What Is Sustainable Dentistry and How Can You Play a Part?

2023-01-21T03:18:59+00:00December 19th, 2022|Adam Brown DDS, Dental Trends|

Many people are interested in sustainable living, but they may not realize that this extends to their dental health as well. Dental offices can make a number of changes to become more environmentally friendly, and patients can adopt habits that reduce the impact of their own dental care on the planet.

Below, Adam Brown, DDS explains the significance of sustainable dentistry and provides tips for making your personal oral health routine greener. Hint: We can all do it!

Be a part of sustainable Dentistry - Tips from Adam Brown DDS

Sustainable Dentistry and the Benefits for Dental Offices

As the world continues to focus on eco-friendly practices, sustainability has become a priority for many industries. The dental industry is no exception. Let’s take a closer look at sustainable dentistry and its benefits.

What is Sustainable Dentistry?

Sustainable dentistry is a practice that focuses on reducing the environmental impacts of dental care while also promoting better patient health outcomes. It includes using biodegradable products, recycling materials, and implementing energy-efficient technologies, among other practices.

Sustainable dentists strive to use only non-toxic materials free of dangerous chemicals like mercury, lead, and cadmium. By doing so, they ensure their patients receive high-quality care with minimal impact on the environment.

Benefits of Sustainable Dentistry

Sustainable dentistry offers both financial and environmental savings for dental offices. For example, by switching to energy-efficient equipment, dental offices can reduce their electricity bills significantly over time.

Additionally, using biodegradable products instead of disposable ones made from plastic or other nonrenewable materials allows dental practices to cut down on their waste output and help reduce pollution levels in the process. Finally, sustainable dentists often use safer materials than traditional ones, benefitting patients and staff members as it reduces exposure to toxins (like mercury) which can cause long-term health issues if left unchecked.

Sustainable dentistry offers numerous advantages for both patients and dental offices alike. Not only does it provide an opportunity to save money through reduced energy bills but it also helps protect our environment by reducing waste output while encouraging the use of safer materials in place of more toxic ones. Ultimately, sustainable dentistry helps ensure that everyone involved in the practice receives high-quality care with minimal environmental impact.

How To Make Your Dental Health More Sustainable

Your dental health is an important part of your overall well-being, and making it more sustainable means you’re taking care of your teeth in a way that benefits the environment. Whether switching to eco-friendly materials or reducing your water consumption, there are many ways to make your personal dental care routine more sustainable.

Learn About Toxins

First, it might help to learn about the various toxins found in commercial dental care products—talk about motivation to change! For example, many of the most popular toothpastes on the market contain toxins that are dangerous to your oral and general health. It’s essential to read labels and do some research before choosing a toothpaste brand and product.

There are plenty of safely-formulated alternatives available! Opting for a product free of formaldehyde, BPA, parabens, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals can prevent unwanted exposure to toxins and support long-term oral health. Consider talking to your dentist if you’re ever uncertain about which toothpaste is best for you.

It’s worth noting that many over-the-counter mouthwashes, teeth whitening systems, and other common dental care products also include harmful toxins. Remember to carefully read the label on any dental product you’re considering before introducing them to yourself and your home!

Think Preventative

Preventative dental care is an effective way to reduce the environmental impact associated with dental treatments and procedures. By practicing consistent oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing daily, you can reduce your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and other common conditions that require professional care. In turn, this can help to protect natural resources like water, electricity, and fuel that would otherwise be used for dental treatments.

Regular visits to your dentist are essential as well! During these appointments, your dentist can advise you on proper brushing and flossing techniques, evaluate the current state of your teeth and gums, and keep an eye out for any potential issues that could become problematic down the line.

It’s also a good idea to talk with your dentist about potential options for replacing traditional materials in specific treatments, such as composite fillings instead of metal. That way, you can feel confident that your dental health is being taken care of while simultaneously reducing your environmental impact.

Choose Eco-Friendly Materials

The materials used for dental work can have a huge impact on the environment, so you’ll want to opt for eco-friendly materials. Many dentists now offer biocompatible materials which are made from natural sources like minerals, plants, and other renewable resources. These materials tend to be more durable than traditional dental materials and they can help reduce waste in landfills as well.

Cut Down on Water Usage

Water is essential for any healthy dental hygiene routine, but reducing your water consumption is also one of the easiest ways to make your dental health more sustainable. One way is to invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer so that you can track how long you brush each time. Also, run only as much water as you need, and use a cup when rinsing instead of letting the faucet pour out after brushing and flossing. This will save waste while lowering your energy bill!

Reduce Your Waste Output

In addition to using eco-friendly materials and reducing your water usage, try to cut down on waste from your dental hygiene products.  Here are a few tips for doing so:

  • Buy toothpaste without plastic packaging (or refillable containers) whenever possible.
  • Look for toothbrushes with biodegradable handles or bamboo bristles, which are better for the environment than traditional plastic ones.
  • Recycle any extra floss containers or toothpaste tubes you have lying around instead of throwing them away.

Making your personal dental health more sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult. With just a few simple changes, you can make a big difference in both the environment and your own oral health.

Unsustainable Dental Habits To Correct

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth regularly, but it’s important to be aware of how our actions affect the world around us. Let’s take a look at some personal dental habits that may be bad for the environment, and how we can make simple changes to right the ship:

Using Plastic Toothbrushes

It’s estimated that more than one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away yearly in America alone. Disposable plastic toothbrushes are made from petroleum-based materials like polypropylene and nylon, which are major contributors to global pollution. These materials don’t biodegrade quickly and can sit in landfills for hundreds of years before breaking down into smaller pieces.

