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

 

 

 

 

FABULOUS FLOSSING

…The Right Way to a Flawless Floss

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At Mitchell Dentistry, we take every opportunity to guide and educate our patients on how to maintain their healthy, beautiful smiles. We are great fans of the “perfect flossing technique” and are happy to share it with you. And don’t worry if you struggle with your technique at the beginning, flossing is a learned skill and you will get better with practice.

Thanks for the American Dental Association and MouthHealthy.org for creating an easy guide to the proper way to floss.  Remember: at least once a day the right way to keep your mouth healthy!

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
 

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

 

Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.

 

When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

 

Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.

Let us know if you have any questions about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. Look for products that contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance so you know they have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy summer from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!

All the best, Dr. Jim

 

 

 

 

How dentistry can help patients with sleep disorders

Taking a deeper look at sleep…

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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 Truth About Sugary Drinks: From a Dental Student’s Point of View

At Mitchell Dentistry, one of our top priorities is educating our patients. A critical challenge is how to provide sometimes technical information that is clear, concise and easy to understand. Perhaps that’s why the American Dental Association (ADA) has a contest for dental students in health literacy. This year’s winner, Ida Gorshteyn, was just announced, and we understand why. Her essay entitled  “The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile” does an excellent job of presenting important information in an entertaining, informative way.

Ms. Gorshteyn says, “This essay was actually one of my first experiences with health literacy. It was eye-opening and educational to see firsthand how nuanced and actually difficult it is to write with a public health targeted audience and goal in mind.“

 We congratulate Ida Gorshteyn and hope you find her article helpful:

 The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile

By Ida Gorshteyn

UCLA School of Dentistry student

Winning Essay 2017

 Sweetened beverages have become a treat that many Americans have every day. The truth is that these drinks are not healthy, especially for our dental health and smiles. Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths that eat the sugars we consume. The bacteria get energy from the sugar, but in the process produce acid. The acid they make can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur.

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Some of the most common beverages that Americans drink actually have loads of sugar, even drinks that are marketed as “healthy” or “all natural”. If you think you’re safe with drinks like juice, think again! A glass of apple juice can contain a similar amount of sugar to glass of soda. According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10% of your daily calories. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp. Just one glass of that apple juice would put many people at (or just under) their entire daily limit.

Eliminating sugary beverages from our diets would be best, but reducing the number of sugary beverages you consume and substituting healthier options with less sugar is already a step in the right direction. Here is a list of drinks that are full of sugar and drinks that are better choices.

Lots of Sugar Better Choices 
 Soda Water
 Energy drinks Unsweetened tea
 Chocolate milk Milk
 Smoothies Plain sparkling water
 Fruit punch or juice Diluted juice

All of the drinks in the better choice column have little or no sugar. That means they won’t give the bacteria in your mouth a chance to cause trouble and make acid that can damage your teeth. Water can also contain fluoride, which protects teeth against cavities. The calcium in milk also helps keep your teeth strong. If you or your children are allergic to cow’s milk, try unsweetened milk substitute (such as almond, soy, rice) with added calcium.

If you find you can’t resist your morning cup of sweetened coffee, tea, or juice, there still are some things you can do to help protect your teeth. Here are some suggestions to consider.

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the bacteria more time to eat the sugar and to create cavities. Drink quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
  • Fluoride is your friend. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and has re-duced the number of cavities across the nation.
  • Brush and clean between your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day. Ask your dentist about the best way to do this. Help all kids under the age of eight to brush and floss well, and be sure to visit to your dentist regularly.

Knowing what drinks contain sugar and that sugar-sweetened drinks can hurt your dental health is a good start. Set some goals for your family to follow these tips. Good habits begin at a young age, so help your kids make healthy decisions about what they choose to drink. Set a positive example, and you will all have healthier smiles and a healthier future.

 

All of us at Mitchell Dentistry hope you take these suggestions to heart for your healthier, happier smile. As always, we are here for your questions and concerns. Let us know what you think about this essay, and if there are other topics you would like us to share with you.

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

Collaboration results in spectacular smiles!

Working together, we can achieve your most natural, beautiful, unique smile through Digital Smile Design, a process founded and taught by Dr. Christian Coachman. At Mitchell Dentistry we have trained to use the techniques and digital technology of Dr. Coachman to bring you non-invasive procedures and a custom treatment plan to help accomplish your goals.

Our first step is to ensure that we have open and honest communication before any work is done. By using advanced digital technology, we can create multiple different models to simulate the intended results specifically for you.

