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Survey Says...

December 14th, 2016

You’ve all probably received the survey I send out every 6 months. Your responses allow me to learn what we’re doing right and where you think we could improve. I read them every weekend, because my hope is for you to leave every appointment thinking, “that was enjoyable and worthwhile.” A surprising thought to have leaving a periodontist’s office, I know, but it’s our goal. I recently compiled data from the last 5 months to see how well we’re achieving that goal. Based on 1,025 surveys:

  • 100% would refer their friends or family to AIP
  • 100% rated their visit as very good or excellent
  • 100% rated the office cleanliness as very good or excellent
  • 99% of new patients felt they had a good understanding of their dental situation after their first visit
  • 98% have a high or very high level of trust in the doctors
  • 92% were seated right on time or within 5-10 minutes of their scheduled appointment

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First off, I’m thrilled to see that we’re getting “straight A’s” in your book (we’ve been listening over the past 31 years, and we’ve learned a thing or two from you)! We’d be so appreciative if you would take the time to share your experiences with the community by reviewing us on Yelp and Google.

Second, while these numbers make me proud, we’re always striving to do better. The goal, of course, is 100% across the board. Please don’t ever hesitate to ask me, Dr. Levi, or any of the staff a question. Think of it like what they used to say in school: there are no bad questions! If you want us to explain something again or in a different way, we will be more than happy to do so. Got ideas on how we can improve? Send them my way at BrianShumanDMD@gmail.com or let me know at your next appointment!

-Brian

Holiday Sonicare Sale & Donation to The Vermont Foodbank

November 29th, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Okay, maybe it's a little early, but our family traditions really start with apple picking and pumpkin carving in October and they don't let up until the New Year! In AIP tradition, I’m excited to let you know that we’re kicking off our annual Sonicare EasyClean electric toothbrush sale. I have them on special for just $57.94 (plux tax). This brush can be found at Amazon for $84 and Walmart for $79.95. In addition, for each Sonicare sold, I will personally donate $5 to the Vermont Foodbank.

It’s a great deal, a great gift for the holidays, a great way to maintain your oral health in the coming year, and a great way to give back to our wonderful Vermont community.

Speak to Kim or Jackie at the front desk to pick one up, or email me at BrianShumanDMD@gmail.com to reserve one. The offer is good through January 1st, 2017 or until I run out of brushes. Rain checks will be available.

Spread the word, tell your friends, and let’s beat last year's $1100 donation to the Vermont Foodbank. May the floss be with you through the New Year!

Reflecting on This Year's Special Olympics

July 26th, 2016

As you can likely tell from the new technologies always popping up in the office, the conferences I’m attending, and the publications I’m reading, I’m always striving to ensure that the care you receive when you come into AIP is better every time. I try to bring that same approach to the Healthy Athletes Program each year at the Vermont Special Olympics. As soon as the event comes to a close, I start contemplating how we can make it even more useful for the athletes next time around.

For example, in years past we performed oral hygiene techniques on puppets for the athletes, but Dr. Levi’s words popped into my head, "That that’s like trying to teach you how to play the piano by watching me do it, but never asking you come over to the bench and try it yourself." For one, you’re going to get tired of me playing Chopsticks and Heart & Soul pretty quickly, and further, it’s going to be a real challenge for you to do it well on your own at home without the tactical experience of hitting the keys yourself. For that reason, we implemented hands-on, one-on-one brushing and flossing trainings with volunteer professional hygienists and dental assistants. We observed as the athletes demonstrated their ability to brush and clean between their teeth, then we offered tips, tricks, and techniques for each athlete to try out. I look forward to seeing all the athletes again next summer and checking in on how the trainings impact their oral health this year.

I was thrilled to host the largest number of volunteers to date: 12 dental students from Tufts, 2 from the University of Buffalo, 10 dental assisting students from Essex TECH, 6 dental hygiene students from VTC, 10 volunteer dentists, 5 dental hygienists, and 15 additional volunteers. I'm extremely grateful to everyone for dedicating their time and talents. With their help, we were able to screen a record 157 athletes.

