Dr. Paul Milo Covers Maternity Leave at Sturgeon Bay Practice

Dr. Gina Grenfell, owner and primary care dentist at our Sturgeon Bay location, is due to deliver her third child at the beginning of October.  While she is on maternity leave we are pleased to announce that Dr. Paul Milo will be joining our team as the interim dentist.

Dr. Milo is a graduate of Purdue University and obtained his dental degree from Indiana University School of Dentistry. He grew up in Hammond, Indiana and has been a resident of Munster, Indiana for the past 30 years. Dr. Feit will also be in the office on a part-time basis providing care during this time, as well as Dr. John Sledge from the Sister Bay office. 

Dr. Gina will be back to work on a regular basis starting at the beginning of 2019. and plans to also be in the office a few days in December. If you have an appointment while Dr. Gina is on leave please know you are in great hands with the team of dentists that will be filling in for her.

What Type Of Dental X-rays Will I Need And How Often?

Recently we had a new patient mention that they enjoyed our dental practice and the service they received, but felt like we took more x-rays and intraoral pictures then they had in the past. This got us thinking that may be other patients share this feeling, so we felt it was important to take some time to explain why we do what we do.

As trained dental professionals we know how essential x-rays and intraoral pictures are to making an educated diagnosis. Through x-rays we can see your bone, roots, in-between the teeth and also detect any possible abnormalities such as oral cancers or blocked arteries depending on the x-ray we take. In order to know what is going on in areas we can’t see with the human eye we need these images to best serve the needs of our patients.   

So what type of x-rays can you expect to receive at Dentistry by Design and how often? That depends on if you are a current or new patient. We follow the ADA recommendations for x-rays and as an existing patient at our Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay or Algoma practice it is recommended to have the following.

Bitewings are taken yearly and are the small tabs that you bite on that holds the x-ray film in place.  These x-rays help us see between the teeth and catch possible issues in areas that may not be detected by a general oral exam.

FMX, otherwise known as a full mouth series, is also a type of x-ray you can expect to receive every 5 years depending on the patient.  An FMX consists of 18 different pictures of your teeth achieved by biting down on films that are placed inside your mouth similar to the bitewings.

Panorex (Pan), which is a Panoramic x-ray, is also done every 5 years depending on the patient.  This involves biting down on a straw-like appliance while a scanner rotates around your head taking one image.  Should you need to see us for a dental emergency it is our protocol to take another Pan of the affected area to identify the source of the problem, but this is case specific.

In some cases we will also take pictures of your teeth with our intraoral camera.  This is a tool that our dentist can maneuver inside your mouth to get different angled images of your teeth and gums. These images are displayed during an appointment on a monitor screen in either the exam room or consult room for our patients to see.  This comes in extra helpful when showing a crack in a tooth or separation between a filling and tooth.  It is also helpful to show before and after’s of restoration procedures like changing out a metal amalgam filling to composite resin filling (tooth colored).

For new patients x-rays can be transferred upon their request from a previous dentist to our office. If they are good quality and have been taken in the past 5 years, chances are we won’t need to take them again. However, if we feel they aren’t the quality we need we will take new ones to get a clear picture of the current state of your oral health.  For new patients that require updated imaging, they will receive an FMX and a Pan as part of our new patient special and going forward be under the recommendations listed above as a Dentistry by Design patient.

When talking about x-rays people understandably want to know how much radiation they will be subjected to.  To give you an idea, according to the American Dental Association, a FMX full mouth series is equivalent to a couple days of environmental radiation exposure. To reduce exposure even more we use a lead apron and sometimes a lead thyroid collar. A great resource on this can be found on the ADA website https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/x-rays .

We hope this article provides clarity on the use of x-rays at our Dentistry by Design practices. Remember not everyone’s needs are the same when it comes to your oral health so x-ray frequency, recall frequency, and the like, may differ. 

What Does Proactive Dentistry Mean Anyway?

If you are a patient at either our Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay or Algoma practice, you may have heard us refer to our type of dentistry as ‘proactive dentistry’, well what does that really mean anyway?  For us it means honestly addressing potential issues before they become painful and problematic.  Getting to the root of the problem and taking care of it in the best way possible for long-term success.  Yes, many times this puts the expense on the front end, but in the long run it saves you from being in pain, spending more money than you need to and more time in the dentist chair than you should. It’s definitely a different way of approaching your dental care.

Let’s put it into perspective. If you come into our office for an appointment and we notice that you have some separation between your tooth and its filling, we see it as our responsibility to inform you of this and make a plan of action to correct it, even if it is not causing you pain or discomfort at the moment.  By replacing the filling when the problem is found, you remove the opportunity for bacteria to slowly creep into the opening over time and cause infection.  Once infection has set in the procedures to correct the problem are more in-depth and costly then doing a replacement filling when the separation was first noticed.

