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Women and Gum Disease

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

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Some rites of passage are obvious: Baby's first tooth, the first visit from the Tooth Fairy, getting braces. But periodontal disease? For a woman especially, gum disease tends to creep in at three key points in life: Menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. 

First, a moment to explain what periodontal disease is: It starts with plaque, a soft, sticky buildup of bacteria. The longer it lingers, the more irritation it causes. That irritation can lead to gingivitis, which brings redness, inflammation, bleeding and tenderness in the gums. When gingivitis is left untreated, the gum tissues begin to separate from the tooth and form pockets. That's a sign of periodontitis. The pockets become infected, and can eventually break down the tissues that hold teeth in place.

Major hormonal shifts can compromise gum health. A report from the University of Maryland explains how: 

  • Menstruation: The hormone progesterone peaks a few days before menstrual bleeding, and sometimes at ovulation. Progesterone tends to increase blood supply to the gums, and change how the body responds to plaque. If you're using birth control, check to see how much progesterone is in the mix. Gingivitis could be a side effect. 
  • Pregnancy: It's critically important to see a dentist while you're pregnant, and here's why: There have been studies which linked gum disease to pre-term delivery and other complications. It's important to take care of any sign of gum disease early, and there are treatment options that won't compromise the pregnancy. During those nine months, the gums become progressively more irritated from the second month to the eighth month. Most of the time, pregnancy-caused gingivitis will calm down a few months after delivery, although it may last longer, especially if you're nursing.
  • Menopause: Low estrogen levels impact bone density. A 2012 study found that women with low bone density were twice as likely to have periodontal disease. Also, a lack of saliva - dry mouth is common among menopausal women - can also increase the risk of gum infections.

So what's a girl to do? Brush, floss and visit your dentist and hygienist. Don't skip regular dental cleanings. Often it’s wise to be seen for teeth cleanings more often during pregnancy; perhaps every 3 months.  Stop smoking. Make note of when your gums are more sensitive or red, and don't hesitate to call when you have a question or concern. 

Peter J. Samuels is a Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.

717-334-0555     GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Sleep Apnea and Dental Snore Appliances

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 14:04 PM

 

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Snoring, while often joked about, isn’t funny!

In reality, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and excessive snoring that interrupts sleep can indicate a serious disease which can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, pauses in breathing, irritability and depression. Studies show that 30 to 50 percent of the people in the U.S. experience snoring.

Most sleep related breathing cases go un-diagnosed and untreated. A dental survey found that an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.   

A successful treatment to combat excessive snoring and sleep apnea is the use of a dental snore appliance. Such devices are carefully designed and adjusted to reposition the jaw slightly down and forward.  Often they are slowly adjusted to an optimum position, by a dentist, over a period of several weeks.  The appliances are designed to help stop the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has pioneered the design of dental snore appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea and sleep related breathing disorders.  With a dentist fitted, custom made, oral appliance, dentists can minimize or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea in many mild to moderate cases. If you have more severe sleep apnea and cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, then a dental appliance can be a life saver!

Dentists are often the first to recognize symptoms of sleep apnea since one of the symptoms can be tooth grinding (bruxing) during sleep. Your dentist may recommend further evaluation with a sleep monitor or referral to a sleep physician. Treatment with dental appliances is often covered by medical insurance.

If you have questions about sleep apnea or excessive snoring please contact us. We are appy to discuss your  options. 

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

717-334-0555 GettysburgCosmeticDentist.com

A Gettysburg Dentist discusses a Brief History of Dentistry

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

 Gettysburg Dentist Peter J. Samuels, DDS

 

 

Did you know dentistry is one of the oldest professions in
the medical field?  It dates back to
ancient times and became a more defined profession in the 1700s. The
"Father of Modern Dentistry" is Pierre Fauchard who published a book
titled The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth, in 1723. This influential text
defined a complete system for taking care of and treating teeth.

Evidence suggests that the Chinese practiced restorative
dentistry in 200B.C. Other Asian countries also included oral medicine as part
of their regular medical practice. Arabic writings from the same time period
indicate that they cleaned and scaled teeth. The first dental college, the
Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, opened in the United States in 1840, and
politicians in Alabama enacted the first dental practice act in 1841. Other
significant events were the  American
Dental Association forming  in 1859 and
Harvard establishing the first university dental school in 1867.

The United States became the leading center for dental
developments in  the 19th century.  Medical anesthesia was developed by dentists
and became widely used by physicians during the Civil War.     Advances in the field included the discovery
of anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide and ether as well as the development,
by dentists, of anesthesia  equipment .  Modern methods of sedation anesthesia for in office dental treatment were developed by dentists. 
An American dentist, James Beall Morrison, introduced the foot-treadle drill in
1871l. It gave dentists the ability to remove decay and restore teeth with
various filling materials.

As a practicing Gettysburg dentist of over thirty years,
it’s sometimes interesting to hear stories from some of my older patients.  In the early 1980’s, for example, I remember
hearing stories from some of my older Gettysburg patients, who at that time were in their
80’s, of their childhood dentists who used foot powered drills!  They told me that their local dentist seldom used
anesthetics and mostly just pulled teeth. 
There were no antibiotics and an abscessed tooth could easily become
life threatening.

 

How lucky we are to live in an age of comfortable,
preventive oriented, dental care!   With
modern local anesthetics, sedation anesthesia, and modern, tooth colored
filling materials, almost anyone can have a beautiful smile.

 

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

GettysburgFamilyDentist.com               334-0555

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, Gettysburg sedation dentist

Are you a good candidate for sedation dentistry?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 @ 12:04 PM

 

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Perhaps you've heard of of sedation for dental treatment. Some refer to it as sleep dentistry.  If so, you might be wondering whether you are a good candidate.

Who uses sedation dentistry? 

Do you:

  • Feel very anxious about going to the dentist?
  • Need extra help getting numb in order to not feel pain? 
  • Have a strong gag reflex?
  • Develop jaw strain during dental procedures?

If you experience one or more of these conditions, a sedation dentist can help. As a first step, contact a dentist who provides sedation dentistry and arrange to come in for a consult. The dentist can do a thorough dental exam, review your treatment options and explain how sedation for dental treatment works.  In general, IV medications are used to gradually remove your anxiety. Time will seem to go by very quickly.  While you will be sedated and conscious, many people feel as though they slept through the entire procedure.  Often, procedures such as fillings and crowns that might take many office visits without sedation, can be accomplished in one relaxing visit.

Before you schedule a sedation dentistry appointment, you should arrange a ride. You are not able to drive yourself home after the procedure, since the sedatives need time to wear off. 

Who would not be a good candidate for sedation dentistry?

There are a few health conditions that indicate that you should not receive sedation. If you are allergic to sedatives or have developed medication resistance, you might not be able to receive this treatment. If you are medically compromised, your dentist might not recommend sedation in the office. Finally, sedation dentistry is not recommended during pregnancy. 

If this has piqued your interest, we recommend that you contact a dental office that provides sedation to learn about your options.

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.  He provides safe sedation dentistry in his office using a board certified, medical anesthesiologist.

Topics: gettysburg sleep dentist, Gettysburg sedation dentist

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