The Special Olympics is an event I look forward to every summer. And it's one that I not only get to share with my seasoned colleagues, dental students up-and-coming in the field, and the wonderful athletes themselves, but also with my daughters. Before Alexx left Vermont to do that “growing up” thing (what’s up with that?), she would join me every year. She said: “I have vivid memories of immediately forgetting how warm it was under the tent the moment the athletes started streaming in and the day flying by. I could always count on a fun exchange, a rush from being around people who’ve just achieved something big, and an immense sense of gratitude at the end of the day." Now, it’s an event I get to share with my 15 year old Meika, who shared, “It’s a fun thing to experience because helping out makes you feel good. Everyone is so nice and respectful and it’s always nice to make someone smile. I really look forward to it every year!"

Images by Diane Dumas.

Safety First

March 3rd, 2016

Years ago, as I watched the fire engulf my building, I remember finding comfort in knowing I had done the “right” thing by backing up all of my data to tape. Bummer--turned out my tape drive was no longer manufactured. No problem! I was diligent and as a secondary precaution had backed up everything to the Cloud. But my Cloud backup would take 5 days to get back to me. Too long. Finally, I tracked down my discontinued tape drive on EBAY and overnight had all my data fully restored. Never again. That night, I vowed to be up and running within one hour should another disaster strike.

I was reminded of all this after watching a segment on Good Morning America about the latest threat, Ransomware. In the spirit of transparency, and because I never want you to worry about a thing when it comes to AIP, I’d like to let you know how serious I am about protecting your personal information.

After the fire, I invested in DDS Rescue (the “high-tech spare tire for my server”), a state of the art backup system that encrypts and stores our server information  on both coasts. It also allows me access to all of my programs and files remotely, and within 10 minutes of any emergency. I have run simulations. It works.

We also use SendInc Encryption, a program that secures messages containing personal medical information by ensuring that data remains encrypted from the time it leaves AIP’s computer through the time you or your dentist receives it. You already knew we utilize cutting-edge technology in the office, but our advanced practices also extend beyond our walls to ensure that your information is safe all the way from our inbox to yours. If you haven’t already, you may receive email from us and note the SendInc logo. It will require a one time name and password registration to open.

In other words, your information is 100% safe and 100% backed up 100% of the time, giving us all peace-of-mind.

Ask AIP: Incorporating Interdental Brushing Into Your Routine

September 25th, 2015

Last month, I extolled the benefits of interdental brushing. Since then, I've heard back from a number of you who've tried out this flossing alternative, both with rave reviews and with questions. For that reason, this edition of Ask AIP answers the most common question I've been receiving: How can I successfully incorporate interdental brushing into my routine? I know starting something new can be a challenge, and as always, I'm here to help.

The trick is to turn interdental brushing into a habit, much like brushing your teeth already is. I'm willing to bet you don't even think about brushing at this point; you sub-consciously allot the necessary time each morning and evening (that's right, I said morning and evening). So if you're struggling to integrate interdental brushing into your routine, here's some advice:

Use brushing your teeth as a cue! Say to yourself: "I will pick up my spiral brush before picking up my toothbrush every night.” One patient even hung a post-it note on the mirror as a reminder (thanks for the great suggestion, MW!). Integrating the behavior into your existing routine will positively affect the likelihood of it becoming habitual.

You can even start slowly by only using the interdental brush on the weekends and then start adding weekdays one by one. Keep this up and soon enough you'll have a new, healthy habit that we'll be sure to notice next time you come in for a visit.

We want to know how it’s going! Share your experience and thoughts in the comment section below and bring us any questions at your next appointment.

Brian

What Could Be More Effective Than Flossing? We’ll Tell You!

