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Feature Blog: Dental Receptionist Pam

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To help you get to know a little bit more about the staff here at ThirtyTwo Dental, we’ll be doing a series of blog posts featuring each of our staff members. First up is one of our friendly dental receptionists, Pam. She is one of the first people you encounter at ThirtyTwo Dental, whether over the phone or in person. She’s always smiling and available to help you book appointments or figure out your dental plan coverage.

Pam has 30+ years working as a dental receptionist. She moved from Edson to Edmonton four years ago, which is when she started working at ThirtyTwo Dental. She has two adult sons and here’s a fun fact: she’s Dr. B’s husband’s aunt! We asked Pam 10 ‘get to know you’ questions, and here’s what she shared:

1. What is your favourite outdoor activity?

Walking and hiking.

2. What is your favourite month of the year?

September, because it’s still summer but you can also enjoy what fall has to offer!

3. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

See The Rolling Stones in concert.

4. What was the last movie, TV show, or book that made you cry?

The TV show This Is Us.

5. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Take my family on a holiday!

6. What do you miss most about being a kid?

Having no inhibitions.

7. When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

Get outdoors!

8. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?

My sister Debbie, who passed away when I was very young. I would love to have known her better and remember more about her.

9. What is something you learned last week?

That I still have a lot to learn.

10. What is one of your favourite quotes?

‘When you know better, you do better.’

– Maya Angelou

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spring cleaning

The best-kept secret in dentistry actually has to do with insurance. The general assumption is that your dentist appointments are covered once annually, and most people will only book as many cleanings as their benefits will accept. Some benefit plans actually allow for teeth cleaning on a schedule less than twelve months, with many choosing to offer three- to nine-month cycles. We always recommend making the most of your dental insurance plan and booking as often as possible! Spring is a great time to fit in one of your two recommended annual cleanings and checkups.

Why Spring?

As the weather warms up, so does the social life! Spring is the season that kicks off many important events. You’re bound to be taking part in a wedding, graduation, or backyard barbeque – and that means the photo ops will be abundant. A cleaning will boost your confidence and brighten your grin. If you want to get even more camera-ready, it’s quick and simple to add a teeth whitening service to your appointment.

Spring is also a great time of the year to do something refreshing that will get you out of the rut of winter. What better way to feel fresh and new than to start with polishing your smile? As a bonus, the change in the landscape serves as a cheery reminder to smile – and book a dentist appointment.

Routine Checkups

Checkups are a great way to ensure your teeth and gums are in good health. They’re also important to ensure any prior dental work is maintained, and that minor vulnerabilities are caught before they become costly, painful complications.

Even if you are diligent with the floss and toothbrush, it’s important to let a hygienist do a deep clean regularly. Toothbrushes are good at removing soft, sticky plaque but can’t remove hard, stuck-on tartar build-up.

We can help you keep your smile in tip-top shape.

Book a Spring Cleaning!

Should I Still be Flossing?

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As I’m sure many of you saw, the media recently touted a dental study suggesting there was no need for flossing anymore. For the patients out there who are already avid flossers, I don’t believe this study has made much of a difference in their oral health care routines.

However, for the majority, news of this study’s claim that flossing is not scientifically supported was probably welcomed with open arms. Let’s face it, for most people, flossing is a chore; a chore that we don’t enjoy but did because we had to. So is this the end of an era? No more flossing? Well, the short answer is not quite yet. The main point of the study suggested that there is low evidence for the efficacy of flossing… if you’re not doing it correctly.

A universal recommendation for all patients to floss is not supported by the evidence. However, it is our job as dental professionals to assess our patients on their flossing abilities to ensure effective flossing is an achievable goal. When effective flossing is not an achievable goal, we recommend other interdental tools to help with cleaning in between your teeth.

As a refresher, here is the American Dental Association’s visual guide to correct flossing:

 

Flossing step 1

 

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.

 

 

 

 

 

Flossing step 2

 

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

flossing step 3

 

Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flossing step 4

 

When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

 

 

 

 

 

Flossing step 5

 

Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth. 

Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth. 

                                                                                                                                               

Source: American Dental Association website

Water Fluoridation: Is It Really Beneficial?

