Smile More Challenge 2017: Take Time to Make Your Soul Happy

Take time to make your soul happyWe’re all looking for more reasons to smile. This year, we’re sharing simple challenges to help guide us into a practice of smiling more and bringing happiness to the world, whether towards ourselves, loved ones, the patient community at A Perfect Smile, or friends throughout Maine.

Barbecues and beach days are all we can think about this summer! The weather has been gorgeous and we’re spending every moment we can outside!

We all know that summertime in Maine goes by fast, so this week’s #SmileMore Challenge is to slow down,  savor the moment, and take time to make your soul happy. What is your heart telling you?

  • Take a short walk in the woods
  • A sunny day to yourself
  • Take a walk with a furry friend
  • Sit outside at night and look at the stars
  • Take a walk at the beach and listen to the ocean waves
  • Take a siesta
  • Climb a mountain (literally or figuratively)

Did you take the challenge? What did you do? Share your photos and stories on social media with hashtag #SmileMoreChallenge2017.

Smile Story: Kristy

meSpring is officially here in Maine! The flowers are in bloom, plants and trees are looking green and happy, and we can’t help but enjoy every last minute outside.

This week, we spent time with Kristy, A Perfect Smile’s Patient Coordinator, to learn more about her love of nature and her plans to hike a different mountain each week this season.

Hi Kristy, can you tell us a bit about yourself: who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?

I was born and raised in southern Maine. Here at A Perfect Smile, I am training to become the new treatment coordinator. In my personal life, I love hiking, reading, and spending time with my fiancé and our families.

When did you first become interested in wellness? 

My interest in wellness began in at young age; I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology because I wanted to help people. My junior and senior years of high school I was dually enrolled in YCCC, I completed my bachelors at the age of 20, with a goal of helping others be healthy and happy.

Who are your biggest professional/life inspirations?

I take a lot of my daily life inspirations from my favorite modern poet Mary Oliver, who said “tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and crazy life?” I strive to live my life to fullest, love grandly, and help others always professionally and personally.

What are your favorite spots in your neighborhood (Falmouth or around town)?

My fiancé and I love going to the old port, we love the old buildings and are getting married at Bully Feeney’s next spring. We also love to hike the trails in Yarmouth, on Cousins Island, and Little John Island. We plan to hike a different mountain every weekend this summer.

What music do you currently have on rotation at home or while you work? 

Music is a big part of my life, lately I am listening to a lot of 90s Hip-Hop, but I will always be a punk girl at heart.

Kristy is part of our front office team at A Perfect Smile and specializes in helping patients understand their treatment options and make the most of their dental insurance benefits. Contact us today or call 207-781-2448 to reserve an appointment. 

Smile Story: Rhonda

rhondaRhonda is the newest member of our front office team at A Perfect Smile. We caught up with her today to chat about her favorite Maine things and her long time love for all things dentistry.

Hey Rhonda, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I am a single mom of two with my last one “spreading his wings” to go to college in Colorado. My daughter is a Heroin Analyst for the State of Maine and graduated from StoneHill College.  I am a very proud momma. I am from DownEast Maine where the “real” blueberries are.

I first became interested in a career in dentistry at a very young age (lots of cavities due to my love of CANDY!).  I lived across the street from my dentist and often stayed to help hand out appointment cards with the ladies.  Hence I believe my love for people and dentistry!

How did you get linked up with the team at A Perfect Smile?

I had taken a break in my career as a practice manager to spend a year with my kids as they were getting older and time was flying by.  I was doing some consulting on the side with offices and enjoying my kiddos.  I started looking for a position and applied to A Perfect Smile.  All it took was a nice conversation with Dr. Nelson and I knew that his vision for patient care and creating a wonderful dental experience was an exact fit!

What are some of your favorite discoveries about dentistry or healthy living tips?

