A Bright New 2019 at Mitchell Dentistry

The Christmas lights are down and the decorations are put away as we settle into 2019 at Mitchell Dentistry. We have had a few weeks to reflect on our goals for the year ahead, which include both in-office and out-of-office endeavors.

For us, new aspirations begin “at home,” and we have already begun to lighten and brighten our surroundings. Newly installed LED lighting is adding a fresh view of our work spaces and parking lot – with the added benefit of being good for our environment. We have also recently refreshed our sterilization and lab areas – remodeling with new countertops that update the look and feel of our space. Throughout the office, the refresh has given us a sense of renewal and recharged energy.

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Taking this burst of energy to the next step, the Mitchells will continue to pursue professional and educational opportunities that offer our patients the most advanced care in the industry. In that spirit, Dr. Yolanda, Dr. Joe and I are eagerly anticipating the 107th annual Hinman meeting taking place in March in Atlanta. “The Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting is an annual tradition, providing dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, laboratory technicians and dental office staff with the latest and most comprehensive continuing education in dentistry today. The meeting is known for its Southern Hospitality, extraordinary educational programs, impressive roster of speakers, unsurpassed social events and all-inclusive technical exhibition. The Meeting is sponsored by the Hinman Dental Society, a non-profit organization, and all excess revenue is invested and then gifted in the form of scholarships to individuals and institutions that foster dental education. The society has provided nearly $8,600,000 in total giving to date.”

As a group, we love learning and continuing to grow as professionals to be the best we can be for our patients. A bonus this year is that Dr. Yolanda will have the opportunity to attend her milestone dental school reunion, taking place during the same week as the Hinman meeting!

We hope that your New Year is off to a bright, positive start, and that you will accomplish the goals you have set out for 2019.

Feel free to share your thoughts or comments below – we always welcome your feedback!

All the best,

Dr. Jim




Who is Dr. Piper?

At Mitchell Dentistry, most of our patients who visit our office around the holiday season are familiar with our Holiday Toy Drive to benefit the Dr. Piper Center for Social Services, a 100+ year old Southwest Florida organization that helps our region’s children and elderly. Year after year, you may have seen our playpen overflowing with gifts donated so generously by our patients and staff, you may have even donated yourself, and you may have seen signs in our office encouraging patients to donate.


We often hear the question, “Who is Dr. Piper?” At that point, we usually direct patients to the website DrPiperCenter.org, or we give a brief explanation of what we know. This year, we thought it might be more helpful to provide her official bio provided by the Dr. Piper Center. It is a most interesting story about an extraordinary person set in the fascinating history of the City of Fort Myers during extraordinary times.

For Mitchell Dentistry, with our families and practice rooted here in Fort Myers for many decades, our affinity for this organization is closely related to our broad and deep connection to our community. We appreciate the hundreds of volunteers who help our local children and elderly, and make our community a better place to live, work and play.

Meet Dr. Ella Mae Piper

Dr. Ella Mae Piper was born in Brunswick; Georgia (near the Florida line) March 8, 1884; the only daughter of Ned Bailer and Sarah Williams. Mrs. Piper died on June 13, 1954. She was a well-known civic worker and businesswoman, who established the first beauty parlor and chiropody office in Fort Myers 69 years ago. She attended Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Rohrer’s world-famous Institute of Beauty Culture located in New York City.  She graduated August 25, 1915. Her name then was Ella M. Jones.  She majored in body massage and Swedish movements and was a well-known Chiropodist (foot doctor).

She arrived in Fort Myers in 1915 where she opened her first beauty shop located on Jackson Street across from Englehart’s Mortuary. Later the beauty shop was moved to Hendry Street where she also began the practice of Chiropody. In 1916, Dr. Piper moved her business to 1819 Evans Avenue near her home. She also owned the Big 4 Bottling Company located on Mango and Evans. The community enjoyed Big 4 soft drinks for five cents a bottle.


March 8, 1884 – June 13, 1954

Dr. Ella Piper held annual Christmas tree parties for children of Dunbar Heights. Her mother, Sarah Williams, started this event in 1915 while employed in the H. E. Heitman home. Thus began an institute over the years that grew from an original gathering of 15 little girls to some 600 boys and girls who romped over her lawn at 1771 Evans Avenue every December 25th.

