2021: A Look Back

February 14th, 2022  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

As with many people, it feels that the pandemic has gone on forever. Like a heavy wet blanket weighing us all down and hampering our normal movement. Life continues but it feels as though we are on pause. We have overcome many obstacles and there will be more in 2022. But brighter days are ahead and I am grateful for all that I have.

2020 was a year of having to deal with new protocols, finding supplies and protecting ourselves. The challenges of 2021 would prove to be more human in nature.

Firstly, it involved ensuring that my staff and I were all fully vaccinated. Fortunately, we live in Canada where we have access to vaccinations readily and relatively quickly.

Next, it was juggling staff and patients in an ever changing environment. Where a hint of a sniffle or headache meant quarantining. I had to accept that there would be many changes to the schedule and many missed appointments.

Staff changes were never ending. As many of you are aware, Roxanne is no longer with my office. It was a big change as she is good at her work. Finding a replacement would prove to be more difficult than I imagined.

But the hardest hit came in finding a new assistant. At the end of April, Danielle decided to move back to PEI to be closer to family. She was followed shortly after by Somalin, who left the profession to pursue her masters degree in Vancouver. Both their departures left huge holes in my practice. They made an excellent team and their contributions were many. If finding a new hygienist was hard, finding a new dental assistant would nearly push me to the breaking point. I, like so many other businesses, had to deal with a shortage of workers especially experienced ones. Over the summer and into the fall just as my hopes would be raised they would be dashed.

The staffing turmoil began a period of deep introspection. Am I a good boss? What am I doing wrong? The effort spent trying to find new staff left me demoralized and questioning myself. I began to doubt whether I was any good at being a dentist, employer and leader. I was not having fun at work any more. I was spending so much time away from home and I was burning out.

But self-pity does no one any good. I had to remind myself that I am still surrounded by many amazing people. And I was fortunate that my office was still running.

Sam has held up the front of the office with grace, hard work and long hours.  I can’t imagine how I would have survived this past year without her.  Thank-you.

Eun Hee, my ever-suffering assistant.  She has been on a steep learning curve. From being a secondary assistant to Danielle and Somalin to my primary assistant.  Through all the mishaps of finding a new assistant, she has often had to manage everything herself.  Adding to her heavy workload, she has also had to endure my bad days and frustrations.  Thank-you.

My hygienists, Louise, Janna, Claire and Kaila.  How I appreciate these women!  They are each unique and hard working. They share a genuine care for patients.  They have been understanding and accommodating to the numerous and constant changes. Their personalities and laughter brighten my day and the office. Thank-you.

I would like to welcome Melony and Laarni.

Melony is my newest hygienist.  She is fitting in well and I hope many of my patients will have an opportunity to meet her.

Laarni is my new assistant.  She is quite new to the position but I am confident that she is up to the task.

Lastly, I have been blessed with so many wonderful patients who have given me the greatest gift.  Their continued confidence in me and my team.  At a time where so many businesses have suffered, I am eternally grateful.  My humble thanks to you all. 

June 4th, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

Our community has been through a lot these last few months, and all of us are looking forward to returning to some normality. We will all need time to adjust to the “new normal”. As we move gradually to opening the office, there is one constant that will never change

My deep commitment to the health and safety of all patients and staff.

I want you to be aware how things will be different when you come for your next visit.

  1. Our office will contact you for screening before your appointment and you will be screened again in office.
  2. Each team member will undergo the same screening process, before their day begins.
  3. There is now a glass barrier at reception.
  4. The coffee station and magazines, unfortunately, have been removed to lessen the risk of transmission.
  5. We will ask you to apply hand sanitizer when you enter the office.  There will be hand sanitizer throughout the office for your use. 
  6. All patients will be required to wear a mask before entering the office.
  7. We will be taking your temperature.
  8. Unfortunately, the office washroom will no longer be available to the public.  The public washroom near the elevator in the foyer is still available.  
  9. In order to facilitate physical distancing there will be a new personalized system of arrival.  Sam will explain the details upon confirming your appointment.
  10. There will be measures in place to maintain physical distancing in the reception area for essential caregivers and parents of minors if they cannot wait in a vehicle or outside the clinic.
  11. Appointments will be managed to allow for physical distancing between patients. We hope we can count on your flexibility and understanding when scheduling your appointment.
  12. Our team will be wearing new personal protection equipment such as face shields, goggles, gloves, gowns, masks, head covers to enhance safety.
  13. The door to your operatory will be closed whilst you undergo your treatment.
  14. New protocols will be introduced to reduce or eliminate airborne aerosols during all dental procedures.
  15. Your appointment times will be longer to allow for the safest and most comprehensive treatment.
  16. Enhanced operatory disinfection procedures of all surfaces will take place between patients. 
  17. Ambient air will continuously be managed using enhanced HVAC disinfection with UV light/Super HEPA air filtration to remove microbes.
  18. Complete office disinfection will occur on a nightly basis once the office is closed for the day.
  19. All outside mail and packages will undergo a disinfection procedure upon entering the office.
  20. We will offer tele-dentistry services for consultation, treatment planning and follow-up. 

Thank you so much for your trust and support. I look forward to seeing you all and catching up.

April 21st, 2020  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

Today on this Adminstrative Professionals Day, I wish to salute Samantha (Sam) who has been with me since 2011. She started with me when she had recently finished her dental assisting program at Algonquin College. There was no leisurely entry into her new job. She was fully immersed from the very beginning. She had much to learn quickly as she adapted what she had learned at school into the real world. At times, it was a difficult process and she had to weather my many criticisms. Through it all, she maintained her humble attitude, quietly working hard at the challenges presented to her. It was evident early on that she clearly intelligent and resourceful.

As she developed in her role as my assistant, I was also learning to be a better dentist and employer. I worked long hours and Sam was willing to put in those extra hours to support me. Together we overcame many obstacles. She handled the pressure well and we slowly began to develop the core values of our office: Hard work, respect, integrity and stronger together.

As she grew more confident as my assistant, she took on the task of learning about the front desk from my then administrator, Michelle. She was a quick learner and soon could slip between chairside to front desk with ease. When Michelle left, Sam took over the position as full time administrator. She has become the first smiling face our patients see and keeps our office running smoothly.

Sam has played a major part in the life of my practice. The simple truth is she has been a huge reason for its success. Sam and I have been through much together. She came to me young, inexperienced but willing to learn. It makes me so proud to see her become the confident, capable, smart, young woman she is today.

I know my high standards can try the nerves of many and I’m not the best at compliments. But I am always appreciative of those around me. Thanks Sam for all you’ve done. You’ve made me a better boss and person.

July 15th, 2019  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

Full Circle

Nearly twenty years ago a young girl named Kaila entered my office and became a new patient of mine along with her parents. She was always pleasant, full of spunk and inquisitive.  Over the years I was fortunate to witness her grow from a little girl through her teenage years and then blossom into a young lady.  
As a young girl she was always engaging and we interacted well together. As she journeyed into adulthood she expressed more and more interest in the dental field of which I was only too happy to provide any assistance.  I was pleased to train her and have her work in my office as a floater.  She easily managed many different jobs from sterilization to receptionist.
I was delighted upon hearing that she was accepted to the dental hygiene program at Algonquin College.  She worked hard through her studies, sometimes working at my office all the while a mother of three!  Recently she graduated from her program and I am proud to say she is gaining experience now as a hygienist in my office.  
How very satisfying to see Kaila come full circle firstly as my patient and now my hygienist.  As a woman and a mother I fully appreciate the fine balancing act between family and work.  I am grateful that my profession allows me to do both and the ability to help a young girl do the same.  

June 5th, 2019  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

During a check-up, one of many things I’m looking for is a dry mouth.

