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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

TMJ treatment discussed by Gettysburg dentist

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 07:05 AM

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The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull in front of each ear. This joint allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side. This is part of the anatomy of your head that makes it possible to talk, yawn and chew. 

Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). 

The TMJ is both a critical part of functioning but it can also be a source of pain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of TMJ disorders can include:

  • Aching around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Facial pain
  • Locking of the joint
  • Pain in your jaw

Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in the TMJ joint specifically
  • Bruxing, (teeth grinding), and joint popping
  • Difficulty opening the mouth without pain
  • Joint popping or clicking
  • Headaches

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, (NIDCR), recommends a conservative approach to TMJ pain. Surgery should be a last resort.  Treatments that do not cause permanent changes in the structure or position of the jaw or teeth have proven to be effective and reliable. 

Steps to Relieve TMJ Pain You Can do for Yourself

  • Eat soft foods.
  • Apply ice packs.
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements.
  • Practice reducing stress and relaxing techniques. 
  • Gentle jaw stretching.

Pain medication

For some people with TMJ disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief. 

Jaw Splints

Your dentist may recommend  a stabilization jaw splint (oral appliance), or orthotic appliance  that fits over the upper or lower teeth. A well adjusted splint can often relax tense muscles, relieve muscle tension headaches and help protect the jaw joints. Often the splint appliance is adjusted to the optimum bite over a period of weeks or months and often it is only worn at night when bruxing, (tooth grinding) often occurs.

If you suffer from TMJ pain or muscle tension headaches talk with your dentist.  A well adjusted appliance you wear at night may help.

 

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 and Snore Appliances "I can't Tolerate my CPAP!"

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, May 6, 2015 @ 09:05 AM

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Sleep therapies can be frustrating for those who suffer from severe snoring and sleep apnea. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 50-70 million adults have some sort of sleep disorder that causes snoring, a major indicator of obstructive sleep problems. 

However, there is a distinction. Although many people snore, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. And, not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea, snores. 

How you feel during the day will tell you whether you have severe snoring problems or sleep apnea. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so you’re less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day.

If you are like most people who have severe snoring problems, snoring can get in the way of your partner’s rest and affect your own sleep quality and health. 

It's likely a solution will include the prescription of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It works by forcing a constant and steady air pressure into your body using a hose and wearing a mask or nose piece. Unfortunately there are problems with the device as it is not uncommon that the mask will leak, it's uncomfortable, cumbersome and many people have trouble falling asleep with something over the face. It is also a big problem for people with claustrophobia and can result in a dry mouth or nose.

Many people with severe snoring and sleep apnea ask the same question, "What if I can't tolerate my CPAP?"

There are alternative therapies that have proven to work well, such as the use of a dental sleep appliance. The appliance is designed to help control snoring and sleep apnea.  

It’s custom made to fit your particular mouth and bite and looks a lot like a sports mouth guard. It works by positioning the lower jaw down and forward thereby helping to keep the airway open and preventing problems in breathing. Your dentist is able to fit and adjust the appliance to optimally open the airway. 

Successful results from a study by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine showed that using the appliance significantly reduced sleep interruptions and snoring.

For more information about the dental sleep and snore appliances, please contact us. We are pleased to discuss this and any dental services from our office. 

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

334-0555  GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

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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