Links Between Gum Disease & Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

For years, researchers have found that the inflammation caused by the infectious bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Studies have shown that this potent oral bacteria correlates to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers and preterm babies.

With these serious health risks, men, in particular, should be made aware of another. Researchers have given a closer assessment to recent studies and found that erectile dysfunction (a condition causing difficulty having or maintaining an erection) is more common in men with gum disease.

One article published by Reuters.com reveals that reviewers analyzed data from five studies published between 2009 and 2014. The combined studies included 213,000 male participants between the ages of 20 and 80, according to a report in the International Journal of Impotence Research.

In every study, men who had chronic periodontitis (advanced gum disease) were more likely to have erectile dysfunction, especially males younger than 40 and older than 59. The article stated, “After accounting for diabetes, which can influence both gum disease and sexual function, erectile dysfunction was 2.28 times more common for men with periodontitis than for men without it.” (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-periodontitis-erectile-dysfunc-idUSKBN13K1UP)

In the U.S., an estimated 18 percent of males have erectile dysfunction. Men over the age of 70 are more likely to have ED compared to 5 percent between the ages of 20 and 40.

However, the men who are most affected by ED are getting younger. One outpatient clinic showed that one in four men who sought help for erectile dysfunction were under the age of 40.

Could a healthy mouth lower the risk of ED? In a 2013 study, it was found that treating periodontal disease improves ED symptoms. Thus, a growing number of physicians are advising male patients who have both ED and periodontitis to seek periodontal treatment as a way to reduce its risk.

Researchers are learning much about the hazards of chronic inflammation in our bodies. As an inflammatory disease, periodontal disease has come under closer scrutiny as a potential trigger for other serious health problems. For example, nearly half of the men with ED in one study also had diabetes, another chronic inflammatory disease with links to periodontal disease.

Although many serious health problems are linked to oral bacteria, gum disease is one of the most preventable of all. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, a diet limited in sugar and carbohydrates and drinking plenty of water are simple guidelines to follow. Yet, it is estimated that over 47% of American adults have some level of gum disease.

For the good of your overall health and well-being, renew your commitment to a healthy smile. Begin with a thorough examination. We’ll discuss how to get your oral health in good shape and ways to maintain it between dental check-ups.

Call 586-739-2155 to schedule or ask to begin with a free consultation.

 

 

 

 

Inlays & Onlays Explained

Keeping natural teeth is important for reasons in addition to just creating an appealing smile. A natural tooth provides a number of advantages both above and below the gum line.

It has been shown that people who have their natural teeth live an average of ten years longer than people who wear dentures. And, it is a fact that, when a natural tooth is lost, the next to be lost will be one adjacent.

When most people think of having a cavity in a tooth repaired, a ‘filling’ is typically the anticipated procedure. However, large cavities of teeth that have an overload of decay or previous fillings are often crowned. A crown (or ‘cap’) covers the entire top and sides of the tooth to protect the remaining structure. This helps preserve the tooth along with its roots that are so beneficial to the health of the jaw bone that supports them.

In the past, many dentists used a silver ‘amalgam’ material to fill the portion of the tooth that was removed.  Because of the concerns surrounding the suspected hazards of amalgam’s mercury content, non-amalgam filling materials became the standard choice for most dentists.

Non-amalgam tooth-colored fillings contain no mercury and provide a more tooth-like appearance. Yet, there are times when a filling is not quite right and a crown may be more than is needed. This is where inlays and onlays are a better option.

Inlays and onlays are ideal when a large, biting surface area of a tooth needs repair. Inlays and onlays are like porcelain puzzle pieces. They are custom-designed to fit precisely into the tooth, similar to how a puzzle piece fits snugly into a jigsaw puzzle.

The procedure begins with removing the decayed area and preparing the tooth. You are fully numbed during the procedure. While you relax, a mold is made of the area to be replaced with the inlay or onlay. A temporary ‘restoration’ will be provided to protect the area while a dental lab creates your final porcelain inlay or onlay. Once the restoration is ready, you’ll return to our office to have it ‘seated’ into placed and secured with a special dental adhesive.

The porcelain used in inlay and onlay construction provides exceptional durability and provides a highly natural feel and function with exceptional longevity. During both appointments, your comfort is a priority. If desired, oral sedation can be added to treatment for added relaxation.

When a tooth needs repair beyond the adequacy of a simple filling (or less than the need for a full crown), an inlay or onlay may be the ideal remedy. If this is best for your individual situation, I’ll be happy to explain the procedure, comfort options, treatment time and estimated cost.

Call 586-739-2155 to request a no-cost, no obligation consultation.

Avoid Losing Teeth By Decisions You Make Now

Imagine standing on the side of the road, stranded beside a car that has stopped running. For most of us, there is a sense of dread for this type of situation since we know the time, expense and frustration that comes with correcting the problems involved.

Now, imagine learning that the car is stranded because you failed to add necessary fluids, fell behind on oil changes and ignored warning lights.

As a dentist, I see a fair number of patients who have lost teeth. While some have lost them due to an accident or injury, most have lost them because of inadequate oral hygiene, failing to have regular dental care, and poor health choices (such as smoking).

