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    • 22 MAY 17
    • 0

    Unusual Mouth Problems

    Rare and Weird Mouth Conditions that Should Be Checked Out Immediately

    There are many common mouth disorders like canker sores and fever blisters that can usually be treated by over-the-counter medications, but when something completely foreign enters your mouth it can be alarming and may be an indicator of something more serious. Here are some examples (usually rare) of mouth and tongue maladies that can be simple to fix or require immediate medical attention.

    Leukoplakia

    This is a thick white patch on your gums, the inside of your cheeks, or the bottom of your mouth that you can’t rub off. Smoking or irritation (from poorly fitting dentures, for example) can cause it, but your dentist may do a biopsy on a small piece of the tissue to rule out oral cancer. Treatment usually involves stopping whatever is irritating your mouth, but in some cases, doctors can remove the patches with surgery.

    Reticular Lichen Planus

    This condition makes fine white lines in a lacy pattern on the inside of the cheeks, and sometimes the gums and top of the tongue, too. No one knows the exact cause, but it may be that your immune system attacks the lining of your mouth. It’s harmless and has no other symptoms, so you don’t need treatment.

    Amalgam Tattoo

    This painless blue-gray or black spot can show up anywhere in the mouth, but it usually appears on the gums next to a filling. It happens when a tiny piece of metal gets lodged in your mouth during dental work. It sounds bizarre, but an amalgam tattoo is totally harmless and doesn’t need treatment. Your dentist will be able to confirm that the spot isn’t something more serious, like melanoma.

    Thrush

    Caused by candida yeast, thrush is most common in older adults or babies. But a weakened immune system, antibiotics, diabetes, or certain medications – such as inhaled corticosteroids – can give candida a chance to grow wild. Wiping away the patches will cause soreness. See a doctor for a firm diagnosis.

    Burning Mouth Syndrome

    When you have this condition, you can feel like you just gulped piping hot coffee. The burning tends to get worse as the day goes on. No one knows the exact cause. Some experts think it’s a nerve problem, but it’s also linked to conditions like acid reflux and menopause. There’s no cure, but your dentist may suggest you make some changes, like switching toothpastes.

    Black Hairy Tongue

    Your tongue can get this dark coating when there’s a buildup of the protein keratin in your mouth. You might also feel a gagging or tickling feeling on the roof of your mouth and have bad breath. It looks alarming, but don’t worry – it’s harmless. Good dental hygiene, including brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper, is usually enough to cure the problem, but see your dentist if it doesn’t go away.

    Yellow Tongue

    If the surface of your tongue looks yellowish, there’s a good chance it’s caused by a buildup of bacteria. It could also be stained from food, drinks, or smoking. Good oral hygiene, including brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper, should take care of the problem. If not, see your dentist to rule out a more serious condition, like jaundice.

    Fissured Tongue

    This condition means you have grooves on the top of your tongue. It might be a single deep one in the middle, or it can also show up as multiple shallow fissures. There’s no known cause of fissured tongue, but it’s not contagious or harmful. It just takes a little extra effort to clean your tongue to remove any food that may get stuck in the grooves.

    Geographic Tongue

    People with this condition have red patches on and around the sides of their tongues. The spots can last for just a few hours or several months, and they can sometimes cause a mild burning feeling. (Avoiding acidic or spicy foods may help.) There’s no known cause or specific treatment for geographic tongue, but it’s not dangerous. For most people, it’s just a bit annoying.

    Bald Tongue

    Also known as atrophic glossitis, this is when your tongue sheds the bumps that give it the usual rough texture, leaving it shiny and smooth. It’s usually caused by another health condition like a nutritional problem, Celiac disease, or an infection. To treat it, you’ll need to figure out the underlying cause and address that first. So work with your doctor to find out what’s going on.

    “Lie” Bumps

    These tiny tongue bumps (also known as transient lingual papillitis) can be painful, but they usually go away within a day or two. Children and adults can get them on the tip of the tongue, and they sometimes feel itchy or tingly. There’s no definite cause, but they’ve been linked to infections, food allergies, and sensitivity to oral hygiene products. An over-the-counter numbing gel may help with the pain.

    Scalloped Tongue

    This can happen when your teeth leave indentations along the sides of your tongue. It could be a sign that you have a bad bite or sleep disorder that makes your tongue push against your teeth. Or it may be because you have an enlarged tongue – and that could mean you have another health issue, like a hormone imbalance. It’s best to get this checked out by your dentist or doctor.

     

    Source: WebMD.com

    • 22 MAY 17
    • 0

    Let’s Clear The Air: Smokeless Tobacco Still Means Trouble!

    Chew it, dip it, suck it or “snuff” it–there’s no smoke involved with many forms of tobacco, but no matter how you use it, you’re still playing with fire! While cigarettes catch a lot of heat for causing lung cancer, many don’t realize that other types of nicotine use can be just as damaging to your general and oral health. Before reaching for the stuff, get a closer glimpse at what you’re really being sold and why it might be more harmful than you think.

    Types of Smokeless Tobacco

    Cigarettes have long dominated the market, but tobacco comes in countless shapes and sizes. Their novelty may tempt your curiosity, but just one try can put you on the path to addiction and some serious throat and mouth problems. Here are just a few examples of common smokeless tobacco products you’d be wise to avoid:

    Chewing tobacco: loose leaves (often in pouch form) for placement inside the cheeks

    Snuff or “Dip”: ground or shredded tobacco stored in tins for sniffing or chewing

    Snus: a pasteurized form of snuff that doesn’t require spitting

    Tobacco lozenges: powdery, tobacco-infused candies that dissolve in the mouth

    Other variations include plugs, twists and bricks, but risks are the same regardless of their appearance. It’s also worth noting that regulations may differ by country, so the lack of clear warnings doesn’t mean that the product is any less toxic.

