Your Dental Office News, August, 27 2023: End of Year Reminders, Dentistry for Special Needs, Our Team is Best of the Best

For most of us, summer vacation has officially ended and we’re now back in school. This time of year can be hectic and It’s hard to get back into the same old routine, but somehow we always manage. Just remember to focus on what’s important and don’t forget to take time for yourself. And what’s the perfect way to relax and unwind? Catching up on your Dental Office News, of course!

In This Issue:

  • Best Places to Work Event
  • Scheduling for the Holidays
  • Use it or Lose it!
  • Antibiotic Pre-Med Reminder
  • Back To School Reminders
  • Dentistry for Patients with Special Needs
  • New YouTube Video – Why Brush and Floss
  • Honoring Our Team Members
  • Recipe of the Month: Ratatouille
  • YouTube Channel
  • Please Leave us a Review!

Best Places to Work

We were honored to help co-sponsor this year’s Best Places to Work in Frederick County event as a prior winner in 2021. Dr. Levy and Abbey had a wonderful time together representing our office and distributing toothbrushes. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Scheduling for the Holidays

You must think we’re crazy to already be talking about the holidays, but our schedule is very full with limited openings. We want to make sure you can get in when you need to, especially if you have family members coming home from school or visiting who need an appointment. If you want to get in before the end of the year, call us now to schedule!

  • Labor Day, September 4 – CLOSED
  • Thanksgiving, November 23 & 24 – CLOSED
  • Team Appreciation Event, December 8 – 9am to 1pm, closing early
  • Christmas, December 25 – CLOSED
  • New Year’s Day, January 1 – CLOSED

Use It or Lose It

Just a reminder that your dental insurance benefits don’t roll over. Many plans will renew by January 1 or sooner and you’ll lose what you haven’t used this year. If you were prescribed dental treatment that you have put on hold, or haven’t had your second dental cleaning this year, now may be a good time to schedule an appointment.

Besides taking care of existing tooth pain, gum disease, or scheduling a routine cleaning and exam, here are 5 more reasons to schedule your next appointment:

  1. Your insurance deductible – Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay each year before your insurance company starts paying for dental services. If you’ve already paid your deductible in 2023 but only visited us once, you are not getting your money’s worth. 
  2. Premium increases or changes in coverage – You may want to use your benefits before the end of 2023. There could be premium increases or a reduction in services covered under your current plan.
  3. Use your existing Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Contributions – Another great reason to schedule a dentist appointment before the end of the year is to spend any remaining balance in your flexible spending account (FSA). (This is an account that you establish through your employer, and that you may have elected to have some of your pre-tax pay put into. Use it or lose it: If you don’t use all your FSA by the end of the year, you’ll lose it.)
  4. You’ve already paid for it – Through your insurance provider, you are currently paying dental insurance premiums every month: you should be using your benefits! Even if you don’t have any pain or issues, you and your family should always have regular dental cleanings and screenings looking for early signs of gum disease, cavities, gum recession and even oral cancer.
  5. Yearly maximum – Most dental plans have an annual dollar max. This is the maximum dollar amount a dental plan will pay toward the cost of dental care within a specific benefit period (usually January through December). This amount varies by insurance company and usually renews every year. If you have unused benefits, these will not roll over.

So, consider contacting us for an appointment now so that we can schedule you before this year ends! If you have existing untreated dental issues, this is a great time to get them treated. If not, then this is a good time to prime up your mouth to look good for your friends and families this holiday season (Halloween NOT included!)

Antibiotic Pre-Med Reminder

We would like to remind you that due to the updated antibiotic research and protocol recommending that antibiotic prophylaxis (pre-med) is often unnecessary, effective September 1, 2023, we will no longer be prescribing antibiotics for our patients.

Here is the executive summary of the article we shared last month. 

  1. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them does you more harm than good.
  2. Research indicates that you may no longer need antibiotics before visiting the dentist. Both the NIH and the ADA stand behind this research.
  3. If you’ve had joint replacement surgery 6 months before your appointment, please call us to reschedule.
  4. Ask your surgeon if you still need antibiotics before your dental visit.
  5. If your surgeon states that you need antibiotics, please ask them for a prescription. Effective Sept 1, 2023, we will no longer prescribe antibiotics as pre-med.
  6. More details can be found in the full article posted on our website

If your cardiologist or surgeon still recommends that you take antibiotics, you will need to get a prescription from them. If you are unable to get a prescription in time for your appointment, please contact our office.

If you are enrolled in electronic patient communications, you will soon receive an additional confirmation text message prior to your dental appointment. This text message will remind you to speak to your physician regarding the need to premedicate with antibiotics prior to dental appointments, and to obtain the prescription from that physician if necessary.  (Not enrolled in text messages? Click HERE now (it’s easy!) to ensure that you receive the confirmation message for all future appointments).

Back to School Reminders

There are so many permission slips and notices that you have to sign when your children head back to school. One of them may be a dental health report. If your children haven’t been seen in our office within the last year, we won’t be able to complete that report. If it’s been more than 6 months since a child’s last cleaning, the dentist may want to see them for an exam before completing the report. Please call us to schedule a time to drop off the form for completion, or to get your child in for their cleaning and exam.

We also want to remind you that we make custom mouthguards for sports! These have a turnaround time of a couple of weeks, so if your child needs one, make sure to schedule sooner rather than later. 

Dentistry for Patients with Special Needs

Adapted from:

Dr. Levy’s dedication to serving patients with special needs over the years has led our dental practice to be home to more than 1,000 patients who need accommodations to be safely treated, many of whom live more than 50 miles away. Our dental team treats them both in our office and in the O.R. of three regional hospitals – Frederick Health Hospital (FHH), Meritus Medical Center (MMC) in Hagerstown, and UMROI – University of Maryland Rehab Dentistry (Kernan) in Baltimore. 

