Like many of you, we are left wondering when we will be able to reopen our practice to see our patients for continuing and ongoing care. We hope that it will be soon, and we are busy preparing for re-opening by modifying the office to account for the chages. Future appointments will look somewhat different than what you are used to. We might be wearing N95 Respirator masks, face shields, full gowns or scrubs, head coverings and foot coverings. Rest assured that you will get the highest level of care as well as the highest levels of infection control.
As a Dentist, professionally speaking, I have been using my time taking continuing education courses. I have also been actively triaging emergencies from home. Personally, I have never had so much free time at home. My grandfather always told me that ‘the purpose of life is a life of purpose’. This down time has given me the opportunity to experience personal growth and family bonding. I have rediscovered my love of the arts and music.
I wanted to address life stress during this pandemic. I have fielded a lot of emergency issues that were the result of clenching and grinding. Clenching and grinding is one way that our bodies respond during times of stress. This usually involves the squeezing of our teeth and corresponding jaw muscles or the grinding of our teeth while we are sleeping. This can cause headaches, tooth pain, jaw pain, neck pain, and feelings of changes in how our teeth come together. One way that we can assess for clenching and grinding is by asking the patient to open widely in the morning, and if their jaw muscles feel tight that is a strong indication that they have been using their jaw muscles through the night.
How can we deal with clenching and grinding during the pandemic? We must first understand that this pandemic event is unprecedented in our lifetimes. It is perfectly normal to feel uneasy about things. Clenching and grinding is often the result of how we manage life stress. Since we cannot easily make the stress of the pandemic go away, it is helpful to try to manage stress. I have been suggesting to patients to follow a routine as much as possible in their daily lives, and to set daily tasks to accomplish. Personally I have found that following a routine has been very helpful in dealing with anxiety. It is important to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and get enough daily exercise. It is important to also set aside time for rest/relaxation.
The best way to deal with the pain/discomfort related to clenching and grinding is as follows:
In the meantime, stay safe, brush and floss, and try to de-stress.
- Dr. Jordan Klimitz
Today’s Blog is written by Rosie T., who has been an important part of Gasner Dental
as Office Manager, since the very beginning.
I have been fortunate to have the pleasure of working at Gasner Dental for over 27 years, with Dr. Jon and Ellise Gasner. During that time they have managed to build a practice that feels more like a community rather than a Dental Clinic. Together we pride ourselves on creating an environment where each patient feels like a part of our family and we are privileged to feel like we are a part of theirs. Many friendships have been formed over the years that we continue to value today. These friendships mean a lot to me personally.
Over the last few years, while facing health challenges, I have experienced the support of this community and these friendships. Both our amazing patients and staff have been so generous and kind. Most recently after recovering from life changing surgery I witnessed this community in action. I have received many visits to the hospital, numerous phone calls and countless text messages. On one occasion I had a surprise visit from a caring patient with her youngest child in tow! You can’t imagine how grateful I felt after spending time with them. As a way of communicating with me during my last medical leave, our staff set up a "Rosie" book so that patients could leave messages for me. I was able to read so many of your beautiful well wishes which kept my spirits up and helped tremendously with my recovery. Most importantly, it kept me feeling connected to our patients and our practice.
Thank you to all who had the opportunity to leave a note and for all the kind actions shown I feel so grateful to be part of a very special practice made up of extraordinary patients and staff.
To quote Loretta Scot King, "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members".
Thank you to all for your compassionate actions! I would especially like to thank Dr. Jon and Ellise for building this wonderful community that has made me feel so cherished and loved.
I can't wait to see you all and be able to thank you in person.
As we enter week ‘something or other’ of Isolation, we have learned that in order to cope, we have to put on many hats. We have become stay at home parents, home school teachers, full time cooks, therapists (for ourselves and our friends), exercise instructors, doctors, and yes, even dentists. Our office reception has remained open during this time in order to help triage issues that arise among our patients. As well, all of our dentists are one phone call away.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, dentists are currently only allowed to treat emergencies that fall into the categories of severe pain, swelling, bleeding and any treatment that can’t be managed by medications or verbal instructions.
Let’s take a look at your new role as a triaging dentist during our self-isolation.
There are many times that you may experience acute (quick onset) pain in the mouth that starts suddenly and you notice that it seems to settle down. It may return a few times. This happens quite often and may be related to clenching at night or slightly injuring your teeth during eating. One can also have occasional sensitivity to cold and hot, without it representing a serious problem.
Cold sensitivity is common and may be diet related. Sugar consumption can lead to teeth being more sensitive temporarily. One of the first things that we will instruct in cold sensitivity is to decrease sugar and acidity levels. Examples are coffee with sugar, soda, and citrus fruit. These all decrease pH (an indicator of acid levels) and can lead to sensitivity. To counter this, use toothpastes such as Sensodyne and consume products that are alkaline (less acidic) such as dairy products. Clenching at night can also lead to sensitivity as the teeth are traumatized and the nerves become over reactive temporarily to cold. If you have a nightguard, try wearing it.
If on the other hand you lose a filling, or have a deep cavity, these may not resolve on their own and you would need treatment. Generally, initial signs of nerve issues are related to cold sensitivity that prolongs in duration and intensity. Later signs are sensitivity to hot. These issues should be brought to our attention so that we can direct you further.
Often, one may call in with a chipped tooth. At present, if the chip is not causing pain, then we may need to observe it until the office reopens. This may pose a sharp edge and you could use an emery board (nail file) to sand down any sharp corners. A chipped edge close to the tongue can cut or rub the tongue and cause pain in the tongue or throat. Of course, if you are unsure, then call the office. We may ask you to take a photo to send to us.
Stressful times can lead to clenching at night while you are sleeping. This activity can lead to a whole host of symptoms from sore jaws, pain in teeth and sensitivity. If the muscles are overactive at night, they will stiffen and tighten. You can try to place warm compresses on them and take an appropriate anti-inflammatory or pain medications. Consult your doctor for what medications are appropriate for you.
Bad smells and taste can arise from bacteria trapped in gums, tongue and throat area. Ideally, everyone should have their teeth scaled regularly, but at this time, we have to make an exception. Try to use an electric toothbrush, floss, brush your tongue and rinse with an antibacterial mouth rinse.
In children, the call that we most often receive is either related to broken baby teeth or adult teeth coming in behind or beside. In these cases, unless there is pain involved, it may be part of the normal process of tooth eruption (growing in). Keep us posted if you have any concerns, and we may ask for photos to confirm that all is okay.
If you notice that you have pain that cannot be relieved with these methods discussed above, or swelling of the mouth or gums, then you must call our office and we will guide you to treatment. This may involve medications prescribed from a pharmacy or a referral to one of our amazing specialists, who are remaining open to care for our patients.
We hope that we are able to return to normal function in the near future, but in the meantime, we welcome you as “deputy” dentists and we are always here to help.
Stay safe and healthy!