Dry mouth becomes more prevalent as one ages due to things like genetics, medications or illness. And with reduced saliva and the presence of sugar, an acidic environment is created. This is very destructive to teeth, causing rapid decay.

Can we combat this? Yes! Currently we have a 92 year old patient who has successfully managed her dry mouth for years.

How? The first step, as always, is to maintain meticulous oral hygiene and to limit sugar. As well, the effects of dry mouth can also be managed through the use of saliva substitutes, chewing on sugarless gum, or sucking on sugarless pastilles.

So once again, having the knowledge and the right tools will bring success.

September 4th, 2018  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

One of the things I have learned is that communication is the key to having a good working relationship with patients who have trusted me with their dental care.

I endeavour to listen to each patient’s concerns and provide the information necessary for them to make an informed decision. I am fortunate to have many wonderful relationships with my patients.

Unfortunately, as in any relationship, there are times when there is a communication breakdown.

I recently discovered that I had two negative reviews online. The remarks saddened me as I did not get a chance to reach out to those patients and address their concerns. Could they have been afraid to approach me? I’ll never know.

What I do know is that I will continue to be mindful that each patient’s experience involves much more than just their dental needs, and I will continue to value the relationships I currently have with all of those who have chosen my practice.

August 24th, 2018  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

In spite of so much research and science in the fight against caries in our modern world, I find that I am still restoring too many decayed teeth.

It is especially upsetting to see this in young children. I would much prefer preventing the onset of decay than restoring teeth. Why have we not found the means to stop this disease which is so prevalent in our community?

There is no simple or easy answer.

My team and I work diligently to educate our patients and help them to maintain optimal oral health.  This involves regular checkups and cleanings, teaching them brushing and flossing techniques, providing fluoride treatment, preventing dry mouth and neutralizing an acidic oral environment.

But one thing that could have a big impact on caries is the limiting of processed foods that are full of hidden sugars. We try to educate our patients about the negative effects of sugar/fructose and acid found in unhealthy, pre-packaged foods.  Reducing one’s consumption of sweets and convenience foods may not always be easy, but it can have a tremendous impact on one’s oral and overall health.

If we can use all of these tools, maybe then we could stop this disease, one decay at a time.

July 12th, 2018  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

Recently a good friend of mine asked me to look at a lesion on one side of his tongue. As with normal protocol, I followed up  2 weeks after to see if the lesion has resolved.  I was surprised by how rapidly the lesion had grown in size and immediately proceeded to have it biopsied.  Unfortunately, it was diagnosed as malignant and he is now scheduled for surgery later this month.  However, as the lesion was caught at an early stage, it had not progressed to other tissues and stayed localized.

There is a good prognosis that cancer will be successfully removed.

Your checkup is more than simply looking over your teeth and gums.  We are always evaluating the tissues of the mouth ( that includes the inner cheeks, the tongue, under the tongue the back of the throat, the gum, the palate and the floor of the mouth. Sometimes during my routine checkups, I come across soft tissue lesions which you yourself cannot feel or see.  The sooner the lesion is taken care of whether it be sore or not, red or white,  smooth or rough, flat or raised, we can determine if cancer is present. There is a higher chance that cancer can be removed successfully with a better outcome.

June 21st, 2018  |  Published in Uncategorized by Dr. Ng

Parents always ask when their children should start seeing me.

I recommend as soon as they begin teething. This may seem quite young but I want to begin familiarizing them with me, my team and the smells and sounds of the office.

I also want to educate parents on proper tooth brushing techniques and provide information on how diet can affect their child’s oral health.

The very first meeting, depending on the child, may simply involve sitting in the chair, showing them the instruments, and playing games and laughing. We may not even get a chance to look into their mouths!

Having their first visit be a good experience and building a positive groundwork for the future is always our goal.

Dr. NG

Dr. Ng builds strong relationships with her patients. Together, with her team, she ensures her patients receive the best care.