Straight Teeth Give More Benefits Than Great Smile!

When your teeth are properly aligned, your smile looks more attractive. Straight teeth are also easier to keep clean. With teeth in proper alignment, food is less likely to become trapped. When it does, it is typically easily dislodged with thorough brushing techniques.

Crowded, crooked teeth not only detract from the appearance of your smile, they tend to trap food particles. This becomes a haven for bacteria, which forms a sticky film that eventually hardens into plaque. Plaque destroys tooth enamel and causes cavities.

Misaligned teeth also contribute to an improper bite. This can lead to problems with the TMJ, or temporo-mandibular joint. This is your jaw joint, which is on each side of your head just under your ears. It is the joint that connects the lower jaw to your skull. When your bite is misaligned, the result can be frequent headaches, migraines, facial pain, pain when chewing, ringing in the ears and pain in the neck and shoulder muscles.

To correct bite misalignment and straighten teeth, we offer Invisalign, which is a clear mold that moves teeth at a pace faster than traditional braces. Or, if you prefer, we can place porcelain veneers or crowns for an overall smile makeover.

In our office, whatever treatment option you choose, proper alignment is an important part of your overall result. We want your smile to look great, feel great and function fabulously!

Fearful Dental Patients Deserve Respect

While attending a conference out-of-state recently, I ran across a dental ad that led with, “We Cater To Cowards!” Although I understood the dentist’s intention was to reach adults who have a fear of dental visits, it made me embarrassed as a dentist. I don’t think of fearful patients as “cowards” anymore than I think of allergy sufferers as diseased. In our office, whether in person or on the phone, people with fear are treated with respect and kindness.

When first speaking to a person with dental fear, we can ‘feel’ the trauma they’ve experienced. We’ve heard dreadful stories, many of childhood experiences in the dental chair when they weren’t numb but were held down while treatment was performed. No wonder these people have dental fears! They aren’t cowards, they have endured a traumatic event in their lives that’s created an emotional and uncontrollable reaction as a result. A coward is someone who ‘chooses’ to flee or avoid something. There’s a big difference!

If you or someone you know has been dealing with issues of dental fear, here’s how we begin. We offer a free consultation where we sit in comfy arm chairs in our consultation room. This is not in the treatment area! We’ll talk and I’ll explain our comfort options. One of these is Oral Sedation, which is conscious sedation that gives total relaxation during treatment. Then, you decide how to proceed. You may want just an exam, or you may want to just think about things. We move at the pace that is comfortable for you. You are in control.

Here, all of our patients are respected and appreciated. For those with fear issues, please know that your concerns will be treated respectfully.

Want The Low Down On Bad Breath?

Okay, here is the ‘down and dirty’ explanation of what creates bad breath, and I’ll warn you upfront, it’s not a pretty picture. But, if you ever needed a reason to brush, floss and keep your oral health to an optimum level, here goes.

Your mouth is warm and moist, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The crevices of teeth and grooves of the tongue are havens for bacteria to grow and thrive. When you eat, food that is not removed from the mouth feed this bacteria. They reproduce and as they multiply, they deposit waste in your mouth. That’s right – bacteria are living, breathing creatures that are eating and pooping in your mouth! The more that develop, the more you have creating waste!

As the bacteria multiply, a sticky film forms. If not removed, it hardens into plaque. Plaque is impossible to brush away. It cements itself to teeth, constantly eating away at teeth and gum tissues as it reproduces and excretes waste.

If you could look under a microscope at these horrible creatures, you’d certainly want to rid them from your mouth! This makes us perplexed when a patient says they don’t want to floss. We want your hygiene visits to give you a clean mouth and help you understand how to maintain a healthy mouth in-between dental check-ups. First, you must be committed to a daily regimen of oral hygiene. If you want a clean mouth, spend 3 minutes a day flossing your teeth. Not only will your breath be fresher, you’ll avoid more risk of decay, your hygiene visits will be more comfortable and those disgusting creatures won’t be running rampant in YOUR mouth!

