We Help You Keep Dangerous Inflammation In Check!

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and inflammation of the gums that causes loss of the bone that support teeth.  Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and infection. However, chronic inflammation creates an over-production of immune cells that actually damage, rather than repair. Rampant inflammation can lead to cancer, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, as well as other major health problems.

To aid your body’s ability to keep inflammation in check, it is important to maintain a healthy mouth. Your mouth can be a tremendous source of bacteria, which can develop into gum disease. When gum disease weakens oral tissues, this bacteria can enter the bloodstream. Research has already associated the inflammatory reaction of oral bacteria with a list that includes coronary artery disease, stroke, memory loss and diabetes.

This information, in itself, should be enough to motivate adults to brush (at least twice daily) and floss every day. However, it is also important to keep those six-month dental exams and cleanings. This allows removal of bacteria-laden plaque, which can occur between visits (even for diligent brushers and flossers).  Plaque build-up is what your Hygienist is scraping off, and no amount of brushing or flossing will remove it.

In addition to maintaining good oral health, you may be interested in a list of foods that may actually add to harmful inflammation. While everything in moderation is always wise, some foods are more irritating and tend to exaggerate inflammation. They include:

MSG – This preservative and flavor enhancer is a chemical that has been shown to have inflammatory responses. While more research is needed to understand why MSG causes inflammation, we already know that the human body does not tolerate it well.

Sugar – Excess sugar in the body creates havoc in a number of ways. While the body goes through intricate maneuvers to process it, the end result is inflammation.

White Bread – White bread is refined to nothing more than fast-digesting carbohydrates that irritate the body. Both white bread and pastas break down quickly into sugar, leading to higher sugar levels in the blood.

Gluten – Sensitivity to gluten can lead to bloating or digestion problems. It is believed that these symptoms could be an inflammatory response.

Alcohol – Alcohol becomes sugar as soon as the body begins to break it down. A small amount of alcohol is tolerable – even beneficial. However, too much allows bacteria to easily enter the linings of the intestines. This can lead to irritation and inflammation.

Trans Fats – Many processed foods are full of hydrogenated oils (manmade fats), which can damage the cells that line your blood vessels.  This results in ‘plaque buildup’ in arteries.

We’ll keep you posted on new findings as they are published. In the meantime, let us know if you’re past due for a check-up and cleaning! It’s one of the simplest ways to help protect your overall health and well-being! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule. New patients are always welcome!

Thank Your Denture For Your Jowls.

Long-time denture wearer?  If you suspect your face has grown longer, it is probably because jowls have formed on both sides of your face. This is often the result of facial muscles that have detached from the jaw bones once they shrink to a certain point.

Here is why you’ve lost bone: When natural tooth roots are held by the upper and lower jaw bones, they provide stimulation to the bone, which helps it maintain its mass. When tooth roots are no longer present, lack of stimulation results in bone resorption, or ‘melting away’ of the bone.

Although resorption occurs slowly, pressure on the jaws from wearing dentures actually speeds the resorption process. Since many denture wearers also sleep in their dentures, this continual pressure accelerates the rate of bone loss even more.

When dentures are first placed, the fit can be satisfactory for 1 – 5 years. However, as bone loss progresses, the denture’s fit lasts at less-frequent intervals each time. This is why relines are regularly needed. For example, one year after the extraction of teeth, a denture wearer experiences a 25% bone loss. Three years later, 60% of the bone is gone. While the biting force with teeth is 250 lbs., an average denture wearer bites with only 5 – 6 lbs. of force.

Today’s implant dentistry includes types, such as the ‘All-On-4,’ that need minimal bone for placement. Because these implants are placed at unique angles, just four implants (upper or lower) are able to support a full arch of non-removable teeth.

Regardless of the process, dental implants will enable you to chew comfortably and speak and laugh confidently without fear of embarrassment. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a consultation to learn what is required for your needs as well as treatment options.

Dental Fears? Nothing To Fear Here!

As a Dentist, I cannot imagine hurting a patient. Even more, I cannot fathom why a Dentist would continue to work on a patient they can see is in pain. Yet, the horror stories I have heard from people tell me there are still Dentists who are creating dental phobics. Unfortunately, many of these individuals end up avoiding much-needed dental care for years.

While I’ve always been committed to providing exceptional results and flattering smiles, I also know that dentistry can be performed without the patient experiencing pain.