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There has been a long-standing debate in North America as to whether adding fluoride into community water sources is really beneficial to our dental health.

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, particularly in primary (baby) teeth. In 2011, Calgary decided to remove fluoride from their drinking sources. Edmonton, on the other hand, has been fluoridating our water since 1967. Three years after the City of Calgary decided to discontinue fluoridation, University of Calgary researchers decided to look into the potential impact of de-fluoridation on young children. In conjunction with Alberta Health Services, the researchers collected data from 5000 Grade 2 students in randomly selected schools in Edmonton and Calgary. They compared their data to surveillance data that was collected in 2004/2005 (when Calgary still fluoridated its water). The results were astonishing – there was an increase in tooth decay in young children since the fluoride was discontinued in 2011. A child has 20 primary teeth, each with 4-5 tooth surfaces. The researchers found an average of 3.8 tooth surfaces with decay in Calgary versus an average of 2.1 tooth surfaces with decay in Edmonton. These results show that fluoridation is effective in preventing tooth decay.

Tooth decay is the most common form of infectious disease in children. Moreover, dental treatment is the leading cause of day surgery in young children in Canada. Prevention is the best way to avoid developing decay in primary teeth, and prevent unnecessary dental treatment in children. As this study shows, water fluoridation has a positive impact on improving the dental health of children.

The Facts Behind Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)

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I grew up with a mother who was a dental hygienist. That meant regular brushing and flossing, braces, retainers, and creamsicle flavoured fluoride of course. Those are the memories of my childhood. Lucky me, right? At least I can proudly say that I still have no cavities or fillings. Thanks, mom.

When I became an acupuncturist, it seemed as if the universe had taken me full circle when I started working with patients who suffer from oral health issues such as TMJ.

So what is TMJ exactly? Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ, refers to pain and dysfunction of both the muscles that control jaw movement and the temporomandibular joint.

The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge connecting the jawbone to the temporal bones of the skull, which are located in front of each ear. This allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side.

TMJ disorder can cause pain, restricted movement, and noises from the temporomandibular joint during jaw movement. Although this does not fall under a life threatening condition, TMJ can be extremely uncomfortable and negatively affect a person’s quality of life.

TMJ can be caused by a number of factors including muscle tension, injury, arthritis, and even anatomical issues. A combination of these problems is often the case. Clenching the jaw and grinding teeth are also factors, often caused by emotional tension.

Fortunately, acupuncture can be an effective treatment in relieving pain, inflammation, tension, and other symptoms commonly associated with this condition.

So how does it work? Acupuncture needles are inserted into specific points on the body, which help to trigger a release of the affected muscle fibers. This comforts the muscles around the jaw, assists the neck and shoulders in relaxing, and encourages free range of movement without pain. Additional points are also selected to address other patient concerns, which may even be contributing to or a result of TMJ. Examples include stress and tension, headaches, poor quality of sleep, etc.

Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on finding out the root of the problem. Why is this problem happening? What caused it? What makes it worse? What symptoms developed first? Why is the body not correcting this problem on its own? These are all questions that a practitioner will address when assessing a TMJ patient. If we can treat the root of the problem, we can eliminate the symptoms and ensure that they don’t return. Treatments will be aimed at opening and relaxing the jaw, allowing the muscles and joint to move freely, while also increasing circulation, reducing stress, and boosting the immune system.

The number of treatments needed for full relief of TMJ symptoms will vary from patient to patient. Acute pain may be eliminated within a few treatments while chronic pain may require treatments over several weeks.

Tamara Gervais is a Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and works out of Oliver Chiropractic Wellness Clinic in Edmonton, Alberta. Tamara was also a member of the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Trial with the University of Alberta, studying the effects of natural medicine on children at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Tamara’s experience has taught her about the synergistic link between traditional and conventional medical therapies.

Contact our office in downtown Edmonton if you have any questions or want to learn more about Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction.

The Myth Behind Mouth Rinses

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To begin, a mouth rinse does not replace your daily oral hygiene care routine of brushing and flossing. It is an adjunctive therapy that can be beneficial for your overall oral hygiene. There are a few different types of mouth rinses: a fluoride rinse, an antibacterial rinse, and a desensitizing rinse. Choose one based on your specific needs, although many combine some of these effects.

