We wish everyone the best in 2010. This year will be special for me and Sylvie. Our son Simon, the computer man, has moved back in town to start his career as a graphic designer. His daughter Madeline was born around the same time that her big brother, Landon, started Kindergarten. Looking forward to a great year!
I want to apologize for skipping last year’s annual newsletter. I guess I could blame the economy, but I just did not feel as enthusiastic about 2008-2009. I see the dental industry as a barometer for the actual economic situation. With the scare of recession, we have seen an increase in the avoidance of treatment. Lately, we have been encouraged by the return of regular care. Of course, there have also been more emergency appointments, as maintenance had been neglected for a while... People realize that delaying needed care only gets them in deeper trouble. Prevention and regular care is the cheaper approach and I hate to see patients find out the hard way with more extensive work than first planned.
Talking of prevention, on a personal note, I did uphold my last year’s resolution: as much as I liked meat all my life, I moved to a meat-free diet, as well as its derivates (milk, cheese, etc.), with the exception of sushi. It proved to be very effective in lowering my cholesterol. In fact, my doctor was able to reduce my medication instead of increasing it again. I also feel good and was able to lose some more weight, too. I think my daughter Sarah, the perfect vegan advocate, is pretty proud of my efforts to maintain the best health possible.
This year, I felt in paradise and at home in Florida. As much as I enjoyed hunting up north and visiting my mom in Quebec, I often got rain, cold, and wind, which is really depressing weather. The North had a bad summer and not any better of a fall. This reminds me of the reason I made the move to the Sunshine State. It was a dream going as far back as my childhood - thanks to my grandpa's travels and souvenirs on old 8mm film of him fighting the Miami Beach waves.
Let's get back to business. By now, you’ve probably seen our latest oral cancer screening device, the Velscope, since we use it once a year as part of our exams. Time has confirmed the benefits of its use. If we can detect any early start of abnormal growth, it could save lives. Surgeons use Velscope to evaluate the extent of the treatment needed, which could involve removal of the tissues: part of the tongue, jaw, or even teeth. Again, prevention!
At the last Florida National Dental Conference in June, we learned that the papilloma virus was, as the Velscope research team suspected, indeed linked to oral cancer. So, we cannot only target smokers and drinkers for oral cancer screenings. We now know that just being a carrier of that virus can put you at risk for oral cancer and cervical cancer for women. The problem is you cannot tell if you have it - there are no signs or symptoms. The next step is to determine if the vaccination used for cervical cancer prevention will be as effective against oral cancer since they are different strains of the virus. In the meantime, the best prevention is to screen everybody, and keep body hygiene at its best to avoid transmission.
In the same line of preventing contamination, we urge you to use our front desk hand sanitizer as you get in the office. It is also available throughout the office. As you know, most diseases, such as the swine flu, the bird flu, hepatitis A and C, are easily transmitted by simple contact, usually hands. So we need to avoid touching our eyes and mouth until we clean our hands thoroughly. We hope you will take advantage of the waterless cleaning gel while in our office.
Prevention is the Key
You’ve also had our ''pre-op'' mouth rinse before procedures such as dental cleanings, fillings and crowns. This is another way to prevent infections that enter the bloodstream through the gums or even by breathing. With a more dental scope, sealants and fluoride (on adults as well) are a proven way to reduce the need for fillings.
Pre-Med New Guidelines
If you recently needed prophylactic antibiotics before dental procedures, you are probably aware of the changes in the guidelines. A lot of patients learned that they were no longer required to take premeds for most kinds of heart murmurs. We must remember though that the same new guidelines insist on the importance of necessary regular care at home, in addition to regular care at the office. This is because simply one aggressive tooth brushing or flossing after days of negligence could result in the same bacterionemy (bloodstream bacterial invasion) that you used to fight with antibiotics. So even if you are at low risk, the new guidelines state that if you want to avoid premed, you need to be very meticulous about oral hygiene care at home, as well as at the dentist.
Implantology really started some 20 years ago with osseointegrated implants and it is still evolving today. In search of resolving the most difficult prosthodontic challenges, techniques have improved and I see patients going through surgeries as if they were just appointments for fillings. In cases in which the bone was not sufficient to support implants, surgeons have developed bone graft techniques so that those ''artificial roots'' could help rebuild dentition. In cases where the sinuses extend too far, bone structure additions reproduce the normal ridge thickness to allow implants. We call this the ''sinus lift''. The trend for implants is here to stay and is helping operating dentistry manage puzzles we could not handle in prior years. We are now using much more conservative approaches, like an implant rather than a bridge preparation involving two teeth for the replacement of a single tooth. Conservation is the second part of my motto, after...PREVENTION!
There is nothing like pictures to explain concepts and techniques. Please ask us if you’d like to view our library of dental videos. We have patients’ education running on our TVs, but we’ve also got hundreds of videos on specific subjects illustrated in a short, concise format that we can put on at your demand. From teeth whitening to crown preparation, gum surgery, the Velscope, etc...
Just for Laughs
A lot of people have told us how much they like the pictures in the documentary on the Galapagos that has been playing in the reception room. I am looking for other great videos like it - in HD. I plan to switch to a series called “Just for Laughs”, made in Quebec, where hidden cameras catch people in funny situations. I hope this will help reduce any stress you may have while waiting.
I personally choose and screen the magazines to make your visit more enjoyable. I am glad to see patients go back to the reception room after their appointments so they can finish a favorite article or flip through other magazines. Be my guest!
Please feel free to bring in anything that would distract you from our work. The satellite TV offers a lot of channels you can surf. We have games for you to play on the same HD screen. You can also listen to the music of your choice. You are more than welcome to bring your own VHS tape, DVD, CD, MP3, Nintendo, or Xbox 360 games. I'll try not to start a conversation if you have on headphones... you know me.
Happy New Year 2010
We are already seeing better days – it is promising. You can help by referring friends, co-workers and family to our practice. On behalf of all our staff, we'll do our best so that they will thank you for sending them our way. Thank you again for your support and don't ever forget PREVENTION.
Have a good one!