​When Dr. Piper’s mother died in 1926, Ella carried on the Annual Christmas Party with the assistance of many churches, businesses, and many community friends who assisted with contributions and gifts for the youngsters. The annual Christmas Tree Party has continued uninterrupted since Dr. Piper’s death through the faithful efforts of local citizens.

In Dunbar Heights, she was a Grand Lodge Officer and Executive Board member for 26 years of the Elks Lodge. She also served as a state officer. She was the founder of the Tranquillo Temple and organized the Triple City Council and served as Deputy of the District. She was a member of Mt. Olive Church and the Pioneer’s Club. She assisted in building the Old Dunbar School in 1926.

​Dr. Ella Piper was known as a philanthropist. She was instrumental in helping young people in obtaining scholarships to attend Tuskegee College, using her personal money to help some of these students. Dr. Ella Piper was well-known throughout the community and often aided elderly persons, particularly the underprivileged and handicapped. It was this interest, along with the interest of children that led her to leave her property to the City of Fort Myers for the benefit of young children and senior citizens.

You can watch a video about Dr. Ella Piper, and learn more about the organization by visiting their site:


Thank a Waterpik for a happier, healthier smile

At Mitchell Dentistry, we know our patients are brushing, and most are flossing. But how many are using a Waterpik? This product has been around for more than 50 years, but the new and improved version is something we believe you should not overlook when it comes to overall oral healthcare.


It is rare for us to endorse a specific brand, but we feel pretty strongly about the Waterpik Water Flosser with the reservoir. Why? From the scientific standpoint, keep in mind that plaque is a super sticky substance, the byproduct of bacterial activity in the mouth. Brushing and flossing may get some of the plaque off, but there can be damaging residue left behind. Behold the Waterpik which washes the residue right out of there.

With the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association, the Waterpik® Water Flosser has been shown to:

  • Help reduce plaque along the gum line and between teeth.
  • Help prevent and reduce gingivitis, often a precursor to periodontal disease.

This means when used daily, as directed, the Waterpik® Water Flosser is an ideal choice for improving and/or maintaining good oral health especially in people who struggle with dental floss.

With our own patients, we have seen market improvement among our patients who use the Waterpik daily.

So how do you use the Waterpik? You fill the reservoir with warm water. At the beginning, use the light setting until you get used to it. Place the flosser in your mouth before you turn it on. Then turn it on and let the water shoot between your teeth, all the way around until the reservoir runs dry.

I personally, like to add a capful of Listerine to the warm water before I start. We checked in with the Waterpik site and here’s what they say about that:

“We recommend using warm water. Water alone is proven highly effective in numerous clinical studies. However, patients can use certain agents with the Water Flosser:

  • Mouthwash – A small amount of mouthwash can be added to the water for flavoring and/or to enhance compliance.
  • Chlorhexidine and Listerine – Have been clinically tested for use with the Water Flosser. CHX can be diluted in varying strengths.

Any time an agent other than water is used in the Water Flosser, flush the unit by running plain water through it afterwards.

 We do not recommend bleach dilution; it shortens the life of the unit. We do not recommend pure essential oils such as tea tree oil; it destroys the product. (Formulated products that are commonly available, such as Listerine, contain essential oils in small amounts and won’t harm the product).”

We hope you will consider adding a Waterpik to your dental routine – we know you will be happy with the results.

As always, please ask us for more information or recommendations on this, or any other topic related to your oral health. Plus, we love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best,

Dr. Jim



New study released this week reports on gum disease and high blood pressure

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A new study released this week (Oct. 22, 2018) indicates that gum disease may interfere with high blood pressure, or hypertension, control. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-dental-hypertension/gum-disease-linked-to-higher-blood-pressure-idUSKCN1MZ2L3)

Lead author Dr. Davide Pietropaoli, doctor of dental surgery at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, reported that researchers reviewed medical and dental records of more than 3,600 people diagnosed with high blood pressure. In comparison to people with good oral health, those with gum disease were less likely to respond to high blood pressure medications and 20 percent less likely to achieve healthy blood pressure targets.

