More Smiles Dental Spa Dentistry Blog | James A. Moreau, Jr., D.D.S.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where in the World is Dr. Moreau?

Perhaps the single greatest influencer in the evolution of our practice is continuing education. I'm not talking about the kind of CE where you sign in, get a donut, get the credits you need to fulfill licensing requirements, and go have some fun on office expense. I'm talking about rubber hits the road, sit on the front row and hang on every word kind of CE!
We have been fortunate in our practice development journey to have aligned with some very special groups of dentists who share comaraderie and a thirst for "better." We are living in a time in dentistry when some brilliant people have managed to find each other, put their vast amount of knowledge together, pool their seemingly limitless intellectual resources and literally start a revolution in how dentists can help their patients live more comfortably with properly functioning, healthy teeth, muscles, joints, and bone and look better at the same time. And, to Dr. Moreau's credit, he happened to find this group and tap into their energy.
Today, while we are at the International Association for Comprehensive Aesthetics conference, I've met dentists, spouses and team members from Russia, Canada, Australia, California, New Jersey, Dallas, Boulder, and somewhere in North Carolina. They come from around the globe, and they come not for the donut but for the experience of sitting in a lecture room that's electric with energy and passion for the shared pursuit of excellence in our chosen field.

It's well past midnight where I am, and I have another round of lectures beginning in just 7 hours. But I sit reviewing notes from the day's harvest of ideas. Thanks Dr. Gordon for your Learning Rules:

1. Don't believe everything you think (or you'll never learn anything new),
2. You can temporarily accept new ideas without believing them, and
3. Everything does not have to be done "my" way.

OK, so about this time last year, we were attending a meeting related to our use of the Waterlase MD laser, and I posted a "Where in the World..." picture representative of the meeting's locale. I invited readers to take a shot at guessing where we were. The first patient who correctly named our location received their next professional cleaning free of charge.

So here's the clue for our current location at IACA:

Does this picture look familiar to you? Any ideas where we are?

posted by MoreSmiles at 10:00 PM 0 comments

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back to Dentistry - K7 Scans, My Firsthand Account

Back in the office at full strength this week, I had Dr. Moreau hook me up to the K7 unit out of curiosity to see how it would read my jaw joint vibrations and track the open/close patterns of my lower jaw. While the photo at right may cause you to flinch a little, the only thing that was actually hurting here was my earrings. I should have taken them off first. The headgear sits comfortably balanced on the bridge of my nose and strapped around my head. The wires lead to electrodes that will pulse my muscles into relaxation with electrical stimulation and then measure the movements of my muscles, tension and fatigue. Pretty amazing science! (And, no, I am not asleep. I was reading a book while Dr. Moreau was interpreting the computer data.)

We already knew that I have an overbite, which means that when I bite on my back teeth, my front teeth completely close down over my lowers so you don't see the lowers at all. While I don't have the headaches and loud clicking and popping noises in my jaw joint that are frequently associated with his, I am a clencher and can tell that my front teeth (anteriors) are beginning to wear on each other since they touch well before my back teeth touch. We have been discussing my options for opening my vertical occlusion, but I suspected that my lack of obvious symptoms was masking the true urgency of my situation.

Experiencing the K7 for the first time as a patient, I was almost stunned by the insight rendered by a computer program relying on electrical impulses, electro-magnetic technology, and precision synchronicity. It truly goes beyond subjective and provides indisputable scientific proof of how the teeth, jaw joints and muscles work together for good or bad.
With electrodes strategically placed on the relevant muscles, I could watch on a computer monitor as the K7 accurately tracked the movements of my muscles under various circumstances and then translated that data into graphs that looked like a lie-detector test in 4 different colors.
Among other things, it confirmed that we will need to open the vertical dimension of my bite by probably about 4 mm instead of the 1 mm we previously suspected. And to tell you the truth, that feels about right to me. That's where my jaw feels most relaxed and comfortable and the fact that I tend to let my jaw rest there most of the time when I'm not talking or eating has probably saved me from more serious symptoms which will inevitably begin to manifest themselves in the future if left untreated.
So what now? We will repeat the scans and TENS me into a comfortable, relaxed bite. Then we'll make an orthotic for me to wear for several months to verify that we have the correct bite modeled and decide on the best way to stabilize that bite in a more vertical and permanent way, probably using a combination of onlays and orthodontics. So, stay tuned...
I'm excited that we have this technology at MoreSmiles...the very first in St. Tammany Parish for sure, and one of only a handful in the whole state. I know that we will be able to help more patients resolve TMJ disorders, get rid of headaches and neck aches, eliminate excessive wear of teeth, prevent breaking and chipping of natural teeth and restorations, and precisely complete full mouth restorations in a bite that will not only function properly and comfortably but will last a long time.

