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FAREWELL

It is always tough to part company with people you have come to know and love. It can be ugly or quite seamless.  Within a month’s time, I have had three ladies I have had the pleasure to work with leave my office.  That is a high number however, it has all been for the right reasons.

Kylee had been with me about two years as both a dental assistant as well as a receptionist. Her great smile and easy way with people will be missed.  She has left to go to cosmetology school and I know that with those people skills, she will do quite well as she often did interesting things with her own tresses.

Savannah had been with me less than a year. She is someone who was brand new to dentistry that we had to essentially teach from the ground up.  What started out as me training her developed into us keeping her.  Under me and with Amy’s practical instruction, she became a registered dental assistant, obtained several certifications.  She performed quite capably at the front desk as well.  Her fiancée lives in middle Kentucky.  When she came back one weekend with a rock, we all knew it was a matter of when.  She leaves us to further plan the nuptials and with a job opportunity that presented itself much closer to where she’ll live as a married woman.  She remarked that she didn’t realize how much she learned until we were looking for her replacement as several with more time in dentistry were not as knowledgeable.

Moira had been with me about six years as a registered dental hygienist. She was quite meticulous.  She loved to upkeep her instruments, loupes and light.  She may have had one of the strongest thirsts for knowledge I’ve seen in a hygienist.  She was truly family as to be expected after that long.  Many birthdays and holidays were celebrated and even a move that was done in the middle of summer where most of the team here showed up to help her.  I was so proud to work with such a crew that would give up a weekend to sweat it out over the summer to help a friend and co-worker!  Moira also advanced her knowledge, even teaching yoga classes, which many of us went to – including me as I need help keeping flexible for sports.  She left to return to her native fatherland, Germany, to help take care of her aging mother.  It doesn’t get any more noble or selfless than that!

“Fare thee well” it used to be said as people left each other with the sincerest hopes the other person would fare well in all their personal and professional endeavors. It is so much easier than saying “goodbye” as it seems too final.  The world is a better, more interesting place with all of them in it and all the lives they touch.

Oral Cancer Prevention

I’m in a bit of a silly season for me in dentistry with things being quite busy with teaching and serving in organized dentistry.

Last weekend, I was at Vanderbilt University lecturing there for two days on sedation in Tennessee, nitrous oxide and local anesthesia. I could have done it in one but their oral surgeons there got the choice of the times to speak.  They are amazing as they literally see some of the worst of the worst who may have died without their care.

This prompts me to remind everyone of oral cancer. About 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year.  Approximately 10,000 will not survive.  I’ve been blessed enough to help guide several patients to getting treatment for oral cancer.  Literally, this is the worst thing I can tell a patient.  It is so much worse than telling them about any number of root canals and crowns or needing everything extracted and dentures.  I am amazed by how few of the patients actually consent for a more advanced screening than just the dental examination.  It reminds me of the lady who was hit by a hard foul ball and went in for an x-ray to check things out and she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  They found it early which is so helpful in getting good news.  Every cancer is so maliciously quiet in the beginning.

Another bit of help can come from prevention. Limiting sun exposure and/or using lip balm in addition to sunscreen can go a long way.  Ceasing tobacco products (and even vaping) can only help to reduce those risk factors.  Minimizing alcohol is helpful as well.  One of the main sources of oral cancers these days is from Human Papilloma Virus.  HPV infections and related cancers are rising.  There is something to be said for the youth of both sexes being immunized as well as the more mature population being aware of risks of contact and contraction.

We all can be busy in our lives, but life happens when we make plans. Keeping up with your dental health and oral cancer screenings are just as important as feeling for lumps and bumps in the shower or monitoring suspicious skin areas.  Don’t do it for me whom you see a few times, do it for you who you see daily in the mirror!

Oct 30th

I remember hearing about today, the 30th, being something the first time when I saw “The Crow” with the late Brandon Lee.  Devil’s Night it was called.  Some other places it is known as Mischief Night.  The vandalism, mayhem and arson were so bad in Detroit in the 1990’s that it was rechristened as Angel’s Night and over 40K people volunteered to help protect the city.

It started a trifecta of days to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. In some cultures this marks Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Children used to dress up as their favorite saints and ask for a soul cake lest they would play a trick on the homeowner. I’m not just a dentist, I’m also a human.  Humans love candy.  That being said, as a dentist, I choose to give out chocolate for trick-or-treaters.  Anna and Elsa are big fans of chocolate.  Chocolate is more easily rinsed away by saliva and doesn’t cake onto teeth like some crunchy candies or stay into the grooves of the teeth like some chewy candies.  And studies show that dark chocolate may be better for you.   But, so is the exercise one gets going out in the neighborhood to get the candy for yourself or with your little heroes and ghouls.

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