Dr. Sinkin's Blog: The Dental And The Incidental

Grateful and Gratitude – Thanksgiving 2016

November 23rd, 2016 by | No Comments »

Grateful and Gratitude, Michael Sinkin

 

As I write these thoughts, I am driving around the expanse of LAX awaiting the arrival of my son and daughter. Jonathan is coming from Colorado while Ashley is jetting in from New York. We are all gathering on the West Coast to be with my just turned 85 year old mom to celebrate Thanksgiving together.

Amidst the cacophony of noise, turmoil and congestion of airport traffic on the most travelled day of the year, my thoughts turn inwards. As yet another car horn blows, I wonder why I didn’t have them take a taxi or shuttle. But, picking them up seemed like a good idea at the time.

My Thanksgiving reflections can be summed up in two words: Grateful & Gratitude.

Feeling Grateful
I am grateful for all that I have, both personally and professionally. I am blessed with the love of my family and friends. I have a truly wonderful dental practice with amazing patients and an awesome team that keeps me energized and engaged. I have experienced many personal and  professional milestones including, but not limited to, Ashley’s engagement, my 60th birthday (just a number), graduation from here years of study in the Dental Implant Program at NYU, and my appointment to faculty in the same program as an adjunct professor.

Expression Of Gratitude
To all of you in my life: family, friends, colleagues and of course, my dear patients, thank you. You have fulfilled and enriched my life in so many ways. No man is an island.

Being grateful is only half of a very happy equation. Giving thanks and expressing gratitude to all who have made such feelings my reality is the other half.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Michael

 

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My Daughter’s Getting Married!

September 12th, 2016 by | 1 Comment »

….and in the blink of an eye, or so it seems, my baby girl has grown up.

Michael Sinkin
Three weeks ago my daughter Ashley became engaged to her wonderful boyfriend Steven. Of course, this engagement came as no surprise to anyone. They share a certain chemistry that has been obvious from the get-go. Close friends and family unanimously adore Steve for his easygoing manner, quiet intelligence and affable personality. More importantly, when Ashley and Steve are together there is a certain ease and tenderness between them that is all but impossible to miss.

Ashley Sinkin

No, it was never a question of if they would get engaged but rather when Steve would finally get around to popping the question! Not that my wife Ann and I, or for that matter Steve’s parents, had some sort of timetable in mind…but then again, maybe we did!

Ashley and Steve have been together for three, going on four, years. Not to mention living together for almost two! And while patience is a virtue…tick-tock tick-tock…

Now, Steve’s parents Lou and Diane are awesome people and I’m not just saying that for brownie points. My wife Ann and I really enjoy their company. In fact, we’ve spent several holidays together including this past Father’s Day. It was a beautiful sunny day and the four of us were sitting around asking each other if we knew anything about our children’s plans. Steve’s parents had no news to reveal or insights to share. And Steve and I hadn’t had the requisite conversation that occurs between a future father- and son-in-law. So I had no news to report, either.

Leaving nothing to chance, I was not subtle either to my wife or daughter about my desire to have THE TALK.

And so the four of us continued to do what we had already been doing: we waited and we waited and we waited. Until finally after several more months, I received an invitation from Steve to have a cocktail.

A few martinis, a bottle of wine and a lovely three-course dinner later I said, “Steve, just wondering. Do you have something specific on your mind?” It was then that Steve asked for my blessing. (Hallelujah, Hallelujah!!!)

Apparently, the ring was burning a hole in his pocket because just three days later the seminal event occurred. Following a romantic sunset dinner, on a sandy beach under a starlit sky, on bended knee (so I’m told) Steve proposed to Ashley.

fire island sunset, michael sinkin, ashley sinkinShe said “Yes”.

And in the flash of a moment, with a snap of the fingers, in the blink of an eye, we rocketed from 0 to 100mph with an urgency to plan a wedding that has almost given Ann and me whiplash. (More about that later.)

I am elated to embrace Steve into our family. He is an extraordinary young man who is completely devoted to our daughter in every way. And how he adores her. I have witnessed him gaze upon her whilst she was unaware and just break out with a spontaneous smile. They share a beautiful bond and a wonderful friendship. He is, as my mother would say, a Mensch. Truth be told, he is all one could wish for in a son-in-law.

No, I am not losing a daughter, I am gaining a son. Shortly after the two lovebirds returned to our home with rapture in their hearts and a diamond on Ashley’s finger, beneath my unequivocal joy I couldn’t deny the presence of a subtle wistful feeling. This was a subliminal sensation that I only just identified in a recent epiphany. Perhaps I can best describe it as a Fiddler on the Roof/Sunrise Sunset moment: Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember getting older. When did they?

Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday Ashley and I were driving to AAU basketball tournaments all over the Northeast every weekend for six years running. What an amazing experience for a father to spend so much quality alone time with his daughter.

But no, it wasn’t just yesterday. It was more than a decade ago. What happened in those ensuing years? Could I have, should I have, spent more time with her off the court? Could I have been more involved when she wasn’t playing ball? Did I drop the ball?

When Ashley told me that Steve wanted her to change her name when they got married I am ashamed to say I was a bit crestfallen. Ann didn’t change her name when we got married. I just assumed that Ashley would do the same. After all, Ashley is following in her mom’s footsteps and is now working side-by-side with her as a hand therapist. I am embarrassed to admit feeling a bit marginalized or perhaps pushed aside. My time as the central male figure in my daughter’s life had come and gone.

For the past week Ann and I have been backpacking in the Canadian Rockies. I can think of few things more inspiring than crisp mountain air, beautiful vistas and brisk heart-pumping hiking through the rugged mountainous terrain around Lake Louise. Over the meadows, through the woods, under azure blue skies, surrounded by the awe and wonder of Mother Nature, hypnotized by the cadence of my own heartbeat, I became lost in introspection. In a cathartic moment I identified the undercurrent of unconscious thoughts that had been insidiously casting a shadow on my happiness.

What I perceived as mourning lost opportunities was in fact trouble letting go. Clarity of mind is such a gift. It can be so viscerally invigorating and so liberating. With a clear view of emerald green that lay beneath a majestic glacier I took a deep cleansing breath of relief and dispelled my misgivings from my head and heart.

This is Ashley’s time. This is Ashley and Steve’s time. It was never Steve or me. It is Ashley & Steve and Ann & me and Lou & Diane. The merging of families. Satenstein and Sinkin. Sinkin and Satenstein. The freedom of and versus the tyranny of or.

And I will be the proud papa giving my precious daughter away to a most deserving and loving man.

Ashley Sinkin, Steven Satinstein

 

 

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Not Flossing? No Guilt? Not So Fast!

August 19th, 2016 by | No Comments »

Not Flossing No Guilt, not flossing, no flossing, michael sinkin, nyc dentist,

 

The other day as I was performing my part of the morning ritual to ready my office for yet another day of patient care, I was blown away by this headline in The New York Times:

Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need

Wait a minute! Did I read that right? No flossing? No guilt?

No need to feel guilty about the abandonment of such an accepted and much touted decades-old practice of oral hygiene?

It was reminiscent of Woody Allen’s movie Sleeper, where our lovable nebbish awakens from a hundred-year slumber to discover that cigarette smoking has been found to be a healthy practice. Funny, right? But this not flossing thing is not funny.

The exclusion of flossing from the Department of Agriculture’s and The Department of Health and Human Services’ dietary guidelines may be interpreted to mean that flossing is a waste of time and perhaps even an exercise in futility when it comes to preventing advanced periodontal (gum) disease.

Not so fast! It turns out that any recommendation by the federal government to the public at large must be validated by bona fide peer-reviewed research and double-blind studies. Many health and nutritional guidelines such as the classic food pyramid, the minimal dietary vitamin intake, daily exercise protocols, etc. are held to that standard.

But perhaps to their embarrassment, these two government agencies recently discovered a lack of sufficient research to prove the efficacy of flossing in preventing periodontal disease and tooth decay. The only reason for the lack research is a lack of sufficient numbers of willing participants available to conduct such studies.

In other words, flossing has not been shown to be ineffective in preventing dental disease; there simply hasn’t been enough research conducted to substantiate it.

What Dental Professionals Know About Flossing

Bacterial plaque is the major cause of tooth decay, gingivitis, and more advanced gum disease. Brushing is effective in removing this plaque from the flat areas of your teeth (the front, back and biting surfaces). To remove plaque from between your teeth and on the interproximal surfaces (areas between adjoining your teeth), flossing is absolutely necessary.

[Are you brushing your teeth the right way? Read: The Dos and Don’ts of Brushing Your Teeth]

Practicing dentists and dental hygienists have observed patients for many decades and know that the combination of brushing and flossing effectively removes bacterial plaque. And when bacterial plaque is eliminated the primary cause of dental disease is also eliminated. It’s that simple.

Eat some corn on the cob and you’ll likely end up with some pesky residual yellow niblets stuck between your teeth. These softened yellow kernels contain nearly invisible microscopic reservoirs of bacterial plaque. Brushing alone does remove them and you may have noticed that only flossing will get them out. Not flossing leaves accumulated food and bacteria between your teeth.

The American Dental Association has not removed flossing from their recommendations of how to keep your teeth and gums healthy. And neither should you.

Listen To Your Dentist: Not Flossing? Yes, Guilt!

To read the NYTimes article link here: Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need

Michael Sinkin, DDS practices in New York City. He loves being a dentist and is known throughout the city for taking wonderful care of his patients and for his wicked sense of humor. To contact Dr. Sinkin, link here.

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CAROL

July 31st, 2016 by | 2 Comments »

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 3.36.36 PM

It was in the nascence of my dental career, barely two years after graduating from dental school, when I met Carol. She had been a longtime patient of the dental practice, which I had just joined in Forest Hills, the place I was to call home for the next 11 years.

My relationship with Carol truly “took root” during my early formative years as a dentist. I literally “cut my teeth” on Carol.(Actually, it was I who was cutting Carol’s teeth under the mentorship of my three senior partners.) Never once was she resistant to being treated by the new kid on the block (that be me) even though her prescribed treatment took me longer to accomplish or required an extra visit or two to complete. She was always gracious and subtly supportive of my striving for excellence even when it meant more hours in the chair.

Over a 32-year time span we developed, and still enjoy, a genuinely warm and easy relationship based on mutual admiration, trust and affection.

Thankfully, my efficiency and speed have improved immensely since those early times!

When I relocated my practice to Manhattan (in what I have come to think of as my professional do-over), it was especially comforting when Carol scheduled an appointment in my new digs. A familiar face in an as yet unfamiliar environment meant the world to me. It was a kind of reassurance that was both welcome and needed.

In so many ways, I consider myself fortunate, indeed, to have the privilege to call Carol my patient and friend.

Over the more than three decades of our dentist-patient relationship, I have had the opportunity to log quite a few hours providing Carol with a wide and varied range of dental care – from root canal and crowns to extractions and permanent bridgework. And, of course, let me not forget to mention our time spent together during her faithfully scheduled dental hygiene and examination visits. After all, it is as much Carol’s vigilant homecare and commitment to preventive care that has kept her (dare I say) 89-year old mouth in an optimal state of health.

With the frequency of her re-care visits (3-4 times every year), as well as periodic dental treatment that was needed, Carol and I have visited each other countless times over the years. I emphasize visit because there’s always time to schmooze and catch-up with each other because Carol possesses one of those endearing personalities that draws people to her – myself included.

In spite of the best of care and the best of intentions, life happens and dental mishaps like a broken tooth occur. Two years ago Carol cracked an upper molar, which required extraction. True to form, Carol wanted to know about tooth replacement. “I’ve had this tooth my whole life and I’m not about to start losing my teeth now.” Such is the spirit of those who are young at heart.

So, Carol and I discussed dental implants. When I suggested the possibility of her coming to NYU to be my patient in the Implant Program I was enrolled in, she graced me with her big smile and said, “Of course!”

I felt as if we had come full circle.

From my earliest days as a beginning dentist Carol was a willing recipient of some of my earliest, yet earnest, endeavors. Fast forward some 30 years and she characteristically gave me an enthusiastic vote of confidence by participating in my professional growth. She bounced into the NYU Dental School and wowed everyone with her positive energy and youthful charm. I brought headphones and an iPod for her use during surgery. And while she listened and swayed (I kid you not!) to Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Rock and Roll Songs, I performed a sinus lift and placed two dental implants.

The NYU clinical staff and fellow participants practically lined up outside the operatory to behold the wonder that is Carol. No one could believe she was 89-years old! And perhaps as surprising is her familiarity with the music she was listening to (her son is a music engineer and she knows how to rock.)

Six months later, Carol was back in my office where I completed her implant-supported crowns. As we were finishing up she casually mentioned how remarkably advanced dentistry has become and how she wishes she could turn back the clock 40 years and prevent her long-ago dentist from filing down and shortening her upper front teeth. I never realized that she had this issue! I seized the moment and happily restored her front teeth by performing a little magic with bonding.

The joy in her eyes and the beaming smile that erupted is payment enough.

Thank you Carol, you light up my heart.

Michael Sinkin practices dentistry in New York. He loves being a dentist and is known throughout the city for taking wonderful care of his patients and for his wicked sense of humor. To contact Dr. Sinkin, link here.

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A HELLUVA RIDE – THE DENTAL IMPLANT PROGRAM AT NYU

July 6th, 2016 by | No Comments »

michael sinkin, nyc dentist
Never mind Memorial Day Weekend. For me, the commencement of summer fun is heralded in by a Fourth of July celebration replete with family barbecues, beach getaways, and of course, the cacophonous fanfare of fireworks.

But a few short weeks ago another type of commencement took place. This one was at The NYU College of Dentistry. It was a graduation ceremony that marked the completion of my three-year course of study in Comprehensive Implant Treatment henceforth referred to as The Dental Implant Program.

I attended classes every Wednesday (that be, all day, every Wednesday), participated in 600 hours of lectures, on-site patient care, not to mention multitudes of time spent on assigned reading and case presentations. And of course, the weekly homework assignments (that had to be handed-in.)

Three years! Where did the time go?

It seems like it was just yesterday that I started The Dental Implant Program. I was among other dentists that were half my age. I wondered if I’d be able to brush off the neural cobwebs and seriously hit the books. In fact, the books included a thousand-plus page textbook and a myriad of published articles. I would also have to learn new technology and become proficient at reading and interpreting CT scans of the jaws and sinuses, to master computer software to treatment plan and virtually place implants, to design CAD-CAM surgical guides, and more.

Then, of course, there was the mastery of implant surgery itself. But that didn’t concern me at all. In fact, I was pretty pumped about acquiring new surgical skills and adding to my repertoire.

So the time whisked by. Time does fly when you’re having fun and as cliché as this may sound, this oft-quoted adage proved very much to be a truism.

I had a blast!

My experience at NYU was simultaneously stimulating, electrifying and energizing. Learning can be quite intoxicating. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.  I hadn’t anticipated the inspiration and enthusiasm that my return to the classroom would engender. Nor could I predict my renewed vigor in the practice of dentistry.  When I first enrolled in The Dental Implant Program, Assistant Dean Ken Beacham predicted that it would be a life-changing experience for me. “That’s a little bit too much hyperbole,” I thought at the time. But truth be told, he was right.

From the very beginning, this academic adventure was as if an internal fire had been ignited. Without realizing it, my commitment to the Implant Program morphed into a full-fledged quest to become a skilled implant surgeon and, by extension, to become a superior dental clinician. I set out on a path to professional self-actualization. This was despite the fact that I was already in a very good place in terms as how I viewed my accomplishments and myself.

I have always loved being a dentist and I am proud of my clinical acumen. Yet from the onset of my new status as student, I felt compelled to excel even more. To be all that I could be (without having to join the Marines – besides I’m too old for Boot Camp!)

Every morning my wife Ann cast a smile upon me as she left me sitting in my study hall (the kitchen). I was armed with coffee, multicolored highlighters and Carl Misch’s textbook Contemporary Implant Dentistry. Such was my early morning ritual before I headed off to my office.

It is possible that I had an advantage over my younger colleagues. I have already established a successful practice, I have no small children to attend to (one benefit of empty nesthood) and I have 32 years of clinical experience under my belt. Whatever the reason, I excelled in The Dental Implant Program. I was an anomaly of sorts being older than everyone save two faculty members. But I exuded the enthusiasm and wonder of a kid in a candy store. Always smiling (so I was repeatedly told) and always on the move (I maximized the time I spent at the school). I was quite productive in my clinical endeavors and amassed perhaps unprecedented experience in placing implants and performing advanced bone-grafting procedures.

I have another advantage. My dental practice is close to NYU and I am blessed with trusting patients. Many jumped at the opportunity to be my guinea pigs. So I had no shortage of patients to treat and implants to place.

While in The Dental Implant Program I was no stranger to the speaker’s podium in the lecture hall, either. I had to present each patient’s surgical treatment plan and case work-up in a PowerPoint presentation to the class and faculty. Inconspicuous I was not. But I was ever thoughtful, respectful and appreciative of my fellow students and, of course, my teachers.

The Dental Implant Program Was A Life-Changer

Dean Beacham was right. The Implant Program at NYU was a life-changer for me.  It was one helluva ride. In addition to receiving not one, but two certificates (suitable for framing) I have acquired superior clinical skills, developed what I hope will be lasting friendships with some truly outstanding people, and got an intense infusion of mojo which only enhances my passion and desire to practice dentistry for many years to come.

Having said all that, perhaps the single greatest gift I’ve received is a sense of pride. I am so proud of myself for the effort put forth and the achievement attained.

One Final Note: An hour after I officially graduated from The Dental Implant Program I received formal notification from NYU of my appointment as Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor. I will be teaching in the very program that I just completed. Therefore, my Wednesday odyssey will continue. But not to worry my dear patients, I will not give up my practice for a life in academia.

One Absolutely Final Note: I am indebted to the faculty who so unselfishly give both their time and effort to youngsters like me who thirst for knowledge. I want to especially recognize and express my gratitude to two individuals who were (and still are) my surgical mentors: Dr. Ehab Shahid and Dr. John Como. I am happy to count you as friends.

And of course, I can’t forget to mention Dr. Donald Spitzer, whose prosthetic skills are as much appreciated as is his friendship. And, a huge hug to Ken Beacham. Were it not for you and your wife Lillian, I would never have learned of this program.

And most of all, thank you to my wife Ann. Without your encouragement and love I would not have been able to achieve even a fraction of what I have. Thank You.

I am deeply honored and humbled by the past three years.

Michael

Michael Sinkin practices in New York. He loves being a dentist and is known throughout the city for taking wonderful care of his patients and for his wicked sense of humor. To contact Dr. Sinkin, link here.

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PATIENTS & FRIENDS

June 2nd, 2016 by | No Comments »

hands heart sun love
As it is often the case with busy people, I sometimes find myself so caught up in what I’m doing and so busy being busy (running a busy practice, going to school (yes, I am still a fully engaged and enthusiastic student), as well as attending to all the other responsibilities and the stuff that keeps the fabric of my personal and professional life from unraveling and my family happy) that I lose sight of the bigger picture; namely the perspective one gains by taking a step back from it all and taking stock.

I’m not necessarily referring to a stop and smell the roses moment, but rather having the need and the discipline to allow for the occasional time-out as a means of taking a personal reality check.  Such moments often result in an exercise of conscious introspection that offers someone like me (who ponders the why as much as the how and what) the opportunity to maintain balance, motivation and focus.

Vacations often prompt such trains of thought. Nothing is more inspiring than standing ski-a foot atop a mountain covered in knee-deep snow peering out into an endless sea of azure blue sky and beholding breathtaking vistas of snow-capped mountains. Magnificent sunsets and the astronomical wonders of a clear star-filled summer’s night (hey, did anyone behold Mars, Saturn and Jupiter this weekend? – very beautiful and quite thought provoking).

But sometimes these moments, call them what you will: time-outs, reality checks etc., can happen spontaneously and unexpectedly during the course of a typical day in the office.

I had such a mini-epiphany just a few short days ago.

As it turns out, last week was particularly awesome week. Winding down my third and final year as a student at NYU’s Implant program, I had just presented my final power point presentation to my fellow participants and faculty. It was a 118-page slide show of interesting surgical and restorative implant cases that I completed during time of study. I was told later that I had more slides than the other five presentations given that day, combined. Perhaps (ok…. definitely) I can be a bit verbose, but I always loved show-and-tell. Give me a microphone, an audience and a platform – well, let’s just say I was in the zone.

I was simultaneously bringing to fruition another NYU surgical case (after a year of planning) in which I will place 15 implants in one single appointment using a sophisticated, minimally invasive technique called guided surgery. No incisions and no sutures. It’s very cool and very exciting. All the while, I have been busy in my office treating many new (thank you for all of your kind referrals) and veteran patients. And of course “luxuriating” in my more recently acquired expertise in the field of implant surgery.

As I was saying, I was having a very fulfilling week when into my office arrived quite independently Arlene D. and Judy L. who are patients of mine dating back to 1984 and my early formative years as a dentist. Then I was the “new kid” in a Forest Hills practice and at age 27 was the youngest dentist in our four-doctor partnership (my other partners at the time were 38, 46, 60 and 67 years old). I remember how somewhat less than enthusiastically both ladies had agreed to be seen by the youngster (that be me). And the rest is history.

Arlene and Judy watched me grow personally and professionally. They witnessed my becoming a father, mature into a family man, and over the years observed my evolution as a skilled doctor and compassionate human being (their words, not mine). They “followed” me to Manhattan when I started anew in 1995 and provided me with the emotional support I needed when I was going through a difficult professional do-over.

So here they were, Judy and Arlene. Beloved patients and friends for more than 32 years in my office on the same day, just hours apart. And so we visited. We caught up with each other and I shared with them the latest update of the most incredible professional and personal odyssey at NYU that was now coming to its fruition (graduation is June 15th).

Coincidentally, independently, and quite remarkably, Judy and Arlen provided me with an unexpected, unsolicited and overwhelming sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.  They have watched me “grow-up”. They saw my character develop and my skills grow. They are not surprised by my accomplishments and I feel as if they have been cheering me on not so much as fans (though it did have that feel), but as friends whose trust, respect and fondness I have earned over the years.

What Arlene and Judy gave me was historical perspective. They’ve witnessed my development and shared with me their perspective. And it was a most special gift.  The three of us shared an all-important time-out and they took stock for me about me. They didn’t just give me the chance to smell the roses they smelled them with me.

And while I embarked on this educational journey for what I thought were personal reasons, in the end, it is also for my patients like Arlene and Judy for whom I aspire to be the best I can be.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Sinkin

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DENTAL PHOBIA – WHY ARE YOU AFRAID TO GO TO THE DENTIST?

May 12th, 2016 by | 7 Comments »

dental phobia, afraid to go to dentist, michael sinkin DDS

In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”  But he was merely talking about the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor and not the crippling fear that many people experience when faced with the going to the dentist.

Dental Phobia is an actual clinical term that means THE FEAR OF DENTISTS. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from this common phobia, you are likely shaking your head “YES” right now.

There’s a paradox about Dental Phobia that is fascinating. Studies show that dentists are consistently ranked as among the most trusted professionals. Yet, fear of actually visiting the dentist is so much a reality for so many people, that it can’t be ignored.

To avoid feeling the fear, thousands of people (even when in pain) can’t pick up the phone to schedule that long overdue dental appointment. Dental Phobia can be so overwhelming that it can lead to years of procrastination. Procrastination is often why a small problem, such as a tiny cavity, can becomes a very BIG and COSTLY problem (which only helps to reinforce one’s anxiety-a real dental “Catch-22”).

Thanks to the entertainment media, fear of the dentist is deeply woven into our collective consciousness. Just think of films such as Marathon Man, Little Shop of Horrors, The Dentist, etc. and you know what I’m referring to. Modern folklore, too, can reinforce some common myths that are associated with dental treatment. For some, just the phrase root canal is enough to bring on images of pain and suffering.

(Check out Painless Root Canal: An Oxymoron? In this post I demystify the procedure. Find the link the end of this this article]

LET’S BREAK DOWN DENTAL PHOBIA AND SEE WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON

Here’s some good news: Dental Phobia is so commonplace that most dentists address it as one of the most essential parts of their daily practice.

I’ve been a dentist for over 30 years. I have discovered that my most anxious and fearful patients are singularly scared of one specific thing: THE NEEDLE.

Whether it is a carry-over from childhood or the impact of an unpleasant adult experience, fear of getting a shot, especially in the mouth, is an almost universally shared emotion. But here’s what is crucially important for you to understand: nearly every needle-phobic patient who has ever sat in my chair has been able to overcome their fearful angst simply by receiving calming and reassuring words of encouragement, having a the comforting hand of an empathetic assistant to hold, and the application of lots and lots of topical (on the gum) anesthetic before the deed is done.

For dental phobic patients the next hurdle happens at the point when the feeling of numbness has spread and treatment commences. Many people experience unease that the injection has fully deadened the area to be treated. This feeling of angst is palpable and can be described as a disquieting ANTICIPATION OF PAIN that could rear its head at any moment. Add to that the THE SHRILL OF THE DRILL, THE STEADY SPRAY OF WATER (images of waterboarding), and THE SMELL of burning tooth.

(FYI, that telltale smell is not because a tooth is incinerated. The odor is actually from pulverized tooth (and sometimes old filling material) that is being dispersed by in a combination of air and water from the dental hand piece.)

If you have ever experienced an unexpected jolt of pain during a dental procedure, the memory is both long lasting and visceral. The fearful patient will wait with apprehension for that jolt to come. Even if it happened only once and it was years and years in the past, the feelings of dread can readily surface. Again, reassuring words, a compassionate hand to hold, plenty of anesthetic and allowing enough time for complete numbness to set in has proven to be the magic combination that gets patients to calm down a bit. A set of headphones with music is also a pleasant distraction.

Dentistry has come a long way in the past few decades. Great advances have been made in the delivery of care, especially in management of anxiety, fear and pain control. Comfortable and nearly painless care is not just a reality today. It is an essential reality. My staff and I are proud to have built a practice known to deliver care in a trusting and caring environment.

 

dental phobia, michael sinkin, root canal

IF YOUR DENTAL PHOBIA IS SEVERE, HERE’S A SUGGESTION:

Is this you? If you’ve avoided making a dental appointment because the thought of the treatment paralyzes you, may I make this suggestion: call and ask for a CONSULTATION VISIT ONLY. Go and meet the dentist with the knowledge that NOTHING will be done to you on that day. Then decide for yourself if this dentist, this office staff, and you, are a comfortable fit.

If you approach the consultation is if you were conducting a job interview…to hire someone…you will feel more in control. You’re in the driver’s seat. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to say you’re afraid. And make sure all your concerns are addressed before you leave. If one practice isn’t a good fit, try another.

A consultation is the first step in overcoming your fears.

Do you suffer from Dental Phobia? Have you found ways to overcome it? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Read: Painless Root Canal: An Oxymoron?

(Michael Sinkin is a dentist in New York City. He loves being a dentist and is known throughout the city for taking wonderful care of his patients and for his wicked sense of humor. To contact Dr. Sinkin, link here.)

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Get New Teeth In A Day? No Joke!

April 10th, 2016 by | No Comments »

 

teeth in a day, michael sinkin, dentist nyc, dental implants

 

Wouldn’t it be truly remarkable if you could go to a special kind of dentist and in a ONE SINGLE DAY regain lost self-esteem and improve the quality of your life? Wouldn’t it be incredible if, at the conclusion of this transformative day, you would be sporting a truly bodacious, spontaneous smile (accompanied by a few tears of joy)?

Can you really get new teeth in a day?

That’s a pretty dramatic description for a truly dramatic and often life-altering TRANSFORMATION experienced by many people who had lost all, some or even just one of their teeth. You see, tooth loss doesn’t simply affect a person’s smile, it can affect the ability to eat comfortably and to speak clearly. Because without the support of your natural teeth, even your facial features can collapse. This leaves many people without self-confidence and with plenty of self-consciousness.

Unbelievably, more than 30 million Americans are missing all of their upper teeth and another 20 million are missing all of their lower teeth (not counting wisdom teeth.) Furthermore, among people over 60 years of age, most have lost an average of 10 teeth during their lifetimes. The lucky adult who still has a complete dentition (none lost) has 28 teeth. That means that the average 60+ year-old is missing 35% of his or her natural teeth!

If we set aside the obvious physical impact that complete or partial edentulism (lost teeth) can cause, we also see psychological impacts of tooth loss. When you have missing teeth you can experience anxiety and concern about romantic situations (especially if you’re in a new relationship), fear of ending up as an oral invalid (especially if you don’t tolerate dentures well), difficulty speaking clearly, and unhappiness with your appearance. This can all can lead to social avoidance and low self-esteem. In fact, Americans spend more than 200 million dollars each year just on adhesives to keep dentures in place.

Take Heart…You Can Get Your Confidence Back

Because of amazing advances in implant dentistry, including improved surgical techniques, computer imaging, and other innovations, we can now offer many thousands of people hope that they never had before. Even a temporary state of toothless-ness can now be avoided.

This treatment approach has been popularized by a very catchy moniker: Teeth In A Day.

Simply put, Teeth In A Day is a treatment approach in which you can have dental implants surgically placed and then capped (restored) with attractive, comfortable and functional replacement teeth…all in just one visit!

This type of treatment requires careful and thorough planning. While the actual implant surgery and prosthetics (the actual crowns or bridges) can be done in one visit, you must visit you dentist for preliminary and preparatory appointments. This is because teeth are not one-size-fits-all. The design, appearance and function must be individually planned and fabricated prior to the day of delivery (that was not a reference to childbirth!).

Some Clarification About Teeth In A Day:

The Teeth In A Day process is actually a temporary (provisional) restoration.

Modern dental implants are most frequently made of commercially pure titanium or titanium alloy whose unique properties allow the implants to fuse to bone in a process called osseointegration. Certain biologic principles are accepted as scientific facts – implants require 4 to 6 months of healing before osseointegration occurs. This means that with the rare exception, the final crowns and bridges that will be supported by implants cannot be made before this time frame.

Thankfully, temporary “teeth” can be quite exquisite in appearance and comfort. But, they are a merely a means to an end. Once the implants have integrated to the bone, permanent restorations can be fabricated which in beauty, form, function, and natural luminescence, can be extraordinary and dazzling.

Losing your teeth can be a devastating and even haunting personal crisis. Dental implants make possible what was once inconceivable. They offer the means and the opportunity to bridge the gap between being toothless and whole.

Teeth In A Day is an innovative approach, which when executed thoughtfully and using proper technique, elicits spontaneous and very genuine smiles

 

Dr. Michael Sinkin has been practicing dentistry for over two decades. He truly cares about the experience his patients have and takes great pride in making them feel relaxed and comfortable during every visit. Come in for an appointment and experience a different kind of dental practice. To find out more about Dr. Sinkin, please click here. Thanks for reading!

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All On 4 Dental Implants: Are They Right For You?

February 5th, 2016 by | No Comments »

all on 4 dental implants, michael sinkin, dental implants

 

A technique that’s being heavily advertised on TV, radio, print and on the web is All On 4 dental implants. Promoted as a fast and economical way to escape the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing dentures, All On 4 refers to a very specific dental implant treatment plan that can replace all or most of a patient’s missing teeth in the upper or lower dental arch.

The appeal of All On 4 is that is involves only 4 strategically placed implants, as opposed to 5 or even 6. In essence, the patient gets a nearly full complement of teeth, but needs only four implants. ALL the missing teeth are replaced by restorations that are supported by only 4 implants: All. On. 4.

It’s pretty obvious why All On 4 dental implants could be popular. The treatment plan:

  • Involves Less Surgery: Only four implants need to be placed and bone grafting procedures such as sinus lifts are often not needed.
  • Is More Economical: Only four implants are placed, thus reducing the cost of the surgery as well as that of the final restoration.
  • Takes Less Time: Because advanced surgical procedures are often avoided and the time and number of visits required to fabricate the final restoration is reduced, the entire procedure requires fewer hours in the chair.

When a patient fulfills most of the clinical requisites for a successful outcome and with careful planning on the part of the dentist All On Four can be a very viable and economical choice for patients who are either wearing (or facing the prospect) of full dentures.

In fact, success with this technique can be a real game-changer in the quality of life of the person who pursues such care. To be able to smile, to eat, and to live in comfort without being concerned that one’s teeth may fall out, is something that was unheard of for denture wearers just a few years ago.

All On 4 Dental Implants Are Not For Everyone

Before embarking on the All On 4 treatment course many considerations (clinical, anatomical, and above all bio-mechanical) must be taken into account. Failure to do so will most assuredly, in my personal and professional opinion, lead to dramatic disappointment for both the patient and his or her dentist.

While it is the dentist’s (or team of dentists’) responsibility to determine whether All On 4 is a viable treatment option, it is the patient’s prerogative to ask a lot of questions about the pros and cons of such treatment. And the most important question of all is this:

What Happens if One of the Implants Fails?

With thorough and thoughtful diagnosis, carefully planned and proper surgical techniques, well fabricated restorations, and the appropriate follow-up care, the majority of implants are highly successful. In fact, some literature indicates a greater than 95% success rate.

But the reality is this: some of the implants will fail. Aside from surgical failure, the most common reason for an implant to fail is overload. In other words, after an implant is restored with a crown or as part of a bridge, it is then put into what we call function. This implant works hard: it bites, chews, and it grinds.

When an implant is part of a bridge, one of its jobs is to help support and carry the load that normally would have been carried by natural teeth. When the load becomes excessive, it’s common for the patient to lose some of his or her supporting bone. That is what leads to implant failure.

Management of these forces is one of the most crucial aspects of long-term implant success. Here are two of the many considerations that must be taken into account when deciding if All On Four is a good choice:

  • The more missing teeth that are replaced, the greater stress and strain is placed on the implants and the supporting bone around them.
  • If the opposite dentition is overly strong, the implants will be subjected to incredible forces. Imagine a large man with powerful jaw muscles and the force his implants will endure. The greater the force, the more support (number of implants) will be needed to help share or distribute the load.

Getting back to All On 4. Remember, there are just four implants to support the functional load of an entire dental arch. If the force factors are relatively low and there is an abundance of bone to support properly sized and angled implants, the All On 4 treatment can offer years of service to a very satisfied patient. But should just one implant fail, there will be trouble. First, the entire restoration must be removed. Next, additional implants must be placed. Finally, a new restoration must be made. This is costly in time and money.

If you lose one implant on All On 4 you are left with None On 3

As a highly trained implant dentist, it is my goal to properly address the clinical and bio-mechanical demands that will be placed on my patients’ teeth and implants in the future. It’s not my goal to over-engineer a planned dental implant restoration, but it’s prudent to provide some built-in fail safes.

Okay, so maybe I do lean towards being a bit conservative. But when I design All On 5 or All On 6 restorations, my patients are confident that one single implant failure will not necessarily doom the entire restoration. Most often, a simple chair side modification is made and the patient endures not even one full day without teeth.

Thanks to both dental ingenuity and a lot of publicity, All On 4 has become a very popular and sought-after treatment option. It can be a valuable service to the edentulous (a nice way to say “toothless”) person seeking better function, esthetics and comfort, less time in the dental chair, and a lower overall investment. But it is only a good In the appropriate circumstances.

Therefore, All On 4 is not for everyone and I fear it is being overused. In the long run, the cheapest route is not necessarily the most economical one.

Stay tuned (and subscribe) for more of my thoughts on the All On Four dental implants procedure and something else that concerns me: Teeth In A Day.

 

 

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Timely Reflections: Looking Back On 2015 & Looking Forward To 2016

December 31st, 2015 by | No Comments »

michael sinkin

It’s that time of year again. After the festivities of the holidays just past, and before the celebration of the New Year to begin, that I indulge in my now thoroughly ingrained ritual of taking personal stock.

2015 was HISTORIC. It was unlike any year I have experienced since 1995 when I left Forest Hills after a long partnership and opened my practice in Manhattan. 2015 was simultaneously stimulating, thrilling, challenging, mind expanding, gratifying and…exhausting!

It also marked the beginning of a crescendo that has been building over these past two plus years during which time I went back to school in the NYU College of Dentistry’s Implant Program. I graduated from the two-year program in June (with great fanfare thanks to my wonderful staff) and in September I enrolled in the more advanced Third Year of study in Implant Dentistry and Advanced Bone Grafting techniques (SO COOL!!!)

Every Wednesday, I marched into school with an action packed schedule: lecture at 7:30am; clinic 8:30-11:30; lecture 12-1:30, lab session 1:30-4:00. Did I mention reading assignments and homework?

nyu dental school implant program graduate, michael sinkin

It’s been nothing short of EXHILARATING! So much so that when I’m in school I’m anything but inconspicuous. I know most of the answers to the lecturer’s questions and I don’t hide the fact. (Brown-noser? Show off? A little of both?) But hey, I’m 25 years older than most of my classmates!

Michael Sinkin, Dentist, Blog
All the while I have been in the office four FULL days each week doing what I’ve always loved: practicing dentistry. And somehow I appreciate it more than ever while simultaneously developing an implant practice (as in surgical placement – I’ve been restoring implants for over 25 years.)

2015 also heralded many innovative changes in my office IN ADDITION TO my continuing professional education and development.

My office manager, Sandra Rolon (who has been with us since mid-2014), spearheaded implementation of a new office computer system (despite my kicking and screaming) that has brought new technology into the treatment room and facilitated our record-keeping and insurance claim processes.

We have also instituted regular patient blood pressure screening and have even encouraged some of our unsuspecting, but otherwise healthy, patients to get their long overdue physicals.

And because I now need the additional treatment room, my longtime tenant Dr. Alter has relocated to another office in the building.

On top of it all, the entire staff has been working with a professional dental consultant to help us do what we do, but even better. We are all learning how to harness our individual and collective skills to better serve our growing “clientele” and maintain a low-stress environment.

In March I was invited to deliver a TED-style talk at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration, of which I have been a member since 1990. “How I Rediscovered The Bounce in My Step” is the story of how I rediscovered my passion for clinical practice by going back to school at age 57. It was amazingly well received.

And with all of this activity going on, I have still tried to maintain my stream of postings on The Dental & Incidental Blog. Some years ago, when I first started dispensing helpful dental pearls of wisdom along with my incidental observations, my friend Jeff asked me if it was hubris to think that anyone would deem my writing exercise worthy of the time it took to read. Well, Jeff, as it turns out many people have visited my website and found the information useful. In fact, my blog posts on average attract between 6,000 and 9,000 new visitors to my website every month.

This past July, Google used my blog post “7 Ways To Stop Brain Freeze” as part of their TV ad campaign. That post alone received 75,000 visits in three weeks and the You Tube video of the ad was watched nearly three million times.

My dental “newsletter” has evolved into a platform for readers to ask specific questions about common dental problems. It’s a kind of Ask Dr. Sinkin advice column.

Yes, I have been very busy and engaged this past year but I just never stopped to think about how busy and engaged I’ve been until I noticed how much I was looking forward to the school vacation and some time off for the holidays. This operating in overdrive has been fueled by excitement.

michael sinkin

Now that 2015 is coming to a close, I am taking my foot off the gas pedal and coasting across the finish line. I look forward to 2016 with great anticipation, but for the next week or so I’m just going to chill out in California and a long overdue visit with my mom.

A happy and healthy new year to all and a most heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who allowed me into your lives: Dentally or Incidentally.

Michael

PS: The one New Year’s resolution that I don’t have to make (as I’ve had to for the past 20 years) is to lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers last January in 2015 I lost 40lbs.!

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© 2008 Dr. Michael Sinkin, D.D.S.