HPV Creating Alarming Rise In Mouth & Throat Cancers

Approximately 20 million Americans are already infected with HPV, or the human papilloma virus. It’s growth rate is such that the word ‘epidemic’ is now being used and a Centers of Disease Control advisory committee has recommended that 11 and 12 year olds be vaccinated against it. So, how does this relate to your oral health?

In the 1980’s, HPV was attributed to around 16% of mouth and throat tumors. By the 2000’s, that jumped to nearly 75%. It’s been predicted that HPV-related mouth and throat cancers will outnumber cervical cancer (presently, the focus of HPV vaccination) by 2020.

Oropharyngeal cancers are malignancies of the tonsils, soft palate, base of the tongue and throat. While its well-known that HPV spreads through genital contact, which increases the risk of cervical cancer and genital warts, it is not so well known that HPV can be spread through oral sex. It is this type of transmission that is linked to mouth and throat cancers.

In addition to keeping your 6-month dental exams (which should include oral cancer screenings), alert us immediately if you have difficulty swallowing, have lumps in the neck, or experience pain in the mouth or ear. Do NOT wait until your next check-up to have these evaluated. Call (586) 739-2155 for an immediate appointment.

Heavy Snoring May Indicate A More Serious Problem – Sleep Apnea!

While some snoring can be harmless, heavy snoring can also be a warning sign of Sleep Apnea. Those who are at most risk for Sleep Apnea include:

• Men and women with large neck sizes

• Middle-aged and older men as well as post-menopausal women

• People who smoke

• People who are overweight or obese

Those who are dependent on insurance coverage for treatment are typically required to have their Sleep Apnea diagnosed through a sleep study. Because of the expense and hassle of spending the night at a sleep center, many are never truly diagnosed.

Because Sleep Apnea is such a dangerous condition that often goes undiagnosed, we can coordinate a home sleep study. Usually within two weeks after you return the device, you will return to our office to review the findings during a consultation. If you have Sleep Apnea, we can begin your treatment with a custom-designed oral appliance that is comfortable and will not interfere with your sleep.

If the findings show your Sleep Apnea is very severe or is not your problem, we’ll make recommendations to help you find other treatment options.

Our goal is to help Sleep Apnea sufferers get a true diagnosis without an expensive, time-consuming process. And now, today’s comfortable, effective, FDA-approved oral devices can help keep airways open for patients with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea and for those with severe Sleep Apnea who can’t tolerate a CPAP machine.

There are many types of oral devices, each with different advantages. The right one for you is based on things like the severity of your apnea, the size and shape of your jaw and tongue, and whether you grind your teeth or have a condition like TMJ disorder.

The first step is completing a brief questionnaire. Call our office to learn more at (586) 739-2155 or 1-855-9-Smiles. You may be sleeping peacefully very soon!

Replace That Tooth As It’s Removed!

Sometimes, no matter how well you care for teeth, there are occasions when a tooth requires removal. This could be the result of a sports injury or, perhaps from grinding or clenching, a tooth cracks below the gum line and eventually breaks.

When removal is necessary, replacing the tooth with a dental implant at the same time is the ideal solution for several reasons. First, the former tooth root’s angle and shape make insertion of the dental implant a simple process, eliminating drilling that would normally be required.

Secondly, a replacement tooth is immediately attached in most cases. You’re advised to avoid biting or chewing directly on that tooth for a time while the bone grows around the implant, securing it in place. However, you’ll never be without a tooth.

Also, the gum contours around the tooth and the gum ‘points’ between the teeth on each side can be preserved. These tend to flatten out when teeth are removed and require gum recontouring by laser dentistry to truly reshape to a natural appearance. Immediate placement of implants after tooth removal preserves this, giving you a beautiful result.

Dental implants also mean you avoid having to use neighboring teeth as supports as with crown-&-bridge combinations. And, because dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, they make an excellent investment.

If you find yourself dealing with a tooth removal, chin up! Dental implants give you a terrific tooth replacement option!


Make A Change That’ll Get Truly Noticed!

Ask any Personal Trainer. They’re busy as bees in January. In April, however, things have slowed down. By June, they’ve dropped off significantly. Resolutions to improve our appearance by working out requires a major commitment of hard work and time. And, while it’s something we should strive to do, the slow pace of getting fit is hard for some of us impatient folks to stick with for the duration it takes.

If you remember the once popular television program “Extreme Makeover,” the producers quickly realized that the ideal candidates were those with the worst smiles. The reason they zeroed in on this criteria was the ‘after’ result could have such a dramatic difference in a person’s overall appearance. They knew some weight loss and toning could give a nicer frame. Breast implants, a tummy tuck and even a nose job would create a better look. Yet, it was the person’s smile that seemed to grab everyone’s immediate attention, show after show!

Want to make a positive change in your appearance? Call to schedule a free consultation so we can sit down and discuss the appearance of your smile. I’ll listen to what you want to change and make suggestions as to the procedures that can create the smile you want. I’ll answer your questions and then you can make the decision you feel is best.

While you work to get yourself in shape this year, you could be doing so with a smile that is your best feature! Imagine … a smile that boosts your confidence and says, “I feel good about myself!” That’s an attitude a Personal Trainer would say will keep you going all year!

Oral Health Reasons To Keep Your “Quit Smoking” Resolution

For those who once smoked cigarettes and can now proudly say they’re ‘Quitters,’ they’ll also tell you the stop-smoking process was no easy row to hoe! Some even tell us that what kept them from picking up another cigarette was remembering how difficult it was to quit, and not wanting to repeat the process!

As a Dentist, I see firsthand the damage from smoking by drying oral tissues, discoloring teeth, and greatly extending the healing time of most treatments involving oral tissues. It is not uncommon to hear of cases that fail when heavy smokers cannot decrease their intake long enough to allow gum tissues to heal.

Even smokers agree that smoking is a terrible habit that won’t let go. Yet, it’s the smoker who must release the habit, not the other way around. The proverbial New Year’s Resolution is often the starting point for many who claim, “This is the year I’m kicking the habit!” with every intention of never picking up another cigarette. Yet, by the time you read this, you may be weakening or have even given in to one or two.

Below are some powerful statistics to remind you of why you should quit along with tips to keep you on track.

• Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are toxic and about 70 of these can cause cancer. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and is a leading cause of cancer, including cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.
• Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, hip fractures, and cataracts. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and other airway infections.
• Men who smoke are at greater risk of erectile dysfunction. A pregnant smoker has a higher risk of having her baby born too early and with an abnormally low birth weight.
When it comes to your heart, many factors contribute to heart disease. Smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and being inactive all contribute to cardio problems. However, it’s known that gum disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissue. These bacteria cause inflammation to blood vessel walls, which can lead to a heart attack. With every 1 in 4 Americans having some form of heart disease, coupled with the fact that 1 in 3 adults between 30 and 54 have some form of periodontal disease, an enormous health care challenge exists. It has also been shown that gum disease contributes to infective endocarditis. This is when the interior lining of the heart and heart valves become inflamed due to bacterial build-up. For those who have been diagnosed with heart disease or high blood pressure, the medications they take for these conditions can even create greater potential for gum disease. Some commonly prescribed medications for these conditions can cause dry mouth. If you smoke, that’s a double-whammy on oral tissues!

The benefits of quitting are almost immediate. Your circulation improves, your blood pressure starts to return to normal, your sense of smell and taste return and breathing becomes easier. In the long term, your risk of getting cancer decreases with each year you stay smoke-free.

Fortunately, people who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. Smoking cessation is associated with the following health benefits:
•Quitting smoking lowers the risk for lung and other types of cancer.
•Quitting smoking reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and respiratory problems like coughing and shortness of breath.
•Quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
•For women, quitting smoking reduces the risk for infertility. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

The reasons to quit are endless, such as:
• Nonsmokers live about 10 years longer than smokers.
• Quitting at age 60, 50, 40 or 30 adds, respectively, 3, 6, 9 or 10 years to life expectancy.
• Life expectancy of ex-smokers is about the same as it is for those who never smoked if they quit between the ages of 35 – 44.

If you have tried to quit in the past, you may have become frustrated by short-term effects such as weight gain, irritability and anxiety. Today, there are many ways to quit smoking. Because tobacco dependence is a chronic condition, it may require repeated interventions. However, smokers can and do quit smoking through effective treatments and helpful resources. In fact, there are now more former smokers than current smokers.

Here are extra benefits you’ll enjoy as a result of giving up smoking:
– Saving a bundle on cigarettes.
– You’ll save time checking out without a Cashier hunting for your cigarettes.
– You won’t feel awkward smoking in a roped off area for smokers.
– No more glares or lectures from others about the hazards of smoking.
– Your clothes and hair will smell fresh.
– Your mouth will taste fresh and ‘kissable’ again!
– Your car and furniture will smell nice again.
– You won’t become winded easily.
– Your teeth and fingers won’t have a ‘stained’ appearance.
– You’ll be able to call your health insurance company to say you’re no longer a smoker, to earn lower rates!
– You won’t have to stand outside when it’s cold or rainy because you need a cigarette.
– You won’t feel guilty around children or others about your second-hand smoke.
– Your employer will appreciate knowing you no longer need smoking breaks.

Just think, once you’ve quit FOR GOOD, your smile will even thank you by being healthier and looking brighter!

Tell Someone They Have Bad Breath

“How do I tell a co-worker she has bad breath?”

This is a question I am asked from time to time and its sensitive nature is always one where I am truly sympathetic for the person asking. We’ve all been there. And, for those of us who are rather meticulous with our oral hygiene, it’s rather irritating when we encounter others who subject us to this offensive odor. Especially, as you describe, their unpleasant breath is emitted our way on a regular (and seemingly constant) basis. Let’s try to establish, first, if the odor is just ‘basic’ bad breath or a form of periodontal disease. This is important because it will determine how we will be able to approach your cohort.

Is the breath odor ‘stale,’ such as how a mouth may be after sleeping? Without saliva moving through the mouth to prevent oral bacteria from building up, the mouth needs cleaning (brushing, swishing, etc.). Or, does the breath odor have a ‘rotten’ smell, like the person has eaten food hours before and some is still caught between teeth?