At Mitchell Dentistry, we take these reports very seriously and will be even more vigilant when caring for our patients who are receiving treatment for hypertension. We urge our patients who have loved ones with high blood pressure to make sure they are also receiving good oral healthcare.

And on behalf of our Mitchell Dentistry dentists and hygiene team, we will continue to reinforce our daily routine recommendation to help prevent gum disease:

Daily Routine

We recommend brushing with an electric toothbrush at least two minutes in the morning, two minutes at night. The best regimen also includes flossing every night, and the optional water pick which will rinse everything out.

Knowledge is Power

Our goal is to help spread awareness about healthy teeth and gums throughout the year, and we always appreciate an extra opportunity to pass on helpful information to our patients.

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,

Dr. Jim



Count on us during and after National Gum Care Month!

Have you ever wondered what all those numbers mean when we are conducting your periodontal exam at Mitchell Dentistry?

care clean dental care dental hygiene

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You’ll hear us saying, “1…2…1…3…2, etc.” with a little frown if we get to “4.” What we are doing is measuring the collar that borders the tooth and the gum, testing the depth. A 1, 2, or 3 is fine, but if a case of gingivitis turns a 3 into a 4, we are concerned that this could lead to bone deterioration and ultimately tooth loss.

Such is the stuff that’s been on our minds all September – National Gum Care Month, and into October and beyond. The good news? Better home care can definitely have positive results.

Here’s what we recommend:

It’s Electric

All of us at Mitchell Dentistry agree that when there’s a choice between electric and manual brushing, there’s no contest – electric is the way to go for a thorough cleaning. We prefer Sonic Care with Oral B as a close second, and find that the battery versions are just not strong enough. The Sonic Care and Oral B have timers with intermittent pauses to let you know when to change quadrants.

Daily Routine

We recommend two minutes in the morning, two minutes at night. The best regimen also includes flossing every night, and the optional water pick which will rinse everything out. Try this, and you will see those gum measurement numbers go down. Plus , you’ll get a gold star from your hygienist.

Sidebar Story

I was speaking with one of our patients about the importance of brushing with an electric toothbrush, and he responded that has already has it covered. In fact, he added, to accommodate his busy schedule, he brushes with his Sonic Care while he is in the shower. How’s that for multi-tasking? For those of our patients who remember the Seinfeld sitcom, it reminded me of the one where Kramer makes a salad while taking a shower – see the clip here!


P.S. Both Sonic Care and Oral B say their devices are safe to use in the shower, just not immersed in water.

Knowledge is Power

Our goal is to help spread awareness about healthy teeth and gums throughout the year, and we always appreciate an extra opportunity to pass on helpful information to our patients.

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,

Dr. Jim



Smokeless tobacco: friend or foe?


As proponents of oral healthcare, we do our best to stay current on cultural trends that may or may not affect the health of our patients. Over the past decade or so, the use of smokeless and non-combustible tobacco has gotten more popular, especially among those who believe that this habit is less dangerous than smoking real tobacco. With this practice on the rise, even among teens and children, the healthcare community has found that it’s time to develop strategies to address this important issue. In October, a Summit will take place in California with a good part of the agenda specifically devoted to the effects of smokeless tobacco on oral health.

Looking ahead

At Mitchell Dentistry, we are concerned about the marketing and the use of “dissolvable tobacco” products – appealing to both smokers and children. Little is known about the long-term health implications of these products already introduced to the public. Furthermore – research, knowledge and public awareness of the health implications of smokeless and non-combustible tobacco use lags, while the known dangers of these products continue to increase.

We will pay close attention to the discussions at The Summit to see how the experts plan to face the unique challenges brought forth by smokeless and non-combustible tobacco use. It will serve as a motivating force for community action on this important, contemporary public health challenge.

Chewing, Vaping and Smoking…oh, no


In our own practice, we have seen patients who have been negatively affected by chewing tobacco – they tend to place it in the same area between cheek and gum, increasing their risk of oral cancer in that spot. In addition, the fiberglass in these products can abrade the gums, making it easier for toxic chemicals to be absorbed.