    Oral Health Risks

    Virtually every aspect of your oral health is affected by tobacco use, and it doesn’t take much for nicotine to do its damage. Telltale signs you may notice immediately include:

    Stained teeth, from frequent contact with tobacco juice

    Periodontitis, as prolonged exposure to tobacco can irritate the gums

    Bad breath, when tobacco particles mix with your saliva and other food particles

    New cavities, due to the sugar often used to sweeten tobacco products

    Tooth sensitivity, enamel erosion and a decrease in your sense of taste and smell are other possible side effects. As costly as these dental complications may be, it pales in comparison to the lethal threat of cancer.

    Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

    Given that smokeless tobacco contains well over 20 carcinogenic chemicals, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that its use can result in cancer of the mouth, lip, tongue and throat (in addition to many other cancers of the body). Clear warning signs of oral cancer include white or red lesions inside the mouth (typically referred to by dentists as “leukoplakia”) that fail to heal over time, but not all symptoms are easily detected without the professional help of your dentist.

    Tackling Your Tobacco Problem

    Seeking professional help is your best bet both to kick your nicotine habit to the curb, as well as to prevent lasting and potentially irreversible damage to your health. Quitting tobacco use likely won’t happen overnight, but your dentist can most certainly offer guidance and point you to effective treatments and/or alternatives. Although it may be difficult to share your struggles, being open about the problem with your dentist and seeing him or her frequently is critical to minimizing the risk for oral cancer and other serious health problems.

    SOURCES: Delta Dental, Mayo Clinic

     

    • 15 MAY 17
    • 0

    “I Really Try to Get to Know Each of My Patients”

    Dr. Walter Hunt, D.D.S. | Dentist and Founder

    To get to know Dr. Hunt a bit more, read our in-depth interview with him below. You’ll find additional insight into Dr. Hunt and his quest to create the “perfect practice” for his patients.

     

    The Reasons for Becoming a Dentist

    “When I was in undergraduate school at the University of Minnesota, I knew I wanted to be in health care of some sort. I knew I wanted to serve people in whatever profession I chose, and becoming a dentist was appealing because of the autonomy and the opportunity to create my own culture of patient care. I didn’t think I would be able to do that if I had become a medical doctor working in a health care clinic system or hospital.”

     

    Competition Creates Better Dentistry

    “I have always been highly competitive – it’s one of the most important reasons that I did so well as an athlete in football and baseball – and I took that competitiveness into dentistry. I have always wanted to be the best dentist possible, and to treat my patients like our slogan says – The World’s Greatest Patients.”

     

    What’s Their Story?

    “I really try to get to know who each of my patients are. I want to know – what’s their story? That’s the only way I can truly make a meaningful difference in their individual oral health issues. For example, I have a patient who is a structural engineer. He wants to know a lot of detail about any treatment I provide to him. Other patients just want to know that they will get the results they are expecting – they don’t want the details of how we will get that result.”

     

    Seeing Below the Surface – Capturing the Exquisite Layers of Nature’s Beauty

    “Capturing the beauty that I see in the world with my camera has been a passion for decades. The joy I find trying to look beneath the surface layer we tend to see when we observe nature and discovering images that can capture our imagination and bring depth to the composition is what motivates me to continue taking photos.

    “Nature is my specialty and love, as you can see from my images, and it is a subject matter that just seems to ‘speak’ to me in a unique way. Many people who have been with me when I am taking photographs tell me that the images and scenes that they walk right past seem to catch my attention and camera. The images captured are often surprising to them and I often hear ‘You see things in nature that I just don’t see until I look at your photos’.”

    “I’ve used a Nikon D800 to take photos for the last several years. I especially enjoy shooting digital images because they give me the opportunity to use editing software that often allows me the ability to bring to life what I see in nature in terms of form, texture and light. For me, it is an artistic expression that I truly enjoy as part of the photographic process.”

    All of the images on the walls at Personal Care Dentistry and on the TV screens in the treatment rooms were shot by Dr. Hunt. At last count, he has shot more than 60,000 digital images in the last decade.

     

    Playing Baseball Has Been a Nice Change-Up from Dentistry

    “I kept my athletic competitiveness satisfied by playing in a men’s over-35 league until I was 59 years old. I played second base and also pitched. I wasn’t one of those guys who could throw a great fastball and overpower a hitter. Instead, I had a great change-up, a good curve, and a decent fastball when I needed it. I would often have younger guys that I was pitching to come up to bat expecting to hit a home run off me. I would strike them out swinging and you could see them thinking ‘How did that old guy strike me out?’ We played 30-40 games a year, including quite a few tournaments across the country. I had to finally stop playing competitively when I was 59 because of an arthritic hip. I eventually had to have both hips replaced. But I’m back to playing tennis and I’ve been throwing batting practice for fun to a men’s over-35 team.”

     

    Working with Two of His Sons Has Been a Dream Come True

    “It’s very cool working with Kyle (who joined the practice as a dentist in 2014) and Zach (who joined the practice in 2013 as the Clinic Administrator). It was never planned when they were growing up, although both were interested in the practice and Kyle used to come to work with me when he wasn’t in school. He seemed to really enjoy dentistry even when he was 10 years old. But I thought he would become a medical doctor as he got older because that seemed to be his primary interest. But near the end of his undergraduate studies he decided that he wanted to be a dentist. I had thought I would retire in my mid-60s before they joined the practice, but now I’m having so much fun with them that I’m not sure when I’ll retire.”

