Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dental Assisting Requires Attention to Detail and People Skills

As a dental assistant at Metropolitan Periodontists, P.A.  our job requires a lot of attention to detail. We need to be sure that we have everything ready for each patient’s procedure.  We offer a variety of treatment options to our patients and each patient’s treatment is unique.

Before a patient comes into the office for a procedure with Dr. Wilson, we review all their information and make sure Dr. Wilson has what he needs for the procedure. The information we need to know is; Does the patient have current x-rays, were they given prescriptions for the procedure, does the patient have any allergies or healthy condition and what specifically during the exam of the patient did Dr. Wilson tell the patient he will be doing. All this information helps us to be prepared and can also help a patient feel at ease when we are working on them.  We want our patients to know that we are taking the best care of them.

Although my focus is on the patient, I am always watching Dr. Wilson trying to anticipate what he is going to need during a procedure to make sure everything goes well. The little details make a big difference.

Dentistry truly is a people business.  The success of procedures is always a combination of people skills and paying attention to all the clinical details.

I have been working with Dr. Wilson for a year and a half and I can sense what he is going to do next when I am working with him chairside, or what he is going to need.  There are some subtle body language cues that he gives.  I don’t think he is even aware that he is giving me these cues or that I pick up on them.  There is a connectedness there and nonverbal communication which makes the procedure go smoother and faster for the patient.  Making sure our patients have the best experience possible is all due to good teamwork.

Stephanie, Licensed Dental Assistant
Metropolitan Periodontists
Minneapolis, MN
New Patients Welcome

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Personal Touch is Very Important When Treating Periodontal Patients

I have a three-tier customer service process in our periodontal office: recognition, personal conversation, and little acts of kindness.

I have a philosophy that there are different stages of patient contact.  The first is recognition.  I think it is very important that we know people’s name as soon as possible and when they come in the door.  We can do the equivalent of saying “Hey, Norm” when he walks into the Cheers’ bar.  The recognition is important, because it sets the tone for a personal touch.

The second level is to recognize them as a person, to be able to ask something like:

“How is your dog?”
“I knew your husband was in the hospital the last time we saw you.  How’s he doing now?” 
“How was your vacation?”

We want patients to know that we really do remember them as individual people.

The third level that I think is the most fun and exciting is to make sure they know that they are special; to let them know that they are not only somebody that we know and recognize but they are somebody that we value.  We can do that in a wide variety of ways, the basic one is to listen to them and see if there is anything that they would like or need that we can fulfill for them. 

As an example, we have a patient that travels a long way to get here and he has a bad back.  He was talking about that one time he was here, and we went out a got one of those little back braces that you put behind your seat to make you more comfortable for his ride home.

Our goal is just to be able to listen and be able to treat the patient not only as somebody who has dental needs but as an individual who is welcome and someone whom we value highly.

John, Patient Care Coordinator
Metropolitan Periodontists
Minneapolis, MN

New Patients Welcome

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lisa Reviews Brushing and Flossing

Every patient thinks they know how to brush their teeth, and some do but most do not brush their teeth long enough. They think they are brushing for the recommended two minutes, but they are usually only brushing about 45 seconds.  You cannot do a quality job brushing in 45 seconds.  If a patient has gum disease or a history of gum disease then they have to brush even longer than two minutes and work harder than somebody who has never had a history of gum disease. 

If I notice a patient is having a hard time removing plaque from their teeth when they brush or floss, I will put a dye on their teeth that stains their plaque and ask the patient to remove it so they know what it takes to thoroughly clean their teeth at home.

When it comes to flossing, I try not to have anybody be a slave to the mirror, because if you are a slave to the mirror then you will only floss your teeth in the bathroom.  Instead, I try to teach them by feel.  I put the floss in their mouth and I floss their teeth for them and then I have the patient floss their teeth and give them feedback.

We also have other supplies to help patients with their oral care. For example, if a patient has larger spaces between their teeth, I will give them a tool that will clean those spaces better than flossing alone would.