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posted by MoreSmiles at 9:45 AM 1 comments

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Be Prepared

On the way to Boy Scout camp, we made a slight detour to drop our girls and me at my parents' home in N. Alabama for the week. It was the first time I've been there since Christmas and it was mighty good to enjoy morning coffee on their brick patio in full view of the beautiful Oriental Lilies blooming in daddy's garden. Even had to put a sweater on a couple of mornings. We had a thoroughly enjoyable week with lots of family time with my siblings, nieces, nephews. We got to see cousin Kirk's new puppy, Roscoe, who I'm sure will be the mascot of the KA house at Univ. of Alabama by the first of September. Where else but Alabama can a kid buy a puppy at the flea market for $5.00? Kirk says he knows a flea market where you can actually buy goats and America! :-)

And, of course, I had my own two Maltese with me, walked 'em on a leash 3 times a day just like at home. But it was such a pleasure just having a change of scenery for our backdrop. How come they always seem to have so many more flowers in their gardens up there? I've decided that because in their beautiful historic district the yards are smaller than at home so it just seems like there's more in bloom. And their heat is not so oppressive and stifling as it is at home, so there are actually more than 3 different varieties of plant life that can thrive in the natural climate.

We visited Uncle T's farm where I learned what a Kubota is, and we ate BBQ at the lakehouse and then stretched out on an oversized couch for a satisfying nap while summer showers painted wavy patterns across Lake Guntersville. But I digress...

Sometimes it takes stepping back from the routine to really see things clearly and regain perspective. It is only then that you can lift your face from the proverbial grindstone and appreciate what lies beyond that which you can only see with reading glasses on.

And so it was at the end of a week of relaxation and renewal that Jim and I were truly reminded how precious and how fragile life is. He and the boys had returned from scout camp to rest for a night and pick up "the girls" before heading home the next day. I was driving us 10 minutes away to our new favorite shopping spot, me with visions of Brighton and J.Crew, he with dreams (as he napped) of Mountain High Outfitters.

As I exited the interstate and rounded the curve of the ramp to merge onto the 4-lane highway that leads to the new town center shopping area, I saw a small pickup stopped dead in my lane of traffic, debris spread all across the highway and then...another car in my peripheral vision came rotating out of a spin and bounced three times and settled to a stop on the right shoulder of the road facing back in our direction. All at once I realized that all of these elements translated to a very bad scene. I jolted Jim awake and told him there had been an accident. He ordered me immediately to the side of the road. Before I could even pull to a stop, he was jumping out the door with instructions to me to call 911.

He and an R.N. coming from the opposite direction were the first responders on the scene. As other passers-by raced to the scene, Jim asked who was trained and they quickly began to pool their collective resources. The nurse began assessing the passenger from the car who'd been ejected as her vehicle flipped and catapulted off the top of the pick-up truck. Jim went to the truck and, seeing that the passenger was unconscious, bleeding and covered in broken glass, he began talking to him to try to rouse him and evaluate his cognitive state. He sent another man back to our van to ask me for some emergency gear he had packed for Boy Scout camp. Meanwhile he was able to stabilize the injured man's neck, check his pulse and airways and talked the man to consciousness to the point he could give his name. Emergency vehicles were on the scene by then and quickly got to work, each man or woman about the business for which they are specially trained, working in concert around each other in unscripted, unchoreographed perfect harmony.

As the professionals stepped in and went to work, Jim backed out of the scene and began dusting glass from his hands. I gave my witness statement to the authorities, and then we were on our way and back about our business. The paper said the man was treated for his injuries and then released; the woman was not so fortunate.

It's an odd feeling to witness something such as that and find yourself inserted in that way into a total stranger's world. I'm proud and grateful that Jim has advanced life support training and enough experience to confidently and quickly jump to action. I'm sorry for the trouble and tragedy inflicted on those victims and their families. And I'm certain that whatever it cost us to be away from our office to spend that week with our children and other loved ones and hold them close was well worth it.

posted by MoreSmiles at 8:35 PM 0 comments

Monday, July 14, 2008

Boy Scouts Kidnap Dr. Moreau

If you tried to contact our office over the last week, you probably figured out that we were closed. A group of adventure-seeking Boy Scouts, namely Troop 111, kidnapped Dr. Moreau and held him hostage at an undisclosed location in the North Georgia wilderness.
Ok, wasn't quite that dramatic. They didn't actually kidnap him; he went voluntarily. And the undisclosed location, was Woodruff Scout Reservation in Blairsville, GA. Truth be known, this is the second year Dr. Moreau has served as a leader for his two sons' Boy Scout troop and accompanied them for this week of wilderness camping...and wild horses couldn't keep him away!
There was a time when we thought it impossible that we would ever be able to close the office and leave town for more than a long weekend. Being self employed, when he's not working, the office is shut is the income. Several years ago, as our kids all started getting older, we realized that this is the time of our lives. We have very limited time in this life to spend with our kids, impress our values upon them, create memories with them and show them what being a family is all about. This is, in fact, what life is all about. While we are both passionate about dentistry and the particular brand of dentistry we've nurtured for 27 years, our family is priority one.
So you'll forgive us if we were inaccessible for a week (though text messaging in the N. Ga. woods actually worked pretty well for handling a few emergencies back home while the boys were at work on merit badges :-). What a joy it is to watch our boys grow, learn new skills, become fine young men (as my paw-paw would say) their dad.

posted by MoreSmiles at 8:01 PM 0 comments

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