     

    Is Retirement In the Future?

    “I’ve had a lot of people ask me about retirement and when I’m thinking of not practicing anymore. And I’ve thought a lot about it, but I have a lot of reasons why I want to stay. Start with two sons working here, plus a staff that I truly appreciate and value. I have so many patients that have become friends and that I enjoy seeing when they come in. Plus, I love having the ability to serve people – it’s what has driven me for the last 40 years at Personal Care Dentistry. Also, I have a competitive side that I’ve mentioned before and this gives me a good outlet for that. It has translated into being able to build the practice from one dentist and three staff in 700 square feet to 4 dentists and nearly 30 staff in 8,000 square feet. But I still feel like we can continue to grow our practice and improve our patient care.”

     

    You Don’t Attach Dollar Signs to People

    “We believe in conservative care at Personal Care Dentistry. That means we don’t overdo treatment plans and only provide the care that is necessary. I’ve never let my patient care judgement get clouded by a dollar sign. Making money for money’s sake never motivated me. People are too sacred to me to attach dollar signs to them. I’ve put my values of compassion and caring ahead of money for the last 40 years as a dentist.”

     

    Going Back in Time

    “Kyle grew up with dentistry. He would listen to me talk to patients and then we would talk about the conversation.  He needed to understand the philosophy of the practice if he were ever going to consider joining it as a dentist. I get a kick out of the fact that he still observes how I handle patients because he feels it’s an opportunity for him to learn. Watching him now in the practice often takes me back 40 years in many ways – he is very much the dentist I was at his age. Of course, he was able to join his father’s practice while I jumped off the proverbial ‘cliff’ without a parachute when I went into practice. I was married and had two kids and not a lot of room to fail when I became a dentist.”

     

     

    • 15 MAY 17
    • 0

    Root Canals – Something So Good Gets a Really Bad Rap

    The negative connotations around root canal therapy are unfortunate, since this procedure can actually improve your comfort and better your oral health. If your tooth becomes cracked, decayed, or otherwise damaged and bacteria infect its inner pulp (nerves and blood vessels), the diseased tissue will need to be removed to clean and protect the tooth—this is root canal therapy. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic treatment.  Remember, root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it.

    Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

    How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

    Root canal or endodontic treatment—treatment done to the inside of the tooth—is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

    During root canal or endodontic treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

    Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

    Efficient chewing

    Normal biting force and sensation

    Natural appearance

    Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain

    As opposed to jokes about the matter, modern endodontic treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.

    Source: American Association of Endodontists (AAE.org)

    • 11 MAY 17
    • 0

    “Our Practice Follows the Golden Rule of Dentistry”

    Dr. Walter Hunt, D.D.S. | Dentist and Founder

    In 1977, Dr. Walter Hunt founded Personal Care Dentistry in a small office space with three employees on Hamline Avenue in Roseville. He had just graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry and he was determined to build a different kind of dental practice, one that focused on what he calls the “Golden Rule of Dentistry” – caring for all of his patients the way he would care for his own family.

     

    Now, 40 years later, Personal Care Dentistry has grown to take up the entire third floor of the office building on Hamline Avenue where he started his practice. Four dentists and more than 30 staff blend the latest technology with a gentle touch in a warm, caring and compassionate atmosphere.

     

    And the entire care team at Personal Care Dentistry still follows the Golden Rule of Dentistry each and every day. “We take the time to really listen to our patients and provide close, personal attention to best customize their care,” emphasizes Dr. Hunt. “I know the kind of care that I demand as a patient, and that is the kind of care that I strive to provide. I call it the ‘Golden Rule Dentistry.’ It is a philosophy shared by all of our staff members.”

     

    This never-ending quest for excellence in dental care by Dr. Hunt has been embraced by all of the dentists, dental assistants, hygienists and office staff at Personal Care Dentistry. It has resulted in a chest full of awards from fellow dentists and consumers, including:

     

    ‘Top Dentist’ by Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine for 4 years;

    ‘Top Dentist’ by Roseville Review readers for 9 years;

    ‘Top Dentist’ by Minnesota Monthly for the last 3 years;

    Angie’s List Super Service award for 5 years.

     

    “Our patients truly feel we are an extension of their family and that they can always depend on us to provide excellent care based on compassion, respect and personalized service,” emphasizes Dr. Hunt. “We believe in a conservative approach to care, which means that we don’t recommend care that is not necessary at the time they come in for an appointment. Our motto is ‘We Serve the World’s Greatest Patients’ and we take that approach with each of our patients.”

     

    Dr. Hunt’s approach to patient care and his “Golden Rule of Dentistry” have roots that go back much further than his 40-year dental career. Dr. Hunt grew up in northwestern Indiana in a small town named Merrillville. By the time his family moved to Minnesota at the beginning of his junior year of high school, he had become an accomplished athlete in both football and baseball. It was then that he also reached a defining moment in his life, one that has influenced his approach to life and dentistry.

     

    “My family didn’t have much money – we lived in a poor neighborhood in Merrillville – so I had a lot of friends who were also poor. But because I was a good athlete in football and baseball, I also had a group of friends who came from families with money. And I didn’t like the way the kids with money would treat the poor kids. It was then that I vowed that I would always treat everyone equally with the same amount of caring and respect,” emphasizes Dr. Hunt. “The worth of a person should not be defined by what they have or how they look.”

     

    For Dr. Hunt, being a dentist and the founder of Personal Care Dentistry is not a job. It is a passion. He has had the same goal for almost half a century – treat people with dignity and respect, and as a dentist, provide them with the best care possible.

     

    “This is my passion, and this is how I can contribute to helping other people have better lives. Even today, I still feel like I get more out of caring for others than they do. I love being here at Personal Care Dentistry,” says Dr. Hunt.

     

    Dr. Hunt has many hobbies and interests, but his real passion is nature photography. Nearly every picture hanging throughout the practice is one he took on his many travels across the globe! He also loves sports, (especially baseball – he played as a pitcher and second baseman in a men’s over 35 league until a hip injury forced him to retire when he was 59), plays the guitar like you wouldn’t believe, enjoys traveling and spending time at the cabin with his wife, Michelle and his four grown “boys” and their families.

     

    To get to know Dr. Hunt a bit more, read our in-depth interview with him. You’ll find additional insight into Dr. Hunt and his quest to create the “perfect practice” for his patients.

     

    The Reasons for Becoming a Dentist

    “When I was in undergraduate school at the University of Minnesota, I knew I wanted to be in health care of some sort. I knew I wanted to serve people in whatever profession I chose, and becoming a dentist was appealing because of the autonomy and the opportunity to create my own culture of patient care. I didn’t think I would be able to do that if I had become a medical doctor working in a health care clinic system or hospital.”

     

    Competition Creates Better Dentistry

    “I have always been highly competitive – it’s one of the most important reasons that I did so well as an athlete in football and baseball – and I took that competitiveness into dentistry. I have always wanted to be the best dentist possible, and to treat my patients like our slogan says – The World’s Greatest Patients.”

     

    What’s Their Story?

    “I really try to get to know who each of my patients are. I want to know – what’s their story? That’s the only way I can truly make a meaningful difference in their individual oral health issues. For example, I have a patient who is a structural engineer. He wants to know a lot of detail about any treatment I provide to him. Other patients just want to know that they will get the results they are expecting – they don’t want the details of how we will get that result.”

     

    Seeing Below the Surface – Capturing the Exquisite Layers of Nature’s Beauty

    “Capturing the beauty that I see in the world with my camera has been a passion for decades. The joy I find trying to look beneath the surface layer we tend to see when we observe nature and discovering images that can capture our imagination and bring depth to the composition is what motivates me to continue taking photos.

    “Nature is my specialty and love, as you can see from my images, and it is a subject matter that just seems to ‘speak’ to me in a unique way. Many people who have been with me when I am taking photographs tell me that the images and scenes that they walk right past seem to catch my attention and camera. The images captured are often surprising to them and I often hear ‘You see things in nature that I just don’t see until I look at your photos’.”

    “I’ve used a Nikon D800 to take photos for the last several years. I especially enjoy shooting digital images because they give me the opportunity to use editing software that often allows me the ability to bring to life what I see in nature in terms of form, texture and light. For me, it is an artistic expression that I truly enjoy as part of the photographic process.”

    All of the images on the walls at Personal Care Dentistry and on the TV screens in the treatment rooms were shot by Dr. Hunt. At last count, he has shot more than 60,000 digital images in the last decade.

     

    Playing Baseball Has Been a Nice Change-Up from Dentistry

    “I kept my athletic competitiveness satisfied by playing in a men’s over-35 league until I was 59 years old. I played second base and also pitched. I wasn’t one of those guys who could throw a great fastball and overpower a hitter. Instead, I had a great change-up, a good curve, and a decent fastball when I needed it. I would often have younger guys that I was pitching to come up to bat expecting to hit a home run off me. I would strike them out swinging and you could see them thinking ‘How did that old guy strike me out?’ We played 30-40 games a year, including quite a few tournaments across the country. I had to finally stop playing competitively when I was 59 because of an arthritic hip. I eventually had to have both hips replaced. But I’m back to playing tennis and I’ve been throwing batting practice for fun to a men’s over-35 team.”

     

    Working with Two of His Sons Has Been a Dream Come True

    “It’s very cool working with Kyle (who joined the practice as a dentist in 2014) and Zach (who joined the practice in 2013 as the Clinic Administrator). It was never planned when they were growing up, although both were interested in the practice and Kyle used to come to work with me when he wasn’t in school. He seemed to really enjoy dentistry even when he was 10 years old. But I thought he would become a medical doctor as he got older because that seemed to be his primary interest. But near the end of his undergraduate studies he decided that he wanted to be a dentist. I had thought I would retire in my mid-60s before they joined the practice, but now I’m having so much fun with them that I’m not sure when I’ll retire.”

     

    Is Retirement In the Future?

    “I’ve had a lot of people ask me about retirement and when I’m thinking of not practicing anymore. And I’ve thought a lot about it, but I have a lot of reasons why I want to stay. Start with two sons working here, plus a staff that I truly appreciate and value. I have so many patients that have become friends and that I enjoy seeing when they come in. Plus, I love having the ability to serve people – it’s what has driven me for the last 40 years at Personal Care Dentistry. Also, I have a competitive side that I’ve mentioned before and this gives me a good outlet for that. It has translated into being able to build the practice from one dentist and three staff in 700 square feet to 4 dentists and nearly 30 staff in 8,000 square feet. But I still feel like we can continue to grow our practice and improve our patient care.”

     

    You Don’t Attach Dollar Signs to People

    “We believe in conservative care at Personal Care Dentistry. That means we don’t overdo treatment plans and only provide the care that is necessary. I’ve never let my patient care judgement get clouded by a dollar sign. Making money for money’s sake never motivated me. People are too sacred to me to attach dollar signs to them. I’ve put my values of compassion and caring ahead of money for the last 40 years as a dentist.”

     

    Going Back in Time

    “Kyle grew up with dentistry. He would listen to me talk to patients and then we would talk about the conversation.  He needed to understand the philosophy of the practice if he were ever going to consider joining it as a dentist. I get a kick out of the fact that he still observes how I handle patients because he feels it’s an opportunity for him to learn. Watching him now in the practice often takes me back 40 years in many ways – he is very much the dentist I was at his age. Of course, he was able to join his father’s practice while I jumped off the proverbial ‘cliff’ without a parachute when I went into practice. I was married and had two kids and not a lot of room to fail when I became a dentist.”

     

     

    • 11 MAY 17
    • 0

    Timely and Efficient Dental Care

    Here are some comments from recent patients at Personal Care Dentistry about the timely and efficient dental care they received.

     

    Super Quick and Absolutely Painless! – Greta S.

    “Very friendly and inviting staff! Dr. Kyle was amazing and very calming. The whole process was super quick and absolutely painless. I’ll definitely be back.” – May 10, 2017

     

    Professional and Personable – Pat A.

    “Dr. Kyle dealt with my issue quickly and effectively – and in a friendly manner.” – May 2, 2017

     

    Quick Efficient Work – Katie L.

    “I was seen for a bite adjustment for a crown done by a previous office. I was seen quickly and my bite was adjusted perfectly and painlessly, it feels like I have a whole new mouth free of pain for the first time in a year.” – May 1, 2017

     

    Perfect Balance Between Friendly Providers and Efficient Thorough Procedures. – Beth A.

    In and out in 45 minutes made me appreciate the practice’s provider protocols. – April 25, 2017

     

    Super-Fast and Painless Cavity Filling for My 9-Year-Old – Evan M.

    She was in and out in 10 minutes or less and came out with a smile. Nothing like the dentists I had when I was nine! – April 20, 2017

     

    • 08 MAY 17
    • 0

    Floss Forever- Proper Technique and The Right Floss for You

    Types of Floss and How to Floss Properly

    Floss is used to remove all the food particles, bacteria, and plaque that is stuck in-between your teeth. If you neglect to floss your teeth for a long period of time, plaque will buildup. Your toothbrush is not powerful enough (nor has the capability) to remove the plaque stuck between your teeth. You will be susceptible to gingivitis, a gum disease that has its own set of dental health problems.

    What is floss made from?

    Back in the 1800s, floss was made out of silk. We’ve come a long way since then. Most modern-day floss is now made from plastic beads, believe it or not. They are melted down and the liquefied plastic is squeezed like toothpaste into long, thin strands. The floss is then stretched, making the molecules longer and stronger. Dental floss is supposed to be unbreakable, hence the use of plastic. Additional layers like wax and flavoring agents are added to make flossing a bit more bearable.

    What happens if you don’t floss?

    Consistent flossing will improve your oral hygiene because it removes plaque buildup. If you neglect to use dental floss, the food particles and plaque will cause gum irritation, which makes your gum tissue become sensitive. If it’s your first time flossing in months, chances are your gums will bleed. If you don’t floss, ease your way into it. Soon enough, you’ll wonder why you never did it in the first place!

    Using dental floss is one of the most important elements of oral hygiene. As stated above, flossing removes plaque and decaying food that remains stuck between your teeth. Leaving the food particles will irritate the gums, which isn’t good for your gum health. And eating acidic foods will also break down your enamel, demineralizing your teeth. This will lead to cavities.

    Types of Floss

    Regular Floss

    We’re all familiar with the traditional type of stringed floss. However, there are several types of regular floss. There is waxed floss, unwaxed floss, mint flavored floss, etc. First off, there is no difference between wax and unwaxed floss. The main thing that determines the level of effectiveness if your flossing technique. A lot of people prefer wax coated floss because it slides in and out of your teeth a bit easier than unwaxed floss. And floss with mint coating is primarily used to a) give you the feeling of freshness and b) make the act of flossing more pleasant. There is no reason to be concerned over calories or sugar.

    Floss Picks

    Floss picks are a popular product nowadays. Floss picks hold the floss for you, making it extremely convenient since you only have to use one hand. While they may be convenient, they are not as effective as regular floss. Floss picks do not allow you to reach all the necessary angles that normal floss can. Why’s that? You’re supposed to complete a “C” around the tooth and go up and down to completely clean the tooth. So you won’t be able to clean your teeth as effectively. Regular floss is recommended, but floss picks are better than nothing for your oral health.

    Oral Irrigators

    An oral irrigator (also known as a dental water jet) is a flossing device that uses a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque and food particles between teeth. It’s a new form of flossing that not only removes plaque, but improves your gingival health. The machine has a water reservoir that connects to a device resembling a toothbrush. To use it properly, you should lean over the sink and place it in your mouth. Then turn it on (and close your lips to prevent splashing), and allow the water to flow from your mouth into the sink. Pause briefly between teeth, and aim at the tip just above the gumline at a 90 degree angle. It only takes a minute or two.

    How to Floss Properly

    To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:

    • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
    • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
    • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
    • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
    • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

    Sources: Colgate.com

    • 04 MAY 17
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    “I Have a Sense of Pride Being Part of This Team”

    Kari Olson | Dental Hygiene Team Leader

    As Dental Hygiene Team Leader, Kari Olson is a friendly, familiar face at Personal Care Dentistry. She joined the practice in 2010 and her responsibilities include hiring and coaching her hygiene staff, working with the dentists, and helping patients achieve optimal oral health.

    Kari’s education includes an associate degree in Dental Assisting from Herzing University. After earning her degree, she spent four years at a small dental office in that role. “My love of dentistry helped me see I wanted to further my education and in 2007 I returned to school,” says Kari. In 2010 she graduated once again from Herzing University, this time with her Dental Hygienist License and started at Personal Care Dentistry on a very part-time basis. “I wanted more independence and one-on-one time with patients. Being a hygienist allows me to build relationships with the people I treat,” she says.

    “When I started here I immediately loved the environment. It’s a super-friendly place to work and everyone is so positive,” notes Kari. “The practice I worked at before was poorly managed and it was highly stressful. I didn’t like going to work there. I feel very lucky to be at Personal Care Dentistry. This practice runs like a well-oiled machine,” she says with a smile.

    On her initial start in the office she says, “I only worked four hours a week because nobody ever leaves this practice. People truly care here. It just grew from there, my hours increased to full-time and Dr. Hunt eventually made me the Hygiene Lead.”

    Kari speaks about her place of work with enthusiasm and warmth. “PCD is amazing. Many of our patients come from word-of-mouth so Dr. Hunt is obviously doing something right. I have a sense of pride being part of this team.” She talks about the staff with genuine affection saying, “We all get along. Our team is incredible. It’s so nice to work some place where you know your team has your back. If I’m out of the office for any length of time I genuinely miss everyone here. All of us strive for the same thing – The Golden Rule,” Kari says, referring to Dr. Hunt’s belief that every member of the staff treat people as they would want to be treated themselves.

    When speaking about treating patients, comfort is king with Kari. “I always ask what I can do to make them more comfortable in my chair. Reading body language is important and if I can sense they are uneasy I will do what I can to make them comfy. I’m passionate about doing a good job for them.” About her chair-side manner Kari clearly conveys a sense of caring compassion. “I don’t want people to feel like just a number… they really matter to me. I love getting to know patients and catching up with them when they come in,” she says.

    Asked about her future goals Kari states, “I never want to be stagnant. I strive to be the best hygienist I possibly can be and continue to hone my treatment skills. I want to be perpetually learning and growing this incredible practice with Dr. Hunt.”

    Outside of work Kari enjoys spending time with her husband, friends and family – especially her two young nieces. She has a terrier mix dog named Lola that she calls a little diva. “I love to laugh and have fun,” says Kari. “I like to think I’m the right amount of easy going.”

    • 03 MAY 17
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    Love Sports? Guard Your Grin with a Mouth Guard

    Reduce Sport-Related Mouth Injuries with One Simple Piece of Equipment

    Mouth guards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. “Your top teeth take the brunt of trauma because they stick out more,” says Dr. Thomas Long, the team dentist for the Carolina Hurricanes professional hockey team. “Your bottom teeth are a little more protected because they are further back.”

     

    When Should You Wear a Mouth Guard?

    When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.

    While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

     

    Types of Mouth Guards

    The best mouth guard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-made mouth guard, you should still wear a stock mouth guard or a boil-and-bite mouth guard from the drugstore. Learn more about each option:
    Custom-made: These are made by your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions because they are individually created for fit and comfort. It’s worth the extra you have to pay when you consider the alternative – thousands of dollars of costly dental work to repair or replace broken or chipped teeth.

    Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.  CustMbite MVP and CustMbite Pro are a boil and bite mouth guards that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

    Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

     

    Protecting Your Braces

    A properly fitted mouth guard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouth guard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks.

    Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouth guard that will provide the right protection. Although some mouth guards only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouth guard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth.

    If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.
     

    Mouth Guard Care and Replacement

    Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouth guard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouth guards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.
    Between games, it’s important to keep your mouth guard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouth guard is always ready to go:

    Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

    Regularly clean the mouth guard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.

    During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouth guard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.

    Store and transport the mouth guard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.

    Never leave the mouth guard in the sun or in hot water.

    Check fit and for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing.

    Some mouth guards have fallen victim to family pets, who see them as chew toys. Store your mouth guard and case somewhere your pet cannot get to it.

     

    Sources: American Dental Association, Colgate.com

     

    • 28 APR 17
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    We Practice the Golden Rule of Dentistry

    “I know the kind of care that I demand as a patient, and that is the kind of care that I strive to provide. I call it ‘Golden Rule Dentistry,'” says Dr. Walter Hunt.

    Most people are familiar with the Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which is found in the Bible (Matt. 7:12). And most of Personal Care Dentistry’s patients know that the Golden Rule guides the dentists and staff at the clinic when they are assisting or treating patients. But when did Dr. Walter Hunt, DDS, the founder of the practice, start implementing the Golden Rule as a driving force at Personal Care Dentistry?

    From the first day he opened his practice in 1977 on Hamline Avenue, Dr. Hunt emphasized the Golden Rule of Dentistry.  According to Dr. Hunt, “Our practice has always taken the time to really listen to our patients and provide close, personal attention to best customize their care. I know the kind of care that I demand as a patient, and that is the kind of care that I strive to provide. I call it ‘Golden Rule Dentistry.’ It is a philosophy shared by all of our staff members.”

    But you have to go back even further than 1977 to learn about how and why he developed his approach to dentistry that focuses on “compassionate care.”  Dr. Hunt grew up in northwestern Indiana in a small town named Merrillville. By the time his family moved to Minnesota at the beginning of his junior year of high school, he had become an accomplished athlete in both football and baseball. It was then that he also reached a defining moment in his life, one that has influenced his approach to life and dentistry.

    Even today, I still feel like I get more out of caring for others than they do. I love being here at Personal Care Dentistry. – Dr. Walter Hunt

    “My family didn’t have much money – we lived in a poor neighborhood in Merrillville – so I had a lot of friends who were also poor. But because I was a good athlete, I also had a group of friends who came from families with money. And I didn’t like the way the kids with money would treat the poor kids. It was then that I vowed that I would always treat everyone equally with the same amount of caring and respect,” emphasizes Dr. Hunt. “The worth of a person should not be defined by what they have or how they look.”

