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Save Money on your Dental Treatment!

Posted by Peter Samuels on Fri, Jul 4, 2014 @ 19:07 PM

 Affordable dental care

Dental bills can add up, especially if you don’t have a good benefit plan. But fret not, there are ways to reduce your dental bills. If prevention is better than cure, than taking preventive measures while you can is better than fixing poor oral health. Fixing dental caries, periodontal disease, gum disease, chipped or neglected teeth can be expensive. But you don’t have to put yourself in that position; the truth is most oral problems are preventable. Here are some simple yet smart ways to save on dental treatment.

Good Oral Hygiene

Keeping a clean mouth is possible with some due diligence. A mouth given to neglect will encourage bacteria growth, plaque buildup and tartar on the gum line. Ask any dentist (or your mother) and they’ll tell you that oral hygiene is the first line of defense against poor oral health. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily.  It’s really that simple!

Use Fluoride

Many municipal water supplies add fluoride to help oral health. Fluoride works to prevent tooth decay and strengthen developing teeth in children. Using a toothpaste or mouth rinse with fluoride is highly beneficial. Talk to your dentist about your fluoride needs – whether you need fluoride supplements or prescription fluoride products to protect your teeth since everyone is different in their dental needs.

Healthy Lifestyle

Is your lifestyle ruining your teeth? Do you smoke? Drink too much alcohol? Use chewing tobacco? Sip cola drinks during the day? These unhealthy habits can put your oral health at risks. For instance, tobacco products increase the risks of oral cancer, gum disease, bad breath and tooth discoloration. Too much sugar in the mouth encourages the production of acids and, together with the bacteria in the mouth, they may trigger tooth decay and the beginning of gum disease. Cola drinks are highly acidic and will break down the tooth enamel.   The better alternative and the cheaper route to go? Eat a balanced diet, focusing on plenty of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and limit snacking.

Regular Checkups

Have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist at least twice a year.  Personally, this Gettysburg dentist has his teeth cleaned 4 times a year and so, probably, should many adults!   Because tartar buildup cannot be removed with regular brushing, professional cleaning is imperative to prevent gum disease. Regular checkups with occasional, digital, cavity detecting  X-rays will reveal any beginning dental problems and help the dentist prescribe easy proactive action.Research has shown that poor dental health may be linked to various diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dentists are trained to spot early signs in the mouth that may indicate disease elsewhere.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure is the takeaway lesson. Invest your time and money to maintain good oral health and you’ll never have to worry about spending big bucks in the long run. For more information on maintaining oral health, contact us. If you don't have insurance, we offer an in-house dental plan with significant savings.

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

Topics: Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist

What is gum disease?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 15:05 PM

 

 

 

Gum disease

 

 

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal an alarming truth: By the time you’re 30, you stand a 50 percent chance of developing periodontal disease. The risk increases with age; in adults 65 or older, the rate rises to almost 70 percent. If you crunch the numbers, you’ll realize that periodontal disease is dangerously prevalent. Periodontal disease will eventually destroy the connective tissue, bone and gums in the mouth, leading to the loss of teeth. What can you do to stop periodontal disease in its track? Get rid of habits that promote periodontal disease. Here are five habits that can put you at risks or aggravate the condition.

Does smoking cause gum disease?

If you smoke, you’re more likely to develop periodontal disease. Tobacco impairs blood supply to gums and reduces inflammatory and immune responses to toxins generated by periodontal disease. Result? Bacteria multiply and speed up the progress of periodontal disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, smoking increases pocket formation (a symptom of periodontal disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth) and promotes attachment loss. So what type of smoking is detrimental to periodontal disease? Cigar, pipe, water-pipe and cannabis smoking have similar effects on periodontal disease as cigarette smoking. To make matters worse, smoking also interferes with non-surgical and surgical treatments of periodontal disease. To improve your odds of preventing periodontal disease, it’s imperative to quit smoking.

How does sugar hurt my teeth?

Have a sweet tooth? If you enjoy eating foods high in sugar content, you may be doing your teeth a disservice. Much has been said about sugar and dental caries, but a sweet mouth environment may fuel bacteria activity linked to periodontal disease. Bacteria feast off the sugar and multiply. They interact with the mucus in the mouth to create plaque. When plaque is not brushed away, it hardens into tartar and tartar is known for destroying the connective tissue in the mouth. The ensuing scenario is not pretty—once the connective tissue is destroyed, tooth loss may result.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If there’s one overriding habit that encourages periodontal disease, it is poor oral hygiene. Oral neglect over time can negatively impact dental health. Bacteria flourish, plaque forms, tartar builds up and these factors work to destroy the gums and connective tissue. To fight periodontal disease on the frontline, brush and floss twice daily and rinse your mouth after meals to flush out any sugary residue. Dentists also recommend regular professional cleaning and routine checkups.

