Dr. Visscher and Team's Blog
Posts for category: Overall Health
April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
Did you know that your dentist and dental hygienist are often the first line of defense against oral cancer? --- That’s right, your routine dental appointments can provide early detection for oral cancer. Did you know that in the U.S. alone, 42,000 individuals will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year? This is a staggering number considering that public awareness of oral cancer is still quite low. Throughout the past 5 years, more and more individuals are being screened for this potentially treatable cancer, especially if caught early enough.
So, you might be asking yourself, “What are the risk factors for oral cancer?”---Well, although smoking and tobacco use are the major risk factors, they are not the only ones. Studies show, the fastest growing segment of people diagnosed with oral cancer are young, nonsmoking individuals affected by the HPV virus. Despite great strides with medical advances throughout the years, the medical community cannot stop this virus from spreading as of yet. This is why it is so important to visit your dental hygienists and dentists on a routine basis.
This month, Dr. Morse and the rest of our Team are participating in the campaign to end oral cancer. Our Team wants to raise our community’s awareness that early detection of oral cancer can save lives. Therefore, one of our highly skilled hygienists, Aspen, will be offering FREE oral cancer screenings to ANYONE who wants one on Monday, April 29th. If you are interested in scheduling your FREE oral cancer screening, all you need to do is call our office at 303-279-6929. Please call us today…you will be so glad you did!
The Link Between Holiday Stress and Oral Health
Dr. Morse and the rest of our Team would like to wish you the Happiest of Holidays this season! Yes, this time of year is upon us once again. ‘Tis the season to be both merry about the parts of life that we are grateful for, as well as stressed out because of the “hussle and bussle” of the busy holiday season. Many of us are committed to upcoming festivities, office parties, various holiday events, travel, and cooking in the kitchen for friends and family. For those of us who avoid “black Friday” at any cost and procrastinate shopping until the last possible minute, we have some frantic visits to overcrowded malls to look forward to in the days ahead. With this said, like many other individuals, you might be feeling a little stressed out right now; and as a result, your stress might be taking its toll on your oral health.
How does stress impact your oral health? Your stress can be linked to canker sores, teeth grinding, TMJ from clinching, dry mouth, poor hygiene, and gum disease. As stress persists and becomes chronic, your body produces the stress hormone in your body, called cortisol. Now, the domino effect begins. This cortisol weakens your immune system, and your weak immune system allows plaque’s harmful bacteria to invade your gums. Because of this systemic response, the strong correlation between chronic stress and gum disease is an unfortunate reality.
Furthermore, the way that you cope with your stress might be further advancing poor oral health. Two of the most common stress-coping mechanisms that plague us during the holidays are nighttime grinding or clinching as well as indulging on holiday candies, cookies, and sweets. When we clinch or grind our teeth, we exert immense pressure between the teeth, and ultimately tooth enamel wears off and gums recede. As for our overindulgence on holiday treats, the high sugar content creates a breeding ground for bacteria in your mouth, and this bacteria produces the tooth decaying acid which causes cavities.
How do you protect your oral health during the holidays? Dr. Morse and Team recommend that you remember to take the following proactive steps this stressful time of year.
· If you are experiencing jaw pain and/or tooth pain from clinching or grinding, you should protect yourself from its harmful long term effects, and make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. A night guard might be your best protection from this all too common coping mechanism.
· With all of the yummy holiday sweets that surround us at our work and home, please remember to brush and floss after eating anything with sugar. If you don’t already have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss at work, please remember to bring one tomorrow. You can start making a positive difference today just by remembering this, especially during the holiday season.
· Lastly, remember to exercise regularly to cope better with your stress. It sounds obvious; however, many individuals become too busy during the season and ignore self-care and daily exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is an excellent stress reliever because it boosts your feel good endorphins and distracts you from stressful thoughts. Additionally, when you exercise and reduce your stress, you will sleep better too.