Dentistry goes so far and above just our teeth. Our whole bodies are effected by the condition of our gums, bone, teeth etc.  I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (a chronic pain impacting the trigeminal nerve) years ago and became very knowledgeable about what our old mercury fillings do to our bodies and the importance of oral hygiene. One of the things I have come to love is my smoothies with all natural fresh fruits, chia seeds and psyllium husk – not only yummy but your body just absorbs all that goodness!

Tell us about your life when you aren’t at A Perfect Smile – what are some your favorite things to do?

I love reading, gardening, walking on our beautiful beaches and spending time with my friends and family.

What’s next for you this year? Any special events coming up that you are excited about?

My big event this year is that I will have an empty nest.  Learning new hobbies and learning more about a happy, healthy life!  I believe that YOLO – you only live once.  My bucket list this year is sky diving – gulp!

Rhonda is part of our front office team at A Perfect Smile and specializes in helping patients understand their treatment options and make the most of their dental insurance benefits. Contact us today or call 207-781-2448 to reserve an appointment. 

Smile Story: Lisa

unnamedWe spoke with Lisa, one of our Certified Dental Assistants about her daily dental care routine, springtime in Maine, and her tips for keeping your smile healthy.

Hi Lisa, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I’ve worked with Dr. Nelson for more than a decade and have helped hundreds of patients design the smile of their dreams. I live in Windham, Maine with my family and spend as much time as I can with my two growing children.

When I’m not routing for my kids on the athletic field, I love to be outside as much as possible. My favorite hobbies are walking, gardening swimming & relaxing by the pool.

How did you choose a career as a dental assistant?

I first became aware of careers in the dental field from talking with a friend’s mom who was a dental assistant. She had always complimented my smile and my attitude and then one day, she suggested that I explore a career in the field. I started working with her at her office while studying at the Dental Careers Institute. Right away, I loved the fast paced environment of the dental practice. Working with new dental technology, talking with patients, and spending my time helping people seemed to come naturally to me. After graduating from DCI, I continued my studies and became a Certified Dental Assistant. I still love what I do today and am forever grateful to my friend’s mom for introducing me to dental assisting.

What is your daily dental care routine? 

Morning: brush, rinse mouthwash

Afternoon:  brush , rinse with oxyfresh (I’m hooked on that stuff! Ask for a sample at your next visit)

Evening:  brush w/ Clinpro toothpaste (it has extra flouride), floss, and I wear my dental nightguard faithfully every night

What do you like most about living in Maine?

What’s not to love about living in Maine? I absolutely love having four seasons. The ever changing landscape gives us so much to do year round without having to travel far.

What do you like to do in the springtime? 

I love the anticipation of spring – when I hear the sound of the peepers, I know its really here. I love maple syrup Sunday, it’s a Maine tradition. One year, my friends and I visited three different Maple sap houses in one afternoon! Delicious!

What do you think is the most important thing to remember about dental care in general? 

For most people, the most important thing is keeping a regular schedule of preventative hygiene appointments, and practicing good home care. I used to love going to the dentist as a child and I believe starting kids early is the key to lifelong healthy smiles!

What’s coming up for you this year that you are excited about? 

I’m getting very excited about the upcoming high school baseball season. My son, Tanner, plays for Windham High School. I’m also planning to sign up for some 5k’s this year. Last year, I participated in the Color Run and it was such a blast. I’m hoping it comes back and I can do it again!

Lisa has worked with Dr. Nelson to help hundreds of patients with restorative dentistry and smile design at A Perfect Smile. Contact us today or call 207-781-2448 to reserve an appointment. 

Smile Story: Chelsea

chels APSChelsea is carving her own path and sharing her passion for dental hygiene education at A Perfect Smile and as a teacher at the University of New England. Read on to find out how she’s made a career out of following her passions:

Hi Chelsea, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? 

I have a large family and grew up in a small town in Vermont. I grew up without electricity, by choice, so most of my childhood I spent playing basketball and other sports outside all year round. To say that I thought Portland was a big city when I first moved to Maine is an understatement. Portland has so much to offer! I have since bought my first home in Windham and am loving living in Maine.

What is most important to you in 2017?

I’m striving to be as healthy and happy as possible.

Can you tell us about your experience as a dental hygienist? How did you become interested in the field? 

I became interested in dental hygiene in high school when I had the opportunity to do a co-op work experience in a dental office as a dental assistant. I was trained on the job and thus prepared myself for hygiene school. I went to the University of New England for an Associates and Bachelor’s degree. I then moved on to obtain my Master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.

I have been practicing dental hygiene for over 7 years and have my local anesthesia license. There is nothing I enjoy more than dental hygiene. I just started teaching at the University of New England last year and thoroughly enjoy that in addition to working clinical hygiene here at A Perfect Smile.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Maine?

I love the ocean, growing up in Vermont we always used to vacation to Maine, so it’s wonderful to truly live in “Vacationland”.

What are some other things you are currently interested in?

I love to stay active and play on many local sports teams in the community, including basketball and kickball. I recently bought a house, and love interior decorating and DIY projects.  I also love to sing and dance, but most of all, laugh and goof around with my friends and family.

What’s coming up for you this year that you are excited about?

My big sister is getting married this year and I have had a lot of fun planning and celebrating the multiple wedding events. I cannot wait for the ceremony in April!

Chelsea is now accepting new professional hygiene patients at A Perfect Smile. Contact us today or call 207-781-2448 to reserve an appointment. 

A Perfect Smile’s Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Staying Healthy

Professional teeth whitening, new family portraits, perfect toothbrush holder: check, check, check. We’re rounding up our top picks for healthy gift-giving this season for everyone on your list.

A super cute hedgehog tooth brush holder that you’ll want in every bathroom:

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Your favorite gadget-lover NEEDS this toothpaste tube-wringer:

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Give someone you love the tools to feel like the best version of him or herself. Think au naturel, kicked up a notch. We’re offering 2-1 on our popular Zoom! Professional teeth whitening until 12/16/16. Call 207-781-2448 to request your gift certificate.

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Add some bling to your smile style with these gold tooth earrings:

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This Oral B electric toothbrush is our favorite. It has an easy to use timer and a variety of brush settings. We offer Oral B Professional toothbrushes at A Perfect Smile. Request a toothbrush with holiday rebate coupon – call 207-781-2448.

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Healthy Halloween Treats for Your Smile

untitled-designIt’s Halloween, and for many people, it marks the kick off of the unhealthiest time of the year the waistband and for your smile. With bucketloads candy and homemade baked goods, and a calendar of festive parties on the horizon, it’s hard to escape the sugar rush and the feeling that your mouth is swimming in sugar.

For the record, we don’t want to avoid ALL the treats- we just want to keep our sugar consumption in check so we can make it through the holiday season feeling healthy – and help to keep our family’s smiles healthy too.

In general, the stickier the candy, the worse it tends to be for your teeth. Extra-chewy candies like caramels, taffy, Starburst or Skittles stick to (and between) teeth for a long time, allowing the bacteria in our mouths to feast on the deposited sugar. The bacteria makes extra acid in your mouth which dissolves the protective layer of tooth enamel and can lead to cavities.

Hard candies like lollipops or Jolly Ranchers don’t cling to your teeth as readily as chewy candy, but hard candy dissolves slowly and saturates your mouth with sugar for several minutes at a time, giving bacteria more time to produce harmful acid.

If you are expecting trick-or-treaters this year, consider forgoing the traditional sweets for something a little healthier that the neighbors will actually be excited about (and you won’t mind having the leftovers.) Here are a few ideas for healthy treats that you can hand out on Halloween:

1. Anything Dark Chocolate – This is Dr. Nelson’s pick for best treat giveaways because its delicious and dark chocolate has anti-cariogenic effects!

