Get The Competitive Edge Of A Greek Warrior!

What’s this about MouthWear that can …

Lower your golf score, put more stamina in your run, add more power to your tennis swing, power you up in about any non-contact sport!

Ancient Greek athletes bit down on a leather strap for a competitive edge. Viking and Roman warriors would clamp down on leather bits for more focus on the battlefield. Something worked here, but it never evolved.  Until now.

Armour Bite® is designed to unlock your body’s instinctive reflex system – teeth clenching – to give you an athletic edge, from running to golf to tennis or nearly any sport.

When you train and compete, your natural reaction is to clench your jaw. This compresses the TMJ (jaw joint), which releases excess performance-sapping hormones (like cortisol) to produce stress, fatigue and distraction.

Armour Bite is a member of the Under Armour® line of products, famous for their innovative performance apparel and moisture wicking fabrics, in particular. It is designed to prevent your teeth from clenching and pivot the jaw forward. This relieves pressure on the jaw joints and eliminates the excess negative hormones and energy-draining effects so you can achieve your full athletic potential.

If you’re looking to excel competitively, or just knock some strokes off your handicap, call (586) 739-2155 to discuss Armour Bite with Dr. Barbat during a complimentary consultation appointment.

Helping Fearful Patients Overcome Their Fears – FOR GOOD!

It is estimated that one-third of American adults experience anxiety associated with dental visits. Many are so fearful that they avoid dental visits altogether. This, in turn, relates to the many adults who develop a number of oral problems, including periodontal disease, the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss.

With many adults unsure of what sparked their fears in the first place, high-fear patients realize they are not always able to overcome these issues without putting themselves in the hands of the right doctor. We understand these patients often need a slower pace until they are more confident about having treatment without the addition of sedation. Until that time, we offer Oral Sedation.

While sometimes referred to as ‘conscious sedation,’ Oral Sedation allows patients to be totally relaxed before, during and after treatment, leaving little or no memory of the procedure afterward. Oral Sedation is administered in pill form and allows patients to complete care comfortably since numbing medications are administered after the Oral Sedation has taken effect.

We make comfort a priority for all patients at every visit. When adults realize they can complete dental care without overwhelming fear, they are able to have necessary treatment, many for the first time in years. This allows them to achieve a healthy, confident smile with many treatments completed in just one appointment.

Patients Hold Guarantee On Life Of Dental Implants

Rarely, we hear of a case where dental implants have ‘failed.’  But, yes, they can require removal for several reasons. When I hear of these cases (or see them), it’s very concerning since I know what an investment the patient had to make, which is now lost. And, as a conscientious dentist, I’m well-versed in the careful planning and surgical skills necessary for successful implant treatment.

Dental implants are an excellent investment and designed to last a lifetime. While the success rate of dental implants is one of the highest of any implant-to-bone procedure performed in the body, why do dentists not guarantee them?

Dental implants are made from a material that is biologically compatible to living bone, called titanium. Implants serve as tooth root replacements and held by the jaw bone. Once placed, the bone grows around them, securing them into position. While the titanium implant itself is not vulnerable to decay, the bone and tissues that support the implant remain very much so.

When a patient has dental implants placed and leaves our office, they are given specific instructions on caring for their implant sites and keeping their mouth clean during the ‘healing process.’ Once the final teeth are attached to the implants, they are shown how to brush and floss, which is a daily requirement. Keeping the mouth clean and free of bacteria is important so the supporting bone and tissue do not become at risk for periodontal (gum) disease.

Many implant patients are scheduled for hygiene visits every 3 to 4 months rather than every 6 months. This helps the patient maintain his or her optimal oral health at the highest level.

Unfortunately, when a patient fails to maintain a daily at-home regimen of brushing and flossing as instructed, or they do not keep their scheduled hygiene visits, they put themselves in a high risk category for implant failure. It would be very unlikely that a doctor would guarantee dental implants when their success is out of their control once the patient leaves their office.

Additionally, if the patient is a smoker, this increases the chances of implant failure. Smoking dries out the tissues of the mouth significantly. This lengthens healing time and can hamper the body’s ability to combat bacteria efficiently. If the patient is also not complying with their oral care instructions, implant failure rates jump.

Unfortunately, there are also a few dentists out there who place dental implants with only minimal skills, accepting cases that are ‘over their heads.’ Patients should always ask questions about experience during implant consultations. Having implants removed and going through the process a second time should never happen.

Having dental implants should be a positive experience, from start to finish. It can be with the right dentist and your commitment to your oral health.

Repairing A Chipped Tooth

Depending on the location of the chip and its size, repairing a chipped tooth can be done with tooth bonding or a porcelain veneer.

Tooth bonding is used for different needs but most commonly for repairing chipped teeth. Today’s bonding materials are made from high-density plastics called composite resin and have a far more natural look and feel than materials used in years past.

In some cases, a porcelain veneer may be advised due to the location of the chip, which has the veneer covering the entire front of the tooth like a thin shell. Porcelain is a durable, hard material, yet provides a highly natural look and luminosity, reflecting light even as a natural tooth. Each is created to Dr. Barbat’s precise specifications of shape and shade so it is an exact match to surrounding teeth.

Chipped teeth are vulnerable to decay and need protection. Discuss your options with Dr. Barbat in a consultation appointment so she can answer your questions.

 

Dental Radiographs (digital ‘x-rays’) Are Powerful Tools

Although radiographic images (or dental ‘x-rays’ as some people still refer to them), add to the expense of certain appointments, they are necessary since they provide valuable information the human eye cannot see. This imaging reveals the condition inside and between your teeth, its roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones. Radiographs also help us determine the presence or degree of periodontal (gum) disease, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. They can also show the exact location of impacted and unerupted teeth and pinpoint the location of cavities and other disease that may not be possible to detect visually.

New patients require a full set of radiographs to evaluate their complete oral health status, including any underlying signs of gum disease, and for future comparison. Follow-up patients require periodic radiographs to monitor their gum condition and risk of tooth decay.

Poor Posture = Poor Bite = Jaw Pain

Not standing up straight? The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recommends you check your posture and consult your dentist about temporomandibular disorder (TMD) if you experience frequent headaches and pain in your lower jaw. Poor posture tips the lower jaw forward and moves the head back on the spinal column. This contributes to an improper fit of the upper and lower teeth.

This misalignment also places stress on head and neck muscles, jaw joints and bones. Over time, opening and closing the mouth and even chewing becomes painful.

When poor posture has contributed to misaligned teeth, Dr. Barbat can create a custom-fitted oral appliance to help realign your teeth in a position to reduce facial pain. The appliance can also prevent future damage to teeth, particularly if misalignment is causing you to clench or grind your teeth during sleep.

If you have jaw joint soreness, frequent headaches, or feel you clench or grind your teeth, call (586) 739-2155 to arrange a consultation with Dr. Barbat. The solution may be as simple as a comfortable oral appliance.

The Battle Between Dental Insurance & Dental Implants

Dental insurance policies are typically written to cover basic health needs. Keeping in mind that these companies are in the business to make a profit and not to ensure your lasting, overall health and well-being, Dental Implants are not a feature of most group insurance policies provided by employers.

Dental Implants are an upfront expense, which means the total cost is incurred all at once. Those who opt for Implants versus a three unit crown & bridge have a higher treatment fee for Implants. However, Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime. Therefore, future expenses are not incurred.

When insurance covers the lesser expense of crown & bridge, they realize there is a liklihood you will change insurance companies and they won’t have to cover a broken bridge, root canals, replacement crowns and other dental work that may occur down the road.

Another underlying issue you’ll be dealing with is bone loss from missing tooth roots. When a tooth is lost, the tooth root no longer provides stimulation to the jaw bone where it was positioned. Therefore, the jaw bone begins to melt away, or ‘resorb.’ This resorption is the reason why people are bothered by dentures that move around while trying to chew.

As the jaw bone continues to shrink, there is less of a foundation for the denture to adhere. Eventually, denture creams and pastes are of little use and even relines don’t help. In desperation to get their denture to stay in place, some people use so much denture adhesive that they have become victims of zinc poisoning, an ingredient of the product that can have devastating effects when too much is absorbed in the system.

However, dentures are less expensive than Dental Implants, so naturally insurance companies would much rather cover them. The fact that Dental implants are not covered by insurance has nothing to do with their effectiveness. It has to do with what gives the insurance companies the best deal. And what is best for you has nothing to do with what is best for them.

Until we take our health care decisions back from the insurance companies and make them based upon what is in our own best interests, we are only allowing our well-being to be sacrificed by corporations who are seeking only profits. Don’t assume what is covered by insurance is what is best. Learn all your options thoroughly.

What Dental Implants Are – And Aren’t

I once had a patient ask me if his implanted teeth would be held in his mouth by screws. Although this sounds rather ‘Frankenstein-ish,’ it did give me an opportunity to clear up some confusion as to his impression of what Dental Implants are, and aren’t.

Dental implants are actually tooth root replacements and can replace one, several or an entire arch of missing teeth. Although several, strategically-placed implants can replace a full denture, the teeth are attached to posts that are secured inside the implanted portion.

Implants are made of titanium, which is a metal proven to be biologically safe, meaning it is not rejected by the body. Once implanted in the jaw, the bone grows around it, securing it in place. This gives you the same, strong foundation as that of natural teeth.

Some implants are designed to hold one tooth while others can support a bridge of several teeth. When a patient is without teeth (either upper or lower), a full arch of teeth can be attached to several implants that have been strategically placed to bear the load of biting and chewing pressure.

Typically, for a full arch of teeth, non-removable teeth require more implants. However, new implant systems like the All-On-4, use only 4 implants on the upper or lower. This is because of a unique angle in placement that also makes implant placement possible for those who have experienced bone loss.

Generally, bone loss occurs in people who have worn dentures for a number of years. Without the stimulation of tooth roots, the jaw bone begins to shrink. Over time, this bone loss can be seen in facial changes by deep wrinkling around the mouth, a sunken-in appearance of the mouth and a pointed chin. Bone loss also makes eating difficult. As the bone continues to shrink, denture pastes, adhesives and even relines don’t help much.

One of the nicest things about dental implants, in my opinion, is their longevity. Once placed and properly maintained, they should last your lifetime. Overall, dental implants are about the wisest investment you can make for your health and well-being!

Pregnant? Trying To Conceive? Healthy Gums Make A Difference!

It has long been known that the inflammation of gum disease can become bloodborne through tears in the gum tissue. Studies have shown this plays a major role in coronary artery disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and preterm low birth weight babies as well as miscarriage.

A recent study conducted by Professor Roger Hart, University of Western Australia’s Professor of Reproductive Medicine and Medical Director of Fertility Specialists in Western Australia, has shown that gum disease also makes conception more difficult.
The findings, published in Medical News Today, explained that women with gum disease took longer to conceive than those without. While being over the age of 35, being overweight or smoking are negative influences, periodontal disease can now be counted as a factor as well.

The study included over 3,400 participants, all with some form of gum disease. It found no connection between the socio-economic status of the women and the time it took them to get pregnant.

The overall health affects of gum disease are especially troubling when gum disease can be easily prevented with daily brushing and flossing. However, since symptoms are ‘silent’ when gum disease begins, some patients delay or ignore treatment recommendations. This is unfortunate, since most early stage gum disease is easy to treat and requires a minimal investment of time and expense.

When patients delay care, latter stage gum disease requires more involved therapy. Symptoms are typically obvious by this time, including persistent bad breath, tender gums that are red rather than a healthy pink and swollen areas around teeth.

Whether you are pregnant now or trying to become pregnant, a periodontal examination, and treatment if necessary, will increase your chances for a healthy start for you both.

SOFT DRINKS CAN BE HARD ON YOUR TEETH!

A  study published in General Dentistry magazine warns that diet colas can cause just as much harm to teeth as those sweetened with sugar. Tooth decay, it explains, occurs from acid attacks, not just sugar. Acidic flavor additives in both versions of colas attack enamel. Highly acidic beverages such as Sprite and Mountain Dew were cited as most harmful.  Root beer seems to be less harmful than most.

The recommendation for those who love their colas and just can’t give them up? Drink them with food rather than between meals. This helps to decrease the amount of acid attacks your teeth endure during the day.