August 25th, 2015

In the American Academy of Periodontology's recent national survey, more than a third of Americans admitted they would rather sit in traffic or even clean a toilet before committing to flossing daily. In an ideal world, toilets would clean themselves, sitting bumper to bumper at the dreaded 5-Corners in Essex would be a thing of the past, and we could all maintain good oral hygiene without having to use floss.

While the first two are likely to remain pipe dreams for the foreseeable future, the 2014 XI European Workshop on Periodontology recently came to a surprising consensus on flossing that will change the way you clean between your teeth forever.

Leading researchers reviewed the literature and found that flossing is not the most effective prevention method when it comes to fighting periodontal diseases. In fact, the experts determined that there’s a new Periodontal Disease Prevention Sheriff in town: the interdental brush (also known as the proxy, spiral, or interproximal brush)!

Evidence shows that by using the correctly sized interdental brush, you’ll see greater plaque reduction and improved disease prevention than by using floss alone. As if that’s not motivation enough for you, interdental brushes are easier to use than their somewhat unwieldy counterpart! Coming in many shapes and sizes, this prevention method lets you say “so long!” to floss for any site that can fit an interdental brush instead.

Many of you have already integrated this highly effective tool into your oral health routines, and we here at AIP have already seen the stellar results. For those of you who haven’t given the interdental brush a try yet, be sure to ask me, the staff, Dr. Levi, or Dr. Gruwell about the benefits at your next appointment!

Brian

Ask AIP: A Chat with Dr. Gruwell

June 19th, 2015

We get it: sometimes, over the course of a procedure, you might not get the chance to ask all the questions you'd like to. While you may leave feeling confident about the answers you got about your periodontal concerns, you might still be wondering what Dr. Shuman's favorite color is! For that reason, we're excited to announce a new blog series called "Ask AIP." During the course of this series, we'll give you a topic on Facebook (in this case, the topic was our newest doctor, Scott Gruwell) and you can send us anything from minor musing to profound quandary related to the theme. We'll pick the most popular questions, and get you your answers in the next blog!

In this installment, we get to know Dr. Scott Gruwell a little bit better.

Tell us a little about your family and hobbies.

My family is the highlight of my life. My wife and I have been married for almost 19 years and our three kids (17, 14, 10) certainly keep us busy and out of trouble. My daughter is a competitive swimmer and high school championship water polo player. My boys love football, basketball, and soccer. We love a great board game and are really looking forward to trying out some of the great winter sporting activities that Vermont has to offer! Additionally, we love exploring new areas, taking road-trips together, and almost any outdoor activities. One of my life goals was to visit all 50 states and I recently checked my final box... Indiana!

You majored in humanities and minored in zoology at Brigham Young University. What made you decide to go into the field of dentistry and then specialize in periodontics?

In college, I loved art and ornithology, but switched majors several times, having no idea what I wanted to pursue professionally. My dad is an E.R. physician, so I decided to go to medical school.  After many long conversations with my dad, he talked me out of medicine and suggested I explore dentistry – a chance to combine both art and science into one job. In fact, I was part of a group of four guys all preparing for medical school. After really researching the careers, three of us decided to switch to dentistry.

As far as the specialty of periodontics is concerned, I can honestly say that perio was the only specialty I decidedly ruled OUT before dental school. During my undergraduate studies, I completed a progressive 3-semester pre-dental learning track. I thoroughly researched all aspects of dentistry and observed in the offices of many general dentists and specialists. Periodontics was just not for me.  Fast forward 4 years in dental school and I loved it. To me, it represented the specialty that focused largely on the biology of dentistry while combining aesthetics with oral & systemic health and medicine on an extremely detailed platform. I love details!

You said one of the highlights of your Air Force career was leading a 9-person team into the Amazon jungle to provide humanitarian service. Could you share details about this adventure?

My adventure to Suriname was a once in a lifetime experience. I was the only staff dentist leading a dental resident, 3 dental assistants, and 4 pre-dental students into the Amazon jungle as part of a larger Air Force medical team. We saw patients in 3 different mobile dental clinics we set up in the local elementary schools at Brokopondo, Klaaskreek, and Brownsweg.  Our entire mission consisted of about 14 days in country, but due to the logistics of setting up, tearing down, and traveling between sites, we were only able to see patients for about 8.5 days.

During that time period, the resident and I completed over 700 extractions and 1600 dental procedures, taking only a single 10 minute break for lunch each day. During the day, we had toucans and sloths in the trees above us, patients who showed up with pet monkeys and parrots, and even a poison-dart frog hop across the waiting room one morning. The evenings were spent on the banks of the Suriname river watching the piranha attack our leftovers we tossed in the river.

Looking back, it was definitely a difficult experience to articulate. To say it was humbling is an understatement… literally hundreds of people in line when you arrive in the morning, passing armed guards in the hallways, using a translator for every interaction, and knowing that no matter how much work you accomplish, it will simply not be enough. All-in-all, the people were exceptionally kind and thankful. It was an honor and privilege to serve this population, many of whom had never had the opportunity to see a dentist in their lifetime. I can't wait until I have the chance to participate in another humanitarian mission trip.

Thanks to Dr. Gruwell for sharing, and we look forward to answering more of your questions in the next installment of Ask AIP!

What's Happening at 247 Pearl Street?

May 14th, 2015

My oldest graduated from Smith College, my youngest became an award winning gymnast, the Red Sox won the world series, AIP moved to a new space, Dr. Scott Gruwell joined the practice; these are just a handful of significant events that have happened since the night of the fire in 2011. You see, time is a funny thing. Despite the distance we’ve all gained thanks to the ever-dependable changing of the seasons, the night we lost 247 Pearl Street manages to remain as present in my mind as the coming of spring. Coming over the crest of that hill that I’d driven down almost every day for 27 years to see a once so familiar site aglow with red & blue lights, camera flashes, and of course, roaring flames, is an image that, it seems, will never begin to fade.

PEARL STREET APARTMENTS

As many of you know, I designed our current location not only to be comfortable, modern, and on the forefront of technology, but also to be completely removable in anticipation of returning to 247 Pearl. However, I have listened to your kind comments about the new office (the ease of access and parking, the bright and airy windowed rooms, my father’s paintings, etc.) and I have decided to make 1775 Williston Road the permanent home for Associates in Periodontics.

You may have noticed that construction has begun at 247 Pearl Street. The location that so many of us once called our second home will now be home to Burlington residents. A lovely building with 29 apartments (something the city needs, wants, and has had zoned for the site for years) will soon stand where our beloved building once did. The project is “locally sourced,” if you will, designed by Smith & Buckley (Hotel Vermont, Courtyard by Marriott, Dealer.com) and supervised by Redstone Corp.

AIP is proud to call 1775 Williston home today, and though it is bittersweet to bid farewell to our time at 247 Pearl, seeing new life rise from the ashes is nothing short of soothing. As always, we thank you in your support over the course of the past few years. With this announcement, we look towards our future, brightened not by flames, but instead by your shining smiles!

Brian

What Patients are Saying About AIP

March 26th, 2015

If you've ever taken a minute to read our vision statement, you might know: your smiles and your words of kindness are our greatest rewards.

When long-time patient ES sent a surprise fruit basket, I didn't think I could be any more grateful (I'm a huge fruit fan!). After a letter expressing my thanks, however, this sweet surprise was followed by one of the most rewarding notes the practice has ever received. I was ecstatic that ES granted permission to share it with all of you.

"I really wanted to say thank you for the great care that you and your staff provide. There is, of course, first and foremost, professional knowledge and expertise. But beyond that, at your office, there is an element of caring for helping people feel comfortable during procedures that aren't known for comfort. :-) You know (I hope) that I have appreciated, since our first meeting, the way that you practice and care for patients. I also want to send a shout-out to Kim, who does such a nice job of taking care of us, whether on the phone when we're scheduling (or concerned about a dental problem), or greeting us when we come in.