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Following Dr. Coachman’s guidelines and letting you know what to expect has benefited our patients in the following ways:

  • High satisfaction with their new smile
  • Truly customized results – no two smile designs are exactly alike
  • A natural look that complements overall appearance
  • Increased confidence throughout the treatment process
  • Multidisciplinary approach preserves health and hygiene

Most patients report that they like having greater control over the outcome of their cosmetic treatment. We work together with a systematic approach for diagnosis, communication, treatment planning, execution, and case maintenance. Here is how the Digital Smile Design process works:

Step 1: Our team will take digital photos of your teeth and entire mouth from multiple angles

Step 2: You and Dr. Jim, Dr. Yolanda or Dr. Joe will review the photos using special software that allows us to begin demonstrating potential changes via a PowerPoint presentation

Step 3: A simulation of your smile after treatment will be rendered in a “digital mock-up” that reflects the proper height to width ratio of your mouth

Step 4: Our team takes impressions of your teeth and Dr. Mitchell translates the digital design onto the physical model to predict how you will look

Step 5: We will create a resin model to see how well the modeled treatments fit your teeth and your needs

Once you are happy with the final mock-up, our dentists will perform any necessary treatments according to the roadmap you and Dr. Mitchell developed through the Digital Smile Design process.

The bottom line is that you are the co-designer of your own treatment.

Dr. Coachman’s team explains it this way:

The concept is based upon the analysis of the patient’s facial and dental proportions, using a predetermined series of high quality digital photographs and videos understanding the relationship between teeth, gums, lips, smile with the facial features in motion and with emotion.

Digital drawings are easily made on the pictures to precisely communicate with the dental technician and team when designing the smile. Resulting in a clear, attractive and understandable treatment presentation for patients.

We love working with all the newest technology, and hope to continue this discussion with you very soon. 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!

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Dr. Joe, Dr. Yolanda and Dr. Jim Mitchell of Mitchell Dentistry, Fort Myers

All the best,

Dr. Jim

More about Dr. Coachman from http://www.DigitalSmileDesign.com

Dr. Christian Coachman received his DDS degree from the University of Sao Paulo Dental School in 2002. Before the DDS degree, he obtained his technician certificate in in Dental Prosthesis.

He participated in the ceramic specialization program at Ceramoart Training Center, mentored by Dr. Dario Adolfi. For his remarkable performance, he was invited to become instructor at this same school. In 2004, he was invited by Dr. David Garber, Ronald Goldstein, Maurice and Henry Salama (Team Atlanta/USA) to be the master ceramist in their laboratory, where he stayed for over four years.

Recently he has been working with renowned dentists around the world as Drs. Eric Van Dooren (Belgium), Galip Gurel (Turkey), Nizan Bichacho (Israel), Mauro Fradeani (Italy) and Marcelo Calamita (Brazil). Currently, he keeps a part time practice in Sao Paulo and make consults for companies developing products and implementing concepts. He developed the concept of the Digital Smile Design and has been invited to give hundreds of lectures around the world in the last few years on the topics of smile design, esthetic dentistry, and oral rehabilitation.

He has published several articles on esthetic dentistry, smile design, pink restorations, and implant rehabilitations.

 

Top 5 Highlights: 2016 was a great year!

As we set our goals for 2017, I have taken a look back at 2016 to reflect on all we have accomplished, and all we have to look forward to. It has been a fulfilling and successful year both personally and professionally for many reasons. Following are Mitchell Dentistry’s top five highlights shared with the hope that you too can look back positively on the past 12 months. Please let us know what your experience has been and share some of your accomplishments with us – we would love to know more.

  1. TECH TALK

We recently added 3D dental imaging (known as Cone Beam Computed Tomography, or CBCT) to our practice. The high quality, low radiation x-rays allows us to understand more about each patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan than ever before.

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CBCT works with a focused x-ray beam that reduces scatter radiation, resulting in an enhanced visualization of teeth, bones, and surrounding hard and soft tissue. The technology is manufactured by Dentsply Sirona.

We have invested in this technology to see more of each patient’s teeth and surrounding structures. Traditional dental x-rays are cumbersome and may cause a gagging reflex. 3D scans take about 14 seconds and are much more comfortable, much less invasive, and provide a more relaxed and enjoyable treatment experience.

  1. ALL-ON-4

We have been getting a fabulous response to our All-On-4 plan, an excellent solution for patients who have unwanted dentures or failing teeth in need of upper and or lower restoration. Typically, the procedure only requires four dental implants per jaw to support a fully customized set of replacement teeth – hence the name.  The best part is that while the patient is comfortably sedated, we work side by side with board certified oral surgeons to attach a restoration created right here in our Fort Myers office, resulting in a brand new beautiful smile in just one day. Plus, there’s an almost immediate sense of well-being and improved self-esteem.