What a patient does on a daily basis at home is far more important than what I can ever do for them. Not every patient is the same each patient deserves oral care instructions that fit their needs. I feel demonstrating brushing and flossing and then having patients repeat what I just showed them is the best way to teach them great oral care habits.

Lisa, Registered Dental Hygienist
Metropolitan Periodontists
Minneapolis, MN

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Periodontist Dr. Mark Wilson at Metropolitan Periodontists in Minneapolis talks about 3D imaging and diagnosis for dental implant placement.

At Metropolitan Periodontists we use modern 3D imaging.  It gives us a much clearer picture of what is going on around the tooth than traditional two-dimensional x-rays. We use it to see if there is enough bone to be able to place an implant.  It also helps to choose the correct size and type of implant needed.  After placement, 3D imaging confirms the positioning and gives us a baseline image for the future.

With traditional x-rays we can measure bone height and the amount of space between the teeth, but we are guessing about bone thickness. With 3D imaging we are able to get a cross-section of that bone and see the thickness.  If you are looking for a nerve or a sinus you can see where the sinus relates to the crest of the bone much more clearly by using 3D imaging.

Three-dimensional imaging is very handy for looking for cracked teeth, furcation involvement, and apical involvement around teeth. Furcations are on the larger teeth in the back of the mouth when you have multiple roots.  The area where the roots come together is called a furcation.  The apex or the apical part of the tooth is the root tip, where if the pulp is dying inside of the tooth then the tooth needs a root canal.  For these reasons we can see problems much earlier on a three- dimensional picture than we can on a two-dimensional picture.

The 3D imaging is a very important part of modern periodontal practice. We have seen that third dimension and we are confident that the bone is there.  A drawback to two-dimensional x-rays has been only finding out after we start the procedure that we do not have enough bone to put the implant in that the patient is expecting that day.

Having the capability to do 3D imaging in the office is convenient for the patient because they do not have to travel to another facility.  Because we use these images, we do not have surprises when we go into the surgery.

Dr. Mark Wilson
Metropolitan Periodontists
Minneapolis, MN
New Patients Welcome

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Don’t Let Gingivitis Keep You From Smiling

YOU’RE SITTING IN THE DENTAL CHAIR, everything going as planned at your checkup, until your dentist tells you that you have gingivitis. If you haven’t heard of gingivitis before you’re probably thinking, “What is gingivitis? Is it serious? Is it treatable?”
We have all the information you need to know about gingivitis so you can keep your smile healthy!

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums characterized by gum irritation, redness, swelling and sometimes bleeding. Symptoms of gingivitis are fairly mild and can even be painless. Visiting your dentist regularly is important so gingivitis can be diagnosed, especially if symptoms are not obvious.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal, or gum disease, and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to full-blown gum disease, which can lead to receding and damaged gums as well as bone and tooth loss.

What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. When plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, bacteria-filled plaque hardens and turns into what is called tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup around the gum line cause gum irritation and inflammation or, in other words, gingivitis.
Other factors may contribute to the development of gingivitis such as hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy), smoking, certain medications or illnesses and genetic predisposition.

Is Gingivitis Reversible?

Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis.
Proper oral hygiene not only prevents gingivitis, but treats it as well. Professional cleanings as recommended by your dentist, daily brushing and flossing, and regular use of an antibacterial mouthwash can keep bacteria found in plaque at bay, effectively preventing and treating gingivitis.

So, yes, gingivitis is reversible! By treating it early and following the instructions of your dental care provider, you can treat gingivitis and smile on!

Keep Your Smile Healthy
A smile shouldn’t only be happy, it should be healthy too! Your oral health is the gateway to your overall health and wellness. So if you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, practice proper oral hygiene care and you’ll have your healthy smile back in no time.

If you have any questions regarding your oral health, call us today or leave us a Facebook message. We’re always glad to address your concerns!