Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Meet our Newest Team Member


We are so happy to introduce our newest member of the team, Stacia.  With 13 years of experience under her belt, Stacia will be working as a surgical assistant.  She is from central California but has resided here in Utah for the last 7 years.  Stacia has amazing energy, and loves to spend it on her favorite things which include hiking, boating, running, and training at the gym.  When she’s not working toward her own fitness goals, she is helping others to achieve theirs as a personal trainer.  Regardless of her healthy lifestyle, her favorite food is still pizza!  Ultimately, Stacia is working toward being the best version of herself and it shows through her positive and engaging personality!  It’s not often that you don’t see her smiling or laughing and helping the rest of us do the same.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Hopkin Oral Surgery Welcomes...

We are so pleased to welcome our newest team member, Sabrina, to our office!  Sabrina has come to our office with high aspirations of one day becoming a surgeon herself.  After spending her days with us at the office, she heads off to school where she is currently taking pre-med classes and working on her Bachelor's degree.  It's no wonder that her motto in life is "the sky is the limit".  Not only does this bright assistant dream big, but she works hard!
When she's not chiseling away at her goals, Sabrina likes to hang out with friends, go dancing and loves Chinese food.  Originally from Queens, New York, she now lives here in Utah with her three dogs and one cat.  She has fit right in and we are so lucky to have her as part of our team!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Would You Have Ever Guessed?


We are really excited to introduce you to our newest team member, Rylee!  Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rylee quickly developed a love for the outdoors and now loves to spend her time kayaking and water skiing.  When she's not in a boat or being pulled behind one, Rylee enjoys listening to podcasts and spending time with her three-legged, Shepard mix named Joon.


Joon is about 3 years old and was adopted by Rylee when she was only 8 weeks old, right after having a surgery that required doctors to amputate her leg!  While Joon is certainly her favorite, Rylee is a self-proclaimed dog lover, any size and any breed!  Rylee LOVES Indian food…enough to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Welcome to the team, Rylee...and Joon!


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Oral Cancer Doesn't Just Target Smokers

I bet you didn't know that...

1 - April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

2 - While smoking, smokeless tobacco use and alcohol consumption are major risk factors in the development of oral cancer, 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who do NOT smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.

3 - You should conduct a self examination at least once/month.  See chart below.  All you need is a bright light and a mirror.  Look closely and feel your lips, the front of your gums, roof of your mouth, inside of your cheeks, back of gums and especially all aspects of your tongue.  Be sure to pull it out as far as you can to see to the sides as far back as your can.  Examine the back of your throat,floor of your mouth and even feel for enlarged lymph nodes along both sides of your neck and under your jaw.  Call us or your dentist's office immediately if you notice any changes in the appearance of your mouth or any of the signs below.  

4 - Signs/Symptoms include, but are not limited to: 

  • Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
  • A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit
  • Dramatic weight loss


5 - See your dentist regularly.   Even though you may be conducting frequent self exams, sometimes dangerous spots or sores in the mouth can be very tiny and difficult to see on your own. The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every 3 years for persons over age 20 and annually for those over age 40. During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment.





Wednesday, 23 March 2016

What to do about TMJ Pain


At Dr. Hopkin's office, we treat more than just the mouth.  The structures of the jaw involved with function are also a hot topic with patients.  Many come to see us from their general dentist's office for relief of temporomandibular disorders (TMD).  TMD is a set of conditions in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that can include pain, headaches, muscle tension, limited range of motion in the jaw that may or may not be accompanied by audible popping or clicking noises in the joint.

Some patients only experience a single episode, while others experience recurring episodes.  While it isn't the case for the majority of individuals with TMD, some suffer chronic and persistent symptoms.    According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research,  TMD is reported to affect 5-12% of the population with an annual cost of approximately $4 billion to treat those that seek treatment, which accounts for only 2/3's of sufferers.

The many causes of TMD include direct or indirect trauma to the face, dental treatment that requires a patient to open their mouths for an extended period of time, and sometimes even intra-oral injections.  There are also a number of systemic conditions that can involve the TMJ, like osteoarthritis or lupus.  Significant, long-term problems only occur in a small percentage of those with TMD pain.  For the vast majority, recurring TMD does not indicate a more serious problem.

