Arlington Dental Implant & Oral Surgery Center

My IRONMAN 70.3!

It has been a loooonnnggg 7 months of training. 7 months of getting up at 5:30 am after going to bed late at my personal training seminars, 7 months of leaving social events early to get enough rest to get up early and train.

Heading in early from the slopes and training out of breath AND at altitude! 7 months of working out on my family vacation to Florida. And then, in March, my race day in Puerto Rico had arrived. I finished 6 miles short as a bike malfunction added over 30 min to my time, rendering me to miss the cutoff. I was devastated.

That morning I thought my biggest hurdle would be overcoming the sheer terror of open water swimming.

But if there is one thing that I have learned in life, it is the true joy of being in the ring- competing, fighting, and failing. I have probably failed more than I have won- but I have taken on that very tenacious attitude- “NEVER GIVE UP.”

And so, on this May 5, with my parents there to support me, I successfully completed my first Ironman 70.3. The forecasters said, 80% chance of thunderstorms all day. It was muddy, it rained, but it certainly did not stop any of us.

I can’t describe the joy. Enough to start those first sparks of curiosity about taking on the full distance…! What is that thing you have always wanted to take on in YOUR life?

 

 

Work Life Balance of an Oral Surgeon

Despite the many virtues of being a health care professional, It is no secret that we are faced with higher stress levels than the average professional. While attempting to balance our personal and professional lives, it seems that our professional responsibilities always seem to take precedence over every other aspect of our being. After all we hold our patients very lives in the balance and therefore must always be thinking quickly and using our very best judgement.

There have been many articles that have been written regarding the “burnout of the healthcare professional”. A quick query on google yielded me with 112 articles written over the last 30 years. Specifically only five of those articles addressed the “burnout of an Oral Surgeon”.

Oral surgeons have a fuzzy role with one foot in medicine and another firmly in dentistry. While managing in-office patient care along with frequent hospital calls and visits of ER emergencies,  a planned free weekend with family and friends can turn into a 5 hour hospital room operating case for the on call oral surgeon and no sleep. Most oral surgeons will not even think about whether or not they are in network for that patient, we take care of the situation, and deal with insurance and reimbursement on Monday morning. Often to discover that we do not participate with the insurance plan.

Not much has been written on the specific impact these stressors can have on the oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  There is a conflict between running a business, with the expenditures including payrolls, rents, equipment costs and professional licensure fees, and on the other hand, a human being who may or may not be able to pay.

For me I have learned to find balance in the little things in life. A weekend getaway to my favorite ski resort, giving back to my community, hanging out with my pet parrot Kiko, spending time with my family and friends, and my second “home away from home” – the Landmark Forum- where creating new possibilities for people, bring me the greatest sense of joy and peace.

I am out to transform health care so that we can give care to every human being, and costs are managed and reasonable. It starts with each and every one of us- looking to make a difference and striving to answer to my higher calling to heal. At the end of the day, we hope to achieve a balance where we were able to make the difference for a human being and maneuver through the complex financial aspects of insurance for patients.  The privilege of being there in someones worst hour is always worth the sacrifice.

While it is still quite the balancing act, the art of helping others was and is the reason that I decided to embark on this ever changing journey of an oral surgery, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The Narcotics Crisis and the Role of Dental Providers- What You Can Do to Make an Impact

On January 25th 2019 Dr. Patel was given the huge opportunity to be a guest speaker for the Northern Virginia Dental Society. It was an amazing opportunity to spread the word to our dental community as to how what we providers do, day to day, to make an impact in keeping teenagers opiate- naive.

It was a candid and at times heart wrenching discussion about the true impact of the crisis. Decisions we make every day as providers can have a tremendous ripple effect in permanently altering the future of the opiate epidemic until it becomes a distant memory.

Dr. Patel is committed to the de-stigmatization of addiction, and to the eradication of this crisis.

The power of compassionate listening

We as a team delivered a huge “win” in my book this week. We experienced a patient that to us all just seemed unjustifiably upset over us running late for her promised time.

Of course, we were assisting an emergency patient at the time who threw us into a later than promised pattern. Naturally we felt justified in our broken word, and she felt upset over our disregard for her promised time.

I would not say we did anything magical here. What we did, was simply acknowledge our broken promise of seeing her on time. We then listened without our “filter” of our concerns, but rather, listened to her out of being 100 percent responsible for her upset and our broken promise.

After I had left the office, the patient was talking over her care with my office manager. She ultimately was in tears and shared a life circumstance that was jarring. She had been injured by a driver under the influence, and was, at the prime of her life, inflicted with a life altering injury.

Together, my team and I have been through courses such as the Landmark Forum, and have been able to institute a new way of thinking and relating to our patients. Not just as a medical record number or a dental issue. But as a whole and complete being. Through these courses and our efforts to install them as daily practices here in the office, we are able to build a doctor patient relationship that allows our patients to feel a whole new level of trust and compassion.

Now there is no amount of training that I received in residency, dental school or anyplace else that ever taught me compassion, and I especially never learned listening. In that moment I believe we healed her more than anything my hands or surgical procedures could achieve.

In a profession that is ever changing and highly stressful, where I am always on the go. Its sobering to know that aside from all of my well learned expertise. Just giving a listening ear can turn someones bad day into something great.

Treating Pain With Fewer Opioids

The nation’s addiction to opioids is part of a crisis plaguing communities across America and particularly the DC Metro Area. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid deaths have nearly tripled in the past 15 years.

But a possible antidote — created in New Jersey — could be part of the solution to the growing crisis.

“In the last year, we have treated over thousands of patients in the United States,” Pacira Pharmaceuticals CEO Dave Stack said. “So there’s very little doubt that we have had some modest impact on opioid epidemic.”

It was five years ago when the drug Exparel hit the market, with the local, long-lasting anesthetic designed to reduce pain in those tough few days after surgery. But the real selling point is that unlike Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycodone, Exparel is not an opioid.

“It has changed the way I think about treating patients from the beginning until the end. “I talk about pain medication differently. My patients understand pain medications and the risks differently.”

Opioid abuse is ravaging the country, killing nine Americans every day. Pacira Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, makes Exparel, fighting back against the growing epidemic by giving patients a non-opioid option.

The drug maker says Exparel can eliminates opoiod side effects like nausea and constipation. Also, it reduces the chance of yet another American potentially getting hooked on pain pills.

Dr. Patel is an active member of the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative and strongly suggests the use of Exparel to all of her patients postoperatively for the extraction of Wisdom teeth. Exparel, which manages pain for three or four days, works almost like a slow drip inside the body.

“If this can cut down on some of the addiction, deaths and overdoses, I highly recommend it,”.

This past September Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an Executive Order Establishing an Advisory Commission on Opioid Addiction. “It’s essential that we draw upon the knowledge and experience of experts and community partners from across Virginia in order to develop policies and interventions that will reduce the impact of addiction in the Commonwealth” Says Northam.

“I think what is really good is that patients are now understanding of the depth of the problem and are taking control of the their own healthcare and are demanding opioid-free or reduced opioid at least post-surgical treatment strategies, “And I am determined to give them this option”Says Dr. Patel.

Oropharyngeal & Oral Cancer

Worldwide, over 550,000 new cases of Oral, Head and Neck cancer are diagnosed each year.

oropharyngealcancerOropharyngeal cancer is slightly different from oral cancer. Oropharyngeal cancers are related to HPV (Human papilloma virus) and usually occur in the tonsils or at the base of the tongue, while oral cancers are in the mouth and usually associated with tobacco use.

The Oral Cavity

The oral cavity incudes the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, the gums, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the floor of the mouth below the tongue, and the bony roof of the mouth – also known as the hard palate.

The Orpharynx

Behind the wisdom teeth is considered the oropharynx, which is part of the throat just behind the mouth. It also includes the base of the tongue, the soft palate (back of the mouth), the tonsils, and the side and back wall of the throat.

Categories

Oral and Oropharyngeal cancers are sorted into 3 categories: Benign (non-cancerous), harmless growths that may develop into cancer, and cancerous tumors. This is why regular check-ups with your dental professional are key to your overall well-being.

The Team Involved

The treatment of head and neck cancers does not involve just your dental team, the assistance of many different professionals contributes is required. There may be surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and speech therapists all involved in your treatment.

Oral cancers are found as late stage three and four diseases about 66% of the time.

It is very important for you to check yourself at home as well as visiting your dentist.

Call Arlington Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to schedule your routine dental check up and oral cancer screening today at 703-566-1908.

Oropharyngeal & Oral Cancer

Worldwide, over 550,000 new cases of Oral, Head and Neck cancer are diagnosed each year.

oropharyngealcancerOropharyngeal cancer is slightly different from oral cancer. Oropharyngeal cancers are related to HPV (Human papilloma virus) and usually occur in the tonsils or at the base of the tongue, while oral cancers are in the mouth and usually associated with tobacco use.

The Oral Cavity

The oral cavity incudes the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, the gums, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the floor of the mouth below the tongue, and the bony roof of the mouth – also known as the hard palate.

The Orpharynx

Behind the wisdom teeth is considered the oropharynx, which is part of the throat just behind the mouth. It also includes the base of the tongue, the soft palate (back of the mouth), the tonsils, and the side and back wall of the throat.

Categories

Oral and Oropharyngeal cancers are sorted into 3 categories: Benign (non-cancerous), harmless growths that may develop into cancer, and cancerous tumors. This is why regular check-ups with your dental professional are key to your overall well-being.

The Team Involved

The treatment of head and neck cancers does not involve just your dental team, the assistance of many different professionals contributes is required. There may be surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and speech therapists all involved in your treatment.

Oral cancers are found as late stage three and four diseases about 66% of the time.

It is very important for you to check yourself at home as well as visiting your dentist.

Call Arlington Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to schedule your routine dental check up and oral cancer screening today at 703-566-1908.

Dental Implant Success

What do you use your teeth for? Eating, drinking, speaking, laughing, the list goes on! How are these affected when you have tooth loss?

Iimplantsuccessf you have missing teeth, you could be missing a lot! A very reliable and safe method for replacing teeth is dental implants.

Dental implants permanently attach prosthetic teeth to small posts or “roots” that are embedded in the jaw. These posts are made of titanium, and securely fuse to the jaw bone, this helps restore the full functionality of previously missing teeth.

Dental implants not only effectively and reliably replace missing teeth, but also help prevent the loss of jawbone density, restore the support of facial structures, and provide you with the support you need to effectively use your teeth.

The procedure for dental implants can be a quick and easy, and in some cases, can be done in a single day. Your implants become part of you, so they eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures. They also prevent the embarrassment of removing dentures at every snack or meal, as well as the need for denture adhesives.

Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain. Nearby teeth are not altered in order to support a dental implant, thus more of your own teeth are left intact, improving oral health in the long-term as well as your oral hygiene.

Dental implants are very durable, lasting several years, and if they are in good care, can last a lifetime.

Don’t miss out with missing teeth, get your smile back and feel better about yourself!

Here at Arlington Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery we specialize in dental implants, so give us a call today on Arlington Dental Implant & Oral Surgery Center Phone Number 703-566-1908 to discuss your future implant success!

How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Don’t be worried about your wisdom tooth extraction, let us outline the whole process for you:

Treatment Development

howarewisdomteethDuring late adolescence, wisdom teeth start to appear and occasionally are accompanied by oral pain, as well as an increased risk of dental issues such as pericoronitis, gum disease, and tooth decay. Through evaluation, your oral surgeon will determine the number of wisdom teeth present, as well as how they are developing in relation to the rest of your teeth. Using advanced imaging technology, an oral surgeon will discover if the teeth are partially or fully impacted, and then will create a strategic treatment plan in order to remove the teeth and ensure successful recovery.

Preparation

Although sedation is not always necessary, many patients have found anesthesia to be helpful in relaxation and reducing pain during the procedure. If sedation is chosen, there are certain preparations that must be made: patients must enlist the help of family or friends to bring them back home after their surgery.

The Procedure

Local anesthesia is applied to the area. Then, a surgical tool is used to reveal the bone and tooth. After the tooth is clearly visible, it is removed. Once the tooth is extracted, the gums and bone are left to heal.

Healing

Following the procedure, there may be some swelling in the tissue and cheeks near the treatment site. To promote a successful recovery, patients should avoid strenuous activity, smoking, and eating hard foods. Patients should not touch the treatment area with their tongue, or use straws, as this could potentially dislodge the developing blood clots and expose the area to food and bacteria.

Wisdom tooth extraction can be an uncomplicated procedure that ultimately will protect your long-term oral health. For more information about wisdom tooth extraction, schedule your consultation at Arlington Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today!

Wisdom Tooth Removal – Aftercare

Wisdom Tooth Removal - Aftercare

Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed is a serious surgical procedure, and post-operative care is extremely important! Read on for instructions on how to care for your sore mouth, and how to minimize unnecessary pain and complications.

Immediately Following Surgery

Keep a firm, yet gentle, bite on the gauze packs that have been placed in your mouth to keep them in place. You can remove them after an hour if the bleeding is controlled. If the surgical area continues to bleed, place new gauze for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Be careful!

Do not:
• Rinse vigorously
• Probe the area
• Smoke (hopefully you don’t!!)
• Participate in strenuous activities
You can:
• Brush gently (but not the area)
• Begin saltwater rinses 24 hours after surgery (mix 1 tbs of salt with 1 cup of water). Make sure to swish gently. These rinses should be done 2-3 times a day, especially after eating.

Enjoy some down-time!

Keep activity level to a minimum! Enjoy a day of couch or bed-rest, as being active could result in increased bleeding. Avoid exercise for 3-4 days, and when you do begin exercising again, keep in mind your caloric intake has been reduced so you may feel weaker.

Bleeding

As you’ve just had surgery, some bleeding will occur and it’s not uncommon to ooze blood for 24-48 hours after your procedure. REMEMBER-the blood you see is actually a little blood mixed with saliva, so don’t panic!
If excessive bleeding persists:
1. Try repositioning the packs. They may not be putting enough pressure on the site.
2. Sit upright and avoid physical activity.
3. Use an ice pack and bite on gauze for one hour.
4. You can also try biting on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes (the tannic acid in tea promotes blood clotting).
5. If bleeding persists, please call our office at 703-566-1908.

Pain

Unfortunately, some pain is to be expected after surgery. Try not to let the anesthetic wear off before taking your prescribed pain medication. Dr. Patel will have discussed a plan to manage your pain, make sure you follow these instructions.

Diet

Eat nourishing food that takes little effort.
Avoid:
• Extremely hot foods
• Straws (for the first few days)
• Chewing (until tongue sensation has returned)
• Smaller foods that can become stuck in the socket area
• Skipping meals—while eating may seem like a lot of work, you need your nourishment to be able to heal and feel better!

Day 2 and 3 Following Surgery

Swelling

Swelling is a completely normal occurrence. Keep in mind, swelling will usually be at it’s worst in the 2-3 days after surgery. You can minimize swelling by applying a cold compress (covered with a towel) firmly to the cheek next to the surgical area. Apply the pack with 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off for the first 24-48 hours. Also make sure to take the medication prescribed by Dr. Patel. This helps with pain and swelling.

Keeping your mouth clean

Keeping your mouth clean is very important! Continue saltwater rinses as often as you’d like, but at least 2-3 times a day. Begin your normal oral hygiene (remember to brush softly and don’t do anything that hurts)!

Healing

Everyone heals differently, but your timeline should look similar to this:
1. Day 1-2 will be the most uncomfortable and you will experience some swelling.
2. Day 3 you should be more comfortable and while still swollen, you should be able to begin a more substantial diet.
3. Day 4 and on you should see a gradual and steady improvement.

Other Normal Things

• Discoloration. Bruising is a normal post-operative occurrence you may notice 2-3 days after surgery.
• Stiff jaw muscles. You may find it difficult to open your mouth wide in the days following your surgery. This is normal and usually resolves itself within a week after surgery. Stretching these muscles may help to speed up recovery.
Since no two mouths are alike, do not take advice from friends (even well-intended advice could cause a healing set-back). The advice given to you from Dr. Patel and the Arlington Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery team are tailored to fit your needs. Please call us at 703-566-1908 if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. Happy healing!