Fortunately, eco-friendly alternatives are available, such as bamboo or recycled plastic toothbrushes. Bamboo toothbrushes are 100% biodegradable and compostable, and they come with BPA-free nylon bristles. Alternatively, recycled plastic toothbrushes use repurposed plastics to create a new product that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Using Traditional Dental Floss

Dental floss is another common oral hygiene item that creates a lot of waste each year. Traditional dental floss is often manufactured from petroleum-based plastics (e.g., nylon, Teflon, etc.), which can take hundreds of years to decompose naturally. These materials can leach toxic chemicals into the air and water when burned, pollute waterways when disposed of improperly, and choke marine life if they end up in the ocean.

As with toothbrushes, you have options for environmentally friendly floss, including floss made from silk or compostable waxed paper coated with natural beeswax and peppermint oil. Silk floss is reusable, producing less waste than traditional plastic floss. Compostable waxed paper coated with natural ingredients will break down quickly after disposal without leaving any harmful residue or toxins.

Neglecting Basic Dental Hygiene

The dental habits that you practice today will follow you throughout your entire life. Make sure the habits you’re instilling are easy to maintain so you can avoid the necessity of a major dental procedure. Here are a few personal dental habits that can be replaced with more efficient ones:

Brushing Too Hard 

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session. However, many people brush too hard, which can be damaging to tooth enamel and gum tissue.

To determine if you’re brushing too hard, try using a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing in gentle circular motions instead of vigorous back-and-forth movements. This will help reduce the amount of force placed on your teeth when brushing and protect the sensitive structures of your mouth from damage caused by over-brushing.

Not Flossing Regularly 

Flossing is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene because it removes food particles stuck between the teeth that can’t be reached with a toothbrush. If left unattended, these particles can cause decay or even infection in the gums. Be sure to floss at least once every day – preferably after meals – and brush afterward to remove all food particles from the mouth. You can also use a water flosser as an alternative to traditional flossing methods if preferred.

Using Your Teeth as Tools 

Do you ever bite into packaging or open bottle caps with your teeth? That’s an excellent habit to stop today! Here are two reasons:

  1. It’s unsafe due to the potential risk of breaking a tooth or causing damage to enamel.
  2. It can be challenging for dentists to restore some chips and cracks caused by using your teeth in place of tools because it weakens the natural structure of the tooth over time.

Try not to rely on your teeth for tasks they were not intended for; grab that pair of scissors or a bottle opener instead!

Wrapping Up

It’s easy to overlook how our everyday dental habits can affect the environment, but we must be mindful of our choices if we want to reduce our environmental impact. By practicing preventative oral hygiene, switching to more sustainable dental care products, and replacing bad habits with sustainable ones, we can all help ensure that our personal dental habits aren’t contributing to global pollution problems. Taking small steps now will add up over time and make a tangible difference for future generations!

If you would like to take your preventative care to the next level, or if it’s simply time that you got a checkup, contact Adam Brown, DDS to set up an appointment!

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Sugar Is the Root of the Problem!

2022-11-19T01:28:42+00:00November 19th, 2022|Adam Brown DDS, Oral Health, Preventative Dentistry|

For your teeth, sugar is the root of all evil. Humanity’s collective sweet tooth is doing us harm, and without proper care—and perhaps a reevaluation of our daily routines—we will continue to be plagued by the one thing we seem to love the most: sugar.

A fine set of pearly whites does a lot for a person: they restore confidence and connote a sense of hygienic care. There is evidence of our attention to dental care that reaches as far back as the Middle Ages where one used a paste of natural herbs and rubbed it on the teeth with a linen cloth. There is even evidence of herbal mouthwashes being used. Imagine the first person to ever deal with tooth decay: the pain and suffering, the not knowing what to do…Luckily, we know a lot more these days about the root of tooth decay.

There is plenty of evidence that paints a picture of humanity’s battle with the effects of sugar. Since its arrival, even when it was only used as a light seasoning ingredient, sugar has wreaked havoc on our teeth. And though there seems to be no cure for this particular crisis—one that only seems to be getting worse—maybe the answer to keeping sugar from killing our teeth can be found in how we use it. As the rate of sugar intake increases with the prevalence of sugary drinks and foods and sweets, maybe we need to rethink how we take care of our teeth.

Sugar and Tooth Decay

To better understand how to prevent tooth decay, it’s helpful to have a clear idea of what’s happening in your mouth when sugar is introduced. It’s not necessarily the sugar that’s to blame, rather it’s a combination of sugar and another ingredient that creates the danger.

Tooth decay begins when acid inside the mouth attacks the enamel and supporting structures of the teeth. Over time, if not properly addressed, holes and cavities appear and it keeps getting worse. Where does this noxious acid come from? Well, when the bacteria present in plaque interact with sugar, acid is produced. It’s that easy, and it doesn’t take long for this acid to dissolve your tooth bit by bit.

According to a study done by the World Health Organization in 2010, there is clear evidence of the relationship between sugar intake and tooth decay and the rate seems to increase as we age—do we take in more sugar as we get older? The scary thing is that it’s difficult to stay away from sugar. It seems to be in everything we eat and drink, and over years and years of sugars and bacteria combining, it makes sense our teeth are battered the older we get.

There are natural sugars, like those found in fruits, vegetables, and honey; these can do damage to the teeth; however, they are not as damaging as processed sugar. Foods high in white processed sugar, found in the likes of chips and cookies, are particularly rough on the teeth because the sugar leaves a sticky residue covering the teeth that is too tough to be rinsed away by saliva. The only way to remove this residue is to floss and brush. This is why these foods should be eaten occasionally, not every day and proper teeth cleaning should occur immediately after consuming them. So, the next time you enjoy your favorite processed snack, remember to brush afterward!

It’s not only in the food we eat. Drinking sweet drinks can be even harder on your teeth than foods can be because they often come with sugar and added acidity, both attacking your teeth. Sodas, in particular, are packed with processed sugar and acidity—the same with beer and alcoholic seltzer drinks.

