This June, Drs. John and Kate traveled to Los Angeles for training in the Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST) with John Chao, D.D.S. The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a scalpel-free, suture-free procedure for correcting gum recession. Through a small “pinhole” made by a needle, specially designed instruments gently loosen the gum tissue and glide it over the receded part of the tooth. Unlike traditional gum surgery or gum grafting, this technique involves no cutting or stitching.  Patients can expect minimal post-operative symptoms (pain, swelling and bleeding). Most patients also are pleasantly surprised by the instant cosmetic improvement!

Here is a link to a video of the procedure.

Here are some photos from the class.


All of the participating doctors in the course


Dr. John with Dr. Chao


Dr. John, Dr. Kate, area-dentist Dr. Angie, Dr. Chao


Dr. Kate with Dr. Chao


Dr. John and Dr. Kate doing hands-on surgery practice




Dr. John and Dr. Kate with colleagues at a traditional Chinese dinner for Dr. Chao’s birthday


 Dr. Kate participating in a group putting contest

From Sunday, May 18, through Friday, May 23, 2014, a team of volunteers from the office (and beyond) provided dental care to young children in the city of Siquatepeque, Honduras. The team included Dr. John, dental hygienists Denise Jacobsen and Gabi Lehner, Denise’s daughter, Amber Jacobsen, a University of Nebraska junior, Mary Kate Gavigan, a UW Madison junior, Anne Schacherl, wife of Dr. John (and Dr. Kate’s mom), and Mary Dowling, Director of Sharing Resources Worldwide, a Madison, WI non-profit that provides medical and dental care around the world to areas in need. http://www.sharingresourcesworldwide.org/

Here are some great photos from the mission.

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This entry was written by Denise J., one of our fabulous hygienists at Main Street Dentists.

Biofilm.  Periodontal Infection.  Ultrasonics.  System Correlations.  These are some of the terms you have heard or will hear from your dental hygienist at your next continuing care (cleaning) appointment.  Since January, we at Main Street Dentists have been learning more about the latest research and treatment for gingivitis and periodontal disease.


 (Special cleaners, called “ultrasonics,” that spray water in different directions to clean around your teeth)

Biofilm is another term for the community of bacteria that make up the plaque that builds up on our teeth and gums.  We are finding out how complex and difficult this community of bacteria is to control and keep to a minimum in your mouth.  You will notice a change in how we combat these bad bacterial communities that form in everyone’s mouths.  We will explain how and why we are doing what we are doing during your visit.


(A little ruler to measure gum health-each dash represents 3mm)

If we see you have a bacterial infection, we may recommend a treatment plan specifically for you to get your infection under control. We also will strive to do our best to teach you what you can do at home to keep your gum tissue as healthy as possible.


(A great mouthwash)

At your next visit, please ask us if you have any questions about biofilm or periodontal infection.  We would be happy to discuss these topics and how they affect you.

Other great resources on this topic are referred to else where on our blog–click on the category “Periodontal Disease” in the column to the right.

office pictures 10-10-2013 146

This video clip is less than 4 minutes long and will change everything you thought you knew about dental health.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to bring them up at your next visit.




January 14-19, 2014 Drs. John and Kate, along with Dental Assistants Brenda, Jean and Jaika, traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for the Damon Forum, an international orthodontic conference on the Damon Bracket System.  Over the multi-day conference they heard lectures from doctors from around the globe in large and small group formats.  With over 1100 doctors and team members in attendance, it was a unique learning opportunity.

Dr. John has been using the Damon System for several years and Dr. Kate will now be offering this system to her patients.  The Damon System allows for more efficient tooth movement which means shorter times in braces for all patients. Ask us about the Damon System the next time you’re in the office.



DSC00079Math???  You bet!

IMG_1324What’s up with the red and green tabs?

The plastic colored tabs are on while the brackets are placed to help ensure the doctors have the brackets in the perfect position.  They pop right off when the brackets are bonded on–they won’t go home with you!




A highlight was the Great Gatsby-themed dinner on Friday night.


December Training

Dr. Kate, Anita, and Jaika recently traveled to Lake Geneva where they learned great information to make our practice even more fantastic! After the conference, they enjoyed all of the beautiful Christmas decorations at the Grand Geneva Resort and indulged in some decadent desserts.





