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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

Sedation Dentistry

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 @ 14:09 PM

 

Being afraid of going to the dentist is a common problem, but your overall health can also suffer when you ignore dental care. If you have dental phobia, it’s important to understand why.   

Common Causes of Dental Phobia

  • One of the most common fears is of pain.  Often this fear is not based on reality but rather on second hand horror stories passed down from other people. Parents, for example, can unwittingly pass their own unfounded anxieties on to their children.
  • The fear of dental injections or even the fear that the anesthetic will not work is common. This is particularly true of people suffering from needle phobia.   
  • Some people are afraid of side effects from anesthesia. For example, they’re fearful of feeling dizzy, faint or nauseated.
  • A fear of feeling helpless and out of control is very common. Often this fear overlaps with claustrophobia.

Communicate Your Fears with Your Dentist

Share your fears with your dentist. This is the best way to overcome dental phobia. In other words, tell your dental hygienist and dentist what scares you before you’re treated.

Be transparent about any negative past experiences. Fortunately, most dental procedures have vastly improved over the past few decades and aren't as traumatizing as they were years ago. What's more, ask your dentist to explain what’s involved in a procedure.  Often, simply communicating that when you raise your hand the dentist will immediately stop, can turn a scary procedure into and easy one!

 

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is an extremely effective treatment of dental phobia

Although it’s often called “sleep dentistry,” patients aren't usually asleep, but are comfortably sedated with various medications. There are several ways the sedation medications can be administered:

  • Oral sedation involves taking an oral medication, such as valium, before a dental procedure.  This can reduce anxiety and take the edge off the procedure.   
  • IV sedation works quickly, allowing your anesthesia trained dentist or anesthesiologist to make constant adjustments in sedation levels. Time will go by very quickly and you will often have little memory of the procedure.  Often, with IV sedation, years of necessary dental treatment can be caught up in one comfortable appointment. 
  • General and deep sedation may also be used. This kind of sedation is usually reserved for the hospital setting or an oral surgeon’s office. Wisdom teeth, for instance, are often removed under deep sedation by an oral surgeon. 

The bottom line is to be proactive about your dental fears. Simply ask your dentist what can be done to make a procedure more comfortable. When I understand what makes my patients fearful, I can better determine how to lower their anxiety, putting them more at ease. 

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

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, gettysburg sleep dentist, sleep dentist Gettysburg, Gettysburg sedation dentist

How to Save Money on the Dentist

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 @ 09:08 AM

Know how to save money on dental treatments

 Gettysburg Dentist

If you've ever had to make an unexpected and unplanned trip to the dentist for an emergency, you know how expensive dental treatments can be - even when you have dental insurance.  Understanding how to save money on dental treatments is an important part of having and maintaining a personal or family budget.  These simple techniques can not only save you money in the long run, they can significantly improve your dental health now and in the future.

1. Get regular checkups and cleanings: Part of good dental hygiene is keeping on top of your oral health before problems can arise.  Getting a regular cleaning followed by a fluoride treatment can reduce the risks of dental emergencies going forward, and can help you and your dentist identify potential problems before they become disasters or emergencies.  Regular cleanings can remove plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth before they can turn into cavities or gum disease.

2. Practice preventive dentistry: In addition to a regularly scheduled cleaning every six months, preventive dentistry can catch problems early before they become emergencies.  Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth and getting regular checkups and cleanings can eliminate a lot of oral health problems before they have the opportunity to begin, and identifying problems early can eliminate expensive treatment plans down the road.  If you are prone to gum problems have your teeth cleaned every three months to help avoid more expensive gum treatment such as surgery.

3. Have digital, low exposure x-rays taken when advised. Most insurance plans offer coverage for x-rays at least once a year.  These x-rays can identify problems early, minimizing the possibility for damage that goes undetected for years, leading to further damage and problems.  Be open with your dentist, and have your dental provider explain any potential problems that the x-rays may bring to light. Digital x-rays screen for decay between teeth and show the level of supporting bone.

4. Understand the expensive treatments: Most of the time, expensive dental treatment plans are a result of poor oral hygiene that has built up over time.  By seeing your dentist regularly, a lot of these expensive options can be avoided because you and your dental provider are on top of problems as they happen - and they don't have time to become more severe.

5.Ask about an in office dental plan:  Our Gettysburg Dentist office offers an in office, members only, discounted dental plan.  While not exactly dental insurance, it  can save considerable money on checkups and treatment without the red tape and hassle of dental insurance.

Topics: dental insurance, dental plan, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist Makes Sleep Apnea Appliances

Posted by Peter Samuels on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

 

 

dental sleep appliances

 

Sleep apnea is a serious, sometimes fatal medical condition.  A partial obstruction of the airway leads to shallow and even paused breaths throughout the night.  This, in turn, causes the patient to fall out of rejuvenating deep sleep in order to "catch his breath," even though he doesn't wake up enough to remember doing so.

The most immediate symptom of sleep apnea is chronic, unexplained  tiredness.  However, there are more serious complications to it as well, including a variety of heart conditions, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  The body needs restful sleep.

A common solution is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which consists of a face mask that forces pressurized air through the mouth and/or nose, keeping airways open.  The result is a better, deeper, and healthier sleep.

But what can I do if I can't wear CPAP?  Maybe the air compressor is so loud it disrupts sleep even more than the apnea.  Maybe my skin keeps breaking out in rashes in reaction to the mask, or perhaps the force of air has dried out my nose and throat to the point of nosebleeds, sinus issues, and a sore throat.  And forget sleeping on my stomach!  Or maybe I've just tried a variety of masks and found that none of them work for my particular face.

One alternative is an oral appliance worn in the mouth during sleep.  It is far less invasive than a CPAP machine and is silent, which is a relief to both me and my sleeping partner!  The appliance fits like a mouth guard and subtly repositions the jaw to open up airways and keep them open, allowing a deeper, less interrupted, and more regenerative sleep.

These oral appliances need to be properly fitted by a dentist trained in their use.  This includes evaluation of exactly what type of appliance will work best for you, measurement of your mouth for proper fitting, and the creation of the appliance itself.

by Peter J. Samuels, DDS

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

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