Category Archives: Uncategorized

Frequent Headaches Or Migraines?

If you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines, you probably live with a shadow of dread hanging over you. Often, these seem to pop up with no predictability. And, they often arrive at the worst possible moments. They can be dreadful interferences to being active, having a career, raising a family and social involvement.

For a moment, imagine the wear and tear your automobile’s tires and body structure endure when one wheel is out of alignment. Now, imagine the wear and tear your head receives when your bite is misaligned.

Like the interworking components of a car, there are many integrated parts that comprise our dental make-up, each part designed to integrate harmoniously with the others. When one component is off-kilter, however, it tends to create a domino effect.

Bite alignment goes far beyond how teeth meet together. Think about the intricate combination of muscles, joints and teeth that come in to play each time we smile, speak, chew, or even yawn.

In this light, it’s easier to see how upper and lower teeth meet could be the cause of headaches, jaw pain, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and clenching teeth, dizziness, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, fatigue and more.

As a Neuromuscular Dentist, I have an advanced understanding of how  the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) relies on the harmonious unity of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. This includes the levelness of the teeth that distribute the forces of the bite. A bite that is tilted will misdirect these forces and result in an abnormal wear and tear similar to that of a tire being out of alignment.

In Neuromuscular Dentistry, we understand how to incorporate its principles in treatment to resolve problems — many of which patients have been suffering with for years.

We have treated patients who have wandered from doctor to doctor for years, seeking solutions that fell short. Many were lead to believe their unexplained pain was related to stress, hormones or poor posture. Too many were prescribed medications or led to believe the problem was imagined.

In our office, we utilize advanced computer technology to capture information for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. This also provides a basis for appropriate treatment and allows patients to monitor their progress during treatment.

When the delicate balance of everything that makes up your smile and beyond is in proper position, years of headaches, migraines and other symptoms can disappear – for good! Begin with a no-cost consultation to discuss your personal situation and learn the options to help you live life without the dread of headaches! Call 586-739-2155.

Special Bond With Shelby Township Community

When I hear “It takes a village,” I think of Shelby Township. Many hands and much energy goes into coordinating all the terrific activities, events and offerings that bring us together in a unified way.

In a couple of months, our dental office will celebrate 20 years in the Shelby Township community. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two decades since I chose this location as my dental ‘home.’ Yet, it’s connected me to a terrific staff and hundreds of dear patients who make up our extended family of beloved smiles!

It has been our pleasure to support the area in a number of ways, with Shelby Township Parks & Recreation holding a special place in our hearts. For many years, we have sponsored activities from Breakfast With Santa to Summer concerts to art fairs to little league baseball – and everything in-between!

Dr. Barbat being presented Certificate of recognition
Dr. Barbat being presented Certificate of recognition

I was pleasantly surprised on December 1st at the Shelby Township Tree Lighting ceremony where I was presented a Certificate by the talented and dedicated staff of Shelby Township Parks & Recreation for our support and in honor of our 20 years in the community.

Christal, Dr. Barbat, Sarah, Anna, Nan, Doreen and Michelle
Christal, Dr. Barbat, Sarah, Anna, Nan, Doreen and Michelle

We have also proudly supported Turning Point Macomb, an organization for victims of domestic and sexual abuse as well as award an annual scholarship to a high school senior entering college to pursue a health-related career.

On behalf of myself and our entire team, thank YOU for helping to make the past 20 years so fulfilling. I can’t imagine my days being spent in a better community of people who bring their warm smiles to our care! Thank you!

To Floss Or Not?

When it comes to removing debris and bacteria in the mouth, brushing your teeth doesn’t always do the job. This is where flossing can give your oral health a ‘leg up.’

Flossing removes food particles caught between teeth that a tooth brush cannot reach or dislodge.

When you eat food, an acid enters the mouth through saliva flow. As the initial stage of digestion, this acid is designed to break food down as it’s chewed.

Although beneficial to the digestive process, this acid is potent. It is so strong that it can soften tooth enamel. This is why it is wise to delay brushing for 20 to 30 minutes after eating. The abrasive nature of a toothbrush and toothpaste can wear away precious tooth enamel while in this softened state.

Food needs to be removed before it starts to rot. Food particles that remain in the mouth allow oral bacteria to thrive. As bacteria eat, they reproduce – rapidly. How rapidly? The sticky film you feel on teeth in the evening is actually a coating of oral bacteria that has accumulated since your morning brushing.