In those chronic and persistent cases, it is widely agreed among experts that the root of the pain lies in the muscles surrounding the joint and not in the joint itself.  The primary muscles used for chewing and speaking are the temporalis and masseter muscles (see below).  Just like other muscles, they can change as a result of how they are used.  These changes can influence whether they perform their functions smoothly without pain and discomfort.  When the temporalis and masseter muscles are overused from clenching or grinding,  excessive muscle tension can result and cause one to feel achy, tender or tight.


One of the biggest contributors to TMD is stress.  Persistent external stressors can cause muscles to remain in a constant state of increased muscle tension which can lead to headaches, fatigue and pain.  Stress may also cause night time and/or daytime clenching or grinding of the teeth which can overuse those muscles.  Even habitual repetitive movements such a gum chewing or shifting the jaw can lead to muscle fatigue.  Most of the time, patients are unaware that they are contributing to their pain with these habits.  When muscles experience this hyperactivity, they can spasm or become strained which limits how far one can open their jaw.

There are a variety of treatments that Dr. Hopkin offers for pain relief that all include teaching patients how to manage their condition.  Even though he is experienced and highly capable of performing open joint surgeries, his course of non-surgical treatments are successful enough that the vast majority of his TMD patients don't require it.  





Thursday, 3 March 2016

Should I Be Worried about Popping & Clicking in my Jaw?


Many of us at one time or another have noticed irregular and sometimes alarming sounds in our jaw joint when we open or close.  There's a pop or a click or even a grinding sound that we can't explain.  Some may experience discomfort associated with this, but even though it sounds painful, doesn't mean that it is painful.

Most audible noises in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are caused by the articular disc slipping out of it's normal position as the lower jaw hinges.  This disc is like a pillow of cartilage between the ball of the lower jaw bone (condyle) and the socket of the skull (glenoid fossa).  It functions to cushion the joint during chewing or other movements.  These joint sounds often occur from normal variations in the TMJ that alone do not indicate professional treatment.

When these sounds are accompanied with other symptoms like pain or limitation in range of motion that doesn't go away, then it is time to consult with the experts. Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are a set of conditions associated with this joint and it affects 5-12% of the population, mostly females of child-bearing years.

As an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr. Hopkin knows the anatomy and physiology of this joint better than most other dental professionals.  But don't worry, going to see a surgeon does NOT always result in a surgical procedure. The vast majority of TMD patients we see in the office find relief with alternative non-surgical treatments and are thrilled with the results.  If you think you are experiencing TMD, don't hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Hopkin today!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Better Safe Than Sorry



With a growing number of youth and adolescents participating in sports, the number injuries is rising.  Some reports indicate that 36% of all unintentional injuries to children and adolescents are sports related.  According to the American Dental Association, of those injuries, 10-20% involve maxillofacial structures (face and teeth).  The National Youth Foundation for Safety has reported that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when NOT wearing a mouthguard! Most of the time, these injuries cause permanent damage to the teeth.

While damage is often times permanent, prevention is easy!  Fit yourself or your child in a protective mouthguard to be worn at all practices and competitions.  Not only can mouthguards protect teeth, but they may also reduce the rate of concussions when properly custom fitted.  The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouthguards for the following sports: 
acrobats, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling. 
Other experts include baseball and softball infielders on that list. 

When selecting a mouthguard, keep in mind that there are 3 types:
                Ready-made or stock mouthguard that are available over the counter
                Mouth-formed "boil and bite" mouthguard, also available over the counter
                Custom-made mouthguard made by a dentist


These mouthguards vary in price and comfort, yet all provide some protection. According to the American Dental Association, the most effective mouthguard should be comfortable, resistant to tearing, and resilient. A mouthguard should fit properly, be durable, easily cleaned, and not restrict speech or breathing. 

If you aren't wearing a mouthguard and do incur an injury to your teeth, time is critical!  Seek dental treatment immediately, do not wait till the end of the game!  For the best outcome, get to a dentist within 2 hours.