October 26 through November 1, 2013, Dr. John, Brenda, Denise, and Lyndsey, a dental hygienist at a Madison dental office office, traveled to Siguatepeque, Honduras for another successful dental mission trip.  Denise and Lyndsey as dental hygienists enjoyed working with all of the children to clean their teeth and educate them as to how to keep their teeth healthy.  Dr. John and Brenda worked together to complete any needed dental work that the children presented with.  It was another fantastic trip.  The office is planning to head back to Honduras in early 2014.

Here are some of our favorite pictures!


Lyndsey, Dr. Joh, Brenda, Denise


One of the orphan families


Lots of smiles!


Brenda after a day in the clinic


Playground at the school–yes, that slide is made out of concrete!


Denise and some new friends


More smiles!


A happy patient


Smiles and games


Girls studying


Dr. John receiving a thanks for his work on the dental clinic


Sometimes laying down in the dental chair is just too scary!  This little girl only wanted to sit up.


Can you tell these girls are twins?


Numb cheeks make smiles difficult


Another happy patient.


Coloring with the kids in the orphan home.


Lyndsey, Brenda and Denise


Brenda and a favorite patient!


This x-ray made us all laugh!

Do you think that your teeth look like jellyfish?

Dr. Kate received this x-ray (along with the original) for a second opinion.

With permission, we are sharing this x-ray as a reminder that not everyone looks at dental x-rays the same way.

If you think this is funny, click here to read about how medical radiologists can miss gorillas hiding in plain sight.


A patient this week asked if our office had heard about the new “6-second” toothbrush. The toothbrush is made off of an impression of your teeth that is sent to a 3-D printer.  The printer is able to make a custom toothbrush fabricated just for your mouth–no need to worry about pesky family members “borrowing” your brush.  By simply “biting and grinding”  into this brush your teeth are supposed to be cleaned within 6 seconds.  Too good to be true? Unknown at this point, but at $300 that is one expensive brush to replace!

Check out this link for more information!

52826 Main Street Dental AD 3.75 x 3.625

Check out the website for Verona Area Performing Arts


Support this great local group in their 15th season!


Do cold foods make you say “Ouch!”?

The following entry was written by Kari F., dental hygienist:

The subject I talk about numerous times each day is dental sensitivity. Over 50% of patients between 20 and 40 have some sensitivity to hot, cold, sweets or even touch. The cause can be due to periodontal disease, cracked teeth, abrasion, tooth fracture or most commonly, gingival (gum) recession. All of these problems result in exposed dentin.


Dentin is the substance that covers the root surface of your tooth versus enamel, which covers the crown of your tooth. Nerves run horizontally through your tooth. Enamel protects the open tubules that the nerves run through, from external stimuli. Dentin does not.

Dentin sensitivity is usually short in duration and often hard to pinpoint. We can often visually spot the area in question fairly easy. If not, we become the bad guy, and will squirt cold water or blow air to help us determine where your pain is originating.

So what can we do to solve this problem? When the cause of sensitivity is due to gingival (gum) recession, we recommend always brushing in a vertical motion or circular, never horizontally. We also recommend using a soft or extra soft toothbrush. Brushing with toothpaste for sensitive teeth is also a great idea. Make sure to look for potassium salts and fluoride at the top of the ingredient list. You should use this type of toothpaste for at least 2 weeks to determine if it is helping. We also have pastes in our office that contain Recaldent, a substance that can also help close tubules in the root surface that are allowing you to feel the irritating stimuli. Another option is having a fluoride varnish applied at your dental appointment.

You may need to experiment with different products or a combination of products before you fund relief. We will be happy to help you find a solution to this very common problem.


Fluoride Varnish


Sensitivity Toothpaste


Memorial Day weekend marked the first time dental assistants Jean and Brenda ran a 10K race—that’s 6.2 miles!  Joined by Dr. Kate, the three participated in the Twilight 10K Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend.  This fun event started and finished in downtown Madison on the Capital Square.  The race start time of 8 pm meant that all runners ran with “glow” objects like bracelets, necklaces and rings.  The course highlighted different areas of Madison like Langdon Street, Observatory Hill, Camp Randall, the Kohl Center and, of course, the Capital Square.  Jean and Brenda both rocked their first 10K and are now working on getting others in the office to join them in September for the Zoo Run!  Make sure to tell them “Congratulations!” at your next visit.


Dr. Kate elected to be a glutton for punishment and ran the Madison 1/2 marathon Sunday morning after running the 10K the night before.  She was excited that Jean came down to cheer and take a race action photo!

The second weekend in June found Drs. John and Kate, along with dental assistants Brenda and Jean at Level 4 (of 5) training for CEREC in Scottsdale, AZ. Thanks to new Delta flight schedules, this trip had less hectic flight times than in the past.  The group was able to arrive mid-day prior to the course, which meant Dr. Kate finally made it to the pool after not having a chance at any of the previous training courses.


After a cool and rainy Wisconsin spring, Arizona was a change of pace.  The weather was a hot 109-113 degrees during the day with overnight “lows” in the 90’s.  In spite of the extreme weather, all of those in attendance from the Midwest enjoyed warmer and drier weather than we’ve had back home yet this year!


The course focused exclusively on new materials, software, techniques and hands-on training for crowns on front teeth.  A major CEREC software update was released this past Monday and our office had the advantage of getting training ahead of time.


We look forward to using all that we have learned back in the office and are excited to complete the last level of our course sometime before Spring 2014!


Dry Mouth

This week’s entry is written by Kari F., hygienist at Main Street Dentists:

I love the change of seasons, spring is always a welcome relief after our long winter. I love to see green grass, flowers blooming and leaves on the trees. For me, it also brings frequent sneezing and watery eyes. To combat this, I take an antihistamine every morning. Although it makes me feel better I also realize that any type of medication can change my body chemistry.

Over half of all Americans, 60 years and older, take 3 or more prescription medicines regularly. One of the side effects of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications is dry mouth. Common symptoms may include a sticky feeling in your mouth, a dry throat, frequent thirst, sores in your mouth or at the corners of your mouth, a burning or tingling sensation, especially on your tongue, problems with speaking, tasting, chewing or swallowing and bad breath. Along with medications, dry mouth can also be caused by diseases or conditions such as, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease and Sjogren’s Syndrome. Smoking and chewing tobacco can also dry your mouth.


Biotene Rinse and Toothpaste

Dry mouth can be very irritating but it can also greatly increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. When saliva flow is reduced, food debris and plaque stick to your teeth much easier.  Many patients have told me that sucking on hard candy helps relieve their symptoms. This is OK as long as the candy is sugarless. Adding sugar to an already dry mouth is an invitation for decay.  Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and brushing with fluoride toothpaste is very important. We also often recommend using Biotene, an over-the-counter saliva substitute that can help relieve chronic dry mouth symptoms. Their product line includes a mouth rinse, toothpaste, a gel and even gum.

If dry mouth seems to be a problem for you, please mention it at your next dental visit.

Last weekend Dr. John, Dr. Kate and dental assistant Brenda traveled to the exotic locale (haha) of Pewaukee, WI for training on new Cerec computer software, new Cerec crown materials,  and on how to make those Cerec crowns beautiful with a new line of custom colors and glazes.

Needless to say, all were very impressed with the new products coming out and can’t wait to get them in the office one available.  Here are some photos of the class taken by Dr. Kate of Dr. John and Brenda at work:


Matching up the correct colors using a color guide


Who knew that the color blue would be used on teeth?


Following the PDF instructions


A careful balancing act

Big Smiles after Laser Certification!!

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A few weeks ago both Kari and Denise became certified to use a dental laser for periodontal (gum) conditions. Even patients without gum disease can benefit from incorporating the laser into their regular cleaning appointments.

Use of the laser before the appointment is a pain-free procedure in which bacteria around all tooth surfaces are removed allowing for a more thorough cleaning. You can now ask Kari, Denise, and Tanya what benefits the laser can provide you at your next appointment.



Yesterday’s events at the Boston Marathon were met with shock, horror and profound sadness by all in our office.  As anyone who has ever attended a large running race can attest to, these races are meant to be a celebration of athleticism, perseverance, dedication and bonding of runners from all across the world.  This is especially so for the Boston Marathon which is the oldest and most celebrated marathon in our country.  Some runners work their entire lives for the opportunity to run this race along with the best runners in the world.  The horror of yesterday is just unacceptable.  Our thoughts are with all of those affected by yesterday’s tragic events.