2.  Mini- chocolate chip granola bars 

3. Fruit Snacks – Flavored with fruit juice / natural fruit.

4. Apples – Just as sweet as candy and you can take the kids to a local orchard to pick them.

Do you have questions about your teeth or smile? Call our office, A Perfect Smile, at 207-781-2448 for a smile consultation.

7 Oral Health Concerns for Those Over 50

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When they say “age is all in your head,” they’re probably right. But then, your teeth ARE in your head — so you likely can’t escape having to pay a little more attention to them after the age of 50. Although some oral health concerns are seen as common as we age, if you adopt a proactive mindset and educate yourself, these concerns do not have to be common for you. Anticipating and recognizing changes in your mouth can help you be on top of your health in this area — so let’s take a look at the main ones you have to watch out for.

  1. Dry Mouth: The most common oral health concern you’re likely to experience as you age is dry mouth. In the medical world, dry mouth goes by the name xerostomia, and can be brought on by a number of contributing factors, including the over-consumption of drying beverages like coffee and alcohol, as well as the frequent consumption of salty foods. Another big offender is the medication we take over a lifetime to treat various illness. And the list isn’t a short one – there are at least 400 medications that can contribute to xerostomia, including medications for high blood pressure and depression.
  2. Ill-fitting Dentures: First off, it’s important to note that the need for dentures is not a must as we age. Today, healthier living and better access to dental care has reduced the percentage of seniors wearing dentures to 27% from nearly 50% just a few decades ago. That said, should dentures be a part of your life, or that of a loved one, wearing properly-fitting dentures is critical.Sometimes, all that’s needed is a denture reline. Give us a call at 207-781-2448 to see if we can helpDentures that cause pain or shift in the mouth tend to alter a person’s eating habits, which can lead to nutrition deficits if healthy, but hard-to-chew, foods are avoided. Ill-fitting dentures can also cause thrush.
  3. Physical Obstacles to Good Oral Care: As we age, we sometimes find ourselves having to contend with physical ailments that limit our desire to maintain good oral care. Arthritis, vision loss, or injuries are a few of the most common. To combat these concerns, using a floss pick to get between teeth can be helpful, and the regular use of oral rinses can assist in dislodging difficult-to-remove food debris, while adding to the overall health of one’s mouth and gum tissue. Here’s how to choose the best mouth rinse for your needs!
  4. Naturally Receding Gums: The old expression “long in the tooth” isn’t just a quaint idiom about how one accumulates wisdom with age – it also refers to how our teeth appear to “lengthen” as we age. In other words, it’s a fancy way of saying our gums are receding. While some degree of gum recession is indeed natural as we get up in years, this predisposes us to cavities along the root structure of the tooth where enamel doesn’t exist. So, as one ages, flossing, brushing and rinses are more important than ever.
  5. Gum Disease: Natural gum recession is one thing, and a part of “growing up,” if you will. Gum disease, however, is preventable.  So, if it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen us, please do give us a call at 207-781-2448. We recommend to see Dr.Nelson and your Hygienist a minimum of 2 times each year for preventative care.  Each of the above items in this list can contribute to gum disease, and good oral care can prevent it. Failing to do so can lead to a need for dentures at its most extreme, and pain and swollen gums at its least. We’d prefer you experience neither concern!
  6. Tooth Loss: If a tooth is lost due to trauma or decay, and not replaced with an implant or other prosthetic, it can have serious complications for the health of the jawbone. Teeth can shift out of place and fall out, and bone tissue can be resorbed back into the body. Not a good thing.
  7. Loss of Insurance Coverage: Retirees without dental coverage can sometimes cover the expense of dental care on their own; sometimes they cannot. But a lack of funds to take care of one’s teeth can be devastating to the health of our mouths, and our overall health. So we need to plan for two things: a care routine that allows us to take care of our teeth as much as humanly possible and some sort of financial backup plan for when problems do arise. Our office partners with Care Credit so our patients can make monthly low interest or interest free payments. For more information please visit CareCredit.com or call our office at 207-781-2448.