For those who have lost teeth due to these choices, any one of them will tell you if they could go back in time, they would have taken better care of their teeth.

A tooth lost must be replaced or else neighboring teeth will shift. This shifting can cause chipped, broken or worn teeth. As the fit of upper to lower teeth moves out of its proper position, it can lead to headaches, migraines, night-time grinding and clenching, dizziness, ear ringing and sore jaw joints.

With poor oral hygiene and lack of regular dental check-ups, continued tooth loss is almost assured. As each tooth is lost, the one adjacent to it is at the highest risk to be the next you’ll lose. It’s a vicious cycle.

Teeth are easy to take for granted, They are hard and strong, giving the appearance of being ‘rock solid.’ They can weather an enormous amount of force. Yet, teeth are a natural part of our overall makeup. and do have vulnerabilities. This is why cavities and breaks can occur.

The main reason we recommend crowns for teeth at risk is to save the tooth. While the portion of a tooth you can see is important, it’s the portion beneath the gum line that we are even more concerned about.

Tooth roots nurture and ‘feed’ not only the tooth, but the jaw bone that supports them. Without these roots in place, the bones begins to atrophy. In dentistry, this is known as resorption. Simply put, it’s a melting away of jaw bone where tooth roots were once held.

As the bone shrinks, a number of things begin to occur. The tooth roots adjacent to the area of resorption are more vulnerable. The tooth above or below elongates, creating risk for damage mentioned prior (chips, breaks, etc.).

Facial changes can be seen as the bone thins further. For example, when the mouth appears collapsed into the face and the chin points, this is referred to as a ‘granny look.’ This occurs due to severe resorption of someone who has lost all of their teeth.

Earlier facial changes can also be seen when someone is missing natural teeth. Deep wrinkles form around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turn downward even in a smile, jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles, and the nose moves closer to the chin.

As unfortunate as these changes in appearance are, trying to eat properly when the jaw bone has declined is worse. People who wear dentures or partials often struggle when chewing or biting when their denture lacks a high foundation on which to balance.

When the bone shrinks, the ‘arch’ where tooth roots were once held begins to flatten. This is a slow but continual process that gives a denture an ever-decreasing surface. After a while, even denture adhesives or pastes are of little help.

To replace missing teeth, we often recommend dental implants. Implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bone, halting the rate of bone loss. Because they are supported by the jaw, implants restore the same, dependable foundation your natural teeth once had.

Another advantage of dental implants is their ability to ‘stand alone.’ Since implants are held by the jaw bone, they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as with crown-&-bridge combinations. This means you won’t need to have otherwise natural, healthy teeth crowned for the mere purpose of supporting a bridge.

To correct a common misconception, an implant is NOT always needed for each missing tooth. In many cases, one implant can support a bridge of two or more teeth. When a full arch of teeth is needed, several strategically-placed implants can provide adequate support.

All-On-4 Dental Implant System is one example of several implants supporting a full arch of teeth.

If you’ve lost teeth, the best way to halt the process is to replace those you’ve lost (and the sooner, the better). Then, be ultra-committed to your oral health. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Drink plenty of water and limit snacking and your intake of sugar and carbs. If you have teeth at-risk, have them crowned or other necessary repairs.

In our office, we respect all patients. We pride ourselves on being a ‘lecture-free zone’ and are here to support each individual, regardless of what brought them here. For those who have lost natural teeth, our goal is to restore them to a healthy, confident smile they’ll feel good about.

Begin with a free consultation to discuss your oral health needs and the smile you’d like to have – and share, often! Call 586-739-2155 and ask to meet with me personally. I look forward to meeting you!

 

Soft Drinks & Your Smile

It’s MAY already? The year is flying by. Not always a bad thing! After a Michigan winter, May’s warming weather reminds us that we’re ready for some fun in the sun.

With outdoor gatherings and activities, you’ll often find a cooler of drinks nearby. Before you pull that tab, though, consider that those soft drinks can lead to costly, time-consuming dental repairs.

“Soft drinks.” Now, that’s a misleading name for what they can do to teeth and gums. Colas can contribute to a number of health problems, including an ability to cause cavities and enamel erosion. Yet, most people are unaware of just how erosive the acids from cola can be. Even sugar-free soft drinks can cause a similar erosion level as those containing sugar.

The acidity levels in colas have been compared to that approaching the levels in battery acid. Colas are so acidic because they are infused with phosphoric acid that adds flavor. Phosphoric acid is inexpensive and widely available and is a common ingredient in fertilizers, detergents and industrial cleaners. In certain uses, it is accompanied by arsenic.

Phosphoric acid is so erosive it can remove rust from aircraft carriers and ships. Imagine the damage that can be done to your teeth and bone health.

When you add the erosive acids in a cola to the acids that occur naturally in the mouth each time you consume food or beverages, the boosted levels of acidity have tremendous potential to erode tooth enamel. Symptoms of dental erosion include temperature sensitivity, pain, transparent teeth, cracking and darkening of teeth.

