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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

Should Cosmetic Dentistry be part of your Wedding Plans?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 11:02 AM

 

 Cosmetic Dentistry

You’ve gotten engaged over the last few weeks and now it’s time to think about the future. So you wonder, “Should cosmetic dentistry be a part of our wedding plans?”  It’s a decision that should be made carefully. The good news is a visit to a dentist who provides cosmetic treatments may help steer you in the right direction. Your dentist and hygienist can clean your teeth and check for oral health problems that may interfere with you saying your “I dos.”  A cosmetic oriented dentist can examine your teeth and smile with an eye towards creating a great smile for the wedding day and beyond.  

What are some options?  Maybe you just need a little whitening either in the office with a power whitening system, or with custom made, take home whitening trays. If you have old, stained fillings in front teeth, they can be replaced with newer, modern bonded materials that blend in with your natural teeth.  Uneven, dark teeth can be bonded with veneers to give almost anyone the smile of their dreams.  Want them straighter?  Consider Invisalign.  Need a little lip plumping?  Juviderm may the answer.

Your initial visit will usually involve a thorough dental exam of your teeth and gums as well as any necessary digital x-rays to see bone levels.  Photographs are taken and sometimes molds will be made to evaluate your bite.  If veneers are an option then a wax-up of you final smile is made so you can see the result before anything is done to your teeth.

We have so many great options today for improving your smile.  But don’t wait till the last minute!  Getting a nice result can take some planning and time.

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

717-334-0555      GettysburgCosmeticDental.com

Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry, Gettysburg cosmetic dentist

Health Risks Related to Gum Disease

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

 

 

Gum Disease Dentist

 

Often times when we think of a healthy mouth, the first thing that springs to mind is a sparkling, white smile. What we might not consider, however, is the role our gums play in our oral health. Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is linked to a host of other health concerns. In fact, increasingly more research shows that the inflammation and bacteria associated with gum disease is likely related to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. In short, poor oral health can jeopardize your overall health. Below we will discuss some of the health risks relating to gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Although a cause and effect relationship has yet to be established, there's a growing body of evidence suggesting the two are linked. People who have gum disease are more likely to have heart problems, including heart attacks. The common denominator, experts believe, is inflammation. In 2009, the American Academy of Periodontology and The American Journal of Cardiology released a paper suggesting that cardiologists ask their patients about prior gum disease and that periodontists gather patients' family heart history.

Periodontal Disease and Dementia

It may seem like an odd association, but researchers have also found a link between gum disease and dementia. Individuals who suffer from gum disease may have an increased risk of dementia later in life. 

Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Those who suffer from diabetes are more likely to have gum disease. Inflammation is probably at least partly to blame for the connection. Additionally, individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to infections in general, including periodontal disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

At first glance, it might seem strange to link an oral disease to a type of arthritis. However, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by painful joints-- and inflammation. In fact, chronic inflammation is a common denominator in both rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease. People with RA may be more likely to also suffer from gum disease than the general population.

 

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.  He may be contacted at 717-334-0555. GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Diabetes and dentistry, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

Got Gaps? Dental Implants may be the Solution.

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 @ 14:02 PM

Dental Implants Gettysburg 

We often hear about incredible advances in medicine such as artificial organs grown in a laboratory and the latest artificial knees or hips.  We don’t hear as much about the latest advances in dentistry, but they have been just as stunning.

 

The last thirty years in dentistry, for example, has seen a revolution in the development and availability of dental implants.  Once considered experimental and as a last resort treatment, implants have become the best standard of care for many situations. They can replace a single tooth or all your teeth.   Implant dentistry is changing lives every bit as much as artificial knees and hips.

 

When we lose a tooth we actually lose a lot more.  Often 40 percent of the jawbone is lost within the first year of tooth extraction.  The face can collapse and we age prematurely.  Until implants were available, there was nothing we could do about this dramatic loss of facial structure.  Replacing a tooth or teeth with implants not only replaces the teeth, but even more importantly it prevents the melting away of the jaw structure. 

 

Problems with your loose,  lower denture?  As few as two implants can hold a lower denture solidly in place.  You can eat healthy foods you had given up on and stop worrying about embarrassing denture slips.

 

Want to learn more about dental implants?  Come to a free seminar at our office on Thursday Feb. 12 at 5:30 P.M.  Just give us a call to RSVP! 717-334-0555

 

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

Topics: Gettysburg implant dentist, implant dentist, dental implants Gettysburg

Dentistry for Diabetics, What you should know

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 @ 10:01 AM


Gettysburg dentist Peter J. Samuels, DDS

 

Most people with diabetes are aware of the way the disease affects their nerves, eyes, kidney, and heart. Unfortunately, they often don't realize the link between gum disease and diabetes until they have lost teeth, suffer from painful chewing, or experienced other unpleasant consequences. If you are diabetic, it is imperative that you keep your blood sugar under control to avoid the complications of periodontal disease.

