Fun Christmas Trivia

Christmas gift

With the holidays quickly approaching, here’s some trivia to lighten the mood and spread some cheer.

  1. It’s thought that candy canes were invented around 1670 by a German choirmaster who used them to keep children quiet during church services. They were originally white, and when or why the red striping was added is unknown.
  2. Fruit Cake was designed to last all year. Sugar and alcohol in the cake act as preservatives, and it was made at the close of the harvest season. It was then eaten at the beginning of the following harvest as a symbol of good luck.
  3. Holiday feasts can contain over 7,000 calories per person.
  4. Purchasing all the gifts from “The Twelve Days of Christmas” could hurt your pocketbook. Today, it’s estimated that the price tag would be around $40,000-50,000.
  5. Most think that Black Friday is the busiest shopping day when, in fact, it’s the two days before Christmas. Also, one out of three men shops on Christmas Eve for all their gifts.
  6. Emergency room visits during the holidays are usually due to injuries from decorating, and the most common injury is falling.
  7. More people prefer ham instead of turkey at Christmas.
  8. Since December is Summer in Australia, most Australians make their Christmas feast “on the barbie” or as it’s referred to in the USA, the grill.
  9. Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are the top producers of Christmas trees, and the trees grow for around 15 years before they can be harvested.
  10. With the introduction of electricity in the early 1900s, the wealthy were the only people who could afford electric lights on their tree, and the lights were rented rather than bought.

We hope this trivia will provide some entertainment at your holiday gatherings. Enjoy time with family and don’t forget to brush and floss after the festivities.

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Dealing with Inappropriate Patient Behavior

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Dentistry is an extremely stressful profession both physically and psychologically. Patients have varying personalities which are usually fine until a line is crossed. Inappropriate behavior is experienced and defined differently depending on the person, but most would agree that poor manners aren’t to be tolerated.

There should always be mutual respect between patients and clinicians. Deciding what is and isn’t appropriate must be decided beforehand by the Doctor(s), Office Manager, and all team members. Each person has their idea of what is acceptable, and everyone should weigh in with their opinion. Appointing one person in charge of dealing with patients who have behaved improperly is necessary, and it’s usually the doctor or the office manager.

Some common inappropriate behaviors include:

  • Racial or sexual comments or slurs- Any comment meant to degrade another human being regarding their race or gender must be dealt with immediately.
  • Inappropriate flirtatious banter- Flirting is usually more complementary than sexual comments and slurs. The receiver can mistake it as friendly, but it can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation.
  • Demeaning a team member – Regardless of intent, demeaning another person is very hurtful and can negatively affect self-esteem. Unfortunately, it does occur, and it must be addressed.
  • Physical interaction- If a patient ever puts their hands on anyone in the office in a hostile or sexual manner, they must be dismissed from the practice immediately. A formal notice to the patient is mandatory, and the practice is legally obligated to be available to them on an emergency basis for 30-45 days to give them time to find a new dentist.

If a patient does commit an inexcusable act, it’s best to escort them to a private area with a witness. Ask them if they’re aware of the behavior or comment that offended a team member. Let them talk and explain why they acted in such a manner. Make them aware that a team member was affected negatively by the situation and that it won’t be tolerated in your practice. However, keep in mind that some people are very direct and they may not be aware of the offense.

Although awkward, dealing with these situations is part of the profession. By being open and direct, you should be able to address the problem and prevent future indiscretions.

Can a registered dental hygienist perform a prophylaxis on an animal?

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Can a registered dental hygienist scale and polish an animal’s teeth? It depends on the state. The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) defines veterinary dentistry as “the art and practice of oral health care in animals other than man.” A licensed veterinarian must diagnose, treat, and manage the oral health care of an animal. The AVDC permits certain healthcare professionals to assist and/or perform oral procedures on animals while under direct (in the room) supervision of a licensed veterinarian if state law permits. These professionals include certified, registered, or licensed veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants with advanced training, and licensed dentists and dental hygienists.

While there are similarities between treating animals and humans, there are some significant differences. Extensive education and training are necessary because the prophylaxis is considered a surgical procedure requiring anesthesia. Also, the oral anatomy of an animal is very different from a human. Learning how to administer anesthesia and closely monitor (heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, & pulse oxygenation) the pet while under anesthesia is imperative because lack of knowledge could mean the difference between life and death.