Some sodas even have high fructose corn syrup added to them as a sweetening agent, which completely coats your mouth with a sticky, toxic film that breeds bacteria and acid. (Sounds like a scene from Stranger Things!)

Who Is at Risk?

We are all at risk of tooth decay, but children and adolescents—those grouped as most likely to consume larger amounts of sugar than others—are at most risk, as tooth decay and tooth loss are at the highest numbers among youngsters.

Plaque, a key ingredient in the acid that decays teeth, can begin to build as quickly as 20 minutes after we start eating (yes, “start eating,” not after we eat). The sugar in the food we are in the process of eating can begin to combine with this plaque and boom, you are eating food that is now eating your teeth. Clearly, the more sugar in the food you eat—not to mention the type of sugar—the more plaque and acid buildup inside the mouth.

Those who regularly consume alcohol and/or use tobacco, even vaping, are another group at high risk of serious tooth decay. Even coffee drinkers need to be careful. That little bit of creamer, that half a scoop of raw sugar can do some damage.

How To Combat Tooth Decay

Perhaps it’s not sugar that’s the issue, but rather our response to it. Sure, we can go “sugar-free” as often as possible, but the ubiquitous nature of the substance will cause it to always find its way into our foods and drinks. That said, the actions we take immediately after taking in sugar could be a remedy for tooth decay. Let’s be honest: eating or drinking sugar-laden treats will happen. So what then?

Here are some easy ways to keep that plaque and sugar from turning into acid:

Use a Straw

When drinking something you know has sugar in it, use a straw to keep as much liquid as possible from interacting with your teeth—this really works! Keep straws with you wherever you go, but keep away from the metal ones, as they tend to chip the teeth. Stick with paper or plastic straws. Do keep it in mind though that drinking from straws causes one to drink faster so slow it down a bit, especially if you are consuming an alcoholic beverage.

Have a Chaser

Remember, it only takes about 20 minutes for tooth decay to begin once you have begun eating, so you want to rinse as soon as possible. While eating, take sips of water between bites and swish it around a little—without being obnoxious. Once you finish eating, take a big gulp and try and use it to rinse. If you consume something containing processed sugar, a water chaser won’t be as effective. Consider using mouthwash (it’s a good idea to keep a small bottle handy) or, for best results, lightly brush your teeth.

Chew Gum

Chewing gum right after a meal can break free those little seeds or bits of food from your teeth. Most importantly, make sure you are only chewing sugarless gum, otherwise, you are actually doing more damage to those teeth. Note that it’s not a good idea to always be chewing gum. A few times a day, after meals is fine, and don’t chew for too long. Overdoing it can cause discomfort to sensitive teeth. Once the flavor is gone, that’s a good sign to dispose of the gum.

Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge how well your teeth are doing. A dentist can tell you if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, or anything else.

Stop into Adam Brown, DDS or visit us online today to set up an appointment. We can help you get on track, no matter your current state of oral health.

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Don’t Wait: Why Adults Should Visit the Dentist Regularly

2021-08-15T01:47:16+00:00August 15th, 2021|Adam Brown DDS, Dental Anxiety|

Adult Dental Anxiety

As a kid, you may have learned the fundamentals of oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and going to dental checkups every six months. Indeed, these practices are essential to maintaining a child’s oral health. But keeping a solid dental routine is just as vital for adults as it is for kids. Among other things, doing so helps you to prevent tooth decay and tooth loss, avoid expensive medical bills, and foster your all-around health and well-being. 

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t outgrow your good dental habits! Below, Adam Brown DDS will discuss some of the best reasons for going to the dentist and practicing consistent oral hygiene as an adult. And we’ll also cover some of the most common adult dental problems, as well as how you can overcome dental anxiety. 

 

Why Go to the Dentist as an Adult? 

So, you know that taking your child to the dentist is important. Let’s discuss why you, an adult, should also make regular visits to your local dentist office:

Maintaining Strong Teeth 

Dentists and dental hygienists have the expertise and equipment necessary to deeply clean your teeth. Even if you brush for two minutes, twice a day at home, you can’t eliminate the hardened plaque and biofilm (a.k.a. calculus) found in your teeth. And that’s especially the case if the calculus is located beneath your gingiva.

Along with following a dental hygiene regimen at home, going to checkups and cleanings at your dentist’s office every six months can help your teeth stay healthier and stronger than if you only use a toothbrush at home. 

It’s well known that adults are more prone to plaque buildup and periodontal disease. Oftentimes, such issues slowly progress and go unnoticed until they’re severe. If you skip your dental visits, gum disease and other problems can go undetected, eventually leading to tooth decay and tooth loss.

Reducing the Likelihood of Expensive Bills

As with other health problems, issues with your teeth and gums will be easier and safer to treat when you catch them early. And that means that you won’t have to spend as much money fixing those problems. For example, say you have a minor cavity. If you allow, even unknowingly, that cavity to keep spreading, it can enter the dental pulp over time and ultimately lead to infection. To put it into perspective: Your $175 filling just turned into a $2,000 root canal and crown, if not a $4,000 implant procedure.

Be proactive about being preventative. Get regular exams at the dentist so that any potential issues are addressed before they turn into emergencies.

Benefitting Your Overall Health

It’s well established that your oral health is strongly linked to your overall health. A number of diseases are often discovered through oral health issues. For instance, pneumonia and endocarditis, as well as pregnancy complications, are sometimes identified when patients come in with a dental problem. In fact, it is recommended that any woman planning to get pregnant should get a dental exam and address any issues as soon as possible. 

