Items filtered by date: December 2018

As clinicians and customer service representatives, obviously we’re required to interact with patients, but there’s a fine line between being professional and knowing when you’ve shared a little too much about your personal life. While we certainly don’t want to appear cold and indifferent, getting too involved personally with a patient can have an adverse reaction. Also, some patients would rather not engage during an appointment unless it’s related to their oral health.

Building rapport with patients is extremely important, and we’re expected to be comforting, informative, and professional. However, chatting the entire appointment about irrelevant and personal matters can cause some patients to become annoyed and stressed. Therefore, acquiring the skill of reading people is very important and will prevent awkwardness and embarrassment. It’s not too difficult to pick up on a patient’s demeanor and adjust your communication skills if you pay close attention to their cues and body language.

When a patient comes into the operatory, it’s their time, and they need your undivided attention. They may have issues they want to discuss, or they may not want to talk at all. Patients can change their demeanor from one visit to the next, and everyone has a bad day. If you sense the patient is annoyed, remain silent and let them initiate any interaction. However, if there’s a dental issue at hand, informing the patient is important. You don’t have to overdo it, but make sure they’re aware of any issue(s) you find.

Another important point is to make sure your conversation is appropriate. Some topics such as religion and politics are off-limits. Also, keep the conversation focused on the patient. While you want them to get to know you, they may not want to hear all about your life. Some people will want to know everything about you but use discretion. Vacations, children, career, grandchildren, and pets are usually a safe subject. With a little practice and patience, you’ll become a pro at knowing when to share and when to watch your mouth.

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If you’re facing a tooth extraction, you may be wondering if your general dentist or an oral surgeon will be performing the service? While both general dentists and oral surgeons extract teeth, there are several issues to consider before making your appointment.

The first step is to visit your general dentist to determine if an extraction is necessary. A clinical exam and x-rays will be necessary for your dentist to make an accurate diagnosis and decide whether they will perform the procedure. The criteria for extraction by a general dentist is based on:

  • Bone around the tooth- If there’s bone loss around the tooth, it’ll be easier to remove. Therefore, a general dentist will frequently extract.
  • The presence and extent of infection- If there’s significant infection surrounding the tooth, you may be referred to a specialist.
  • The severity of pain- If anesthesia is given and the pain is still intolerable, a referral may be in order so that you may receive a sedative via IV.
  • Impacted teeth- More often than not, if your tooth is impacted, you’ll be referred to an oral surgeon because of the intensity of the procedure. IV sedation is commonly used with this type of surgery.
  • Broken or severely decayed teeth- If your tooth is broken or severely decayed, it’ll be more difficult to remove because of the probability of breakage. When this occurs, the tooth must be removed in pieces making an oral surgeon the better choice.
  • An implant is going to be placed- If your tooth is being extracted and an implant is being placed simultaneously, an oral surgeon is recommended since they place the implant. Even if an implant isn’t placed immediately, the oral surgeon may still want to perform the extraction if the socket needs further treatment to support an implant later.
  • Extensive medical history- If you have medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, blood disorders, or a complicated medical history, most dentists will automatically refer to an oral surgeon. It’s much safer for you because of the controlled environment and monitoring protocol while under anesthesia.

Most dentists know their limitations when it comes to extracting teeth and won’t hesitate to refer you to a specialist who is proficient in more complicated procedures. For this reason, if you’re referred to an oral surgeon, follow the recommendation.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a directive on November 15, 2018, stating that electronic cigarettes and certain flavorings will only be sold to adults in stores where there are age restrictions for entering and buying. Online sales will also continue, but more diligent protocol will be in place for age verification.

The use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices has been on a steady increase, and a large part of that increase is kids in middle and high school. There’s also a large adult population using these devices to help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes. Most adults prefer mint flavorings in their device while around 50% of kids prefer flavors like chocolate, bubblegum, fruit, vanilla, and cinnamon, to name a few. With adults preferring tobacco, menthol, and mint flavors, the FDA statement excludes these flavors because they assist adults in transitioning from traditional cigarettes. As a result, these flavors will still be available in stores where there’s no age exclusion.

In advance of the directive, there was an increase in warnings sent and fines incurred by stores and online retailers concerning the sale of these products to minors and the consequences of violations will get more severe over time. Even with all these safeguards in place, it’s still important for parents to be aware of teens using e-cigarettes and vapes to prevent the number from becoming higher.

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