A Gift is Gone

heart in the sky - saying goodbye

It is with profound sadness that I write this July message.

While away on a summer holiday in June, I received notice that a friend and colleague passed away from cancer.

I have wrestled with whether to even write about this as I do not want to be disrespectful to the surviving family and to the memory of this great human being.  In the end, I figured if I wrote from my heart, without mentioning names, then I could share this sad news and what I am feeling with my family, friends and patients without violating privacy.  This way, those of you who knew and loved her will now know of her passing.

I referred virtually all of my patients who needed to see a dentist over the last eight years to Dr. T.   She fitted them in promptly, staying late if needed and always took care of their immediate needs.  She never over-treated and I trusted her; she cared for everyone with love and respect.

I don’t suppose for a minute that practicing the way that Dr. T did would have been easy!  She cared about her patient’s entire health and well-being, not just their mouth.  She challenged many of the current standards of practice that are prevalent in dentistry today and using true informed consent and consent to treatment, educated her patients about the potential side-effects and dangers of certain treatments.  Ultimately, she challenged us all to be better informed about the choices we make and then allowed us to make the best decisions for ourselves with her help.

In reflection over the last few weeks, I find myself ruminating over a phrase that keeps circling around into my head:

She gave so much to others that there was nothing left for her.

In eight years, I never had one patient who was unhappy with the care that they received from Dr. T.  She was a rare combination of honesty, patience, technical ability and intuition.  Often, we find one or two traits that we desire in one health care professional and then a few more in another, often causing us to flip/flop and move around.  It is difficult to find that elusive package where all of our needs are met with one person.

Dr. T was the real deal, she “was” that complete package – a gift I would say – and she will be greatly missed.

Until next time,

Kathleen

Laughter

Dentist.

My third intention word for 2016 is LAUGHTER.

For those of you who know me personally, you may know that I am a rather serious person and am not given to an easy-going approach to life in general.  I am passionate about everything I do, and while this can be a wonderful personality trait, sometimes I know that I just need to lighten up and laugh a little!

In researching laughter I have found a multitude of studies that generally come to the same basic conclusions about the benefits of laughter:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces stress hormone levels
  • Fun abdominal workout
  • Improves cardiac health
  • Boosts T cells
  • Triggers the release of endorphins
  • Produces a general sense of well-being

Continue reading

Silence

finger on her lips. silence gesture

My second Intention Word for 2016 is SILENCE!

I did not realize how noisy this world was until I quit my job in mainstream dentistry some eight years ago and began to focus on creating silence in my life as part of my healing.

I had worked in an open-concept dental office for roughly eighteen years where the sounds of high-speed drills, ultrasonic scalers, televisions, telephones, doorbells and people talking bombarded and permeated the race-against-the-clock practice of modern dentistry were common every day noise. Continue reading

My 3 Intention Words for 2016

Enough is enough text on blackboard

I want to thank my good friend Karen Armstrong at Inside Out for sharing her New Year’s tradition of picking three words that reflect the energy that the New Year is bringing forth for her and making these her Intention Words for the coming year.

I have decided to adopt Karen’s idea for myself this year because of its simplicity, and the fact that it does not necessitate setting goals or making resolutions.  I am a very goal-oriented person both personally and professionally and while this has helped greatly in the past to keep me on track with my vision of success, I know it is time to take a break in 2016 and coast for awhile.  For those of you who know me, coasting is not in my vocabulary so this is really going to be a challenge.  However, I am turning 60 this year, and as I enter into this next chapter of my life the universe is gently prodding me to take a break, to rest a bit and just be.

So here are my Intention Words for 2016: Continue reading

Dental Decay is a Systemic Disease: Part 2

Boy with apple

As I mentioned last month, there is a rather shocking conclusion to the research that Ralph Steinman did involving diet and tooth decay.

Firstly, what is simply profound to me as a dental professional is that they observed the tracers that they used in the food show up within the rat’s teeth minutes after they ate!  I want to stop here and have everyone reflect on this for just a moment:

Food eaten affected the teeth almost immediately!!! Continue reading

Dental Decay is a Systemic Disease

16185424_sAre you one of those many people who brushes and flosses religiously only to be told you have yet another cavity when you visit the dentist for a check-up?

Please don’t despair as there is more to the story!

According to research published in the late 1960’s by the late Nobel Laureate Dr. Ralph Steinman; Dental Decay is a Systemic Disease.  What that means to you who are frustrated and confused is that there is more you can do to help yourself because dental decay is related to the health of the Whole Body. Continue reading

Periodontal Disease May Delay Conception

Floss for Fertility

Oral care in pregnancyA new Australian study involving 3416 pregnant women has shown that periodontal disease may delay the time needed for conception an average of two months.

University of Australia researchers found that women with gum disease need an average of seven months to become pregnant while the average is around five months for women with healthy gums.

Periodontal Disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones that support the teeth.  Previous studies have linked gum disease with a number of other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, respiratory ailments, low birth weight/pre-term babies and impotence in men. Continue reading

Pregnant Woman’s Gingivitis Caused Baby To Be Stillborn

The Oral-Systemic Connection: Part 4

For the first time ever scientists have been able to establish a link between bacteria from an expectant mother’s gums to an infection that caused the stillbirth of her full-term infant.

This case study was published in the January 21/2010 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology after a 35-year old Californian woman contacted scientists from Case Western University  to start an investigation into the death of her unborn child.  Having read an earlier study by these same scientists where they discovered that an oral bacteria called Fusobacterium Nucleatum  could cross the placenta in mice this woman began to question if this specific bacteria could have spread from her bloodstream  to her placenta and caused the death of her unborn child. Continue reading