Known as plaque, this film coats the teeth, tongue and gums. When not removed daily, plaque can form into rock-hard bacterial masses that attach to teeth. This is referred to as calculus (or tartar) and is what your hygienist scrapes off teeth during dental cleanings. Once formed, it cannot be brushed or flossed away.

This is why it is important to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum. The devotion of twice daily brushing and daily flossing helps you avoid problems such as cavities and gum disease.

For decades, brushing and flossing have been the tried-&-true techniques for maintaining a healthy mouth. However, like most things, proper techniques can mean the difference between somewhat helpful and very effective.

Brushing should be done with a soft to medium bristle tooth brush using a fluoridated toothpaste. You should use a circulation motion on the front and back of each tooth and a swirling motion along the tops.

Flossing also requires the proper technique to have a positive impact. For example, researchers at the University of Washington School of Dentistry found that when children between ages 4 – 13 had their teeth professionally flossed for five days a week for just over a year and a half, there was 40% decrease in cavity risk. A group of the same ages who flossed on their own saw no such benefit.

Yet, many people feel flossing is awkward. They claim it cuts circulation in their fingers and it’s difficult to reach certain areas in the mouth. For people with large fingers, this seems to be a significant obstacle. Too, people who have dexterity problems, such as arthritic challenges, feel frustrated by the movement required.

For easy flossing tips, watch our short video:

For situations where self-flossing is too challenging, we often recommend water flossers. These are easy to use, affordable and can be more effective than flossing when challenges exist.

In spite of daily flossing and twice daily brushing, other factors can impact your potential for a healthy mouth. As mentioned prior, each time you eat, the acid attack in your mouth places tooth enamel in a vulnerable position. For those who are frequent snackers, they are more susceptible to oral problems due to an increased number of acid attacks throughout the day.

People who sip sodas during the day also have a greater risk. The acid in the soda coupled with the drink’s sticky sugar is a double wallop when it mixes with the acid in the mouth. Often, people drink sodas between meals, which means the mouth is being bombarded by acid far too often to ward off potential damage.

If people who have lost teeth due to insufficient oral hygiene could go back, daily brushing and flossing would take on a much higher priority in their day. Adult teeth are a ‘one-&-done’ deal. Losing them opens the door for decisions that can be costly and even frustrating (just ask most long-time denture wearers!).

If you can’t get comfortable with flossing, consider purchasing  a water flosser and make it part of your everyday oral hygiene routine. In addition to reducing your risk for cavities and gum disease, you’ll be able to enjoy fresher breath and a more confident smile.

Behind on your dental cleanings and check-ups? Let’s get you up to speed before the year’s end. Call 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule an appointment.

Sleep Apnea Can Affect Sex Life

In this day and age, it’s not unusual for busy couples to be too tired for sex some nights. However, for more than 12 million American adults who suffer with sleep apnea, sleep disruption can lead to a much more complicated obstacle to a couple’s sex life.

Feeling tired and sleepy throughout the day are typical symptoms of sleep apnea, and can lead to weight gain and depression. Yet, the necessary periods of REM sleep are what give a boost to sex hormones. Insufficient sleep seems to decrease these levels, which is a major factor in one’s sex drive.

One study compared 80 women with sleep apnea to 240 women without sleep apnea. All study participants were age 65 and over. The results showed that sleep apnea sufferers had dramatically higher rates of sexual dysfunction.

A prior study included over 400 men who had been seen for suspected sleep apnea. Of those who were diagnosed with the condition, nearly 70% had erectile dysfunction compared with 34% for men without sleep apnea.

It has been noted that patients who undergo surgery to correct abnormalities that contribute to apnea see improvements in intimacy. Those who start CPAP therapy also report an increase in sexual relationships. Unfortunately, an estimated 22% of those prescribed with CPAP are consistent users.

CPAP isn’t for everyone. Many CPAP users complain about feeling claustrophobic, encumbered and are bothered by the noise. For adults with mild to moderate sleep apnea, the solution may be a simple, FDA-approved oral appliance.

These mouth pieces are custom designed so they are comfortable and won’t interfere with your sleep. They are easy to use and effective for many levels of sleep apnea and heavy snoring (often a precursor to sleep apnea).

Sleep apnea is nothing to ignore, regardless of your libido. It has been associated with a  number of serious health problems including weight gain and obesity, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, migraines and impotency.

