In the late 1940s, the city of London was shaken by a series of unexplained disappearances. You might be surprised to learn that it was an oral appliance that finally brought the reign of terror to an end. John George Haigh, also known as the “Acid Bath Murderer,” had made every effort to eliminate evidence of his crimes. However, he missed the fact that his final victim had left behind a partial denture. Its discovery in his possession was instrumental in helping investigators identify the victim, leading to Haigh’s eventual arrest and conviction in 1949.
For most of us, mosquitoes are an annoying summer pest. But in other countries, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as dengue, chikungunya or malaria. Best case scenario, you’ll win some general itchiness. Fortunately, for us living here in the United States, our minds rest easy knowing that the risks of catching any mosquito-borne disease are slim. First-world luxuries such as air conditioning and screened windows can prevent mosquito infestations. Most U.S. streets lack standing pools of water, the beloved nests of mosquito larvae, and when the threat of being bitten is imminent, we liberally spray plumes of OFF! mosquito repellent.
Yet, recently, our mosquito concerns have amplified. On May 31, 2016, a child was born in a New Jersey hospital with Zika virus-related microcephaly.
Every time I told someone that I wanted to be a dentist, the most common response I received was, “No offense, but I hate dentists.” But why do people fear the dentist? Dental anxiety is a very common problem that may cause patients to avoid making regular visits to the dentist. Patients with dental anxiety have been shown to have a higher risk of periodontal disease and subsequently, tooth loss from delayed treatment. Common symptoms of dental anxiety include loss of sleep before the appointment, nervousness, crying, nausea, trouble breathing or panic attacks. With this in mind, how can dentists help reduce that anxiety and stress for the sake of their patients’ well-being?
There is no doubt, our country is experiencing a chronic health crisis. We have higher health expenses than any other country and experience mediocre overall health outcomes (i.e., chronic disease prevalence, life expectancy, etc.) compared to other countries. As our health care industry is forced to make a transition toward outcome-based care, I believe that dentistry could have an invaluable role to play in the future setting of primary care.
In May of 2013, I graduated from the University of Florida Dental School and accepted a job in Singapore. In order to practice there, I had to complete a stack of paperwork, submit blood samples, wait a month and then complete more paperwork. I didn’t need to take any additional licensing exams and I’ve worked in the country since graduation.
I work 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. every day, including weekends. I will work about 2-3 weeks and then I take off 1-2 weeks to travel. In the years since I graduated, I’ve been able to travel to more than 100 countries on 6 continents.
If I see a dental sign while I’m traveling, I usually stop in to check it out. Don’t you wonder what dental clinics look like in different countries?
Read on to see photos from Dr. Pfundheller’s travels…
Ever since I was five, Friday evenings were designated as board game night with my family. Games were an integral part of my mother’s early days and she wished to fill my childhood with the ones that contributed most to her life.
She tells me that of all the games I learned, I insisted on playing chess more often and we kept playing until I started winning. As a child, little did I know the impact this game would have on my life. It’s only now that I realize how it has shaped me and my life as a dentist.
“I brush and floss everyday.” The little white lie heard around the world. It’s hard enough to surface our patients’ oral hygiene habits, and once we do, that only provides a limited scope of their at-home behaviors. When we review social histories, patients quickly deny the use of alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs. But can we take that to be true? If our patients cannot honestly discuss their hygiene regimen, imagine how much harder we have to press for accurate, personal details in regard to substance abuse and addiction. However, as healthcare professionals, we have a responsibility to treat total health. “The ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing” presents ways to navigate these difficult patient interactions and even recognize those in similar situations among our dental community.