What diseases affect gums?

While the studies are still inconclusive, there is some evidence that certain diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular health can increase the risks of periodontal disease and vice versa. While the cause and effect are hard to pinpoint, one thing is certain—it’s crucial to maintain good general health to increase your chance of fighting periodontal disease.

These are just a few habits that can increase risk of periodontal disease. For more information on how you can prevent periodontal disease, contact us.

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

Ever wonder how the toothbrush started in dentistry?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, May 15, 2014 @ 19:05 PM

 

 


 toothbrush history

People have been using implements to clean their teeth since the dawn of civilization, according to a page about the history of the toothbrush by the Colgate Company. Both the Babylonians and the Egyptians made a form of tooth brush by fraying the ends of twigs. Egyptians seem to have also used toothpicks and the Chinese chewed a tree based gum that cleaned teeth and sweetened breath.

The first tooth brush that had bristles were developed in China around the 15th Century, using the hair from pigs’ necks attached to a handle made of bone or bamboo. The technology was gradually introduced to Europe where horses’ hair and sometimes even feathers were used.

The first modern looking toothbrush was developed by a man named William Addis in England around 1780. The Addis toothbrush still had the pigs’ hair attached to a handle carved from a cow bone. The familiar three rows of bristles came into being in 1844.

Natural bristles were used until the invention of nylon in 1938. Since nylon bristles were softer and thus more popular they became the standard feature for tooth brushes by the 1950s. Electric toothbrushes, first made in 1939, were introduced to the American market in 1960.

Modern toothbrushes are made with plastic handles and nylon bristles. Modern ergonomic design has allowed the production of toothbrushes in a variety of shapes and sizes with a view of making the grip and use easier. Thus has the art of teeth brushing advanced during the past five thousand years of human history.

At our Gettysburg family dentist office we don't use hair from pigs or horses but we do provide cutting edge cosmetic, restorative and implant treatment to make great smiles!

Everything You Wanted to Know About Dental Implants

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, May 8, 2014 @ 15:05 PM

 

dental implants

Unfortunately, missing teeth are a reality for many Americans, regardless of how carefully they have tried to practice good oral care.  One of the best treatments today to replace missing teeth is the use of dental implants.

Dental implants have become an extremely popular option for a long-term solution to missing teeth.  They have an overall success rate of about 95%, and are replacing more traditional solutions like fixed bridges or removable dentures.  Losing a tooth or teeth usually results in the destruction of the supporting bone which once held the teeth in place. The jaws shrink causing changes to appearance and often making the wearing of a conventional denture impossible.  Dental implants do not contribute to bone loss.  In fact, they are the only tooth replacement technique that actually serves to preserve the jaw bone.

Another big advantage of tooth replacement with implants is that the adjacent, neighboring teeth do not need to be touched.  Fixed bridge work and removable, partial dentures depend on other teeth for anchorage and sometimes cause  trauma to these teeth. Eventually a one tooth problem can become a three tooth problem when a bridge attached to neighboring teeth fails.

It is estimated in dental research that about 69% of American adults between ages 35 and 44 are missing at least one tooth.  Additionally, one quarter of all adults over the age of 74 have lost all of their natural teeth.  While several treatment options can be used to replace missing teeth, only dental implants can provide the full capability and functionality of a missing tooth.  It's almost like growing back your real tooth!

Since dental implants cannot develop cavities or decay, they are considered to be the leading long-term solution to missing teeth. Post-implant care is still important.  Patients should brush, floss and have regular dental visits to ensure the health of the gums surrounding implants and natural teeth.

Contemporary dental implants have proven to be safe and effective options for patients suffering from missing teeth.  Unlike dentures, dental implants do not impede speaking, eating or smiling normally, and can return the face to its natural shape.  More and more dentists are turning to implants as the best thing next to natural, healthy teeth.  They're a long-term solution, and with proper care, they can last a lifetime.  Unlike bridges which often have to be replaced every seven to ten years, dental implants can truly stand the test of time.  While they may require occasional adjustments and revisions of the crowns on top of the implants, they can be a permanent solution to missing teeth as long as they are cared for properly.