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more about overcoming sleep apnea and regaining a full and healthy lifestyle! Or, schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions so you can determine if this is right for you.


Dental Implant Success

Dental implants are one of the most successful of all implant-in-bone procedures, over 94%. One of the keys to the success of your implants is in choosing an experienced Doctor.

A successful outcome begins with the Doctor in proper diagnosis, selecting the right type of implant, and precision placement. However, once an implant patient leaves our office, he or she can greatly affect the life of their dental implants.

Although rare occurrences, there are several reasons that dental implants must be removed. This occurs most often because of an infection that occurs when oral bacteria evolves into periodontal (gum) disease. The bacteria of this disease causes inflammation that can reach the area surrounding the implant’s post.

When gum disease reaches this level, it infects the bone and supporting structures of the implant. While prompt treatment can resolve some infections, there is a certain level that requires the implant to be removed so the area can fully heal.

The most common causes for implant failure are poor oral hygiene, smoking (which is drying to oral tissues) and diabetes. Another less-known but significant factor is teeth grinding during sleep.

Bruxing (clenching and grinding teeth) actually contributes to implant failure in more cases than many realize. One study of dental implant recipients noted that 29% of patients who were teeth grinders had failed implants. Nearly the same number of patients with diabetes experienced implant failure.

Bruxing is a known problem for natural teeth that are well-established in the jaw bone. The force can be so much that tooth surfaces wear down. For those who clench, the force can be hard enough to crack a walnut. Grinding and clenching can cause teeth to chip, crack, break and even tilt out of position. These actions can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints and sore facial and neck muscles.

Even natural teeth can be worn down from bruxing. Imagine what this does to a newly-placed implant.
Even natural teeth can be worn down from bruxing. Imagine what this does to a newly-placed implant.

So, the pressure and trauma that bruxing can place on a newly-placed implant isn’t surprising once it is noted. Resolving the problem before treatment is, of course, the best solution. However, bruxing should be corrected regardless of the situation and is sometimes corrected with simple reshaping of selected teeth. In addition to protecting the life of your implant, having treatment for problems that contribute to bruxing can help you avoid a long list of residual problems as described above.

Ultimately, taking proper measures to increase implant treatment success helps to protect your investment. They also enable you to enjoy your implants without complications or delays.

We want every patient, including our implant patients, to have only positive experiences and successful outcomes. While not all aspects of after-treatment are within our control, I believe that being communicative with patients on how to increase the potential for success is as important as the exceptional, overall experience our office is known for.

To learn more about Dental Implants, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and make recommendations.

How To Spend Less On Dentistry

Like most individuals, our desire is to be proactive with our family’s health. To accomplish this, we stay active, eat healthy and have regular check-ups along with periodic screenings. It simply makes sense to be committed to preventing problems or catch any that do arise at early stages.

Research has shown that your oral health deserves the same commitment you give to maintaining a healthy body. Studies have found links between the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease and serious problems elsewhere in the body. These include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies,  impotency and more.

Another reason to maintain a healthy smile is to save money. Yes, by devoting mere minutes a day to your oral hygiene and having dental exams and cleanings every six months, you can prevent many problems from occurring in the first place, saving both time and expense for repairs.MagGlass

Your twice-a-year dental check-ups are opportunities to remove calculus. Calculus (or ‘tartar’), a hardened form of oral bacteria, is the result of plaque that is not removed thoroughly from the mouth each day. Once plaque forms into calculus, it attaches to teeth and can no longer be brushed or flossed away.

Oral bacteria thrive and reproduce in your mouth by eating away at gum tissues. Because they reproduce rapidly, they can easily go from gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) to periodontal disease, an infection. While gingivitis causes tender gums to bleed when brushing, periodontal disease symptoms are more severe, including persistent bad breath, sore gums that bleed easily, gums that darken in color, receded gums, and pus pockets that form between teeth.

Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.  However, the potent bacteria can become bloodborne through tears in disease gum tissues, causing problems elsewhere in the body. The bacteria of periodontal disease has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions that are the origins of the major health problems mentioned prior. And, as research continues, more and more problems are being connected to oral bacteria from gum disease.

