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Habits Your Dentist would like you to Change!

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 @ 13:01 PM

HomeTooth grinding dental habits

 

 

 

Tooth-related habits can be conscious (brushing and flossing) or unconscious—chewing on pencils, for example. Dental habits become bad when teeth are expected to do things they are not cut out for—opening bottles, chewing off the little plastic tags on new clothing, trimming nails, and so on. And bad dental habits can be downright dangerous. To name a few:

 

Swiss Army Mouth

Mistaking your teeth for a sort of all-purpose bottle-cap-removal-unit-plus-toolbox is a great way of developing unnecessary chips, fractures, and dislocations.

If this is you, resist the urge (and reward yourself with a Swiss Army knife—far less expensive than reconstructing a tooth).

 

The Ice Crusher

Human teeth and the HMS Titanic have at least one thing in common: neither was designed for impacting large quantities of ice. Besides potentially fracturing tooth enamel, chewing ice can irritate the pulp chamber where the nerve is and reduce the tooth’s resistance to stress. Leave your ice in the drink where it belongs. Or treat yourself to a Snow-Cone.

 

The Midnight Grinder

Professionally, we call it bruxism—tooth grinding that often goes on while a person sleeps. It is a common habit and one that is hard to control if it happens while asleep.

A dental exam can tell us if you’re a bruxer.  Grinders have found relief in comfortable, custom-fitted nightguards.

But just as important is learning to control the emotional stress—actual or created—that may be bringing it on. Advice for bruxers--try rest, exercise, meditation or whatever else might help you learn how to better handle the daytime tensions that express themselves in nighttime grinding.

 

Mandibular Manicurists

Teeth were no more meant to trim fingernails than they were to open bottles. This is an especially important habit to avoid if you have fragile, reconstructed, or cosmetically enhanced teeth. Carry a nail file—or sugarless gum, if the habit originates from stress or anxiety.

 

Living Hand-to-Mouth

Thumbsucking is the most common habit of infancy. Early on, it’s harmless. But after a while, it can pose dental problems. The compulsive 5- and 6-year-old thumbsucker can change the shape of the roof of the mouth, causing upper teeth to protrude and lower teeth to jut in.

Sometimes a reward for not sucking helps. Or try taking a photograph of your child sucking his thumb. Often—when he sees himself—he wants to quit on his own. The real key here is to help your child stop rather than make him stop.

 

The Weedeater

No matter how you take your tobacco (easily, the world’s least beneficial plant), it’s not good for your mouth or teeth. Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking increase your risk of gum and oral cancers. You knew that. But even smokeless tobacco (snuff and chewing tobacco) does damage.

For one thing, tobacco juice generates a white pre-cancerous growth, leukoplakia, which progresses to oral cancer in more than 5 percent of diagnosed cases. Nicotine also reduces blood flow to gums—diminishing natural resistance to infection while encouraging detachment of gum tissue from the tooth itself.

Sports team dentists advise athletes (and their impressionable young fans) to nix the nicotine habit and instead, take up sugarless gum.

 

Some habits are good, some bad, some simply harmless. Everybody has them. Little people often get theirs by imitating big people. Many big people acquired theirs when they were little people. If you have bad habits try to find good ones to reward yourself for breaking the bad.

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Topics: Tooth grinding, dental habits, Bruxism, gettysburg sleep dentist

Gettysburg Dentist Sleep Apnea and Snoring Appliance Therapy

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 15:01 PM

snore appliance, sleep apnea appliance, sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea

 

Try to deny it, but everyone in the household knows if you snore or even, maybe, have sleep apnea. Just ask. Gentle snoring is irritating enough, but some snorers boom so loudly, the spouse retreats to another room for shut-eye. A trained sleep dentist or sleep apnea dentist may be the person to call!

 

About 40% of adults, mostly men snore. During sleep, throat muscles relax and narrow the airway, especially if the snorer carries a bit of extra weight. Excess tissue vibrates with every breath, and anyone within earshot awakens.