As bad as the erosion factor is on teeth, it’s often the way colas are consumed that ramps up the damage. Take, for example, someone sipping on a cola for a period of time. Remember, every time we eat or drink, an acid attack begins in the mouth as part of our digestive process. This ‘natural’ acid flow is active for about 30 minutes after eating or drinking ceases.

So, when you sip a cola for a half-hour period, the acid attack lasts that long PLUS another 30 minutes. When you combine the sugar and acid in the drink to your digestive acids, you reduce surface hardness of tooth enamel for an extended period of time.

Because soft drinks can weaken tooth enamel, they become more vulnerable to decay. In this state, it is also easier for teeth to become stained. The caramel color in many colas easily contributes to the yellowing of teeth.

The U.S. has the highest per-capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks in the world. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans drink more than 50 gallons per capita of carbonated soft drinks annually. In addition to tracking the consumption of carbonated soft drinks, the organization also monitors consumption of bottled water, coffee, tea, milk, fruit drinks, beer, wine and spirits. Of all those they track, carbonated soft drinks make up the largest segment.

Health concerns about soft drinks have led many schools to remove sodas from drink machines and cafeterias. Obviously, dentists are also urging children, teens and adults to steer clear of sodas.

While it is important to stay hydrated, especially when participating in sports or working outdoors, colas are the opposite of hydrating. Colas not only contain phosphoric acid, they contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic that causes water depletion. It has been shown that consuming carbonated drinks during hot weather can result in dehydration and heighten the risk for heat stroke.

Don’t let the commercials about “refreshing” soft drinks fool you. You can do your smile and your overall health a favor by reaching instead for a bottle of water. If you prefer flavor in your beverage, add apple, strawberry, cucumber or orange slices to chilled, filtered water.

Rethink your cola consumption this summer and what you ice down in your cooler. Colas are no friend to your smile. Bypass the soft drinks for water and avoiding cavities, tooth erosion, and the need for fillings, crowns and other repairs that can be costly and time-consuming.

 

NEURO-MUSCULAR DENTISTRY MADE SIMPLE

Do you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines? Frequent headaches affect nearly 50 million Americans. And while many sufferers search for a solution, many fail to connect the dots between these headaches and their dental anatomy.

Amazingly, the position of how our upper and lower teeth meet is a typical cause for headaches, jaw pain, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and breaking teeth, dizziness, fatigue and more. All of these symptoms can be due to one’s bite being off, perhaps by only a millimeter (1/25th of an inch).

Your dental make-up is an intricate composition of muscles, joints and teeth and plays a major role in your overall comfort and health. Because humans are incredibly adaptable, the body’s muscles, bones and joints can function although these are not in ideal alignment. This is as true with the bite as with other parts of the body, such as when one leg is shorter than the other. However, there are times when the body cannot adapt, which is just as true with dental problems.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is a modern advancement based on the understanding that the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) need to be in a comfortable resting position for the ultimate comfort of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. When this occurs, all structures work together harmoniously.

The levelness of the teeth is just as critical.  The forces of the bite must be distributed down the length of the body. If the bite is tilted, then the forces are misdirected. This can cause as much of a problem for a patient as if the hips are not level.

When dentists are trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry, they have a unique understanding of its impact and how to incorporate it into restorative and esthetic treatment in order to help patients avoid future problems or correct those they may have been dealing with for years.

In my office, we have successfully treated patients for symptoms not normally associated with what people consider a dental problem can occur. Some examples are:

  • One patient was unable to close his eyes without falling for 27 years. This was resolved immediately when his bite was properly aligned.
  • Another patient who couldn’t turn his head to the left due to neck pain regained full range of motion once his bite was restored properly.
  • A patient who required massive amounts of pain pills for neck and back pain and headaches stopped taking them once his bite was restored.

As mentioned earlier, humans adjust to flaws. Yet, having flaws for years confuses the body’s perception of comfort over time. Unexplained pain is often attributed to other aspects of the patient’s life, such as stress, hormones or posture. Some are told it’s all in their head. They are given drugs or sent for therapy to deal with these problems, having no awareness that the source may be dental.

Today, advancements in computer technology enable dentists trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry to capture information for more effective treatment. It also gives visual ‘proof’ of treatment requirements so patients accept the authenticity of the diagnosis.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is such an important part of all implant, restorative (crown-&-bridge, partials, etc.) an cosmetic procedures in our office, so much so that we have invested in advanced technology. This allows us to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and determine the ideal resting position of the mandible (lower jaw). Throughout treatment, patients can monitor their progress by comparing before-&-after data.

Many people do not realize that bite misalignment is often due to more than crooked teeth. We’ve seen patients who’ve experience years of migraines, simply because of one crown being too high. The delicate balance in the mouth when it comes to the muscles, joints, bones and teeth working together is amazing.

If you have frequent headaches, migraines, jaw soreness, ear ringing, dizziness, tingling fingers, pain in the neck or shoulders, jaw popping or difficulty opening the mouth fully, bite misalignment is likely the culprit. These problems will only worsen without treatment.

To discuss your options and the diagnostic process, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to request a no-charge, no-obligation consultation. I’ll gladly answer your questions so you can determine the best course of action for your specific needs.