On a personal note, Jeff Schacherl, son of Dr. John and brother of Dr. Kate, ran both the 2011 and 2012 Boston Marathons.  We were touched by all those who contacted us yesterday to make sure that Jeff was ok.  He wasn’t in Boston this year; however, after yesterday we all are determined to continue running and be grateful for each day we can.


As many patients who have been to our office know, it is often possible to have a crown completed in 1-visit.  With an abundance of types of porcelain materials on the market, our office wanted to make sure that we chose products that were fully tested for strength and longevity, as well as long-term appearance, before using them in patient’s mouths.  We came to find two materials that met our standards.

One of these materials that has been a “game-changer” in dentistry is called E-max and is being used by our office along with hundreds of other dental offices and dental labs around the country to fabricate beautiful, natural looking crown. Not only is this material beautiful, it is very strong and has the long-term studies to back it up.

Drs. John and Kate received more advanced training on E-max and CEREC  1-visit crowns in mid-March 2013 and will be taking 2 more courses (late April and early June) to continue to provide the best treatments for the patients in our office.

The next time you need a crown, ask if a 1-visit CEREC crown made from E-max is the best choice for your mouth!

The following entry was written by Denise, part-time hygienist at Main Street Dentists:

What a great way to begin 2013–another successful trip to Honduras! It’s such a privilege to work in an office with a heart to give to those not nearly as fortunate as we are in the United States. At the end of January, Dr. John, Tanya, myself, and my daughter Amber were able to spend a week down there doing dentistry, cleanings, and educating people about taking care of their teeth. The last two trips were extra special to me being able to have Amber, who is a senior in high school, come along and assist with Dr. Schacherl and do some Spanish translating for us. Although she has decided there is no future in dentistry for her, she loves the children and the culture and is planning on studying Global Studies emphasizing in Latin America. It was a wonderful learning and eye opening experience for her!

While down there we were able to see over 90 patients. Since they did not have school the week we were there, we weren’t able to see all of the school children we usually do, but were able to see the teachers from La Providencia and other new patients. The Hondurans we treat are so appreciative of the care we can give them that they wouldn’t otherwise receive, but the true blessings are what we receive with their beautiful smiles and big hugs.

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement as we go on these trips. Much progress has been made, but we have a long way to go. If you have any questions about our adventures, please ask at your next visit! We’d love to share more of what is happening in the dental clinic and with the people we meet in Honduras. Enjoy the pictures and Happy Spring!


Our group at the airport.  We traveled with an orthopedic surgery team from the Madison-area.


Dr. John and Amber show off their artwork!


Thanks to Don & Amy Zastrow and co-workers at CUNA-Mutual for collecting toys for the children.  All the of the toys bring smiles to faces and just like here in the States it is a big decision as to which toy to choose!


Lots of smiles after appointments!

Honduras 2013


We are returning to Honduras!  We are happy to announce a penpal partnership between an elementary school in Waunakee and the school we serve in Honduras. Look for updates on the trip in mid-February.

We are also pleased to provide books and toys to all of the children at the end of their appointments.  We have had several wonderful people make donations of new and gently used books and toys.  If you are in the process of sorting out books and toys and would like to donate any items, please let us know.  We will provide you with photos of the children gratefully accepting these item. Additionally, at the end of the school year before throwing away  crayons, partially used notebooks, etc., consider donating these items to the Honduras school.

For more information, do not hesitate to ask anyone at our office at your next appointment.

December Recap


On the very last day of December we look back on a fantastic 2012.  Our practice has been truly blessed with wonderful patients throughout the year.  It is our goal to help all achieve optimum oral health and we couldn’t do it without our wonderful team.

In the last month of 2012, Dr. John, and long-time assistants Brenda and Jean received advanced Cerec training that is a pre-requisite to a course Drs. John and Kate will attend in March. Brenda and Jean are now some of the most advanced Cerec-trained assistants in Wisconsin.  Coming in late Spring 2013 look for even better Cerec advances as the latest technology is installed in the office!

It is our wish that you have a wonderful 2013 filled with the most important things of all:  Your health, your family and friends.

Happy New Year!

-Main Street Dentists-