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Dental Implants.  What the big deal?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 @ 13:07 PM

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Over the years. there have been many advancements in preventative dentistry. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, there are still those who suffer from missing or broken teeth. There are solutions that include fixed bridges held in by natural teeth, removable dentures, and dental implants. Each of these options has their pros and cons, however, dental implants have certain advantages the others lack. 

Let's start with talking about how dental implants work. Implants can include a stand-alone tooth replacement, a fixed bridge to replace several teeth, or removable dentures held solidly in place with implants. The actual implant is a titanium fixture that replaces the root of a tooth. An abutment then connects a dental prosthetic, like a crown or a denture, to the implant. While the implant is permanent, the prosthetic is fixed or removable depending on the circumstances.

The benefits of implants include:

  • It can last longer than other solutions. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
  • Unlike removable dentures that sit on top of gums or crowns and bridges held in by natural teeth, implants bond to the jawbone and prevent the bone from melting away.
  • Implants do not require damaging natural teeth. Unlike fixed bridgework, adjacent teeth are not used to support implants.
  • Dental implants have the same look and feel as natural teeth, allowing you to comfortably eat your favorite foods.
  • Since stand-alone implants work just like your normal teeth, you can brush and floss like normal, helping to keep the remaining teeth healthy.
  • You can’t get cavities in a dental implant!

While dental implants seem to have just become popular recently, they have existed for more than 40 years. The procedure is now one of the gold standards for tooth replacement. All surgical procedures have some measure of risk, but the benefits of dental implants usually are far greater than the potential risks and are usually a better option than other solutions. 

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: dental implants Gettysburg

How do I know I'm going to an up-to-date dentist?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 @ 12:06 PM

 

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Sometimes there is a bit of a time travel shock for people who haven’t been to a modern dental office for awhile.  Just like all areas of medicine, technology has changed exponentially.  Here are a few things to look for.

Digital X-Rays

Digital X-rays are one of the latest and safest X-ray techniques used in the industry today. It uses a flat sensor or pad rather than X-ray film, which enables the dentist to immediately send the image into a computer where it can be printed, stored or viewed. This enables the dentist to catch small changes in the teeth sooner and to implement more effective treatment plans while using much less exposure than conventional X-rays.

Gum Treatments and Cavity Detection with Lasers

Periodontal disease is a major cause of tooth loss. It has also been associated with other serious diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Modern dentists are much more proactive about treating gum problems in the earliest stage possible.  They look for signs of new or recurring infection at every cleaning appointment and are able to quickly act to turn things around with conservative, non surgical treatments. Laser technology helps detect cavities in the pits of teeth invisible to the eye.  We can catch decay earlier and remove it conservatively.

Sterile, Wrapped Dental Instruments

The up to date dental professional understands and utilizes the latest methods for the cleaning and sterilization of re-usable dental instruments. He or she uses wrapped systems that allow the sterilization agent to penetrate the instruments, and maintain their sterility after the process. Every instrument in a modern office is sterilized in an autoclave!

Low Noise Dental Handpieces

Gone are the days of the shrill, high pitched sound of the dental drill that so many dental patients feared.  Modern handpieces are low-noise to gently remove dental decay.

Digital Dental Work

Crowns, bridges, veneers, onlays have become high tech.  The tooth can often be scanned with a wand, sent digitally to a hi tech dental lab, and processed into beautiful, life-like, accurate restorations that are bonded in place.  Sometimes, using CAD CAM technology, crowns can even be made by a robot like machine right in the dental office.

Anesthestic

Athough people still refer to it as “Novacaine” that anesthetic actually has not been used for years.  Modern dentist have a variety of fast acting anesthetics to choose from.  They work much quicker, provide more numbness, and often wear off much more quickly than in the past.  Sedation dentistry is often available and has become safe and affordable.

Insurance

Insurance used to be complicated and time consuming. Computerized offices are able to file claims electronically, cutting down on the complicated paperwork patients used to have to go through.  Claims are processed immediately to maximize benefits. 

Overall, seeing today’s modern dentist with the latest equipment and techniques can transform one's visit into an easy and comfortable, dental health care experience.

 

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

Wisdom Teeth 101

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, May 10, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

 

 

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While few people likely look forward to having their wisdom teeth removed, it's become a rite of passage of sorts for people in their late teens and early twenties. Still, there are a lot of misconceptions about what exactly wisdom teeth are, who needs to have them removed, and why they need to be removed. Let's attempt to clear up some of the confusion below.