Health issues outside of your oral health can also impact your oral health. Heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, for instance, tend to leave your body more prone to infection. This, in turn, can cause a variety of oral health problems. You won’t necessarily become diabetic because of poor oral health, but any oral health complications you have could be exacerbated by diabetes. Moreover, going to the dentist regularly can help you foster your mental health by boosting your self-esteem and giving you peace of mind. 

Minimizing Bad Breath

Anyone can have bad breath every now and then. But if you notice that your bad breath has become regular and cannot be mitigated by strong mouthwash or breath mints, you might have something a little more serious going on. 

Enter halitosis—the fancy medical term for chronic bad breath. Factors like dry mouth, leftover food particles, and tobacco use are common causes of halitosis. But severe health issues like sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, and liver or kidney disease can also be the culprit. If you think you might have this problem, it’s advisable to visit the dentist so that you can be examined and determine whether your bad breath is or is not related to your oral health. 

Detecting Oral Cancer Early

We mentioned that going to the dentist is an excellent way to detect tooth and gum problems, and that includes oral cancer. Oral cancer comes with a higher death rate than some other types of cancers, primarily because it frequently goes undiscovered until it is well developed. And with each year you age, your chances of getting oral cancer become higher. 

Don’t rely on yourself to be able to identify oral cancer because it’s almost impossible. Oftentimes, there is no alarming pain or symptoms when oral cancer begins to develop, and it can appear in any area of the mouth and throat. 

A professional dentist or dental hygienist has the education and training necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral cancer early in development. By going to the dentist every six months, you stand a much better chance of detecting the onset of oral cancer.

Increasing Your Self-Confidence

There’s no getting around the fact that straight, white teeth make for a great smile, which can add some major self-confidence. As we’ve said before, brushing and flossing each day can go a long way in maintaining your smile, but going to the dentist is the surest way to get rid of the plaque under your gum line, clean the hard-to-reach places between your teeth, and take care of stains. A deep cleaning, not to mention professional whitening services, will promote a healthier and brighter smile than you can attain by yourself. 

Yes, poor oral health can have a negative impact on your self-confidence. But, like it or not, it can also play a role in how others perceive you. It’s unfortunate, but bad teeth can negatively impact an individual’s personal and professional life. Going to the dentist to correct any dental problems and returning for regular checkups is the best way to keep your oral health in excellent shape. And doing so will inevitably shine through your smile and increase your self-esteem.

Getting Checked for Things You Can’t See

Many people may choose not to go to the dentist every six months because they brush and floss religiously, and their teeth and gums appear to be fine. However, even if everything seems good on the surface, you never know what underlying dental health issues—those which can only be diagnosed by a dentist—are developing in your mouth. Therefore, the safest bet is to attend regular checkups and to get any necessary exams, X-rays, and other simple procedures that can help you stay ahead of potential health issues. 

 

How Age Impacts Your Dental Health 

All of your body’s cells, tissues, and organs are impacted by the aging process. The changes that come with age affect every part of your body, and that includes your teeth and gums. Here are some of the most common dental health issues that adults face:

Cavities

Essentially, cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth that convert sugars and starches into acid. The acid then goes to work at eating away tooth enamel and, thus, cavities form. And these cavities often develop at the tooth’s root because of gum recession. 

Moreover, bacteria build-up occurs more easily if you suffer from dry mouth, which can also lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. There are several reasons older adults are more prone than younger people to get dry mouth. For some, it’s simply because of age. For others, it’s due to particular medications they take. And specific health conditions can lead to dry mouth as well. 

Gum Disease

Dry mouth is a serious condition because of how critical saliva is to oral health. Saliva helps your gums remain healthy and protects your teeth from decay. So, when your mouth is not producing enough saliva, it can put you at risk for a number of issues. Gum disease, tooth decay, mouth sores, thrush, and difficulty chewing, swallowing, and tasting are some of the most common examples.

Dry Mouth

It’s normal for the salivating glands in your mouth to produce less saliva as you progress in age. But dry mouth more often occurs in older adults as a result of medical problems. 

For instance, a wide range of medications can decrease saliva production, including those used to treat pain, depression, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You can also get dry mouth when undergoing cancer treatment, and many different health conditions (e.g., stroke, diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, etc.) can be the culprit. 

Some of the most common dental health issues that occur in adults have to do with the gums. In the simplest terms, gum recession refers to when your gum tissue begins separating from your tooth; this exposes the root of your tooth and leaves you more vulnerable to bacteria build-up, which can result in inflammation and decay. 

Oral Cancer 

Perhaps the most severe dental health condition is oral cancer, which is most common in individuals over the age of 45 and twice as common in men than women. Lifestyle choices can play a big role in the development of oral cancer. People who smoke and/or use other forms of tobacco are the most susceptible. And people who add excessive drinking into the mix increase their risks even more. 

But those are not the only factors at play. Poor dental and oral hygiene, regularly taking immunosuppressants, and gum damage from rough teeth, fillings, or dentures can also cause cancer. Certain infections like the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) can be a cause as well.

 

Overcoming Dental Anxiety 

It’s no secret that a lot of children dread going to the dentist. But dental anxiety is also common in adults. Rather than allowing your anxiety to keep you from maintaining your oral health, consider this information and advice: 

The Most Common Culprits

There are many reasons why adults struggle with dental anxiety. In most cases, the fear of going to the dentist stems from childhood—usually because of an unpleasant or painful experience that is permanently imprinted on the mind. The good news is that there have been many advances made in dentistry over the last few decades, and most modern dental procedures cause much less pain (if any) than they used to. 

Another common culprit of dental anxiety is the fear of needles. A lot of people hate needles in general, while others are afraid that the anesthesia used in a procedure will not be effective. And sometimes, people are simply scared of being embarrassed. 

Say, for instance, that you’ve been dealing with a toothache for a while and are hesitant to visit the dentist because you’re embarrassed about your teeth or dread receiving bad news. Don’t worry—the team at Adam Brown DDS doesn’t judge or shame anyone!