How Diabetes Threatens the Mouth

Diabetes thickens blood vessels, including those inside of your mouth. When your blood vessels are compromised, it slows the delivery of nutrients as well as the removal of waste products from the tissues of your mouth. Gum and bone tissue are more susceptible to infection when in this condition. When infection occurs, it increases the likelihood of developing gum disease. High levels of sugar, also known as glucose, in the mouth encourage the growth of bacteria. This creates an environment where germs thrive and gum disease often follows.

People who smoke are five times likelier to develop gum disease than non-smokers are. When you add diabetes into the equation, the risk jumps to twenty-fold, especially for people over age 45. 

Working Together to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

When you schedule your first appointment at Samuels Dental Arts P.C., be sure to let us know that you have diabetes. It is also helpful for us to know the medication you take and whether you currently have good control of your blood sugar levels. This affects how our dentists create and carry out your treatment plan. We recommend that you come in for routine cleaning at least twice per year and let us know about any unusual new developments with your teeth or gums. 

In the event that you need oral surgery, such as the placement of a dental implant to replace teeth or hold a denture,  healing may take longer due to your diabetes. However, your risk of complications aren't any higher than those of the average patient. We work with your medical provider to limit risks and provide you with high quality dental care.

Topics: Diabetes and dentistry, dentistry for diabetics

Dental insurance explained

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 @ 09:11 AM

 

 


 Gettysburg Dentist Peter J. Samuels

Choosing the right dental office for your needs is not always a simple process. You might wonder things like why doesn't my dentist take insurance?  Let's discuss the differences between an unrestricted, private, family owned dentist like Samuels Dental Arts P.C. and an office that signs contracts with insurance companies.

Traditionally, dental offices were all private practices that relied on growing their businesses through recommendations from satisfied patients. Today, some dental practices try to fill their books by agreeing to sign up with insurance companies. The office agrees to a fee schedule with a particular company and, in return, the company will put the dentist's name on a list and suggest that patients go to this provider. 

What's wrong with this picture?  Well, many people have a misconception about dental insurance.  It really is the opposite of traditional insurance that protects you from a big, unaffordable expense.  On the contrary.  Dental benefits pay for minor things, like a filling or a cleaning, and, in some cases, a crown.  Benefits are usually limited to about $1500 per year.  If you need alot of work, with several crowns, or implants or dentures, your insurance will quickly max out.  It will make little, if any difference if you go to an in network provider or an unrestricted, out of network provider.

Insurance will only pay $1500 a year? Yes.  And that's with a better policy.  While your  premiums rise every year, the amount of your benefits often has not gone up since the 1970s!

Must I go to an "in network" provider?  The answer is almost always no.  You may go to any provider.  

Why should I choose an unrestricted provider?

Your insurance benefits may change every year. You may be forced to change dentists every time your insurance changes if you insist on an "in network" provider.

Dentists who sign contracts often have to find ways to cut corners.  More patients will need to be seen in a shorter time to make ends meet.   Private, family owned, unrestricted practices rely on satisfied patients referring friends and family members to their offices. Their focus, then, is on creating and establishing long term relationships with their patients by providing quality care and treating patients like family members.  These practices are respectful of your time and value building a long term relationship with you. Remember. You can almost always use your benefits in any office, so don't base your decision on your current insurance plan! If you want to be seen as a unique patient rather than a number in an insurance mill, a private, unrestricted dental practice may be the best choice for you.

Posted by Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Topics: dental insurance, dental plan, insurance dentist

Adjusting to Dentures: Guidelines for New Denture Wearers

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 @ 15:09 PM

 

 

 

 

Sometimes wearing new dentures can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what to expect. At first, your new dentures can seem awkward and strange. This can be because dentures can make your mouth and lips feel fuller than normal. Fortunately, these and other uncomfortable feelings dissipate as you grow more used to your dentures. Here’s what you can expect when you first start wearing your new dentures.

Chewing and Eating with Your New Dentures

Chewing and eating can be tricky at first.  Your mouth needs a little retraining!  Here are a few tricks.

  • Start out with only soft foods. Later, you can graduate to foods that are harder to chew. Use both sides of your mouth to chew. Chewing on both sides at the same time helps your denture teeth to remain stable.
  • Don’t eat large chunks of food, but cut up your food into small bites.
  • Avoid using the front teeth to bite into foods because you don’t want your dentures to become dislodged. Instead, use your side teeth when biting into foods.
  • Include lots of healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits and proteins.

 Considerations and Warnings

  • Speaking can be challenging at first. It helps to practice speaking by reading aloud. Stand in front of a mirror, observing how you speak. Be sure to speak quietly and slowly.
  • If your speech is slurred, don’t worry because this is common. Also, if you have upper dentures, you may gag. Fortunately, this is usually temporary.
  • Foods may have an odd taste or lose their taste. Again, this issue shouldn't last long.
  • Don’t chew hard items such as ice.
  • Sometimes small bits of food can get underneath your dentures when eating. To solve this problem, just take out your dentures so that they can be rinsed with water.
  • Expect to regularly visit your dentist, so your oral health can be monitored as well to ensure that your dentures fit well. Your dentist will advise you on when it’s time for your dentures to be adjusted, relined or replaced.   

Dr. Julie Berger is Gettysburg dentist and board certified prosthodontist.  She can be reached at

 

334-0555  GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

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