Case Study: Clear Aligners + Veneers

This month, I saw a pretty special case come to an end. This patient (I’ll refer to him as T) has been undergoing active treatment for over a year, and we have seen a drastic transformation to his smile! Let’s walk through it:

T is a 27 year old male with a chief complaint of crowding of his teeth. He presented with chronic gingivitis due to the inability of his tongue, lips, and cheeks to naturally cleanse his teeth. Did you know that people with crowded or malrotated teeth have a higher likelihood of developing problems with their gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, which can lead to early tooth loss?

Patient’s original dentition.

After stabilizing his gum health, we digitally scanned T’s teeth and presented him with a mock up of what his teeth would look like upon completion of aligner therapy. Aligners are an alternative to braces that are commonly used on adults with mild-moderate crowding. They are very thin, clear trays that you wear on the teeth and replace every 2 weeks until the teeth are straightened. In as little as 4 months, minor crowding/spacing can be corrected! T wasn’t quite so lucky, as his case lasted nearly a year. This is what his mock-up looked like.

Digital Mock-Up “Before”
Digital Mock-Up “After”

After completing his orthodontic treatment, the next two phases were purely cosmetic. T complained that his teeth were too small, what is often referred to as a “gummy smile.” Utilizing a diode laser, we were able to gain a couple of millimeters of tooth structure by simply removing some gum tissue. This is also a great addition prior to cosmetic crowns or veneers on the front teeth to achieve symmetry. Best part about this? T had ZERO pain during his 2 weeks of healing!

After completion of aligner therapy. Before laser gum lift.
After laser gum lift.

And finally, just as a cherry on top, T decided to place porcelain veneers on the top 4 teeth. He was concerned with the uneven wear of his teeth over time and thought the lateral incisors were too short. Utilizing our CEREC technology, 4 custom designed and stained porcelain veneers were placed in just one visit!

Gums have almost completely healed. Porcelain veneers to lengthen and perfect.
I’m happy to say T was very pleased!

I’m so lucky to live in this era of dentistry! This case represents just how much technology influences my practice and procedures. From being able to give patients a smile “preview” to completely changing the appearance of their teeth in just one appointment, I wouldn’t imagine doing dentistry any other way. If you’re interested in any of the procedures mentioned above, call for a consult. We’ll make it as easy as possible for you and be sure to give you the smile you’ve always wanted!

 

 

Practice What You Preach

As many of you know, we have recently started screening our patients for sleep disordered breathing. The American Dental Association now states that ALL dentists should be screening for this potentially fatal condition. I’ve become passionate (ok, maybe a little obsessed) with all things sleep. I’m reading about sleep, listening to podcasts about sleep, and going to continuing education courses about it. I simply can’t get enough!! The opportunity to help people on a different level and see their lives change is incredible.

I’m going to be honest. After completing initial training, I went back to my practice and didn’t know exactly where to start! I was excited, but I was already thinking of reasons why it might not work for me or my practice. There were a million hurdles. Medical insurance, home sleep tests, communicating with physicians, patient skepticism. The list of excuses grew and grew.

The one thing I was sure of was how important it was to test my team and their spouses. 8 oral sleep appliances later, I not only learned about every single step of the process, but I gained so much confidence in the area of dental sleep medicine. I was seeing employees come to work feeling less tired. I was hearing stories of husbands who had snored for years suddenly sleeping silently. Happy wife, happy life, right? And most importantly, I was SURE that all the time and effort put into implementing this into the practice was worth it!

For those of you who have been encouraged to be screened, have already been screened, or think you may need to be screened, let us help you! The first step to a healthier, better rested, happier you is knowing if there is a problem. We currently offer screenings at no charge, so stop making excuses! Let my annoying obsession rub off on you a bit. You won’t regret it!

Not Your Average Team

 

Time to time, I have to take a minute to brag about my team. Not my “staff.” Not my “employees.” Not “the girls.” MY TEAM. They are the people who have my back day in and day out. I trust them completely and have so much confidence in each individual. And you know what else? I can call each of them my friend.

 

Studies show that having friends at work not only increases job satisfaction but also increases productivity. That could not have been more true this month. It’s always a busy time of year with school out, but this month, we implemented new procedures and protocols which kept us busier and a little more stressed than usual. But y’all- this team delivered! I really believe that because we understand each others’ strengths and weaknesses, we are able to help each other out in ways that lead to an overall more pleasant and less stressful work environment.

 

I’ve learned a couple of other interesting things about my team along the way. For instance, Heleena can remember things with amazing (sometimes scary) accuracy. Her next role in life? Private investigator. Amy does not miss a chance to be sarcastic. Don’t think you’ll EVER get away with saying something dumb around her. Alicia is NOTHING without her cats. Correction: her cats and her husband. Misty can learn literally anything she sets her mind to. Her brain is a bottomless pit of information. Reagan is so self  motivated that it makes the rest of us feel bad at times. You go exercise, girl; we’ll be eating chips and salsa.  Tiffany lives her best life daily. Like, what did I do wrong in life?? #jealous And our newest addition, Heather- I can’t wait to see what she brings to this crazy team! She’s still in her “quiet phase,” but I just have a feeling that won’t last long!

 

I truly hope that our office always exudes friendliness and authenticity. I always remind my team of this: We spend more time with each other than we do with our own families. So you better like each other! And let’s have fun! I think they listened. 🙂

 

 

How To Quickly Treat Cold Sores

Got a Cold Got a Cold Sore? Here’s How to Treat It Quickly

Ugh. A cold sore appears a couple days before a party where you’ll be photographed as much as
the Royal Couple. That smile that we’ve been working on together just went from hero to zero,
right?

Not necessarily. Finding which cold sore treatment works best for you can help speed along its
healing. And that’s why we’re here.

Maybe It Isn’t a Cold Sore, Right?
Let’s clear the air about what a cold sore is and isn’t.

Cold sores are contagious blisters that usually appear on your lips or around your mouth. Caused by a virus, cold sores usually start with a tingling sensation, evolve into numerous tiny, painful blisters, and later crust over.

Canker sores, on the other hand, aren’t contagious, but they still sting. Unlike cold sores, they
usually appear as white oval lesions inside your mouth, especially near or on your gums.
Remedies for Cold Sores

The key to treating a cold sore is acting fast. As soon as the first symptom appears, consider these
steps to move the healing process along quickly:

• Apply Ice to the Cold Sore
At the first sign, grab an ice cube, wrap it in a paper towel, place it where you feel the cold sore
coming on, and let it melt. Back-to-back applications can reduce the pain.

• Switch to a Cold-Sore-Fighting Diet
You can boost your immune system’s fight against this viral nuisance with the right foods. Fill your
plate with cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, and avoid foods with arginine,
a cold-sore-triggering amino acid found in nuts, chocolate, and oats.

• Dial Down the Stress
One of the most common causes of cold sores is, surprise, surprise, stress. Minimizing stress these
days can get so complicated that it causes more stress, right? But try giving yourself some time for
the restorative, restful activities that drop your heart rate and raise your smile.

• Reach for Aloe Vera or Even an Over-The-Counter Cream
Both natural and medicinal creams have shown promise as cold sore remedies. Some studies
suggest that aloe vera can help the fever blister heal, and over-the-counter creams, like docosanol,
also tout their ability to knock the sore out of cold sores. Prefer the medicinal route? Check with
your healthcare provider or pharmacist before using it.

• Relieve Pain with Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
Some cold sores can get really painful. For those intense ones, acetaminophen or iburprofen may
provide well-needed relief. Just be sure that your healthcare provider’s on-board with that type of
over-the-counter med.

There you have it. You’re on the fast track to treating that cold sore quickly and living your best life at the party. Don’t forget to smile!

Dental Solution to Sleep Problems

I’m  pleased to announce that Grants Ferry Family Dentistry is now offering a new service- the treatment of sleep disorders! This may not sound like the most exciting subject to you, but it’s been on my practice ” to do” list for over a year now. You wouldn’t believe the training, knowledge, investment, and sheer determination that goes into implementing this service into our practice, and I’m so proud that the team has stepped on board to help make it happen. Ok, ok, a little about what it actually is and how we can help!

Sleep disorders can range from light snoring to multiple episodes of not breathing throughout the night. It can be just a nuisance to your bed partner or a deadly disorder that requires immediate action. An estimated 1 in 4 men and 1 in 10 women suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by the narrowing or complete closure of the airway during sleep. Why should we even worry about this? Here is where I list all the diseases/disorders/conditions that are linked to sleep apnea: stroke, dementia, diabetes, impotence, heart attack, acid reflux, auto accidents, periodontal disease, obesity, hypertension, cancer, depression. Wow! When I learned the science behind how sleep apnea increased the risk of all of these conditions, my mind was blown. And the fact that there are many physical traits of the oral cavity that are associated with an increased risk, such as large tongue, overbite, grinding of the teeth, and shape of the palate and airway, I felt an obligation to treat this!

Many of you have heard of sleep apnea and probably know someone who treats it with CPAP… you know, the crazy looking mask that blows air down your throat so that it stays open enough for you to breathe while you sleep?? What if I told you there is another option? What if I told you your health insurance may pay for it? That’s where I come in! Research now shows that mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea can be treated effectively with custom made oral appliances, referred to as Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD). The MAD (pictured above) advances the mandible to a slightly forward posture, bringing the muscles of the tongue forward and opening the airway. Pretty simple and generally much more tolerable than CPAP therapy.

Do you think you or someone you know may suffer from a sleep disorder? Maybe he or she snores so loudly that you can’t sleep in the same room. Maybe you feel exhausted half way through the day, and you don’t know why. Maybe you’re just curious to know if you may have it. The first step is determining the condition of your sleep, and, at GFFD, we’ve got that covered! A sleep test can be sent home with you to simply hook up and wear in the comfort of your own bed for one night. The next morning, an interpretation will be presented to you to determine where to go from there.

So next time you come in, expect to have a discussion on the quality of your sleep. It’s too important to ignore!

For more information on sleep disorders or to find out if you may be a candidate for a Mandibular Advancement Device, schedule a consultation at Grants Ferry Family Dentistry.

 

 

 

 

Time.

Time. Life’s most precious commodity. It’s “what we want most, but use worst.” I have recently been contemplating how I use my time and how I could be more meaningful with it. Maybe it’s because I’m reminded weekly by my phone just how much “screen time” I put in, or maybe it’s because I recently spent over an hour and a half in the waiting room of a doctor’s office…either way, I’ve realized just how much I hate to waste time. Ask anyone how patient I am. Unfortunately, patience is not one of my strongest virtues. Because time is so valuable to me, I thought I would share a few thoughts on how, at Grants Ferry Family Dentistry, we try our best to respect your time.

I think everyone has come to expect a short wait at a medical or dental office. But let me assure you, from the moment you walk in the door, the team is notified and actions are being taken to get you in the dental chair as quickly as possible. For a scheduled appointment, we try to keep your wait time to less than 5 minutes.

Now, every once in a while, things don’t go exactly as planned. What started as a simple procedure may turn more complex. Some people like to talk more than others. Maybe there was a technical issue with your insurance. We are a small office and when these issues happen, everyone chips in to try to keep the schedule on track. Please know that we have not overbooked the schedule or gotten lazy with our time management.

What about the times you KNOW you’re going to have to wait? We are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer crowns in a single appointment, but that means you’ll have to wait about 30 minutes for it to be fabricated. I think simply knowing you’ll have a short wait makes it better. (Just ask me how I felt about waiting for 1.5 hours with no explanation at my last doctor’s appointment!) We also have multiple things to offer to make your wait easier: TV, free WiFi, ear phones, water, coffee, magazines, blanket, etc. Your comfort while you wait is our priority.

One of my goals for 2019 has been to be more purposeful with my time. I’ve lived the majority of my life wishing for the next moment in time: to be done with school, to have kids, to own a practice. Now I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the time and gifts I’ve been given. This quote made me smile, so I’ll end with this, “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy  in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with you family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” -Earl Nightingale

Celebration Week + Reflections

Last week was one for the books! We started off celebrating our wonderful assistants, Heleena and Amy, and their hard work and dependability. Let me tell you- I could NOT function without these two! They are a constant source of encouragement for me and effortlessly ease the anxiety of so many patients. Heleena keeps us laughing all day long and deeply cares about her patients. Amy may seem quiet, but she’s always one step ahead of me and doesn’t miss a thing. Thank y’all for all you do on a daily basis.

The team surprised me on Wednesday with cake and confetti celebrating National Dentist Day. It also happened to be my 3 year anniversary of practice ownership! Let’s just say there were A LOT of sweets floating around the office last week.  It was a fun week all around and I feel so #blessed.

Just a quick reflection on my 3 years at GFFD (well, 4 years if you count the year I worked as an associate): Has it been easy? Not exactly! I want to thank the patients who stuck with me at the beginning. This little practice went through a lot of transition in a short amount of time, and it was beyond scary to be another new face when I first started. To those who chose to get to know me, give me a chance, and trust me with your dental needs, THANK YOU! In addition to navigating my way through practice ownership, I also had a couple of babies, my husband John FINALLY finished his medical training, and we moved to be closer to the practice. It’s been wild, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way!

Plain and simple- Grants Ferry Family Dentistry is my home. Thanks to everyone who has made GFFD their home as well, and I look forward to what lies ahead!

 

My Side Hustle

I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to teach as part of my job. I would have never thought that I was capable of public speaking. I remember literally being paralyzed with fear as a child having to speak in public. But when you find something you love and are passionate about, it becomes easier and a lot of fun!

I feel so fortunate to share my journey with digital dentistry with other doctors. It’s really shaped my practice and makes coming to work exciting! I can’t wait to see how dentistry continues to evolve in this tech-centric age.

A special shout-out to the people who think I have something worth sharing. I’m so grateful for a supportive team that keeps me going from week to week.

If you have something you’re truly passionate about, SHARE it! You can start here by sharing it in the comments below!

Kicking the Tobacco Habit is Good for your Mouth

 

More Than Just Stained Teeth

From its seemingly mild side effects (bad breath, tooth discoloration, buildup of plaque and
tartar), to the more sinister (increased risk of oral cancer, loss of bone within the jaw, gum
disease and any number of resulting complications) – tobacco is indeed an oral health risk.

Tobacco can cause serious health issues by breaking down the attachment of bone and soft
tissue to your teeth. Because of this breakdown, the use of tobacco makes smokers much more
susceptible to infection and diseases. In fact, 90% of people who have cancer of the mouth,
throat, or gums admit to using tobacco in some form.

Cigarettes, cigars and pipes aren’t the only culprits; smokeless tobacco can be just as detrimental
to oral health, if not worse. In fact, there are twenty-eight chemicals found in chewing tobacco alone that are proven to increase the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Chewing tobacco and snuff contain higher levels of nicotine than those found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, making it exposes the roots, and ultimately makes teeth more susceptible to decay.

Help is Just Next Door
The only way to help eliminate these risks is to never start using tobacco products, or to quit if
you do. In fact, simply reducing tobacco use is proven to help lower your risks. If you feel that it
is time to reduce your risk of cancer, gum disease, infection and other oral complications, your
dentist or doctor can help you create a plan to help you quit using tobacco, along with
prescribing certain medicines or programs to help you kick the habit.

Remember, it is never too late to quit. If you’re interested in getting help to quit, let us know
the next time you’re in for an appointment.

2018 Reflections

 

2018 was a great year! We saw a lot of growth at Grants Ferry Family Dentistry- from our team to the services we are now able to offer. Here are some quick highlights, in case you missed it!

January: Launched our new website. Now it’s easier than ever to make an appointment, access your patient information, and see what’s new at GFFD.

February: I was invited to Buffalo, NY, to one of the country’s most cutting edge technology centers when it comes to dentistry. I trained with some of the best to further learn to personally create beautiful crowns and veneers in office.

March: We added CBCT 3D imaging to our practice. This not only allows you to see your own SKULL in 3 dimensions, but it is the most valuable tool when planning and executing implant placement. This has been a game changer!

April: With the addition of the new 3D X-ray technology, I traveled to New Orleans to gather more knowledge on implants, building my confidence so that I could offer only the best to our patients. My motto is to always keep learning!

May: May was one of my favorite months of the year because it brought me one of the most gratifying cases of my career, as well as one of the nicest and most deserving patients I’ve ever met. Check out her video at the top of our Facebook page if you haven’t seen it yet! And like our page while you’re there;)

June: A couple of personal accomplishments I’m proud of that happened in June: my 2 year old, James, had his first dental appointment- no tears!- and my husband and I celebrated 9 years. I also became a certified trainer with CEREC (the technology we use to make your crowns in office)! I’m now training other doctors and their practices on how to utilize the technology. It was a fun month!

July: I was invited to Charlotte, NC, to the EPIC Women in Dentistry meeting. This was such an honor and a chance for me to engage with other female dentists about everything from juggling motherhood and dentistry to the way we like to practice.

August: We completed some minor renovations to the office. Goodbye file cabinets and hello shiplap! Most exciting upgrade to me: new dental chairs! We’re hoping to make your visit as comfortable as possible.

September: On the road again- this time to Orlando to attend one of the largest dental meetings of the year. This meeting is centered around technology, and for me, that is everything! Definitely couldn’t miss this!

October: October was another of my favorite months of this year. We introduced Smile Virtual Consults, the ability to consult with me personally over the world wide web! How cool is that? Check it out on the homepage.
I also worked very hard on my dental photography skills so that I can more adequately capture the beauty that lies in that tiny hole on your face. Seriously though- isn’t the best way to explain something through pictures? I have a newfound respect for photography, and I hope to get better and better at it.

November: For those of you who are wondering, we did indeed survive our 11 hour drive to and from Savannah with 3 kids ages 4 and under. THIS is my biggest accomplishment in November!

December: On a serious note, my team worked their BUTTS off this month. It’s a crazy time of year for a lot of health care professionals, but the women I work with did not stop or let it wear them down. I could not be more proud of my work family, and my genuine hope is that all of our patients will feel like they are part of our family. At the core of GFFD lies a common goal to treat our patients how we would want to be treated. I’m happy to say that I see this every single day with this team.

Whew! That got longer than I expected! If you’re just looking for the Cliff Notes, I traveled a lot, added some cool new things, and I love my team! Thanks for making this “job” so great, everyone. Cheers to 2019!