PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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DR. DON LIBERTY talks about his practice as El Dorado Hills' only oral surgeon. He is also a member of the Army Reserves. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Healthy Trends 2013

Oral surgeon serves EDH

By From page HT6 | January 30, 2013

Born in Korea, raised in Guam, educated and trained in Indiana, Donald Liberty, Doctor of Dental Surgery, opened Golden Foothills Oral and Facial Surgery at 4913 Golden Foothills Parkway in the El Dorado Hills Business Park in 2011.

Just as he was starting to get established, Dr. Liberty, who is also an Army Reserve officer, was deployed to Kuwait for four months.

He went on his first humanitarian mission to Haiti when he was in residency at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. “I joined the Army Reserve because of their humanitarian missions. They are usually a couple of weeks. I’ve been to Panama and El Salvador. I like serving my country, and I like taking care of people,” he said.

Dr. Liberty started out with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from University of Guam. But he had no idea what he wanted to do with it. “My wife, Diane, always knew she wanted to be a dentist. We were high school sweethearts,” said Dr. Liberty. They married and their daughter was born in Guam. She is now 21 and a pre-med student at University of Washington. When Diane was accepted in the dental school in Indiana, the family moved.

Dr. Liberty decided to study dentistry, but he was two years behind his wife. He took his pre-dental science courses at Purdue University at Indianapolis. Then he entered Indiana School of Dentistry for his undergraduate degree, and finally a four-year residency at Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis.

“I like taking care of people,” he said again. “When I discovered surgery, it just fit.”

The dental couple had two sons while in Indiana. “They’re Hoosiers,” said Dr. Liberty.

The oldest is 15 and a student at Jesuit High School. The younger is 11 and attends St. John,s Notre Dame in Folsom.

The family moved to the area in 2005. Dr. Liberty was hired to set up a maxillofacial surgery for Kaiser. It grew to three surgeons. Diane set up a practice in Folsom.

Dr. Liberty decided to go out on his own. He found that Placerville had oral surgeons, as did Folsom. At the time, there were none in El Dorado Hills. He chose a location in the Business Park because he was able to buy the building. The contractor who built the building did all the interior work for him. “It was very smooth. We had no problems,” he said.

Dr. Liberty said he does mostly reconstructive work. “Someday I will have a partner, and maybe the partner will do cosmetic surgery, but I don’t do very much,” he said.

But when he tells about the work he has done to repair jaw and facial damage, his eyes light up. He literally gives people a normal life again.

He estimates 50 percent of his patients are between 14 and 18, 25 percent are younger and 25 percent are older.

Dr. Liberty’s practice revolves around wisdom teeth extraction, corrective jaw surgery, treating facial injuries, TMJ Disorders, dental implants and oral cancer. Video explanations of the conditions and treatments are on Dr. Liberty’s website, eldoradohillsoralsurgery.com.

In his office, he uses an i-CAT scanner that produces high-resolution, three-dimensional views.

The 3D dental imaging is used for implant planning, TMJ and airway analysis, orthodontic and oral surgery planning and to detect pathologies such as cysts and tumors.

From the CAT scan, a plastic sculpture model of the problem area with moving parts can be constructed. The model can be used to explain the procedure with the patient or consult with other specialists, such as orthodontists and cancer surgeons.

Dr. Liberty said he received hospital privileges at Marshall Medical Center last November to do surgeries that he can’t do in the office. He works with Dr. Reginald Rice, who specializes in children’s craniofacial anomalies, and Dr. Derald Rochat, who specializes in head and neck tumors and skin cancer. Both perform their surgeries at Marshall.

He has also asked to be placed on the facial trauma call list. “I think it is part of my responsibility in the county to be available at the hospital,” he said.

He said he has applied for hospital privileges at Mercy Folsom and Sutter.

Dr. Liberty is happy that he located his practice in El Dorado Hills. “I like my patients,” he said. When not working, he and his family enjoy going to the Sierra in the winter and taking their boat on Folsom Lake in the summer.

For more information, visit the website or call 916-941-9860.

Roberta Long

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