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Gettysburg Dentist Tips for Curbing Easter Candy Cravings

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

Cosmetic Dentist Peter J. Samuels, DDS

 

In just a few short weeks, many Americans will be presenting their loved ones with Easter candies. Before that happens, our cosmetic dentistry team in Gettysburg wanted to briefly discuss the sweet tooth myth and offer alternatives to the classic, holiday confections. Let’s start with a few studies that help show why dental patients shouldn’t be blaming their teeth for their sugar cravings:

In June 2013, an article appeared in a research journal published by The Obesity Society. It revealed that by and large, humans really do eat with their eyes. In other words, the mere sight of Easter treats can cause feel-good, chemical changes to occur in our bodies, which eventually lead towards the development of cravings. It wasn’t the first study to indicate as much. Over the years, several have appeared in the journals, Neuroscience and Cell alone. So clearly, the best way to overcome those Easter candy cravings is to change how we look at sweets and retrain our brains.

Our cosmetic dentistry team suggests patients start by taking a look at candy substitutes that can fool the brain. For instance, there are products on the market today that look like sugary candies but are actually made with xylitol. We’ve talked about xylitol in previous blog posts. It’s a substance that is known to help minimize or get rid of cavity causing bacteria. That’s why people often include it in oral hygiene products like mouthwashes, chewing gums, breath mints, dental floss and toothpaste. Some of the companies that produce edibles made with xylitol are Dr. John’s Candies™, Xlear Incorporated, Simply Xylitol® and Xyla™.

Xylitol is not the only product that can be used to trick our brains into thinking a sweet, Easter treat is near. There are many natural ingredients that can add sweetness to what we eat and drink without increasing their sugar levels. The list of ingredients that may work includes, but isn’t limited to pure vanilla bean powder, ground cinnamon, almonds, coconuts, apples, beets, avocados and grated carrots. To learn more about protecting loved ones’ teeth without forgoing all the holiday fun, please contact us today.

 

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.

Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry

Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 @ 16:03 PM

 

 Gettysburg Sleep Dentist


 

If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea you've probably been fully informed about all of the health problems untreated sleep apnea leads to. Heart disease, car crashes, high blood pressure, and even sky-high rates of divorce have all been linked to untreated sleep apnea. The gold-standard treatment for sleep apnea is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, or any of its variants. 

CPAP is very effective for treating sleep apnea. Unfortunately, it is a very intrusive device. The mask, the tubes, the noise- many people cannot sleep at all while wearing them, which kind of defeats the purpose. Luckily, there are alternatives.

Oral Sleep Appliance

The most commonly-used alternative to CPAP is a special kind of mouth guard. These look a lot like the rubbery devices that athletes use to protect their teeth. An oral appliance used to treat CPAP has to fitted by a specially trained dentist. They work by holding the jaw slightly forward of its normal position during sleep. That slight adjustment is enough to keep the airway open during sleep for most people. 

Oral appliances are well-tolerated. There may be some minor irritation to the gums during the first few days of use. It is important to be sure the mouth guard has actually stopped the sleep apnea, though. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that patients fitted with an oral appliance undergo a sleep study to be sure. Sometimes mouth guards stop the snoring but don't actually stop the repeated episodes of breathing cessation. 

Surgery

Surgery sounds like a tempting option to treat sleep apnea. Go in and get it fixed all at once is a very American approach to health problems. Surgery for sleep apnea usually consists of trimming the palate or some of the other soft tissues in the mouth. The most commonly used procedure is called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. However, studies indicate it only works about 50% of the time and has a high rate of post-operative morbidity. Some doctors are suggesting it be abandoned as a viable approach to treating sleep apnea. 

Inspire 

This is a fairly new approach to treating sleep apnea. It is a device that is implanted in the throat and chest. It acts to monitor breathing during sleep, and when necessary, it stimulates the breathing muscles to prevent breathing cessation. Inspire therapy is indicated for patients who can't use CPAP. Results of a large study of Inspire were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and it appears to be fairly effective in treating sleep apnea.

However, because it requires surgery, it's probably a good idea to try non-invasive solutions such as weight loss and an oral appliance first. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and can't use CPAP, go talk to your dentist about non-invasive options for treating sleep apnea. 

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg Dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School

Topics: snore appliance, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea

Are Dental Veneers and Implants Tax Deductible?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

Gettysburg Dentist Peter Samuels. DDS

 

It’s almost time for Americans to sit down and calculate their taxes for the year. We sometimes get patients that contact the office and ask, “Are porcelain crowns, veneers, or dental implants and other dental expenses tax-deductible?” It’s a good question to ask and the IRS has published an entire pamphlet to address that question and more for people who will be filing during the 2014 tax period.   For those that don’t want to read the booklet at this time, the short answer is some dental expenses are tax-deductible and others are not.

The major difference between the two categories is medical necessity. In other words, if a patient experienced a health problem in 2014 that negatively affected his or her teeth, chances are at least some of the treatment costs will be tax-deductible. It may also be possible to deduct other costs, like  medications and health insurance premiums associated with routine or emergency dental procedures. The list of medically necessary examples that the IRS casually refers to in the pamphlet includes, but is not limited to dentures, dental x-rays, fluoride treatments, invisible braces and tooth-colored filings.

The agency also makes it a point to note that purely cosmetic procedures and personal use items are not tax-deductible. So, that means it’s not possible to deduct the cost of in-home or in-office teeth whitening. Expenses related to OTC toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash and general care products are typically not considered tax-deductible either.

This brings us back to the question, “Are porcelain crowns, dental implants and fillings medically necessary?” If they were performed to repair damaged teeth and restore oral health, the answer is most likely “yes.” The best way to know for sure is to read the pamphlet and discuss any outstanding issues with your trusted tax preparer or an IRS agent.

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.

717-334-0555 GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry, Veneers, Tax deductions

New technology in Dentistry

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Mar 4, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

Peter J. Samuels, DDS

 

When I was little a visit to the dentist meant an agonizing sit through a painful and unpleasant process.  Pulleys ran a slow speed drill that vibrated my head and made smoke!  Predictably, as a child growing up in the 1960s, my mouth became full of black, amalgam fillings.  Dentistry back then was drilling, filling and pulling.  Dentists patched and patched until the teeth broke and then they were pulled.  Eventually people were expected to have dentures.

Boy have things changed!  Here’s but a bit of the technology you’ll find today in a modern office.

Laser Dentistry: Dentists started using lasers in 1990. The instrument produces an intense narrow beam of light energy. The light can remove or shape tissue on contact.

DIAGNodent: This laser device detects cavities hidden in places that regular x-rays cannot detect. Remember the “pick” the dentist used to rely on? A laser can often replace the explorer (pick) and can be more accurate. We can find decay at an earlier stage when it can be treated conservatively.

Invisalign: These clear braces straighten your teeth with custom-made aligners that are invisible, smooth and comfortable. Wearing them gently and gradually shifts your teeth into place based on a personalized plan. The concept, though simple, is based on hi tech computer modeling software coupled with robotic aligner fabrication.

Digital imaging and cadcam restorations:  Crowns (caps) can now be made from solid porcelain by a hi tech laboratory that uses computers and cad cam machines to scan images of your teeth and create beautiful, lifelike, perfectly fitting restorations.  In some cases we can scan your mouth with a Cerec machine right in the office to make a beautiful crown while you wait.

Digital x-rays: Remember those little films you held with your hand while the dentist took a picture?  Today we have digital x-ray sensors that require much less exposure than conventional film. 

Dental implants:  Implants have revolutionized treatment options.  We routinely replace teeth with implants.  Dentures loose?  Implants can hold them solidly. 

Bonded veneers:  A porcelain crown can save your tooth.  Bonded porcelain veneers can give you a new smile and change your life!

Sedation dentistry:  Just like for a medical procedure, you can be safely sedated in the office for almost any dental procedure. 

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.

334-0555     GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Gettysburg dentist

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