For fearful patients, most do fine with Oral Sedation, which requires no needles to administer and has a quick recovery. We also offer I.V. Sedation for a ‘twilight sleep’ state for people who need a deeper level of sedation. However, many patients opt for Oral Sedation once they realize they can trust me to prevent any discomfort throughout their procedure.

A healthy, confident smile is an important part of one’s overall health and well-being. If you know someone who avoids dentistry because of fear, suggest they call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. I’ll be happy to talk with them in our comfortable consultation room (which is removed from the clinical side of the practice) and answer any questions.

Correcting A Gummy Smile Is Quick & Comfortable!

The term “gummy smile” is often used to describe having too much gum tissue visible in a full smile. This may occur with a single tooth, several teeth, or all teeth. Regardless, the disproportion of gum-to-tooth or uneven gum line causes some people to feel self-conscious about smiling. Some feel so awkward about this that they put their hand in front of their mouth when smiling or laughing.

Having a gummy smile may be the result of lengthy orthodontic treatment, developmental influences or genetics. Fortunately, correcting a gummy smile can now be performed simply using modern techniques and technology. In our office, we use a dental laser. Most treatments are completed in just one visit with a quick recovery time.

The most common method of correction is through a gingivectomy.  This procedure removes excess gum tissue in a process that is comfortable with no sutures. The tissue is typically fully healed in 1-2 weeks.

This procedure is also a common way to create a more aesthetic gum line for crowns and other restorative procedures.

You should feel terrific about your smile, and love smiling! If you feel your gum line is detracting from the appearance of your smile, call us toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation.

Dental Cleanings As An A-Fib Preventive? Research Says ‘Yes!’

In 2010, the CDC reported Atrial Fibrillation affected 2.7 million in the US.  A-Fib places patients at a high risk for clots, strokes and heart failure. Could dental cleanings (which remove plaque through ‘scaling’) reduce your risk of atrial fibrillation?

According to findings in new research, a relationship between periodontal (gum) health and cardiac dysrhythmia does exist. A new study published in the International Journal of Cardiology shows that an annual dental scaling can lower the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, the most common type of cardiac dysrhythmia. The study suggests that the risk is reduced through dental scaling, which helps to decrease inflammation.

Other studies have linked poor oral hygiene and edentulousness (missing all teeth) to increased risk of cardiovascular problems, particularly death by stroke. Periodontal disease, which triggers inflammation in the body, has already been found to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, and cardio-vascular disease. Thus, oral infections may contribute to A-Fib by adding to the body’s inflammatory burden.

In this study, researchers used data from nearly 29,000 individuals, age 60 or older, who had no history of cardiac dysrhythmias. Those who had received dental scaling at least once a year from 1998 to 2000 were placed in one group. This group was matched to another group of similar age, sex, and underlying diseases, yet had not had any dental scaling in the same time span. Both groups were followed for 5 years. Researchers found that the group who had regular dental scaling had a lower risk of developing A-Fib.

Researchers will continue to explore the data. Recently, the American Heart Association issued a statement that periodontal disease was not proven as a CAUSE of atherosclerotic heart disease or stroke, and that treating gum disease is not a guarantee to prevent heart disease or stroke. Yet, researchers contend that while no causal link has been pinpointed, there is an unquestionable association of inflammation and heart disease. It is hoped that further research will reveal underlying triggers that link oral health and these deadly diseases.

Do your dental hygiene visits decrease the body’s inflammatory burdens and help to prevent A-Fib?  Further studies are necessary to confirm these findings. We’ll keep you updated as new developments are made.

In the meantime, if you’re behind on your 6-month cleanings and exams, call us to schedule soon. Your smile AND your overall health depend on it!

Are Sleeping Problems Causing Your Weight Gain, Or Vice Versa?

Even though some people with sleep problems are of a ‘normal’ weight for their height, many tend to struggle with their weight. Research has shown that sleep disorders contribute to weight gain, and no wonder. When a body feels fatigued and wrung out during the day, it’s difficult to push oneself into physical exercise when just getting through a normal routine seems a struggle.

Research has also shown that the brain seeks out energy by sending hunger signals in an effort to energize the body. Those who are sleep deprived often have cravings for carbohydrates in search for a boost.

While a healthy weight is desirable for good overall health, we also know that weight problems can be a ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma. That is to say, losing weight is a bigger challenge for those who have sleep disorders. Thus, can they lose weight BEFORE having treatment to eliminate sleep disorders? (Some people find certain sleep problems become minimal after weight loss). Or, is it more practical to eliminate these interferences so they are BETTER ABLE to lose weight and maintain a healthy body?

