How dentistry can help patients with sleep disorders

Taking a deeper look at sleep…


Have you ever taken such an interest in something that you have wanted to learn all you can about it?

At Mitchell Dentistry, we were among the first in our community to talk to our 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!

All three of us, Dr. Yolanda, Dr. Joe and I, are excited about a three-day conference we will soon be attending in Arizona. We will amp up our education with the latest courses on aberrant breathing – when awake and asleep – and its impact on our patients’ health. This seminar will help us move beyond sleep appliances and into a new realm of sleep medicine.

We will learn to recognize breathing-disturbed sleep and the associated anatomic “choke points” of respiration. The world’s leading experts on this issue will help us enhance our solid foundation and give us even more tools for controlling and resolving airway issues with the newest techniques in restorative dentistry.

According to Spear Education, among the things we will learn to bring back to our patients include:

  • 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

Those of you who know us know how much we love learning, and applying our newfound knowledge in our practice. We can’t wait to share ideas with you when we return from the conference.

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

Best wishes from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!

All the best, Dr. Jim






The Joy of Designing Smiles

As Dr. Joe, Dr. Yolanda and I returned from this year’s AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) Scientific Session in Toronto, we reflected on all that we learned about the latest advances for rejuvenating and restoring smiles. As long time accredited members of this prestigious organization, we have attended the annual conference for the past nine years, and we always come away inspired and eager to bring new ideas to our patients back home.


Drs. Joe, Yolanda & Jim Mitchell of Mitchell Dentistry in Fort Myers attended the annual AACD2016 conference in Toronto to learn about the latest procedures and technology in cosmetic dentistry.

In Search of New Knowledge

Everyone on our staff is a lifelong learner, often on the leading edge of mastering the latest dental technologies.  Just looking at the AACD’s “teaser” videos before we left ( had us making notes about which sessions to attend.

Is it the concept of acquiring new knowledge that entices us? The possibility of adding new technology to our practice? The aspect of having a competitive edge by being among the first to learn new trends? Probably yes to all of the above.

Creating a Magical Smile

But the primary motivator for us is what happens when we apply our new-found knowledge to practical applications – to our patients. It is a magical experience when you see someone smile broadly, unselfconsciously, for the first time after they have had a restorative procedure. We hold up the mirror and right in front of our eyes, we see someone’s self-esteem shoot from 0 to a million – having the capability of bringing that kind of joy to an individual is truly amazing.

From the grandmother who can now smile at her grandchildren without them asking, “Grandma, why are your teeth so crooked?” to the highly trained business professional who credited achieving the job of his dreams with his restored missing teeth, we’ve played a small part in helping people transform themselves and transform their lives. It is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling parts of our practice.

So while I delighted in checking off the boxes on which hands-on workshops we planned to attend, and while we appreciated spending three days with the world’s most renowned experts on cosmetic dentistry, it’s the end result that is the most meaningful to us – seeing a bright, brilliant, brand new smile on a patient’s face.

Bringing Our Patients Breakthrough Technology

We learned so much and can’t wait to share new ideas and new technology with you! Let us know if you have any questions about cosmetic or restorative dentistry, and we will bring you up to date on the latest information.

All the best,

Dr. Jim



Dental hygienists are the eyes of the practice

Dental hygienists are sometimes called the

Dental hygienists are sometimes called the “eyes” of the practice.

Over the years, a lot of patients have asked us about the role of the dental hygienist, and with a third registered hygienist joining our team this month, I wanted to devote some space to explaining that role.

Together, the dentist and the hygienist work closely to meet the oral health needs of our patients. While the dentist uses his or her expertise and training to oversee the patients’ comprehensive oral health, the dental hygienist may provide services including:

  • patient screening procedures; such as assessment of oral health conditions, review of the health history, head and neck inspection, dental charting and taking blood pressure and pulse
  • taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays) and other digital images
  • removing calculus and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from all surfaces of the teeth
  • applying preventive materials to the teeth (e.g., sealants and fluorides)
  • teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health;
(e.g., tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling)
  • counseling patients about good nutrition and its impact on oral health
  • making impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth used by dentists to evaluate patient treatment needs)
  • performing documentation and office management activities

Plus, unique to our practice, two of our dental hygienists have achieved local anesthesia certification, and the third is currently taking the course.

At Mitchell Dentistry, Dr. Yolanda, Dr. Joe and I enjoy great communication with our very skilled hygiene team. They are so adept at anticipating what we need that many times we don’t even have to say anything during treatment! With mutual respect and understanding, we share the same philosophy that our patients come first and we do whatever it takes to provide seamless, gentle care as we work together on each patient.