Practical Steps to Take

If you’re struggling with dental anxiety, the best thing you can do is speak to your dentist. Chances are whatever is causing your anxiety is something that your dentist has heard many times before. And the only way they can help you is if you explain your fear and remain open to their suggestions. 

One thing you can do is to ask your dentist to thoroughly explain each stage of the appointment or procedure at hand so that you can mentally prepare. You could also agree on a stop signal such as raising your index finger or tapping your leg to notify your dentist that you need a break. 

Some individuals cannot stand the drilling or buzzing sounds during a dental procedure. If this is the case with you, consider bringing headphones to your appointment. In severe cases of anxiety, nitrous oxide or IV sedation can be administered; but those options are only chosen when the patient agrees to it. 

 

Conclusion 

The necessity of going to regular dentist visits doesn’t stop when you enter adulthood. The older you get, the more susceptible you become to dental health problems, and visiting the dentist is the surest way to prevent or mitigate them. 

Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from going to the dentist and getting any procedures necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you’re ready to make your next appointment, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact Adam Brown DDS today! 

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Staff Spotlights: Meet Your Dental Hygienists

2020-06-11T13:20:23+00:00February 24th, 2020|Adam Brown DDS|

At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we know that excellent dentistry is all about the people serving you. A great dental hygienist can truly make all the difference when it comes to how your dental experience will go. Your hygienist will spend the most time working one-to-one with you, developing your baseline and initial care plan, and assessing your overall oral health and conditions related to your oral health. Because our hygienists are dedicated to providing quality dental care and getting to know their patients, we figured that our patients should get to know our hygienists.

Without further adieu, meet your Carolina’s Dental Choice hygienists, Kristi Eudy, RDH, and Donna Young, RDH.

 

What inspired you to choose dentistry? How did you come into healthcare?

Kristi: Growing up, I was actually one of those kids that loved going to the dentist! I was never afraid of a dental appointment, and I really liked my dental hygienist. She was a big inspiration for why I chose this field.

When I was in college, I was exploring another career path and finding that it wasn’t my thing. So after I went to UNCC for a year, I had a dentist appointment and my hygienist chatted with me about her career and why she entered the field, and that’s how I came to pursue dental hygiene! I love that my career comes back to having a really great experience with my own hygienist.

 

Donna: When I was a student at Wingate University, I took a part-time job cleaning dental patient rooms after treatment and working sterilization. The dental assistant actually started training and teaching me more about the field. The more time I spent there, it became clear to me that I really wanted to pursue dental hygiene. After I finished my Bachelor of Science at Wingate, I went onto dental hygiene school, obtained my license, and I’ve worked here ever since!

 

What’s the best part of your day?

Kristi: The best part of my day is making my patients smile and ensuring that they leave happy from our office. Even just a cleaning can make such a difference in a patient’s day; it’s so rewarding to see how a smile they’re confident in can bring out their personality.

 

Donna: The best part of my day, by far, is interacting with my patients! Sometimes it may be catching up on what has been going on in their lives the past six months, or sharing joys and concerns. It’s like reconnecting with longtime friends. The rewarding part is when trust is established in a relationship with a patient. Then, you have the opportunity to be real. I think patients appreciate that. They appreciate the truth, especially when it comes from an honest place.

And best of all, it’s rewarding to know I made a difference in someone’s smile, which speaks volumes.

 

How do you make people more comfortable at the dentist?

Kristi: At the start of an appointment, I always talk to my patients and assess if they have any fears about the dental visit. For example, if someone has a deadly fear of needles, I assure them that the appointment won’t include any needles, and the patient can see what equipment we’ll be using before we start actually using it. Just talking patients through what the appointment will entail can make them more at ease. We want to ensure our patients are comfortable for their entire experience, so if you’re ever uncomfortable or unsure about something, let your hygienist know!

 

Donna: The fear of dentistry is real! Dental anxiety could stem from something someone told them about the dentist or a bad experience as a kid, but we’re here to make our patients comfortable, ease them into the appointment, and talk them through their experience while they’re with us. Most often, I help talk patients through their fear. The biggest way to make our patients more comfortable is simply by talking to them.

 

Best dental product or technique you’d recommend?

Kristi: I recommend an electric toothbrush for all of our patients! An electric toothbrush tends to remove more plaque from your gums and teeth without you having to do more work. Even if you’re brushing thoroughly with a manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush covers more hard-to-reach places and does a better job overall.

 

Donna: My top recommendations are electric toothbrushes and flossing. I really like the Oral B electric toothbrush; it does so much more than a manual brush can do. Flossing might sound simple, but it does so much more for your oral health than people think it does. There are many effective dental tools available for use, but they should be used in addition to a quality electric toothbrush and daily flossing.

 

Any tips or tricks for children to have better dental routines?

Kristi: I like setting a timer on their phone or having some sort of hourglass in the bathroom for brushing their teeth. Then, as long as the timer or hourglass is going, they have to brush their teeth. You want them to brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes, and make sure they brush their teeth at least every morning and every night.

 

Donna: I always recommend to parents that when their children are old enough to sit in a tub, to give them an age-appropriate toothbrush to hold. Kids might chew on a toothbrush and get used to the feel of it in their mouth, and adapt to the feel of toothbrush in their hand.

I also like the idea of parents and children making a routine of brushing their teeth, side-by-side, together! Maybe put on a song for the duration of brushing, and really make it a positive routine for the child. It’s important not to skip a night of brushing your child’s teeth because you’re tired or heading to bed late because then it becomes easier to fall out of routine.

So my advice overall is to always start young with your children and be consistent! And don’t forget to visit the dentist sooner rather than later with your young children, especially for preventative care – don’t wait until they have a problem to go to the dentist for the first time!

