Baby on the way? Why dental care may be more important than ever

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We are always delighted when our patients share their good news – especially when there’s a new baby on the way. Lidiana, one of our fantastic hygienists, just went out on maternity leave, bringing us a real life reminder about the importance of dental care during pregnancy.

While some might lean towards postponing routine dental care until after giving birth, the right course is really quite the opposite – in fact, oral care is extremely important for your healthy teeth and your overall wellbeing.

Here are some suggestions I have gathered from Dr. Yolanda, Dr. Joe, and our assistants:

Let us know if you are pregnant. We can offer you a great deal of education about extra attentive home care, as well as what procedures we would recommend taking care of or postponing until post childbirth.

Before coming in for your appointment, check in with your obstetrician to see if he/she has any special instructions for you or for us.

Fill us in our what medications or prenatal vitamins your ob/gyn has prescribed. We may alter any treatment based on this information.

You may be surprised to know that routine dental x-rays can be done during pregnancy. Rest assured that you will be well shielded, and advances in x-ray technology have made them much safer than in the past. And of course, if they’re not absolutely necessary, we can hold off if you prefer.

Please keep your regular dental checkup appointment. Now more than ever, regular periodontal (gum) exams are so important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and tender gums that may bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.

If you notice any changes in your gum or teeth, for example tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling, please let us know.

Finally, continue to be vigilant about your oral hygiene routine to prevent or reduce oral health issues during your pregnancy.

Oh, one more thing – please keep us in the loop when your baby is born! As a member of our extended Mitchell Dentistry family, we love to hear your good news and to see your photos.

And as always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums during your pregnancy or any other time.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim

 

 

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Wedding Season is Upon Us: Is Your Smile Camera Ready?

imagesAt Mitchell Dentistry, we get a special thrill out of helping wedding couples and their families ensure that they feel great about their smiles as they lead up to the big day. We start hearing the wedding bell buzz as the summer months approach, but we always advise our patients to get a head start in case they want to proceed with any special treatments or procedures. We have had a lot of experience with brides, grooms, their families, and their wedding parties, so we’ve put together a few suggestions here along with some recommendations from the American Dental Academy:

Schedule a Dental Appointment Early On 
Regular dental appointments go a long way to making sure you have a healthy smile in time for the wedding. Schedule an appointment a few months out to see if you might require any restorative or cosmetic dentistry. We also want to check wisdom teeth, any indication of infection, or trouble spots to avoid a dental emergency at the last minute.

Wearing White

Many couples want to make sure they have sparkling white smiles to accompany the white dress. We provide several options for sparkling smiles and would be happy to share all the details. For some, teeth whitening may cause sensitivity, so we recommend getting that done about one month before the wedding day. If patients prefer to whiten more gradually, we have a tray system that can be done at home.

Worry-Free Wedding Day

We recommend that if your wedding party is putting together an emergency kit that they include dental floss, a compact mirror and travel toothpaste/toothbrush. That way you can rest assured no one has anything in his/her teeth, and that you can keep your breath fresh. Some sugarless gum can also give you a boost, as well as avoiding onions or garlic on that day.

Say” I Do” to a Daily Dental Routine

Even after your wedding, you will want keep your smile white and bright. Commit to a lifelong dental routine that includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day.  It’s also nice to have someone to remind you to schedule your regular dental appointments and cleanings.

Let us know if a wedding is in your near future – there may be some surprises in store for our patients. And as always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim

 

 

Why Replace Missing Teeth?

Everyone should feel confident when it comes to their smile, but this might not always be the case if they have missing teeth. Other than just appearance, lost teeth affect other aspects of your dental anatomy as well, which is why it is so important to replace them. At Mitchell Dentistry, our Fort Myers dentist provides patients with the following information to why it is essential to restore missing teeth and the best treatments for their dental issues.

Impacts Jawbone Mass

When a tooth is completely lost, the root is no longer within the jaw to maintain healthy density. A process known as resorption may begin to occur, where the adjacent bone is used to close the gap left by the missing tooth root. This can cause a patient to look prematurely aged, as the jaw may appear shrunken.