A fluoride mouth rinse is used for people who are at greater risk for cavities. The additional exposure to fluoride can help fight cavities by increasing the amount of fluoride on the enamel surfaces of your teeth. Generally, this type of rinse is used when advised by your dentist or hygienist.

There are many different types of antibacterial mouth rinses on the market. They have different active ingredients that use various methods for the same goal – to fight gingivitis. Some of the active ingredients include triclosan, thymol, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), and chlorhexidine gluconate. All have been proven to be effective against fighting bacteria that cause gingivitis. Some people prefer the taste of one type of rinse over another, or like or dislike the “burn” associated with some rinses. Choose an antibacterial rinse that is best for you based on what you prefer.

Desensitizing mouth rinses can be an effective adjunctive therapy for people with very sensitive teeth. These rinses use different active ingredients, including arginine, potassium citrate, potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride, to desensitize the teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, you can use this type of rinse in addition to a sensitive toothpaste, or on its own. Talk to your dentist or hygienist about what would be best for you.

The most important factor when using a mouth rinse, whichever type you use, is to use it correctly. This will ensure you maximize the beneficial effects of the rinse. Read the directions on the bottle and ensure you use the correct amount and rinse for an adequate amount of time. Using a mouth rinse as an additional part of your home care routine can be very beneficial health wise and can leave you feeling fresher!

Contact our office in downtown Edmonton if you have any questions or want to learn more about mouth rinses.

Alia
Dental Hygienist

4 Tips To Beat “Is It Spring Yet?” Blues

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Dental health is something we at ThirtyTwo Dental promote on a daily basis. But, we get so focused on teeth and gums that sometimes we forget to step back and look at the big picture. As health professionals, I feel it’s crucial that we also communicate and promote the importance of overall health, not just dental health. This week’s blog, written by Anna Morris, a trainer at Body By Bennett, shifts our focus from teeth to overall health and wellness.

The temperature is still cold, and there is snow on the ground that just won’t melt. It’s easy to see how winter blues can set in, especially when you’re ready for spring already! If you are feeling a little cooped up or run down, here are four simple ideas to add to your daily routine that can help to quickly turn things around and improve your mood.

1. Drink More Water.
As the most abundant compound on earth and within the body, water is the median in which all other nutrients reside. Water is the most important macronutrient for sustaining life. We are made up of at least 60% water, and it’s integral for proper circulation, healing, digestion, absorption, and elimination. Drinking adequate water is important for healthy weight maintenance, athletic performance, and youthful looking skin and hair. Recommendations for water consumption depend on your size, activity level, and the environmental temperature, but between 1.5-2L/day is what an average adult should strive for. Try to space your water consumption throughout the day, beginning the day with 1-2 cups upon waking up. Drinking a large amount of water with your meal isn’t ideal because it can dilute digestive enzymes and slow digestion, so it is preferable to drink one hour before and after a meal. The first change I make to most clients’ diets is to add more water daily. If you have access to clean drinking water, consider yourself lucky and drink up!

2. Start Resistance Training.
I cannot emphasize enough how life-changing this can be to people. There are so many benefits to resistance training, the most obvious of which are increased strength and functionality, improved posture, and better bone density (which is associated with decreased osteoporosis and fractures due to falls). Holding more lean tissue on your body also means a healthier body composition (more muscle, less fat) and faster basal metabolic rate (the ability to burn more calories at rest). I have also observed in my clients (and myself) a huge boost in confidence and independence. Regularly moving your body and breaking a sweat is also a great way to relieve stress.

3. Eat Your Vegetables.
I know it’s a struggle to eat nutritious foods. There are SO MANY different types of diets out there and a lot of conflicting information to sift through. One thing that pretty much all dieticians and nutritionists agree on is the importance of vegetables in a healthy diet. Vegetables are primarily made of carbohydrates, contain small amounts of protein and fat, and are packed with vitamins. They are a great source of fibre, which contributes to regularity and may protect against gastrointestinal disease and colon cancer. The way you prepare your veggies will affect the vitamin content. In order to get the most out of your veggies, eat them raw or lightly steamed. Since most vitamins are water-soluble, boiling veggies will result in a loss of vitamins into the water. Frozen veggies can also retain more vitamins than canned vegetables. A great way to get the best quality and variety of vegetables is to eat seasonable vegetables that are fresh and locally grown throughout the year.

