Monday, March 12, 2012

Let Go!!!!

Stress is a huge contributor to poor health.  It affects the immune system, sleep, relationships, etc.

In our society, we must always appear stoic and in control (I am speaking from experience, of course).  This is a grand illusion!

While we are trying to appear to the world that we have ourselves together, we internalize the stress. It is inevitable that we clench our teeth.  I see signs of clenching and grinding in approximately 70 percent of my patients.  This is commonly termed "TMJ". The correct terminology is TMD, or temporal mandibular disorder.  But when someone says they think they have "TMJ", I understand that they are telling me that they have problems with their TMJ's.

I observe wear or cracks on teeth, gum recession, mobile teeth, and/or advancing gum disease.  I observe clicking, popping or locking of the jaws.  I treat people that tell me that they get "stress" headaches with various levels of frequencies or have sensitive teeth.

I do esthetic work to improve my patient's smiles usually because their front teeth are worn down (their teeth look "old") and want a more "youthful" smile.

I usually ask my patient's if they notice if they are clenching or grinding their teeth.  Most deny the habit until I give them my definition.

Your teeth should only touch each other if you are in the process of chewing food.

As I give this definition, I watch them unclench their clenched teeth and laugh with them as they discover their unconscious destructive habit.

The process to fix this is multi - factorial.  I can help with the physical portion.  I can create "bite splints" that can help shut down muscle activity, and create an ideal bite through various dental modalities. Sometimes we utilize other resources like chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, nutrition counseling, etc., to help.

But if the patient is to get better, they must change their behavior. To do this, they must address the root of the problem...the stress.

The most rewarding aspect of my practice happens when my patients tell me that our conversation alerted them to how the stress in their lives had starting to become a problem.  I have had patients end bad relationships, change jobs or careers, stop abusing drugs or alcohol, the list goes on and on.

The mental, emotional and spiritual aspects are addressed too!

Everyone needs a way to find peace within their lives.  Once again, in my experience, that peace is found when we look inward.  Everyone has a purpose in this world for the time that we are here.  Once we tap into that inner voice, we find passion and bliss.  A zeal to make every moment matter.

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be..." Lao Tzu -Tao Te Ching -

Let Go....and stop clenching your teeth!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Social Media - Friend or Foe?

Social Media is a major medium/distraction in today's society.  I have always tried to use it as a conversation to the world about snippets of ideas and inspirations that roll around in my head.  I use it as a form of expression.  I can't ever remember posting negativity or smearing reputations of others.

I have Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and Google+ accounts. I usually only post/read my fb account.

When "friends" are stuck in constant negativity, or post things I don't particularly agree with, I ride it out for a while.  Then, if it continues and it is dragging me down, I chose to not read their posts anymore.  The beauty of this medium is I can choose to not follow if I don't want to.

This blog site allows me to expand further on thoughts that I want to develop and put it "out there" for the world to see, think or maybe even start a respectful, perhaps intelligent conversation about our views. It is a place to express my authentic version of me and my viewpoints/passions.  

I am grateful when people are compelled to post back and join in on the conversation in either medium. When someone posts back, it is apparent that I struck a nerve that they identify with and then they courageously agree, expand the thought, or disagree with me.

There was an recent incident in California that makes me very uncomfortable.  A dentist was accused on fb that he was abusing/torturing his patients.  Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't.  An angry parent started a facebook page entitled, "I Hate Dr. X. of California"  The parent then went on to invite his circle of friends to start bashing the dentist.  500 plus people joined in on the fun.  This went on for a week or so.  Next, they started picketing outside his office with disparaging signs.  The media joined in inviting the parent and the dentist to do television and radio interviews. The dentist remained silent until he finally went on a radio interview to "explain" what happened.  He was immediately served a lawsuit for violating HIPPAA - the patient privacy act that ensures doctor-patient confidentiality.

Judging by the angry and vindictiveness of the mob, my guess is that the dentist was not connecting well with his patients.  I don't know him or how he practices, but from an outsider's perspective, his communication style was not resonating with his patients.

It seems that he is one of the only dentists in the area taking medicaid.  By being a medicaid provider, he is filling a need in the community for low cost care.  This service, for many patients is their only option for dental care.

Every single dentist that I know has a strong tie to the community that they serve.  They happily give their services to those in need on their own terms. Almost all of them do it without any expectations or financial renumeration.  In fact, any services that we do for free cannot be written off on our taxes.  It is done out of our personal obligation to serve the needs of the community.

I hope that this dentist makes the necessary changes in his practice to allow him to connect better with his patients - if he still has a practice....

Let's keep things civil in the social media world! Please use it as a tool to spread peace, love and understanding - not as a way to ruin lives and careers.