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

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Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

A Tribute to Dental IQ

Senior Couple In Bathroom Brushing Teeth

A high Dental IQ means prioritizing oral health care

As you might know, October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and this has made me grateful for many things. For one, it gives us an opportunity to recognize our amazing hygiene team at Mitchell Dentistry, and to give kudos to the great patient care they give all year round – care that goes way beyond cleaning teeth (although they are certainly experts at that!). Our hygienists watch for overall health issues – from oral cancer to high blood pressure, to indications of diabetes. They commiserate and they educate – I cannot say enough how much we appreciate their contributions to our practice.

On that same note, I am grateful to our patients who for the most part, make their oral health a priority in their lives. I call it “Dental IQ” – the ability to make that important connection between oral health and overall health, and to do something about it.

We are so fortunate to live here, not only in the U.S. but in the state of Florida, where we have access to the best dental care in the world. Dr. Yolanda and I have traveled near and far, and have observed many cultures where dental health is just not that important, and the long-term effects are obvious.

I read a study created by the American Dental Association in 2015 (ADA.org/statefacts) where they surveyed adults in the United States to see how they viewed their oral health. The resulting data indicated that:

*75% strongly agreed to the statement, “I value keeping my mouth healthy”

*71% strongly agreed to the statement, “Regular visits to the dentist will keep me healthy”

*61% strongly agreed to the statement, “I need to see the dentist twice a year”

While there is room for improvement, those stats are pretty good, and I would venture to say better than in a lot of other places in the world.

How is your Dental IQ? Here’s a fun quiz I found at MouthHealthy.org:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-iq

Please feel free to provide your comments and feedback – I always look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

Dr. Jim

How being mentored helped me become a better mentor

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With our family practice nearing its 37th anniversary, one of the greatest pleasures I have experienced is forming relationships with our patients that go beyond the typical “How are you?” and “How are your teeth doing?” We have the wonderful opportunity to get to know more about our patients’ lives, and to care for multiple generations. During many of these conversations, patients have asked me, “Why did you decide to become a dentist?” Here is my story (and I’m sticking to it!):

My mom was a nurse and my uncles were physicians so for me, so caring for people and going into the medical field was meant to be. At the same time, I really enjoyed working with my hands, being creative and making things. I thought of our family dentist, Dr. Abbott Kagan, and realized, “Yes, that’s what I want to be too.”

Dr. Kagan was more than a dentist to me. He was my scout master and my coach and guru when I took up competitive swimming.Unknown-1

He spent an immeasurable amount of time helping me excel – even to the point where I became an Eagle Scout and later when I achieved a college scholarship for swimming. He was a powerful mentor and guide, and I learned so much by shadowing him all through high school and college.

Unknown-2Dr. Kagan’s patience and guidance were infallible, and I certainly attribute much of who I am today to his efforts.

Dr. Kagan was quite an amazing person who set the bar very high. He opened his dental practice in Fort Myers in 1949 and retired in 1993 due to health reasons.

Excerpts from his obituary from the News-Press report, “In his 46 years of practice, he lovingly cared for anyone and everyone, day or night. He was the first dentist to provide dental services to farm worker families in this area. When it came to the children. Doc’s gentle caring spirit would shine it’s brightest. Recognizing all the obstacles they faced, his goal was to give them a smile. In addition to his professional efforts, Doc was actively involved in many organizations, including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Kiwanis…For his many contributions, he was awarded the Silver Beaver Award and the Distinguished Citizen Award in 1995. In 1958, Doc organized AAU swimming in Fort Myers and worked for many years with the State AAU as swimming chairman for men and later as District Chairman for the entire state… Time and unconditional love were never in short supply. Assistance, strength and support were always at hand.”

I have always felt very lucky to have had Dr. Kagan in my life, and I have always strived to do better to make him proud. His guidance and mentorship have inspired me to be a better mentor to my staff and even to one of our patients, Andrew Grinsell who grew up with the Mitchell Dentistry practice. He ultimately interned at our office and just graduated from dental school. He was also inducted into the United States Navy – we are so proud of him!

I am grateful to Dr. Kagan for the foundation he provided for me that I can now pass on to others.

Feel free to respond with your stories of mentorship or with any other feedback – we love hearing from our patients!

Best wishes from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!

All the best, Dr. Jim