    For Dr. Hunt, being a dentist and the founder of Personal Care Dentistry is not a job. It is a passion. He has had the same goal for almost half a century – treat people with dignity and respect, and as a dentist, provide them with the best care possible.

    “This is my passion, and this is how I can contribute to helping other people have better lives. Even today, I still feel like I get more out of caring for others than they do. I love being here at Personal Care Dentistry,” concludes Dr. Hunt.

    • 25 APR 17
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    They Put What in Their Mouths?

    A Historical Look at Implants and Dentures

    Today, when people require a set of false teeth or an individual dental implant, they turn to modern dentistry to provide them with a synthetic substitute, usually made from plastic. However, this solution has only been around for a few decades; in the past, those in need turned to more crude alternatives to copy their original choppers.

    In desperate times, people have come up with many weird teeth substitutes, including bones taken from animals and even humans. But while do-it-yourself dentistry may be unrefined, uncomfortable, and unsavory, one thing is for sure: mankind has always displayed a high level of creativity when it comes to creating false teeth. Keep reading to discover all the weird dentures and implants that have been used around the world, past and present.

    4000 Years Ago

    Materials: Bamboo

    Nearly 4,000 years ago, craftsmen in ancient China used bamboo pegs to make false teeth. They are the first known group of people to use dental implants. However, these weird dentures aren’t just a thing of the past. Dodhi Pathak, a resident of India’s Nalbari district of Assam, was reported to have made substitutes for his front incisors out of bamboo in 2001. Reports say that the bamboo teeth could offer a white appearance and were durable enough to last 10 years.

    3000 Years Ago
    Materials: Copper and Other Precious Metals

    Remains of Egyptians have been discovered with pegs similar to the Chinese dental implants. However, they used precious metals like copper instead of bamboo. They are the first recorded culture to use a metal replacement to fix a jawbone. Some speculate that these procedures were done post-mortem.

    2300 Years Ago
    Materials: Iron and Gold
    In a Celtic grave in France, a 2300-year-old dental implant was discovered in the mouth of a skeleton. The decorative tooth was held in place by an iron pin, which would have been excruciatingly painful to have hammered in. Something similar has been discovered in the teeth of ancient Romans, who used gold pins. Archaeologists speculate that these kinds of implants were placed in order to enhance the wearers smile. Basically, it’s like an ancient “grill” to bling up someone’s teeth.

    2000 Years Ago
    Materials: Animal or Human Teeth

    A couple of millenniums ago, people tried to replace lost teeth with animal ones. Despite what the Twilight saga may want us to believe, there is no real proof that werewolves exist. However, there is proof that humans have transformed themselves with wolf teeth. One skeleton dating back to 2500 BC revealed a man from ancient Mexico who had a set of false teeth made from either wolf or Jaguar fangs. There’s not much info on how successful these teeth were, as researchers speculate that the animal teeth were used for ceremonial purposes.

    One skeleton dating back to 2500 BC revealed a man from ancient Mexico who had a set of false teeth made from either wolf or Jaguar fangs.

    Today, replacing a tooth with an animal one is classified as a heteroplastic implant, and a tooth from another human is called a homoplastic implant. In most cases, these kind of replacement teeth would be rejected by the host and would lead to infection.

    Nothing makes a better replacement for human teeth than… human teeth. In 2010, researchers unearthed the Guinigi family tomb to find a mess of human remains, including a Renaissance-era example of false teeth. The dentures strung together five human teeth using a strip of gold metal to adhere them to the lower jaw. While no exact date could be placed, they’re estimated to have been made between the 14th and 17th centuries. They would also purchase teeth from slaves or poor people.

    1350 Years Ago
    Materials: Seashells
    Mayans really had a thing for dental improvements, including their precise art of embedding jewels into existing teeth to fashion a prehistorical grill. In 1931, archaeologist Dr. Wilson Popenoe and his wife discovered something fascinating in the lower mandible of the remains of a young Mayan woman from around 630 AD. In her mouth, three incisors were missing and replaced with pieces of seashell. Interestingly, there was bone growth found around two of the implants, showing that it was a successful procedure. The implants served as both a functional and aesthetic enhancement to the mouth.

    400 Years Ago

    Materials: Wood and Beeswax

    Although false teeth substitutes date far back into ancient history, the Japanese are credited with making the first set of full dentures. Similar to today’s molding methods, 16th-century dentists, used beeswax to make an impression of human teeth. That mold was then used to carve a hard set of teeth out of wood from the Japanese box tree. The solution was so solid that its reported to have been used up until the 19th century.

    200 Years Ago

    Materials: Ivory and Porcelain

    George Washington didn’t have a good go with dental health. In fact, by the time he became the first president of the United States, he only had one functional tooth. While it’s not true that this forefather used wood to replace his teeth, he did have quite a few sets of false teeth. For example, George Washington had a pair of dentures crafted from ivory and metal alloys. He also was known to have sets made from human, cow, and horse teeth.

    George Washington had a pair of dentures crafted from ivory and metal alloys. He also was known to have sets made from human, cow, and horse teeth.

    In 1774, French pharmacist Alexis Ducheateau and dentist Nicholas Dubois De Chemant created the first set of successful dentures made from porcelain – the same material used to produce toilets and fine china. While the duo was looking for a solid replacement for ivory false teeth, their porcelain alternative didn’t fare well. These fake teeth chipped too easily and were too white to provide a realistic appearance. However, a few decades later, Elias Wildman crafted porcelain dentures that were slightly more translucent for a more natural look.

