Thursday, December 29, 2011

Striving for perfection

Realistic Goals are very important in the practice of any career or art. Dentistry is difficult sometimes because one does not always have the ability to be perfect. The human body does not function within a vacuum and one needs to deal with that fact. Teeth and smiles may be multi colored. Stained by external forces or internal, angled or malposed in a way that although nature allowed it, was not necessarily designed that way. I have been to cosmetic coures that discuss the angle and shape of the anterior teeth being related to the golden proportion or golden mean often seen in art. But a great number of my restorative patients' bodies and dentition have not necessarily followed that manual.

My expanded duties assistants often places a portion of some of the filings placed in my office as she is very very proficient at it and enjoys it and is one of the most professional dental assistants with whom I have had the pleasure of working. But today allowed me a little time to work on preparing and filling an anterior tooth on an older gentleman whose teeth had seen some life. Matching the exact shade, shape, and angulation of his tooth to maintain his smile was a challenge. What is perfection? Is it really achievable by us I am not sure I have the answer to that question. But I do know striving for it is key to my pursuit of happiness in my career on a daily basis.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Preventing tooth loss

The last few days we have had to deal with some dental heroics that were done for patients in the past.The number of "Baby Boomers" who have teeth that have very extensive past procedures is large. Many of these folks had large fillings, usually mercury, placed in their teeth in their teens, twenty's and thirty's.

Those fillings then had to be replaced often with crowns. Years later they would need root canals, posts and crowns. Unfortunately the only replacement often for these failed products are titanium implants.

Implants are a great service that we often do here at East Springs Dental. But unfortunately due to circumstances of the patient we are not always able to do these for certain patients. As with this gentleman I was speaking with, we often are either making or adding teeth to removable partial dentures.

I hope that we see a day where dentures or removable partial dentures are a thing of the past but unfortunately that does not seem likely. This is where preventative care becomes so very important. If we can delay the age that the individual gets their first filling due to dental caries.
We've mostly been listening to a lot of classic rock at the office this week with a little bit of modern jazz and town tempo rock/Lounge like Zero 7.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unattended Smiles

We are usually closed here at East Springs on Wednesdays. But at the end and the beginning of the year we are often very very busy with things that have been let go for far too long. I have a love hate relationships with these situations. Large amounts of decay, folks who are suddenly beset with dental needs they avoided for so long. As a dentist I hate that part, but as a dentist I also love being able to be fast, efficient and single minded at repairing these situations. Today we will be restoring a young man's front teeth that will require root canal therapy, fillings and all porcelain crowns. Like a lot of people this young man has a lot on his mind and has been in and out of the dental chair over the years. I hope this particular situation will help turn into one of my patients who sees the value of consistently going to the dentist and maintaining one's smile rather than putting out fires ever two to three years.
We are still listening to holiday music in the office but my patient rooms seem to be revolting a little bit and some classic stones and mo-town have appeared. My office has had the latest Bon Iver album, self titled Bon Iver on rotation heavily. I'll be including this with some of the other "best of" albums of the year in my brother's Christmas gifts. When you stop and consider that Justin(pretty much Bon Iver) had such a heavy part in making Kanye West's amazing album this year you start to get a sense this guy is a powerful force in music. His cover of I can't make you love me by Bonni Riatt is amazing.

I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick of Time

Bon Iver "The Wolves (Act I and II)"

Bon Iver | Myspace Video

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Monday in the Dental office!!

Mondays and Fridays alike can be very crazy with emergencies at the dental office. Luckily today we have had only a few. I am reminded of a particular situation that rings true with almost all of my experiences with maintaining anything that you would like to have for a long time. The same can be said of one's teeth. I pride myself on being able to "make things work" for people and fitting great dental work into their budget.

That being said we had a situation today where we tried to make something work for someone instead of doing what I had recommended a short while ago.....and now we are exactly where I thought we would be with that person's dental condition. We need to as much as possible do the best thing we can the end result is much more important than either "insurance coverage" or deductibles. Duct taping things together is not the way to get a reliable result. The final solution is much more important than "what's the cheapest thing" and the "cheapest thing" is most often not the best thing.
    In the office we've mostly been listening to Pandora stations of Christmas music, either a She and Him Christmas station or an Anita Baker Christmas station.
She & Him - The Christmas Waltz by MergeRecords

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Never a dull day

Today we didn't see patients but we managed two emergencies and did a lot of the work required to keep a small dental practice running behind the scenes. In this case that means a little studying of biofilms, desensitizing agents and caries prevention with rinses and dentifrice. And of course several hours by our Accounts Manager, Anita, dealing with helping insurance companies do their job and pay for their clients dental work. If people only knew the hours our and all dental teams put into something simple like their insurer doing their job they would be amazed.
    I've also been listening to the "new" St.Vincent album.
      It is a real piece of work. I also just found out she was a guitarist for many years with the little known Polyphonic Spree as well as Sufjan Stevens the Chicago based singer-songwriter of whom I am a fan.
     I also need to learn how to change this blog title, as its name was really meant to be my last post's title and I really don't know the name of this blog yet. We also need a way to push content from the web like music haha.

Monday, December 12, 2011

What do your teeth say about you?

I just finished doing a much needed crown prep on a patient. In small areas of her teeth I had previously noticed some discoloration of parts of her six year molars. Upon discussion we discussed a short bout of fevers that were linked to seizures in her infancy that she was told about by her parents. Interesting things like this often prompt me to ask, given recent discoveries in development, what our teeth say about us. We find new linkages and correlations everyday. An example is that between bacteria in "straight" or normally aligned teeth as compared to "crooked" or malposed teeth there are actual differences in genome and virulence. What will we find in the future? Because in essence our teeth are time machines to the time during which they were developing in our infancy. What do your teeth say about you?