Category Archives: General Health & Nutrition

Fitness, Oral Health, and Recovery from Addiction | from the desk of Dr. Jamie J. Alexander, the Recovery Dentist of Boynton Beach FL

Fitness and Oral Health

Your Fitness, Oral Health & Recovery from Addiction

A great body of research evidence has made clear that looking after your oral health is important for physical health. Now that you are in recovery, you are no doubt motivated to pursue more physical activities to build your body strength and naturally raise endorphins.

A healthy mouth will improve your systemic health by reducing inflammation, provide improved chewing function so you can eat and digest the full range of healthy nutrients, and enable you to confidently engage with the world.

Oral health, systemic health, social health, and exercise are closely interrelated. Your recovery and ability to live an addiction-free life are supported by all four.

One of our local recovery centers, Delray Recovery Center, has shared this blog The Benefits of Exercise in Addiction Recovery. Enjoy the benefits of exercise and improve your oral health in the safety and compassionate care of Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., Dentistry for Those in Recovery. Call our Boynton Beach dental office at 561-732-8877 to learn more and schedule an initial complementary consultation with Dr. Alexander. 

Nicotine Addiction | Recovery Dentistry

Nicotine Addiction in Recovery

The Myths and Facts about Nicotine Addiction

By Jamie J. Alexander, DDS,

Many of my dental patients in drug or alcohol recovery are addicted to nicotine. Their habit gets in the way of whole body wellness, and exacerbates oral health problems.

Unfortunately, smoking and other forms of nicotine use can be difficult to stop. Because quitting puts the body through nicotine withdrawal and leaves behind emotional and social attachment, quitting can be a prolonged process and relapse is common. Society’s and the Sober Community’s acceptance of smoking as a “lesser evil” doesn’t help the nicotine addict to quit.

Many of those around you may not think you have to quit and are smoking next to you on work breaks and after recovery meetings. But, you do know the health risks, so isn’t it time you loved yourself enough to challenge yourself to quit?

Recently, I came across an online article I’d like to share. It’s title is “Recovery from Nicotine Addiction: Myths vs. Facts.” Read the article and remember:

  1. It’s never too late to quit. The body can heal. The sooner you stop the less damage your body will have to recover from.
  2. You can’t lapse and have “just one” cigarette. If you do, you will refuel your nicotine cravings.
  3. Relapse never happens without warning. Once you get rid of the physical addiction, it’s emotional attachment that keeps you thinking about using again. Get rid of counterproductive thoughts and feelings as fast as they occur.
  4. The more days that pass since your last cigarette, the stronger you will become.
  5. You deserve improved health—you are worth it.
Tips for beating insomnia when in recovery from drug addiction | Dr. Jamie Alexander

Recovery and Insomnia

How to deal with insomnia in recovery

Many in recovery suffer from insomnia, and therefore find it difficult to fall and stay asleep at night. Yet, sleep is beneficial to whole body and mental wellness. Dr. Jamie Alexander suggests 10 ways to modify your neurological activity during nighttime hours.

  1. A white noise machine or quietly humming fan helps many go to sleep and stay asleep.
  2. If you find you cannot sleep, do not obsessively think about the fact that you can’t sleep while lying awake in bed. Rather, get up and read or listen to soft music in another room until you feel sleepy.
  3. Cut back on caffeine and sugar consumption.
  4. Eat nutritious foods frequently throughout the day and even evening.
  5. Eliminate nicotine.
  6. Exercise regularly and keep moving throughout the day, reserving sleep for nighttime.
  7. Talk to your recovery group and counselor about your insomnia and the worries that contribute to your wakefulness.
  8. No matter what you do, do not use alcohol or drugs to induce sleep. Alcohol contributes to interrupted sleep, and both contribute to addiction.
  9. No matter what your faith tradition, prayer is a powerful way to displace worries and allow your mind and body to rest.
  10. Trust that through prolonged recovery, your body will return to normal circadian rhythms that allow you to sleep better at night.

Sometimes insomnia can be linked to a specific dental condition, like teeth grinding. If you are concerned about grinding your teeth at night, give Dr. Alexander a call at (561) 732-8877 or schedule an initial consultation here.

Recovery & Dentistry | Dr. Jamie J. Alexander, DDS Boynton Beach

On Recovery and Dentistry

I have had a keen interest in chemical dependency, addiction, and recovery since initially studying the subject in two Integrated Studies (I.S.S.) courses during my undergraduate studies at Michigan State University.   In dental school at the University of Michigan, we had several lectures during our Pharmacology and Psychology courses.  Again my interest was piqued, but it was not until I had the opportunity to work with and positively help several patients in my practice that I became immersed in learning all I could about their special circumstances and how I might make a real difference as a health care provider.

Recently, I decided to add a special focus within my general dental practice. That special focus is dentistry for those affected by drug and alcohol dependency.  To serve my patients to the best of my ability, I made a personal commitment to seek additional formal education.  I am currently studying toward a Master’s Certification in Addiction Studies from the University of Michigan Master’s Program within the School of Social Work.  The “ivory tower” knowledge, as well as life experiences with people I deeply care about and patients who have come to me with chemical dependence, have motivated my decision to specialize my practice.

We welcome those at all stages on the journey towards recovery and sober life.

Our goals are your goals: comfort, health, function, and attractive appearance. Whether you come to us during Active In-Patient Treatment, Out-Patient Treatment or Sober-Living, we can handle your dental emergencies, other immediate needs, and during Sober-Living work together to create a plan to restore your mouth to optimal health and attractiveness through affordable phases of dentistry.

We have successfully treated patients at different stages along their path toward sobriety.  These experiences have been highly gratifying for me and my practice team.  Why?  Because patients in recovery trust us to non-judgmentally understand them, care for them and help them.  Our compassionate care and genuine desire to help has always been appreciated.  There is no better day in dentistry than a day when your training, knowledge, skills, and care all come together to make a powerful difference in someone’s life.

Addiction is a disease.

I believe in a personalized, evidence based (scientific) approach to treating chemical dependency.  This approach should start with a clear diagnosis, and plan for treatment.  Treatment should be individualized based on the severity of chemical dependency (tolerance built to abused substances), mix of substances that need to be detoxified, as well as any co-diagnosed conditions.

Commonly, rehabilitation occurs with a team of addiction specialists.  Your team should include both a medical doctor and psychologist/psychotherapist.   Additionally, nutritionists, personal trainers, and physical therapists may all be valuable assets to your team.  We are well versed in communicating our patient’s dental needs. It would be our pleasure to participate as a part of your treatment team.

Comfort

Our patients’ comfort is paramount.  We are sensitive to the fact undue stress or anxiety may act as a trigger for relapse.  We have a relaxed atmosphere, and always coordinate unique personalized appointments for our patients.

To ensure our patient’s comfort, we offer heated neck warmers, blankets, pillows, lip moisturizer to prevent chapping, and noise reduction headphones to minimize the “dental sounds,”  We customize our appointments to match our patients’ appointment preferences.   Some patients prefer shorter appointments to get “in and out,” and some prefer longer appointments to “get as much done as possible.”

For our patients who are anxious about dental visits or experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we can work with a Recovery Treatment Coordinator, or physician to effectively manage and create a comfortable dental experience.

Privacy

We take our patients privacy seriously. Each operatory in our practice is a separate room with garden views. We treat one patient at a time, providing individualized care and attention. Consultation is offered outside of the treatment operatories in Dr. Alexander’s private office. Should our patients desire anonymity, we have a private entrance as well.  Just tell us in advance about your needs.

We strictly adhere to HIPAA, the law protecting privacy of personal health information. We will only communicate information on our patient’s behalf to those we have been granted permission to inform.

Emergency Dental Care

During Active In-Patient Treatment, Out-Patient Treatment or Sober-Living, we are available to address any immediate concerns.  We will prioritize your concerns and ensure we will specifically address your needs. We are knowledgeable about how complex this point of life can be, and we will work diligently to make this process as pain-free and simple as possible.

Restorative Treatment

Chemical Dependency can leave many problems in one’s life. Once stable in recovery, a goal oriented, future-minded approach may be considered for your dental health.  We would like to co-create a plan to ensure long term comfort, appearance, and overall oral health.

Often we will recommend a very thorough examination of your mouth to gather various details about your current dental condition.  This process always includes a meaningful conversation to best understand your desires and goals of treatment.

Once these are mutually understood we will create and present a plan for treatment.  Often there will be multiple options for treatment.  Our goal will be to inform you fully so you can make the choices that are best for you.  We also will carefully discuss with you each treatment alternative.  Your expressed desires will direct the course of your custom treatment plan.   We will sequence treatment for maximum comfort and time efficiency.  We are experts in recreating beautiful and healthy smiles.

Trust is a must.

Trust us to be a part of your recovery.  It means a lot to us that you allow us to earn your trust.  We are committed to being there for you each step of the way.

You deserve the best of care.

Your dental health is an important part of your overall health.  Having a healthy mouth allows for a brighter, more confident smile.  Additionally, a comfortable mouth allows for proper chewing and nutrition.

Your vision of self-worth may have taken a beating during addiction and the hard work of recovery.  Be assured that you will reserve optimal dentistry and care.  To us, you are a brave, special person.  We are honored to aid you on your journey to full health and freedom from addiction.