Children & Checkups: The magic age of 3 and a half

 

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, the perfect time to share our thoughts on dental care for our littlest patients.

Our patients who are new parents often ask, “At what age should we start bringing our child to the dentist?” I don’t hesitate for a second – three and a half. Why three and a half you might ask? Why not three? Or four? After practicing dentistry for about three and a half decades, I can assure you – three and a half is the perfect age to start a child’s lifelong relationship with dentistry in a fun and positive way.

That is the magic age when the child understands what’s happening at the dentist’s office. A simple explanation of why they are here and what they can expect immediately allays any fear they may be experiencing. They are also at an age when they want to cooperate, responding well to the request, ”Please open wide…like an alligator.”

 

Parents also want to know what will happen at this first visit. Our goal is to make their first appointment fun, laying the groundwork for a positive relationship and the knowledge that they will grow up in a dental practice that is always free of pain or stress. For some children, that means simply counting their teeth and calling it a day. For others, “Mr. Thirsty” may seem like a fun diversion while teaching children that this tool is used for “buzzing” cavity bugs off their teeth.

If all is still going well, we proceed with polishing those tiny pearly whites. Before the visit ends, we help parents learn to look for any signs of tooth decay or other oral health issues, and we provide parents with the best methods to help their children brush effectively.

What about a pediatric dentist you might ask? We support that option if your child has special needs like cavities at a very early age or any unusual issues – but for the most part, 80 to 90 percent of kids do great in our practice. As parents and grandparents, we are very kid focused, giving out child friendly toothbrushes and an invitation to our “Cavity-Free Club” where kids can put their name in a drawing for a Target gift card if their check-up is cavity-free. We also offer a selection of little toys to choose from after appointments – but no candy!

One of our greatest joys is watching children grown up in our practice, learning about their achievements, and seeing them become teachers, doctors, lawyers, and yes, even dentists. We give children a continuity of care so they never grow out of our practice. We are thrilled when the next generation comes along, and suddenly, we are caring for all three generations of a family. It gives special meaning to having a family practice.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns about caring for the beautiful smiles of your children and grandchildren.

We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim

 

 

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Year in Review @ Mitchell Dentistry:

Now that the holiday season is over and we are back to our usual routines, we have had time to reflect on 2017 and set goals for the new year. For many of us, 2017 was a most unusual year – filled with ups and downs, sunshine and hurricanes, triumph and tragedy.

At Mitchell Dentistry, we dealt with the loss of a beloved member of our dental “family,” braved Hurricane Irma with minimal damage to our office rooftop, adopted several new technologies, and welcomed new staff members into the fold. It was quite a year – and as a group, we can say that we are all the stronger for what we have shared.

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Roof repairs following Hurricane Irma

As we set our goals for 2018, we reflect on a few of our accomplishments and celebrate all we have to look forward to in the New Year, personally and professionally.

  1. TECH TALK

Taking the lead in dental technology to enhance patient care, we recently added a specialized 3D printer to the practice. The Moon Ray 3D printer makes it possible to print precise dental models from intraoral or 3D scans.

We can now provide patients with more speed, accuracy and durability when designing dental models, without having to send scans out to a lab.

“We researched many options before selecting a 3D printer system designed especially for dentists,” said Dr. Joe. “The layered scans are significantly more accurate than traditional models, and offer our patients speed, convenience, and extremely accurate results.”

  1. SLEEP TIGHT

As many of our patients know, Mitchell Dentistry was among the first in our community to talk to patients about the dangers of sleep apnea and how we might be able to help with this life threatening disorder. For several years, we have worked with area physicians, and have introduced ever evolving oral appliances to ease the situation for many patients. We’ve talked with many who are relieved about breathing better – and many more who are excited that their loved ones have stopped snoring all night!

Our continuing education over the past year enables us to help our patients with:

  • Understanding how breathing-related disruption of sleep is not limited to apnea
  • How upper airway flow limitation creates an environment for poor sleep and chronic stress
  • The causes and correlation between the top 10 dental problems and dysfunctional breathing
  • The importance of breathing disordered sleep on the systemic, neurocognitive, and craniofacial development of our pediatric patients
  • Understanding the importance of nasal breathing, the damaging sequela of mouth breathing, and the strategies to promote proper function
  • A systematic approach to controlling and resolving sleep-induced airway issues
  1. WELCOME, PATRICE

This fall, we welcomed the newest addition to the Mitchell Dentistry team, Patrice Schiop. Patrice stepped in for April Fox who moved to Gainesville to care for her aging parents.

IMG_1301A skilled and experienced dental hygienist for more than 38 years, Patrice graduated from Prairie State College in Illinois. Originally from Chicago and Michigan, Patrice has been a Southwest Florida resident since 1995. She avidly attends continuing education courses in dental hygiene, and obtained her anesthesia license in 2014. Patrice is excited about building one-on-one relationships with her patients at Mitchell Dentistry, and looks forward to the opportunity to educate them in their oral health.

Patrice resides with her husband and her two cats. During her time off, she enjoys traveling, searching for sea shells, and spending time with her friends.

  1. ON THE RADAR FOR 2018
Always a top priority, continuing education will always continue in our practice. Workshops, seminars,

conferences, and hands-on training will take place throughout the year to keep us on top of our game,

bringing our patients the latest tools and techniques to enhance their oral health.

Our staff is growing, so be on the lookout for introductions to skilled, talented professionals as we

continue to add to our team.

Community involvement is also a key factor: Dr. Joe performs his duties as president of

the Lee County Dental Society; Dr. Yolanda speaks to various groups throughout Southwest

Florida; and our entire team continues to volunteer for the annual Head & Neck Cancer 5K, donating toys

to the Dr. Piper Center, and gathering toothbrushes and toothpaste for hurricane victims both in

SWFL and Puerto Rico.

 

  1. MOUTHHEALTHY RESOLUTIONS

As we conclude, here are six resolutions courtesy of MouthHealthy.org that you can adopt to keep your mouth healthy in 2018:

  • Start brushing 2min2x. Always brush twice a day for two minutes for healthier teeth, good breath, fewer cavities, and to avoid painful dental problems.
  • Floss daily. Flossing is part of being mouth healthy.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.
  • Eat a healthy dietEat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Drink fluoridated waterFluoride helps prevent cavities by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities.
  • Visit Mitchell Dentistry. Regular dental visits will help you be Mouth Healthy for Life.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim