We hope that you have been enjoying every second of summer.
As you can see from the photo above, we recently had an office outing to a Brewers Game. We are very fortunate to have such a great team where we enjoy being together both inside and outside the office. Patients often comment on the feeling of camaraderie that they feel within the office, as well as the sound of laughter. We enjoy performing at a high level every day and it shows.
Riverwalk Dentistry has seven Core Values that we try to live by. One of these Core Values is “Promote Personal and Professional Growth and Development”. We have a fabulous team of individuals that are constantly learning and growing to better serve you. Recently our assistant Lakera, received her hygiene license and she has now switched gears from being chair-side with Dr Lueck, to helping our patients maintain and achieve proper oral health through hygiene. Another assistant, Lizette, has been a full-time student while being a full-time assistant and recently received her degree in Web and Software Development. And our hygienist, Crystal, who after much education and training earned her credentials as a myofunctional therapist. Keep reading to learn what this is and how it can help you. Dr’s Lueck, Kats and Sawatzke are constantly attending educational courses and they take pride in the fact that they can provide the best and latest techniques and approaches to help you with your dental and overall health. Our Core Value of "Promote Personal and Professional Growth and Development" is living strong in our office every day.
Let's discuss myofunctional therapy. What is it and how can it help you?
Myofunctional therapy is a specialized treatment approach that focuses on correcting and improving the function of the muscles of the face, mouth, tongue and throat. It is closely related to dentistry as it aims to address various oral and facial muscle dysfunctions that can impact dental health and overall well-being.
One crucial aspect of myofunctional therapy is the evaluation and treatment of tongue dysfunction. The tongue plays a significant role in various oral functions, including swallowing, speaking and breathing. When the tongue does not function properly, it can lead to a range of dental issues and oral health problems.
When there is tongue dysfunction, there is often an abnormal swallowing pattern that can lead to malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth), an open bite, and other orthodontic problems. It is best to catch this dysfunction early, as an infant or child, to help address potential issues with growth and development that can otherwise lead to dental crowding or constricted arches and airway. Myofunctional therapy can help to retrain the tongue to swallow and function correctly, reducing the impact on growth, development and dental crowding.
One of the main focuses of myofunctional therapy is to promote nasal breathing. Nasal breathing is the best type of breathing, and individuals with poor tongue function will often be mouth breathers. Chronic mouth breathing can lead to a low tongue posture which also can contribute to open mouth posture, narrow dental arches, and a higher risk of developing sleep disorder breathing conditions. Myofunctional therapy helps individuals establish nasal breathing and proper tongue posture, promoting optimal dental and overall health.
Tongue ties, or Ankyloglossia, is a condition where the tongue’s movement is restricted due to a tight or short frenulum (the tissue connecting the tongue to the the floor of the mouth). This restriction can affect tongue function, speech, swallowing and breastfeeding in infants. Myofunctional therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as a frenectomy (a surgical release of the frenulum), to improve tongue mobility and function.
If the tongue is not functioning properly, speech can also be affected. Certain speech disorders, such as lisps or articulation difficulties, can be caused by improper tongue placement or movement. Myofunctional therapy can help individuals improve their tongue control and coordination, leading to better speech clarity and articulation. An evaluation with a speech pathologist is recommended in conjunction with myofunctional therapy for speech disorders.
Proper tongue function and nasal breathing are essential for maintaining good oral health. When the tongue isn’t functioning properly it can contribute to an increase in plaque buildup and gum tissue inflammation, dry mouth and an increase in dental decay and gum disease.
We have begun to screen all our patients, from infants to adults, for tongue dysfunction and we are lucky to have Crystal on our team to help provide myofunctional therapy and specific custom exercises to our patients that need it.
As always, we thank you all for trusting us with your oral healthcare needs.
If you know of anybody looking for a new dental office to call home, please introduce them to us!
Summer is about to begin and for many of us this is the most enjoyable season of the year. Milwaukee embraces summer with restaurants spilling out onto the sidewalks and rooftops, parks filled with events and music, and numerous community events that occur throughout our wonderful and diverse neighborhoods. Our team embraces summer by spending more time with family, traveling to cabins up north, getting their hands dirty in the garden, or utilizing the many waterways around our city and state. We hope that you will also enjoy everything this season has to offer.
Some of our team spent a couple of days up in Green Bay on June 16th and 17th for the Mission of Mercy. During this two-day event, over 700 patients were seen for free dental care. We are proud to have a team of compassionate and skilled professionals who volunteered their time to help those who cannot afford dental care, making a positive impact on the lives of many in our community. The photo above shows those that participated.
We know that the summer months in Wisconsin are popular times for weddings. What comes with weddings are a lot of photos, so many of our patients turn to us to make sure their smiles look photo worthy. One of our favorite things to do is to provide smile rehabilitations for our patients. We love seeing smiles transformed with cosmetic dentistry. For some this might be as simple as whitening, while for others it may be the perfect time to consider cosmetic enhancements like tooth colored bonded restorations or porcelain veneers. We have helped many patients elevate their look so the the joy they feel can be seen the moment they laugh or smile.
Doctors Lueck, Kats, and Sawatzke have taken numerous courses both nationally and internationally to provide exceptional cosmetic dentistry to their patients. They understand that a beautiful smile can boost a person's self confidence and self-esteem. They will listen to their patients’ concerns and desires, and using the power of photography and digital technology, they can show patients what is possible before they even start treatment. Their dedication to continuing education and their passion for cosmetic dentistry have earned them a reputation as three of the best dentists in the area.
Would you like to know what enhancements might give you the smile you have always dreamed of? Please ask us. Remember that every smile tells a story. What does your smile say about you?
As a team, we are often reading books to learn how to best serve and communicate with our patients. One of our lovely patients suggested that we highlight the books we find most valuable. This month we are all reading “Feeling Great” by David D Burns, MD.
"Feeling Great" is about improving depression and anxiety by changing maladaptive thoughts through cognitive behavioral therapy. The book mentions a few secrets to effective communication which include empathy, assertiveness and respect. The book helps us better understand ourselves so that we can better understand others. We would highly recommend it.
We hope that you all have a wonderful summer doing the things you enjoy most.
One of our goals for this year is to help our patients better understand what services the Riverwalk team can provide for optimum oral health. We received a lot of positive feedback regarding our last newsletter topic, laser bacterial reduction.
As we began considering the topic for this newsletter, we realized that the services we provide are more comprehensive than they were even five years ago. Many of our patients have been patients for years, even decades. Over this passage of time comes much change in the medical and dental fields. Our team prides itself on spending the time to continuously learn and keep up with the latest in research, technology and techniques that make us more qualified to serve you.
When we see our patients for an exam during or after a hygiene appointment, we evaluate your xrays and take a close look in your mouth, we perform an oral cancer screening, and check for decay or other issues with the teeth. With the help of our fabulous hygienists, we diagnose and treat issues as they arise, however we do not have much time to discuss other concerns in as much detail as they may deserve, or in as much detail as you may want- things like joint issues, cosmetic concerns, sleep or airway concerns, tooth malposition, discolored teeth or old fillings and crowns. Some patients may want to understand what is possible for their smiles and what they could do to improve oral health, overall appearance, and even dental self-confidence.
Our new patients get over an hour of our time so we can listen to their concerns, review their medical and dental history in detail, go over their gum tissue health, do a thorough joint evaluation, discuss cosmetic concerns, review airway concerns, and perform muscle evaluations, to name a few. We take photos, digital scans and sometimes do a 3D scan of the head and neck and compile information to prepare for a 2nd consultation to discuss our findings and recommendations. This comprehensive exam is an excellent way to make sure all of your concerns are addressed.
If you would like to learn more about the potential of your smile, and this type of exam appeals to you, please let us know and we can get you scheduled.
Did you know that what thing you can do now to improve their oral health and fight decay is a fluoride application. Our gums recede with age, our mouths may be drier, and there are likely more fillings and crowns present. You have a way to fight back against decay with a professionally applied fluoride treatment. Research has shown how effective fluoride is in strengthening your teeth and making them more resistant to decay. Ask your hygienist about fluoride application at your next hygiene appointment.
Finally, to help welcome spring, we will be handing out a little treat to help get your garden going. Please stop by the front desk to receive this small gift.
We sincerely thank you for choosing Riverwalk as your dental home and we look forward to seeing you soon!
January marked the one-year anniversary of the partnership between Drs. Angela Lueck and Sofya Kats and the merger of two practices. We are grateful for the many patients that followed Dr Kats to our downtown location and to all of our patients who travel to the office either by foot, bicycle, car, train or even plane. Our diverse patient population is the heartbeat of our office and we are honored that you choose us for your dental needs.
Our community is more aware of health care options than ever before, but our patients may not know of all the procedures that Riverwalk Dentistry offers to help them achieve optimum oral health. One of our goals for 2023 is to highlight some of the procedures that we offer to our patients, and this month we chose laser bacterial reduction, or LBR. Not all dental offices have lasers and we are fortunate to have three. Each of the lasers have specific uses, but all of them can perform LBR, and our doctors and hygienists are all certified to perform the procedure.
Patients spend a portion of every day keeping their mouths healthy by brushing and flossing. Despite best efforts, bacteria will always repopulate the oral cavity, especially the hard to reach areas between the gum and the tooth. We know that these bacteria can lead to gum disease, and unfortunately, more than 50% of adults are affected by some form of gum or periodontal disease. Research has shown that periodontal disease is associated with the following health issues:
Low birth weight and premature delivery
Our patients have appointments with the hygienist 2-4 times per year to help remove plaque and calculus, and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth that causes periodontal disease. Our lasers can be used safely and comfortably to decontaminate the pockets around the teeth as part of your preventative care. The laser emits concentrated light energy which kills unhealthy bacteria, decreasing inflammation and promoting a healthier oral environment, which in turn creates a healthier individual.
The best news, LBR is painless and only takes about 5 minutes for the entire mouth.
Here is what some of our patients have said about the procedure:
“My dental hygienist, Crystal, has been treating me with laser therapy every 3 months for the past year and just recently completed my fourth treatment. Thanks to Crystal’s diligent and expert work- the therapy is definitely helping- no more bleeding or tooth aches. I highly recommend the laser therapy when appropriate.” M. I.
“I had LBR at my last dental cleaning, and since, my gums feel better, there is less plaque in my mouth, and I no longer have bleeding. The best thing about the LBR- there was zero discomfort. Now, my mouth feels cleaner and healthier.” A. M.
Please ask us about this wonderful adjunct to your professional cleaning at your next hygiene appointment.
We will continue to re-invest in our business to provide you the best care available in dentistry.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for entrusting us with your dental care during this past year. Many thanks to the patients that visited us in the last few months and tolerated some unusual noises within the office. As we explained, we were expanding into the vacant adjacent suite, and we are proud to say that our office remodel is complete.
In order to better serve you, we have added an additional treatment room with more space for larger complex procedures. There is also more room for an additional guest like a spouse or parent so that, when necessary, our patient’s loved ones can be involved in treatment decisions or be present for support.
Our new space will also include a recovery room for patients that need a little extra time or a quiet space before or after their appointments. Parents will be able to utilize this space to take care of their infants’ needs with a changing table and a comfortable chair for nursing.
Our final new room will be utilized for patients requiring myofunctional therapy. This private space will also be used as a photography suite for patients with complex needs or for those interested in smile transformations or digital smile designs.
We have expanded two existing spaces within the office. The first is our dental laboratory, which includes room for 3D printers and other state-of-the-art technology, which will allow us to more efficiently treat our patients in the future while helping to control costs. We also have enlarged our team lounge and kitchen that can be converted to a classroom for team training and continuing education.
A sincere thanks to each of you; we could not have accomplished this expansion without your continued trust and support and we look forward to serving you, your family and friends in our newly expanded facility. To show our appreciation for your support, we will be maintaining fees for preventative treatment, including cleanings, exams and x-rays through 2023.
We would also like to remind you that the end of the year is fast approaching. If you have any unused dental benefits, now is the time to make an appointment. If you don’t use these benefits before the end of your insurance year, your benefits will be lost!