Since dental implants do require surgery, it is advisable to seek a trusted, well trained dental professional who can advise you of the risks and the benefits involved, and guide you towards healthy and safe treatment options in a safe and positive environment. Sedation anesthesia is available to make this a comfortable experience.

Topics: Gettysburg dental implants, Gettysburg implant dentist

Which Cosmetic Dentistry Option will Improve Your Smile?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, May 5, 2014 @ 17:05 PM

 


gettysburg cosmetic dentistry


 

Would you be less self conscious about smiling if your teeth were a little whiter or straighter? Do you hide your smile because you have chipped or worn teeth?  Do you have missing teeth that affect your ability to chew and speak?  If you answered yes to any of these questions you should consider cosmetic dentistry!  Increase your confidence and improve your self-esteem with your new stunning smile!

Determining which cosmetic dentistry option is right for you depends on what you are trying to correct.  The summaries below should help guide you in the right direction.  

Invisalign to Straighten Teeth

With the revolutionary Invisalign system clear plastic aligners are used to straighten your teeth.  Multiple sets of aligners are used in sequence to achieve ideal correction.  Aligners are typically changed every 2 weeks allowing your teeth to become straighter step by step.  Invisalign patients enjoy that their teeth are being straightened without the use of obvious braces.  The aligners can be removed allowing you to eat and brush like normal.  Patients also describe Invisalign as comfortable to wear with fantastic results! 

Teeth Whitening

If the color of your teeth prevents you from feeling good about your smile then you should consider an in-office power whitening system.  This bleaching process takes about an hour and will lighten darkened  enamel.  The improvement is often several shades and you will be able to maintain that improvement by following simple post-whitening care instructions. Patients feel younger and are pleasantly surprised at how quick and pain-free this cosmetic dentistry method is.

Veneers

Lumineers or Porcelian Veneers are used to correct minor flaws such as chipped or worn teeth. In addition veneers can close spaces, increase length, improve whiteness and even straighten teeth.  Veneers are durable and can be placed  painlessly in as short as 2 visits.   

Dental Implants or Dentures 

If you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth dental implants or a full set of dentures may be the best option for you.  Dental implants provide excellent support and stability by creating artificial roots in your jaw bone.  The teeth attached to the implant are durable and look natural.  Dentures are custom-made for you, easy to maintain and can restore the look of your smile.  Both dentures and dental implants will help you restore chewing and speech and allow you to smile confidently. 

To find out if cosmetic dentistry is right for you schedule your consultation and start on the path to a new smile that will change your life!  If you have a fear of dental procedures consider sedation dentistry  which can allow us to fix years of problems often in one, comfortable, relaxing
visit. 

Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry, Gettysburg cosmetic dentist

Gettysburg Dentist Discusses the History of the Toothpick

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 14:04 PM

 

 describe the image

"Pick not thy teeth with thy knyfe, but take a stick, or some clean thyng, then doe you not offend" ~ Rhodes: 15 century philosopher

Apparently, picking the teeth with some type of dental implement has been around for a while, probably long before there were dentists! Although the quotation above dates back to the 15th century , toothpicks have been around long before that. A short portion in the Talmud reads: “one may take a splinter from the wood lying near him to clean his teeth” in reference to what the people can do before a festival suggests the use of tooth-picking sticks.  Today, toothpicks have become part and parcel of life; they make convenient aids to dislodge food particles. Despite its humble appearance, the mere 3-inch toothpick has an interesting history.

Various archaeological finds reveal striated grooves on fossilized teeth. In 1911, grooved teeth found at the La Quina Neanderthal site suggest the use of an abrasive implement on the teeth. Across different continents, similar grooved teeth were found among the remains of Australian Aborigines, North American Indians, Canary Islanders and the Upper Dynastic Egyptians, with some dating as far back as two million years. These early forms of toothpicks may have served more than picking out food as these grooves on the teeth suggest. They may also have been used to soothe the discomfort of periodontal disease and dental caries.

With time, different cultures put their own creativity into honing the toothpick. The lowly toothpick has evolved from a necessary tool for dental hygiene to status symbol. In Europe, kings, queens and lords used designer toothpicks made of gold, silver or ivory, sometimes inlaid with precious stones; while the common man used twigs or porcupine quills. In China, a curved pendant toothpick made of cast iron was found. The Chinese loved toothpicks, using mint-tipped toothpicks in between meals to clear the palate.

