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Perio Disease and Sugar; Not so Sweet!

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 @ 08:01 AM

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If you lived in the days before we Americans drank soda like water and before the sugar industry began a full-throttle campaign to deflect attention from sugar as the cause of disease, you probably heard something like this regularly: "Stay away from sugar -- it will rot your teeth." 

Today, in the face of an obesity and diabetes epidemic and other accompanying diseases -- and with low-fat diets failing to correct these problems -- we hear sugar warnings once again. Does sugar "rot your teeth?" Yes, but the relationship between sugar and rotting teeth is more complex. Bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on your teeth after you eat, and this process causes dental decay. Bacteria form a sticky plaque which produces acid. Plaque and the acid it produces is the direct cause of decay.

Some debris is what we expect, things like cake, cookies and candy -- but carbohydrates include whole wheat bread and even vegetables. Since a healthy diet includes 40-65% carbohydrates, this means another line of defense against dental decay is frequent brushing to remove plaque.

It also, however, includes a real food diet, that is, a diet in which the carbohydrates are intact with all their fiber. The fiber serves like a toothbrush, removing plaque as you eat. Refined, high sugar content, processed foods don't have that plaque-removing capability. Coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, these same real foods are most beneficial to those who must control blood sugar levels.

The relationship between dental disease and systemic disease with sugars at the heart of that equation extends further. "Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes, adding serious gum disease to the list of other complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease." Newer research suggests the relationship is two-ways, that those with gum disease are more likely to have diabetes and related diseases. "If your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease and lose more teeth than non-diabetics. Like all infections, serious gum disease may be a factor in causing blood sugar to rise and may make diabetes harder to control."

According to an article in Diabetologia (2012 Jan; 55(1): 21–31), "Periodontitis and diabetes: a two-way relationship," periodontal disease and diabetes are intimately linked through inflammation: "Inflammation is a central feature of the pathogenesis of diabetes and periodontitis."

What does all of this mean in plain words? It means what we have long known, that the best diet for all of us to follow is one that was once recommended to diabetics. As Michael Pollan advises, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This is a diet of real food, weighted to plants; protein and good fats; and limited added sugars. It serves those who want to keep their blood sugar levels in a normal range, avoid weight gain, diabetes, dental caries, periodontal disease, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer, all inflammatory conditions correctable with lifestyle changes.

So brush and floss your teeth to reduce plaque. Visit your dentist at least twice yearly for professional cleaning. And remind yourself of the wisdom we once took for granted: while it's not a direct relationship but rather an insidious and pervasive one, sugar does rot your teeth...and maybe the rest of your body.

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

GettysburgFamilyDentist.com   717-334-0555

Topics: Periodontal disease and sugar and health

TeethXpress; New Teeth in a Day!

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 @ 18:12 PM

 

 

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There’s nothing like your natural teeth.  Keep them for as long as you can.  But sometimes there is simply no viable alternative to having teeth out.  The psychological and physical trauma involved in the transition to removable dentures can be severe.  A new implant technique can make things a lot easier.  Imagine having teeth out and having fixed teeth placed and anchored to dental implants all on the same day.  You are never without teeth! What used to be a long and drawn out process has now, with the latest technology, become affordable and routine.

TeethXpress is a type of dental implant procedure that helps to resolve an important issue that most dental wearers will eventually suffer.  With traditional dentures, an individual's jaw bone continues to shrink and their once well-fitting dentures begin to slip and slide in their mouth. The shape of the face changes and ages. With TeethXpress, your dentures are permanently secured to your mouth with dental implants.  The palate is not covered, nothing is loose, and the jawbone structure is preserved.

With TeethXpress dental implants, patients are usually able to eat the healthy foods they like, such as salad and raw vegetables, and they do not incur pain from poor fitting dentures. There is no gum or mouth irritation and no need for messy denture adhesives.  You can be social and go to restaurants and meet new friends without worrying about embarrassing denture problems. Most importantly, the dental implants help to prevent the jawbone from melting away so patients are able to retain their normal-sized jawbone and facial structure.

If you're wondering about others who chose to have TeethXpress implants and their personal experiences, read Marc's story here and another patient, Gwen's story, here.  The before and after photos say it all. TeethXpress is a great way to restore a person's beautiful smile while giving them the ability to speak, eat and live without dental pain or discomfort.

 

TeethXpress can give you back the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.  Dentistry has never looked so good! 

 

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

717-334-0555  GettysburgCosmeticDental.com

Topics: dentures Gettysburg, dental implants Gettysburg

Can't Sleep with CPAP?  Consider a Dental Sleep Appliance.

