Guess Who’s Back?

After over 6 weeks of closure, we are cautiously optimistic that our doors are set to reopen very soon! Though it will be a far cry from our “normal” daily schedule, it’s a step in the right direction.

I’m going to admit- I’ve been restless lately. Being informed by our State Board of Health and State Board of Dentistry one week that we are set to reopen, only to have that snatched away days later has me confused, and honestly, angry. I have heard of dental professionals being denied PPE and other dental professionals refusing to return to work. When did dental treatment become nonessential? Have we forgotten the importance of detection, prevention, and treatment of oral disease? Are we letting fear blind us to the fact that so many oral conditions detrimentally affect overall health? I have worked tirelessly in my 7 year career to create a dental practice that provides a comprehensive approach to oral health care. I am trained to work on critically ill and immunocompromised patients and treat them with the highest level of care and infection control as possible. This pandemic may create some new obstacles, but the fact remains that the care we provide to our patients is essential and many conditions can become life threatening when left untreated. 

As you prepare to return to our office for treatment or routine cleanings and exams, please be assured that we have your safety as our top priority. With that said, there are a few changes you can expect to see:

  • All patients and staff will be screened and have their temperature taken prior to entering our office. Please call our office (601-992-1605) or text (601-202-9761) when you arrive, and you will be met by a staff member at your vehicle. In the event you have a cough or fever, we will ask that you visit your primary care physician and reschedule your appointment with us. 
  • We are requesting that only patients enter the building for appointments (unless the patient is a minor, or if the patient is sedated). We will not be using our waiting room during this time. 
  • We will maintain the 6-foot social distancing guideline within the clinic. Each room will be thoroughly disinfected between patients, as well as all high traffic areas (bathrooms, waiting room, and front desk areas). 
  • We will only allow one person at the checkout counter at a time and will encourage patients to call in payments when possible.
  • Our staff will be wearing additional protective equipment for their protection and yours.

Please help support us as we prepare to return to work in these unprecedented conditions. Remember, we are a small business that has been greatly impacted by the extended closure, and your support means more now than ever. What does that mean? Schedule the treatment you’ve been putting off; spread the word that we are accepting new patients; share our social media posts; and be patient as we navigate our way through this new “normal.” You all have been such a blessing to me,  and I truly cannot wait to see you again soon! 

Current thoughts…


As I sit down to write, I’ve been trying to convince myself not to write about the pandemic. People are sick of it. People want to think about anything other than that for a minute. People just want to feel like life is returning to normal soon. Yet, here I am unable to think about anything else.

There was life before this. I mean, we’re talking about a few weeks ago when we all laughed at the Corona beer memes because we didn’t think it would ever hit close to home. We “cared” what happened in China, but let’s be honest, it really had nothing to do with us so let’s just move on to some other news.

Then there is life now. Quarantine. Panic. Sickness. Death. Unemployment. Homeschooling. Boredom. Uncertainty. All of a sudden, it’s like the rug was just ripped out from beneath us, and here we are trying to figure out how to navigate through such a strange and unprecedented situation. I asked my grandfather the other day if he had ever been through anything like this, and his response was not “just” like this. I think that’s what makes it so uncomfortable; we don’t know who to ask for advice. We need a grown up to tell us what to do!

To be honest, I’m currently most focused on what life is going to be like once this is all over. Will it all be over? How will the kids adjust to a normal schedule again? What about my small business? When can I go out to eat again? How can I help those who have suffered the most from this? It seems like everything in the future is in some way or another colored through the lens of the pandemic.

There are a few fundamental truths I am holding on to as I look at the future.

  1. We are resilient by nature. Through the course of history, the best stories out there are the ones of perseverance and determination. Everyone loves a comeback story, and I am sure that we each will have our own version of a comeback to write.
  2. My faith in God assures me that none of this is “unprecedented” or surprising to Him. He wrote this into our lives when He created us, and there is not one single thing He does not have under His control.
  3. Have you ever experienced this much free time in your adult life? I know I haven’t! So instead of filling my days with worry, I’m choosing to utilize that time and see it as a gift. My house may never be this clean ever again, but I can feel good about myself for finally accomplishing some tasks I’ve put off for years.

I hope as you navigate through all the feelings, emotions, stress, and anxieties that are unavoidable during our present circumstances, you hold on to hope. There is light at the end of this tunnel. We have time on our hands, so make the most of each day. We have a community, in this case a nation, which will persevere, as it always has, through the most trying times. Hang in there, friends!

Options for Denture Wearers

Let’s face it- not everyone is able to maintain their teeth forever. Whether it be a history of poor dental care and periodontal disease or illness and family history, I see patients every week faced with the prospect of losing their teeth. As a lover of all things teeth, I greatly empathize with those facing this daunting inevitability. Just like losing a limb, it’s emotional, uncomfortable, clumsy, and sometimes painful to go from natural teeth to a prosthetic piece of plastic in your mouth. Thank God for dentures, but it’s about time they get with the times with all the changes taking place in dentistry!

Good news- there are SO many available options with dentures today that can not only make the process less dramatic but can also improve quality of life to a greater extent than before the teeth were ever lost! The answer lies in dental implantology, an area of dentistry I’ve studied, learned, and become quite passionate about over the last multiple years. With the technology available within my practice, I can now precisely plan the placement of implants using 3D x-ray technology. That information can be correlated with computer assisted design (CAD) software to design a surgical guide that ensures that, on the day of surgery, the implants are placed exactly where they were planned. My 3D printer makes this guide in a matter of hours, and the entire process remains completely under my control. Talk about technology changing dentistry!

By incorporating implants into your denture’s future, you now have a couple of options:

1) The Overdenture: a denture that simply clicks into place, removing the need for denture adhesives and eliminating the fear of the denture coming loose. This can often be accomplished with as few as 2 implants.
2) The Hybrid Denture: a denture that is completely affixed to implants, meaning you never have to take it out and you simply brush as you did your natural teeth. This often requires 4 or more implants but creates the closest thing to your natural teeth as possible.

For some, the thought of implants seems either too invasive or too expensive. Let me assure you that the surgical implant procedure has never been smoother. With the incorporation of surgical guides (as described above) and advances in surgical techniques, patients are often left shocked that the procedure was so quick and painless. I often tell patients that losing the teeth is the hard part- the implant placement is simple. As far as the cost is concerned, more and more dental (and medical) insurance companies are paying toward implants. At GFFD, we file both dental and medical insurances to help you get the most savings. In addition, we offer multiple payment options that may surprise you. Don’t let the financial aspect be a deciding factor before you consult with your dentist about it!

Finally, I’m going to share a couple of cases that have been life changing for these patients. If you know you’re headed toward dentures (or you’re already there), PLEASE know that there are options for you that can get you back the quality of life you deserve!

About Me

For those who are new to Grants Ferry Family Dentistry, have recently started “following” us on social media, or may have just stumbled upon this, I would like to take some time to introduce myself. My name in Erin Green, and I am the proud owner and solo dentist at Grants Ferry Family Dentistry. I absolutely love what I do, but more than anything, I’m proud of the people I have supporting me and who’ve helped me achieve some of my life long goals.

I was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana. I’m sure you know someone from Monroe (everyone seems to). To clear a few things up: I don’t personally know the Duck Dynasty people; the horrible smell comes from West Monroe (there’s a big difference!); and sure, go ahead and call it FUNroe. My parents still live there, along with one of my sisters and her family. My other sister and her family live in Pennsylvania- way too far away, if you ask me. I’m the baby of the family, and my sisters and I are very close. No one in my family is in the medical or dental field, but my parents empowered me from a young age to believe in myself and that I could do or be whatever I wanted. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

I took a very early liking to all things dentistry. I used paper clips to make myself “braces,” and I loved going with my sisters to their orthodontic appointments. I always loved my dentist and had very pleasant experiences at the dental office as a child. With that said, I absolutely don’t take for granted those of you who have had the exact opposite types of experiences. I hear almost daily about traumatic dental appointments and events that make me cringe- often related to lack of proper anesthesia. One of my main goals as a dentist is to create a non-traumatic, comfortable environment for my patients of all ages- to ease the worries of those with major dental anxiety and help my little patients to never have a fear of the dentist.

I started seriously considering dentistry as a profession by the time I was in high school. I had a friend whose mom worked at an orthodontist’s office, and I started doing some shadowing. As I prepared to go to college, I knew that dentistry was the route I wanted to take, so I followed my sister to Mississippi College, where the acceptance rate into dental school following graduation was >90%.  I met my husband John during college, fell madly in love, and got married as soon as we graduated. We then moved to New Orleans to attend dental school for me and medical school for him.

The fun really started after graduation! These last 7 years have been full of blessings and also quite crazy at times. Nothing has brought me more joy than the births of our 3 children, Anna, James, and Thomas. I always wanted to be a mom more than anything else, and it fulfills a part of my soul that nothing else could touch. They are the reason I’m motivated to work hard, and they are also the source of so much laughter and joy. My kids are continually teaching me grace, patience, flexibility, and compassion, all qualities that I find directly impact how I practice dentistry. I hope to show them a hard working mama that treats everyone like they are meaningful and loved.

My routine is probably about as chaotic as you would expect with a busy practice and three kids 5 years and younger. I try to make time for my health by starting the day with a workout. After the frantic morning routine of getting myself and 2 of the kids ready for school, I usually fly into the carpool line on two wheels. I have a LOT of help at home with our sitter, who is a literal God-send. Work begins with a review of the schedule and straight to business. I’m so grateful for the growth we’ve experienced over the last few years, but some days I am literally running from one room to the next. Those days call for Mexican food! We have a team meeting to close out the day (have I mentioned that I am NOTHING without my team) and then it’s home to the family. I try to cook 2-3 times per week and pray that the kids will actually eat what I’ve cooked. Then it’s usually a lot of giggles and silliness right until bedtime. I wouldn’t trade these long, busy days for anything!

I really am so fortunate to be doing my dream job. I absolutely love the patient interaction, the ability to help people, and the artistry to create something beautiful. Not to mention, I work with the most talented and compassionate group of women I’ve ever met. I have had the blessing of a supportive family to get me through the hard times and encourage me through the chaotic times. I look forward to the future with such hope and excitement, but I pray to never take for granted the present.

That’s a little about me; my hope is that you realize I’m just a normal, stressed mama trying to find joy in the little things, raise decent human beings, and keep learning and growing. 🙂

My Vision

Maybe you’ve noticed some changes in our practice over the last year. At least, I hope you have! We have taken on some new services which have surprised some and confused others. We’ve fought all the hiccups of growth: hiring new employees, scheduling conflicts, redefining goals, learning new processes, and others that were not so fun… All because of a vision I have for this little dental practice in the middle of Mississippi.

I was raised truly believing I could be whatever I wanted to be. I knew that with enough work and determination, no dream was too big. Turns out, the older I get, the bigger my dreams become. Before you roll your eyes and write me off as a typical millennial, let me try to explain my vision. Here is the basic gist of it: I want to create a health centric dental office. A place that is so much more than just teeth. A place that focuses on whole body wellness and makes connections and referrals simple. A place that doesn’t let you get “lost in the system.” A place that cheers you on and encourages you to become the best version of yourself.

I’ve learned over the course of my 6.5 years of practice, that I have a few unique opportunities as a general dentist.

1) TIME. I see most patients at least twice a year. What other health care provider do you see so frequently, even when in good health?

2) TRUST. A certain level of trust is necessary for someone to be willing to let you into their mouth. I don’t take that for granted! It’s so scary and vulnerable for so many people, and it is an honor when patients trust me as their dentist.

3) THOROUGH. So many health problems are either related to the oral cavity or manifest themselves with symptoms that should be apparent to a dental health provider. At your biannual dental cleaning, we have 60 minutes of undivided attention on YOU. 60 minutes to notice periodontal disease, dry mouth, swollen ankles, abnormal skin lesions, etc. Not to mention the time we spend talking about you as a person- your mental health, your aches and pains, your diet, your sleep, etc. You name it, we’ve talked about it!!

So instead of just taking these opportunities as a normal “part of the job,” I want to use them to help people help themselves! Take our growing dental sleep practice, for example. Mrs. “P” has been seeing us as a patient for years. She keeps her regular recalls and has very minor dental needs on occasion. She tells us she has felt very tired lately and is struggling to lose those “last 10 pounds.” We encourage Mrs. P to take a home sleep test to rule out sleep apnea. She comes in the following day for a consult to find that she has mild sleep apnea. We help her understand why this condition makes it more difficult to lose weight and leaves her feeling tired. She chooses to treat the condition with an oral sleep appliance, and after two weeks of treatment, has noticed a marked improvement in her energy level- enough to motivate her to take a daily morning walk.

The changes we’ve made this year have been stepping stones toward this bigger vision I have. My hope is that, if you are a current patient, friend, or family, you see this dream of mine and share in my excitement! I would love nothing more than to see a positive health change in our community that started with a little dental practice in the middle of Mississippi. 🙂

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.