Michael Ling, DDS - March 2020


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How My Craft Has Evolved as I’ve Grown

Dental school does not prepare you for dentistry in the real world. Student dentists are taught that everything is cookie-cutter. If something is “A,” then you do “B.” There’s no variety, no changing up your system to favor client needs. It’s all After I had been practicing for a while, I learned that this approach wasn’t designed with every patient in mind. There were some patients who would ask me, “Why am I getting this treatment?” And the only answer I could give was, “Because that’s how it is.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Every year, I grow and learn, adapting the way I practice and the way I approach patients, treatments, and appointments. This is no truer than when I look at how I treat pediatric patients today compared to even just five years ago. When I first started out — prior to having kids, mind you — I would explain administering the numbing agent with a needle to kids as “a pinch that feels like a mosquito bite.” All the kids would hear were the words “pinch” and “bite,” and kids almost always cried when I was administering the treatment, despite its very low discomfort level. As I grew in my practice and became a mom, I learned how to change my language. I realized telling my daughter her vaccine at the doctor was going to feel like a “pinch” only caused her to panic and have a meltdown before we even made it to the office. Imagine what I put other parents through all those years! So, I changed my approach. I learned that you can tell a child everything that’s going on, without telling them what you’re about doing what the diagnosis presents.

doing. Today, I explain that it’s not a needle I’m using. It’s a special tool that’s going to help their tooth fall asleep. I will explain that after I use my tool, I’m going to rub their gums, then we’ll count to three and the tooth will get sleepy. Since I began using this kid-friendly language, I rarely have a kid who is fearful or squirmy. I explain the procedure in a way they can understand and reassure them that this is nothing to be afraid of. This is just one of the many valuable lessons I’ve learned throughout my career, but I’ve also learned quite a few lessons that have changed the way I think about my work and my life. I used to agree to see anyone who walked in our door and claimed they had an “emergency.” In addition, I would fill every hour in my day with patients, and I rarely said no when someone needed a shift covered. This really bogged down my schedule, and I was often leaving the office hours later than when it closed. I was tired and stressed, and I was missing out on my family’s lives. I wasn’t home as much as I should have been and wanted to be. Today, I have built-in buffer times in my schedule, which allows for true emergencies to fill in throughout the day as needed. I have learned how to distinguish between a true emergency and something that can wait until the next day, and I feel happier, lighter, and more confident. I’ve even learned the value of saying no and how to have tough conversations with patients because of the confidence I have gained through setting boundaries. It wasn’t easy, and I still don’t like the conversations where I have to deliver bad news. But through practice, classes, and observing my husband’s knack for these conversations, I’ve been able to grow. With all I’ve learned over the past five years, I know I can transform the way I practice, and it will only continue to make me a better dentist down the line. Who knows how I will improve next? All I know is that it will be worth it.

—Dr. Meg Ling



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Need a Boost?

Natural Supplements to Increase Your Energy

Beetroot Powder Beetroot powder is made from the roots of the beet plant and is rich in nitrate. Nitrate relaxes blood vessels, creating increased blood flow and oxygen delivery. This enables

As spring kicks off, many people will be tempted to grab a Monster, Red Bull, or Rockstar to get through the day. Energy drinks may give you a quick boost, but the high levels of caffeine and sugar can lead to migraines and increased anxiety. If over-consumed, these drinks can even lead to Type 2 diabetes. To avoid these health hazards, try out a few of these natural energy boosters instead. Ashwagandha Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub found mostly in India. As part of the Ayurveda system, an alternative medicine practice from India, it’s also known as “Indian ginseng.” The Alternative Medicine Review published a study indicating ashwagandha increases the body’s resilience to physical and mental stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 28%.

Ashwagandha can also help you through long workouts and the 9-to-5 grind because it may also improve brain function, including memory. You can get ashwagandha in pill form at most convenience stores around the world.

your body to produce energy more efficiently and maintain energy levels, making beetroot powder a great aid for endurance sports like running, soccer, and biking. In the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, a study reported that

Creatine Many people don’t realize creatine is a natural energy booster because they get it mostly in processed, high-sugar energy drinks. However, in doses less than 5 grams, creatine provides impressive benefits during high- intensity activities, short-duration exercises, and sports, including football, shot put, and weightlifting. This

athletes could work out for 25% longer when they used beetroot powder. Fatigue didn’t set in until much later in their workout, which improved their training and performance. This spring, say goodbye to energy drinks and get the boost you need with one of these natural energy supplements.

compound is found in red meat, pork, poultry, and fish, and when consumed, it releases phosphates that give your body a quick burst of energy. Ingesting more than 5 grams, though, will leave you feeling bloated with a lot of stomach discomfort. Creatine powder can be found at most wellness stores.

The Message Your Bad Breath May Be Trying toTell You

We’ve all been there. After a particularly onion- or garlic-filled lunch, our breath reeks. We’re one invasion of personal space away from causing someone to pass out! This is usually mended by brushing our teeth, popping in some sugar-free gum, or rinsing our mouths out with water, but if you struggle with chronic bad breath, your mouth may be sending you a signal that something else is wrong. Bad breath is very common, but it’s also a clue to the problems you may have in your mouth. For starters, consistent bad breath could be a sign of poor oral hygiene or severe periodontal disease. In addition to bleeding gums, bad breath is the second sign that your mouth is hurting for more hygiene. The bacteria is clinging to the tongue and gums, stinking up the mouth as it continues to linger. This can be mended by regular brushing, flossing, and dentist appointments. But for those who regularly brush and floss, something larger may be to blame. Chronic bad breath is most common in those with serious conditions, such as cancer. The

lack of saliva that’s produced during cancer treatment limits the amount of natural cleaning your mouth can do for your teeth, increasing the bacteria that linger on your teeth. Halitosis can be treated with a number of techniques. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with alcohol-free mouthwash solutions can eliminate the extra bacteria that stacks up on your teeth. Biotene rinses, which have active ingredients that keep the mouth moist, are best for those living with dry mouth. Using xylitol candies and gums and sugar-free mints can also help patients. Xylitol is a sweetener that doesn’t increase blood sugar while starving and killing the bacteria that cling to your teeth. The most important thing to remember when you’re living with chronic bad breath is that there are solutions. Good oral hygiene, healthy freshening solutions, and regular dental visits can provide you with tools to combat the smell wafting from your mouth. For more information and tools to fight your chronic bad breath, schedule an appointment with our team today!




Laughing Gas! Luke: What is a dentist’s favorite movie? Joey: Beats me. Luke: “Plaque to the future”! Bob: What do you call a dentist’s advice? Mark: Not sure. Bob: His flossophy!

Don’t TryThis at Home

The Dangers of DIY Dental Care

Pesto Chicken With Blistered Tomatoes Inspired by CookingLight.com

The prevalence of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects has turned regular people into interior designers, carpenters, wedding planners, chefs, and, alarmingly, dentists. DIY trends empower consumers to create their own unique products, but when it comes to dental care, some trends are better left to the professionals. DIY dental care can offer whitening products, teeth-straightening tools, and even DIY mouth guards and night guards, but there are many, many dangerous components to these products — starting all the way at the beginning. Products created by companies pushing DIY dental care are rarely regulated, and the advertising rules for these products are lax. Teeth whitening products are a prime example of this. Companies put harsh chemicals, such as silica or bleach, into their whitening products, which will cause teeth to get whiter. However, the chemicals in these products can cause burns, enamel damage, receding gums, and other dangerous and sometimes permanent effects. Other products can safely fight stains or protect your teeth from further stains, but they will not actively whiten or restore tooth color. But companies are allowed to slap the “whitening” moniker onto the product, raise the price, and dupe customers out of more money. (Note: The wisest choice is to select toothpaste that actively fights cavities, plaque, and bacteria with fluoride and other cleaning agents.) DIY dental care can have costly, permanent penalties. Your teeth’s enamel can wear down, and once it disappears, it’s gone for good. Your gums can be damaged or infected, and you may even destroy teeth beyond repair. This will require total replacements and costly treatments. The cost of DIY dental care is often attractive to those who try it, but the dangers, costs of repair, and time put into regaining the health of your smile after a mishap or accident are not worth saving a few extra dollars on the initial treatment. Instead, your dental team can help you find a solution to any concerns or ailments you want to fix. But there is one way you can get a great smile at home: prevention. Take control by regularly brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist. Get started and schedule your appointment today.


• 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided • 4 boneless and skinless chicken • Salt and pepper to taste • 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted • 6 tbsp spinach pesto • 2 cups cherry tomatoes • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

breasts, pounded to a 1-inch thickness


1. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium- high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. 2. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to pan. Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, then remove pan from heat. 3. In a bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, and butter. 4. Spread pesto over chicken and top with panko mixture. 5. Broil chicken for 2 minutes on high heat until browned. 6. In a skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. 7. Add tomatoes and cook for 6 minutes. 8. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 9. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, and add red wine vinegar. 10. Serve tomatoes with broiled chicken.



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Wellness and Whiskers Don’t Try DIY Dental Care Pesto Chicken With Blistered Tomatoes 3 Get Fit With Fido 4 Growing and Learning Every Day 1 Ditch the Energy Drinks What Does Bad Breath Mean? 2


C reating a healthy lifestyle is often easier with support, but if you’re struggling to find someone to join you on your path to wellness, then look to your furry friends instead. Read on for some ways to get active with your pet, and learn more about their wellness and health at PetMD.com. Racking Up the Miles A simple way to get moving with your pet is to go for a walk. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, then try running, biking, or hiking with your pet. Anything beyond a walk may require extra obedience training or equipment — like a specialty tool that prevents your pet from colliding with your bike — but after a few loops around the trail, your pet will be begging to go again. And how can you say no to that face? Plus, this idea isn’t just for dogs. You can find leashes and harnesses for cats, lizards, ferrets, and other pets that love to get fresh air.

Going for a Swim If you have a dog that appears to be more fish than canine, swimming might be the workout for you! Swimming is a joint-friendly cardiovascular exercise that works your entire body. If you’re not one for a dip in the pool, then kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are great for your arms and core. Meanwhile, your pet can enjoy a relaxing ride or an exciting game of fetch. Just be sure to secure your pet with a life jacket before you and your four-legged friend splash away! Keeping It Traditional If you want a good full-body workout while entertaining your pet, then consider including them in traditional exercises. Entertain your pup with a game of fetch and drop down for a burpee every time it runs away. Balance your bird on your shoulder while you squat and lunge. Mentally and physically stimulate your cat by dragging a string around your body during Russian twists. With a little creativity and a few of your pet’s favorite things, both of you can work up a sweat.



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