Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Club Starfish at OASECT!

One more reason to love visiting us here at Orthodontic Associates of Southeastern Connecticut: Club Starfish!

We recently launched our new club just for patients who aren’t quite ready for braces just yet!

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit the orthodontist by the age of 7 for a growth and development assessment. Club Starfish is an exciting club for patients in our practice who are destined for full braces one day, but who aren’t quite there just yet. Club Starfish is open to all OASECT patients who have completed a new patient exam and are seeing Drs. Kozlowski, O’Leary, and Hack growth and development observation appointments.

Growth and development appointments are important for monitoring your growth and determining the perfect time to initiate your orthodontic treatment. At these important observation appointments we want to ensure that your jaws are growing as expected, your teeth are erupting as anticipated, and that your bite is developing correctly. The cool part is we can monitor your growth before we even place braces on your teeth.

Club Starfish also welcomes patients who have completed a first phase of treatment with a second phase around the reef!

Club Starfish members receive their own special tee shirt and an awesome Club Starfish Passport with lots of opportunities to earn Sand Dollar Rewards, which can be redeemed for cool prizes like activity books, something from our toy chest, movie tickets, or gift cards!

Some examples of things you can do to earn Sand Dollar Rewards are:

Completing a New Patient Exam

Wearing your Club Starfish shirt to your observation appointment

Becoming our fan on facebook

Reading 10 books between appointments

Losing a baby tooth

Participating on a sports team

Earning an A on your report card

And many more!

Here is our VERY FIRST Club Starfish member, Tahir!

Don’t miss out on all the fun! Join Club Starfish at your next appointment! “Sea” ya soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Goodbye Gooey Impressions: Cadent iOC system powered by iTero!

Back in 2002, when I got braces on, taking an alginate impression in order to produce study models was de rigueur for orthodontic treatment. I don’t remember the exact procedure for taking them, but I do remember really NOT liking it. The impression material was gooey, had to be in my mouth for much longer than I liked, and was a bit gag-inducing. For those without a strong gag reflex, it isn’t so bad, but for me? Let’s just leave it at not pleasant.

Fast forward nearly 10 years, and enter a cutting edge technology- the Cadent iOC digital impression system powered by their iTero scanner - and we just got two of them here at Orthodontic Associates of Southeastern Connecticut- We will be using them for new patients starting treatment with us!

Our clinical assistants have been busy training to learn to use the iTero scanners, and I volunteered to let Diane practice scanni
ng on me so that I could tell you all about the experience! I’m writing this to explain the patient experience, as I am one of the team members here at OASECT with very little clinical knowledge-I do technology management here so I work almost exclusively managing our computer equipment and network.

Let me start off by saying that I am a big baby when it comes to my teeth. I have hated going to the dentist ever since I was a child and had a really traumatic tooth extraction. So I went into it a little apprehensive, but curious nonetheless.

Diane explained to me that essentially, what she would be doing is taking images of each individual tooth, my bite
, and palate, and putting them together like a puzzle. The iTero scanner uses both optical and laser scanning technology to create a 3D virtual replica of your teeth. There is NO radiation, as it is not an x-ray, and provides a more accurate and precise model of your teeth than conventional impressions ever could.

I leaned back into the chair and took a deep breath:
Diane began with my lower left teeth, worked her way to the lower front center, then continued with the lower right and worked towards the lower front center on that side.

After the lower arch was completed, she began on the upper arch, followed by the bite on each side. Finally, she finished by taking scans of my upper palate to complete the digital model.

The iTero scan was very, very cool. It was almost unreal to watch as my teeth appeared on the screen. Diane explained each step to me as she was doing them, so I was able to understand how what she was doing translated into the digital model that appeared before me. The screen showed a real time image of my teeth and what the scanner was going to capture, and as she scanned each section it was automatically built into the digital model. See it as it happens here:

It was way more comfortable than a traditional impression; the only thing I really noticed was that the iTero blows air to help keep tooth surfaces dry as you are scanning- so you will definitely want a sip of water when you are done.
Here is what a finished digital impression looks like:

Pretty cool, huh?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Personal Protective Equipment

PPE should be provided to all staff members in the dental office. Along with training on the use of the appropriate PPE for tasks or procedures the employee will perform. It is highly encouraged for all employees to to use the PPE which has been provided for their safety.