 Cycle of Dental Neglect Dentistry By Design Door County Dentist(Infographic courtesy of Smiles in the Gardens)

Often we have patients come to us and say “Well, why didn’t my previous dentist see that?” To be honest, there are many factors for this. Did it happen in the time since you were last seen by a dentist?  Do they use an inter-oral camera that can see what is hard for the human eye to see?  Was your dentist keeping an eye on the issue in an effort to save you money at the time? Dentists have different beliefs when it comes to diagnosing and suggesting treatment, it doesn’t mean one is better than the other, patients just need to be on the same page with their provider.

At our practices we feel it is essential to long-term oral health to be proactive as opposed to reactive.  It is our practice policy to tell you upfront what we see, give you a plan of attack and suggest steps to have it addressed.  Of course the next step is always up to our patients, but we are always going to passionately suggest doing what is best for your overall oral health.

History of Dentistry by Design’s Volunteer Days

Dentistry by Design’s “Volunteer Days” began back in 2014 as a way to utilize the skills of our team members to give back to those in our community. We strive to have three volunteer days per year at each of our locations; Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay and Algoma.  On each of these days our team members, who previously agreed to volunteer a half day, come in on their day off to see patients for dental cleanings and various procedures. What makes this day different from any regular clinic day is that not only is our team volunteering their time, but they donate two-thirds of the funds they receive to the community.

“When the team donates their time, it eliminates our greatest expense. We then take two-thirds of that half day’s production and donate it back to the community. We retain a third to cover expenses like lab fees and supplies that pertain to that specific day, but nothing more. With donated time and expertise and only having to cover costs we incur from outside sources we are able to make a more impactful donation.” states DBD Controller, Teri Hooker.

Sturgeon Bay Dentists, Sister Bay Dentists and Algoma Dentists Give Back to Their CommunityOur volunteer days were established as a result of an unsuccessful attempt to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity. Dr. Paul Feit states, “Originally we wanted to get a crew of DBD team members together to help build a house for a family in need, but due to conflicting schedules and weather challenges our team was unable to help build in 2014. We all felt strongly about giving back so we decided that the best way to do so was to utilize our professional talents. We presented the idea and our amazing team jumped on-board right away. It is a great way to help organizations like Habitat and individuals in our area in need in a way that fits into our busy schedules.”

Our volunteer days are a collaboration between our team members and patients. Since the inception of the program in 2014 we have been able to donate more than $52,000 to various organizations and individuals and families in need in the Door County and Kewaunee County communities. The donation recipients from each volunteer day are collectively agreed upon by our DBD team members.

Some of the organizations that have received funds from our volunteer days, since 2014 include Backpack Buddies, Bark for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin, Boys and Girls Club of Door County, Door County 4K & 5K Teachers, Door County High School Senior Banquets, Door County Veteran’s Council, Friends of Crescent Beach, Go Bo Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, HELP of Door County, Loaves & Fishes, Neighbor to Neighbor, Northern Door Children’s Center, Open Door Bird SanctuaryRonald McDonald House CharitiesRoots Revival, Special Olympics, Sturgeon Bay Kiwanis ClubThe Ridges Sanctuary, and United Way of Door County.

Numerous individuals and families who have fallen on hard times and/or facing major health challenges have also received donations, however out of respect for their privacy we do not list them.

The success of our volunteer days wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful team members who give freely of their time and talents as well as our amazing patients who schedule their treatment on these days, it is a collective effort by all that benefits our friends and neighbors!

Get To Know Our Dental Hygienists

October is Dental Hygiene Month and the people that play a very important role in your dental hygiene are dental hygienists.  We thought it would be fun for you to get to know the hygienists here at DBD a little better.  All month long we will be highlighting them, one by one, and having them answer a few questions about themselves.

Courtney Londo Dental Hygienist for Sturgeon Bay Dentists of Dentistry By Design

First up is Cortney Londo.  Cortney was born and raised in the southern part of Door County and has been a part of the Sturgeon Bay DBD team for 6 years.

What is your favorite part about being a dental hygienist?
– The people.  I love hearing about their hobbies and travel experiences.  I’ve traveled to many places I had never heard of until a patient had recommended it.  I learn so much from my patients.

What’s your best dental hygiene tip other than brushing/flossing daily?
– Diet.  Avoid drinking a lot of sugary drinks.  You can have good brushing and flossing habits but if you’re drinking soda all day long you’re going to get cavities.

What is something about you that very few people know?
– I’m probably one of the few people in the U.S. that doesn’t like bacon.

If you weren’t a dental hygienist what would you be?
– A photographer.  I would love to travel the world taking photographs of the landscapes and wildlife.  In reality though, I would probably be a wildlife biologist.