I experience your practice as the best of both worlds: the most modern equipment and care combined with the "old-fashioned" practice of having a community of patients who you remember are people. I'm not sure I'm articulating this well, but thank you."

ES -- you articulated it beautifully. Thank you for your kind words that remind us why we do what we do!

Brian

Welcome Dr. Scott Gruwell!

February 16th, 2015

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Scott F. Gruwell, D.D.S., M.S. to Associates in Periodontics. As he joins us from Texas, we are extending a particularly warm welcome -- we’ll do all we can do help him adjust to our occasionally arctic climate!

He brings with him so much more than just his excitement to join us up North. His impressive history began at Brigham Young University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He went on to receive his dental degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School. There, he not only graduated magna cum laude, but earned both the Award for Excellence in Clinical Dentistry and the Award for Uncommon Dedication to the Field. After receiving his master’s degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and his Certificate of Training in Periodontics from the Wilford Hall Medical Center, he earned the prestigious title of Diplomate to the American Board of Periodontology. In layman’s terms: the Board recognized him as a periodontist who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialization.

His journey didn’t lead him to Vermont just yet. Dr. Gruwell served as an Active Duty member of the US Air Force for 10 years, during which time he lead a 9-person dental team into the Amazon jungle to provide humanitarian services to the people of Suriname, and was the only dental officer in the Air Force to be selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel an entire year early.

Nope, not just yet! He taught at his alma mater and served as both the Director of Clinical Periodontics and Postgraduate Periodontal Education for the Texas Air Force Postgraduate Dental School.

During all this time, he has been honored with numerous awards and commendations, including the the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award for Academic Excellence, the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the Dental Educator of the Year award for the entire Air Force Medical Service, to name only a few. Learn more here.

Now, the next exciting chapter beings as he joins Associates in Periodontics. He, his wife, and three children (who he boasts are “much better looking than he is”) are excited to be living in Vermont and grateful to have relocated here on a permanent basis. As avid lovers of the outdoors, they are all excited to explore all the state has to offer.

You can visit him at both our South Burlington and Barre offices starting March 24th.

Welcome Scott, Tara, Riley, Spencer, and Eddie!

Brian

Happy New Year & Vermont Foodbank Donation

January 1st, 2015

Thank you for making our Sonicare sale better than we ever could've expected.

It not only warms my heart to know that so many of you will be starting 2015 with great oral health, but also that together, we've made an impressive contribution to the Vermont Foodbank!

The gift came at a great time -- the Foodbank was working non-stop to hit their yearly fundraising goal before the year's end.  I'm so glad we could help them and, in turn, our neighbors in the final moments of 2014.

And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for!  Can I get a drumroll, please?  Or perhaps a countdown? 5…4…3…2…1…

We sold 80 Sonicare toothbrushes (wow!!). The Foodbank has confirmed that our gift helped to provide 1,200 meals to our neighbors in need.

Many of you wanted to participate, but were unable to visit the office in the time allotted. But good news -- I am contacting Sonicare and I plan to continue the sale throughout the next quarter (January - March). The same terms apply: $60.75 (plus tax) for the toothbrush and my personal donation of $5 to the Vermont Foodbank for every sale. The goal this time around is 1,500 meals!

If your appointment is not within the next three months and you want to reserve a Sonicare, simply contact me at keepyourteeth@hotmail.com.  I will have Kim reserve one for you to pick up at your next appointment!

Here's to a happy & healthy 2015. Can't wait to see you in the new year!

Brian

Want to Give Back Even More this Holiday Season? You can with our Holiday Sonicare Sale!

December 10th, 2014

It’s that time of year again! Snow on the ground, Christmas trees in the living room, menorahs on the dining room table, Sonicare EasyClean electric toothbrushes on sale at Associates in Periodontics… wait, what? I’m excited to add to the list of holiday traditions by announcing our annual Sonicare sale! We have them for $60.75 (plux tax), which is about $30 off of retail price at Best Buy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and other major retailers.

Sonicare uses unrivaled Sonic technology to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It makes 31,000 brush strokes per minute, compared with a manual toothbrush, which moves at around 300 brush strokes per minute. That means two minutes spent brushing with a Sonicare is equivalent to about a month spent using a manual toothbrush. It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out your time! Studies have even shown that Sonicare removes significantly more plaque than a manual brush, and that using a Sonicare can improve gum health in as short as two weeks.

If you’re not convinced: this is the toothbrush I use and I recommend – it’s straightforward and gets the job done right.

Not only is it a great deal, a great gift for the holidays, and a great way to maintain your oral health in the coming year, but it is also a great way to give back to our community. For each Sonicare sold, I will personally donate $5 to the Vermont Foodbank. I can’t wait to let you all know what the contribution ends up being.

Stop by the front desk at your next appointment to pick one up, or just swing by either of our offices (1775 Willston Road, South Burlington or 248 South Main Street, Barre) to take advantage of the offer. You can also email me at keepyourteeth@hotmail.com to reserve one (or two!) if you can’t make it in right away.

The offer is good through January 1st, 2015. Spread the word, tell your friends, and let’s make our donation an impressive one!

May the floss be with you this holiday season!

Brian

Should You be Worried About Microbeads in your Toothpaste?

November 15th, 2014

Remember a few years ago when plastic beads became all the rage in personal care? Suddenly they were everywhere: your face wash, your body scrub, and your toothpaste (yes, that’s where I come in). Though we haven’t completely bucked the trend, people have started worrying that maybe, just possibly, having a plastic that isn’t biodegradable in your toothpaste isn’t such a good idea, including patients!

When Jane emailed me asking, “Should I throw away my Crest Pro-Health toothpaste? If so, what toothpaste do you recommend?” I thought she might not be the only one out there wondering. Let’s explore this.

Let’s start with the plastic: polyethylene. It’s really an anomaly – simultaneously the most common plastic in the world, and the most contested. Containers, bottles, and grocery bags – all of these are made out of the same stuff as those little blue pebbles in your toothpaste. We’re up in arms about landfills overflowing with polyethylene bottles, and are absolutely adamant about bringing reusable bags to the grocery store; so yes, maybe we should be making a fuss about this plastic that lives forever when it comes to our toothpaste.

The fact that we are constantly finding these little blue plastic beads stuck in our patients’ gum lines, paired with the fact that these little blue plastic beads don’t break down, isn’t a great combination when we’re considering your oral health. Just like anything else that gets stuck in your gums, the beads become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can lead to all kinds of reasons you might come to me in pain: gingivitis, infection, or even severe periodontal disease. While I love seeing you, I don’t want to see you go through that.

Crest has claimed that the beads are there for decorative purposes only. They serve literally no purpose besides looking pretty, and putting your oral health at risk. Luckily, Crest plans to phase the beads out of their toothpastes by 2016. Until then, I urge you to toss your toothpaste if it contains polyethylene beads, and make the switch.

Not sure if your toothpaste is putting you at risk? Check out this website for a list of toothpastes we know contain polyethylene, and also for a great article on the subject.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Brian

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2014

Happy Halloween from AIP!

I’ll never forget the year that my daughter Alexx  told me she no longer wanted me dressing up as a dalmation for Halloween, but rather that it was about time that I start dressing as Darth Vader.  An avid Star Wars fan who always let his daughters decide his Halloween costume, I was ecstatic!

This year, with one daughter off in Boston, and one at the age where bringing her dad trick-or-treating simply is embarrassing and isn’t going to happen, I’ll be happily handing out candy with my lovely wife.

