Cove Family Dentistry - December 2019


Tooth Be Told


We’re Moving!


dvent is upon us! Advent can be loosely translated as “the coming.” For many of us, Advent is a very busy and sometimes chaotic time of year despite its accompanying message of peace on earth. Getting ready for what is

I hope you will share in our excitement during this time. Peek in the windows and see how it is coming along. I would like to tell you a little bit about the new space. It will have additional treatment rooms, all of which will offer the privacy and comfort of our two large rooms. At least one of the new rooms will be dedicated to the treatment of TMJ and sleep apnea. We will also have a consultation room, which will allow us to go over finances or extensive treatment plans in a dedicated, private space. The dental lab in the new office is considerably larger. This will reduce the noise in the office and allow us to better serve patients who need nightguards, sleep apnea devices, same day crowns, bleaching trays, etc. I am both excited and intimidated by all of this change, but I know it will be worth it once we are settled. Preparing our new dental home involves a lot of work. Until the move is complete, I will be dedicating all of my “extra” time and energy coordinating the move to minimize disruptions. We will be pausing the newsletter until spring because of the extra effort involved in the move. I hope to begin sending this newsletter again once the move is completed as it has been a really fun way to keep in touch.

coming can take over if we don’t remember the “why.” For me, getting ready is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. It’s when my family and I spend the most time together creating memories. This is where I find peace during this hustle, bustle season. I hope that this Advent, we will all feel the peace of the season! My family has a few traditions that make this time special. Chris is an avid baker and makes gingerbread from scratch each year, and we decorate homemade gingerbread houses. This is one of my favorite times. I love listening to Christmas music, watching my girls eat way more candy than they should, and smelling my husband’s gingerbread baking. We will be adding a new tradition for our family this year, one that is rooted deeply in my husband’s heritage: baking houska bread using a recipe passed down from his relatives from Czechoslovakia! Since it is Advent, I would like to focus this issue of the newsletter on what is coming. We are moving! The office will be moving into the Publix plaza next to Subway early next year. We love our little house (I had imagined we would be there forever and just expand the building as needed), but it has not been meeting the needs of our patients for some time due to ongoing issues. Change is never easy but sometimes it’s necessary. The build is coming along nicely, but will take some time. I promise it will look better than these pictures when we are done! I do not have a definitive date for the move, but I will be posting updates on Facebook and in the office!

Wishing you and your family joy and peace that will carry throughout the year!

—Dr. Elizabeth Duling



MORE THAN JUST ‘YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!’ Lessons Families Can Learn From ‘A Christmas Story’

In 1983, one movie introduced Red Ryder BB guns, fishnet-clad leg lamps, and bright red bars of soap into America’s everlasting Christmas mythos. Now, over 35 years later, “A Christmas Story” continues to delight audiences every holiday season with timeless lessons for viewers of all ages. In a story where kids are clever and kind, and parents are bumbling and wise, “A Christmas Story” has more lessons to offer families than just, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Your kids are listening to you (oh, fudge!). They aren’t always obedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re not listening. After Ralphie lets slip the “queen mother of dirty words” in front of his father, the narrator reminisces about first hearing that word from his old man — possibly when he was trying to get their furnace to work. He doesn’t admit this to his mother, but it’s a lesson for parents everywhere that kids may hear more than they let on. Kids won’t believe in magic forever. Magical stories about Santa or even “Little Orphan Annie’s” Secret Society fill children’s hearts with wonder but won’t enchant them

forever. Belief in certain parts of the Christmas season can fade slowly or die as quickly as the spin of a decoder pin, but parents can always be there to remind children about what’s really important during the Christmas season. Sometimes ‘disasters’ lead to new adventures. Christmas Day can be hectic, and, in the hubbub of it all, sometimes disaster can feel inevitable. Ralphie’s parents certainly experience their fair share of disaster in hilarious fashion when the Bumpus Hounds destroy their holiday turkey and leave nothing but the heavenly aroma. But, when Ralphie’s father takes them out to eat at a local Chinese restaurant, it creates a whole new Christmas tradition for the Parker family. Our holiday mishaps, no matter how tragic, are rarely the end of the world.

Consider one final tip: Do not stick your tongue to any flagpoles this winter! Happy holidays!


WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM CORVIDS smaller treat, they will wait to trade the same token for a better treat. Corvids use tools and plan for the

What do ravens and New Year’s resolutions have to do with each other? The answer may surprise you! Many of us will make a resolution in the coming weeks. It will be challenging! Our self- control will be tested. Here is where the ravens come in! Corvids are known as masters of self-control! Ravens and crows are members of this family of birds capable of abstract thinking. These are the only other group of animals besides humans capable of planning for an uncertain future. In experiments, they are capable of bartering tokens for treats better than 4-year-old children. This is because ravens exhibit delayed gratification. When given the choice of trading a token for an immediate, but

future use of these tools. It was previously believed that only humans could think this way. Maybe if I watch them enough this year, their self- control will rub off on me and I’ll keep that resolution for once! These birds are all around us and are often seen as a nuisance. They are very territorial, leading to fights between birds. Young birds will often form flocks while adults will travel in mated pairs. Despite their loud, obnoxious fights, they are very dedicated to their families and can be fun to watch. I will never forget the crow I saw vigorously defending a twinkie it found on my college campus. Crows and ravens often live in populated areas and have few natural predators. Ravens can live up to 23 years in the wild, but have an average lifespan of 8–10 years. They are opportunistic omnivores — adapting their diets to where they live and what is available. Human food waste is a great source of food. Fledglings consuming human food waste have a higher survival rate than those with different diets. Next time you see a crow or raven, I hope you will remember all of their wonderful traits. In this case, “bird-brained” might be a compliment! So, block out their obnoxious caws, sit back, and watch these amazing creatures!



Why Fix a Tooth Before It Hurts?




M any patients are surprised when they hear they need a cavity filled or a crown. I am often told, “I will wait until it is bothering me to fix it.” Dentists make recommendations for treatment because they know what is coming down the road. I would like to show you an example that really struck me this month. The picture below shows a tooth that is fractured. Unfortunately, it is no longer fixable. The fracture goes all the way through the root of the tooth.

Potato Latkes For the Holiday Season

Inspired by The New York Times

Let me step back to what this tooth looked like a few months before this happened. The tooth had a very large filling, tiny fracture lines, no sensitivity, and no decay. I discussed with the patient the high risk of the tooth fracturing and possibly not being fixable. The treatment plan for the tooth was a crown. The patient explained to me that the tooth had been that way for a long time and that if it started to bother him, he would contact me.


• • • • • • • •

2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed

1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters

A fractured tooth

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp kosher salt

While on vacation, the patient bit on a piece of granola. The tooth became very painful to chew on and abscessed in the course of a few weeks. It had never been uncomfortable in the past. Waiting had seemed like a reasonable course of action. I had hoped the tooth would simply need a root canal and crown, but when I began to work, I saw this tooth was no longer fixable. What is next for this tooth and patient? The tooth will need to be extracted and replaced with either a bridge or an implant. The time, discomfort, and financial expense multiplied exponentially from the original treatment. This story is not meant to scare you but rather to inform you. When making treatment recommendations, I take many factors into account: the current condition of the tooth, presence of symptoms, and likelihood of future treatment needs. Teeth in compromised conditions often need treatment before they are painful. This is true for all kinds of treatment recommendations, including deep cleaning, crowns, wisdom tooth extraction, and restorative treatment. One of the hardest parts of being a dentist is giving bad news. It never feels good to tell a patient they need a crown, much less an extraction and implant. One of the best analogies I have ever heard is as follows: “Would you drive a car cross-country if it had bald tires?”

1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp black pepper

Safflower or vegetable oil, for frying


1. Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc or the coarse side of a box grater, grate potatoes and onion. (If using a food processor, halve or quarter potatoes.) Once grated, use a clean dish towel or cheesecloth to wring out as much moisture as possible. 2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper. 3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan containing 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to drop batter into the hot pan, working in batches. Use a spatula or spoon to form them into discs. Fry about 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned. 4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack to drain, and serve alongside applesauce and sour cream.


210 Sutton RD. SE Owens Cross Roads, AL 35763 256.534.1475



We’re Moving!

Lessons Families Can Learn From ‘A Christmas Story’

Take a Lesson From These Birds

Fix It Now

Potato Latkes

Yurts: Glamping at Its Finest

The allure of the great outdoors calls to many, but pitching a tent and cooking over a fire isn’t for everyone. If that describes you, consider the yurt: a small, permanent structure often outfitted with electricity, plumbing, and other modern amenities. Expertly nestled in remote locations, they provide comforts of home in the midst of nature. Here are just a few around the United States available for rent. YURT SWEET YURT Glamping in Beautiful Locations For those new to the glamping scene, this is a great choice for an easy transition. With picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, the Treebones Resort in Big Sur has an array of spaciously comfortable yurts to choose from. The resort has heated pools, a cozy lodge, and even a sushi bar. About an hour up the coastline, you can find a few shops, restaurants, and art galleries if you decide you’ve gotten your dose of nature for the day. Treebones Resort, California

a chilly day, come home to comfy beds, cooking supplies, and decor made to feel like you’re camping — but with sturdy walls to keep out the cold.

Falls Brook Yurts, New York

For the glampers who truly want to get away, hike just under 1 mile into the woods of the Adirondack Mountains to discover rustic yurts beckoning you to cook over a fire or bundle up with a book. At night, the yurt’s domed skylight offers excellent stargazing. For those keen on winter activities, skiing and snowshoeing trails start right outside the front door. In the summer, enjoy hiking, fishing, and swimming.

Spruce Hole Yurt, Colorado

Nestled in the San Juan Mountains about 10 miles north of New Mexico, this yurt is a snow-lover’s paradise. Skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking trails are plentiful in this backcountry location. At the end of



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