Obviously, oral bacteria is highly potent. However, it’s easy to control with twice daily brushing and daily flossing combined with regular dental checkups. For added protection, limit sugary snacks and either swish after eating or chew sugarless gum when brushing is inconvenient. Not only will you help to reduce your risk for cavities and gum problems, you’ll be able to enjoy fresher breath and smiling confidence.

Think about the savings you’ll experience when you don’t need cavities repaired and can avoid gum therapy required to remove deeply-embedded oral bacteria. Begin with a thorough examination and cleaning. This will help to give your mouth a clean slate that will be easy to maintain at home between visits.

To schedule, call 1-866-9-Smiles. We look forward to helping you save money!

Being Afraid Of The Dentist Not Uncommon

I really like my ophthalmologist. I don’t like having my eyes dilated or that puff of air that shoots at each eye ball, but I’m not afraid of being in his care.

Like most of us, annual check-ups and periodic screenings are not necessarily things we enjoy, but we do them because we want to protect our health. Ideally, nothing negative is found and we are reassured that we are doing the right things. However, these visits can also catch problems at early stages so we can resolve them promptly.

In my role as a dentist, I occasionally see patients who avoid dental care to extreme levels. This is because they are fearful of dental visits, typically due to a past experience that left them with a deeply embedded memory – one that seems to rise to the surface with every thought of a dental visit.

In the U.S., it is estimated that nearly 75% of adults suffer with dental fear. Up to 10% are classified as having dental phobia. Those are people who break out in a sweat or cry at the mere thought of having to walk into a dental office. Typically, most avoid care until they are forced to resolve extreme pain from an unresolved dental problem.

What is troubling to me as a dentist is that I know dental care doesn’t have to hurt. And shouldn’t. As a matter of fact, I’ve developed a reputation with my patients for ‘painless injections.’ Our entire team has a high commitment to the comfort of each patient regardless of the visit. From cleanings and check-ups to tooth restoration such as fillings or crowns, comfort is always a high priority throughout each visit.

We have also structured our entire office so comfort is incorporated in all aspects of care. For example, our clinical area is positioned away from our private Consultation room. This enables us to have closed-door conversations in comfortable arm chairs in an area that is not intimidating.

Headphones help our patients enjoy music or movies during treatment while they relax in specially-designed treatment chairs that promote comfort. Too, some patients choose to relax deeply with nitrous oxide (also known as ‘laughing gas’), oral sedation or I.V. sedation (‘twilight sleep.’)

While our patients find themselves surrounded in comfort, it is most often the relationships of trust that help them to go from fearful patient to an individual with a healthy smile. We pace each patient’s care so they feel in control and provide treatment according to their preferences. Realizing they are in charge can greatly help patients relax. Once they know they can truly trust us to treat them with gentle hands in a respectful manner, many fears melt away.

Our patients also appreciate that there are no lectures here. We do not try to ‘guilt’ patients into accepting treatment or making appointments. Although we encourage and recommend, your decisions must be based on your ‘readiness’ to proceed and we know that only you can know when that time is right.

If fear is keeping you from having the healthy, confident smile you’ve always imagined, let’s start with a friendly phone call. Ask our phone staff to arrange a time when we can discuss your needs on the phone. Or, for a firsthand look at our office and so we can meet personally, ask for a no cost, no obligation consultation. This is a time for conversation and having your questions answered. We won’t take you to the clinical side of our office unless you wish to tour that part of the facility.

It may also help to speak with people who have overcome their dental fears as a result of our care. We have many dear patients who understand your concerns and are happy to share their own experiences. Having a conversation with someone who has ‘been there, done that’ may put you at ease so you are more comfortable making an appointment.

Begin with a telephone call to 1-866-9-Smiles. We’ll make this first step an easy one! Consider a tour of our office that you can enjoy right from your own home! Click the link below to get to know us:

Dental Emergency Guidelines

Christmas morning often brings bikes, skateboards, roller blades and balls & bats as gifts for both young and not-so-young! We can now add hover boards to the list. While these create fun and entertainment in our lives, as a dentist, I’ve seen a number of chipped, broken, cracked and knocked out teeth as well as cut lips and gums.roller-blading

Mishaps can occur with any of these items, regardless of your age. Should the unexpected happen, here are some tips to help you lessen the impact and hopefully lead to a better outcome:


TOOTHACHE – Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm, salt water or use dental floss to gently dislodge trapped food or debris. If the face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Take acetaminophen for pain and call us as soon as possible. Do not place aspirin on the gum or the aching tooth.

CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE, LIP OR CHEEK – Apply a cold compress to bruised areas. 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 without delay.

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 call our office immediately.

POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW – If a fractured jaw is suspected, use a tie, towel or handkerchief to tie underneath the chin and over the top of the head. This will help to keep the jaws from moving. Go immediately to the nearest emergency room.

BROKEN BRACES & WIRES – Fortunately, most loose or broken appliances do not require emergency room attention. If the appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If not, cover sharp or protruding portions with cotton balls, gauze or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, do not attempt to remove it. Call our office immediately.

Our office has after-hours instructions on the answering machine in case you need to contact us. We will do everything possible to assist you.

By the way, a custom-fitted mouth guard is an excellent companion to these holiday gifts. And, they can save you tremendously in costs, treatment time, and more. Ask about mouth guards at your next visit or call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more.




That Ache May Not Be A Cavity

When a patient comes in because of a tooth ache, it’s most likely due to a cavity. However, in a number of cases, we find that other reasons are creating an ache that is not always INSIDE the tooth.

It’s not unusual for the first sign of gingivitis to be a sore feeling. Especially with back teeth, this can create the sensation of a deep ache.  Soreness may also be accompanied by some bleeding when brushing or flossing in the area. When caught early, you can combat gingivitis with a thorough oral hygiene cleaning and proper home care. If not resolved fully, however, gingivitis can develop into gum disease. This requires more time and expense to treat so catching this early is advantageous in a number of ways.

An ache can also be caused by gum recession. This is when the gums pull away from the base of the tooth, exposing sensitive, darker areas that are actually the tooth root. Because tooth roots don’t have the protective enamel like your teeth, these areas are much more sensitive. Gum recession can cause an ache (or sometime a ‘jolt’) when you eat or drink anything hot or cold. Receded gums also leave you more vulnerable to developing gum disease.

When gum tissue is exposed to irritants or harsh treatment, gum recession may occur.  Other causes may include brushing too rigorously, tooth grinding (which may ’tilt’ the tooth’s position), consumption of too much sugar or acidic foods and smoking. Overuse of mouthwash or over-the-counter tooth whiteners may also cause irritation leading to gums recession.

Typically, an examination of the gums will reveal signs of gum recession or the presence of gingivitis (or more advanced levels of gum disease).  If these indications are not present, you likely have a cavity, crack in the tooth or dead tooth nerve (which requires a root canal). An ‘x-ray’ (actually, we do digital imaging for a clearer view) will show precisely where the problem lies.

Regardless of the origin, the sooner you have the problem treated, the more you’ll save in time and treatment costs. Like Benjamin Franklin once said, “A stitch in time saves nine!”

An ache is your body’s warning signal that something is wrong. We’re here to help you enjoy a healthy confident smile regardless of your need. Begin with an exam and learn how you can avoid problems in the first place! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.

Caution On Rx Meds That Can Contribute To Tooth Loss

If you take antihistamines, aspirin, asthma medications and syrups, you may be taking one that makes you more vulnerable to tooth loss. It is estimated that about 40% of Americans take at least one type of medicine that can cause damage to their teeth.

These medications include prescription drugs and over-the-counter preparations and can contribute to gum tissue problems such as inflammation, bleeding or ulcers. Additionally, diseased gum tissue can lead to other dental problems, including tooth loss.

Some medications with damaging side effects to teeth include:
• Antihistamines – can cause dry mouth, and an increased risk of gum problems.
• Antihypertensives – can lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Aspirin – chewing aspirin can directly damage the tooth enamel, as aspirin is acidic. Always take aspirin strictly as directed.
• Asthma medications – some asthma drugs are highly acidic and can dissolve tooth enamel if used regularly over a long period of time.
• Chemotherapy drugs – can cause a dry mouth and lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Immunosuppressive drugs – can lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Oral contraceptives – can lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Syrups – medicated syrups that contain sugar can increase the risk of tooth decay if teeth are not brushed after these syrups are taken.

To check the level of tooth loss on a long list of prescription medications, use the link below. This shows drugs such as Stelara with only 1 case of tooth loss but Prednisone having 436 cases and Zometa a whopping 1,571.

At each appointment, it is important that you keep us updated on medications you take. We want to help you avoid tooth loss. Knowing your medical and dental history and list of medications (including herbal supplements) can help us be more proactive on your behalf.