Some Herbal Supplements Can Cause Problems In Dental Treatment

Many Americans are turning to herbal supplements for a number of reasons… from insomnia treatment to boosting one’s mood. A recent survey shows that over half of Americans over the age of 50 take an herbal supplement on a daily basis.

While we are all for a more natural approach to treating one’s ailments versus a more-medicated approach, it is important that we are made aware of ALL medications you take, including herbal supplements. Some herbal supplements can interfere with the absorption of medications prescribed before or after treatment. Others can cause blood thinning, which increases bleeding during some dental procedures.

For example, Melatonin, commonly used for insomnia, can increase bleeding if you also take a blood thinner medication. Garlic supplements also act as a blood thinner, increasing your risk of excessive bleeding.

At each appointment, please make us aware of ALL your medications. We want to structure your care so your overall health is protected as we strive to keep your oral health at its best!

Zoom Makes A Big Difference In Smile Enhancement!

Your smile has a major impact on your overall facial appearance, and there are numerous reasons to whiten it!

• A bright smile sends a message to others about your health standards.

• White teeth can reveal you as a positive, confident individual.

• A white, bright smile tends to give a more-youthful appearance.

• Plus, a white smile creates a ‘best impression’ when meeting others.

If your smile has become brown or yellow due to smoking or from drinking beverages that stain such as coffee, tea and red wine, we offer a quick way to regain a brighter, whiter smile! Zoom II is an in-office whitening treatment that gives a dramatically whiter smile in a little more than an hour. Plus, Zoom II has addressed sensitivity in its unique formula.

Zoom II gives a long-lasting whitening and gives a much deeper level of ‘white’ versus over-the-counter systems.

If you’re ready to enjoy this Summer with a more appealing smile, call (586) 739-2155 for more information.

Maintaining Dental Implants – For Life!

Dental implants are designed to last your lifetime – with proper maintenance, that is. Although the replacement teeth attached to dental implants are not ‘natural’ teeth, they need regular maintenance so they are a lifetime benefit.

Dental implants require regular dental cleanings, which is the case for natural teeth as well as dental implants. The frequency of these visits, however, can vary from person to person and may pertain to the type of implant they have or their health status. Some people need more frequent dental cleanings because of their susceptibility to bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to periodontal (gum) disease. For those with dental implants, cleanings also help prevent inflammation caused by a bacterial biofilm of tissues surrounding the implant. If this forms and not removed, it can result in eventual disintegration of the bone that supports your implants.

Natural teeth are attached to the jaw bone by the tooth’s root through fibers within the tooth. These fibers extend from the tooth and connect it to the jaw bone and surrounding gum tissues. Dental implants are secured by the bone while surrounding gum tissues hold onto the surface of the implants. The implanted portion, which supports attached replacement teeth, is held by the jaw and gives replacement teeth the same stable foundation your natural teeth once had.

Professional cleanings involve special instruments to avoid damaging the implants beneath the gum tissues. The time also allows for removal of any build-up as well as regular monitoring to ensure your implants are sound and attached teeth are functioning properly. Typically, our patients with implants also see these check-ups as periodic sessions to help them with proper techniques for oral home care, including brushing and flossing to control bacteria.

Implant crowns and other tooth replacements attached to dental implants are made to be remarkably durable. For some, however, enjoying dental implants for a lifetime requires more frequent cleanings and check-ups. The reward is a healthy mouth and the ability to eat and laugh comfortably and confidently. To discuss dental implants or how to avoid (or combat) periodontal (gum) disease, call (586) 739-2155.

For Our Patients, No Need To Let This Study Alarm You.

We take dental radiographs (formerly referred to as ‘X-rays’ before digital imaging was used) to reveal periodontal (gum) disease, abscesses, cysts and tumors, as well as the precise location of cavities and other signs of disease that cannot be detected visually. The digital imaging we use has a minute amount of radiation vs. dental x-rays of old systems that used “film.” So, I was naturally concerned when reading about a study that claims people who have had dental X-rays are more likely to develop a type of brain tumor called meningioma.

Meningiomas are the most common tumor formed in the head, with the vast majority being noncancerous. Depending on location, some require surgery to prevent them from causing eventual blindness or neurological damage.