If you have tried and tried to lose weight but feel night-time clenching, teeth grinding or heavy snoring  is precluding your ability to be successful, then call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation.

Missing Teeth Causes Bone Loss, And More Problems

Tooth loss has many frustrations. Denture wearers often endure discomfort, reduced confidence, decreased ability to chew and enjoy foods, and daily inconvenience.  While many acknowledge these ordeals as normal, they are often unaware of an underlying occurrence taking place … bone loss.  Bone loss has an even greater impact to one’s life, contributing to deep wrinkling and sunken-in appearance around the mouth, a pointed chin, jowls, and severe reduction in biting strength.

When tooth roots are missing, the jaw bone begins to shrink, or “resorb.”  This resorption continues and is even accelerated by the pressure of wearing dentures. An indicator of bone loss is the change in the fit of your denture. Dentures that once fit securely will eventually loosen due to the change in the bone underneath the gum.

As the bone shrinks, the ridge under the denture slowly flattens out. Over time, the denture has less of a foundation, decreasing the ability to bite and chew comfortably. The biting strength of natural teeth is 250 pounds.  The average denture wearer bites with 5 to 6 pounds.

Emotional repercussions are equally as severe.  In addition to a decrease in self-esteem and self-confidence, denture wearers tend to unplug from society, don’t look at people in the face, smile and laugh less, don’t leave home often, wear no make-up, and eat out rarely.

Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots, halting bone loss and restoring the strength of your bite. There are many types of implants, which are designed to accommodate individual needs.  For those who have already lost a great deal of bone, procedures can actually rebuild the bone to a healthy depth.

Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime. When properly selected, placed, and cared for, they will bring you as much pleasure and satisfaction as natural teeth. They restore chewing stability, speaking and laughing confidence, and a flattering appearance.

To discuss your options in tooth replacement, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a free consultation appointment.

Bring This Problem To A Grinding Halt!

If your tooth edges look flat or you occasionally wake up with jaw soreness, you may be grinding your teeth while your sleep. Nighttime teeth grinding is a habit of one-third of Americans and employs ten times the force of normal chewing. Not surprisingly, it contributes to problems such as loose teeth, headaches, and pain in the temples and jaw.

To keep your upper teeth from rubbing against lower teeth, a custom-made mouth guard may be all that’s needed. This gives you an exact fit so it is comfortable for sleeping. The firm plastic material of which it is constructed often eliminates the urge to grind that softer material seems to encourage.

If you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night, or perhaps hear grinding from your spouse, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles or mention your concerns at your next visit.

Why Patients Return To Us

As a dentist, I strive to ensure all areas in our practice create a positive experience for every patient. Yet, when a patient leaves our practice, whether due to insurance constraints or relocation or other reason, I’m disappointed. Of course, my staff and I know that some patients are unable to be a member of our ‘family’ for their lifetime. The good news is ‘returning patients’ are our third highest source for new patient generation. We want those who do leave to know they are always welcome to return!

We know that some patients leave because we are ‘out-of’-network’ with their insurance coverage. This may occur due to a job change or policy adjustment. Our standard of care is such that not every insurance is sufficient for the high standards our patients have come to know here. We have a number of patients who have out-of-network policies, yet prefer the care we provide versus dental offices who are in-network. These patients merely pay for the portion not covered by their insurance and we file so any reimbursement is sent directly to them.

Some patients who leave have moved to a new neighborhood or started a job where a dental practice is closer to their new location. However, we have many return to our office because, as is often explained, “I missed the good feeling I had when I came here and didn’t feel I got the same care you gave.” This is the ultimate compliment and we are always happy to RE-accept these smiles back into our office!

Over the years, I have had VERY few patients who’ve left because they were unhappy with something. In most cases, the patient never voiced an unknown concern until they had become a patient elsewhere. While my staff and I try hard to address all issues to a patient’s satisfaction, I’ve come to know that you cannot please everyone all the time, no matter what you do. It may be a personality clash or a miscommunication, but some things we cannot “fix.”

All of our patients are special to us and are welcome back if their life’s path takes them elsewhere. If you have questions about patient hours, insurance coverage, or any area that has you considering dentistry elsewhere, please discuss this with us. Your optimal dental health is our ultimate desire!