Does Your Dental Office Need a Dental Management Consultant?

Even the finest teams in the world need a competent and able coach. Proper management is a key ingredient to succeeding. Dentists are not managers or bankers. The handling of the business system, be it setting the fee, hiring and paying staff members, managing internal crises, doing the paperwork, or trying to grow the business, should be done by a dental management consultant to allow the dentist to practice dentistry.

Hiring a dental management consultant is a huge decision, and you should look for one that suits your goals and financial policy. Here are a few reasons why a dental management consultant will go a long way in easing the burden and maximizing profits.

dental practice management

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Financial Management

Money is to a business what blood is to the body. There should be cash flow to reinvest in the business to ensure both the staff gets paid, and the patients get quality treatment using the best technology available. Dentists aren’t businesspeople. Thus the management consultants will deal with financial issues such as nonpayment and cash flow. Rather than your staff members chasing down these payments, the consultant will do the dirty work and allow your squad members to do some productive work for your practice. A proper consultant will also come up with suggestions to increase profits in your business, such as adding extra weight in the dental hygiene department, which can significantly contribute to as much as 30% of total production.

Reducing stress at work

Every job has a significant amount of pressure. For dentistry, the bulk of stress is not due to patient care problems, but rather the inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the business system. A management consultant will provide better systems and operational methods that will ease the stress on the staff and subsequently improve the production levels to achieve outstanding performances perennially. A proper system should provide you with more control over the schedule and should allow the flexibility to take more time off, thus greatly relieving the stress and allowing you to enjoy dentistry.

Leadership and Communication skills

Clinical skills alone don’t make you a great dentist. A management consultant will look to empower leadership skills at every niche of your practice. Managing a business requires direction and communication skills. The staff will be trained to communicate compassionately with patients and be active listeners to create a conducive environment, not only for successful treatment but for the satisfaction that will lead to increased referrals.

Dentistry is a very rewarding profession. By hiring a dental management consultant, you will be able to reap the financial rewards that it has to offer.

Oral Cancer Screenings

a hand holding a cigaretteThere is increased evidence that younger people are being diagnosed with oral cancer than ever before. The average age of someone getting oral cancer used to be 55 or older, now people in their 20’s and 30’s are being diagnosed, and they are non-smokers and non-drinkers so the traditional risk factors are no longer playing a major role.

The traditional risk factors that can increase your chances of getting oral cancer include tobacco use of any kind, excessive alcohol use, over exposure to sunlight (lip cancers), poor nutrition that includes a lack of fruits and vegetables and age. But the newest factor causing oral cancer is the HPV virus, a virus that is sexually transmitted. This may be why younger adults are being diagnosed with oral cancer.

There are 43,250 cases of oral cancer diagnosed every year with nearly 8,000 deaths annually and it is the least talked about cancer. The survival rate is less than 64% because it is a cancer that is usually diagnosed at a late stage. As with any other cancer, the earlier the detection the better the survival rate is.

The visual screening includes examining the face for any swelling, the neck for any lumps, the lips for any spots, the interior of the mouth, to include tongue, tonsils, mouth floor, cheeks, for any red or white patches, any persistent sores inside the mouth and any loose teeth.

If your doctor or dentist does find an abnormality while doing the visual examination, he/she will probably order a biopsy to confirm the findings. Another form of diagnosing is to rinse your mouth with a special dye then a special light is shone into the mouth area and any abnormal cells will light up. These abnormal cells can then also be biopsied to check for cancer.

Symptoms you should tell your doctor or dentist about include: unexplained weight loss, change in voice, persistent bad breath, difficulty chewing or swallowing, tongue numbness, persistent sore throat, the feeling that something is caught in your throat, and unexplained pain in the mouth or teeth.

If you are diagnoses with oral cancer, you and your doctor or dentist will devise a plan of action together.

Remember, early detection is the best protection so talk to your dentist or doctor about having an oral screening done annually. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.

Dental Care During Pregnancy

dental hygiene during pregnancyWhen you’re pregnant, all kinds of things in your body change, and some of these changes might take you by surprise. Many pregnant women experience dental problems at some point during pregnancy and postpartum period. If you are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon, here is some information you need about your dental care during pregnancy.