We talk a lot about “special needs” on our website and social media, but what does that mean? Let’s begin by stating what it’s not:  A patient with special needs is not always severely physically, emotionally, and/or mentally disabled. They just require a change in regular approaches to dental care in order to receive treatment.

Who Are Dental Patients with Special Needs?

Dental patients with special needs often – but not always – have higher rates of poor oral hygiene. As a result, they also have a higher incidence of gum diseases and cavities than people in the general population. Dental patients with special needs include individuals with a broad range of conditions. The descriptions below describe how different special needs could affect patients’ dental health and treatment. They contain many instances of the terms “may” or “likely,” because we know that every patient is different.

  • Patients with dementia, including Alzheimers. At home oral care is likely to suffer as a patient develops dementia. Tooth infections and gum disease may result from a lack of regular and effective oral hygiene. 
  • Individuals with mobility issues. Patients with mobility issues may need an office that allows them to comfortably use a wheelchair or walker. They may also need assistance navigating the office environment. 
  • Mentally challenged individuals. Those who are mentally or intellectually challenged may need to be accompanied to dental appointments by a caregiver, since they may not be able to comprehend what is going on during their appointment, what their dental hygiene requirements are, or their homecare instructions.
  • Immunocompromised people and those with complex medical problems. People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bleeding disorders or other systemic conditions need to have their conditions – as well as their medications – taken into account before receiving dental treatments. Dentists may need to collaborate with their physicians.
  • People with a mental illness. An individual with a mental illness may have difficulty with oral home care, going to the dentist, or countering the effects of medications that affect oral health (such as antidepressants that cause dry mouth). These individuals may need shorter appointments that are scheduled when they are in a balanced state. They may also need to be accompanied by a caregiver or case manager.
  • Children with behavioral or emotional conditions. Children with autism, for example, are averse to changes of any kind. These patients would likely need to be seen by the same hygienist – wearing the same outfit, working in the same dental room – whenever they visit the dentist to receive care. 

How We Care For Patients with Special Needs

General dentists and dental specialists (for example, endodontists, periodontists, and orthodontists) are trained to provide dental care, but not necessarily trained on how to provide care to patients with special needs. Our practice is different because our dentists, clinical team members and even our clerical team members were specifically trained in the tools and techniques that help patients with severe dental anxiety, or other special needs, to feel safe and comfortable in our office. 

On our website we provide both an office tour and photos of our team members, so that patients can be acquainted with us in advance of their appointment.

Our Tuesday mornings from 9 AM to 1 PM are dedicated exclusively to patients with special needs. We prepare for these days by having extra team members available to ensure that each patient’s needs are taken care of. Patients can sit in one of our eight comfortable treatment room chairs, in their own wheelchair, or recline on their gurney. If need be, we can perform dental work safely and conveniently via office conscious sedation, or under hospital general anesthesia. Parents and/or caregivers can also accompany the patient into the treatment room, and offer them comfort.

Our office is ADA compliant and our dental chairs can easily be moved to the side of a treatment room, providing space for a patient’s own wheelchair if they prefer not to move to our dental chair for treatment. You can see a video of how they work.

We are committed to providing each individual with the personalized care and treatment they need. In our practice, patients with special needs — anxious, afraid of the dentist, developmentally or intellectually disabled, suffering from autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, medically compromised, or just very young and fearful — will be welcomed and treated respectfully and warmly, like everybody else.

New YouTube Video – Why Brush and Floss

Image Source:

Brushing and flossing is important to your oral and overall health. Take a look at our newly uploaded video on YouTube where hygienist Wendy explains why. You might also want to check out the playlist we compiled to help with your brushing and flossing technique.

Also, make sure to see your dentist for routine checkups. Almost half, 47.2%, of all adults aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease. Gum disease increases with age. 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease. Jan 25, 2018,and%20older%20have%20periodontal%20disease.

Honoring our Team Members

To learn more about our team members, visit Our Team page on our website.

Our Team Makes Us Best of the Best!

This month, we honored our entire team! 

You nominated us for Best of the Best Dental Practice in Frederick and we’ve been sharing with you over on Facebook what we believe makes us Best of the Best – Our Team! If you haven’t seen our posts, please check them out. Every day August 16th through the 22nd, we highlighted members of our team and shared with you some fun facts about why they got into the dental field and what they like about our practice. 

We hope you’ve been enjoying learning more about our team members and that you’ve been voting for us every day. Can you guess what Dr. Patel has more than 50 of?  If we become a finalist, we’ll share more stories from the rest of our team during the next round of voting, which will be held October 4th through the 10th. 

Thank you for putting your trust in us!


Ratatouille is the perfect way to enjoy some of August’s best produce! This recipe is a bright and chunky summer vegetable stew, rich with olive oil and fragrant with garlic and herbs.

Servings: 8 (Makes about 7 cups)

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


  • 1 large (1¼ lbs) eggplant, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into ⅓-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1¾ lbs), cut into ⅓-inch cubes, with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (no need to clean it). Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
  3. Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and ¾ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


  • Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Let the dish cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Keep in mind that the zucchini won’t stay crisp after being frozen.) 
  • Perfect Vegetarian main course served over grains, pasta, or polenta
  • Serve it Shakshuka-style with poached eggs
  • Excellent folded into an omelet or frittata
  • Dollop over a crostini with goat cheese
  • Also delicious served cold!
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