Patient Concerns

Infection Control
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed special recommendations for use in dental offices. Your well-being is important to us, which is why we follow stringent infection control procedures and comply with all state regulations for the protection of patients.  My staff performs only those procedures that they are licensed or qualified to perform per state regulations.  All dental staff involved in patient care scrub their hands before each and every patient and use appropriate protective garb such as gloves, masks and eyewear. A new set of gloves and masks are used for each patient. 
Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, instrument tray, dental light, drawer handles and countertops, have been cleaned and decontaminated.  Non-disposable dental instruments are cleaned and sterilized between patients.  We sterilize instruments using a steam under pressure autoclave.  Disposable items like needles or gauze are placed in special bags or containers for special, monitored disposal.

Be sure to tell the dentist if you have a valvular heart condition or an artificial joint.  These are conditions with a high risk of infection, and an antibiotic is recommended prior to some dental procedures.  We follow recommendations that have been developed by the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in cooperation with the American Dental Association. 

The Link Between Medications and Cavities
You may wonder why you’re suddenly getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years.  As we get older, we enter a second round of cavity prone years.  One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth.  Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. However, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. This is just one reason why it’s so important to tell your dentist about any medications that you’re taking.  Your dentist can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and prevent cavities.

Gum Disease
Many older adults have gum or periodontal disease caused by the bacteria in plaque, which irritates the gums, making them swollen, red and more likely to bleed.  One reason gum disease is so widespread among adults is that it is often a painless condition until the advanced stage.  If left untreated, gums can begin to pull away from the teeth and form deepened spaces called pockets where food particles and more plaque may collect.  Advanced gum disease can eventually destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth, leading to tooth loss. The good news is that, with regular dental visits, gum disease can be treated or prevented entirely.

Oral Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 35,000 cases of mouth, throat and tongue cancer diagnosed each year.  The average age of most people diagnosed with these cancers is 62. During dental visits, your dentist will check for any signs of oral cancer.  Regular dental visits are important because in the early stages oral cancer typically does not cause pain, and early detection saves lives. Some symptoms you may see include open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth that last for more than two weeks.