Archive for the ‘ Dental School ’ Category

A Goodbye to Blogging, and Many Thank-Yous

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Dear internet,

Well… it’s about that time.

I’ve been blogging for over four years, and for over a year here for Parents.  It’s been an interesting and, at times, a pretty amazing ride.  I’ve written about anything and everything, been on some awesome trips, received my share of hate mail, been published on and linked to from places like Yahoo!, Shine, and Time.com, and corresponded and shared my life with some pretty incredible people.

I have honestly enjoyed sharing my life with all of you.  Opening up about all of my experiences– the good, like giving birth to Caroline, graduating dental school, and finding a job… and the bad, like Caroline’s hospitalization, my postpartum depression, and my divorce– has been exciting, cathartic, therapeutic.  But with my new start here in a new state with a new job and a new home, the time has come for me to move on.

I’ll admit that part of it is that I’m simply burned out on the criticism and hateful email that I seem to get no matter what I write.  It is not easy to share as openly and publicly as I do, and I might just not have the backbone for some of the responses that I get anymore.  Having a job as a “real” dentist also means that I need to be a little more careful and professional about what I put out there on the internet, know what I mean?  I’ve always written whatever I feel about whatever’s on my mind, and if I have to constantly censor myself or worry about what I’m writing, then I’d rather just not write at all… or at least not write so publicly.  I also feel like I don’t have as much to say as I used to, and I really only enjoy blogging when I have something interesting to say.

I guess what it ultimately comes down to is, I just need my life to be a little more private right now.

I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who have read and loved my blog, whether you’re a new or longtime reader; whether you’ve read occasionally or never missed a post.  Your kind words and support got me through some tough times, your advice helped me make some tough decisions, and what some of you have shared with me, in return for all I’ve shared, has touched my life as I hope I’ve managed to touch some of yours.  My favorite part has been the emails and comments I get from other single parents who have been inspired by what I’ve written to make changes in their lives, to go back to school, to move on, to find happiness again.  I’ve appreciated every word from you, more than you know.

Thanks for laughing and crying with me, everyone.  You might see me again on the internet someday, in a more anonymous or private space…you just might not know it’s me.

With love,

Julia…and Caroline

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Correspondence

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

I would have to say that the most interesting thing about writing this blog is the email I get from my readers.

I guess it comes with the territory of revealing so much of your personal life for so long, putting it online for anyone to read.  I had a good friend tell me once that when she read my blog for the first time, a lot of it surprised her, because she had had no idea that I had felt that way (before my divorce).  I’m fully aware that this is a ridiculous statement, but for some reason I almost  find it easier to talk about things here than with people in real life.  I have a lot of people contact me and tell me they feel like they know me after they’ve read the whole thing.  I do get so personal here that I guess that in a way, they’re right. 

Enough about me.  Back to you guys.

I’ve gotten a lot of hate mail, certainly, for my more controversial posts (see here and here and here).  I mostly try to ignore that.  I’ve had people email me and ask me questions that I can’t possibly pretend to know how to answer, like “should I get divorced?” or “should I have an abortion?”  (I have to say that although I’m always glad to offer a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder, I don’t exactly feel qualified to offer concrete advice.)  I’ve had guys email me and ask me out, women email me and ask me for advice on how to go about getting a divorce, people contact me for dental advice or to talk about going to dental school.  And of course I always love the encouraging emails, when people contact me just to say that they love reading about my life and Caroline’s, and to keep it up. 

But the kind of correspondence that really makes my day is these: the single mothers who tell me that because of things I’ve written here, they feel more inspired to go back to school for their children.  The working moms who tell me that they take comfort in knowing that there’s someone else out there going through the same struggles, and feeling like their compromises and sacrifices are worth it. 

If anything I write makes even one person out there feel less alone, then hey– I’m happy. If I get just one of those emails for every ten pieces of hate mail, it’s been more than worth it.  So, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has let me know that putting myself out there on the internet like this has made a small difference in your lives.  I can’t express how much it means to me.

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Dental Care For Kids: Q&A

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Thanks to everyone who joined me at the American Baby Q&A session today on Facebook!  For those who missed it or anyone who’s looking for information on kids’ dental care, I thought I’d put together a post of the most commonly asked questions, and a few things I didn’t get to mention.  (Note: this post, just like any information on the internet, does not substitute for an exam and regular dental care– see your dentist for any specific concerns.)

When should I schedule my child’s first dental visit?

The official recommendation is by one year of age or the first tooth, whichever comes first.  The purpose of the first visit is to establish a dental home for your child, to educate you (the parent) about proper home care and diet, and to start establishing healthy dental habits and introduce the child to the dental office environment.

When should I start brushing, and what kind of toothbrush should I use?

You should start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears.  (Some parents like to wipe the gums with a clean finger or washcloth even before teeth start coming in, to get the baby used to the parent cleaning their mouth.)  You can use any brand of kid-sized toothbrush.  I like the Oral-B Stages brushes because they are appropriately sized for different ages.  If you choose an electric toothbrush, be aware that the technique is different.  With a manual brush you do the scrubbing motions, angling the bristles toward the gumline.  With an electric brush you hold the brush still for several seconds in one area and then move on to the next.

When should I start using regular toothpaste?

As soon as the first tooth appears!  The “training” (fluoride-free) toothpaste is actually not necessary.  Until your child learns to spit out well (around age 4), you should use a tiny smear the size of a grain of rice, twice a day.  It is assumed that the child will swallow it, but such a tiny amount is not considered to be harmful.

What about flossing?  When do I need to start, and how can I get my child to let me do it?

When the teeth touch each other (no spaces between them), you can start flossing.  Let your child watch you floss first so they know it’s not a bad thing.  You can try the mini-flossers that look like a plastic hook with floss threaded through it, and let your child hold one and play with it before you try any actual flossing.

(more…)

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“I Don’t Know How You Do It”

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Working moms, has anyone ever said to you, of your life with a job and a family, and possibly school or whatever else you do– “I don’t know how you do it?”

Scratch that. It’s not a question. I know you’ve heard that before.

These people mean well. And hey, I’m certainly not complaining. It’s a compliment, really. It means they respect you and the things you have accomplished. But although I’m appreciative of their admiration, I can’t help but think that they don’t exactly understand.

I was chatting with a friend this week and we somehow got talking about traveling, and I was telling him about the trip I took to Belize to do dental work. He leaned back in his chair and looked at me and said, “I don’t get how you’ve done so many things with your life, in spite of the fact that you have a kid.”

It was a compliment, but, well… he doesn’t quite get it, does he?

We don’t do things in spite of the fact that we have children. We do things because we have them.

I finished dental school and travel and write and do all the other things I’ve done (and all of the things I want to do) because I want to be the kind of woman my daughter wants to be when she grows up. I want her to respect me and look up to me and basically just think that I am really, really cool. I want to be her biggest role model. I want her to be proud of me.

And most of all, I want her to have all the opportunities I’ve had, and more.

Being a single mom does make having a career more difficult and complicated, I certainly won’t argue with that.  But Caroline isn’t some impediment that I’m trying to work around– she’s the reason and motivating factor behind everything I do.

When I graduated from dental school (at last), I wrote that Caroline was not an obstacle to my achievement, but my biggest motivation and the reason I never lost sight of my goal. And I think that’s how it is for all of us who choose to take on both a career and motherhood simultaneously. Being a parent, and to a greater degree, a single parent, should never be the reason you don’t follow a dream.

It should be the reason you do.

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Top Ten Best/Worst Excuses Not to Go to the Dentist

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Every once in awhile, I like to take a break from talking about all the mommy stuff and the toddler stuff and the heavy life decision stuff, and write a post about what takes up most of my day: being a dentist. I know I have a lot of dental readers who enjoy them, so, this one’s for you guys!

Being a dentist can be tough unless you don’t mind being pretty unpopular. It’s a universal truth that we all have to face: people just don’t want to come see us. And let me tell you, patients will come up with pretty much anything to get out of coming to the dentist.

The following is a list of the best (worst?) excuses I’ve heard to cancel or miss a dentist appointment. (Most of them are from my own personal experience with my patients… All of whom I love dearly, of course.)

10. “I forgot how to get there.”
Here, let me introduce you to this thing called a map. Or a GPS. Or Google. Or just your memory of the route from when you drove here last week.

9. “I have really bad gas.”
This excuse came complete with excessive detail about how she stunk up her whole house in ten minutes and she couldn’t stop “tooting”. I’m so sorry, but “I’m not feeling well” would suffice. We are dentists for a reason: we don’t care to hear about your other end. Ever.

8. “I don’t need to come back. I don’t have any teeth anymore.”
Right, but you might want us to continue to screen you for a little thing called oral cancer and besides, dentures need maintenance. If you had a prosthetic arm you’d want it checked out every now and then, wouldn’t you? Same goes for prosthetic teeth.

7. “I couldn’t find parking.”
Granted, parking at the hospital where I work is pretty terrible. But there’s always parking for patients, and even if the patient lots were full, I’m confident a person could find one parking spot in the entire hospital campus, which is the size of a small town. Either way, if you have a hard time finding parking, you show up late– you don’t just panic and leave.

6. “I don’t need to come in anymore. I got that tooth out myself, at home, with my Swiss Army knife.”
Yeah. Just… No.

5. “My car broke down.”
Okay, this one is acceptable. Once. Maybe twice. I’d even give it to you three times, being the kind of person for whom oil changes are rarer than a solar eclipse. One of my friends in dental school had a patient who tried it five times. The fifth time, she told him, “Maybe you should get a new car.” “Maybe I should get a new dentist,” he snapped. “At this point,” she said, “you’re gonna have to.”

4. “My house burned down.” Really. Your house burned down? A less dramatic made-up excuse would do, like, “I have a cold”, or “I can’t get the time off work”. Using an excuse like that to get out of having a filling done is like killing a housefly with a grenade. (Although in this case, I googled the patient’s address and it turns out her house really did burn down, so actually this isn’t funny at all, in the end…)

3. “I have a toothache.”
Patient: I’m sorry, I can’t come in tomorrow, I’m feeling terrible.
Dentist: Oh, I’m so sorry! Thanks for calling, though. What are you sick with? Stomach bug? It’s going around.
Patient: No. I have a terrible toothache.
(Good luck fixing that at home… Wait, no, I just remembered that number 6 actually happened so I was only kidding, please come in.)

2. “I’m in jail.”
Overhead page: Dr. Landry to the front desk for a phone call.
Me: Hello, this is Dr. Landry.
Patient: Hi, I’m definitely not going to make it to my appointment today. I’m in jail.
Me: …You used your one phone call to call your dentist?
Patient: I don’t have a lot of friends.

1. Being deceased.
It might be a little unsettling to come in to work, look at your schedule, and see a line through your denture patient’s name with the word “DECEASED” next to it… But at least we can’t really argue with it.

So, fess up: have you ever made up something crazy to get out of a dental appointment? Dental people, got any better ones than mine?

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