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Health Q&A

Posted August 08, 2012 in Advice Column, Clive

Q: What defines a hero?

A: I don’t know if you’ve noticed. Lately, we have been surrounded by heroes. I started noticing this when volunteers searched Evansdale in unbearable heat for Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. People continue to search and to donate items that are intended to help in the search.

Next it was the amazing acts of heroism in Colorado. Several men sacrificed their lives for their loved ones, diving in front of them to shield them from bullets. Bullets! Other people paused in their flight from the movie theater to grab the hand of an injured person and pull them to safety, in many cases helping complete strangers. One woman stayed by her friend, despite her friend’s urging for her to flee, to call 911 on her cell phone. Police officers scooped up the injured and rushed them to safety, as well as rushed into the theater. Hospital administrators have decided to absorb costs for the care provided to some of the victims, and people across the country as well as the world are making donations to help the victims. While we cannot bring back the people who lost their lives, we can promise to remember them and to help those who have survived.

These acts of heroism are working to put the focus on those who were impacted by the violence. Let’s not commit to memory the name of the person who caused this harm, but rather the people who paid with their lives and those who are still recovering. On a much smaller scale, the Olympics are also full of acts of heroes. These athletes sacrifice and train for what sometimes amounts to a two-minute performance. I think we should be inspired by these heroes to push ourselves in terms of how we help those who need it, as well as living our lives to the fullest.

Information provided by Jenny Rainey-Gibson, LMFT, 6600 Westown Parkway #240, West Des Moines, 515-401-1016.

Q:What is an oral pathologist?

A: An oral pathologist is a dentist who has gone on for further education and specializes in studying tissue from the mouth and teeth to diagnose disease and prescribe treatment. Oral pathology is one of numerous areas of specialty that some dentists choose to enter after completing their basic dental education. An oral pathologist is also called an oral maxillofacial pathologist.

When a general dentist comes across a condition in your mouth, he or she may choose to remove a piece of tissue — called taking a biopsy — and send it to an oral pathologist for examination. It is the job of the oral pathologist to determine if the tissue sample is cancerous or infectious.

All dentists go through four years of dental school, earning a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM). There is no difference in the degrees. Most dentists then go on for post-graduate training, either in a residency program at a hospital or in further education to become a dental specialist. Talk with your dentist about the various areas of specialty that are available to you if you need them.

Information provided by Des Moines Dental Group, 708 First Ave S., 967-6611.

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