    Recent History

    DIY Deer Dentures

    In the 1960s, Canadian woodsman Francis Wharton took to the wild to make a full set of upper teeth. Finding himself in need of a replacement for his teeth, Wharton killed a deer and took its teeth. He then filed the teeth down to make a semi-human appearance and implanted them using a combination of plastic wood and household cement. It’s rumored that Wharton – known as “the Backwoods Wizard” – even ate the deer with the teeth that he crafted from the animal!

    Your Own Teeth – and Superglue

    When faced with lost teeth, British woman, Angie Barlow, used superglue to put her old teeth back in. She is reported to have been so afraid of the dentist that she preferred her homemade fix to a professional one. The process wasn’t too complicated: She just placed superglue on top of the dead tooth and held it in place until it affixed itself. Eventually, she did this enough times that she essentially created a set of dentures out of superglue. However, this isn’t a recommended resource for dentures – Barlow eventually had to go to the dentist, as her superglue solution didn’t hold up and she eventually lost 90 percent of the bone that supported the upper teeth.

    Modern Dental Implants

    Dental implants have come a long way since humanity first developed primitive teeth replacements and enhancements. But what are implants like in the modern dental world?

    The advancements of implants took a huge leap thanks to the Swedish dental professional, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark. Like many great inventions, the discovery of successful implants was accidental. He and his team were studying how blood flow affects bone healing in 1952. During the experiment, they put optical devices encased in titanium into the lower legs of rabbits to observe the healing process. But when the experiment was done, they were unable to remove the device from the bone because the titanium and bone had fused together. He concluded that titanium could be used to anchor artificial teeth, and he named the process “osseointegration.”

    In the mid-1960s, Dr. Branemark performed the first titanium dental implant surgery. The patient was a man with jaw deformities, a cleft palate, and no teeth in his lower jaw. The successful dental operation allowed for the patient to use his dentures until his death four decades later, thanks to his four titanium implants.

    Even with this success, it still took Dr. Branemark years to get the medical and dental establishment to be on board with the use of titanium in dental implants. Even though he did have some successful operations early on, there were many patients whose mouths rejected the titanium implants, resulting in pain and infections. But as the science behind dental implants advanced, his process become accepted by the international dental community. Finally in 1982, Dr. Branemark made the case of osseointegration at a professional meeting in Toronto. There he won widespread recognition for his methods and materials.

    Teeth Grown from Your Own Stem Cells

    The death of dentures may be in the near future, thanks to dental researchers at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine. Instead of using artificial materials for teeth, these scientists are turning to stem cells taken from a patients own body to generate “tooth buds.” Attached to tooth-shaped scaffolding, these buds are said to eventually grow into a mature tooth. However, it’s an incredibly complex process and the scientists are currently working on creating the best scaffolding to get the job done.

    Sources: Ranker.com, HankeringForHistory.com

    • 20 APR 17
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    “I Want Our Patients to Know I Genuinely Care”

    Tiffanie Apple | Dental Assisting Team Leader

    Tiffanie Apple is the Dental Assisting Team Leader at Personal Care Dentistry, but her role goes far beyond that title. She has been with the practice since 2007, starting as a “floating” dental assistant at the same time as Personal Care Dentistry’s first major expansion. As the practice grew, so did her role. She eventually became one of Dr. Walter Hunt’s main Dental Assistants and eventually took the reins as Team Leader.

    Her interest in dentistry was sparked as a junior in high school when she took an Investigating Careers class. “I always loved going to the dentist and thought about a career as a hygienist,” says Tiffanie, who interned at an orthodontics practice her senior year. “I was really drawn to Dental Assisting and liked the variety of responsibilities that role encompassed,” she says. This brought Tiffanie to Century College where she learned the foundational skills needed for the career and in 2005 graduated with an Associate’s Degree as a Licensed Dental Assistant.

    Tiffanie’s professional career didn’t initially start at Personal Care Dentistry – she spent a year at another dental practice where the environment was vastly different. “It felt like a factory just churning out patient after patient. I’m lucky to work here now and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” she says.

    While her training, title and main role at Personal Care Dentistry is as the Dental Assisting Team Leader, she has become a versatile member of the care team. “I love teaching, coaching and helping my staff, but I also support the Hygiene Team and other departments,” says the multi-tasking Tiffanie, adding, “I truly enjoy working with our patients as well and find it incredibly rewarding.

    Every day I strive to go above and beyond for the people we serve. They’re like family.”

    Her outlook on patient care is one that echoes throughout the office. “I make sure people are not just treated like a number. We have an amazing personality and culture here. Providing excellent care and building relationships with our patients are the most important things. The best way I can treat people is simply by being myself. I want our patients to know I genuinely care,” she says. “I hate seeing people in pain and do everything I can to help them and support the doctors.”

    Tiffanie strongly advocates harmony in the office stating, “I want staff to feel comfortable coming to me and I’m often the mediator for them. I can’t stand conflict and negativity.” Another of her roles is staffing where she looks at candidates who possess a combination of applicable skills and affable nature. “When I am helping hire an assistant I want to make sure that they can work, grow and be comfortable in our environment while truly caring about our patients,” she says.

    Tiffanie poetically describes working with the practice’s principle doctor and founder as, “A dance. I need to know what Dr. Walter Hunt is thinking and anticipate his needs. I become an extension of him.

    I’m passionate about my responsibilities and helping others.”

    Outside of work Tiffanie spends time with her husband and two daughters enjoying the outdoors by fishing and camping. Her personality can be described as caring and passionate with an adventurous, fun and bubbly disposition. When asked what her future goals are Tiffanie says, “I want to continue teaching, coaching, assisting and growing personally. Ultimately, I want to do whatever it takes to spread Dr. Hunt’s practice.”