 

What’s a misconception that people have about dental hygiene?

Kristi: I think a common misconception is that people see us as an elective. We’re not always treated along the same line as other careers in the medical field, and I think people tend to think of hygienists in the cosmetic side, rather than as a necessity. But being a dental hygienist is so much more than plaque and tartar being scraped off every six months – dental hygiene correlates directly to the health of your whole body, not just what’s in your mouth.

 

Donna: Some people think we’re just cleaning their teeth, but in reality, dental hygiene is truly preventative care for much larger issues they could encounter down the road. We’re doing a whole lot more than cleaning off what you can’t do with your toothbrush.

 

What’s a cool part of your job that most people don’t know about? /What do you wish people knew about your position?

Kristi: Dental hygienists are always learning! We’re required to take six hours of continuing education a year in North Carolina, that you can do online or in the classroom. I’m one of those people that would be a perpetual student if I could, so being a dental hygienist means I always get to pursue my love of learning. Outside of those six hours, I also like to read weekly updates from the Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) Magazine and Dimensions of Dental Hygiene journal.

 

Donna: I think what’s cool is really becoming engaged with the patient and their life, and their families. You develop deep relationships with people. I’ve been a hygienist here for 22 years and I’ve seen patients, watched their children grow, and experienced whole generations in this practice. We get to know our patients as real people and become part of their lives too – we’re not just working in their mouth every six months. It’s really incredible. Plus, when we get to know people and serve them for that many years, you already know their likes and dislikes when they’re in the chair and we can just work seamlessly together.

 

What’s the next big thing that makes you excited about dentistry?

Kristi: I’m really looking forward to sub-gingival air polishing! It probably doesn’t sound very cool or mean anything to people outside of dentistry, but it’s exciting because it actually goes below the gum line to remove the biofilm that hangs out under the gums and the base of the pockets.  A lot of the continuing courses I take are talking more and more about this, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to implement it soon into our own bio-film removal processes. 

 

Donna: That’s a tough question! It’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing because dentistry is always changing, and we’re constantly learning better techniques to serve our patients, and learning about new products to be more in tune with our patients’ needs. Honestly, the constant change and innovation in the field is what makes dentistry exciting to me!

 

 

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Finding an Experienced Dentist in Monroe, North Carolina

2020-07-16T16:55:10+00:00June 17th, 2019|Adam Brown DDS, Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Crowns, Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, General, Oral Health, Teeth Whitening|

There are fewer things more stressful than finding a new health provider, much less finding an office and staff to trust you and your family’s smile with. Whether you’re searching for the right dentist to advise your oral health regimen, or are simply in the market for a new dentist, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to equip you with the right knowledge to find an experienced dentist suited for your treatment needs.

 

Find an Experienced Dentist—Don’t Get Unnecessary Treatments

In need of a second opinion after getting a hefty price estimate for a procedure, you’re not sure you really need? Had a bad experience with a previous dentist and searching for a new practice to rebuild trust with? Waited so long for a dental visit that you’re just ready for a fresh start and motivation? No judgments and no worries! Finding an experienced dentist does not have to be an ordeal.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by your search for the right dentist. From Google searches, Yelp reviews, to scouring websites and seeking out word of mouth recommendations, there are many ways in which we try to find a great dentist. If you’ve moved recently or switched insurance companies, it can also be difficult to move on from a long-time dentist and find another that meets all of your expectations.

Where should you even start? We have laid out the most important considerations in your search for the right experienced dentist.

 

Question 1: What makes a good dental practice?

You have probably asked yourself this before. What makes a good dentist? Is it a staff of gentle hygienists? A dentist who spends time in the room with the patient? The cheapest treatment options around? Let’s discuss it!

 

Expectations should be met with every point of contact, including staff

Whether you are making your first call to inquire about services, scheduling an appointment, or entering the practice, the staff should be welcoming to patients. Practices that leave patients in the waiting room without greeting and without respect for patients’ time are red flags that the dental practice does not respect the time of their clients. A friendly, punctual staff ensures that the visit is great from start to finish.

 

Active listening

Between the hygienists and the dentist, you need a practice that listens to what you say. As the patient, you are the best advocate and knowledge base of your own health, and a good dental practice values that. By listening to your concerns and requests, and acting on what they hear, rather than talking over the patient or not spending and giving the time to the patient to speak their concerns, the patient will collaborate with the dental practice to ensure they are receiving the best treatment options.

 

Attempts to know the patient

In a larger practice, we do not expect our dentists to know the patient’s entire history, but no patient wants to feel like another file on the shelf. A dentist taking the time to know you can affect the level of care that the patient gets. Whether that’s making friendly conversation or taking a few minutes to read your chart, attempting to know the patient can make all the difference in your dental care.

 

Question 2: What are the warning signs of a bad dentist?

Fraudulent dentists certainly are not the norm, but more often than you would think, dishonest practices have impacted patients in their long-term trust in dentistry and their own oral health. The wrong dentist is more concerned with his pocketbook rather than the overall health of your mouth, meaning he may recommend and perform unnecessary treatments. Procedures that aren’t necessary can wreak havoc on your mouth and lead to further problems down the road.

 

Signs of Fraudulent Practice

  1. Urgency without explanation:

If your dentist identifies an issue that is not a dental emergency and tells you a procedure needs to be done immediately, you should start by asking why and for full disclosure on the procedure itself. If you are in a new dentist’s chair for a regular cleaning and suddenly you’re bombarded with procedures of a type you’ve never needed before, or that you did not enter the practice asking for help with, then it may be a red flag. When the dentist is vague on the reasoning for procedures, he may be pressuring you into going forward without understanding all of your options.