Now, as your periodontist, it would be downright irresponsible of me to leave out the importance of brushing and flossing during this time of year.  Chewy treats and hard candy can be particularly damaging, as they stick to your teeth longer, and are more difficult for your teeth to break down.  If you’re concerned about the health of  your children’s (or your own!) teeth this Halloween, but laying off the candy isn’t in the cards (my favorite is Three Musketeers and caramels), just be sure to brush really well after finishing the sweet treats. Check out www.trickytreats.org to see what Delta Dental has to say about keeping your kids’ teeth safe from cavities during this sugar-heavy time of year.

Whether you’re looking goofy, looking like a “force” to be reckoned with, or handing out candy this year, I hope this Halloween results in lasting memories.

May the floss be with you.

Brian

Dr. Shuman Receives Distinguished Service Award

September 26th, 2014

Harkening back to his days as an athlete, Dr. Shuman took to the stage with a group of cheering fans (his staff, family, friends, and colleagues) to accept the most prestigious award granted by the Vermont State Dental Society: the Distinguished Service Award.  The award was “in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to the field of dentistry.  His volunteer positions on the Vermont State Dental Society Continuing Education Committee and the Annual Meeting Committee, as well as his co-chiefing of the Special Olympics Special Smiles program exemplify his exemplary commitment to the dental profession and oral health of Vermonters.”

Dr. Shuman was grateful and humble in a characteristically humorous acceptance speech.  Though his attempt to downplay the achievement was valiant, Vaughn Collins (Executive Director of the Vermont State Dental Society) took to the mic as Dr. Shuman tried to leave the stage, "I just want to say, he’s unbelievable.  I mean, he’s a committee of one for the [Continuing Education] Committee and he’s been on the Annual Meeting Committee forever.  He just does a tremendous amount of work for us, and we couldn’t do what we do without him.”

"You never expect anything like this," Dr. Shuman said in a quiet moment after the ceremony, "you do these things simply to do them, because it's what you believe is right.  You never expect to be honored."  Clearly still reveling in the surprise of being rewarded for how he has chosen to live his life, Dr. Shuman seemed (perhaps for the first time) speechless.

Congratulations, Dr. Shuman!

- The AIP Team

Gum disease linked to chronic health problems

August 19th, 2014

I read a great article in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine that I wanted to share.  It's a study where researchers found that treating gum disease may reduce heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.

The study showed that within four years of periodontal treatment, patients had lower medical costs and fewer hospitalizations compared to people who hadn't received treatment: "People with cardiovascular disease and diabetes who had gum disease treatment had health-care costs that were between 20% and 40% lower".

The article continued to say that the link between gum disease and chronic health conditions is inflammation and can worsen. The health of your gums ARE important to your over all health!

You can read the whole article on The Conversation.

Brian

Dr. Shuman Helps Special Olympics Dental Screenings Reach New Heights

June 23rd, 2014

"This was one of our most successful years ever," says Dr. Brian Shuman, Co-Chair of the Vermont Special Smiles dental program. We were able to screen 190 athletes. The volunteers included, 8 students from the Essex Tech dental assisting program, 8 students from the VTC's Dental Hygiene Program, all three dental Residents from Fletcher Allen plus eighteen 3rd and 4th year students from Tufts University School of Dentistry and local VSDS dentists. The dental hygienists and assistants taught personalized oral hygiene instruction to the athletes, while the dentists supervised the dental students.

As a testimony to the popularity of this project, the leader of the dental students advised us that she had to turn away 25 other students who also wanted to come help with the event. "Participating in this Vermont event is our most sought after volunteer opportunity at Tufts. Everyone is so nice and make us feel so comfortable here. We feel like we are truly making a difference."

The event exposed 18 potential Vermont dentists to our area many of who are now considering applying for the Dental Residency program at Fletcher Allen.

Dr. Shuman believes that "The Special Olympics and Vermont dentistry has morphed into something way beyond our expectations but consistent with our vision for the program. It provides a wonderful service for the athletes and for the students.This will surely bring back many of the students to Vermont for the Residency program and perhaps get them to consider settling and practicing in Vermont."

Periodontal disease; I have what?!

