Sunday, October 18, 2009

Doctors With a Heart Day 10.22.2009

This Thursday our office will participate in its 4th annual Doctors With a Heart Day. This special event was first conceived by an Iowa dentist named Duane Schmidt in the early 1980s. Dr Schmidt's intention was to inspire physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, physical therapists, and psychologists to pick one day a year to open their doors and provide free care to their community. Although originally the event centered on Valentine's Day, offices can pick whatever time of year works for them. We've found that as the holidays draw near and the prospect of all the other demands on people's spending increases (making dental care that much harder to obtain), we've enjoyed offering this service in late October each year. As a thank you not only to the North Columbus community that has nurtured and sustained our practice for over 30 years, but also to all those in need in Central Ohio, we're proud to open our doors from 8AM-5PM this Thursday to offer free dental care to anyone who thinks they would benefit. We'll have seven volunteer dentists from around Columbus to extract and fill teeth, adjust dentures, provide cleanings and more on a first-come, first-served basis. We saw 180 patients last year and hope to be able to help even more in 2009. For directions, further information, and to download and print registration forms, please visit us here . Please pass this along to anyone you think may benefit, and we'll look forward to seeing you on the 22nd! Northstone Dental Group 1730 Schrock Rd Columbus, OH 43214

Monday, October 12, 2009

What's the deal with all the X-rays? (Part 1)

As you come in for your new visit or twice-yearly checkups, it becomes obvious that in the modern practice of dentistry you can expect to have X-rays (or radiographs, as we like to call them) recommended to you pretty often. What's the deal with all these films? They carry a monetary cost (often, but not always covered by insurance plans) in addition to raising concerns about radiation exposure. As with many things in life, you have to weigh the pros and cons. The truth is that a regularly-taken series of radiographs is one of the most important parts of a successful preventive dental plan. Whether your dentist takes a full series, routine bitewings, or an orthopantomograph (the one where you stand up and the tubehead rotates around you), these films allow a dentist to keep your overall time in the chair and costs down in a number of different ways. First off, although we like to think that we're pretty good at catching dental caries (decay) and periodontal (gum) disease in its early stages, we are limited when all we use is the naked eye (even with the nerdy-looking microscope glasses that we wear). In certain areas, like in between teeth and under existing fillings, decay is often detectable several months earlier on well-taken radiographs than under direct vision. It's amazing how silently decay can grow and when it finally becomes visible in these spots, you can be sure it's going to be deep, opening the door for more involved dental work (like a root canal and/or a crown) . If we can find a spot of decay while it's still small, now we're only talking about a small filling or even better, a chance to stop the decay in its tracks with a high-fluoride toothpaste or rinse. The cost savings for a filling vs. a root canal and crown can be over a thousand dollars, making the films (at less than fifty bucks a year) a pretty attractive option. Lately, a lot of people are analyzing their spending and trying to eliminate unneccessary purchases. This can be a great thing in many aspects but it can work against you in dentistry where, like the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In our office we recommend keeping up with a regular schedule of X-rays, but if yearly films aren't an option for you right now then getting them every two years can still make a tremendous difference in your ability to avoid future unplanned dental work. As far as radation exposure is concerned, over the long term the exposure from the number of films that must be taken for a procedure such as a root canal can outnumber the exposure for routine preventive X-rays. Also, digital films (which are becoming increasingly more common) reduce your exposure even further. As always, it's important to be as informed as possible about the dental treatments that are recommended for you, and your dentist should be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about the pros and cons of dental X-rays.

Monday, October 5, 2009

When should your children first see the dentist?

With all of the things to keep track of while raising a child, there can be some confusion about the right time to bring your infant in to see the dentist. The current recommendation from most dentists, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry ( , is to set up an initial examination when the child's first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. Chances are that there will be no dental problems that require treatment at that appointment, but your dentist can screen for rare early conditions and discuss in detail with you any questions you have about proper diet and home care issues regarding your child's mouth. The most important thing that happens is that the child now has a 'dental home' for regular preventive care. If a dentist can build on positive experiences with your child then receiving future dental care can be much easier and stress-free for them. At this first appointment, it's common to have one parent hold the child in their arms and sit knee-to-knee with the dentist. You then lean your child back (keeping in mind that crying is very normal at this stage--mostly by your child, a little less by the dentist) and in under a minute the exam is complete! From there the visits tend to get easier and easier for your child and we can start them off to a lifetime of dental health.