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is:

Some dentists offer very discounted, or even free cleanings as a way to get patients in the door. Once in the chair, they may either hit you with fees that were never mentioned as part of the deal or as mentioned before, pressure you into procedures with intensity.

  1. Lack of Patient Education:

As we mentioned before, the sign of a great dentist is one who educates patients and ensures that decisions are made collectively between the patient and dentist. It is not good practice when dentists and hygienists are not willing to take time and explain the dental issues and recommended procedures to the patient. Even the act of not showing patients their x-rays can be a red flag. Your dentist should take the time to discuss what is shown in your x-rays, point out any lesions or unhealthy teeth, and talk through the treatment plan with the findings.

 

Question 3: How does dentistry become susceptible to fraud, and how can I determine if I am part of fraudulent dentistry?

We know that for the majority of dentists out there, it took years of hard work and building trust among their patients to make a successful dental practice. But, as in any profession, there are a small number of professionals out there who turn to taking shortcuts for financial gain. For the medical profession in general, medical diagnoses can be subjective. Because of this, we have a number of suggestions to improve patient advocacy.

 

Understand how your insurance works with the dental practice.

Beyond having a sense of your general dental coverage, you may not know how the dental practices interact before and after your dental visit. After scheduling your appointment, the staff at the dental practice will reach out to your dental insurance company to find out everything that is covered under your provider. So before you even enter the office, the experienced dentist will know everything that can be billed to you during your dental visit. Unfortunately, this can leave the patient vulnerable to receiving treatments that are more likely to be reimbursed by the insurance company, rather than what’s truly right for the teeth.

 

For example, a dentist may be choosing between a filling and a root canal for a patient. Taking the path with the root canal and crown is more lucrative for the dental practice. This is because it is common knowledge that root canals are easier to pass through an insurance company than a filling, and by receiving a root canal, you’re automatically approved for a crown. Root canals are easier to pass simply because the dentist can justify the root canal by claiming that the patient was in pain. The problem here is that the dentist may have just been able to perform a filling, which is a cheaper procedure and less invasive for the patient.

 

Now that there are some ways of identifying fraud, let’s talk about active ways to prevent getting in those situations in the first place.

 

  1. Choose your dentist based on referrals

Your insurance company may be telling you which dentists to see, but take time to do your own research. Seek out others with the same insurance and ask for a recommendation. Or, if you have a current dentist in the same area but you have switched insurance policies, ask your dentist for a recommendation, or ask for a recommendation from a local dentist society or health professional. Just because the insurance company covers a dentist does not make it a suitable referral. Plus, seeking out opinions from family, friends, and co-workers can give recommendations backed by real experiences.

  1. Consider going family-owned rather than corporate

Chain-dentistry practices drive patients through the door with heavy advertising and discounts, quick cleanings, free exams, and of course, hundreds or thousands of dollars in unnecessary dental work. Corporate dental chains can run on a quota-based model that can sometimes lead to practices working on the side of pushing unnecessary treatments.

  1. Ask for the appointment time

Generally, a new patient appointment should take around an hour and a half. If the office tells you that appointment should only last about a half hour, they may be trying to rush you through what should be a thorough cleaning and appointment, rather than give you the time you deserve as a patient. If you’re an established patient, appointment time can vary, but a cleaning should take at least 45 minutes. If it lasts only 15 minutes, it’s time to start asking questions.

  1. Always check your bill

In a true dental scam, a dentist might inflate claims or bill insurers for procedures that the patient didn’t receive. The best way to avoid this from happening is to ensure communication with your dentist, ask for an estimated price upfront (prior to sitting in the dental chair), and always checking your bill at checkout. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, it is estimated that Americans lose about $68 billion dollars each year to healthcare fraud. Don’t be a victim of dental fraud; know the signs and do not be afraid to advocate for yourself as a patient.

  1. Check the market rate for common procedures.

There are common procedures you have had before that you know the price for, but when dental pain strikes, sometimes you are willing to pay anything for it to get fixed. It’s at these times when it is most important to ensure that you are being offered a fair, market-rate price, and not just being offered the most expensive procedure that your insurance may or may not cover.

  1. Seek other opinions.

If you have ever had a major dental procedure, it is likely that you might have sought out another opinion. One dentist may recommend that you need it, while another may not. This is totally normal, and encouraged, especially if you feel that any of the signs above are occurring.

  1. Feel out the culture of the office.

While how you feel as a patient is important, seeing how the experienced dentist treats the staff can also impact the care you receive. The best doctors are attentive to patients and staff. If you have a bad feeling with your interaction from the front desk to the dental chair, how can you trust your oral health to the practice? You should feel safe and welcome at the dentist from the moment you walk in the door. 

 

Find a dental provider who’s right for you and your family

Carolina’s Dental Choice is here to make you feel right at home, whether you’re new to the area or a longtime resident. Give us a call today if you’re in need of a welcoming, friendly face in the dental practice world at 704-289-9519.

 

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Meet Hannah Autry, Our Social Events Director

2020-07-16T17:23:15+00:00January 22nd, 2019|Adam Brown DDS, Carolina's Dental Choice, Dentist Office Monroe NC|

Receptionists, dental hygienists, and dentists: these are familiar positions that we can put names and faces to when we think about our visits to Carolina’s Dental Choice. However, there are many more people that make Carolina’s Dental Choice an outstanding office and dental practice, and they’re not as behind-the-scenes as you might think. Cue the Social Events Director and dental assistant at Carolina’s Dental Choice, Hannah Autry, and hear more about what she helps CDC bring to the Monroe community. Plus, the next time you’re at the dentist, you’ll have another friendly face to put a name to!

 

Name:

Hannah Autry

 

Place of Birth:

Charlotte, NC

 

Education:

The Dental Staff Institute of Charlotte/CDA

 

What does your position as the Social Events Director entail?

