If you're in Canonsburg, the name Sulkowski is synonymous with dental health — and for good reason. For nearly 100 years, there has been a Sulkowski practicing dentistry in the town. Now nearing the end of his fourth decade as a dentist, Dr.William Sulkowski can attest to the multitude of advancements the industry has seen in the last several decades — and all of them are worth smiling about.

Visiting the dentist is now a pleasant experience because Americans today see dentistry as a logical, preventative health solution. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, nearly 85 percent of children ages 2 to 17 have had a dental visit in the past year.

“You're seeing less tooth decay, fewer people having their teeth pulled, and prevention covers a lot of areas,” said Sulkowski. “It's not only having your teeth cleaned every six months, it's getting a filling done before you need a root canal, a crown on before a tooth breaks, a space filled with an implant, or a bridge before the other teeth get affected. The biggest thing is prevention.”

Nothing can spoil a beautiful white smile like a sea of silver or gold-colored fillings. Fortunately, metal fillings have become virtually a thing of the past – at least in state-of-the-art practices, we use only white fillings.

“I do not use any metal in my practice. All of our crowns are aesthetic porcelain and our parcels are tooth-colored. It's totally metal-free and very, very aesthetic compared to the old days with metal. That's a big part of it.”

A visit to the dentist is no longer just a visit to the dentist. Today's dentistry practices are bustling with activity and professionals ready to keep your mouth looking – and feeling – its best. Sulkowski Dental, for example, provides two dentists, two hygienists and various assistants and techs to serve patients in six chairs – which serves patients well when they have last-minute needs.

“If you call our office, we can get you in the same day,” Sulkowski said.

Thanks to technological advances, film x-rays, metal braces and even patient files are a thing of the past. Today's most advanced dental offices rely on digital imaging that allows professionals to be as accurate as possible when identifying problems. Additionally, Invisalign technology has become an easy, aesthetically pleasing alternative to orthodontics compared to traditional wire braces.

“It's one-third or one-fourth of the cost of braces and that wasn't around in years gone by,” Sulkowski adds.

Another thing that wasn't around? Digital patient records and text message appointment reminders.

“We can do just about anything with our cell phones,” Sulkowski said.

Throughout the years, dentistry has gotten a painful rap. But today, there's no reason for a sensitive mouth to keep you from good oral health.

“We do pain-free dentistry,” Sulkowski said. “No one in my office experiences pain. We have special techniques to numb the tooth; and once it's numb, you don't feel a thing.”

Sure, you want your pearly whites to stay exactly that, but when it comes to your dental care, it's not all about fillings and root canals.

“It's not about teeth. It's about people,” Sulkowski said. “The key to my success is making people accept their responsibility to take care of their teeth — to brush and floss. People used to go in when they had a toothache. Now we have dental relationships.”

This article is sponsored by the Dental Practice of William M. Sulkowski, DMD.

A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen Price has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.