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You have a wonderful pediatric dentist who's great with kids. Their dental office is a children's wonderland with cheerful colors, toys and a staff that tries to make things fun. But no matter what you do—including rewards and positive praise—it's not enough to calm your child's anxiety during dental visits.

Even with the most conducive clinical environment and parental efforts, some children still have an inordinate fear of seeing the dentist. Their anxiety could be a roadblock to getting the treatment they need to maintain good oral health and development. And if that fear carries over into adulthood, they may get into the habit of postponing needed care.

But dentists have an important tool they can use to help children relax: conscious sedation therapy. Using proven sedation medication, dentists can place patients in varying degrees of suppressed consciousness.

Although often used in conjunction, sedation is not the same as anesthesia. The latter is used to eliminate pain during dental procedures. Sedation, on the other hand, aims to calm the negative emotions generated by dental anxiety. A child under sedation can still breathe normally without assistance and respond to physical stimulation or verbal commands.

Sedation medications can be administered orally, usually in syrup form, or with an intravenous (IV) drip. Two of the more popular drugs are Midazolam and Hydroxyzine, both of which act fast and then leave the body quickly after the procedure. These types of sedation drugs have a very low risk of side effects compared to general anesthesia.

While under sedation, the child's vital signs (heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, etc.) are continuously monitored. Afterward, they'll wait in recovery until their vital signs are back to their pre-sedation levels. They can then go home to rest for the remainder of the day, and then usually return to school or other normal activities the following day.

Besides making it easier for a child to receive needed dental care, conscious sedation can also make the overall visit more pleasant, and lead to more positive memories of the experience. This may indeed help them later in life to overcome any lingering anxiety and continue regular dental care throughout adulthood.

If you would like more information on reducing your child's dental visit anxiety, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sedation Dentistry for Kids.”

By Two Rivers Family Dental, LLC
April 28, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral surgery   cleft lip   cleft palate  

One in 700 babies are born each year with a cleft lip, a cleft palate or both. Besides its devastating emotional and social impact, this common birth defect can also jeopardize a child's long-term health. Fortunately, incredible progress has occurred in the last half century repairing cleft defects. Today's children with these birth defects often enter adulthood with a normal appearance and better overall health.

A cleft is a gap in the mouth or face that typically forms during early pregnancy. It often affects the upper lip, the soft and hard palates, the nose or (rarely) the cheek and eye areas. Clefts can form in one or more structures, on one side of the face or on both. Why they form isn't fully understood, but they seem connected to a mother's vitamin deficiencies or to mother-fetus exposure to toxic substances or infections.

Before the 1950s there was little that could be done to repair clefts. That changed with a monumental discovery by Dr. Ralph Millard, a U.S. Navy surgeon stationed in Korea: Reviewing cleft photos, Dr. Millard realized the “missing” tissue wasn't missing—only misplaced. He developed the first technique to utilize this misplaced tissue to repair the cleft.

Today, skilled surgical teams have improved on Dr. Millard's efforts to not only repair the clefts but also restore balance and symmetry to the face. These teams are composed of various oral and dental specialties, including general dentists who care for the patient's teeth and prevent disease during the long repair process.

Cleft repairs are usually done in stages, beginning with initial lip repair around 3-6 months of age and, if necessary, palate repair around 6-12 months. Depending on the nature and degree of the cleft, subsequent surgeries might be needed throughout childhood to “polish” the original repairs, as well as cosmetic dental work like implants, crowns or bridgework.

In addition to the surgical team's skill and artistry, cleft repair also requires courage, strength and perseverance from patients and their parents, and support from extended family and friends. The end result, though, can be truly amazing and well worth the challenging road to get there.

If you would like more information on repairing cleft birth defects, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate.”


Howie Mandel, one of America’s premier television personalities, rarely takes it easy. Whether performing a standup comedy gig or shooting episodes of America’s Got Talent or Deal or No Deal, Mandel gives it all he’s got. And that intense drive isn’t reserved only for his career pursuits–he also brings his A-game to boosting his dental health.

Mandel is up front about his various dental issues, including multiple root canal treatments and the crowns on his two damaged front teeth. But he’s most jazzed about keeping his teeth clean (yep, he brushes and flosses daily) and visiting his dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.

To say Howie Mandel is keen on taking care of his teeth and gums is an understatement. And you can be, too: Just five minutes a day could keep your smile healthy and attractive for a lifetime.

You’ll be using that time—less than one percent of your 1,440 daily minutes—brushing and flossing to remove dental plaque buildup. This sticky, bacterial film is the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Daily hygiene drastically reduces your risk for these tooth-damaging diseases.

But just because these tasks don’t take long, that’s not saying it’s a quick once-over for your teeth: You want to be as thorough as possible. Any leftover plaque can interact with saliva and become a calcified form known as calculus (tartar). Calculus triggers infection just as much as softer plaque—and you can’t dislodge it with brushing and flossing.

When you brush, then, be sure to go over all tooth areas, including biting surfaces and the gum line. A thorough brushing should take about two minutes. And don’t forget to floss! Your toothbrush can’t adequately reach areas between teeth, but flossing can. If you find regular flossing too difficult, try using a floss threader. If that is still problematic, an oral irrigator is a device that loosens and flushes away plaque with a pressurized water stream.

To fully close the gate against plaque, see us at least every six months. Even with the most diligent efforts, you might still miss some plaque and calculus. We can remove those lingering deposits, as well as let you know how well you’re succeeding with your daily hygiene habit.

Few people could keep up with Howie Mandel and his whirlwind career schedule, but you can certainly emulate his commitment to everyday dental care—and your teeth and gums will be the healthier for it.

If you would like more information about daily dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Daily Oral Hygiene: Easy Habits for Maintaining Oral Health” and “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”

By Two Rivers Family Dental, LLC
April 08, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants   diabetes  

Over 26 million Americans have diabetes, a systemic condition that interferes with maintaining safe levels of blood sugar in the bloodstream. Over time, diabetes can begin to interfere with other bodily processes, including wound healing—which could affect dental care, and dental implants in particular.

Diabetes affects how the body regulates glucose, a basic sugar derived from food digestion that's the primary source of energy for cell development and function. Our bodies, though, must maintain glucose levels within a certain range — too high or too low could have adverse effects on our health. The body does this with the help of a hormone called insulin that's produced as needed by the pancreas to constantly regulate blood glucose levels.

There are two types of diabetes that interfere with the function of insulin in different ways. With Type I diabetes the pancreas stops producing insulin, forcing the patient to obtain the hormone externally through daily injections or medication. With Type II diabetes, the most common form among diabetics, the body doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't respond adequately to the insulin that's present.

As mentioned, one of the consequences of diabetes is slow wound healing. This can have a profound effect on the body in general, but it can also potentially cause problems with dental implants. That's because implants once placed need time to integrate with the bone to achieve a strong hold. Slow wound healing caused by diabetes can slow this integration process between implant and bone, which can affect the entire implantation process.

The potential for those kinds of problems is greater if a patient's diabetes isn't under control. Patients who are effectively managing their diabetes with proper diet, exercise and medication have less trouble with wound healing, and so less chance of healing problems with implants.

All in all, though, it appears diabetics as a group have as much success with implants as the general population (above 95 percent). But it can be a smoother process if you're doing everything you can to keep your diabetes under control.

If you would like more information on managing dental care with diabetes, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

March 30, 2020
Category: Haiti
Tags: Haiti Mission  

Dr. Chris Hansen and Dr. Paul Feit (website and Facebook) are founding members of Christian Dental Missions, a nonprofit organization that addresses the dental needs of underserved populations in Honduras, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
The team recently returned  from their 3rd dental mission to Los Cacaos, Haiti.
The 2020 dental mission team included: Dr. Chris Hansen, Ann Hansen, Dr. Paul Feit, Dr. Jamie Meunier, Dr. Tom Peterson , Barb Wachowski, Laurie Penke, Maryjo and Kevin Dempsey, Ilona Fisher, and Allison Bouril.
Here is Dr. Hansen's personal account:
I thought I would share a brief update and a few pics from our dental mission trip to Haiti and the DR February 20-29, 2020. 
After a 20-hour journey, with team of four dentists and seven auxiliaries traveling from Wisconsin and Florida, we finally arrived at Sister Maria’s house in Pedro Santana around midnight on the first day.
Highlights of the travel day included a missed flight for half our team in Milwaukee, a near missed connection in Atlanta and an hour long standoff in customs in Santo Domingo. Customs officials in the DR were going to confiscate all of our medications and local anesthetic because we lacked proper documentation. 
This would have effectively ended our mission work for this trip.  Finally after much discussion, they allowed us to take them through, this one time.  Only later, we found that it was because of a phone call placed by a high level government official to Sister Maria and her vouching for us that allowed safe passage with the needed medical supplies.
Arrival in Santo Domingo
Arrival in Santo Domingo   
Bus ride to Pedro Santana
After our travel day to Pedro Santana, we arrived at the Ag Center in Los Cacaos and worked to set up the clinic. We sorted supplies, set up equipment and tested the vacuum system, plumbing, and pressurized air needed to operate a “modern” dental clinic in this remote region of Haiti. 

With new equipment shipped with the container and the portable dental unit we brought from the US, we were able to set up a clinic with five operational chairs.
Thanks to Jim Fitzgerald and his team for doing a great job setting up the week before. It helped get us a running start on the process. 
Thanks also to the painting crew to allow us to "borrow” Ruth and Steve, top help with set up and crowd control during our clinic. 
Sister Lydia and Sister Valenta were instrumental in screening, prioritizing and organizing patients to help us see the people who needed our services most. Many people were trucked in from remote villages over treacherous roads miles away from the Ag center in Los Cacaos.
Transportation to the Ag Center with the team
Working on the equipment setup
Djimison and Frantz setting up
Kevin and Dr Tom working on the suction pump
60 + People trucked in from Los Botados to see us at the clinic
Some of our team members took in the sights and shopping at the market in Banica. Dr. Paul and I and drove  to Los Botados about 45 minutes away to look at the new community center and house. It was built by Jim Fitzgerald’s crew and painted by the “Tigers of the North” staying at Sister’s house during our clinic week. 

Both the house and Community Centers were impressive structures and the family was very happy with the result. This three bedroom house that four multigenerational families will share was built for Oskarete(?) in appreciation for donating the land for the Center. 
We hope to expand our reach and establish a remote dental clinic in future dental missions.
On the swing back home we were able to visit the local clinic in Los Cacaos and see the progress in the upgrades in the facility and more medications in the pharmacy. We got a tour from the Haitian doctor on duty, Dr. Prophlle Ecclesiaste, who is working to improve the health of people of that community. 
The children with Mary Beth at Los Karete
Happy family in Los Botados
Inside the Community Center
The new residence for Oskaete’s family
Local photographer
The hospital in Los Cacaos
Haitian doctor, Dr. Ecclesiaste
The rest of the week was spent in clinic at the Ag Center where a team of four dentists, seven dental support members, three Haitian interpreters and two lay volunteers worked tirelessly in difficult conditions to see as many local people as humanly possible.
During the more than five clinic days, we were able to screen close to 400 patients, perform over 1,000 extractions of diseased teeth, put in dozens of fillings, and treat hundreds of teeth with fluoride applications.
The waiting area outside the Ag Center
The waiting area patients during screening
Dr Jamie and her patient     
Dr Paul and MaryJo
Dr Tom and Laurie
Our fine interpreter Stevens with his fan club 
Ilona and Ann compiling the stats   
Alisen and Dr Chris
With an increase in the volunteer base and fundraising we hope to expand the clinic to two weeks next year with outreach to the smaller communities that have trouble reaching the main clinic in Los Cacaos.

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Two Rivers Family Dental

Dentists serving Two Rivers, Manitowoc County and the Greater Green Bay Area

Chris Hansen, DDS, FAGD
Jamie Meunier, DMD


Office Location

1705 23rd Street
Two Rivers
, WI 54241
(920) 794-7100
(920) 553-7055 fax

Entrance on 23rd Street

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