I get to plan, manage, and execute various events in the community, targeting patients who do not currently have a dentist or are looking to find a new dentist. 

 

What does a normal day at CDC look like for you?

I am a full time dental assistant, so the majority of my time is spent helping Dr. Brown and Dr. Kashyap treat patients.  When I am not assisting I am planning new social events and working with other local businesses on ways to improve our marketing. 

 

Why is it important for a dental office to have a Social Events Director?

It brings in new patients, helps us give back to the community, and keeps us on the lookout to improve every part of the office, especially marketing. 

 

Could you tell us about what CDC’s community outreach plan looks like?

We plan on attending and planning various events in the community to prove that our dental office is the best around!

We recently attended the first annual Union County Bridal Show and Expo to reach out to newly engaged couples looking for a new dentist or wanting to improve their smile for the most photographed day of their lives.  We raffled bleach trays and gave out goodies to every bride, groom, and family member or friend who attended the show and stopped by our table.  We also recently provided Treehouse Vineyards with trivia prizes for the month of January.  After all, wine stains your teeth so bleach trays are beneficial to every wine drinker! 

 

Who are these events targeted to?

Families new to the area, businesses that have recently changed dental insurance providers, newly engaged couples, and anyone in the community looking for a new dentist.  

 

Are these events only local to Monroe?

Our events are not limited to Monroe.  We plan on extending our events to Charlotte and surrounding areas in the near future. 

 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of community outreach?

How much joy it brings people to know we are a small, private, locally-owned dental practice with one location and three doctors. 

 

Describe your team at CDC in one word.

Family.

 

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

I do not feel any part of my job is challenging because I have enough confidence in myself to handle any task that comes my way! 

 

How do you start your workdays?

With a nice workout including a long run, a healthy breakfast, and a delicious cup of coffee. 

 

What brought you to Monroe, NC?

I was raised in Indian Trail, NC where I spent all of my childhood.  Steven (my husband) and I bought our house in Monroe, NC back in 2015 and we plan on starting and raising our family here.  After all, we live less than 5 miles from the office!

 

What do you like about living here?

Absolutely everything!  I could not image living anywhere else.  We are passionate about traveling, so what better location could we have than to be three hours from the beach and mountains?  The Charlotte area has and will always be home to us.  

 

What are you passionate about?

My English Bulldogs (Tug Boat and Freight Train) are my children. When my husband Steven and I are not tending to, playing with, and snuggling them we enjoy traveling (the most), hiking, camping, fishing, golfing, being outdoors, working out, cooking, shopping, and spending time with our family and friends! 

 

What is the most important personal attribute you bring to your job?

I have a very bubbly personality and “never met a stranger” attitude.  Anyone who is working with people in the community needs to have a very outgoing personality!  Also, I feel organization is key to being successful.  My OCD plays a huge roll in my everyday life.  Whether it is here at work, at home, in the car, or even at the gym my life is organized in some way.

 

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Creating a brochure to be used office-wide and passed out at all social events. 

 

What do you hope to accomplish this year as Social Events Coordinator?

Assuring each Union County resident has the best experience in our dental office.  Our clients trust us with all of their dental needs, and we appreciate the confidence they have placed in us by referring their family and friends to our practice and contributing to our daily growth!

 

Where can I learn more about CDC’s outreach events?

Our Facebook page is updated regularly with all events. 

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We Have A Lot To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving!

2020-07-16T17:01:59+00:00November 14th, 2017|Adam Brown DDS, Carolina's Dental Choice, testimonial|

Gobble, gobble! It’s almost turkey-eating time and Carolina’s Dental Choice can’t wait to celebrate. Thanksgiving is the time to eat lots of yummy homemade foods, spend quality time with loved ones, and to BE THANKFUL! Carolina’s Dental Choice definitely has a lot to be thankful for this year.

It has been a fun and challenging year at Carolina’s Dental Choice. 2017 has been packed with lots of appointments and rewarding interactions with their clients. As the season of being thankful is approaching, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants you to know how grateful they are for your loyalty. This small and close-knit dentist office is always so cheerful because they have some of the most amazing patients. The staff at Carolina’s Dental Choice wanted to share a few things they are thankful for this Thanksgiving:

“My faith and the blessing of a beautiful family, the privilege to live in this wonderful country, and being able to work alongside some very awesome friends.”  

– Benita

 

“My 4-legged fur boys, the greatest husband in the world, and my amazing family and friends.”

– Hannah

 

“My family, my job, and my friends.”

– Regina

 

“My wonderful husband Scott, my two children Ashley and Tanner and my grandchild that is on the way!”

– Becky

 

“A healthy family, friends who are more like family, and a husband who will always be my best friend.”

– Kristi

 

“My amazing and supportive family, my health, my beautiful daughter, Paityn, and my dog Mocha!”            – Sondra

 

“Everything God has given me, my amazing family, wonderful friends, and a loving fiancé!”

– Skylar

 

“All the blessings in my life; from waking up to a new beautiful sunrise, to starting each new day at a career I truly enjoy, to sharing each day with my family and the joy of being surrounded by incredible friends.”

– Donna

 

“A career that I love and am passionate about, my amazing and supportive family and friends, and my patients!”

– Dr. Luckhardt

 

“Great family and friends.”

– Dr. Adam Brown

 

“We are deeply thankful for our wonderful family and fabulous friends. We are truly grateful for our amazing dental family. The team in Monroe and Wilmington complete the Brown family!”

– Missy and Doc Brown

 

Happy Thanksgiving from your dental family! Like many Thanksgivings before and many to come, we have so much to be thankful for. Our wonderful dental family, awesome patients, and gratifying careers take a big part in our lives, and it’s important to share how grateful we are for them. Enjoy the holidays and don’t forget to schedule your next dental visit with Carolina’s Dental Choice.

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