  1. SWEET DREAMS

Did you know that sleep apnea is independently associated with an increased risk of stroke, cancer and death?  A study by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine shows that people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea were four times more likely to die, nearly four times more likely to have a stroke, three times more likely to die from cancer, and 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer.

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At Mitchell Dentistry, the goal of sleep apnea treatment is to achieve healthy sleep.

The good news is that there are ways to prevent such horrifying statistics and we have launched one method that is helping many of our patients. A customized dental medical solution helps resolve one of the nation’s most serious, yet overlooked, health issues: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Apnea literally means “cessation of breath,” an often life-threatening issue that can be resolved with oral appliance therapy.

To diagnose OSA, we first administer a home sleep test that is read by a certified sleep physician.  A copy of the report, along with a recommendation, is sent to each patient’s regular doctor. For mild to moderate cases, and even for some serious cases when the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is not tolerated, we customize a sleep appliance manufactured by DynaFlex that has demonstrated evidence-based positive results. Dr. Yolanda introduced a new alternative, a comfortable device.

“It’s actually very user friendly because it comes in two pieces,” she explains. “No mold involved, it’s created from a digital scan and electronically sent to the laboratory with a prescription. They have a 3D printer that actually makes the models.”

  1. WHERE DO THE COOL DENTISTS GO?
Earlier this year, Dr. Joe attended SIROWORLD, a highly anticipated and cutting-edge dental event.

Thousand attended the three-day educational festival that combined ground-breaking general

sessions, track-specific and innovative breakout sessions, unsurpassed entertainment and

unlimited networking opportunities. The first event of its kind, SIROWORLD was designed to not

only attract dentists practicing or interested in CEREC, but this event shined a spotlight on all aspects

of dentistry including CAD/CAM (CEREC), extraoral and intraoral imaging, implantology,

orthodontics, endodontics, hygiene, restorative, lab, practice management and much more.

The docs were also treated to appearances by Jerry Seinfeld, OneRepublic, and Sir Richard Branson.

 

  1. THE M TEAM RETURNS

Remember our fun-filled, action packed video feature, “The M Team”? Watch for the new version, coming soon, that features new staff members and brings some humor into our dental world.  We will send you the link as soon as the editing is complete – you will be among the first to preview our fabulous new production!

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Watch for our updated “M Team” video…coming soon: a lighthearted look at our staff and office!

As you can see, it was a great year! As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

Wishing you very merry holidays and a happy New Year!

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

We are grateful for healthy smiles!

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Thanksgiving is almost here! This is the time of year to catch up with family, and to reflect on all you have to be grateful for. Plus, it’s a time to feast on a variety of delicious foods, some of which are not the healthiest choices. You don’t have to sacrifice an enjoyable holiday to still pay attention to your dental care.  Here are five tips to maintaining your healthy smile while enjoying a happy holiday.

  1. Keep meal time to a reasonable timeframe. Long lingering meals result in continuous exposure to the acids in food, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to build up in your mouth. Think about finishing the meal, and then focus on playing games, sharing stories, or watching movies instead of non-stop nibbling.unknown
  2. Stay Hydrated. It’s always a good idea to drink lots of water, but especially when you’re eating lots of rich, sweet foods. Staying hydrated can help wash away debris and prevent plaque formation. In addition to providing a light rinse for your mouth between bites, drinking water helps improve your saliva flow, which further fights cavities. Water is also an excellent replacement for more damaging drink options like juice or soda.
  3. Brush and floss. Remember your dental hygiene on Thanksgiving. If you are at home, remember to brush and floss after you’ve finished eating. If you are at a friend or family member’s home, a quick rinse of your mouth in the restroom will help reduce bacteria on your teeth. Chewing sugarless gum is also a good way to wipe away leftover food particles, improve your saliva flow, and assist with your digestion.
  4. Ditch the sticky stuff. Offenders like cranberry relish, pecan pie and mashed potatoes are acidic, sweet, and stick to your teeth for hours to come, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to infect your gums and eat through your enamel. If one of these is your favorite, just make sure you swish with water after eating and brush your teeth to wipe away the gummy remains.
  5. Make a post-holiday cleaning appointment. We all know the holiday season can be bad for your weight, but the desserts and long meals are also tough on your teeth. If you’re concerned about caries or gum disease, simply call our office to schedule an appointment. Our hygiene team is on standby to scrub your teeth back to perfection. That way, you can avoid any issues before they become uncomfortable or costly.

Having beautiful, healthy teeth is certainly something to be thankful for this holiday season. And we are very grateful to all of you, our wonderful patients!

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

All the best,

Dr. Jim