Charles Forster of Maine was the first American to manufacture toothpicks. At first, he handmade them, but with growing demand, he duly invented a machine to keep up. He went one step further when he decided to make disposable toothpicks, after a trip to South America, where he saw natives using slivers of wood to clean their teeth. To create demand for disposable toothpicks, Mr. Forster hired Harvard students to eat at restaurants and instructed them to loudly ask for toothpicks after finishing their meals! He used the same tactics in retail stores and with time, toothpicks became part of the dining experience.

We don’t manufacture toothpicks, but we hope, when you need a dentist, you’ll pick us!

Topics: Dentist in Gettysburg, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Dental Phobia Treatment

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 @ 19:04 PM

 

 Sedation Dentist

A fear of dentists is a very real problem for thousands of people.  Whether they've had a negative experience at a dentist previously or they've heard horror stories from friends and family members, fear often multiplies, causing loads of dental problems.  The treatment of dental phobia is incredibly beneficial to oral health and better overall whole-body health.

It may sound silly to people who have had good experiences with their dental practitioner, but dental phobia is a real and common phenomenon.  Fortunately for fearful patients, there are various treatment options available that allow patients to have the dental care that they need while alleviating a lot of their anxiety.

Experienced dentists understand dental phobias and will work with anxious patients to alleviate their anxiety before it can become a problem.  Dentists with experience in the treatment of phobic patients can calmly explain the process of the treatment and put the patient in control.  They make sure that the patient understands what's going to happen, and they ask for permission to continue the treatment.  This gives patients a sense of control over their treatments, and removes a lot of the out-of-control feelings that often accompany dental treatments.

For patients who are experiencing dental phobia, several suggestions have proven to be successful.

1. Go to your first visit with a friend or family member that you know well and trust.  Sometimes having a friendly and familiar face is all that's needed to make the process run a lot more smoothly.  Your friend (preferably one who has sufficient experience in the dental office as a patient) can assuage your fears before they have a chance to become overwhelming. 

2. While receiving treatment, find a way to distract yourself from the procedure itself.  Many dentists will play music or have a TV available in the treatment room to keep an anxious patient's mind off of what's happening.  If a TV is not available, listen to music on headphones and don't pay attention to what the dentist is doing.

3. Some dentists now offer sedation dentistry, which can relax an anxious patient and allow necessary treatments to occur without undue stress. With I.V. sedation anesthesia safely provided by an anesthesiologist, years of work can often be caught up in one, comfortable visit. Most patients feel like they were in the chair for just a few minutes!

4. Practice relaxation techniques.  Anxiety is often accompanied with shallow, light breathing, which can make stress feel even more profound.  Simply practicing deep breathing techniques can make a world of difference in a patient's mental state, and don't be afraid to ask to take a break if things start to seem too overwhelming. 

The most important thing for patients with dental phobia to remember is that they need to find a dental office and dentist they feel comfortable with.  Finding a dentist you can trust is incredibly important.  The more comfortable you feel with your dental practitioner, the more likely you will be to continue to be treated for any issues that may arise.  If patients distrust their dentist, they're likely to skip appointments or refuse to make them when there is a problem.  Finding the right dental office is worth the effort if it means treating problems sooner rather than later.   By practicing good oral care and nipping potential issues in the bud, extensive treatments may not be necessary - and regular checkups can identify and tackle issues before they become problems.

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, sleep dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Gum disease and diabetes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 @ 18:04 PM

 

Gum disease and diabetes

On their own, gum disease and diabetes are pretty serious conditions. When they go hand in hand, they're even worse. But what is the connection? How does one relate to the other?

Gingival disease is considered a potential complication of diabetes. If your blood sugar is not controlled, you are at a greater risk for gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In turn, tooth loss causes the jaw bone to shrink. This can throw your whole bite off, called malocclusion, and that can open up a whole host of problems ranging from the merely uncomfortable to the downright painful.

Diabetes can cause a thickening of the blood vessels. This hampers the body's ability to get the necessary nutrients to the right places. It also restricts the flushing out of natural waste material in the blood, which greatly reduces your gums' ability to fight off infection.

Sugar is a great attractant for bacteria. Glucose in particular is a big breeding ground for bacteria. As a diabetic, your body is a haven as the bacteria will be attracted to the glucose in your body. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria builds up on your teeth and gums and look for any way in. A weakened defense system will let them in quite handily.

Finally, if you have diabetes and you smoke, you're hitting your poor gums with a double-whammy. As well as the weakening of the gums from diabetes-related complications, smoking further weakens the body's defense systems. The accelerated build-up of tartar combines with the destruction of gum tissue and leaves your mouth open to bacteria and other infections.

