Personal Profile of Dr. Wooten

David R. Wooten, D.D.S.

I was born and raised on a small farm in the Panhandle of Texas. I spent my early years chasing whirlwinds and dodging tumbleweeds. My parents were both schoolteachers and farmers. I have had an absolutely wonderful life and I attribute it to the value system my parents instilled in me as a child. I was taught to:

I graduated from high school in Estelline, Texas. Often there were only 3 to 5 students in my classes. Until I started to college, I did not realize the incredible difference this individualized instruction had on the quality of my education. I was the valedictorian of my graduating class. You see, since there were only 10 of us, I had to do that just to get into the top 10%. However, some say I was only 10 up from the bottom of the class.

My undergraduate work was done at West Texas State University (currently West Texas A & M University). The education there was superb. My college experience there was something I'll always cherish.

Then I went to dental school at The University of Texas Dental Branch in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. I graduated from there in the top 10% of my class and was elected into the National Honor Dental Society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon.

Through a competitive process, I was selected to be in an intense one-year training program at the United States Public Health Service Hospital in Staten Island, New York. I received specialty training in prosthodontics, oral surgery, restorative dentistry, radiology, internal medicine, pathology, and pharmacology. The training there was terrific, and I will always be grateful for it. However, Staten Island was not my idea of "Fantasy Island."

I then fulfilled my military obligation. I was assigned as the Chief Dental Officer of the USPHS outpatient clinic in Houston, Texas. I achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and was sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for advanced training in oral diagnosis and therapeutics.

Continuing education has always been extremely important to me. I love to learn, about everything, but especially about dentistry and health. I have had the extreme good fortune of being able to learn from and have personal relationships with some of the best minds in dentistry. The list could go on and on. I have amassed hundreds of hours of continuing education in orthodontics, orthopedics, gnathology, and esthetic dentistry.

The thing I like best about dentistry is that it gives me the opportunity to develop long term relationships with people and to dramatically improve the quality of their lives. I enjoy making it possible for people to chew with comfort and to smile with confidence, no matter how difficult their dental problems.

I especially enjoy treating TMJ problems. I have a special passion for it for a couple of reasons. First, so many people suffer from TMJ symptoms and don't realize that is what the problem is. That is why I call it "The Great Impostor". The myriad of symptoms include:

Because the symptoms are so varied and often not directly associated with the jaw joint, patients often get sent on a "wild goose chase". Many times the patients primary care physician cannot identify the problem, so the patient is referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. The ENT specialist also identifies no problem, so he refers the patient to a neurologist. The neurologist's tests also come back negative, so the patient is referred to yet another specialist, or even to a psychiatrist. In an attempt to intercede on behalf of the patient, I have very recently addressed all the school nurses from Goose Creek Schools and also the General Practice Residents at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital to help those two groups to be able to screen TMJ sufferers more effectively.

The second reason I enjoy treating TMJ so much is because I do not feel it is treated very effectively most of the time. Almost all the treatment procedures I see are really directed toward the symptoms of the TMJ problem, rather than the underlying problem. Almost all splint therapy falls into that category and often results in causing the underlying problem to get worse. Because of this, I am happy to do a complementary second opinion or consultation on anyone who suffers from the symptoms of TMJ.

My other passion is health. I absolutely believe people have enormous potential for developing their health. With all the contaminants in our air and water and all the chemicals, hormones, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics which contaminate our food supplies, our immune systems are truly challenged. No wonder new diseases are springing up almost daily, and that chronic degenerative diseases are attacking us at an alarming rate and striking us at earlier ages than ever before.

Today, we also have available to us some unbelievable natural products to protect and bolster our immune systems, counteract all sorts of disease processes, and keep us younger longer. However, assimilating and understanding all the information about health can be quite challenging. It is part of my mission to de-mystify the information about vitamins, minerals, supplements, and nutraceuticals and to teach the significance of nutrition, exercise, stress management, life style and mind style to overall well being. As part of that endeavor I do periodic seminars at my office, which are open to the general public and are free of charge.