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January « 2012 « Mark Freeman, DDS

Archive for January, 2012

Picky, Picky, Picky

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The common toothpick, usually made from wood, is primarily used to remove food stuck that has lodged in between teeth.  Most wooden toothpicks in the United States come from birch trees grown in Maine.  The trunks of these trees are sliced into thin sheets and then cut and milled into individual toothpicks.  While toothpicks work well to remove food trapped between teeth, they should be used only when dental floss is not readily available, and certainly not as an everyday replacement for floss.

Dentists can often tell if a patient is a habitual toothpick user by the telltale marks in the mouth.  Overzealous toothpick users can cause serious problems in the mouth, including lacerated gums, damage to tooth enamel, and chipping or breakage of dental veneers or bonding.   Even worse, small notches can be worn into the root structure of the tooth where a patient “holds” a toothpick in their mouth, especially where the gums have pulled away from the teeth to leave the root surfaces exposed.

In more recent years, certain dental supply companies have developed substitutes for the wooden toothpick.  DentalSwords are plastic toothpicks shaped and designed to not only clean between the teeth better but help to minimize the negative issues surrounding wooden picks.  Plastic swords are often triangular in cross-section.  By placing the flat end towards the gums, it helps prevent damage to the gingival tissue.    GUM dental has recently developed a new aid called Soft Picks. These are small plastic picks with a light foam coating on the end used between the teeth.  This foam tip not only protects the tissue and root structure but grab debris from the interproximal site.  Another benefit of plastic swords are that they are bendable to reach into difficult areas.

While toothpicks can be a good solution to cleaning teeth occasionally, our Hygiene Staff would prefer to show you the proper way to floss your teeth so that you can develop a habit of flossing  on a daily basis.  Did you know that it is recommended that you floss your teeth first, before you brush?  This way you can brush away any debris you remove with the floss from between the teeth.  On our web-site RichmondDentalGroup.com, you can find short instructional videos on Brushing and Flossing under the Your Oral Health heading.  (CLICK HERE to go to the brushing and flossing page to watch)  Try to make the time to floss everyday.  If you become a daily flosser, your gums will be healthier and your routine dental cleanings will be much easier.  This is a simple way to improve your smile!

Happy Anniversary, Tori Dickerson

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

On January 16, 2002, a bright eyed, newly graduated Dental Assistant walked into our office to start her career.  Fresh out of school, she came to work for Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates eager to practice all that she had learned to help patients.  This week, we celebrate  Tori Dickerson’s Ten Year Anniversary at our office.

This was not Tori’s  first career choice.  “I got my teaching certificate,”  she recalls, “but I quickly figured out that it wasn’t the right fit for me.”  Calling on the experiences of friends who were already working in the dental field, she set her sights on a degree that would let her work as a Dental Assistant.  She knew that this would give her the skills needed to help others and to find a good job.

Tori  is happy to share how much she loves her job.  When she began working, she did not anticipate how much she would come to know and care for her patients.  Over time, she has learned about their families and their lives and many of her patients have become her friends.  Tori finds it is gratifying to help her patients with their overall health and well being.  She laughs saying  it is like being a nurse, only with better hours.

Unlike the teaching career that she originally contemplated, Dental Assisting allows her to leave her work at work.  This little luxury keeps her  rise to the challenge of each new day.  Some are peaceful and even.  Some bring emergencies, complicated procedures or other challenges, but for Tori, the variety in the work makes things even more interesting.   Unlike the other Assistants, Tori  has worked with several different Dentists over the last ten years at our office.   Dr. Freeman likes to give her the responsibility of breaking in the new Doctors, teaching them our special techniques,  and making sure they know what we expect of them at our office.

“I was lucky, though, to get such a wonderful place off the bat.”  Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates has been Tori’s  professional home for her entire career, and it is easy to see why she has stayed.   “We have a real family atmosphere here.  It is relaxed and fun.”   Tori credits Dr. Freeman and his wife, Christie, with setting a great family-like tone in the office.  “They are such kind, wonderful people.  It is quite a feat to sustain such a positive environment for both the staff and the patients.”   As an example, Tori related the following story:

“We were on the way back from a Dental conference in Las Vegas.  Everyone had a wonderful time.  We were all chatting, joking and laughing about the events that took place that weekend.   A couple on the plane close to us starting asking questions about who we were and the reason for our trip.   I remember talking to the wife, and telling her all about the new techniques I learned that weekend.  A month  later that couple schedules appointments at the office. They thought we were wonderful and fun on that plane ride back to Richmond.  And we are! ”

We asked Tori what has changed over the last ten years.  She replied that new products come on the market always claiming to be better than the one they are replacing, but that good dental care is always good dental care.  Quality work does not change.   “Each day is an adventure in this place.”

Thank you, Tori, for the care and skill you bring to our patients.  We are so glad that you have invested the last decade with us and we look forward to many more years with you on our Dental Care Team.



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