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PLD Blog

Time Flies When You’re Cleaning Teeth

Many of you read Stephanie’s recent post about the history of Pike Lake Dental. As she mentioned, she began her employment there in 1998, and Dr. Matt purchased the practice in 1999. BUT … long before that … 1984, to be exact … a young, fresh out of school, wide eyed hygienist burst onto the Pike Lake Dental scene ready to save the world one mouth at a time!

I remember the first day I walked into the office. At that time, it was located in the geodesic dome. (How many of you know that Pike Lake Dental started its life on the same side of the road that it is currently located?) As I entered the atrium-like lobby, I was greeted by a mustachioed man with wire rimmed glasses enjoying his newspaper. I recall being impressed with the bright sun streaming in through the large triangular windows overhead, and the whole concept of the dome building, in general. I had never been in a dome before! The man with the newspaper was Dr. Carter Johnson. Over the years, the dome would come to represent, for me, the fact that Carter was clearly a man who thought outside the proverbial box! He was a delight!

Dr. Carter with Deb’s son at his first dental appointment.

So speeding through this part:

-I get the job!!!
-I work for Carter for 16ish years
-Sadly, Carter falls to cancer
-Matt buys the practice (lucky guy gets this really awesome hygienist in the deal!)
-We grow to the point that we burst the seams of the dome
-We build and move across the highway
-And here we are today, still growing! Part of the reason for that is that Dr. Matt doesn’t let any grass grow under his feet! Pike Lake Dental is “state of the art”!

A lot has happened since 1984. In the time that I have practiced hygiene, we have gone from “wet finger” gloveless dentistry, wearing street clothes at the office, and wearing no protective eyewear or masks, to being fully enrobed in barrier protection and wearing scrubs that get washed in-house at the end of the day. Protection for us, protection for the patient.

Another change our office made some time ago, was the switch to digital x-ray. Prior to that, we used films that left us blind as to our success until that film took a five minute ride through the automatic processor. Now we see our results instantly! And speaking of the automatic processor -the old AT-2000- it was a machine that was filled with chemicals that needed changing on a regular basis, and the chemicals required special testing and disposal. It was also filled with a series of rollers and gears to carry the films through the chemicals. With all those moving parts, as you can imagine, it broke down on a regular basis. Needless to say, we don’t miss it, and are loving our updated equipment. In addition to digital bitewing x-rays, we also have a digital panorex, or full mouth machine. This machine can also take 3-D images to help Dr. Matt and Dr. Meaghan in some procedures they perform, such as dental implants.

That brings up another amazing advance in our in-office technology. When I first started at PLD, crowns were sent out to a lab to be produced. A patient would come in to have the tooth prepared, the doctor would place a temporary crown, and the patient would return two weeks later to place the lab crown. Actually, one of the dentists that we worked with made his own crowns in the office. It involved waxing up a model, putting it in plaster, heating it to melt the wax, and then melting a gold alloy, and casting it by putting it into a hand-spun centrifuge to force the gold into the mold! Super cool and crafty, but a ton of work … not to mention that it was time away from patients! Now, although there are occasional reasons to send out for a lab crown or bridge, most are done in-office and are typically completed within 1 1/2 hours! AND, beyond that, our office is trained and equipped to offer dental implants!

When I began at PLD, the thought of doing a dental implant as a routine in-office procedure was just a futuristic glimmer in a general dentist’s eye! In the past, when a patient lost a tooth, it would likely have been replaced with a partial denture or a bridge. Then implants came onto the scene! I remember our first implant cases. They had to be very committed patients, as they would have to travel to the Twin Cities to have much of their work done!! When this procedure made its way north, it still required the patient dancing between the oral surgeon and the dentist. Now, technology and training have brought implant placement right into Pike Lake Dental! I was talking to Dr. Matt a few days ago about a conversation I’d had with Dr. Johnson many years ago. When we started seeing so many patients coming in either having had, or aiming toward hip/knee/shoulder replacement, Carter told me that within short order, having a joint replaced would be as common as having a crown or a root canal done … and he was right! Now, that same story come true with dental implants Dr. Matt feels the procedure is going to become even quicker and easier in a very short time! Our CAD/CAM technology is an amazing thing, and our highly trained staff allows PLD to offer our patients cutting edge treatment! I see and work with these advances every day, and I am still astounded by them!

Now, moving forward … literally … even our front office staff members are riding the technology wave! I remember when scheduling was done in a binder with paper pages (and a fair amount of eraser leavings)! Our receptionist would flip through the pages with her pencil in hand, looking for appointment times for our patients. As you might expect, after six plus months of flipping through them, adding and erasing names, the pages became quite tattered! I also remember when it was time to move the scheduling to the computer. It would be so much more tidy and efficient to schedule this way! Our receptionist, however, was not convinced! The thought of all those patients helplessly floating in a computer instead of being safe in a book in front of her was daunting! I swear to you, it was like a child giving up a pacifier! The switch was made, and it did, indeed, prove to be just as tidy and efficient as promised … most days!

Gone are the days of hand writing insurance claims and trying to read patients’ accounts off a tiny microfiche that might be a month behind in it’s information. Our computer system keeps staff quite up to date to answer patient questions. Gone, also, are the days of calling every patient (which, currently, could easily be up to 50 individuals, or more) to remind them of their upcoming visit. Patients are phoned automatically, as well as having the option of an email or text message.We have also gone “paperless” with patient files. It definitely does not mean less work … I can vouch for this … but, again, it is a much more efficient and secure way to manage our patients’ information!

There are so many more things I could write about, but I think the point has been made. In 33+ years, Pike Lake Dental has seen me change from a single work force neophyte, to a wife, a mom, a seasoned vet, and, hopefully in a few years, a retiree! I, in turn, have watched Pike Lake Dental grow into a formidable, yet comfortable practice. It has been fun to see the evolution and innovation! And what’s even better, is that there’s more on the horizon! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Written by Deb Trethewey, RDH at Pike Lake Dental Center

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Are Dentists Typically Pack Rats?

In a word: YES!!!

I pulled open a drawer in our office lab a couple months ago and found this note on a cardboard box containing a hand mirror. This is Monty’s handwriting. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this – partly because I still miss Monty (who retired a year or so ago from our office) and partly because this puts into words what we experience so often in the dental field. This is 100% real. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Seriously.

Our storage closet, just of Dr. Matt’s office.

We have a closet, located in Dr. Matt’s office, that houses supplies and other important necessities – like this straw hat. It’s an organized mess. I was digging around in there with Nancy one day in an attempt to clean some things out and gain some additional storage space. Among many other things, we found the box for our E-Z Press, a press that Matt used to replace the bearings in our dental handpieces. The E-Z Press was a great tool to have and saved us a ton of money by replacing the worn-out components in our handpieces ourselves and not having to send them out for repair. We don’t own any of those handpieces anymore. So why do we keep the E-Z Press around? You got it: Just in case.

The E-Z Press.

We have changed the artwork throughout the building a few times in the years we’ve been in the new office. Behind the door of Dr. Matt’s office is a perfect place to store old artwork. Why do we hang into it? Just in case.

Some of the artwork we’ve had up in the office over the years.

You’d like to see a dental journal from the year 2013? Which month? We have them all!

Dental journals from 2013 to present.

Now, our office is not unique. Dr. Johnson, the dentist Dr. Matt purchased Pike Lake Dental Center from, saved a ton of stuff too. When we moved from the geodesic dome across the highway to our new building, we were able to get rid of a lot of old things that were obsolete. I’m pretty sure we also transferred a few things to our new building during the move.

I finally passed along our old assisting chairs that belonged to Dr. Johnson this past summer to our nephews for their hunting shack. Out of our pole barn and into their hands. That was a small success.

Dr. Matt also has saved this very special boombox from his college years. This little gem is housed in a closet at the office. If tapes ever make a comeback, we will be ready!

Dr. Matt’s boombox from the 1980s.

An old door to the office? Don’t you worry – we have it in the shed! You never know when an extra door will come in handy.

Dr. Matt’s ADA membership card from 2005? We’ve been saving it for just this moment!

ADA membership card from 2005.

We also used to save old hand instruments “just in case”. Nancy and I recently went through a big bin of instruments I had cleaned out of Dr. Matt’s desk drawer. He used to save them for patients who then used them for wood carving or in their garages. We had about 5 pounds of dental instruments we were able to recycle. It was a small win, but recycling all those instruments was a win!

Sterile, but old, instruments ready to be recycled.

Rest assured, we keep a clean and efficient office in the clinical and front desk spaces. Behind the scenes, in a closet or desk drawers or the shed out back, we also keep a lot of things we really don’t need. I think dentists in general are pretty cost-savvy and practical. Also, they never know when they might need something. In Matt’s defense, he is able to fix a lot of things within the office himself and having spare parts on hand is very useful in those circumstances.

After so many years together, I figure the best way to look at the “just in case” things we have accumulated over the years is simply with a smile.

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich

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Does Our Dental Technology Cost YOU More?

Absolutely not. It actually SAVES you time and money. I know that may be hard to believe, but let me explain…

The technology inside Pike Lake Dental Center has changed over the years. We aren’t the same dental office Dr. Matt purchased back in 1999. We’ve slowly built our practice around technology, making us more efficient with our time and our finances.

Our first big investment after we moved into our new office was upgrading to digital x rays. Moving away from film was a big and necessary leap in updating our technology in 2008. The lead aprons we’d drape across you before taking an x ray are gone. Digital x rays produce much less radiation, are available immediately and are stored more efficiently. Just this one transition has made our office more cost effective and is a better alternative for the environment.

One of our digital x ray units.

No more gooey impressions? They are almost entirely a thing of the past. We began taking digital impressions in 2007. This technology has changed over the years and we’ve upgraded our equipment as needed. Today, with this special camera that takes thousands of photographs per second, we are able to accurately build an impression of a patient’s tooth, or even their full mouth, in minutes. The models are then transferrable to our machine that builds crowns and bridges. The digital files are also shareable with companies like Invisalign for treatment plans.

Digital impressions with our CEREC acquisition unit.

Dr. Matt saw the future in dentistry through dental implants many years ago. He took a multi-week course in New Jersey in 2013 to learn more about dental implants. At that time, this new way of restoring teeth was exciting and different and mostly done by specialists. Not a lot of general dentists were learning about dental implants in 2013. Times are changing and you’ll find many general dentists placing implants today. Years ago, replacing a missing tooth typically meant a bridge. A bridge usually caps the healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth. Today we can build you a new tooth in the place of your missing tooth while keeping the integrity of the teeth around it. That’s crazy cool!

A dental implant we recently placed.

Single-visit crowns? That’s got to be expensive! Actually, they cost a fraction of the amount lab-crafted crown cost to make, therefore we are able to keep the price of our crowns lower. When we purchased this CEREC machine to make crowns in our office in 2013, we were looking to accomplish a few things: save our patients time, cut down on our lab bills and jump in with the latest technology. This machine has paid for itself (and then some) in lab fees. Plus, it saves both our patients and our staff time by making strong and beautiful crowns in one visit. It’s a win-win!

Our CEREC, busy making a crown.

Going paperless was a scary idea, but we made the jump in 2015. We no longer keep each patient’s chart and x rays in a file folder. A patient’s chart is now accessible from any of our work stations in the office. X rays are easily found, sorted, and stored for each patient. Notes are taken on the computers in the operatories. Treatment plans are entered electronically. Insurances are also billed electronically. All of these advancements has saved us vast amounts of supplies, time and storage space.

My dental chart, prior to our office going paperless.

One of our biggest investments is the 3D scanner we purchased in 2016. Over the years, we slowly upgraded our older panorex machines into this state-of-the-art unit. The images we can capture from this scanner can be as simple as bitewing x rays and as complex as airway scans to determine if a patient may suffer from sleep apnea.

Our 3D scanner.

No more wondering what’s inside that head of yours. We can show you! Here’s one view of Dr. Matt’s 3D scan.

A 3D view of Dr. Matt’s mouth.

Why would you seek care from a doctor who practices dentistry from the 1980s if, for the same fees, you could see a dentist with the latest technology?

Just because dental technology is advanced doesn’t mean it will cost YOU more. It can actually save you time and money.

 

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich.

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The Short Story of Pike Lake Dental Center

When I started at Pike Lake Dental Center in 1998, I worked for Dr. Carter Johnson in the geodesic dome across the street from our current office location. Carter was ill with cancer the entire time we worked together. I remember him as being bald with a big smile, that he dry-brushed his teeth in the car on his commute to and from work, and that he highly valued continuing education. He was quick with compliments and he had many adoring, loyal patients. Carter was a very special guy. He knew his cancer was terminal and wanted his dental practice to continue on in good hands. I remember him coming into my office, plunking down in the second chair, and telling me, “You should get that boyfriend of yours to buy my practice.” It took some months and negotiating, but we finally convinced my boyfriend to make the move.

Late 1998, just after Matt and I started dating.

Matthew Jugovich, DDS purchased Pike Lake Dental Center in 1999. He left his job with Dr. Kim Chart on 4th Street in the Central Hillside neighborhood of Duluth and began practicing solo at Pike Lake Dental Center with a lot of dreams and a little debt. Together, we sent out a letter to Matt’s “4th Street patients”, as we affectionately still call them today, telling them of his departure from one practice and ownership of another.

The geodesic dome, the original home of Pike Lake Dental Center.

I asked Matt how many patients he thought would follow him up over the hill and he replied with, “My family for sure.” That was about a total of 8 people. No worries. We could handle that number along with Dr. Johnson’s patients.

Not only did Matt’s family members follow him, but an outstanding number of loyal, amazing patients followed him too. You guys know who you are and we are privileged to still call you our friends today, all these years later. Most of the “Carter patients”, as we affectionately call them, also chose to stay and see the new guy.

Our sign (and our old car and motorcycle) at the geodesic dome.

We started out small with 3 dental chairs (two doctor chairs and one hygiene chair) and Carter’s 5 employees, plus Dr. Matt. Two of us gals worked up front. We ran the phones, handled the schedule and all the billing aspects of the office. The office also employed two assistants, one of whom was Monty (recently retired in 2016), and one hygienist, Deb, who is still with our office today. It was a perfect staff for an office that size. We worked well together and were excited to keep Pike Lake Dental Center continuing on with new leadership.

The geodesic dome.

The geodesic dome had its unique challenges, space being our primary struggle. Under Dr. Matt’s lead, we were busier than we had been with Dr. Johnson while he was ill. Pike Lake Dental Center was growing quickly! Essentially, we had combined two dental practices, Dr. Matt’s and Dr. Johnson’s, into one. Within a few years, it was painfully obvious: we were outgrowing the building and there was no room for expansion at our current location.

Our former home and the future location of Pike Lake Dental Center.

A residential home went up for sale across the street from the geodesic dome and Dr. Matt jumped at the chance to purchase it. He put his little house in Woodland up for sale and moved into the house on Miller Trunk Highway. In the meantime, Matt and I got engaged. We were married in 2002, had our first baby and started building a house in Hermantown in 2003. We moved into our house, had another baby in 2004 and immediately began plans to move the house off the property in Pike Lake and build a new dental office in its place. We moved into the new office in December of 2004. Because we are a little bit crazy, we had our third – and last – child in 2005. It was truly a whirlwind of three or four years. We were young, in love and ready to tackle the world.

Inside the current Pike Lake Dental Center.

At the time of the move to the new office, we thought 6 dental chairs (three doctor chairs and 3 hygiene chairs) was more room than we could ever need. The office was clean, spacious and every piece of new equipment worked. It truly was a dream come true to work in the new office. We slowly added staff as we continued to steadily grow over the years in the new building. Sue, Nancy and Lisa would have joined us around this time.

During these early years, Matt assumed an astronomical amount of debt. In the span of just a handful of years, we had purchased Carter’s dental practice, bought a house, built a new house, built the new office and purchased all the equipment needed for the new office. When I heard the final total of our debt for the entirety of Pike Lake Dental Center, I will admit I was nauseous for a long time. How in the world could we pay back all that money? Why in the world had we been allowed to borrow so much? Matt was fiercely driven and rose to the challenge. There were many sleepless nights and countless hours spent worrying, but I am very proud to say we never missed a payment on anything. Ever. In fact, we managed to pay most of the loans off early. Just last month, we made our last payment to Wells Fargo for the building. We officially own the entire dental office free and clear now. Whew! That is a huge accomplishment!

Pike Lake Dental Center building mortgage PAID IN FULL!!!

Today, we are again bursting at the seams with 15 employees and Dr. Matt. Of the original Dr. Johnson staff, only Debbie and I remain. Our lunchroom is standing room only. We always try to creatively maximize each day’s schedule to the best of our ability. Matt has continued to add new technology and procedures to the office, always maintaining his high standards of patient care. We have experienced overwhelming growth and loyalty from our patients. Is it time to add onto the office again? Only time will tell.

We are packed in like sardines but we still manage to have fun!

As I reflect on the changes Pike Lake Dental Center has undergone in the years since I started working here, I am truly amazed. Matt’s determination and drive has continually taken Pike Lake Dental Center to new and challenging heights. I also find myself beaming with pride for all he’s accomplished. I hope Dr. Johnson would be proud of Pike Lake Dental Center today, a dental practice he literally started from the ground up. I am eternally thankful for the wonderful patients and staff we have had the privilege of serving and working with these nearly 20 years. Without you, Pike Lake Dental Center wouldn’t and couldn’t exist. So, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

Dr. Matt and Stephanie, young and in love in 2001.

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich

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Thoughts About Teeth From a Dentist’s Wife

I often get asked about teeth because people know my husband is a dentist. Luckily, I rarely get the full, open mouth view with a finger pointing to a tooth in the grocery store. People usually save that treat for my husband. Trust me, that has happened before and not just once. All teasing aside, I find people are extremely curious about dentistry and have lots of questions about their teeth. Typically these questions are issues a patient should be addressing with his or her dentist at regular 6 month check ups.

Not surprisingly, most of the people I fall into dental conversations with haven’t been to a dentist in a long time and are embarrassed about the length of time it has been since their last dental visit. I get it. We get busy. We prioritize our time and our finances in different ways. Let me tell you one thing I’ve learned from personal experience: YOUR TEETH ARE IMPORTANT!

Showing off my cheesy smile in 1979.

I have grown up with a love for teeth. My mom worked at a dental office when I was growing up. I started working at a dental office when I was 19 years old and still work in the field. I married a dentist. My husband and I have lots of friends in the dental field – assistants, hygienists, dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, dental lab owners and more. We talk teeth A LOT, even at home. Personally, I brush and floss regularly. I’ve gone through ortho twice. I whiten my teeth. I go in regularly for check ups and cleanings. I realize the value of my teeth. I know I am a freaky exception, but I also want to share that realization with everyone I meet. YOUR TEETH ARE INVALUABLE!

Dr. Matt and his dad, Matt Sr.

Years ago, my father-in-law had a partial denture that needed to be repaired. He was without his partial for about a week while it was at the lab. During that week, my father-in-law had terrible indigestion because he wasn’t able to chew his food properly. He was so excited to get his teeth back! As soon as he did, his digestive issues cleared up. It was wonderful! It was also a testament to the value of teeth.

Also, many, many years ago, we had a young man call our office requesting to have all of his teeth extracted and dentures made for him. This gentleman was in his early twenties at the time. When he explained what he wanted, I was completely perplexed, but I scheduled him for a consultation with our dentist. At the consultation, our dentist refused to extract his healthy teeth and the patient went elsewhere for treatment. I think about that man every so often and wonder if he ever found a dentist willing to extract all his teeth. He was young and healthy. Why in the world could he not see the value in maintaining his natural teeth? I think Dr. Seuss said it best in his book, The Tooth Book, “And when you get your second set, THAT’S ALL THE TEETH YOU’LL EVER GET!” In other words, you only get one chance with your permanent teeth.

Generally, most of the people I fall into dental talk with want to know more about dentistry. How much do certain procedures cost? Can you actually get a crown made in an hour? Is whitening expensive? How much does Invisalign cost? Does your husband do root canal treatments? While I can answer some things generically, others I cannot. I find myself saying over and over, “Just give them a call. Set up an appointment. Someone at our office can answer your questions much better than I can.” While I feel as though I’m a great representative, I’m no expert.

Your teeth are invaluable!

I also find I inadvertently make people feel guilty for not taking better care of their teeth. I get the embarrassed smile and the “I know I should just do it” look. “It” usually being “call for an appointment”. I never mean to make people feel bad about their teeth. I do not judge. Ever. In fact, in those situations I find myself feeling a little embarrassed and I typically make up a crazy excuse like, “I don’t really have the option of not taking care of my teeth – my husband is a dentist.” That may be true, but I think no matter what Matt did for a living, I’d still take care of my teeth to the best of my ability.

Another common topic I hear from people is that they seem to constantly be looking for a dental office to call “home”. They may be new to town or their previous dentist retired. There is no relationship established and they are searching to establish one. I get it. I’m all about relationships. Now days, I feel as though my kids’ doctors are here one year, gone the next. We just get established with a physician and we hear he or she is leaving for another clinic out of state. That lack of provider continuity seems to greatly affect patients. If their provider is inconsistent, they become inconsistent patients.

Here’s the crazy fact about dentistry: Dentists are ultra consistent. (They also save EVERYTHING, but I’ll tell you about that in another blog post.) It takes a tremendous amount of effort and financial commitment to establish a dental office. Typically, a person who invests that much of themselves into a dental practice is going to be there for a long, long time.

My stash of business cards.

Once a patient establishes with a dental office that they trust and feel comfortable at, it usually turns into a long-term relationship. I encourage people to just call and schedule an appointment for a cleaning and exam or for a consultation. Meet the staff. Get a feel for the place. Let it become less scary or new to you. Begin to let it feel like home. The first step is always the hardest: make the initial call. Of course, I do try to always carry Matt’s business cards with me in my purse, but establishing with someone – anyone – is the important thing.

In conclusion, yes, I love teeth. I love perfect teeth. I love imperfect teeth. If you and I have talked face to face, you can bet I have taken notice of your teeth. We are all built differently and that is what makes each of usspecial. The most important thing is that you’re taking care of the teeth you have. I love seeing people smile. I’m not going to lie – I especially love when it’s my husband that partners with you to make your smile the best it can be, but you seeking consistent care for your teeth is most important thing. The first step is the hardest: call for an appointment. I promise you, at Pike Lake Dental Center, we will do our best to make it an easy, pain-free and pleasant experience for you. Your best smile is our goal! We are a wonderful place to call home.

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, wife and life-long cheerleader of Dr. Matt

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Happy Holidays from the Jugovich Family!

Happy Holidays! What a year 2017 has been for our family! We hope this joyous season finds you and yours happy and healthy. I’ll give you a quick rundown on each of us…

Campbell and Ollie relaxing on the pontoon.

Campbell is a Freshman already. She is finishing up drivers ed and is ready for her permit as soon as she turns 15 in January. She plays golf and volleyball, and is also involved in a few clubs at school. Campbell is co-managing the JV and Varsity boys basketball team this season and is loving the role. Upper School has been especially awesome for her so far. She has developed many new friendships this school year and is constantly Snapping, texting or Instagramming friends. As the oldest, she’s our overachiever and perfectionist. She’s also one of the coolest people I know.

Jack with a nice bass off our dock.

Jack is 13 and in 8th grade. He is our basketball and soccer player. Jack has blossomed in the past year and a half from a kid who wanted to be invisible at school into a kid who has tons of friends and brims with self confidence. He is a textbook middle child and is a much more relaxed kid than his sisters, which is both a blessing and a curse. Jack is also crazy funny. Sometimes I laugh until I cry over his stories and jokes. He is constantly jumping, throwing a ball and “breaking our ankles” (faking like he’s going one way, then cuts the opposite way and makes us alter our course). He spent many, many hours fishing off the dock this summer, catching and releasing sunnies and bass. Jack’s two greatest loves remain his phone and candy. We are so excited to see how Jack will continue to develop in both personality and height in the coming years. He’s shot up many inches already this past year.

Katie is a fantastic captain!

Katie is about to turn 12 and is rocking 6th grade. She’s still a little spit-fire and keeps us on our toes with her passionate personality. That said, she’s also the kid who will fiercely defend her friends and is so compassionate she’s brought me to tears on more than one occasion. She’s a fantastic reader and always has a handful of books she’s reading at once. She completed her ATV safety class and can’t wait to drive the 4 wheeler a lot this coming summer. Kate played Junior Olympic volleyball last winter and is excited for the season to start up again soon. She just told me today she plans to play volleyball, basketball, golf, tennis and maybe run cross country for school next year. If anyone is going to conquer it all, it’ll be Katie The Legend (yes, she has created that catchy name for her future 6’2” self).

Matt and a beautiful Lake of the Woods walleye.

Matt seems to always have something up his sleeve. If there isn’t a project or idea already in the works, he’s cooking a new one up. There’s no rest for the weary and he oftentimes reminds me of the Energizer Bunny. He captains our boat and fishes like a pro. He works hard and plays hard. In October, he and a buddy headed to New Mexico for an elk hunt. He came back without an elk this time, which is just fine – we have a lot of other meat in the freezer. Matt remains busy at the office. He’s constantly looking to make the practice better, more productive and more efficient. Thankfully, he has a great team and everyone works well together. I am so proud of everything he’s created there!

My annual birthday selfie – 29 again!

I went back to work part-time in February. I really enjoy what I do and love to be back at the office again. I’m still trying to find that elusive, perfect balance of home and work. If you’ve got any pointers, I’m all ears. I keep busy running the kids to and from school, and to their never-ending activities. It’s common for me to put 400+ miles on the family vehicle in a week and not travel farther than a 20 mile radius from home. I’m happy to play the role of #1 fan at all the kids’ sports. I still read as much as I can – over 150 books in 2017 already. I will always love camping and boating; the fishing we do is just an added bonus. I treasure family time and warm weather – I can never get enough of either one!

Alvin.

Ollie.

The dogs, Alvin and Ollie, are happy and healthy and finally get along. Ollie was trained in Northfield for a couple months this year and has the skills to be a fantastic hunter. He also went to South Dakota with Matt for a short pheasant hunt in October and did a great job. He loves the water! Alvin enjoys riding in the car and fearlessly protecting our yard from squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer and birds. Ollie is Alvin’s faithful sidekick, but is not nearly as diligent in his patrol.

Soaking up the sun and practicing our Spanish in Mexico.

We have many highlights from the past 12 months. Aruba has turned into our go-to place for a winter escape in February the past few years. All five of us enjoy a week of warm weather, relaxation, sun and sand. I took the kids to Mexico in March. It was an amazing trip! The Baudette  area on Lake of the Woods continues to be our favorite camping and fishing spot. We spent many weekends up there last summer and are already looking forward to more memories there in 2018. We took a quick trip to Nebraska to see the solar eclipse in August. The total eclipse was one of the coolest things we’ve ever experienced. Matt and I also celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in August.

A little slice of heaven on Bass Lake.

We are very excited about our cabin lot on Bass Lake, just outside Biwabik. We spent many hours playing and working there this past spring and summer. The campfires and pontoon rides around the lake are some of our favorite memories. We hope to build a cabin of our own on the property next summer. There is still an overwhelming amount of work to do, but we have a vision. If you’re ever in the area, please stop by!

We wish you peace, health and happiness in 2018. Enjoy every moment you spend with the ones you love. Soak up the memories. Share your love and talents with others. Count your blessings. There are so many things to be thankful for!

With warmest thoughts this Holiday Season and always,

~Stephanie, Matt, Campbell, Jack and Katie Jugovich

Just after viewing the total solar eclipse in Nebraska.

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Is an Electric Toothbrush Really That Amazing?

I’m sure you’ve seen television commercials and online advertising for electric toothbrushes that promise a superior clean and a fresh-from-the-dentist feeling in your mouth after using them.

Is an electric toothbrush really that amazing? From my personal experience, absolutely!

My husband is a dentist. I am extremely conscious of my teeth and I feel as though I take pretty great care of them. I have used an older model OralB electric toothbrush for years. I keep it on my bathroom counter, charge it faithfully, keep it clean and replace the brush head regularly. I have a routine of brushing my teeth, gums and tongue in a certain order. The routine doesn’t change; it’s simply habit and muscle memory.

When I travel, though, I leave my electric toothbrush at home. When packing for a family vacation for 5 people, every ounce up to that dreaded 50# weight limit matters. I don’t want to sacrifice any more real estate in our suitcases than absolutely necessary, so I opt for a lightweight and easily packable standard issue toothbrush from the dental office. It never fails – by the third day of a week-long trip, my teeth just don’t feel quite as clean. Is it my overly dentally-aware mind playing tricks on me? Possibly.

When I use a regular, manual toothbrush, I find myself scrubbing my teeth harder, with more vigor, than I do with my electric toothbrush. My gums hurt and bleed because I seem to attack them with my toothbrush. Is that really helping me? The answer is no. It’s not the muscle you put into your tooth brushing that gives you the maximum benefit. It is both the time and the motion you put into your toothbrushing that truly gives you the maximum benefit. You can get a fantastic clean with a traditional toothbrush if you take your time and actually focus on each area, brushing gently and consistently for the dentist recommended 2 minutes.

With an electric toothbrush, the back and forth brushing motion is not necessary and not recommended by experts. Instead, I let the toothbrush do the work. I let it pulsate and clean each area and surface of my teeth and tongue, simply guiding the toothbrush bristles to each area I want to clean. There’s no scrubbing. Instead, I keep the pressure consistent throughout my mouth and the result is truly a just-from-the-dentist clean feeling. I equate the difference between a traditional and electric toothbrush to the difference between sweeping and vacuuming the floors. It’s much more work to sweep than it is to simply push the vacuum around, isn’t it? Brushing with an electric toothbrush is very similar.

If you’re in the market for an electric toothbrush, Pike Lake Dental Center does sell an incredible electric toothbrush package. The kit includes the rechargeable electric toothbrush, multiple brush heads, a carrying case, charging port, toothpaste, mouthwash, and more. This toothbrush is so smart it can connect to your smartphone via bluetooth to help ensure you
are brushing for enough time and in the right spots. The toothbrush can even detect if you are pressing too hard or using too much force while brushing your teeth. I’m amazed at how smart this system is! The true praises for this toothbrush will have to be saved for a different blog, though. Stay tuned!

In conclusion, YES, I truly believe electric toothbrushes are amazing. I will not say a person can’t clean their teeth well using a regular, traditional toothbrush. You absolutely can. I can tell you that I personally prefer letting my electric toothbrush do the work of keeping my teeth clean between my biannual visits with my hygienist. A healthy, clean mouth is a wonderful thing!

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center

 

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Breaking Down Dental Implants

Have you ever wondered what a dental implant is? Maybe you’ve had a tooth removed and your dentist has offered implants as a replacement option. In this blog post, I will focus on discussing the components that make up an implant restoration.

Let’s start by explaining what makes up a dental implant. Wikipedia defines dental implants this way:

A dental implant… is a surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw or skull to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, (or) denture.

In most cases, the dental implant therapy involves three components:

First is the implant itself. This is the part that, as Wikipedia says, interfaces with the bone of the patient’s jaw. The dental implants we use today are made of titanium. Through a process called osseointegration, the implant will form an intimate bond with the patient’s bone, which anchors it in place. Most times, the implants’ shapes and sizes are designed to mimic the root of the tooth it is replacing. Implants typically have a tapered, threaded design which allows for accurate and stable placement. Dental implants also have a special coating or treatment on their surfaces that help them integrate with the jaw bone.

The second part of the dental implant therapy is the implant abutment. This is the intermediary part that joins the crown, bridge or denture to the implant. The abutment interfaces with the implant with very precise machined surfaces and is often held in place with a screw through its center. The screw is then tightened to a specific setting using a special torque wrench. The implant abutment serves as the transition piece from the implant through the gum tissue to the final restoration.

The third part is the crown or bridge. This is the part that completes the implant therapy. It resembles the tooth in form and function. It is most times an individual crown or bridge and is held to the implant abutment by cement. Once the cement is cured, the restoration (crown or bridge) is then ready for normal use. Most times these components are fixed, or are anchored, permanently in a patient’s mouth. The crown or bridge will not need to be removed.

Each component of a dental implant also typically carries its own fee, so you may find that the fee breakdown from your dentist will list the fee for each of these parts separately.

Keep checking back to our website and Facebook page, Pike Lake Dental Center, for more on dental implants. In future blogs, we will try to shed more light on the process of placing a dental implant and some of the more frequently asked questions.

Written by Matt Jugovich, D.D.S., Pike Lake Dental Center

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“I’ve got TMJ.” • “We all have TMJ. Let’s talk about Bruxism and Occlusal Guards.”

Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth.
       -Excerpt from the Mayo Clinic website, www.mayoclinic.org

  • Do you wake up in the mornings with dull headaches?
  • Do you consistently have pain in your jaw?
  • Have you ever noticed yourself clenching your teeth when you’re concentrating or stressed?
  • Do you grind your teeth?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you may suffer from bruxism and might benefit from an occlusal guard, sometimes also called a night guard. Have no fear, you are not alone! One study suggests over 3 million people suffer from bruxism in the United States each year.

An occlusal guard is a small, customized, transparent oral device that fits over a person’s lower teeth, which helps prevent them from clenching their jaw muscles and gnashing their teeth, thus relieving the associated tooth and jaw pain.

We all have temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect our jaws to our heads. You are able to feel these joints by placing your fingers on either side of your jaw and opening and closing your mouth a few times. This area on your face is an incredibly complex mix of joints, strong muscles and powerful ligaments. This area is easily irritated and has the potential to cause you a lot of pain. The TMJ is the location of the pain; bruxism is most often the actual diagnosis.

There are many things you can do yourself to help relieve bruxism pain. Reducing stress, staying rested, oral exercises, reducing or eliminating chewing gum, reducing caffeine intake, and applying heat or ice to the joints are just a few options to try. Consulting with your physician about any medications you are on can also be helpful since some medications can contribute to bruxism. If you’ve exhausted these ideas and are still experiencing pain or you need to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to experience relief, an occlusal guard might be a good fit for you.

Typically, the recurring jaw pain is discussed between doctor and patient at a hygiene appointment or during a regular dental visit. Once bruxism is officially diagnosed, it’s a fairly quick and easy process to procure an occlusal guard through our office. We start by taking impressions of your teeth. The impressions are sent to a dental lab and the lab creates a slim, clear occlusal guard that is a perfect fit over your lower teeth. We have you return to our office about a week later to deliver the occlusal guard, make sure it fits you well, make any adjustments and answer any additional questions you may have.

The best part about an occlusal guard: it’s easy to wear! It’s not big and ugly. It’s nearly unnoticeable while worn. Taking care of your occlusal guard is easy too. Simply rinse it with clear water after each use and allow it to air dry (out of reach of pets, of course). Or brush it gently with your toothbrush and a tiny amount of toothpaste when you feel it needs a little more attention, again letting it air dry.

Many dental insurances include coverage for occlusal guards. We are happy to send a preauthorization to your dental insurance company to determine if your insurance will supplement the cost of an occlusal guard. Regardless of dental benefits, an occlusal guard is a wise investment if you suffer from bruxism.

We typically recommend wearing the occlusal guard while you sleep, when it can help reduce the most amount of stress inflicted on the TMJ area, although some patients wear it during the day too. The bruxism pain is usually relieved quickly, most often within a week or two. It’s normal to go through periods of life when you experience more stress than normal or are not sleeping restfully. If you take a hiatus from wearing your occlusal guard and experience the bruxism pain returning, simply begin using the occlusal guard again. We highly recommend wearing an occlusal guard every night to maximize the benefits of the appliance and to experience consistent pain relief.

If you feel you’d benefit from an occlusal guard, please discuss it with us at your next dental appointment. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about both bruxism and occlusal guards. The more you know, the better off you are!

 

– Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center

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Athletic Mouthguards and Your Athlete

In this world of ever-increasing competitive levels in youth sports, the need for athletic mouthguards has never been greater.

Here’s an excerpt from the American Dental Association (ADA) website, mouthhealthy.org:

When Should You Wear a Mouthguard?
When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.

While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

That is so true! Here at Pike Lake Dental, we create custom athletic mouthguards in less than a day. Our mouthguards are fabricated from an impression taken of a patient’s mouth, so they are a perfect fit every time. Not only does a custom athletic mouthguard stay in place better, they are less likely to come flying out of an athlete’s mouth than the one-size-fits-all drugstore mouthguards. There’s no heating the mouthguard up on the stove or microwave, trying to form the plastic to your child’s mouth. For just a little more than you’d pay at the store, we can make your athlete a perfectly fitted mouthguard, without the hassle.

We offer a wide selection of colors that are sure to coordinate with your team’s colors. Or just pick a favorite color. There are so many choices!

Samples of some of the mouthguard colors we offer at Pike Lake Dental.

As a parent of three athletes, I have seen first hand the benefits of athletic mouthguards. My son plays both basketball and soccer. He has suffered concussions on the basketball court and broken bones on the soccer field. This past year, his school’s basketball coach mentioned mouthguards at the pre-season parent meeting. The parents unanimously agreed, without any convincing, that mouthguards should be mandatory for our players on the basketball court. The head boys basketball coach, also our Athletic Director, then made a mandatory ruling that every basketball player for our school wears a mouthguard on the court during a game. As a parent, I really respect the coach’s willingness to honor the parents’ wishes and applaud my fellow parents for banding together and insisting on an added safety element for our kids.

If your child’s team or sport doesn’t require a mouthguard, please consider personally insisting on one for your child. It could save your athlete from severe dental trauma and will help protect their beautiful, winning smile.

 

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental

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