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Screening and Sealant Day was a very successful collaboration between the Montgomery Bucks Dental Society, the Valley Forge Dental Association and the Abington Police Athletic League. We started planning in Nov. 2011 and targeted children between the ages of 7—18, registered with PAL. The services received were oral screenings, bite wing x-rays, orthodontic and periodontal screenings. If permanent molars were healthy, sealants were placed on them and each child received 4 quadrants of fluoride varnish. Volunteering their time were 5 doctors and 2 residents from Abington Hospital’s residency program, Manor College’s Director of their EFDA Program and Education Coordinator who brought along 6 second year and 8 first year students. Our office and another in Jenkintown worked to attend to 19 children, who received over $7300.00 worth of FREE dental services! VOCO Dental donated all our sealant material and fluoride varnish. Each child also went home with a “goodie bag” filled with donations from, Aqua Fresh, Crest/Oral B, Colgate, Listerine and VOCO Dental. We have started to plan now for our 2nd Annual Event with hopes that it will be bigger and better to help our community children who truly need care.
A great BIG THANK YOU to all who participated and made a difference in the life of each child seen.
On Thursday July 5th I got up early and spent a very constructive hour with PA State Representative Todd Stephens. As this year’s president of the Montgomery Bucks Dental Society, I lead a local delegation to Harrisburg on June 5th to address legislative issue which impact the dental health of all Pennsylvanians! This meeting with Representative Stephens gave me some quality time at his office to discuss additional concerns! I am worried that with 3 of the country’s top dental schools in our state, only 30% of new graduates stay. I believe it is because the two state-supported schools don’t give preference to state residents! I’m concerned that outside lobby groups will push to allow auxiliaries with under 2 years of training to treat patients independently, when the real access to care issue is education and prevention!!! And I wanted to address the tremendous student debt new graduates face and feel that the state can help with realistic programs where state service can reduce indebtedness or student loans with very low-interest rates if they stay on PA. Over the summer, I plan to meet with several other of our local state officials to deliver these messages!
The above before and after photos demonstrate how in one visit, a damaged/broken tooth can be easily reborn! So many times a new patient emergency will present at the office with the same story. A filling broke months or even a year ago and now they are in my chair because of a terrible toothache, an infection and swollen face or all of the above. Instead of a simple replacement of an old, defective filling or repair of a broken tooth, this new patient emergency is confronted with either the more costly options involved in saving or replacing a severely decayed tooth (not to mention the time involved in multiple visits) or for probably the same expense that they will incur to have that diseased tooth removed, they could have had it simply restored when it broke.
A broken tooth can be like your engine light coming on in your car. Fixing it now is usually simpler, less costly and more convenient. The patient who’s tooth is shown above wasn’t in pain, but felt the hole in his tooth. He called to have his problem evaluated and was given an appointment. I always like to provide my patient’s with the best overall solutions to their problems and while this tooth will eventually need a crown (cap), first the tooth’s damage had to be repaired. All the old restoration was removed along with the underlying decay that caused the break. Than using space age materials, the tooth was restored to it’s original shape, contour and is fully functional all in under an hour! You have to admit that it’s a better outcome than waiting for that eventual toothache, possible swelling, and very likely a space where a tooth used to live.
So if you have a tooth like this or have a friend or loved one with a similar situation, tell them to call and get it fixed today while it is still simple!
The X-Ray above was taken a little over a year ago when this patient presented for a routine exam. A circle has been placed around an area of decay, to allow my readers to easily identify the problem with this tooth. This tooth is a second upper molar, which has a very important role in chewing. At this point in time the tooth required a restoration (filling) after the decay was removed. After a check-up visit, this is probably one of the most common and simple procedures that is done here at my office. The patient did not schedule to repair his tooth at the time the decay was detected and said he’d call us to make an appointment.
Over the course of the year, we made multiple attempts to contact the patient in an attempt to correct this dental problem while it was still simple. All our efforts were in vain! Fast forward to the middle of last month and the patient finally calls us for an appointment because now that tooth has really been hurting and has kept him up for days. Part of his emergency exam was a new X-Ray.
Once again, but this time on the new X-Ray, a circle has been placed around the area of decay. It is very apparent that in the one year since the first X-Ray was taken, the decay has grown significantly! This tooth is no longer fixable with a simple filling, but with the decay having reached the soft tissue in the middle of the tooth (the “nerve”), now only a root canal will allow this tooth to be saved. And as this is an important chewing tooth, a restoration called a “build-up” will be required to replace the tooth structure lost to decay and that will need to be followed by a crown (commonly referred to as a “cap”) to restore the tooth to full strength!
So by simply letting a year pass, it will now cost 10X the cost of the originally treatment planned filling to save this tooth and take three to four appointments to complete the necessary procedures instead of one!
The patient opted to have this important chewing tooth extracted because of the expense and so for the same cost as it would have been to fix the tooth a year earlier, the patient now has no tooth for the same cost as fixing it a year earlier!!!
The moral of the story – Fix it today and keep it simple and cost effective!
So as promised, here is our newly taken pictures of our “revealed” smile patient two weeks after her “Gum Plastic Surgery” (July 18th Blog Entry) along side her before photos! Wow! It is obvious that the improvement is not only dramatic, but the impact on this young women’s confidence and self image is unmeasurable!
I believe that the real lesson from this story is that each individual needs a thorough and complete exam and diagnosis before the most appropriate treatment options are formulated. As it is obvious now, the correct diagnosis was that this young woman had to much gum tissue and only needed a “nip and tuck” procedure to achieve her esthetic goals. My job is to do just that and than educate my patients as to how the Art and Science of Dentistry can best help them realize their treatment (functional, esthetic or both) goals.
This transformation only required a few visits over several weeks, but in coming entries I will discuss additional cases where patient’s selected the ideal course of treatment, but some of those upcoming dental journeys were measured in months and sometimes years. What is key to remember, is that it is always best to do what is right….and that’s always my goal!