oral health

Our 11 Month Relationship With Covid-19

November 24th, 2020

Can you believe it is almost the end of November already?!  In some aspects, 2020 has felt like a slow crawl to get to 2021, while in other ways, it feels like January was just yesterday.  As we reflect on 2020, we can all say we learned a few things along the way, especially when it comes to Covid-19.  At the beginning of the year, we were unaware of what the Covid-19 virus was, yet alone how it was transmitted.  Now, as the world educates itself everyday regarding the virus, we as a community, wear masks, sanitize surfaces, and have become more health conscious both personally and publicly.  We’ve been handling Covid-19 for eleven months now, the research has been done, and now the results are ready to become public knowledge, “even during a pandemic, it’s still safe to go to the dentist” (Pugle).

Initially, like other professions, we felt it was safest for our patients and for the staff at Powell & Tiller Dental Care to close our doors and only handle dental emergencies.  But as we became more educated on the virus, we discovered that a dental practice is one of the safest places to be during the pandemic, because of all the safety protocols we have had in place for decades!

Dentists have been experts in infection control for decades due to the AIDS/HIV epidemic and have been using precautions just as long.  From face masks, eyewear protection, gloves, our dentists and hygiene staff are constantly changing, sanitizing, and creating a safe work environment between each patient, like we have been for over twenty years!  Not only is every staff member at Powell & Tiller Dental Care wearing a mask, but we do daily temperature checks as a team every morning.  Each patient is walked in, screened, and then receiving a temperature check before they see the dentist.

When asked about how confident she felt returning to work as a high-risk individual, our Hygiene Coordinator Sandy said, “Our patients’ health is so important but that includes their oral health as well.  Our staff takes great care in making sure both patient and dentist are protected, and I feel like the extra safety steps we have created ensure everyone’s safety.  Our goal at Powell & Tiller Dental Care is to provide preventative care as well as restorative and cosmetic, but we can’t help prevent conditions if the patient doesn’t come in.  We understand their concerns about coming into contact with Covid-19, but the dentist is one of the safest places a person can go!”  Unlike other dental practices, Powell & Tiller Dental Care has individual rooms for each patient, and not just open bays.  We leave ample amount of time between appointments to deep clean the room, before we bring another patient in.  “In order to create the most sterile environment, we have removed some of the aspects of the reception area like the magazines and coffee, but we hope the patient’s understand.  We just want to make sure our patient’s are being provided with the care they need for as long as they need, without any concerns about Covid-19 exposure.  When a patient delays or cancels their appointment, they are putting their oral health at a higher risk, which can lead to higher costs and more invasive treatment in the future” stated our dental assistant Erica.  Oral conditions like tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss can seriously impact a patient’s overall health.  Left untreated, the conditions will only continue to get worse.

Compared to other essentials, our dental practice is an overall safer environment.  Each tool is sterilized and wrapped before each patient, with only the staff handling the equipment.  What other essential business gives us that much protection? “I always think about the grocery stores and how many hands have touched certain items.  The freezer doors, the boxes of cereal, it would just be impossible to adequately wipe down all of the surfaces in a grocery store, whereas at Powell & Tiller Dental Care I personally wipe and sanitize everything between each patient.  It’s been a safety procedure in our practice for years and it’s a constant part of my daily routine” said dental assistant Angela.  In these past eleven months, we have learned more about Covid-19, found ways its transmitted, and found ways to prevent it.  And while we may not know what our next eleven months with Covid-19 in the world is going to look like, our doors will remain open to continue to provide you a lifetime of smiles.

-Nicolette Estrada

Cited Works

Pugle, Michelle. “Dentists Are Reporting a Low Rate of Covid-19: Here's Why.” Healthline, 2020, www.healthline.com/health-news/why-dentists-are-reporting-a-low-rate-of-covid-19.

Versaci, Mary Beth. “ADA Study FInds Covid-19 Rate Among Dentists Less Than 1%.” American Dental Association, 2020, www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/october/ada-study-finds-covid-19-rate-among-dentists-less-than-1-percent.