Unlike human prophylaxis, before any surgical procedure, an extensive exam including bloodwork is done to ensure that the animal is healthy enough to undergo surgery. Once the pet has been cleared, they will be sedated and intubated so that the procedure can be done quickly, thoroughly, and safely. Also, after the cleaning portion of the procedure, any teeth that are decayed, abscessed, fractured, mobile, or periodontally involved are removed.

Making the transition to veterinary dentistry is significant and so is the pay difference. Most clinics pay half the salary of human dental practices. Rules and regulations vary by state, and you must follow their direction if you are a registered dental hygienist seeking a position to practice veterinary dentistry. 

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Having your pet's teeth cleaned?

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If your vet has suggested that Fifi needs dental prophylaxis, it’s because she has a significant amount of tartar on her teeth causing problems of which you’re probably not aware. Like humans, plaque forms on pet’s teeth and can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, abscesses, and tooth loss. Furthermore, the harmful bacteria in the plaque can enter the bloodstream and go to vital organs including the heart, kidneys, and liver causing detrimental health problems. As tartar continues to form, the gums recede exposing the root surfaces which can be painful for your pet.

Because a veterinary cleaning is considered a surgical procedure, your pet must be medically cleared before the appointment. A thorough exam including bloodwork is very important because of the anesthesia administered throughout the procedure. Without a complete workup, the vet has no idea how they will respond to the anesthesia and not knowing can cost your pets life.

If the pre-surgical workup is clear, the process begins with antibiotic premedication and sedatives through an IV catheter. Then, an endotracheal tube is placed in their airway to prevent anything from entering the lungs. At all times during the surgery, temperature, blood pressure, pulse oxygenation, and heart rhythm are monitored closely. Examination before the cleaning includes taking x-rays and measuring periodontal pocketing. After the exam, scaling with an ultrasonic instrument, hand scaling, and polishing removes the tartar and stain from the teeth and fluoride is applied. After the cleaning, any teeth with fractures, mobility, or infection are extracted.

After the cleaning and any extractions, your pet is weaned off of the anesthesia and sent to an area where they’re still closely monitored for a couple of hours. You can usually take them home with pain medication and an antibiotic after they’ve been cleared from recovery. Recovery is usually smooth, and they will need to eat soft foods for a little while until they’re comfortable with a more solid diet.

Follow the advice of your veterinarian regarding the frequency of cleanings. The biggest risk is always the anesthesia, and your vet should never proceed with administering anesthesia if your pet isn’t healthy enough to withstand surgery. Keeping your fur baby’s mouth healthy with proper home care helps tremendously. Brushing their teeth at least once per day and giving them treats recommended by your vet for tartar control can cut down on the frequency of cleanings keeping everyone safe and happy.

Opportunities for detecting oral cancer

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Dental professionals spend a significant amount of time with patients and typically see them at least twice per year for routine prophylaxis. Frequent visits provide the opportunity to be on the lookout for oral cancer inside and outside of the mouth since most people spend more time with their dental team than their primary care doctor, and many never visit a dermatologist. Examinations should consist of looking and feeling for abnormalities such as flat discolored surfaces, moles, freckles, lumps or bumps inside the mouth, and any exposed skin in the head and neck region.

The American Academy of Dermatology and The Skin Cancer Foundation have guidelines for recognizing a suspicious spot. The ABC’s of skin cancer are A- Asymmetry, B- Border, and C- Color. Asymmetry is determined by imagining or drawing a line through the middle of the surface. If the two halves don’t match or aren’t symmetrical, it may be cancerous. Border refers to the edges of the area. Cancerous lesions tend to have uneven borders. Color specifies the color of the area. If an area has a variety of colors or the color has changed since their last visit, it may be of concern.

Make it a priority to look for suspicious areas, and take note of shape, borders, size, elevation, and color. Speak to the patient about these areas of concern and ask about them each visit. Pay attention to any changes such as increased growth, bleeding, itching, color change, border change, or asymmetry. Pictures are also helpful. Refer the patient to a dermatologist or oral surgeon depending on where the surface is located if anything looks suspicious. Taking a little extra time to examine the patient from the neck up is extremely important and can definitely save a life.

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