Comfort Family Dental - May 2020

2036 W. 95th St. Chicago, IL 60643 773-366-8718

MAY 2020

P erseverance is hard to learn if you don’t have the right people to teach you. I know that’s true for me. My doctorate and practice in dentistry would not be possible without two women in my life: my mother and my wife. Many people like to talk about how they opened their business in their very first newsletter, but for our first edition, I couldn’t miss a chance to talk about how these incredible women have changed my life. I grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, and while we didn’t live in the poorest neighborhoods, our area still struggled with gun violence. It put a lot of pressure on parents, especially single parents like my mother. At 5 feet, 1 inch tall, my mother is an imposing and powerful presence. I remember every single morning she’d prepare and force us to eat a full Jamaican breakfast. This wasn’t Wheaties and milk; it was an entire meal, like salted codfish, ackee, and flour or cornmeal dumplings (the official dish of Jamaica). She knew that education was really the best way out and that we needed the right food for our brains to work. She wanted me to be better than others rather than someone who simply didn’t do anything. “Whatever you do, do it well,” she’d tell me. I see now that it was her way of pushing us to succeed. There was never a moment she wasn’t invested in our future. My favorite memories of us were when I’d sit at the dinner table and show her my homework. Hearing her say, “That’s really great,” or, “You did a great job, Corie,” inspired me to keep showing my mom that I could do well at school. ‘WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT WELL’ HOW THE MOTHERS IN DR. CORIE’S LIFE CONTINUE TO INSPIRE HIM

When it comes to school, my wife was also a big influence on me getting my doctorate and even opening Comfort Family Dental. She is an OB-GYN and section chief at the University of Chicago. She’s incredibly smart — a lot smarter than I am! — which is much needed in the Rowe household. Our 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son are busy all day long with school, after-school programs, and sports. Without my wife’s daily perseverance, grace, and willingness to emotionally and financially support me through Comfort Family Dental’s humble beginnings, I wouldn’t have the amazing team and clinic I have today. My mother and my education imbued a lot of perspective on being a parent today. I love discovery, curiosity, and helping my kids realize they truly have gifts. When you have a gift, you should dive into it and maximize your full potential. At home, we always try to keep our kids aware that these gifts shouldn’t make you “big-headed,” either. Playing well with others is important. Compassion is important. Those kinds of values have been with me throughout my whole life. They play a big role in making Comfort Family Dental a place where you feel safe and taken care of. We hope you’ll trust our expert team to keep you and your family’s smiles as healthy as ever.

– Dr. Corie Rowe

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LET YOUR KIDS CHAT WITH FRIENDS. Kids can benefit from video chatting by staying in touch with their friends while school and other activities are canceled. Letting your kids connect to social media is a pretty big step, so consider signing them up for Yoursphere or Kidzworld, kid-friendly networks that let them keep in touch with their friends while you can monitor their activity. Get in touch with other parents to set up virtual play dates over video chats for your kids. They can even watch a movie or TV show together. HOST A MOVIE NIGHT. Speaking of movies, Netflix developed a unique way for people to watch movies and shows together: Netflix Party. If you have a desktop or laptop with a Chrome browser, visit to download the application. Once downloaded, open the movie or TV series you’d like to watch, create or join a “party,” then relax and enjoy the show while chatting with friends. These are only a few examples of how we can stay in touch during these concerning times. Talk with your family and friends and see what other creative ideas you can come up with together. Even though you may be apart from loved ones right now, virtual communication has never been easier or more plentiful.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging communities across the U.S. to practice social distancing. While this will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, it also means that social interactions

will be minimal. In addition to impeding many industries and businesses, this has significant impacts on families and friends who can no longer visit each other in person. Luckily, the technology we have today allows us to stay in touch while still practicing social responsibility. SPRUCE UP EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES. Hopping on the phone or your laptop to video chat is a great way to reach out and catch up with loved ones. While folding laundry or doing other mundane chores, give a friend or your parents a call to idly chat; it can make your tedious tasks much more enjoyable. Video calls are also beneficial if, for example, you’re missing out on your daily workouts with a friend. Hop on a video chat to practice yoga, cardio, or other simple exercise routines together.


One of Dr. Corie’s biggest passions is his patients’ overall health. At Comfort Family Dental, when we say that your oral health affects everything, we really mean it. That’s why, this month, we want to talk about oral systemic health. Oral systemic health simply refers to the connection between oral health and overall health. The health of one area of the body has an effect on all the others, and vice versa. Likewise, systemic diseases are illnesses that affect multiple systems within your body. Some examples include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until 2000 that the Surgeon General of the United States recognized the connection between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases. His report called for more research to determine the causation behind a single, powerful statement: “Oral health is integral to general health. You cannot be healthy without oral health.” Since then, thousands of studies have been done to research oral systemic health. As it turns out, there is a clear link between periodontal and heart disease. Studies have found that 47% of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as diabetes, obesity, poor diet, alcohol abuse, or smoking. Studies have also shown that 42% of adults ages 30 and over experience periodontal disease. Though the

exact reason for the correlation remains unclear, “there is a significant overlap between factors seen to increase risk of periodontal disease and heart disease,” according to the American Dental Association. If you’re concerned about how your oral health may be affecting increasing health risk factors, then you can consult a dentist who is trained in oral systemic health care, like Dr. Corie. He understands the impact of gum disease on your overall health, which is why he is a member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health and many more dentistry academies and organizations. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, then don’t hesitate to ask him, and keep on brushing! It just might reduce your risk of life-threatening disease.

The notion of oral bacteria affecting systemic disease has been in the dental conversation since



Public awareness of sleep apnea is surprisingly low considering how common the disorder is. Over 200,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, though the actual number of cases may be higher given that some patient’s sleep apnea symptoms are misdiagnosed as ADHD, anxiety, and/or insomnia. If you’re struggling to stay energized or you experience morning headaches, then you might want to see if this sleep disorder is to blame. WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA? Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that causes a person’s breathing to repeatedly stop and start while they sleep. Patients who snore loudly and whose breathing is staggered throughout the night may have sleep apnea. While there are different types of sleep apnea, the symptoms sometimes overlap and make it difficult to tell which you have. Regardless of what type you may be suffering from, it’s important first to notice if you have symptoms of the disorder.

Common sleep apnea symptoms include: • Loud snoring • Stopping breathing during the night • Gasping for air during sleep • Waking up with a dry mouth • Morning headaches • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia) •

factors contributing to sleep apnea is throat blockage. For example, if you’re older, you have a narrow airway, or if you smoke or consume alcohol or sedatives, then your airway might relax too easily, causing obstructive sleep apnea. The long-term effects of sleep apnea vary, but most significantly, this disorder can contribute to daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, medical and surgical complications, and more. Treatment varies from lifestyle changes, like losing weight or quitting smoking, to specially designed therapy or surgery. You don’t have to endure restless nights any longer — Dr. Corie and our team can help.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia) Difficulty paying attention while awake

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Feeling irritable

Not everybody with sleep apnea snores. If you experience any of these symptoms, then bring them up with your expert team at Comfort Family Dental. COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR DENTIST ABOUT SLEEP APNEA We know what you’re thinking: Why on earth would a dentist want to talk about my sleep? The answer is that dentists are often the first people to notice your risk of sleep apnea. One of the biggest


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2036 W. 95th St. Chicago, IL 60643 773-366-8718



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Dr. Corie on the Power of Determined Mothers

Technology Saves the Day

How Brushing Your Teeth Can Save Your Life

What Is Sleep Apnea?


Is It Safe to Go to the Dentist?


E ven before the outbreak of COVID-19, infection control was a huge priority for dental offices. Every piece of equipment you see at the office, from the chair you sit in to the sickle probe used to remove plaque from your teeth, is thoroughly sanitized after every use. However, this wasn’t always the case. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have been operating on each other’s teeth since 7000 B.C. However, dentistry didn’t become its own profession until the 18th century. It would take another 200 years before dentists recognized the possibility of cross-infection between patients and dental practitioners. The first dental cabinets equipped with “sterilizers” weren’t available until the early 1900s. These early attempts at sanitization were far below today’s standards. The process of sterilizing equipment was slightly more

rigorous in the 1970s, but regulation was still lacking. By the 1980s, only 30% of dentists wore gloves, masks, or gowns. It wasn’t until the AIDS epidemic that infection control in dentistry was reformed. Panic over infectious diseases in general prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to publish their first set of comprehensive dental infection control guidelines. This included adopting “universal precautions” based on the idea that blood and all bodily fluids that could contain blood might be contaminated and must be treated as infectious. New regulatory guidelines emphasized infection control protocols, which have been updated over the years as both our technology and medical understanding improved. The most recent

guidelines from 2016 are the gold standard for infection control. These guidelines include the use of personal protective equipment for dental personnel, the requirement that practices must have an individual trained in infection prevention on staff, and the mandate that all equipment must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and cleaned with chemical germicides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as “hospital disinfectant.” You may be concerned right now, but rest assured that when you come in for your appointment, our team has taken every measure to protect your health. This includes taking extra time to thoroughly sanitize all the equipment in the office. It may also include closing the office and rescheduling appointments, if such a thing is deemed necessary.


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