I read an article recently by Dr. Greg Psaltis who writes that the dental practice can be likened to a physical body, and staff members make up the parts. The front office staff members are the mouth and ears of the practice, being the first to interface with patients and hearing their needs expressed. The hygienists are the eyes, because their extensive training allows them to see and identify oral conditions that point the doctors to immediate and future dental needs the patient may have. Finally, the doctors are the soul and brain of the practice, being the leaders and making treatment decisions based on advanced skill gained through education.

If you would like to stop by and say hello to our Hygiene Team – Lisa, April and Kim – to get to know them better, just let our front desk know and they will set up a “Meet & Greet” for you.

In the meantime, please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or would like to know more about our practice.

Best wishes,

Dr. Jim

Giving Thanks this November

November has arrived and that means Thanksgiving is just around the corner! While this wonderful holiday brings family together and gives us the opportunity to give thanks for the things we appreciate in our lives, it is also typically Thanksgiving2
accompanied by a maelstrom of food and feasting. Many of these bread rolls, pecan pies, cakes, cranberry sauces, etc. are rich, sugary foods that can wreak havoc on your oral health. Here are Mitchell Dentistry’s top tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving while maintaining good oral hygiene.

    1. Try to eat a balanced meal that includes vegetables, fruits, protein, carbohydrates, etc. This will not only help you to feel more full (reducing the risk of over-eating), but it will also counteract some of the acids from sugars and bacteria in the mouth. In addition, try not to graze. Every time you eat, acids are produced in your mouth. The best way to accomplish this is to have a sit-down dinner with your family and do most of your eating at one time.
    2. Limit your consumption of sweet, sticky and sugary foods. Not only do these foods take longer to chew (meaning you’ll produce more acid to break them down), but they also contain large amounts of sugar. This sugar, combined with other acids you’re producing in your mouth, can increase your risk of developing cavities.toothbrushes
  1. If you’re traveling to a relative’s home, pack a toothbrush! Remember to brush after your meal and your teeth will thank you. If for some reason you don’t have access to a toothbrush, try to rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or at the very least, with water.

Follow these as best you can and you will be thankful for a healthy mouth! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Mitchell Dentistry!

A Dental Health Crisis?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 181 million Americans did not visit the dentist in 2010. Over half of all Americans over the age of 30 suffer from gum disease and nearly one in four children under the age of five already have cavities. A survey done by Harris Interactive confirms there is a dental health crisis in the U.S. today. Although the cause of this crisis is varied and complex, it starts with you and your at-home dental care and with us as your chosen dental professionals.


At Mitchell Dentistry we believe that every individual deserves good dental health. The ADA’s plan, Action for Dental Health, aims to prevent dental disease before it starts and reduce the proportion of adults and children with untreated dental disease. Their goal is to help all Americans attain their best oral health. You can read more about the goals for Action for Dental Health here.


Another organization that is doing their part to assist state health


departments improve oral health in adults and children, is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They recently announced they would be providing almost $6 million in grants to more than 20 states to promote oral health.

On a more local level, we at Mitchell Dentistry hope that by providing dental care, education and tools for prevention to you (our patients), you will be informed about your oral health and the means with which to preserve and protect it. Let us know if we’re doing a good job!

Is the smile the secret to attractiveness?

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recently conducted a study showing that a smile is the one feature that will always remain attractive no matter how old we get. Nearly half  (45 percent) of the research participants thought that a smile can defy the aging process. In comparison, other body parts that are thought to not age as well as the smile were the eyes, your hair, the body as a whole, and your legs. More than 1,000 Americans age 18 and over were polled in this

Considering how important it is to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile, how can you prevent the aging process and keep those pearly whites shining? In our experience as dental professionals we think there are two primary ways for your smile to look its best. It comes down to the overall whiteness and straightness of your teeth. Mother nature intended teeth to be clean, bright white and straight. This is the best form of natural beauty because not only will your teeth be esthetically pleasing, but they’ll be more functional, last longer (so you won’t need crowns or veneers) and overall you’ll have fewer dental problems that arise.

Although no one has perfectly white teeth, there are safe and effective whitening treatments that we offer in our office. Most notably our Zoom2! Whitening which allows teeth to be up to eight shades whiter in less than one hours time. Not only does Zoom2! Whitening make your teeth whiter it can actually remove stains and discoloration as well.

adv_logosfordocs_Despite many of you thinking that the only solution to straightening your teeth is to visit an orthodontist, there are alternatives to braces. One such alternative is Invisalign. The clear, plastic aligner trays fit around your teeth and slowly straighten them. There is no metal and since they’re removable, you can comfortably eat the foods you want and easily brush and floss your teeth. Typically, you receive a new tray every two weeks, to continue the straightening process. Total treatment time usually takes between 12 to 16 months, but this depends heavily on your diligence in wearing your aligners and the amount of shifting the teeth need to undergo from the outset.

If the smile is the secret to looking beautiful as you age, make sure you maintain your oral health by scheduling a teeth cleaning every six months. Call us today to book your appointment 239.939.5556.