This study involved patients whose tumors required surgery with the average age of participants being 57. This means their dental X-rays were likely of a higher radiation because of older technology. Depending on their age, those who’d had these exams yearly or more often were 1.4 to 1.9 times more likely to have had a meningioma. A troubling aspect of the study is that it relied upon participants’ memory of how many dental X-rays they’d had, including in childhood. Plus, the study fails to show that X-rays directly cause tumors.

It is estimated that the total of medical radiation in the U.S. contributes to less than 1% of all cancers. Four of these ‘older technology’ X-rays is about the same amount of radiation Americans are exposed to in a typical day. The technology we use is more than 90% less of these older technologies.

Our goal, as always, is to protect patients from any risk. This is why we use digital radiographs, water lines that are pure and sterilization procedures that exceed those required by OSHA and the CDC. At this time, even the American Dental Association (ADA) is skeptical about the study’s results. A released statement included, “Studies have shown that the ability to recall information is often imperfect,” and also pointed out that this study included people who received dental x-rays decades ago from older technology.

Smoking Puts Dental Implants At Risk

If you smoke and are considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, here is yet another reason to kick the habit. A study in the Journal of Periodontology has shown that smoking can cause dental implants to fail more often than for nonsmokers.

Dental implants have one of the highest success rates of all implant-in-bone types, including hip joints and knees. Because smoking affects blood flow to supporting bone and gums tissue in the mouth, healing can be compromised. Smokers typically heal at a slower pace and have greater risk of infection after implant placement. Researchers in the study found that 15.8% of implants failed in smokers, versus 1.4% of implants in non-smokers.

To give your dental implant(s) the best opportunity of providing lasting tooth replacement, don’t smoke. If you smoke and are contemplating dental implants, realize smoking’s impact BEFORE you have implants placed. While dental implants are designed to last your lifetime, you have a responsibility to ensure they are successful and stay healthy.

More Men Are Finding Dental Care Is Career-Wise!

The Academy of General Dentistry states that nearly 18% of men in the United States claim they don’t have time for regular dental visits, with about 5% who don’t even have a regular dentist. However, these percentages seem to be declining as more men venture back into the dental office, many who are in the workforce.

In years past, many men spent their entire careers with just one or two employers, not having to worry about how their overall appearance affected their professional life.

Today, men (and women) are more susceptible to lay-offs and company closings. More than ever, middle-aged men are competing with younger men in the job market. With appearance a heightened factor in their lives, they’re becoming more aware of the positive effects of an appealing smile. Men are finding that a healthy, flattering smile has definite value in the business world.

Because regular cleanings and twice-yearly checkups can enhance how a person looks AND feels, we’re also seeing more men who are committed to these visits as well as their oral home care regimen.

To discuss improving the health and appearance of your smile, call (586) 739-2155 and ask for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss options that will work best for you.

Sleep Apnea Suspected To Contribute To Depression

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, restricting an intake of sufficient oxygen. Recent research now suggests that people with sleep apnea also have increased risk of depression.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that women with sleep apnea are five times more likely to develop clinical depression and men with sleep apnea are twice as likely. While over 80% who listed classic symptoms of sleep apnea had never been ‘officially’ diagnosed, the participants in their study averaged a threefold higher risk of depression compared to adults who have no breathing troubles during sleep.

Sleep disruption can be a risk factor for developing depression, and a lot of symptoms of those who have sleep apnea display similar symptoms to people who have depression. Although the effects of depression and sleep apnea can be difficult to distinguish, it is felt that there is a connection between the two.

Sleep interruptions that characterize the disorder have been shown in previous research to affect mood. The periodic declines in oxygen during sleep can lead to brain changes by triggering stress or inflammation. Although this study shows an association, rather than cause-&-effect, the researchers feel it’s plausible that sleep apnea could directly cause depression. The findings clearly indicate that the brain requires a pattern of steady sleep.

If you, or someone you know, display symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact us. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, a simple oral appliance worn at night may be all that’s needed for peaceful sleep.