The types of PPE typically provided to employees of a dental practice are as follows: Examination gloves, eye protection (shields/goggles), masks, lab jackets with snap up fronts and cloth at wrists, long pants and shirts.

All staff need to be aware of the location of the personal protective equipment in the office. OASECT strongly encourages employees to use the PPE that has been provided to them. It is also highly recommended that ...

*Hands are washed immediately or as soon as feasible after removal of gloves or other PPE. We also have automatic no touch hygiene stations throughout all of our office locations.

*Removal of PPE after it has become contaminated, and before leaving the work environment. Used PPE can be placed in a laudry receptacle labeled "Biohazard". The items stay there until laundered.

*Wear appropriate gloves when it can be reasonably anticipated that there may be contact with blood or OPIM (other potentially infectious materials). Clearly gloves need to be worn for all patient care in the clinical areas of the office.

*Gloves be replaced if torn, punctured, contaminated, or if their ability to function as a barrier is compromised.

*Never was or attempt to decontaminate disposable exam gloves for reuse.

*Wear appropriate eye and face protection when splashes, sprays, spatters, or droplets of blood pose a hazard to the eyes, nose, or mouth. If you have been in the field for a while it is probable you got splashed a time or two while dropping instruments into the untrasonic cleaner. This probably was a good reminder to wear your protection.

Does everyone in the office know the location of the eyewash station, first aid kit, and epinepherine (epi-pen)? If not, they should by the end of your next staff meeting. The eyewash station should be tested annually and your first aid kit should have non expired components. Have a staff member delegated to check these areas. Universal Precautions must be used in all direct patient care and procedures performed of course. Universal Precautions refers to a set of precautions designed to prevent HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens in a healthcare setting. Wipe down,use barriers, and sterilize the same for all patients. Universal precautions are procedure specific, not patient specific. Disease Transmission is a lenghy topic and books have been written on this subject. I will try to summerize disease transmission in the dental office. Disease producing microorganisms that may be harmful are called pathogens. Infection control is the primary means of disease containment in the dental office. All staff members need to have a clear understanding of the following both in theory and clinically...Handwashing, vaccinations, barriers, sterilization, and disinfection. There are many forms of disease transmission. I think one of the most common aspects is means of transmission. Simply put, how diseases are spread. There are three ways. Direct contact: transmission by touching an infected individual (unprotected). Aireborne transmission: the pathogenic microorganism is inhaled by the host (person). A sneeze, aerosol from the highspeed handpiece, etc... Cross Contamination: basically this is when contaminated surfaces (door knob, gloved hand, instruments) come into contact with the host. Are you taking intraoral photos on patients and then passing the camera to an unsuspecting co-worker? Are you carrying the chart to the front desk staff with contaminated gloves?
Handwashing is one of the most critical steps for reducing disease transmission and infection control in the dental office. There are specific incidences when hand should be washed which include:

*when hands are visibly soiled.

*before donning gloves and after removing gloves.

*after non gloved hand touches an inanimate object or surface likely to be contaminated by blood, saliva, or other potential infectious materials.

*before and after treating each patient.

Alcohol based hand rubs are great for several reasons. They save time and reduce the use of paper. These units can be placed almost anywhere and come with a "no touch" dispenser.

I start with "hand hygiene" because it is simple and everyone knows how to do it! We tend to get caught up in the busy day of customer service, scheduling, & the hustle and bustle of the clinic that we need to remind ourselves of some of the things that are OSHA recommended. An annual review of OSHA policies in the office is a great idea to keep everyone current.