Be Accident-Free For Your Holiday Weekend!

Ahhhh … Labor Day weekend is here, which typically signifies the last of Summer’s outdoor fun. Yet, remember that outside activities can result in an unhappy smile should you forget to wear your mouth guard.

We find that the custom-fitted mouth guards made in our office are worn more frequently because they are simply more comfortable. The ones we create conform to the specific contours of your mouth and are less bulky than store-bought types, yet highly protective.

However, should the worst happen and you (or someone nearby) have an accident, these tips can lessen the damage:

CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE, LIP OR CHEEK – Apply cold compress to bruised area. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes or cannot be controlled by simple pressure, go to a hospital emergency room.

KNOCKED OUT PERMANENT TOOTH – Handle the tooth by the top portion rather than the root. Rinse the tooth, but do not clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk or water and call us immediately. Time is a critical factor in saving a tooth.

BROKEN TOOTH – Rinse dirt from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the area of the injury. Save any broken tooth fragments and contact us immediately.

Don’t learn the hard way to wear your mouth guard! Making one for you is fast and affordable, and a wise investment for a lasting smile!

Dental Tips For Arthritis Sufferers

If you are an arthritis sufferer, you are twice as likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease. Findings published by the Journal of Periodontology stated patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) had an average tooth loss of 11.6 teeth compared to 6.7 teeth of other participants in the study. Periodontal disease is the country’s leading cause of tooth loss and has been linked to serious health problems. These include coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, and memory loss.

RA is the leading cause of disability and limits the daily activities of over 7 million Americans. We are sensitive to the physical limitations RA can cause and offer these tips to make oral hygiene at home easier.
• Use water irrigators to help remove food particles and plaque between teeth.
• Electric toothbrushes and floss holders can reduce the effort required by hands.
• Wrap toothbrush handles with a sponge hair roller for a thicker grip.
• Replace knob-type faucets with levers, which are easier to turn on and off.
• Insufficient saliva in the mouth increases the risk of bacterial growth. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. If you take medications that are drying, oral rinses can help. Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, all of which are drying to oral tissues.

With a good oral care commitment, RA sufferers should be able to maintain a healthy smile and prevent tooth loss. If you suffer with arthritis, overcoming the physical limitations to protect your smile will serve as a constant reminder that you have a ‘good grip’ on your health!

Never Too Old For Dental Implants!

If it seems you are surrounded by more older adults these days, you are! In 1900, only 4% of the population were age 65 and older. In 1990, this had jumped to 12.6%. By 2030, the projected numbers of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to be nearly 22% of the population.

Fortunately, older adults are now going to the dentist more. In 1983, the average number of dental visits per older adult was 1.5, the lowest for any reported age group. However, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that between 1983 – 89, there was a 30% increase by those aged 65 and older who were seeing the dentist on a regular basis.

This likely has much to do with the drop in total edentulism (having no natural teeth) for aging adults. According to the National Institute for Dental Research, there was a decrease of elderly adults who are missing all their natural teeth from 60% in 1957 to about 41% in 1986.

I recently read an article that shared predicted technologies and futuristic developments for ensuring the oral health of our population. One option stands out as fulfilling its task NOW at an exceptional level. Dental Implants continues to achieve their designed goals of recreating the presence of tooth roots and restoring one’s ability to bite, chew, eat, laugh, and speak confidently and comfortably.

The University of Kentucky and Sanders Brown Research Center on Aging included this statement in their report, Prevention: The Key to Retention A Look at Clinical Geriatric Dental Practice Now and in the 21st Century: “Implant technology has advanced to the point now that single tooth implants should be considered the first treatment option in many situations.”

Dental Implants do not compromise the health of adjacent teeth. As a matter of fact, their ability to preserve a healthy jaw bone and support proper alignment of neighboring teeth enhances the life of surrounding natural teeth.

Older adults have a similar success rate with implants compared with younger people. As long as your gums are healthy, you’re never too old to enjoy the benefits of Dental Implants!

Our office is equipped to provide all stages of implant dentistry, safely and comfortably, to give you teeth that look and feel just like your own. For more information, call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles.

Citrus Before Brushing A Bad Idea

Eating a healthy orange for dessert or enjoying a glass of tea with lemon? Great! Just remember to wait at least an hour before you brush your teeth.

The acid in citrus, as well as some sport drinks and most sodas, can erode tooth enamel. Brushing teeth too soon after consuming these acidic items can damage precious enamel with gritty toothpaste that is typically safe to use on teeth.

Waiting an hour allows the saliva in your mouth to neutralize the acid, which helps restore the enamel. Rather than brush immediately, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum. And share a smile with your healthy teeth!

Signs You Have Gum Disease

Seeing blood when you brush is NOT normal! It is a sign of periodontal (gum) disease, and the leading cause of tooth loss in the country.

Like many diseases that form in our bodies, gum disease begins silently and without obvious symptoms. When symptoms do emerge, it often means that the disease is well underway. Some symptoms may not appear until at an advanced stage. However, any warning signs of gum disease should prompt you to seek immediate treatment. Signs of periodontal disease include:

Red, swollen or tender gums
Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or when chewing rigorously
Sores in your mouth
Persistent bad breath
Receded gums that reveal darker areas of teeth or that cause teeth to look longer
Loose or separating teeth
Pus between your gums and teeth
A change in your bite when teeth are together
A change in how partial dentures fit

The web site of the American Academy of Periodontology offers a risk assessment test to gauge your at-risk level for having or developing gum disease. Visit: www.perio.org to take the test or call our office toll free 1-855-9-Smiles for a consultation and exam.

Remember, periodontal disease will only worsen without treatment. Act now to avoid further damage to your smile.

Menstrual Cycle Affects Periodontal Health

According to findings published in the Journal of Periodontology, many women report increased inflammation and discomfort of the gums during  their menstrual cycle. Symptoms typically include a slight burning sensation in gums, gums that bleed with minor irritation, redness of the gums, mouth ulcers, and pain and discomfort in the gums.

In this study, researchers compared the gingival and periodontal status of pre-menopausal women between ages 20 – 50 at different times in their menstrual cycles. They found that gum tissue inflammation was lower during menstruation than during ovulation and pre-menstruation, which may be due to hormonal spikes and drops.

While it’s not known if these changes could have lasting negative effects on gum health, women in this age bracket are encouraged to relay symptoms experienced during their menstrual cycle, including all prescription or over-the-counter medications they take.

It is always our goal to provide optimal oral health and wellness to our patients. Please know that any changes in your mouth should be relayed to us, even if in-between your regularly scheduled check-ups.

Oral Sedation Can Take The Fear Out Of Dental Care

It’s not unusual to see new patients who haven’t been to a dentist for years – some, for over a decade. Quite a few have avoided dental care due to having a deep fear associated with dentistry. This is typically the result of a traumatic past experience in a dental chair, and frequently experienced as a child. Just like shivering in the cold, these fears are something beyond their control.

My first goal is to help these individuals have the treatment they need. We begin with a conversation that allows them to share their fears and concerns. I am committed to the comfort and safety of my patients at every visit and reassure them that they can always stop me if they feel anything or just want to take a break during treatment.

Many of these patients prefer to add oral sedation to their treatment. This is in pill form and taken prior to arrival at our office. Once here, they are in a relaxed state. We begin treatment only when the patient is totally relaxed. While patients are in such a relaxed state, they are not aware of any portion of the procedure, often until it’s completed and we arouse them.

Oral sedation leaves little or no memory of the procedure afterwards and recovery is quick. It is also safe, although we make sure you are monitored throughout the procedure. Some patients return home for a brief nap, but most feel rested and refreshed after several hours.

My next goal is to help this patient become confident in my care, enough so that he or she will eventually overcome their dental fears. Ideally, we want them to see that dental care is a positive part of their overall health, which it is!

I often have patients who, after experiencing the relaxed feeling of Oral Sedation, tell me they no longer need it. This is music to my ears, since it indicates that this person now feels comfortable and confident in our hands!

Your first step to a healthy mouth begins with a friendly phone call. Call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles for a no-cost consultation. This will be just a conversation in a comfy Consultation Room, totally removed from the clinical side of the practice. Then, you can decide how to proceed. And, please know you will not be judged for your fears or delay of dental care. We are here to help you, and you will be respected regardless of your individual situation.

Frequent Headaches? Read This!

If you can’t figure out why you have frequent headaches, you may want to visit a dentist who is trained in neuromuscular dentistry.

As a neuromuscular dentist, I have advanced training with unique knowledge to treat TMJ issues and bite misalignment that contribute to headaches, migraines, clenching and grinding teeth, and neck and shoulder tension. Additionally, I am able to incorporate this knowledge with esthetic and restorative treatments. This means that your outcome will help prevent these problems from occurring in the future.

The natural structure of the body has a careful balance between the jaws, skull, and neck. Head pain (including migraines, headaches, earaches, neck problems, etc.) is a symptom of a neuromuscular and skeletal imbalance above your shoulders.

Imagine one leg being shorter than the other. Although your gait may not show the disparity, over time, your back, hip and shoulders won’t be able to handle the wear and tear and pain results.

The same is true for a bite misalignment. People don’t always associate headaches with bite alignment, but it creates a domino effect that can add stress and strain to facial muscles, jaw joints, and head and neck muscles.

There are over 300 muscles that attach to the jaws, skull, and neck, with 298 of these muscles involved with closing the lower jaw. Because humans use their lower jaw over 5,000 times a day, misalignment problems cause joint dysfunction, and affect everything else connected to it.

Living without pain should be your expectation, not a struggle to achieve! If headaches or other head and neck pain is a frequent occurrence with no obvious source, call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles for a free consultation. The solution may be a simple oral appliance worn at night or adjustments to the height of certain teeth.

Alarming Statistics of Oral & Oropharyngeal (Throat) Cancers

Close to 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year with oral or oropharyngeal (throat) cancer. These cancers kill roughly 1 person every hour, 24 hours a day. Of those, only 57% are estimated to be living 5 years from now. The death rate for oral cancer is one of the worst of all cancers. It is higher than cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, thyroid cancer, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

Although new case rates have declined slightly over the past few decades, a recent rise has been seen in throat cancers related to HPV (human papilloma virus) in white males under age 50. The average age of most people diagnosed with these cancers is 62, but about a third now occur in patients younger than 55.

Unfortunately, some symptoms do not emerge until the cancer has reached an advanced stage, or symptoms can mimic something that appears normal, like a bite on the inside of your cheek. The most common symptoms are:
• white or red patch of tissue
• lesion in the mouth
• a lump or mass inside the mouth or neck
• difficulty or discomfort when swallowing
• persistent sore throat
• any wart-like masses
• numbness in the oral/facial region

Lesions or discolorations that are early warning signs are not always visible, particularly in the back portion of the mouth (including tonsils and base of tongue), which can be an obstacle to early diagnosis and treatment. This is yet another reason that keeping your regular oral hygiene exam and cleanings is so important. During these times, we look for unusual changes in the mouth that can indicate a problem.

However, you should never wait until your scheduled appointment to have anything unusual examined. In our office, we use the Velscope screening process that helps locate cancerous signs at early stages. Call 1-855-9-Smiles immediately for an appointment if you feel you have an area that needs to be checked.

The 1-2-3’s of All-On-4 Dental Implants!

We believe that everyone deserves a confident smile. For those who are missing teeth, All-On-4 is helping more people achieve that.

1. A more affordable option for non-removable implants – All-On-4 is a non-removable dental implant option designed to maximize the use of available bone on just 4 implants. Thus, replacing a full arch of teeth is more affordable since fewer implants are required.

2. Gives you teeth that have excellent stability for eating – The All-On-4 process can have teeth attached immediately with implants that are angled to provide better stability. Plus, placement is done in just one appointment!

3. Works well for those who have even experienced severe bone loss – For people who have lost bone (a result of missing tooth roots), some cannot have implants without bone rebuilding or grafting procedures. Because of the unique angles in the design and placement, All On 4 works well even when severe bone loss has occurred.

For a no-cost consultation to discuss the All-On-4 system, or any tooth replacement option, call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles. I’ll be happy to explain the process and answer all your questions.