Monday, September 10, 2012

Winter is coming; and so are sinus infections

Fans of "Game of Thrones" on HBO know the phrase, "Winter is coming".  For those who have not read the books, or have watched the show, it is motto of the Stark family; a family of nobles that oversee the northern-most lands of the kingdom.  Today, the weather feels like summer has ended, fall is here, and that means winter is on its way; which brings me today's post.
Banana Spray doesn't taste good.

In dental school, I was encouraged by some professors to make sure that I tried every dental product that I was going to use when seeing a patient.  The reasoning was simple.  I should know what the material tastes and feels like so that I can understand and empathize with what my patient was experiencing.  Most things tasted, and felt, ok.  For example, the impression material, or “gook”, that we use to take molds of your teeth was fine; it didn’t taste bad, but it wasn’t great tasting either.  One of the worst things to taste was “banana spray”.  What’s banana spray you ask?  It is an anesthetic spray that is used for a patient that has a severe gag reflex.  It tastes awful, and personally, I really don’t think it works.   There are much better ways to get someone with a severe gag reflex to stay calm while doing dental work.  I used it once or twice in dental school on the insistence from a professor.  I wasn’t happy about it, and you can bet neither was the patient.

So, what does my experience of trying different dental products in dental school have to do with winter and sinus infections?  Well, over the years I have had a number of patients come in swearing that they had a terrible tooth ache in the back teeth of their top jaw.  Even though this can happen any time of year, it tends to be more prevalent during the fall and winter months for our patients.  When this situation occurs in my office, we talk about their symptoms, do an exam, and take an x-ray or two.  If everything appears to be ok on the x-ray and in the mouth, one of the questions I always ask is, “Do you have any sinus issues right now?” If the answer is “yes”, I have the patient put their head between their legs to see if this causes any kind of change in pressure or relief on the teeth that are bothering them.  If they do have a sinus infection, we give them an antibiotic prescription, and we call them back in a few days to make sure they are feeling better.

However, until last year, I had never personally experienced a sinus infection.  Yes, I could diagnose the problem, but I was never able to empathize and fully understand what my patients were feeling.  Then, I had one.  IT HURT LIKE CRAZY!  If I wasn’t a dentist, I would have sworn that I would have needed at least 3 root canals.  It felt like I was getting lightning bolts put straight into the roots of my teeth.  In a weird way I was actually happy to have had it, because now I know exactly what my patients were telling me about.  I was able to finally say, “I know exactly what you are feeling right now.”

Why am I telling you this? Simple, I have a sinus infection right now that is causing my teeth to hurt, so I figured I would warn you that winter is coming; and so are sinus infections!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Yesterday, Mendham held it's annual Labor Day parade.  The threat of rain did not keep everyone away from enjoying the activities.  Here are some pictures taken as the parade passed the office and headed to Borough Park and the last day of the carnival.  We hope everyone had a great time this weekend!

Did you buy your 50/50 tickets?
Morris County Police Officers leading the parade.

Mendham's Boy Scouts Troop

View from the office looking towards Borough Park

Mendham Bourough Fire Department

Brookside Fire Department

Mendham's Cub Scouts Pack

Mountain View's 8th grade float

Mendham High School's Marching Band

Mendham High School's Cheer Leaders

A clown band

Twin Boro Bears Cheerleaders

Schiff Nature Preserve

Candy, candy, candy.  This is only one of the bags that my kids filled.

Here are some pictures from the carnival:

Deep fried pb&j????

Zeppole.  No carnival would be complete without that.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Toothbrushes, Toothpastes, and Floss (Oh, my!)

We love it when patients ask us questions, and we get lots of them every day.  “Which toothpaste is best?” “Is this one better than that one?”  “Which mouthwash is good for my kids?”

I took this picture at the Shoprite in Chester. 
The next time you are in the supermarket or pharmacy, walk down the health & beauty aisle, and look at the abundance of options available to take care of your teeth.  For floss alone there are so many options.  Is it waxed, un-waxed, rope-like, flavored, unflavored, does it have a handle, etc. You get the idea.  For every dental product available for you to buy, there are so many choices it can be overwhelming that you may not know where to start.

When patients come visit us for their cleanings the topic of what they should be using at home comes up at some point.  Depending on your needs we will recommend specific oral hygiene products that will help you keep your mouth as healthy as possible between your visits.  However, the simplest answer I can give anyone is this: “Whatever works for you.”  -WHAT?

What I mean is I want you to brush your teeth at least twice a day, I want you to floss once a day, and I want you to use mouthwash.  I want you to use whichever toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash that you like and will use.  Let’s be honest.  There are very few people in the world who actively enjoy brushing their teeth; the majority of people view it as a necessary evil that must be done.  We only get to see you a few times a year for about an hour each time.  We need you to take care of your teeth and gums at home on a regular basis; and you are more likely to take better care of them at home using products you like.
Pickle-flavored floss? Yup!

So, if you have toothpaste that tastes a little funny, try a new one.  You don’t like the type of floss you have? Come by the office, and we will give you a couple of different types for you to try.  We’ve got plenty (except for pickle-flavored).

If you ever have any questions or comments we would love to hear them below; or you can always call us at 973-543-6666.  

Thanks for reading!

-Paul Ferraioli, DMD