June 9th, 2014

All of us at  Associates in Periodontics understand the diagnosis of periodontal disease can be scary and confusing.  But the good news in most cases is that it is treatable and manageable with a little work from you and a little help from us.

Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the gum tissue, bone, and supporting structures for the teeth. In the past it was known as pyorrhea. Diagnosis is commonly made through a combination of dental X-rays, periodontal readings (called probing depths), and visual clinical findings.

The mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body and can provide clues to your overall health. In fact, the first signs of some chronic diseases appear in the oral cavity; they can be a hint for the dentist to refer the patient to a medical doctor for a thorough exam.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to premature tooth loss, sensitivity, and chronic or acute mouth pain. If you have diabetes, you are more prone to periodontal disease and can experience greater difficulty controlling your blood glucose levels. The body ends up spending so much energy fighting the infection in the mouth that it cannot achieve balance elsewhere. Studies have shown that once periodontal disease is treated, the glucose levels become more responsive to control.

Standard treatments basically involve cleaning out the infection and allowing your body to heal. There are many tools and techniques to clean out the infection including scaling and root planning, laser therapy, antibiotic therapy and surgery

We always give you an accurate diagnosis and a range of treatment options. Periodontal disease is “silent,” which means you will not always experience pain as a signal of infection. When caught early and subjected to proper oral hygiene care on a daily basis, treatments are generally very successful.

Brian

Brian Shuman DMD

A Little Bit Jaded

July 26th, 2013

Lessons can be learned in various ways: personal, academic, professional. Or, in the aftermath of our September 2011 fire, from a 35 year old jade plant. This begs a little background information first.

Originally native to South Africa, it was known as the friendship tree and lucky plant. Travelers marveled at its fleshy, tear-shaped leaves, rich emerald color and ease of propagation. It required low maintenance, benefited from the occasional pruning, while having an extremely long life-span. Its popularity as a houseplant grew as slips were carried worldwide.

Dr. Levi acquired one and it sat on a ledge in the back of our office for 35 years. With a little water and a lot of sun, it became the size of a medium shrub. Over the years it became a part of who we were. Welcoming, enduring and lucky! Who would have thought it could have survived the fire. But there it sat, a little dry, a little singed, firmly holding on, removed from the debris by Dr. Shuman and nurtured back to life again in his garage.

With the re-birth of AIP, it is an apt analogy. Our office endured through adversity with the luck and tenacity of a jade plant. We have our roots planted deeply into our community and have successfully survived; a little dry, a little singed, but now stronger and better than ever before.

Staff Spotlight: Kim Couture

July 15th, 2013

Today's Staff Spotlight shines on Kim Couture.

Kim has been with Associates in Periodontics (AIP) for 12 years. Her role, as she describes it, is to be an "ambassador between patients and the office. Mainly focusing on patients and advocating for them."

Kim's favorite things about working for AIP are the laughter and the great rapport she has with patients and colleagues. Kim believes her co-workers are the most dedicated, caring group of people she's ever had the pleasure of working with. She describes her patients as "kind and caring." "Our team goes the extra mile everyday for our patients. We love what we do and it shows!"

When Kim is not at work, she enjoys gardening and reading. She also helps out with her children's sporting teams and volunteers for her church.

AIP Staff Spotlight: Helen

June 28th, 2013

This month's staff spotlight shines on Helen.

Helen has been a dental hygienist at Associates in Periodontist since 1984. She enjoys teaching patients how to properly take care of their mouths and maintain a healthy body. She describes her colleagues as fun, loving, dedicated people who truly care about their patients and each other. She notes, "My co-workers are true professionals."

When Helen's not at work, she keeps busy as the Treasurer for the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation. They raise money to help military members and their families. She's also the co-chairperson for the silent auction for the Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle-Ball Tournament, which raises money for individuals with spinal cord injuries., During the fall months, Helen and her husband remain busy maintaining their own apple orchard, Chapin Apple Orchard, in Essex, Vermont.

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