Rebellious Teens and Orthodontic Treatment

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If your family dentist has referred your teenager to the orthodontist, you may have experienced some resistance from them. Children are often referred to ortho around age 5 for preliminary treatment, and they usually go along without any fuss. However, teens can be a real challenge when it comes to orthodontic treatment. What can you do to encourage your teen to comply?

  1. Instead of flying off the handle, sit down and talk it out calmly. Teens are sensitive, and if you can get to the bottom of why they’re hesitant, you may be able to call a truce.
  2. Let the Orthodontist explain why braces are recommended for them. Kids compare themselves to their peers constantly, so educating them with their records (x-rays, models, pictures, etc.) can allow them to objectively see why braces would benefit them in the long run.
  3. Be honest with them about discomfort. While monthly adjustments can be uncomfortable, the pain is short-lived, and over-the-counter pain meds help tremendously.
  4. Be sympathetic concerning how they look with braces. Today, approximately 75% of kids wear orthodontic appliances. They are extremely common and are considered the norm. There are also some options that help conceal braces such as a clear series of trays and ceramic brackets. Wearing braces can also be fun because they get to choose different colors of bands that fit over the front of the brackets.
  5. Be realistic about treatment time. Most orthodontic treatment is completed in 18 months. While this does seem like a lifetime, keeping up with appointments, following the orthodontist’s instructions, wearing any additional appliances (rubber bands, headgear, etc.), maintaining good home care, and celebrating progress along the way can help them stay encouraged throughout treatment.

Being a teenager can be difficult at times, and mostly, they want to be heard and accepted. Following these steps can have your teen saying “yes” to ortho, and they may even clean their room!

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Fun Christmas Trivia

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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.

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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.

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