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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

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

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