3 Tips To Keep Teeth Clean Between Meals

July 12th, 2017

WE UNDERSTAND HOW BUSY life can get–between work, school, sports, and having a social and family life, it can be hard to find time for your dental health. Because we know how precious your time is, we’ve decided to compile a list of quick, easy tips to keep your teeth clean in between meals and on the go!

First Of All, Snack Healthy

Did you know that frequent snacking throughout the day can contribute to tooth decay? Try to keep snacking to a minimum. If you do need a pick-me-up during the day, choose tooth-friendly snacks, such as broccoli, carrots, seeds, nuts or apples. These are also great choices when finishing off a meal! Because of their abrasive texture, these foods act as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing your teeth as you chew and removing bacteria and plaque.

Brush And Floss Your Teeth, Even On The Go

This is an obvious one. One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and dental disease is to brush and floss often! With that being said, we understand that not everyone has time to make a trip to the bathroom to brush their teeth after every meal. A quick on-the-go tip is to brush your teeth without toothpaste!

Carry a travel toothbrush with you and when you feel plaque or food on your teeth, simply pull it out and brush! Even without the added benefits of toothpaste, this will help remove plaque and bacteria adhering to your teeth. You can do this sitting at your office desk or waiting in the car for your kids to come out from school!

A lot of our patients have also benefited from floss picks. Because of their easy-to-use handle, you can use them one handed and without a mirror. This makes flossing in between meals much easier and more accessible!

Chew Sugar-Free Gum And Drink Plenty Of Water

We’ve mentioned the benefits of chewing sugarless gum after a meal plenty of times before. It’s such an easy and enjoyable way of protecting your teeth from cavities that we can’t say enough about it!

The act of chewing increases saliva flow in your mouth, which washes away food particles and neutralizes acids. Saliva also promotes remineralization, helping teeth to recover from any damage incurred while eating. Just pop a piece of sugar-free gum especially one with Xylitol (which also kills bacteria)  in your mouth for 20 minutes after a snack or meal to reap the benefits!  Next time you are in ask us for a sample of Xylitol gum (like Spree - available at Whole Foods too).  It's great for on the go!

Water, similar to saliva, washes away food debris and cleans between teeth. Rinsing your mouth out frequently, especially after eating, is a simple way to bolster your teeth’s defense against cavity-causing bacteria.

Keep Your Oral Health In Check

We know life gets busy. We hope these tips will make it a lot easier to keep your oral health in check! By taking care of your teeth throughout the day, not just in the morning and at night, you can ensure that your smile will be happy and healthy for a lifetime. Do you have any more on-the-go tips? Let us know in the comments below!

We love to serve you!

Calcium Isn't Just Good for Bones—It Benefits Your Smile Too!

June 15th, 2016

WE'VE ALL BEEN TOLD (and many of us tell our children) that milk builds strong bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time.

Regardless of your take, you’re not alone. Today, millions of people follow vegan or vegetarian diets, and tens of millions of people are lactose intolerant. Whether or not you choose to avoid dairy for health or other personal reasons, here are some thoughts from Drs. Powell & Tiller.

Calcium and Vitamin D Play a Key Role in Oral Health

It’s true that dairy products are full of calcium, and often supplemented with vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium and other bone-building minerals). While people on specialized diets (including vegans and vegetarians) are typically very careful about eating healthy, there’s still a risk of calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

One of the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your mouth’s defenses may be down.

Need a Good Source of Calcium? Dairy Isn't the Only Option!

The good news is that, if you choose, you can get these nutrients from alternative sources. For example, just one ounce of sesame seeds contains almost as much calcium as an entire glass of milk. Other major sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens.

When it comes to vitamin D, surprisingly, your best source is the sun! When exposed to the sun’s radiation, your body naturally produces vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged/unprotected sun exposure.

There are also a number of things we can eat and drink that are “fortified” with calcium and vitamin D including soy milk, orange juice and some breakfast cereals. You can also consider taking supplements.  As you're drinking your milk or fortified juice do remember that both of these have sticky sugars that can contribute to tooth decay. It's best not to sip on these beverages all day long, and when you can, brush after drinking.

Do you have questions about this topic? Contact us! Do you have suggestions for others who may be wondering about other sources for their daily calcium? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

And, as always, thank you for being our valued patient!