Familiar Faces: Ancient practices meet modern technology in El Dorado Hills

By: Menka Belgal, Telegraph Correspondent
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Michael Guess has had his own orthodontics and acupuncture practice in the El Dorado Hills area since 1989 and been in El Dorado Hills since 1966. On the side, he develops homeopathic products for aging, arthritis, headaches and much more.

How has orthodontics changed since 1989?

Well everything in orthodontics is the same as it was 20 years ago but it is all different. The difference is directly related to technology. Ten years ago digital x-rays were the rage and five years ago it was Invisalign the removable braces. Today we are looking at biological methods that can significantly reduce the time in treatment. And technology will continue to drive the profession.

Where else have you practiced?

I’ve been lucky enough to practice dentistry in Israel one summer and was invited by the Chinese government to give a series of lectures on orthodontics.

I’ve been an instructor for continuing education courses in orthodontics at UCLA, UCSF, Indiana University, Harvard, and the scientific theories for acupuncture at Meije Medical College. For the past seven years I’ve been an instructor for preparation course for examinees for the American Board of Orthodontics. This year I have the good fortune of being the President of the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). This group is comprised of about 2100 Board Certified members from around the world. The College motto is to be a “Step Beyond Board Certification. The College hosts an annual scientific meeting brings the latest technologies, research and application methods. The College is for orthodontists that are interested in excellent patient care. So every year I leave the practice for almost three weeks to learn, instruct and share with my boarded colleagues. Then when I’m back at the office, we implement changes for the benefit of our patients.

Did you have any issues with cultural differences when you were overseas?

The language of sincerity and genuine interest to help cannot be hidden and whether treating patients in different cultures or attending a scientific session with a foreign colleague having a goal to “help” is the key. New relationships formed in these setting are all based on such common beliefs. Then nothing else matters such as political, social or religious views.

Have you had any research or articles that have been published?

Yes, I’ve published about two dozen articles from treatment planning via computers, dental acupuncture, methods to improve bracket bond strength to the tooth structure, and even antibiotic treatments that can contribute to deafness. Currently, I’m writing articles for the members of the College.

What hobbies do you have?

I was lucky enough to be a nationally ranked junior chess player at 14. It took discipline and I’ve tried to use those developed skills for other endeavors. For example, I’ve developed an excellent Aloe Vera lotion for burns and cuts for children. I worked with a dentist friend in Albuquerque and the product is used even by plastic surgeons because of its healing abilities. In addition, I’ve formulated products for allergies, arthritis, headaches, pain and wrinkles that are manufactured for companies to private label. Each of the products we formulated was created because of a need from one of our patients. Our orthodontic patients have access to information we have developed for minor health issues such as preventing and minimizing a cold or flu, types of cough and remedies, information about diabetes, how to treat a bite or sting, prostate and anti-aging, anti-wrinkle and probably 100 different minor ailments.

Are your products regulated by the FDA?

Yes they are. Since the FDA recognizes our homeopathic products are medicines able to relieve symptoms and to treat underlying health conditions, they have to be regulated.

Tell us about your family.

My oldest daughter, Anneliese recently graduated from her master’s program at Georgetown and is working for a German “think tank” in Washington, DC. My oldest son, Eric is finishing up his studies at UC Davis and is interested in business. My daughter, Kristin is studying in Germany for two years and then wants to attend Berkeley. My youngest, Alex is enjoying third grade and may be the family chess whiz.

And then we have our extended family. Four of our assistants are now dentists and another dozen or so have gone on to become dental hygienists. We have many patients that come back and tell us how much their orthodontic treatment meant to them. It’s not only the physicians, dentists, attorneys but also the contractors, school teachers, park rangers and from all other “walks of life.”

What causes are you passionate about?

Without having passion you cannot enjoy all life has to offer. Passion is the spark that motivates people to make changes for betterment. We genuinely want to help people. If I don’t know the answer I will help find someone for you that can. And the wonderful thing is this: If patients want to excel in their orthodontic treatment or in their general health they will. And deep satisfaction comes from helping them achieve their goals.