Posted by Peter Samuels on Sun, Dec 4, 2016 @ 12:12 PM

 

 

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Individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea initially often assume that a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine will resolve all their issues and they will once again be able to sleep comfortably throughout the night.  Unfortunately, CPAP machines are not without issues for some users.  Not only do they not find the restful sleep they were looking for, they also acquire issues from a dry mouth, irritated skin or a host of other issues.

Common problems with CPAP machines include trying to fall asleep with the background noise produced by the machine.  Other CPAP users have problems feeling claustrophobic from wearing the device or they find they routinely take off their mask during sleep.  Some people have issues with their masks causing pressure sores or simply have trouble tolerating the forced air pressure produced by the machine.

If you or someone you know, struggles with sleep apnea and are not happy with using a CPAP machine, consider rlacing a CPAP machine with an oral dental sleep epappliance.  Here at Samuels Dental Arts, we understand how important it is for our patients to get a restful night's sleep on a consistent basis. We can make an oral appliance that is custom-made to fit your mouth to resolve your issues with sleep apnea or even problems with snoring.  The device works by moving the jaw forward enough to increase the size of the upper airway during sleep.  By increasing the size of the upper airway, the air resistance that leads to sleep apnea and snoring is reduced.

If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea or have issues with snoring and have found a CPAP machine difficult to use, contact us to discuss becoming fitted for an oral dental sleep appliance.  Many medical insurances, including Medicare, cover these types of oral appliances.  Within a few weeks, you can start experiencing restful sleep in order to improve your health and overall sense of well-being. 

Peter J. Samuels is clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and a Gettysburg dentist.  717-334-0555

Topics: gettysburg sleep apnea, snoring treatment, CPAP alternatives

"I'd rather have a Baby than go to the Dentist!" Sedation Dentistry

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Nov 22, 2016 @ 11:11 AM

 

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If you are afraid of going to the dentist, you might feel as if you are one of the only people out there who is dealing with this problem. After all, all of your friends and family members might talk about their dental appointments and might all have pretty white teeth. However, even if you feel as if you are alone in your fears, you should know that you aren't. There are actually a lot of adults out there who are afraid of going to the dentist, too.

Just because you are afraid of going to the dentist doesn't mean that you should ignore your teeth. Instead, it means that you should look into options like sedation dentistry.

WithIV sedation anesthesiayou can be pleasantly sedated  while your dentist is working his or her magic. This is a great way to rest and relax while you receive the essential dental care that you need. Not only can this make things easier for you, but it can make it easier for your dentist to get his or her job done.  Often years of dentistry can be caught up in one, relaxing visit.  Your teeth can be cleaned and polished, cavities filled, implants placed, crowns made, all while you snooze. You can even have a cosmetic makeover for the smile of your dreams!

If you have dental phobia, or are even just a little nervousness, IV sedationanesthesia may be the solution you are looking for.

 

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

717-334-0555   GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Sedation dentistry

Need Teeth?  Implant options are HUGE...

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Nov 7, 2016 @ 11:11 AM

 

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If you are missing one or more teeth, you might be wondering about your options. You may be concerned about embarrassment and self-consciousness, issues with eating all of your favorite foods, relationships with others and more.

If you are like many people, you might think that conventional, removable dentures are your only option, but today you have more options than ever before. 

Replace one tooth

Missing one tooth?  You can have a dental implant placed which is like an artificial root in the bone.  It will keep the jawbone from melting away and allow your dentist to place a special, implant retained, porcelain crown. It’s the next best thing to growing a new tooth.

Missing several teeth?

Sometimes we can replace three or four teeth with just two implants.  Say you are missing your upper four front teeth.  Often we can place one implant on each side and replace all four front teeth with a permanent bridge.  It looks and feels like your natural teeth.

Missing all your lower teeth?

Lower dentures are difficult to tolerate.  The jaw bone melts away and it gets to the point where the denture has nothing to hold it in.  If you have two or more lower implants placed the bone will be preserved and the denture will be held securely.  You can stand on your head and it won’t come out!

Need to have all your teeth removed?

Today you often never need to be without fixed teeth.  Implants can be placed at the same time that teeth are removed and fixed teeth can be place immediately.  This is a fantastic new option called TeethXpress. This is a procedure similar to "Teeth in a Day" and "All on 4." It’s easier and more affordable than ever before.

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

 

717-334-0555  GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Cosmetic Dentistry and Tooth-Colored Fillings - One More Way to a Beautiful Smile

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 08:10 AM

 

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Every person likes to feel confident about their smile.  Fortunately, modern cosmetic dentistry practices now include tooth-colored fillings that give patients a more natural look to their teeth, while still providing a strong durable restoration.