And what about e-cigarettes? We all know the negative effect of smoking cigarettes on oral health – and on all other aspects of your health. Now we have the rising popularity of vaping, (the action of inhaling the vapors produced by e-cigarettes). While there isn’t much research yet on vaping’s actual effect on oral health, the evidence that’s out there should make us skeptical.

  • Vaping does still usually result in the inhalation of nicotine. Though there are nicotine free options, many e-cigarette cartridges contain nicotine, which when inhaled can have many harmful consequences. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow. This directly impacts the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria, reduces cellular regeneration and healing ability, and can lead to periodontal disease.
  • These vapors do have a negative impact on gum tissue. A study published in the journal Oncotarget found that e-cigarette vapors, when burned, cause the release of inflammatory proteins in the gum tissue. This puts stress on the cells, resulting in damage that could lead to oral diseases such as periodontitis.
  • The flavoring in e-cigarettes may be quite harmful. The above study found that flavored vapor, some flavors especially, did even more damage on the cellular level than unflavored vapor. And while these flavoring chemicals boast an FDA rating of “generally recognized as safe,” it is important to note that this refers to ingestion, not inhalation.
  • Vaping may be harmful to your respiratory system just like cigarettes. Researchers at the University of North Carolina have found that e-cigarettes produce similar, if not farther reaching, suppression of key immune genes in our nasal passages and respiratory system, as compared to conventional cigarettes.

While more research is definitely needed, our counsel to our patients is to abstain from all forms of tobacco use to maintain good oral health, and overall wellbeing.

As always, please ask us for further education on this topic, or bring us any of your concerns on your oral healthcare – our goal is to keep you healthy and safe!

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim



Enjoy your summer vacation, but don’t leave dental hygiene behind!

sea beach holiday vacation

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When you pack for your summer vacation, we’re pretty sure you’ll remember your bathing suit, flip flops and sunscreen – but how about your electric toothbrush? The handy case that comes with it makes it perfectly portable, and we hope you’ll take note. At Mitchell Dentistry, we want your smile to stay beautiful all year round, and with a few helpful tips you can stay in your dental hygiene routine without sacrificing any vacation time.

Here are the top 7 vacation tips from Mitchell Dentistry’s hygiene team:

Show Your Toothbrush a Little Love

blue and white toothpaste on toothbrush

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Use a clean, ventilated toothbrush container for your toothbrush. Choosing a holder with ventilation helps dry the toothbrush and reduce the growth of bacteria. Once you arrive at your destination, if you’re staying in one spot, leave the toothbrush out on the counter to give it ample drying time.

Pack a Dental Kit

Stock your kit with must-haves like floss or floss picks, toothpaste, and mouthwash. If you’re flying with just a carry-on bag, then you can buy travel-size versions of your favorite supplies. Or, you can fill other small, reusable containers that contain no more than three ounces. Be sure to ask for on our toothpaste samples which are just the right size for the airport security.

Limit Your Sugar Intake

Although vacation is the perfect time to indulge, try to balance sugary treats with healthy options, especially if you know you won’t be able to brush soon after. On a long airplane flight, for example, skip the soda on the beverage cart, and opt for bottled water when you can.

Stick to Your Routine

No matter where you go and how busy your schedule is, make sure you keep up with your regular dental routine. If you take a vacation from good oral care habits, then it might be harder to pick them back up after returning home.

Skip the Gum

While many suggest that “4 out of 5” dentists recommend sugarless gum, we seem to be the rare ones who do not recommend this habit. Gum chewing is tough on the mandible (jaw joints), and can exacerbate TMJ. That said, a  once-in-awhile chew is acceptable.

Bottled Water

close up of bottle pouring water on glass

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Whether you’re “roughing it” or experiencing luxury stay in a far off land, pay attention to the water quality and research whether it’s safe to drink. If it’s not, stick to bottled water – even when brushing. On a side note, remember to close your mouth in the shower too!

Emergency Calls Accepted

While we hope you don’t need us while you’re away, please note that we are available for a phone call if you are

Most important, have a wonderful, happy, and safe vacation!

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim