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Why Do Dentists Need Your Health History?

We know no one enjoys filling out paperwork, but in any medical environment, all those questions about your medications and medical history are incredibly important. Most people acknowledge that they need to fill out paperwork at places like their GP or orthopedic, but at dental offices, paperwork is often left ignored and unfinished. Because people typically come to the dentist twice a year, it can feel more routine than going to other medical offices. This translates to people not feeling the need to mention things like new medications or recent surgeries. Your teeth don’t have much to do with the rest of your body, right? In reality, your overall health has a strong impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Even small changes to your medical history can impact how we approach your dental treatment options.

List all of your medications

Almost all medications — even over-the-counter drugs — come with long lists of side effects. Most decongestants and many antihistamines can severely reduce saliva production. Saliva helps keep your teeth “clean” in-between brushing by washing away harmful bacteria. If we know that you’re on a medication that affects saliva production, we can take some proactive measures to ensure your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible.

Some other medications that may affect your saliva production include painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants. If you’re taking any kind of medication regularly, make sure your dentist knows — even if you don’t think it’s affecting your teeth or mouth directly. With anything medical, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

List all illnesses and conditions

Your mouth is a gateway for harmful bacteria, allowing them to easily move from your teeth and gums to affect the rest of your body. Poor oral health can exacerbate, and even cause, certain conditions, including endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. Letting your dentist know about your health conditions — including your family’s health history — is vital. If endocarditis runs in your family, your dentist may recommend coming in for three or four cleanings a year instead of two, just to make sure there are no bacteria that can wind up near your heart.

Your oral health can also impact pregnancy. Recent studies link periodontal disease to low birth weights and premature births. We typically recommend that pregnant women come in for cleanings every three months instead of every six months if they’re struggling with their gum health.

Other conditions that relate to your oral health include diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis. These illnesses can make the mouth more susceptible to gum disease, mucosal lesions, and tooth loss respectively. The best way to keep yourself healthy is to tell your dentist exactly what sort of conditions you have so they can create a treatment plan that works for you.

Recent surgery or injury? Let us know

Surgeries and injuries — on any part of the body — can affect oral surgeries and treatments. At our office, we approach every case with individual, personalized care. If we don’t know your medical history, we could make a mistake. Keep us in the loop on any and all changes by filling out all requested paperwork and talking to your dentist while you’re in the office. We want every visit to our office to be beneficial and worthwhile to you but for that to be possible, we need your help.

What is bruxism?

“Hi — Dr. Bobbi Stanley of Stanley Dentistry. Have you heard of bruxism? Many people call it teeth grinding or clenching. There are various reasons why you may be grinding your teeth at night. We would love for you to come by Stanley Dentistry so we can talk about those reasons.

What causes bruxism?

Often times, bruxism can be caused by an air-way issue where you’re simply not breathing appropriately. You’re moving your jaw forward to try and open that airway at night. This is especially true in children who grind their teeth. It is not normal for children to grind their teeth so please, if your child is grinding their teeth, please bring them into Stanley Dentistry and let’s talk about options. 

If you, as an adult, are grinding your teeth, we also need to talk about options because you also may have an airway issue or sleep apnea issue. 

Bruxism includes clenching the teeth — which can often be due to just stress. This could be a noise that’s around you that’s a little bit stressful or it could literally be a tough work or home situation. Regardless of the situation, if you’re clenching or grinding your teeth, you need to come in so we can figure out the cause. We need to protect your teeth. So please, come see us at Stanley Dentistry and let us help you with bruxism.”

How does Stanley Dentistry treat bruxism?

In both children and adults, we offer appliances that fit over the teeth. These appliances either help open the airway, treating the cause of the bruxism. They can also help protect the teeth at night from the wear and tear that bruxism causes. The appliances are easy to wear, custom-made, and very affordable. If you’re suffering from bruxism, don’t wait. Ignoring teeth grinding can lead to detrimental dental problems later. Come in for a free consultation and ask about our bruxism appliances. In a few weeks, your teeth grinding will be a thing of the past.

Can you explain your condition a little?

It’s weird, the way I came to see Dr. Stanley. See, I have a hypermobility syndrome that affects chronic pain throughout my body. I was searching for years and years and spent tens of thousands of dollars on different techniques to try and get this pain syndrome under control. Part of hypermobility, and controlling it, is having control over your structure because when you have hypermobility, your ligaments don’t hold you together very well. So, having structure, and strength in that structure, is very important. Dr. Stanley understands the relationship between the bite and the tongue and how it impacts the neck. Not only the physical structure but the neuromuscular structure functioning in that area.

What made you want to come to Stanley Dentistry?

I went to a neuromuscular dentist prior to Dr. Stanley and went into braces and it failed. I was actually in more pain than I was prior to, so I was very disappointed. I reached out to fifteen or twenty national experts across the country and no one really had an answer for me — but Dr. Stanley did. She said ‘I think I have something that will really help you.’

She expanded my upper palette and I have a frenectomy — a release of the tissue underneath your tongue — and then went back into braces the last time. And she helped me with the finances for that because she understood that this has been a long journey for me. It was one of those things that I can honestly say was a game-changer. There’s no magic bullet but having her as a part of my team is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I can’t talk more highly of Dr. Stanley — not jut as a dentist but as a clinician. 

How was Stanley Dentistry different from the other offices you went to?

One of the biggest frustrations [going into previous treatment] was monetary. Everyone was selling me the magic bullet that was going to fix everything. It was a complex interrelationship of how my body was interacting with myself. She looked at me as a whole person — everything together. She seemed to have a mastery of the understanding of that. It put me at ease, immediately when I walked in.

This is something that I’ve been going through for ten years so my vocabulary and understanding of it is extremely in-depth. So, when I hear someone who can explain to me my symptoms and why this might be happening — when I finally have someone who can communicate with me in a way that I understand, and be compassionate towards me, and work with me…Not just in the sense that “in this alternate reality,” but to actually put something into practice, and plan for a successful outcome. To realize that, it’s just amazing. It’s wonderful. 

How much did this treatment change your life?

When I say “game-changer,” it’s one of those things where, in my life, I was in a lot of pain and after that experience…getting my palette expanded, the braces, and everything moving into place — it really was a structural component. After I got out of braces, the tension was 70% less. When you have that relaxation of the tension and the muscles can contract and relax in a way that is neuromuscular-ly correct…I was able to incorporate exercises and do things that would reduce pain on down the kinetic chain. It was a game-changer from the top-down. I mean, I know a lot of times (I coach baseball), everything happens from the ground up! But, sometimes and in this case, it’s from the top down. She was really able to help me there. 

How was the office environment?

So, primarily I worked with Brenda and she was just great, always in a wonderful mood, and they recognized my positive energy and they basically added to it. It’s a synergistic environment. That’s what I’m always looking for in a team — for people who can support who I am. So, that was, for me, the biggest thing. The office supported me personally. 

Would you recommend Dr. Stanley’s TMJ treatment?

TMJ is not always a strictly teeth thing. But, if it is related to your bite and it’s related to your upper cervical spine, then…in my personal experience and having seen seven or eight experts, I would [recommend] seeing Dr. Stanley first. I would not go to an upper-cervical specialist. I would rule this out first. If it’s a teeth problem that’s affecting your cervical spine and the relationships there that cascade down your body, I would go here before I went to any neuromuscular dentist in the state of North Carolina.” 

we are open

We are reopening our office for elective procedures (including cleanings) on May 11th! While we’re very excited to see and help our patients again, we first wanted to quickly go over the precautions that we will be taking to keep you and your family as safe and healthy as possible.

At Stanley Dentistry, our responsibility to our patients is to provide the highest standards of dental office infection control. We consider protecting the health of our patients and our team our top priority.

It is important to us that our patients feel safe and well-cared for during their appointments. We have always maintained a high standard of cleanliness but we are now taking it a step further to curb the spread of COVID-19. In order to follow the infection control guidelines recommended by the ADA & NCDS, we are implementing some new protocols. When you come in for your appointment post-May 11th, you can rest assured that your overall health and well-being is our major concern. Below are our new sanitation guidelines.

COVID-19 Prevention Protocols

t scan

The technology our patients deserve

At Stanley Dentistry, we’re always updating our equipment to stay abreast of new technology. Although such transitions can be pricey, new technology is synonymous with a better and easier experience for the patient so it’s always worth it.

This past week, we invested in a new way to help diagnose occlusion (how your top and bottom teeth come together) related problems that can sometimes appear in services such as TMJ/TMD therapy and longterm cosmetics. With the Tekscan device, we can digitally check your bite, see if there are any occlusal imbalances (maybe your teeth aren’t connecting in one area but are connecting too harshly in another), and quickly get you set up with the correct treatment plan all in one appointment. The device easily and comfortably fits in the mouth. All the patient has to do is bite down. Within seconds, I have a scan of the mouth on my computer that shows me exactly where the patient’s bite needs some adjustment.

For TMJ treatment, this technology means a faster diagnosis. A faster diagnosis means, potentially, a faster route to pain-free living. For cosmetics (particularly veneers), Tekscan allows me to see problem areas before they become a problem. I can make adjustments to the veneers before you go home with them. This drastically reduces the likelihood of a veneer breaking and falling off a week or two after your appointment.

Once our office opens back up for elective procedures, our team will be experts on the Tekscan technology. We’ll keep you updated on openings/closures on our social channels so make sure to give us a follow (Facebook and Instagram)! We’ll see you soon!

We are open for emergencies and virtual consults

In response to the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, our office has decided to postpone all elective treatment until May 11th. Your health and wellness is always our number one priority. Elective treatment includes cleanings and new patient consultations. As always, we will still be open for emergencies and for major procedures that could not be rescheduled. We will also be conducting virtual consultations for people who would like to start their dental treatment while in the safety and comfort of their homes. Simply go to our Make an Appointment page and let us know that you’re interested in setting up virtual consultation. We will call you shortly to schedule.

Like our in-person consultations, our virtual consultations are 100% free. They offer patients some time with the doctors to ask questions about different procedures. The doctor may ask you to take some pictures of your smile so they can start putting together a customized treatment plan. Once our office opens back up, you can come in and immediately get started with whatever procedures the doctor has recommended.

Who should ask for a virtual consultation?

Unless you are experiencing an emergency, we recommend scheduling a virtual consultation at this time. We may not be able to give a diagnosis, but we will be able to answer some of your questions and begin your journey to a healthier, brighter smile. So many of our patients go into their first consultation thinking they need one thing and, after talking to the doctor, leave knowing they need something completely different. This virtual consultation is a time to clear the air and get both the patient and the doctor on the same page.

What platform are your virtual consultations on?

We understand that this is a challenging time for everyone. We’re more than willing to work with you when it comes to choosing a good platform for your virtual consultation. If you have an iPhone, we recommend using FaceTime. If that doesn’t work, we are open to using other platforms including Zoom and Skype.

We are also offering virtual consults that do not need to be scheduled. For these, you can simply send in a description of your smile along with a few pictures. One of our doctors will create a short video for you explaining a good course of treatment. If this style of consult interests you, please click here.

How do I schedule a virtual consultation?

This is the easy part! To schedule a virtual consultation with one of our doctors, you can either call 919-371-4454 or you can go to our Make an Appointment page and request one. We’ll handle it from there!

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