More than a Smile in Roseville!

More than a Smile in Roseville! Main Photo

2 Dec 2021


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As a dentist, continuous learning is critical, as the field of dentistry is constantly changing. For Dr. Deborah Fung, owner of Designing Smiles in Roseville, that mantra has held true as much for her profession as for her relationship to the Roseville community.

“I came to Minnesota for my dental degree and the plan was to move home after,” said Dr. Fung, who is from Canada. “Once I was here, I loved the area and never really had any inkling to leave.”

Designing Smiles offers general dentistry services to persons of all ages, including orthodontics, root canal therapy, implants, cosmetic dentistry and oral surgery. Focusing on interactive communication and attentive care, Dr. Fung and her staff strive to meet their patients’ personal needs, expectations and budget for dental treatment.

Why Roseville?

Dr. Fung earned her dental degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1992. Her experience includes 12 years as a dental officer with the Minnesota Army National Guard and nine years with Community Dental Care. She opened her practice in 2000 at the Roseville Professional Center before moving to her current Roseville location in 2006. Choosing Roseville made sense for a number of reasons, including a central Twin Cities location and the advantages Roseville brings to her professional life as a Twin Cities medical hub. The presence of the University of Northwestern - St. Paul across the street from her practice has been both a source of patients and potential employee resource. Personally, Dr. Fung has found Roseville to help balance work and life.

“You cannot beat the central location between Minneapolis and St. Paul, in terms of the convenience of healthcare, childcare, shopping and travel,” she said. “Really, anything I need is within ten minutes of home or the office,” she said. 

More than teeth

Dr. Fung has always placed an emphasis on continuing her education. Around seven years ago, she was introduced to myofunctional therapy as a collaborative method to complement dentistry. Myofunctional growth pertains to the facial muscle and skeletal growth. As a result, she and her staff have woven a focus on the importance of airway development. They teach their patients that the foundation for a great healthy smile begins with our breathing habits. 

The airway is the most important foundation of dental health, more so than tooth decay or gum health,” said Dr. Fung. “It is important to understand that our breathing habits influence facial growth, oral muscle development, dental disease, sleep habits, orthodontic relapse as well as our overall health.”

The more Dr. Fung learned, the more she came to understand the importance of myofunctional therapy in young children. Particularly that the lack of proper jaw development may adversely affect a child’s airway, resulting in poor breathing and sleeping,  which can lead to health issues as they grow. Addressing good oral muscle function and proper jaw growth at an early age can limit the health issues that typically accompany problems with mouth breathing and underdeveloped jaws. These can include digestive issues, attention deficit disorders, night terrors and other sleep breathing disorders, including sleep apnea as patients become older.

A skeletal foundation is often set by the time a child enters school, so Dr. Fung screens her youngest patients for issues resulting in poor quality sleep. She refers interested patients to specialists in orthodontics, but experience taught her that did not always result in resolving an issue.

“I found the conversation around myofunctional development was a difficult one for patients to have in the dentist's chair, where they are concerned about cavities or healthy gums,” said Dr. Fung.

So she created Counting Sheep, a sleep disordered breathing solutions clinic located adjacent to Designing Smiles where patients can learn and focus on the importance of myofunctional therapy with a myofunctional therapist. Here, she works collaboratively with ENT surgeons who specialize in sleep medicine, craniofacial therapists and other dentists and orthodontists with advanced airway training.

Dr. Fung and patients“So many people do not understand the role facial muscle management plays in developing facial bones, which guide jaw growth,” said Dr. Fung. “At Counting Sheep, patients can take a little time to form a goal of reducing those issues and increasing the possibility of healthy teeth structure over the course of a lifetime.” 

Continuous learning

Dr. Fung enjoys the learning process because she knows that new techniques impact dentistry every year, especially as medical and dental fields continue to collaborate more. But more importantly, Dr. Fung wants to be able to apply the best possible knowledge for a community she loves.

“There is so much more knowledge today than when I completed my formal education,” she said. “While the latest learnings such as airway development are critical for young children, I want to be able to provide the best care possible for all of my patients.”

You can follow Dr. Fung and her practice on Facebook to learn more about myofunctional development and overall dental health.