The best way to mitigate this damage is to follow your doctor's instructions about your diabetes and your dentist's instructions on your oral care. Though you may not think about your gums much, any compromising of your gums' health can lead to worse conditions that could include heart disease. To maintain healthy gums, brush and floss twice daily and see your dentist regularly. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Periodontal Disease, Dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses the History of Dental Floss

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 @ 13:03 PM

 

Dental floss


 

Walk into any drugstore and you’ll find an array of dental floss from unwaxed to waxed to dental tape to floss that uses high-tech Gore-Tex fabric. The varied and interesting choices cater to different dental needs. Dental floss has become sophisticated and a viable tool to maintain oral health. It has come a long way. A look at the history of dental floss  will give us more appreciation for this humble string of sorts.

Archaeological records show that as early as prehistoric days, men had found the need to dislodge food particles from their teeth. Their teeth contained grooves consistent with those who used dental tools. In most likelihood, horse hair was used as floss and twigs as toothpicks. A recent research on Cova Foradà Neanderthal fossil shows toothpicks were used to mitigate pain caused by periodontal disease. 

However, it wasn’t until 1815 that an American dentist from New Orleans, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly (lovingly nicknamed the Apostle of oral hygiene), saw the importance of flossing teeth and introduced the idea of using waxed silken thread. In his book, A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth, he emphasized the importance of brushing and flossing the teeth daily. With that, the modern-day dental floss was born.

In 1882, some sixty-seven years later, Codman and Shurtleft Company, saw potential and mass produced dental floss using unwaxed silk.

Carrying yards of dental floss around can be cumbersome and in the 1870s, Asahel Shurtleff developed the first portable dental floss dispenser using a spool of thread with a U-shaped prong sticking out of its side.

In 1898, Johnson and Johnson secured the first patent for dental floss made with the same material used in silk stitches.

Silk dental floss tends to shred easily and with the dwindling supply of silk during the Second World War (1940s), Dr. Charles Bass, a medical doctor and researcher (aka Father of Preventive Dentistry) developed a dental floss made of nylon with higher resistance to shredding. In the same decade, waxed floss and dental tape appeared on the scene.

The 1980s saw the invention of interdental brush as an alternative to dental flossing.

As time goes by and technology becomes more advanced, dental floss has undergone many changes to make flossing a more pleasant experience. Flossing continues to be one of the key elements of good oral health and the American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day.

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups are essential to maintain good oral health. Call us today for your dental needs.

 

Topics: Flossing, Gettysburg dentist

Sleep Apnea Solutions from Gettysburg Dentist, Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 @ 14:03 PM

 

 

sleep apnea appliance

 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea.  Many patients are instructed to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.  However, there are many undesirable side effects of CPAP machines. Some people simply cannot get used to CPAP.

Adverse CPAP Side Effects

  1. Mask allergies and skin irritations--Depending on the type of plastic, you may find that the mask causes itching or a rash.  Some people find the mask so annoying that they frequently wake up without it on, thereby not getting the help they need.
  2. Dry Mouth
  3. Congestion, Runny nose, nose bleeds, and sneezing
  4. Stomach bloating and intestinal discomfort
  5. Noise--The constant sounds emanating from a CPAP machine can be annoying for you as well as your roommate or spouse.

Dental Solutions for Sleep Apnea

If you are not using your CPAP machine it's doing you no good at all!  There are other solutions for sleep apnea which your dentist can provide.  In fact, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is a group of dentists who work to control snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy (OAT).   Oral appliance therapy is a simple solution for obstructive sleep apnea as well as an effective alternative to CPAP machines without the adverse side effects.  

The plastic oral appliance is similar to a mouth guard used for sports or an orthodontic retainer.  Most dental sleep apnea appliances or snore appliances are called mandibular Repositioning Appliances--These appliances reposition the jaw so that it protrudes slightly during sleep.  They also indirectly pull the tongue forward and stabilize the jaw so the mouth does not open. If you have been trained in CPR you know that repositioning the jaw forward will open the airway.

At your first visit, your sleep apnea dentist will do a custom fitting for your oral appliance.  After the appliance has been made, the dentist will ensure that the fit is just right at your next visit.  Normally, you will feel comfortable sleeping with your device within a few short weeks.   An oral appliance is convenient to travel with.  It doesn't require any sort of power source like a CPAP machine does making it much more practical.

If you desire a reversible, unobtrusive, and convenient solution for your sleep apnea, please contact Samuels Dental Arts.  Often these appliances are covered by medical insurance.  

 

For more information please don't hesitate to contact us at 717-334-0555

Topics: gettysburg sleep apnea

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