One of the best long-term treatments for jawbone resorption is dental implants. Implant-supported prosthetics are surgically placed into the jaw, mimicking a natural tooth root and preserving patient’s dental anatomy.

Compromise Your Dental Anatomy

Patients who have had missing teeth for a long period of time are at risk for the domino effects that occur due to the dental concern. When a lost tooth is left unaddressed, the empty space in your dental anatomy cause surrounding teeth to shift to fill the gap. This causes complications such as crowding, gaps, and crooked teeth. These malocclusions can affect your bite, interfering with your ability to properly chew foods, resulting in poor digestion.

Depending on the number of missing teeth, our dentists will recommend a teeth replacement option that best meets your needs. A crown and bridge address one or more missing teeth and partials or dentures have the ability to restore full arches of teeth. These prosthetics do well to help patients gain a stronger bite and eat the foods they enjoy.

Aesthetics are Affected

Patients with missing teeth may feel self-conscious about their smiles as they feel it may not be aesthetically pleasing. Replacing lost teeth may boost patient confidence and allow them to seize the opportunities that they come across.

Dental implants or traditional prosthetics do well to restore the visual aspects of the smile, giving patients the opportunity to live out their daily lives with improved self-esteem.

To learn more about why you should restore missing teeth contact Mitchell Dentistry today! Our Fort Myers dentists want to help you regain a healthy, beautiful smile so you can showcase it to others, and feel like your natural self.

Take Good Care: April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

UnknownAt Mitchell Dentistry, we don’t wait for April to come around to create awareness about the dangers of oral cancer. In fact, every time you come in for a cleaning or a treatment, we are taking a good look inside your mouth to make sure all is well. And if it is not, we provide you with guidance on the next steps for further investigation.

But since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want you to be even more vigilant. More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women in the United States annually receive oral cancer diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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Oral cancer can strike in the mouth and throat with most of these cancers beginning in the flat cells—squamous cells—that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue and lips. Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, infection with human papillomavirus, sun exposure, diet, betel nut use, and personal history of oral cancer.

Symptoms to watch for include patches inside the mouth or on the lips, a sore on the mouth or lips that doesn’t heal, bleeding in the mouth, loose teeth, pain or difficulty swallowing, lump in the neck, numbness of lower lip and chin, difficulty wearing dentures and a persistent earache.

Call our office or your physician for an appointment immediately if you have any of these symptoms.

We are very concerned about the prevalence of oral cancer and we are involved in the community’s fight to end this insidious disease. Throughout the year, I am a guest speaker at local support groups, providing guidance to those who are suffering with head and neck cancers.

And for the past five years, our entire staff has created a team to participate in the annual Head & Neck Cancer 5K –  this year it takes place on Saturday, April 28. Please call our office if you would like to join our team (T-shirt included!).

As always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums.

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

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Yolanda

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

November is TMJ Awareness Month

It’s not unusual to hear our patients say they are experiencing sore jaws, headaches, or popping and clicking noises when they bite or chew. These symptoms may be attributed to “TMJ Syndrome.”

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Based on the description from the American Dental Association, the temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Located on each side of the head, your TMJ work together when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward and side to side.

Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.

November is TMJ Awareness Month, so we are urging our patients to let us know if they are experiencing any pain or symptoms so we can help.

Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:

  • arthritis
  • dislocation
  • injury
  • tooth and jaw alignment
  • stress and teeth grinding

Before we treat the disorder, we will examine your joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Depending on the diagnosis, we may refer you to a physician.

There are several treatments for TMJ disorders. This step-by-step plan from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research allows you to try simple treatment before moving on to more involved treatment. The NIDCR also recommends a “less is often best” approach in treating TMJ disorders, which includes: 

  • eating softer foods – avoiding bagels, granola, other hard-to-chew foods
  • avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
  • modifying the pain with heat packs
  • practicing relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation or biofeedback.

If necessary for your symptoms, the following treatments may be advised: 

  • exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
  • medications for example, muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatory medications
  • a night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth.

In some cases, we may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Orthodontic treatment may also be recommended. Come in and see us and we will discuss the next steps.

Here’s a helpful web page, along with a video:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tmj

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim