever we are doing our initial exams or recare exams.”
Some medical insurance carriers and Medicare cover oral appliances or have a benefit for the treatment of sleep apnea. The device is custom-fabricated and fitted for each patient.
“Basically, in our daily practice, I put my dentistry hat on when I am talking about teeth, and I put my medical hat on when I am talking about the airway.”
While the American Dental Association recommends a bi-annual visit to the dentist, Expressions Family and Cosmetic Dentistry offer individualized plans of treatment, completely customized to the patient.
“There’s no set answer for that. Some people need to be seen for recare visits four times a year. It all depends on people’s genetics and bacteria in the mouth. That’s how we set up our patients depending on their individual oral health plan.”
In her practice, what Dr. McCaslin said that sets Expressions Family and Cosmetic Dentistry apart from those in the same field is her team and the way they treat their patients. Whether a three-year-old toddler to a teen in need of Invisalign, or a busy working entrepreneur to their oldest patient of 97 years, premium care and generations of patients is the ultimate goal of the family practice.
“We treat our patients like family. We are not high-pressure salespeople. The fact is that we educate and explain procedures to our patients, building value in what dentistry will provide for them. I think our patients appreciate that more than anything else. Our goal is to make all of our patients feel comfortable. Nobody loves going to the dentist, but we try to make a pleasant experience out of what the majority of people think is unpleasant.”
Expressions Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is located at 3007 Ridgeline Blvd., Suite A, in Tarpon Springs. Hours of operation are Monday 9:00 – 2:00, Tuesday 8:00 – 6:00, Wednesday 9:00 – 7:00, Thursday 9:00 -5:30, Friday 8:00 – 1:00, and two Saturdays a month 8:00 -1:00. To schedule an appointment or learn more, visit https://mypalmharbordentist.com.