4. Keep a gratitude journal.
Start taking stock of what you are grateful for in your life. Take 5 minutes of your day or week to list things /people you are thankful to have in your life. I know it sounds cheesy, but even listing 1-2 things about your day that “didn’t suck” can go a long towards improving a bad mood.

For more information on personal or group training, go to www.b3trainers.com or contact Anna directly for specific health/fitness questions at anna.morris@b3trainers.com.

How To Get Into The Habit Of Flossing

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Most people understand the benefits of flossing and know they SHOULD be doing it more often. So what stands in people’s way? I think one of the biggest reasons people don’t floss is because it just never became part of their daily routine the way tooth-brushing did. They’ve never gotten into the habit. So how can we change this? How do we turn something into a habit?

I’m not a behavioural expert; so of course, I had to Google it. What I discovered is the 3 R’s of Habit Change  – a simple 3-step framework for changing or creating new habits. Hey, it can’t hurt to try (plus, I’m a sucker for a good acronym).

The 3 R’s are as follows:

  • Reminder (a trigger)
  • Routine (a behaviour)
  • Reward (a benefit)

So how can we apply this method to flossing?

Reminder: Try sticking a post-it note to your bathroom mirror as a reminder. Or, try placing floss right next to your toothbrush so you can see it every time you brush. You can also make things easier by having floss stashed in multiple places, like your desk, your purse, your car, your gym bag, etc. Seeing it in all these places will not only serve as a visual cue, but the convenience of having it right there will make it more likely that you’ll use it.

Routine: Once you’re reminded to floss, DO IT! Once you start flossing on a regular basis, it will naturally evolve into a habit. And who knows, you might even start to LIKE flossing and how it makes your teeth and gums feel.

Reward: This is the tricky part. While there’s no doubt flossing has rewards, they’re not always immediate or obvious. Over time, you might notice changes: your gums will bleed less; they’ll be pink and healthy, and your breath will be fresher. You might even get fewer cavities between your teeth! However, those things take time. The article recommended simply telling yourself “good job” or saying “success” once you’ve achieved your goal. They even had the example “floss one tooth, “Victory!’”. It’s pretty silly, but I think the important thing is that we give ourselves credit. Self-acknowledgment is still acknowledgement, and different things motivate different people. Try using whatever rewards you can think of for yourself.

Start small and work your way up. Even if you go from flossing once a year to once a week, it’s a “Success!”. Hope this helps 🙂

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

How To Rock Your Resolutions:  Seven Secrets to Success

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HOW TO ROCK YOUR RESOLUTIONS

At ThirtyTwo Dental we not only care about the oral health of our patients, we care about their overall health. This month we have feature blogger Anna Morris chatting about how to set fitness goals after this year’s holiday cheer.

Anna Morris holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and has 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Anna is a Pre and Post Natal Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist (in training), and an Alberta Bodybuilding Association (ABBA) bikini competitor. Anna is also a personal trainer and group instructor at Body By Bennett in Edmonton, AB.


Today I want to talk about something scarier than a root canal – New Year’s resolutions!  If you are like the majority of the population, you probably have a healthy dread of this term. We all tend to overindulge during the holidays, so when January rolls around we abruptly awaken from our wine and gravy-induced coma with a pesky, nagging feeling.

So now it’s time for a total health overhaul, but where should we start?

Well, what if I told you that New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be overwhelming? After working with hundreds of clients to achieve their health and fitness goals, I’ve come up with some tried-and-true tips for goal setting success. Today, I am sharing them with you:

 

1.    Ditch The Guilt

First and foremost, don’t start towards your positive goal from a negative place. It’s counterproductive to waste time on destructive self-talk. Instead, begin by asking yourself why you are feeling guilty:

Did you eat too much over the holidays? Okay.

