KOMET Korner Q&A with Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA, CDD, for November 2010 DAD

Nov. 18, 2010
In this month's KOMET Korner, Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA, CDD, answers questions about probiotics, interproximal caries, and sharpening diamond instruments.

This month, KOMET Korner welcomes back Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA, CDD. As you know, Shannon presents a variety of seminars and clinical hands-on programs for dental professionals both nationally and internationally. Recently, Shannon developed two bur kits exclusively for KOMET USA — the Shannon L. Pace Provisional Chairside Kit (SD 2307) and the Shannon L. Pace Composite Kit for EFDAs (SD 2305). This month, Shannon answers questions about probiotics, interproximal caries, and sharpening diamond instruments.

Dental Assisting Digest™ wants to know what’s on your mind. If you have something you want to ask the KOMET USA esteemed panel of assistants, please e-mail your question to [email protected]. Your continued success is important to your office’s success.

DAD: Does your office use probiotics? If so, how do you promote probiotics to your patients?

Pace Brinker: Live cultures can be used in a patient’s mouth because there is no danger from stomach acid. Probiotics can be introduced at much higher concentration in a patient’s mouth and can help dental professionals control disease-carrying pathogens. Gingivitis is the result of pathogens attacking small food particles, and probiotics help reduce the growth of those pathogens. Probiotics lower the pH levels in a patient’s mouth so plaque bacteria cannot form dental plaque and calculus, thus preventing periodontal disease. Probiotics are an excellent maintenance product since they also produce antioxidants. Lozenges are one of the newer options in probiotics to improve dental health, and they are currently being recommended in our practice. With some patients, we share research that suggests probiotics in both foods and beverages can indirectly benefit their dental health. One study found that children who consume probiotic milk may have reduced incidences of dental decay. Probiotic foods also show promise in helping people fight periodontal disease, and especially inflamed gingiva. Another benefit from using probiotics is that it helps prevent and treat halitosis.

DAD: As an assistant, how do you help your dentist with interproximal caries? Do you recommend treating someone when first diagnosed, or does your office take the “wait and see” approach?

Pace Brinker: It used to be necessary for dental professionals to “wait and see” with early caries until it was big enough to justify drilling and filling. DMG America’s Icon has changed the way we handle caries in our practice. Icon uses microinvasive technology to fill and reinforce demineralized enamel without drilling, anesthesia, or sacrificing healthy tooth structure. Icon, which stands for Infiltration Concept, is a restorative material indicated for the treatment of white spot lesions and incipient decay. It enables dentists, and in some states dental assistants, to treat incipient lesions upon discovery, thus effectively removing white spots and arresting the progression of early carious lesions. It works by capillary action and is light cured to harden the resin after placement. We have also started using this as a preventive measure for preorthodontic teens. This innovative treatment has totally changed the way our office treats interproximal decay.

DAD: How often does your practice clean and sharpen diamond instruments?

Pace Brinker: We sharpen instruments daily. We have six hygienists and six assistants, and we see more than 250 new patients a month. Most of them are new patient prophies, so we have to constantly sharpen our instruments. What is the best way to accomplish this task? We have two different types of sharpeners. One is the KOMET diamond cleaning stone (9750) and the other is the Hu-Friedy Sidekick Sharpener. About 50% of our hygienists use this, and the other 50% use the KOMET stone. Both provide instruments with the proper sharpness needed for tough procedures.

About Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA, CDD
Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA, CDD, is a 1994 graduate of the dental assisting program at Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston, N.C. She has lectured both nationally and internationally, and is a published author. Shannon has been a full-time practicing dental assistant for more than 20 years and currently works with Dr. Daniel Etheridge in his private practice in Chesapeake, Va. She is the past president of the Metrolina Dental Assistants Society in Charlotte, N.C., and is currently on the advisory board for the dental assistant program at Central Piedmont Community College. Shannon is an instructor at the Dawson Academy in St. Petersburg, Fla., providing lectures, in-office training, and hands-on courses. She is the first auxiliary member to be voted to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Board of Directors, and also serves as a board member for its New Member Committee. She is on the editorial board for The Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry. She is the former coeditor-in-chief of both REALITY Publication and TEAM ‘aRTie’, and former editor-in-chief of Contemporary Dental Assisting and Inside Dental Assisting. Shannon is a member of the E4D Clinical Operations Operators Group and has provided extensive input for the certified dental designer (CDD) certification. Currently, she is the owner of Contemporary Product Solutions, an online product publication for the dental team and a consultant to many dental manufacturers. For more information, please visit www.shannonpace.com.