The Right Stuff
Recurrent aphthous ulcerations (canker sores) are commonly treated with topical steroids prescribed by prescription. 1% hydrocortisone is a mildly potent topical steroid available over the counter at all pharmacies. Although the instructions clearly state that these medications are for external use only, the mucosa lining the oral cavity is ectoderm and therefore is embryologically external to the body. Rubbing in a small amount of the 1% hydrocortisone cream after meals and at bedtime will quickly resolve the pain and healing of these ulcers. No topical steroid OF ANY KIND should ever be applied to recurrent herpetic lip lesions (fever blisters).
Warm and Fuzzy
Many offices now have washer and dryers to manage their laundry of uniforms. In our office, our dryer does double duty. We use the dryer to warm freshly cleaned, delightfully soft blankets for our patients to keep them comfortable and cozy during procedures. Every patient is offered a warm blanket, no matter how short the appointment is, and it is amazing how many people take us up on the offer. The satisfied sigh the patient exudes as we tuck them in is the only “thank you” we need. A warm blanket may seem like a small gesture but it says a great deal about our desire to make our patients comfortable.
One challenge for all dentists is finding balancing contacts on second molars, especially in patients who have heavy parafunctional habit patterns. Patients can even relate that episodically they hear a “squeaking” noise when chewing, but a normal evaluation of the occlusion does not show any balancing interferences. It is easy to find these elusive interferences by having the patient chew sugarless gum on one side of the mouth while marking paper is placed on the opposing side. The increased muscular pressure on the mandible will often flex the mandible revealing the balancing interference that needs to be adjusted. This needs to be repeated on both sides until all interferences are cleared. With this technique, these frustrating occlusal problems—and patient frustration—can often be quickly eliminated.