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Why you should brush your teeth prior to your dental cleanings
October 2014

Before I really knew anything about teeth, I would go to my dentist and get them cleaned every six months.  Out of courtesy to the hygienist, I would brush and floss right before my appointment so she wouldn't see the black beans and rice I had that day.  I just assumed everyone did that.

Now that I'm surrounded by teeth cleaning, I realize not everyone thinks this way.  Some people purposefully skip teeth brushing on the day of their prophylaxis appointment.  They feel like they're getting more "bang for their buck" but, in reality, they're getting a lesser cleaning.

Food and bacteria mix in a soft sticky substance called plaque, the white film around and in-between your teeth.  As time passes, plaque hardens into calculus or tartar, sometimes just a thin film of it, other times, into large chunks.  A hygienist has an allotted amount of time for each appointment.  Do you want him or her to spend that precious time removing debris you could easily do yourself?  Or do you want that person to be able to focus on the tenacious tartar in difficult places? 

House Calls - Part II
June 2014

Ms. Mary was sitting in her chair, waiting for me, watching TV.  We exchanged greetings, and I set up a mini-lab station on a nearby coffee table.  Delivering dentures entails adjusting them with a lab dremel and pressure paste until they fit correctly without sore spots.  Once fitted, we check the bite or occlusion.

Ms. Mary is a woman of few words, but great wit and humor.  At one point of setting up, her roommate called for help from the bathroom.  With no nurse around, I peeked in to see what kind of emergency.  Her roommate was done on the toilet and needed a new adult diaper put on - and she wanted me to do it!  "Come on! Give me a hand!  Bring that diaper over here!"  Part of me wanted to run away and find a nurse; the other part thought, Hey, I'm a professional, right?  I can do this.  So I did. 

Meanwhile, Ms. Mary yells from wheelchair, "Gladys, she's a dentist!  She can't put that diaper on!  But she can put it around your mouth!"  I don't think Gladys heard, but I did and laughed.  As Gladys wheeled out of the bathroom, she informed Ms. Mary that I wasn't very good at putting on diapers.  Se la vie.

Later on during the appointment, while watching her favorite daytime  game show The Price is Right, Ms. Mary told me she was going to miss her bath but they'll give her a "spit bath" in bed instead.  I replied, "That doesn't sound like much fun."  After a brief pause, she smiled and said, "It is if your husband is doing it."

Once the dentures were fitted properly and all sore spots removed, I cleaned up my lab station and packed up my bags.  I said good-bye to Ms. Mary as they wheeled her away and wonder if I would ever see her again. 

House Calls - Part I
June 2014

I don't usually make house calls.  Actually it's very rare.  But when Ms. "Mary" had to cancel her delivery appointment, I felt compelled to call her daughter to see if I could meet her mom at her nursing home.

Mr. Mary is dying of cancer and came to me requesting a new set of dentures.  After weight loss and a stroke, her old set no longer fit properly.  She had money saved away specifically for dental work and this is what she wanted.  

So every week for 4 weeks, Ms. Mary was wheeled down the hall and patiently sat through impressions, jaw relations, and try-in appointments.  She never complained, never whined, and wanted things done right.  No short cuts.  Her mental faculties where all there peppered with a dry sense of humor and wit I admired.

Finally her nice white dentures were going to be delivered, but her appointment was cancelled.  Her transportation was no longer available and her family was unsure when it would resume.  Being a Hospice patient, I knew she didn't have much time left.  And I wanted her to see her new smile before it was too late.

Given permission to visit Ms. Mary at the nursing home, I packed up my lab engine and burs, and headed over...

Race for the Face 5K
April 2014

April held another first annual event: Race for the Face 5k held on Pass-a-Grille Beach.  It was a fundraising event to support and bring awareness to Oral Cancer and prevention, such as annual screenings which are done in our office during every periodic and new patient exam. 

The 5k took place on the beach on a lovely Saturday morning.  Geri Lynn, Amanda, and I, along with our families, were able to make it to the event.  We walked as far as our little ones would allow, then it was time for some fun in the sand.  It was a fun event for a good cause, one that I would do again and maybe even complete next time.

Florida Mission of Mercy
March 2014

Sherrie, Amanda and I volunteered for the first annual Florida Mission of Mercy to provide free dental care.  Services that were offered included cleanings and fluoride, extractions and partials, fillings and root canals.

Our morning started at 5:30 AM at the FL State Fairgrounds.  Patients had been in line since the night before!  We were treated to a hot breakfast and then off to work.  Sherrie was needed in the organized chaos of sterilization.  Amanda and I, were able to see three patients that morning before the afternoon volunteers arrived.  We completed fillings, a cleaning, fluoride varnish, and occlusal adjustments - an array of services specific to each patient's needs.

It was a rewarding day filled with memorable people.  And although we missed Geri Lynn, she was needed back at the office.  Next year we will sign Geri Lynn up for Crowd Control :)