If either of these seem to be the problem, poor hygiene is more than likely the source. Set a good example by discussing how great your mouth feels after dental cleanings. Also, take your tooth brush to work and brush after lunch. About once a month, bring up a topic on good oral health. For example, mention that you’ve learned how the bacteria of gum disease is linked to heart disease and diabetes.

However, if the breath odor is ‘different’ than typical bad breath, it may be periodontal (gum) disease. I had one person describe this as an ‘ash’ smell. Another told me it smells dried blood. This didn’t surprise me because gum disease is oral tissue under attack by bacteria. This causes an inflammation, which is the body’s reaction to a bacterial infection. If this is your coworker’s problem, you may have noticed her gums are red in color rather than a healthy pink. She’s likely having problems eating due to sore, swollen gums. If you’ve notice this, you may want to ask if she’s having gum tenderness. If she says yes, you can suggest she call our office for an exam.

If she denies discomfort, your only recourse is to wait it out until she reaches that stage. It’s only a matter of time. Sadly, by then, she may be at the stage where tooth loss is inevitable. Gum disease only worsens without treatment. In the meantime, continue to be a good example to her and take care of your own oral health and well-being.

Even TV’s ‘The Doctors’ List Dental Hygiene Visits Among Resolutions To Keep!

While reading through the December 30, 2011 – January 1, 2012 issue of USA Weekend, an article entitled “New Year. New You!” suggested “high impact, low cost ways to feel great.” Since it featured the well-known fitness guru Jillian Michaels and TV’s “The Doctors” comprised of a panel of various physicians, it was a definite read for me.

Of course, the first two recommendations made perfect sense: Exercise More and (for those who smoke) Quit Smoking. The next one was wise for a number of reasons: Volunteer. And, as a Dentist, the fourth was of no surprise: Get Your Teeth Cleaned. Yet, this is still one many feel is of minimal importance to their overall health.

However, the article does remind readers that people who have their teeth cleaned lower their risk of a heart attack by 24% and stroke by 13%. This is because professional cleanings reduce bacteria that create inflammation.

Thanks, USA Weekend! Great article and the other tips are terrific, too! Let this New Year’s list be one that brings you lasting health!

Why More & More Adults Are Selecting Dental Implants.

When a patient comes to us with one or more missing teeth, we explain all their options for replacing the tooth or teeth. However, we feel patients deserve to know their choices as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each so they can intelligently select the one they feel is right.

Although dental implants are initially more expensive, more and more adults are selecting them for tooth replacement – and for excellent reasons. First, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. They are made from a material that successfully bonds with living bone, do not decay and will never need a root canal. With proper care. dental implants can last throughout the life of every patient.

Another benefit of dental implants is their stability. Because dental implants are held by the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots, replacement teeth have the same stable foundation and sturdy backing for biting and chewing. Unlike dentures or partials, there are never uncomfortable slips or rubbing. Seeds or food particles won’t become trapped to make tender gums miserable, either.

While the treatment fees of dental implants are higher than that of dentures, partials or crown-&-bridge combinations, it is a one-time expense. Plus, our patients enjoy knowing that their implant-supported teeth are secure and they can smile and laugh without worry!

We also emphasize the added benefit of how dental implants help to halt bone loss. We explain this by showing radiographs of jaw bones of patients who’ve been missing teeth for long periods. It’s apparent how much bone loss has occurred when tooth roots no longer exist to stimulate the jaw. Dental implants recreate the presence of tooth roots and help to halt bone loss.

Overall, dental implants are an excellent investment and good for your health and well-being. More and more adults are rapidly becoming fans by replacing uncomfortable, clunky dentures and partials with dental implants. If you’d like to join this growing trend of in-the-know adults, we offer a Free Consultation so you can learn more. Call us at (586) 739-2155 or toll free 1-855-9-Smiles!

In 2012, Overcome Dental Fears FOR GOOD!

It’s a new year. This message is for those who have dental fears, and there are many! It is estimated that approximately 75% of American adults have some level of fear when it comes to dental visits, and nearly a third of those are ‘dental phobics.’ Those are adults with such high levels of fear they avoid dental visits altogether until an emergency need makes it a necessity.

Dental fear can have deep roots and be as uncontrollable as shivering in the cold. Many can pinpoint the source of their fears to a traumatic experience as a child while others aren’t sure what caused their fear.

What you need to know is this: We will NEVER do anything that will hurt you. Today’s dentistry is designed to provide you with treatment in total comfort. Our staff is highly sensitive to fearful patients and we move them at a pace that is best for their unique needs. We also offer Oral Sedation in a Total Relaxation Room as well as other relaxation options.

Yet, even though sedation relaxes you, overcoming your fear isn’t solved with medication. Your first call, your first visit and our first conversation is how you’ll begin to overcome your dental fears and achieve a healthy, confident smile at a pace that you control.

If fear of dental treatment is keeping you from the smile you desire, your first step is to call our office at (586) 739-2155 or toll free 1-855-9-Smiles to learn more. Make 2012 a year to have a great smile!

SOFT Drinks Can Be HARD On Teeth!

A study published in General Dentistry 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.