A Perfect Smile Happenings: Maine Yoga Festival 2016

Last week, we proudly sponsored the Maine Yoga Festival and hosted healthy living events and classes at our festival booth all weekend.

We made “happiness plants” to brighten our work spaces, we flossed our tissues, muscles, and gums, and Dr. Nelson taught a special Happiness yoga class for everyone in the community.

We had so much fun and met so many new friends from around Portland. We can’t wait until the next event.

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The Perfect Road Map For Your Child’s Oral Health

Blog Post-child's oral healthOn July 3rd, 1806, two years into their journey to chart the uncharted west of America, pioneer explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached a challenge of epic proportion – the Rocky Mountains. What next, they wondered? Without a map, they were forced to do what explorers do – explore, and hope for the best. So, that got us thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy map you could use to chart your own dental health? With that in mind, and in honor of our “Dog Days of Summer” explorers, we at A Perfect Smile wanted to share with you a few mile markers you can use to stay on top of your child’s health today, next year, and for years to come!

6 to 24 months

When you’re a new parent, life is a whirlwind, and the dental care of your newborn may not be top of mind when you look in their mouths and see no teeth! Here are some things to keep in mind:

Schedule a visit: As soon as that first tooth comes in, you’ll want to give us a call at 207-781-2448 or email us at info@PerfectSmileME.com to schedule a visit and set up a periodic exam schedule. Also, be aware the ADA recommends fluoridated toothpaste now for all children under the age of three. Don’t wait!

Ask us about:

  • Home hygiene basics: Things like, tips and tricks on brushing and other care. There’s nothing better than having our hygienists give brushing tutorials – they’re experts!
  • Preventative dentistry: The possible need for fluoride supplements
  • Dietary strategies: Achieving a balanced diet early in life for good oral health later
  • Feeding practice awareness: Bottle, breastfeeding, and no-spill training cups
  • Non-nutritive oral habits: Thumb sucking, pacifier

2 to 12 years old

Ah, the little ones are growing up. Teeth are coming in at all sorts of crazy angles, and you’re going crazy from the rise in obligations. Here’s a quick list of what to consider during this time frame:

  • Preventative dentistry: Pit and fissure sealants can do wonders for keeping your child’s dental bills down, and their teeth in their head until they’re ready to fall out naturally. Ask us about them. They’re affordable AND useful. And, super-fast, you’ll be in and out in no time.
  • Orthodontic Consultation: Visiting an orthodontist for an early consultation is best done around your child’s seventh birthday. With today’s technology, early intervention can reduce the cost and duration of braces when your child gets older.

The Teen Years

The years “everything” happens! As children start to come into their own, new habits and desires begin to unfold as well. You’ll have to address every imaginable concern during these years, from piercings, to calls for whitening, braces, and the need to refer yourself away from your pediatric dentist and to a general dentist for continuing oral care. So, speak with us about: 

  • Cosmetic Dentistry: What solutions are advisable now, and what things should be avoided.
  • Teen social pressures: Smoking, alcohol, intraoral/perioral piercings and the like. Believe it or not, we can help a lot with this. Does your teen have a favorite [insert your practice name here] hygienist? We might be able to arrange for that person to help when your teen comes in so they can address these concerns with an intermediary they trust. Give us a call at [insert your practice phone number here] to see how we can help!
  • Orthodontics: Options for minimizing appearance and health problems later in life.
  • Home hygiene tips: Brushing, flossing, choosing the right mouthwash.
  • Craniofacial injury prevention: With your children’s possible participation in sports, you’ll want to get them a mouthguard. Hands down it’ll be one of your best investments in a healthy mouth. And we make great ones at A Perfect Smile!

Staying on top of your child’s oral health isn’t as hard as you think, and if you keep this schedule handy, you’ll be ahead of most of your neighbor’s kids when it comes to a healthy mouth and body. Come to think of it … why not share it with them as well? They’ll thank you for the help.

 

If  you bring your children to our office, they will receive a $50 credit towards their first visit!!!