 

Devices invented to stop snoring:

A masks that strap directly over the mouth to muffle snores; snoreballs, a

tennis ball sewn into the pocket of a T-shirt worn backwards (to turn the snorer over); snore alarms; respirators or CPAP machines; and, finally,  a snore guard or snore appliance or dental sleep apnea appliance. This kind of dental appliance, something like an athletic mouthguard, keeps air passages open during sleep. It’s simple and it works. Find snore guards or dental sleep apnea appliances at a trained, sleep apnea dentist.

 

 Getting a better night’s sleep

 

Meanwhile, snoring and sleep apnea research goes on. Studies at the University of Pennsylvania focus on English bulldogs, whose facial structure makes them prone to snoring. Some medications may be helpful. You could sleep in the garage. You’re getting sleepy...

                                     

One of the most elusive comforts of life is a simple good night’s sleep. Especially as we get a little older and our sleep requirements change, a night of tossing and turning or frequent awakening can change how you greet the next morning. Sometimes the damage goes beyond grumpiness to distraction, lapse of memory, or even physical lethargy.

 

The American Medical Association maps a common sense plan for fine-tuning your personal biological clock when getting to sleep becomes a chore. The goal: sleep deep when you do, and awake clear-eyed and alert.

 

 And sweet dreams

 

• Figure how much sleep you need by following a set schedule for about a month. Add or subtract 30 minutes, and assess how you feel.

• Stick to your new schedule, even on weekends. If you nap, do so at the same time every day. If you go to sleep late, get up at your regular time anyway.

• Exercise in the afternoon, if you can, rather than in the morning.

• No coffee, tea or cola late in the afternoon and beyond. Get enough sodium. Don’t go to sleep too hungry or too full.

• The bedroom is for sleeping and such, not for TV. A dark, quiet, secure place is best—just cool enough.

• Set the alcohol and sleeping pills aside.

• Don’t worry. Keep a notepad on the night table and write down what’s bothering you before you settle in.

 

 There’s snoring and then there’s snoring

 

A simple yes to any of these symptoms could indicate you’re on your way to the dark side of snoring: sleep apnea, or obstruction of the airways during sleep. Lack of air isn’t something you should—or can—live with. Ask us to have a look, and we’ll discuss the extent of your symptoms.

 

What's your snoring or sleep apnea score?

■ Does your snoring bother your partner, wake you during the night, or send the dog howling?

■ Do you walk around in a stupor when morning comes?

■ Daytime, are you on the verge of falling asleep, or cranky and unable to concentrate?

■ Are you substantially overweight?

■ Do you awake and gasp for breath? No? Ask your partner.

 If you or someone you know snores or may have sleep apnea I encourage you to contact us for help.  Dr. Samuels is is a Gettysburg dentist trained in the fitting of snore appliances and can work with your physician, if necessary to help treat sleep apnea. Often this treatment is covered by medical insurance.  Many people have difficulty tolerating CPAP machines and do much better with a dental sleep appliance.

Start with a snore guard dental appliance. Your family could likely use the zzzzzzs.

Topics: snore appliance, gettysburg sleep dentist, gettysburg sleep apnea, dental snore appliance

A visit to the dentist or dental hygienist; it could help spare you a heart attack

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 @ 10:11 AM

   

Scientists and physicians are beginning to change their minds about what’s most likely to put patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease. For some time now, the key factors were believed to be things like heredity, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, age and obesity. But now a new component is beginning to emerge as possibly the most critical of them all: inflammation.

Inflammation can be the result of an infected wound. But a more common—and more persistent form—originates not on the skin but inside the mouth. Dentists call this periodontitis, perio, or simply, gum disease.

While periodontitis may result in tooth loss—which is bad enough—we’re discovering apparent links between perio and problems in other parts of the body including diabetes, heart disease, and complications of pregnancy like low-birth weight babies.

Although the jury is still out and the relationships are complex, the essence of the problem is this: periodontitis is an infection that can be picked up by the blood in the gums (and there’s plenty there) and spread where it can do additional dirty work. That’s why stopping the spread of perio—or better, preventing it in the first place—is important for reasons that go way beyond saving teeth.

 

Perio and the Heart

 

Studies in Finland noted that heart attack patients tended to have more severe oral infections like tooth decay and gum disease. Another study, following healthy patients over an 18-year period, suggested gum disease sufferers were twice as likely to die of a heart attack and nearly three times as likely to die of stroke. Other studies suggest that periodontitis is associated not only with heart attack and stroke, but is linked to a thickening of the artery wall, which typically hastens heart attack.

 

Protect Your Gums

 

Recently, oral biologists at the University of Buffalo have shown that levels of two inflammatory proteins known to raise the risk of heart disease can be reduced substantially by regularly treating inflamed gums. Blood samples drawn from patients with high levels of C-reactive protein (a known heart disease risk) and fibrinogen (which can promote blood clotting) were observed and reduced over 12 months simply through aggressive treatment of gum disease. This is exciting news!

                We’re learning more about the relationship between inflammation, sore gums, teeth, heart disease, and other ailments every single day. We’re also learning what an additionally harmful effect tobacco use has on these relationships.

 

Gum Disease plus Smoking

 

Within the past few years, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D., issued a report which, in part, concluded “evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between smoking and periodontitis”—not to mention cancer of the oral cavity.

                Do you smoke? Do you have sore, inflamed gums? Are you worried about your heart’s health, and how much time may still be available to enjoy your life and family?

 

What to Do

 

Fighting periodontal disease through outstanding daily hygiene and regular dental appointments is a three-for-the-price-of-one proposition: protect your gums, protect your teeth, and protect your health in general. If it’s been a while since your last dental examination, let the dentists and hygienists at Samuels Dental Arts P.C. help you!  Give one of our friendly ladies a call at 717-778-4268.

 

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

Fastbraces – Get Straighter Teeth Faster Then Ever Before!

Posted by Julie Berger on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 16:06 PM

Are you looking for a straighter smile without the hassle and discomfort of traditional braces? Look no further than Fastbraces®!

Fastbraces® used advanced technology to move the tooth crown and the root of the tooth at the same time, yielding a much quicker treatment time than is possible with traditional braces. Now, patients who require braces can get amazing results often with far less sensitivity, generally in about a year, and in some cases, even just a few months.

Learn more about Fastbraces in Gettysburg, PA.

Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry, General Dentistry, Braces for Teeth, Fastbraces, Orthodontics, Straighter Teeth, Dental Braces

Flossing: Are You Guilty of Ignoring It?

Posted by Julie Berger on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 @ 15:07 PM

Recent studies have shown that a great many Americans are ignoring a simple activity that will keep their smiles looking gorgeous, help prevent cavities, reduce tooth loss, and – as many dentists and physicians believe – significantly reduce the chances of heart disease and strokes.

Though a large majority of patients swear they do this simple activity, according to the American Dental Association, more than 90% of Americans don’t!  What is that simple activity?  That’s easy – it’s flossing your teeth!  And just remember, a quick and strenuous attempt to floss right before your visit to our office doesn’t fool us!  Please continue reading – it can change your life!

Flossing is the absolute best method of cleaning bacteria and debris from the spaces in between your teeth and underneath your gums.  Left alone, that harmful film can cause cavities and gum disease, as it eats away at the bone that actually holds your teeth in place and causes your teeth to loosen and, sooner or later, be lost.  What’s worse, recent research has linked gum disease to heart disease and strokes.   But there’s hope for everyone!

Most activities require practice and patience.  You couldn’t play a musical instrument without practice and, more often than not, academic or professional tutelage.  You probably never solved a complex puzzle the very first time you sat down to try it.  And though flossing is certainly much easier than either of the aforementioned activities, far too many people try it just a few times and then give up in frustration believing that they can’t, and never will, do it correctly. But with a little patience and practice you definitely can!  And some of the better flosses in stores today make it so much easier than it has ever been in the past.

We at Samuels Dental Arts want you to keep your beautiful teeth for the rest of your life and maintain the best overall good health possible. Doing so involves flossing – remember, that simple activity – every day. We’re here to help you! Feel free to call us at (717) 778-4268 and we will arrange for one of our friendly, professional dental team members to give you a personal lesson. Or simply ask during one of your regular appointments.  We know that flossing correctly takes practice. But with the proper technique and commitment you’ll be a pro – and maintaining your beautiful smile and overall good health. Don’t wait another day! Call us today for more information. Your life and your smile are worth it!

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Flossing, General Dentistry, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

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