Haven’t seen the inside of a gym since high school? Fine.

Ten pounds heavier than you want to be? No worries.

It doesn’t matter where you are starting from, it only matters that you are starting. There are many people that never even get that far, so be proud! If you can accept and appreciate where you are now, you can enjoy the rest of your journey towards where you’d like to be.

 

2.    Never Mind The Naysayers

Be prepared for people who question your decision to change.  This might be your partner, close friends, or even your family.  Often, people don’t understand this change, which may leave them feeling jealous or left out. Begin by trying to explain why this journey is important to you and how much you’d love their support. Always remember that your health is yours alone and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Just keep doing your thing. And hey, eventually these people will probably be congratulating you.

 

3.    Make It Realistically Challenging

Your chance of success is much greater if you set smaller, more achievable short-term goals. After you reach the more immediate objectives, work your way up to a long-term one. For instance, if you have a 20-pound weight loss target, don’t expect to achieve that in two weeks. You can, however, set a healthy weight loss goal of one to two pounds per week (until you reach 20 pounds!). The great part about gradual progression is that it is not only easier on your body and mind, but it is more likely to leave you with lasting results.

 

4.    Shout It From The Rooftops

Want to ensure better success? Communicate to yourself and others about what you plan to do. For accountability, write your goals down. For even more, tell someone. Better yet, tell everyone! This is exciting, so get excited!

 

5.    Scary Is Good

Let’s face it, making a lifestyle change can be terrifying. But anything worthwhile is scary, right? Graduating from school. Embarking on a new career. Getting married. Moving to a new city. Becoming a parent.

So when you’re scared, ask yourself, what is the worst-case scenario if a) you fail to meet your goal or b) you succeed? It might surprise you that many of us are just as scared of success as we are of failure. And ironically, sometimes understanding our fears a little better can help to ease them. Take some time to address these head on, then pull-up your socks, get brave, and get to work.

 

6.    Failure Is Not An Option. It’s A Necessity.

Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re working towards a big goal, you will fail along the way. This is a normal part of the process. Don’t freak out. Make failure part of your plan for success, and that way it cannot stop you.

For instance, if you are following a healthy meal plan, try including preemptive cheats. These are pre-planned “not-so-healthy” meals or snacks that you have already scheduled, planned, and accounted for. This way you can enjoy them and continue on your path without getting derailed.

 

7.    Ask For Help

You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Sometimes you need help, even if it’s just a ride to the gym, daycare for your kid, recipe ideas, or a workout buddy. Don’t assume that no one wants to help you – ask them! You’ll be surprised how generous people can be if you simply allow it.

Reaching your goals is not rocket science, and it’s not magic. The secret to success is consistent hard work over time, a bit of good planning and bravery, and a little help from your friends.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2016!

Anna Morris

The Benefits Of Botox In Edmonton

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Did you know that dentists in Edmonton, Alberta are now eligible for a certification in administering Botox? This might strike you as being strange, however, when you understand the full scope of what Botox has to offer, Botox in dental offices actually makes a LOT of sense.

First of all, there’s more to Botox than most people know. When people think Botox, they think of it as a way to fill fine lines and wrinkles – a way of looking younger. While this is true, and while the cosmetic application of Botox is what it’s best known for, it has medical applications that can actually improve people’s health and well-being too.

Secondly, when it comes to giving injections, particularly in the head and neck region, who better to do it than dentists? Dentists should be the most practiced doctors out there, plus, they have an intimate knowledge of important head and neck anatomy, so they know precisely how to target specific muscles.

More and more people in the dental industry, including general dentists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists, are administering Botox to their patients to help relieve muscle tension in the head and neck region. Botox is a neuromodulator, and acts by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscles are unable to contract, and therefore relax and soften. This has been an effective treatment for people who severely clench/grind their teeth or have TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). It can even be used to treat people who suffer from migraines.

So whether you’re suffering from a sore jaw or crow’s feet around your eyes, Botox can help with both. We are slowly introducing this service into our downtown Edmonton practice, so if you have any questions or interest in Botox, we’d be more than happy to chat with you!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky