Meetings and life-saving information

April 1, 2009
The last few weeks have been busy ones for me. I was in Chicago in late February for the Midwinter Meeting.

The last few weeks have been busy ones for me. I was in Chicago in late February for the Midwinter Meeting. I attended a very spirited and interesting meeting on the state of dental laboratories. I believe that most dentists do not realize that the Certified Dental Technician is all but disappearing. A few years ago, schools began closing their dental technician program. The root of the problem seems to be the lack of any kind of state regulation of dental labs. The states seem to be more worried about who is doing your hair than who is making your crowns and dentures.

Thursday night, Feb. 26, I attended the Oral Health Gala. This is always a great time to support this charity and see many friends in one place. By the time I sat down for dinner, I did not feel very good. In fact, when the salad arrived, I said my goodbyes and went back to the hotel feeling really sick. After a bad night, I decided that it was crazy to be sick in a hotel in Chicago when I could very quickly be in my own bed in St. Louis. So for the first time, I missed a Chicago Midwinter Meeting.

Luckily, the flu was short-lived. I was due in Austin, Texas, the following Wednesday for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration. I was on the program and gave a one-day, hands-on veneer course for a great group of dentists. I really enjoy doing hands-on courses. The AADPA meeting continues to be one of the best-kept secrets in dentistry, which is really a shame. This meeting is where I learned about the behavioral side of dentistry and life in general. It is always held during the first week of March in a different city with a warm climate. I hope to see you there next year!

The following information has been making the rounds on the Internet, but I think it is worth repeating here since not everyone spends a lot of time on the Internet. So here goes: During a barbecue, Ingrid stumbled and took a little fall — she assured everyone that she was fine as they offered to call the paramedics. She said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later to tell everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital and subsequently died the next evening. She had suffered a stroke at the barbecue. Had they known how to identify the signs of stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be alive today. Some stroke victims don't die, but end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within three hours, he can totally reverse the effects of the stroke — totally! He says the trick is getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medical care within three hours, which is tough.

To recognize a stroke, remember the first three letters of the acronym, S, T, R. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S – Ask the individual to smile.
T – Ask the person to talk and speak a simple sentence coherently. For example, “It is sunny out today.”
R – Ask him or her to raise both arms.

If the person has trouble with any one of these tasks, call the emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Another new sign of a stroke that has been added: Ask the person to stick out his or her tongue. If the tongue goes to one side or the other, this also is an indication of a stroke.

I have printed up this information and made up laminated cards with the four ways to recognize a stroke clearly spelled out. My staff and I are giving these to all the patients in our practice. We have also e-mailed this information to everyone in the practice, and put it up on the Web site.

What a great service for our patients! They have been thrilled to receive the information and have thanked us often. I hope you will do the same for the people you serve!

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor — e-mail: [email protected]
Toll-free phone number: (866) 274-4500K

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