Tooth-colored fillings, sometimes referred to as composite fillings, allow a dentist to match the color of a patient's teeth, while still affording protection against further tooth damage caused by cavities.  Composite fillings have other benefits as well:

  • Made of a softer material, they allow dentists more flexibility in shaping the filling material to adapt to the body of various cavities.
  • Composites can be bonded to tooth structure.  They may actually strengthen the tooth.
  • Composite fillings do not rely on a special cavity preparation to hold them in.  Often much less tooth preparation is needed. That means less time working on your tooth!
  • Composite fillings contain no mercury.

Composite fillings have actually been used in the field of dentistry for about 40 years and have proven themselves to be an effective method of combating tooth decay.    For most people, composite fillings are a great tool to treat small to medium size cavities. For larger cavities, especially if the decay is between the teeth, Cerec ceramic onlays or newer, all porcelain crowns may be a better option.  

 

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

717-334-0555       GettysburgCosmeticDental.com

Topics: Cosmetic dentistry, composite fillings

Snore much? Snoring isn't funny!

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

 

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Snoring is often one of the first symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea so don’t be surprised if your dentist asks if you snore.  If your dentist or hygienist notices evidence of tooth grinding sleep apnea may be suspected.

 

Snoring and Health Problems

While many see snoring as a mild problem, there is research showing that it could factor into some serious health conditions. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that snoring and associated apnea may be associated with artery damage and atherosclerosis. The study also presents the possibility that snoring and apnea is are factors in ischemic stroke. Snoring and sleep apnea can also cause a range of issues not directly related to one’s health including marital discord and daytime fatigue.

 

Using a Snoring Appliance

The common treatments for snoring and sleep apnea include the use of CPAP and dental appliances. The two major types of snoring appliances are mandibular advancement devices and tongue retaining devices. Mandibular advancement devices fit over the upper and lower dental arches and look similar to the mouth guards used by athletes; they work by pushing the lower jaw forward to keep the airway clear. Tongue retaining devices work by holding the tongue in the right position to keep the airway open. Both types of snoring appliances are especially useful for treating sleep apnea and snoring in patients who sleep on their back or stomach.

 

If you snore excessively, talk to your dentist about getting tested for sleep apnea and treatment options with a custom fitting dental appliance to suit your specific needs. If you already have been diagnosed, but are unable to tolerate CPAP, a dental sleep appliance may be just the ticket.  Often these appliances are covered by medical insurance.

 

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

717-334-0555     GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Sleep Apnea Dentist: Treatment and Management Strategies

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 @ 12:09 PM

 

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While we may not automatically associate dentistry with healthy sleep, sleep apnea dentists have effective treatments for this debilitating disorder. Diagnosing sleep apnea requires a physician, though a qualified dentist can provide effective treatment and strategies that will make a positive impact on sleep apnea.

Identification of Sleep Apnea

  • According to the article A Dentist’s Role in Sleep Apnea, identifiable characteristics of sleep apnea include morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability and impaired mental or emotional functioning, excessive snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, insomnia, and waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
  • To ascertain if the above mentioned symptoms could be sleep apnea, there is a Google application Sleep Bot that will monitor your sounds and movements as you sleep. While a smart phone application can help identify your sleep behavior, it is still important to discuss your sleep pattern data with a physician or your dentist.

Coping With Sleep Apnea

The Mayo Clinic

  • recommends simple common sense measures to address sleep apnea, including weight loss, improving healthy sleep, regular moderate exercise, and limited or no alcohol use.
  • While sleeping pills and tranquilizers can break patterns of insomnia, they also aggravate sleep apnea and ought to be used with discretion.
  • Smoking exacerbates sleep apnea, so if you suffer from this dangerous sleep disorder, consider quitting. Giving up smoking will have a positive impact on sleep apnea management.
  • During the daytime hours, notice if you are tightening your jaw and clenching your teeth together. When you notice this strain in your mouth and jaw, take a moment to relax your neck and shoulder and drop your jaw. You can even gently stretch your jaw, in a yawning position, for further relief. When you lay down to sleep, make sure you are not clenching your teeth and once again drop and relax your jaw while breathing. Relaxing your jaw, in this manner, will also keep your upper and lower teeth separate, therefore you are less likely to grind your teeth.
  • Side sleeping is the best position to avoid loss of breath during the night. If you can only fall asleep on your back, consider a wedge type pillow to elevate your head slightly.
  • If sleep apnea is serious, your dentist may be able to fashion a dental device for sleep apnea. “A dental appliance for sleep apnea, which looks similar to an athletic mouth guard, repositions the jaw and tongue to improve airflow.”

For further questions about sleep apnea, feel free to contact us.

Topics: gettysburg sleep apnea

Root Canal: 4 Common Myths

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 06:09 AM

 

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When it comes to dreaded treatments at the dental office, most fearful patients rank root canals at the top of their list. Much of the fear associated with root canal therapy, however, is likely due to misconceptions. Let's consider some of the most persistent myths regarding root canal therapy:

I'll definitely know if I need a root canal. Most patients mistakenly assume that if they're not in severe pain, they certainly don't need root canal therapy. It's true that tooth pain sometimes indicates the need for a root canal, but that's not always the case. In fact, some patients who need a root canal have no pain at all because the nerve in the affected tooth has died. Yet the tooth still needs treatment, as a dead tooth in the mouth can lead to infection.

Root canals are painful. In the minds of fearful patients, root canal therapy and pain go hand in hand. In fact, it's often the fear of pain that results in anxious patients avoiding dental treatment for years at a time. Indeed, root canal therapy likely was painful in the past, before modern dental treatments were commonplace. Modern dentistry has come a long way and most patients report that root canal therapy is not painful at all. It’s more like just getting a filling.

Root canal treatment isn't a long-term fix. Some patients avoid root canal therapy, reasoning that it's just a temporary fix that will need to be addressed again down the road. However, dentists consider root canal treatment a long-term restorative solution. Of course, no dental restoration lasts forever, but if  the patient practices good oral hygiene, the benefits of root canal therapy can save a tooth for many years.

Extraction is a better choice. If the tooth is severely damaged anyway, isn't extraction a better option than restoration?  Yes, sometimes extraction of a tooth and replacement with a dental implant is an alternative.  Every situation is different and the options should be discussed with your dentist.  Extraction of a tooth without replacement can result in bone loss and shifting of the bite.  Even with the advent of alternatives such as dental implants, root canal treatment to save a tooth is still often the best alternative.

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

GettysburgFamilyDentist.com      717-334-0555

Topics: Root Canal Treatment

What's up with my Gums?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

 

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Periodontal disease or periodontitis is a condition involving the infection of the gums. It can destroy the soft tissue attachments around teeth and, ultimately, cause the supporting bone to melt away. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and may place you at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

What are the symptoms of periodontitis?

Periodontitis can make itself known by swollen, tender, bleeding, reddish or purplish gums. Gums infected with the disease can seem to recede, causing the teeth to seem more prominent than normal. Spaces can also appear between the teeth. In some some cases changes in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together can occur. Pus may ooze between the teeth and gum. People with periodontitis can also have a bad taste in their mouths and bad breath.

What causes periodontitis?

Periodontitis is caused when plaque (the sticky film of bacteria) is left on teeth for too long. The plaque, in due course, gets between the teeth and gums and hardens in the form of tartar. Everyone has some plaque, but plaque can build up quickly from sugary foods and drinks.  At this point, the mildest form of the disease, caused gingivitis, begins to irritate and inflame the part of the gum that is around the base of the teeth. If left unchecked, gingivitis becomes full-bore periodontitis as more plaque, tartar, and bacteria forms in pockets between the gum and teeth. At this point, the soft tissue and bone begin to be destroyed, resulting in possible loss of teeth.

How does one prevent periodontitis?

It seems like a cliché imparted in every dentist’s office on the planet, but regular brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent any kind of disease of the teeth and gums. Plaque constantly builds up, so it constantly needs to be brushed and flossed away.

Why are people who have periodontitis more at risk for heart disease and strokes?

Researchers have noted that periodontitis makes one more prone to heart disease and strokes. The theory is that the same bacteria that destroys the gums and underlying bones can travel through the bloodstream and attach themselves on the plaque in blood vessels. This, in turn, causes inflammation and the creation of clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. Also, people with periodontitis may have compromised immune systems that can also lead to cardiovascular disease.

How is periodontitis treated?

Your dentist will perform the diagnosis based evaluation of pockets between the gums and the teeth and bone level on x-rays. If it is determined you have periodontitis, you may be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) or if the disease has not progressed too far, you may be treated conservatively.

Scaling and root planing will be used to remove plaque and tartar from beneath the gums. You may be prescribed a course of antibiotics.

If your periodontitis is advanced, a number of surgical procedures are available to reduce the pockets where bacteria have grown and to restore, to some extent, the soft tissue and bone that have been destroyed by the disease.

Whatever your dentist recommends, you will be advised to begin a rigorous regimen of tooth brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal. Periodontal disease often cannot be cured, but, just like high blood pressure, it can usually be controlled through excellent home care and professional periodontal cleanings three or four times a year.

 

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

717-334-0555   GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Periodontal Disease

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