In conclusion, it’s important to remember not to neglect yourself this holiday season. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the holidays, your commitments, your family, and your friends that you lose sight of what is really important….you and your health. Don’t you want to be healthy enough to enjoy your favorite parts of the holidays many years to come? If your answer is “YES”, then you want to make your oral care a top priority starting now.
“Stress and Oral Health.” A Woman’s Health. 28 November 2012. <http://awomanshealth.com/stress-and-oral-health/>
“Tis the Season for Holiday Stress.” PR News Wire. 30 November 2010. <http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tis-the-season-for-holiday-stress-plackers-offers-tips-on-how-to-prevent-stress-from-causing-dental-problems-111028989.html>
Photo courtesy of momlogic.com
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
This October, we would like to honor National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many of us have family members and friends who have heroically fought this disease. This year, we would like to celebrate the breast cancer survivor of our Team, Susie Thiret. This is Susie’s 20 year Anniversary as a Survivor, and we are so proud to have her as a Team Member. Congratulations Susie for these 20 courageous years, and the many fabulous years to come!
Dr. Morse and Team honor all of the patients in this dental practice who have won the battle against any cancer, or who are currently fighting it. To help restore beautiful smiles that are often discolored from chemotherapy, our Team offers free bleach trays and teeth whitening bleach for a year to all patients, who are cancer survivors.
Dental Injections and Dental Instrument Sterilization
In the wake of a Denver oral surgeon’s hazardous and harmful dental injection practices, several patients in our practice have recently inquired about our needle procedures and sterilization processes. According to 9News.com, “Dr. Stein is accused of re-using needles and syringes for days at a time on his patients over the course of 12 years. He had two practices - one in Denver and one in Highlands Ranch.”
In our Team’s opinion, all health care providers should be responsible for making sure that every injection they give is safe. Our Team completely understands our patients’ safety concerns, and they can be reassured by the following information about our safe, diligent practices and procedures:
· Contrary to the gross negligence practiced by this oral surgeon, Dr. Morse’s and Team’s injection procedures adhere to the motto, “Only One Needle, Only One Syringe, and Only One Time!” For over 35 years now, Dr. Morse has always used a brand new sterile needle for every injection that he has given. After the injection, the used needle is immediately disposed of in a hazardous waste sharps container, and never used again. Any needle and syringe used in our dental practice are single use devises, never to be used for more than one patient. Our Lakewood Dental Practice prides itself on our safe injections procedures used for every patient.
· As for our practice’s sterilization procedures, Dr. Morse and Team have always followed the guidelines and processes outlined by the Centers for Disease Control. Every dental instrument is thoroughly sterilized after each use on each patient. For all dental instruments and handpieces used to penetrate soft tissue, bone, or come in contact with any bodily fluids, our Team sterilizes these instruments by using steam under pressure (autoclaving). Before the autoclaving process even begins, we place instruments in the ultrasonic to reduce our direct handling of contaminated instruments. Once in the ultrasonic cleaner, these instruments then soak and vibrate in disinfectant to remove any debris. After the instruments are cleaned in the ultrasonic, they are packaged, placed in our STATIM autoclave sterilizer, and begin the autoclaving sterilization process. After the STATIM completes its autoclaving cycle, these newly sterilized dental instruments remain in the packaging until use to protect them from outside contamination.
In conclusion, our Team cares passionately about upholding quality dental care, oral health, and safety for all of our patients. For decades now, our own Team members have trusted this dental practice to provide outstanding dental care for themselves and for their dearly loved family members. We are proud of our deep commitment to the dental health and wellbeing of patients, friends, and family. As our valued patient, please be confident about our Team’s dedication to you, your health, and your safety.
To read more information about the injection safety standards that we follow, please refer to: CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/injectionsafety/
Medical Experts Question The Study Associating Dental X-rays and Brain Tumors
This past month, news circulated about a study associating dental radiographs with brain tumors. The American Dental Association has since followed up with an interesting article about how experts strongly question the “recall” methodology used in this X-ray study. Dr. Morse and our Team firmly believe that informed patients are better able to make decisions about their health and well being. We are posting the link to the following article by ADA News to better inform you about the questioned validity of this study.