What are wisdom teeth?

Although their name sounds somewhat mysterious, wisdom teeth are actually the third set of molars. Their name derives from the fact that they come in so late-- typically in the late teenage years or even in the early twenties. Thus, people are thought to be "wiser" by the time this third-- and final-- set of molars arrive.

Is removal really necessary?

Wisdom teeth removal is not always necessary. In fact, these third molars can be beneficial if they're healthy and properly aligned. However, removal is quite common due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Misalignment. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth frequently come in at odd angles, damaging nearby teeth and potentially even damaging nerves.
  • Impacted teeth. Wisdom teeth are also commonly impacted, or embedded in the gums or jawbone. Impacted teeth can damage adjacent healthy teeth and can grow cysts.  Impacted teeth that are partially exposed through the gum often become infected and painful.
  • Limited space. Although a couple of extra teeth may seem like no big deal, some people simply don't have room in their mouths for wisdom teeth.

What's the removal procedure like?

Your oral surgeon will usually remove impacted wisdom teeth under general anesthesia so that you don't experience any pain. How complex the surgery is depends on how many wisdom teeth you need to have removed and whether or not they're impacted. When wisdom teeth are impacted, an incision must be made into the gums in order to reach the teeth. When the teeth have already erupted-- either partially or fully-- removal is sometimes relatively simple.

What if I Wait Till I’m Older?

If third molars should be removed, then generally the younger you are the easier it is.  Complications with healing go up significantly with age.

What can I expect during recovery?

During the recovery period, you should expect some swelling, which can minimized with the use of ice packs. You should also take any medication prescribed to you by your oral surgeon as directed. While your mouth recovers, stick to soft foods and make sure to stay hydrated. Stay away from hard or crunchy foods and avoid smoking during recovery.

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: Wisdom Teeth

Gettysburg Dentist and Dental Emergencies

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, May 3, 2016 @ 10:05 AM

 

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Dental emergencies are urgent dental concerns that need to be taken care of immediately. Waiting a few weeks-- or even a few days-- can mean the difference between saving a tooth and losing a tooth. But what exactly is considered a dental emergency? Let's consider four examples below:

Missing filling. Sometimes, fillings-- and particularly old fillings-- fall out and need to be replaced. Most of the time they fall out for a reason.  Decay has occurred and the filling has failed.  When this happens, it's a good idea to contact your dental office immediately and let them know you lost a filling. Your dentist will usually be able to get you in right away to at least put something temporary on the tooth to prevent further damage and bacteria infiltration.

Lost crown. Occasionally, dental crowns can fall out. If possible, save the dislodged crown and bring it with you to your dentist's office. Often the old crown can be easily re-cemented.  But don’t wait too long!  Even a few days without the crown in place can mean the old crown no longer fitting properly. 

Dislodged tooth. If your tooth becomes dislodged-- either partially or completely-- contact your dental office and tell them you need to be seen immediately. If the tooth is replaced within an hour of becoming dislodged, it has the best chance of surviving.

Chipped tooth. It's not uncommon to chip or break a tooth; this frequently happens due to sports-related injuries or even chewing on hard candy. If possible, save all of the pieces of the damaged tooth and contact your dentist immediately.  The sooner a dentist can at least place something temporary on the broken tooth the better.   In the meantime, if the tooth chipped to trauma, try to minimize swelling by using an ice pack on the face immediately outside of the affected area.

Dental Infections. Swelling of the jaw or face due to a dental infection should never be taken lightly.  If left untreated it could potentially land you in the hospital.  If you cannot be seen immediately by a dentist it may be wise to go to an emergency room for evaluation.

 

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

Ask Your Gettysburg Dentist about Abscessed Teeth

Posted by Peter Samuels on Sun, Apr 24, 2016 @ 15:04 PM

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There are a number of causes of toothache, including decay, injury, sinus problems, and even clenching or grinding. An abscessed tooth-- which is an infection that occurs in the pulp of the tooth and can then spread to the bone and tissues surrounding the tooth root, can be a serious dental emergency that needs prompt treatment.

Symptoms

Could you possibly have an abscessed tooth? Only your dentist can tell you for sure, but consider the following symptoms:

  • Tooth pain If you have persistent, severe pain that wakes you up at night an abscessed tooth might be the cause.
  • Fever. An abscessed tooth is an infection, so the body may respond with a fever.
  • Swollen gums. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of gum discomfort. An abscessed tooth, however, can also cause swollen, red, and tender gums. Sometimes, an open, draining sore on the gums will also be present.
  • Foul-smelling breath. While there are many causes of halitosis, persistent, foul-smelling breath can be indicative of an abscessed tooth. Likewise, a bitter taste in the mouth should prompt further investigation.
  • No Symptoms. Surprisingly, many abscessed teeth do not hurt at all.  Pain from an abscessed tooth is caused by pressure building up in the bone. If the infection finds a place to drain or dissipate, there may be no pain.  Signs of an abscess can show up on a routine dental x-ray, usually as a dark shadow above the root tip.

Prevention

The main culprit behind an abscessed tooth is severe tooth decay. Your best line of defense against developing an abscessed tooth is good oral hygiene, including:

  • Regular brushing. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, and more often if you've been indulging in sugary snacks or carb-loaded food.
  • Flossing. Brushing alone is not enough. Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene; floss can reach the areas between the teeth where food particles and bacterial plaque get trapped.
  • Preventive care. Visiting your dentist for check-ups, professional cleanings and fluoride treatments is a vital part of maintaining a healthy smile. It’s the only way to catch cavities when they are small before the decay gets close to the pulp and can cause a dental abscess. 

 

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: Dentist Gettysburg, Absessed tooth

Gettysburg Dentist Debunks Dental Myths

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Apr 5, 2016 @ 17:04 PM

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Millions of Americans have fear, stress, or anxiety associated with going to the dentist. In extreme cases, the fear is so profound that it's classified as dental phobia. Often, this fear is intensified by a belief in several common dental myths. Let's examine some of the most prevalent myths concerning dental care and the truth behind the misconceptions:

If I don't eat sugar, I won't get cavities. Cutting sugar from your diet isn't necessarily a bad idea, but it's also not a surefire guarantee that you'll live a cavity-free life. That's because cavities are caused by acid that's produced by harmful bacteria in the mouth. Any type of carb you eat provides fuel for the acid-producing bacteria. This doesn't mean that you have to live a carb-free life, either; it simply means that you should attempt to eat a balanced diet and make an effort to brush your teeth after a carb-filled meal. 

If I brush my teeth, I don't need to floss.  Many people believe that, as long as they're brushing their teeth twice a day, they're in the clear. That is simply not the case. Flossing is not an optional part of your oral hygiene routine; it's an essential part. Floss can reach between the teeth where the toothbrush misses, releasing food particles and bacterial plaque that could lead to decay.

I'll know if I have a cavity because it will hurt. Sometimes, people avoid the dentist for years, reasoning that they can't possibly have a cavity because their teeth don't hurt. While cavities can be painful, pain typically occurs after the cavity has grown and progressed. Thus, you can have a small cavity with no pain at all. That's why it's essential to visit the dentist every 6 months; small cavities can be caught and treated with conservative bonding before they become bigger concerns.

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

Gum Disease, Diabetes and your Gettysburg Dentist

Posted by Peter Samuels on Fri, Mar 4, 2016 @ 19:03 PM

 

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Periodontal disease starts with bacterial growth in your mouth and can lead to tooth loss. One of the main causes of periodontitis is dental plaque. Other factors are:

  • Illnesses
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medications
  • Smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • A family history of the disease

Gum disease can progress slowly and painlessly without any warning signs. There are however, symptoms to look out for including bleeding gums, bad breath, and the formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums. A dentist can diagnose periodontal disease during a dental exam by checking for the following:

  • Gum swelling or bleeding
  • Teeth movement and sensitivity
  • Bone loss evident on x-rays
  • Pockets between the gums and teeth

There is a link between periodontal disease and diabetes. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease than non diabetics.  Diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections in general and gum disease is a form of infection. Patients with poor blood sugar control get gum disease more often and more severely. Their immune system may not function properly, thus creating the risk of developing gum problems. Another theory is that damage to capillaries in the gums of diabetics may reduce the blood supply  to the gums. Lack of a good blood supply may limit the gum tissue’s response to infection and the ability to heal.

It is imperative that people with diabetes visit a dentist regularly. Good blood glucose control is a key factor in controlling and preventing mouth problems. A dentist can detect and treat gum issues before they become extreme. Good oral hygiene is also important. Your routine should include brushing, flossing daily.

 

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

 

GettysburgFamilyDentist.com   334-0555

Topics: Gum Disease

Dental Crowns.  How do you know you might need one?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 @ 08:02 AM

 

 Gettysburg dentist Peter J. Samuels, DDS

 

 

No one likes to hear the news that one of their teeth has a crack or cavity. Small cavities can be bonded with composite, but from time to time a dentist will recommend restoring a damaged tooth with a dental crown. But, how do you know if you might need one?

