Toughest Case: Full Rehabilitation
Katie Courville Roberts
General Dentistry | Lake Charles
For Dr. Katie Courville Roberts, the toughest kind of case she deals with as a dentist is also her most rewarding: when a patient’s teeth have irreparable damage that requires full mouth rehabilitation.
“In general, the most challenging case is when you get a patient that has teeth in poor working condition. Those are like a blank slate,” she says.
Thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, Roberts says, there’s hope for these patients: a patient can have a smile that is both functional and esthetic.
“It’s nice not seeing people struggle as much,” she says. “It’s amazing what you can do with implants and dentures nowadays.”
While difficult, these cases are satisfying because of the life-changing results.
“These are always the most rewarding cases. You see someone’s whole life transform,” she says. “They have confidence because they’re able to smile.”
Roberts knew she wanted to go into the field after working at a dentist’s office one summer. She was a freshman at LSU where she enjoyed studying biology and chemistry and knew she wanted to work in healthcare, but wasn’t sure if she wanted to pursue medicine or dentistry. After working in the office and experiencing the never-dull, people-oriented nature of the field, that informed her path.
“I absolutely loved it,” she said of the summer job. “I liked that every day was different, every patient was different. You kind of never know what you were going to get.”
“I liked that I could make a change in someone and get immediate results.”
After graduating from LSU with a degrees in biological sciences in 2008, Roberts attended LSU School of Dentistry New Orleans where she earned her doctorate in dental surgery in 2013. Now that she is a practicing dentist, working in partnership with Dr. Mary Seale Churchman at their Lake Charles office, she’s discovered more about the field, but it has proven to be the dynamic, satisfying profession she thought it would be.
“I’ve discovered that problems aren’t always straightforward or have only one answer. Sometimes you have to take several lessons to arrive at an answer best for your patient,” she says. “What keeps it exciting is sometimes you start out thinking, ‘Where is this case going to go?’ and when you think through it and get all the records you need to fully evaluate the patient, it comes together.”
The Lake Charles native attended Barbe High School and then moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She moved back to Lake Charles because she loves the small-town convenience it offers and being in close proximity to her family. Both her immediate and extended family still live in the area.
“We’re always with my family,” she says. It’s comforting knowing you have a support system.”
In 2013 she married Landon Roberts, a Shreveport native, whom she dated through college and married after he completed law school and she was done dentistry school. When they’re not working their demanding jobs, the couple enjoys “normal stuff” like spending time with family, hanging out with friends, and going to restaurants to try different types of food.
Roberts and her husband seem to enjoy an ideal work-life balance.
“Dentistry is flexible, so it hasn’t impeded on having fulfilling home life,” she says. “When I go home, dentistry is not consuming my whole day. It’s just about [my husband] and being at home.”
Roberts says it’s a good match because her and her husband both work in demanding, but different, fields.
“I like that we both understand each other, and each other comes first,” she says. “We both love our jobs and what we do concluded we can have it all: We can have each other, have a happy home life and fulfilling careers.”