Keep an Eye on Your Gums
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause your gums to swell and become inflamed, making proper brushing and flossing extremely important during pregnancy. Let your dentist know that you’re pregnant during your appointment so that he or she can carefully examine your gums for signs of early gingivitis, which is a form of gum disease. It’s possible for periodontitis to trigger premature labor and delivery, so it’s vitally important to be on top of this.
If you notice swelling, bleeding or tenderness and you aren’t scheduled for an appointment soon, give us a call so that we can get you in for an exam.

Schedule Work for the Second Trimester
If you are having pain or another problem, call us as soon as possible, and we’ll get you in to treat you safely, no matter what trimester you are in. For routine matters such as simple fillings or cleanings, however, it’s best to schedule work during the middle of your pregnancy, if possible.

Avoid X-Rays
By letting your hygienist or assistant know that you are pregnant, you can avoid unnecessary dental xrays during your pregnancy. Routine bitewings can simply be taken after you give birth. If you need a root canal or another procedure that requires xrays, you will wear a lead shield over your abdomen in order to protect your baby from the radiation

Talk to Your Dentist About Oral Hygiene Problems
Some women find that it’s difficult to brush their teeth in early pregnancy, because it causes gagging due to morning sickness. Also, vomiting can also wreak havoc on the teeth. If you are having these problems, let your dentist know so he or she can advise you on how to minimize damage while dealing with these parts of pregnancy.

Control Your Cravings
Finally, be aware of your diet during pregnancy. If you are craving and eating sweet or acidic foods, it’s particularly important to step up your brushing and flossing regimen. Some women get their first cavities during pregnancy, and the foods that they eat can be a contributing factor.
If you have concerns about your oral health during pregnancy or any time at all, please give us a call so we can treat any problems in their beginning stages. Remember, being a new mom does not mean that you should neglect your own dental needs, so call us for an appointment if you need one!


5 Common Dental Problems and How To Treat Them

Most dental problems can be avoided by scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings but we understand that sometimes life can get in the way. Here are 5 common dental problems and their treatments. If you are suffering from any of these problems, schedule an appointment with us today.

  1. Gum disease is caused by a combination of the bacteria we have in our mouths, along with mucus and other particles which form plaque on our teeth. Plaque is easily treated by regular brushing and flossing, if the plaque is left to harden it turns into tartar, which can’t be cleaned by brushing. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning that is done by a dentist or dental hygienist.

Gingivitis is a common gum disease that occurs when plaque and tartar have been on teeth for a long time, the bacteria causes inflammation of the gums which is known ad gingivitis. The gums become swollen, and turn red, which leads to the gums bleeding. Gingivitis can be treated with regular brushing of the teeth, flossing, using antibacterial mouthwash, and regular cleaning by a dentist. Gingivitis does not affect the bones and tissue that hold teeth in place.

Periodontitis is another gum disease that occurs when gingivitis is left untreated, when this occurs, gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. The immune system fights the plaque as it spreads below the gums, which cause the bones to break down, as well as the tissue holding the teeth in place. If it is left untreated, the bones and tissue get completely destroyed, leading to tooth loss.

Periodontitis can be treated with surgical and nonsurgical methods; the non surgical methods are used if it is not in an advanced state, and are generally less invasive.

The nonsurgical procedures used are:

  • Scaling: This is when a dentist uses instruments or an ultrasonic device to remove the bacteria and tartar from tooth surfaces and beneath the gums.
  • Antibiotics: The dentist may use oral or topical antibiotics to stop the bacterial infection; they include antibiotic mouthwash, or gels that are put in the pockets after teeth cleaning.
  • Root Planing: This smoothes the root surfaces, preventing further tartar buildup.

The surgical methods used to treat periodontitis are:

  • Flap Surgery: This is also known as pocket reduction surgery, the periodontist makes small incisions in the gums to lift a section of the gum tissue back. If there is bone loss, the remaining bone gets recontoured before the gum tissue is lifted back.
  • Soft Tissue Graft: This procedure replaces damaged gum tissue with some tissue from the roof of the mouth to reduce gum recession and to cover the exposed roots.
  • Guided Tissue Regeneration: This allows the regrowth of bones damaged by bacteria, a biocompatible fabric is placed between the existing bone and tooth to prevent unwanted tissue from getting into the healing area, which allows the bone to grow back.
  • Bone Grafting: This is performed when the disease has destroyed the bone surrounding the tooth root; small fragments of the patient’s bone are grafted to hold the tooth in place.
  1. Tooth decay is caused by a combination of food and bacteria, the bacteria in the mouth feeds on the sugar people eat, forming acids which attack the teeth for over twenty minutes after eating. After some time, the acids destroy teeth enamel, causing tooth decay. Tooth decay is treated differently depending on the severity, mild cases can be treated with fluoride, the dentist can also fill the cavities with another substance, usually referred to as fillings. Severe cases are treated with a root canal, and in some extreme cases the tooth is removed.
  2. Tooth Loss occurs for a number of reasons like trauma, which occurs when people put too much pressure on their teeth by using their teeth to open bottles, cracking nuts, and even chewing on pens and pencils. Another cause of tooth loss is gum disease; people who don’t observe proper oral hygiene are at risk of losing their teeth. Tooth loss can be prevented by not putting unnecessary pressure on teeth, and by practicing good oral hygiene.
  3. Halitosis is also known as bad breath; it is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. It can also be caused by acid reflux or diabetes. Halitosis can be treated by brushing at least twice a day, flossing regularly, using mouthwash, and regular visits to the dentist. People who practice good oral hygiene but still have bad breath should see a doctor to find out what the cause is.

5. Toothaches are generally caused by a tooth fracture, damaged fillings, tooth decay, or infections at the root of a tooth or between a tooth and gum. Treatment of toothaches depends on the cause. If it is damaged filings, a dentist can put new fillings in the affected cavity. If it is nerve damage, the patient will have to undergo a root canal. Dentists can prescribe antibiotics for infections, and there are over the counter medication that can help with the pain.

I Need a What?!? All About Root Canal Therapy

You’ve heard the words you never wanted to pass your dentist’s lips with you in the chair: “You need a root canal.” What?? Your heart quickens and you feel panicked. Everyone knows that root canals are simply awful and they take several visits!

Truth be told, having root canal therapy, which is sometimes called endodontic therapy and more often shortened to simply “root canal,” is usually not much different from having a filling done, from the patient’s perspective. Chances are extremely good that you will feel no pain, and technology has made it possible to perform many (though not all) root canals in one appointment that lasts 60 to 90 minutes. If you are worried about an upcoming root canal, read on to learn more about this common procedure.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is done when there is a problem with the nerve of the tooth. It could be that it’s highly inflamed due to decay or bacteria; in this case, you might be suffering with hypersensitivity and tooth pain. Another reason to perform a root canal is that there is an infection at the end of one or more of the roots. This could be asymptomatic and only detected on an xray, or you might have a feeling in intense pressure or even facial swelling.

During the root canal, your dentist will drill a hole in the tooth. He or she will use small files, both attached to a handpiece (drill) by hand, to remove the infected or inflamed nerve tissue. Once it’s all out and the canal space is clean and dry, a synthetic material called gutta percha will be used to fill the space. In most cases, you’ll have a post and a crown placed; sometimes, however, a different type of permanent restoration will be used.

Will It Hurt?

The main question that most patients have is about pain. In the vast majority of cases, regular novocaine will provide the right amount of anesthesia so you won’t feel anything. If you feel any discomfort as the nerve of the tooth is removed, your dentist can always give you more local anesthetic into the nerve itself, which immediately eliminates any lingering twinges of discomfort.

In rare cases, it might be difficult for you to get numb. This is normally due to an advanced infection. In this case, you might require nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or other pain relief. Sometimes antibiotics are given first so the infection is more under control.

After the procedure, once the novocaine has worn off, you will probably have some soreness for a few days. Most of the time, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen will take care of the discomfort. If you need stronger pain medication, your dentist will give you a prescription.

Why Do Root Canals Have Such a Bad Reputation?

In decades past, dental anesthesia was not as effective as it is now. Also, some patients have severe infections that make it difficult for the anesthesia to work well. Finally, many patients come to the office for an emergency root canal because they are in severe pain with a toothache. Although the procedure itself is pain-free, once the anesthesia wears off, those patients continue to experience some pain while healing, though it is markedly less than before the root canal was performed.

Today, most patients who require root canal therapy are surprised at how pain-free the experience is. Remember that at any time during any dental procedure, you can let your dentist know if you are experiencing pain, and he or she will use a different method to relieve it whenever possible.

If you find out that you need a root canal, don’t panic! Get it taken care of before you are suffering with a severe toothache, if at all possible. If you are already in a lot of pain, be sure to let your dental staff know so they can do whatever they can to relieve your discomfort and nervousness.