 

A Cracked Tooth. A tooth can crack for a number of reasons: grinding the teeth, biting hard foods, an injury, and/or natural wear and tear. Indications of a possible crack are temperature sensitivity or pain while biting. Unfortunately, once a cracked tooth develops symptoms it can be much more difficult to save the tooth. It’s generally much better to restore a cracked tooth before sensitivity develops!  If the crack is a surface crack just within the enamel, then bonding the tooth to keep the crack from spreading can work, however, if the crack is more extensive, then a crown would be the best solution.

 

Decay and a Large Filling. Any tooth with a filling is at risk for cracking due to a weakened structure. The larger the filling required due to the amount of decay, the higher the risk. A dental crown can hold the cusps together to protect the remaining tooth from further damage. 

 

A back tooth that has had root canal treatment should usually have a crown to hold the weakened tooth together and help prevent cracking. 

 

Dental crowns have come a long way. Today, with modern all porcelain crowns, almost anyone can have a beautiful smile. These are not your grandfather's caps!

 

 

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

Tips for Finding a Dentist in Gettysburg

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Feb 18, 2016 @ 15:02 PM

 

Gettysburg Dentist Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Three Tips for Finding a Dentist in the Gettysburg Area


The relationship between oral health and the body's overall health is well-documented. In fact, poor oral hygiene is linked to a number of health concerns, ranging from diabetes to heart disease. When it comes to your oral health, brushing and flossing at home isn't sufficient preventive care. Visiting a dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings is also essential. Equally important is finding the right dentist for your unique needs. If you're in the market for a new dentist, consider the following tips:

Ask for recommendations. When it comes to choosing a dentist, simply doing a quick internet search isn't typically effective. Instead, consider asking friends, family members, and even co-workers where they receive their dental care. Your family doctor is also a good resource for recommendations.

Do your research. Once you've gathered some recommendations, do your own research. Where should you start? Check out the websites of the practices you're considering. Review their business hours and look over the dentist's education and training. Then, look for patient reviews. If the website doesn't have a page reserved for testimonials, check online review sites for more information.

Ask questions. If you can't find the answers to the questions you're looking for on the company website, give the office a call. You might consider asking the following questions:

  • What is your policy for handling dental emergencies? Unfortunately, dental emergencies don't always occur during standard office hours, so it's important to make sure that any practice you're considering has a plan in place for handling after-hours emergencies.
  • What is involved in preventive care at your office? Besides a cleaning and check-up, what else is involved in preventive care? How often are X-rays taken?

 

  • If you're looking for a dentist in Gettysburg, contact us today. We'd love to help you achieve your healthiest smile!
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Topics: Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

How to Handle Dental Phobia Gettysburg Dentist

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 @ 13:02 PM

 

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Millions of Americans avoid going to the dentist for one surprising reason: dental phobia. While it's normal to feel some anxiety associated with visiting your dentist, true dental phobia goes far beyond nervousness. In fact, it can be truly debilitating, resulting in an avoidance of seeking dental care for years. But good oral hygiene is important-- not only to the health of your mouth, but to the health of your entire body. Thus, finding ways to cope with dental phobia is essential. Consider the following tips to help alleviate your fear of the dentist:

Be honest about your concerns. Tell your dentist upfront about your anxiety and what specifically causes it. For example, some people fear pain while others fear a loss of control during treatment. Be honest about your fears so that your dentist can help you develop a plan for comfortable treatment.

Ask what to expect. For many people, dental phobia stems from a fear of not being able to control the situation. In order to help combat this fear, ask your dentist to walk you through the entire procedure before he starts. Knowing what to expect in advance will eliminate any surprises and help alleviate anxiety.

Use a sign. Before treatment begins, establish a signal that you'll use to let your dentist know when you need a break. The signal can be something as simple as raising one hand into the air. This will let your dentist know that you need a break to calm down and focus on your breathing.

Bring your favorite music along. Distraction is often a useful tool for combating anxiety. Consider bringing along some of your favorite relaxing music to play during your treatment. Focus on the music instead of the procedure.

Discuss sedation dentistry: IV sedation anesthesia can dramatically reduce or eliminate anxiety.  If you need a lot of catch-up dental treatment, often it can all be accomplished in one comfortable visit with sedation anesthesia.

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

 

GettysburgCosmeticDental.com     717-334-0555

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg

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