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Sleep Dentistry in Gettysburg

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 @ 16:03 PM

Gettysburg sedation dentist

 

According to Peter Milgrom, DDS, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, about 20% of Americans experience fear of dentistry to the extent that they avoid dental visits altogether. Of this group, between 5% and 8% are considered to have a severe dental phobia. The difference is this: a fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat that causes mild to moderate anxiety. A phobia is a condition in which the fear is so strong it interferes with a person’s quality of life or their ability to function.

For the purposes of this article, however, the word “phobia” is used to denote whatever level of anxiety prevents a person from receiving regular dental care.

Most people who have a fear of dentistry have had a frightening or painful dental experience in the past, and this is especially common among persons over forty who received dental treatment when the technologies used were not as advanced as those in use today.

So what are the options for treatment of dental phobia?

The possibilities vary depending on the extent of the phobia. Norman Corah's Dental Questionnaire is an assessment tool used to measure dental fear. The highest possible score on the questionnaire is 20; a score of 15 or higher indicates the type of severe anxiety that is termed dental phobia, while a score of 13-14 denotes a very high level of anxiety.

A score higher than 9 on the 20 point assessment is said to signify moderate anxiety; a level which can be treated by managing specific stressors. For example, some people are afraid of the sound and/or vibration of the drill, while others are intensely troubled by the sound of scraping during teeth cleaning. Others’ anxiety is triggered by the antiseptic smells in the dentist’s office.

These types of stressors can be treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a technique in which negative patterns of thought are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns. Learning and practicing relaxation techniques can also be effective. Sometimes a dentist will prescribe anti-anxiety medications for you to take just prior to your appointment (in this case you will not be able to drive yourself to the appointment).

For more severe anxiety, or for people who lack the time and/or money to pursue a therapeutic intervention, sedation dentistry is the treatment of choice. The process used for sedation dentistry is the same one used for a colonoscopy, and is also known as conscious sedation. In this procedure medications are administered by a medical anesthesiologist and leave you semi-conscious: you will be able to answer questions and respond to conversation, but you will be very relaxed and time will seem to go by very fast.  Many people say it felt like they were in the chair for just five minutes and they were done!

Sedation dentistry is an affordable, safe and effective procedure which can be your path to healthy teeth and gums, along with a beautiful smile.  If you’ve been putting off getting your teeth fixed and your mouth healthy, give us a call!

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

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Periodontal Disease and your heart

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 @ 16:03 PM

 

 

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Can your mouth tell on you? An eye doctor can effectively look inside the eye and tell what health conditions you have. Can your Gettysburg dentist look inside your mouth and warn you of certain health risks? Recent studies suggest that common problems such as cavities, missing teeth and periodontal disease may be linked to heart disease. The American Academy of Periodontology warned that people with periodontal disease may be twice as likely to have heart disease complications.

If you crunch some numbers--heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women, claiming as many as one million lives annually-- this piece of enlightenment may have far-reaching implications. Can periodontal disease increase risks of heart disease and will preventing or treating periodontal disease help to reduce risks of heart disease? While the answer is not as simple as stating it in an equation, here are some information to consider.

Oral Bacteria May Cause Narrowing of arteries

Periodontal disease results from unchecked bacterial activity in the mouth. Neglect or poor oral hygiene cause plaque (a sticky clear residue of bacteria, acid and food particles) to build up around the gums surrounding the teeth, causing inflammation and eventually destroying the structure that holds up the teeth. The bacteria don't just stay in the mouth, they may enter the blood stream through the gums. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria may deposit themselves on the fatty plaque already in the bloodstream, narrowing and hardening the blood vessels. This buildup will eventually block the flow of blood, increasing risks of heart attack or stroke.

Oral Bacteria May Trigger Inflammation

Inflammation has been blamed for a number of diseases, including heart disease, arthritis and periodontal disease. When the body fights against invading bacteria, inflammation (together with swelling) often results. Applies this logic to oral bacteria traveling through the body—they trigger inflammation, causing the blood cells to swell and clog the arteries. Narrowing of the arteries increases cardiovascular risks.

Although the exact dynamics of the connection need more investigation, the correlation is still important in the overall health picture. Since the symptoms of heart disease don’t necessarily show up in the early stages, such as the hardening and narrowing of arteries, any other telltale signs help. For instance, it's easier to spot bleeding gums and check for other related health risks, including heart disease.

If keeping your mouth healthy may reduce risks of heart disease, contact us at Samuels Dental Arts P.C.
 
for a comprehensive oral exam to determine the state of your oral health.

Topics: Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg, holistic dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist Discusses the History of Toothpaste

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 17:02 PM

 

Gettysburg Dentist


 

Way before there were dentists or dental hygienists, people found a need to keep their teeth clean. Dental hygiene may have been crude, but not without some degree of ingenuity. As always, the focus on preventive dental hygiene remains paramount. The history of toothpaste revealed some interesting developments as mankind searched for the ultimate toothpaste to banish stain, toothaches and bad breath.

The oldest record of toothpaste was found written on a piece of dusty papyrus in a Viennese museum, dating as  far back as 300-500 B.C. An ancient Egyptian scribe recorded the formula for a “powder for white and perfect teeth.” The list of ingredients included rock salt, mint, dried iris flower and pepper, all crushed together for that magic effect. Other accounts detailed the use of less savory ingredients such as oxen hooves, egg shells, pumice and myrrh (thrown in to offset the smell, for sure).

Separate records dating back to more than 6,000 years ago reveal interesting development in the quest for better oral health in various cultures. In China, they utilized an assortment of twigs and bones, mashed and then mixed with water, salt and flower petals to form a thick paste. They used the sharp edge of bamboo leaf to apply paste to the teeth.

In India, they drew upon their strong Ayurvedic background and came out with a clever way of sprucing up their dental health—they used special twigs filled with sweet nectar. They figured that by chewing on these “tasty” twigs, the abrasive nature of the twigs would clean the teeth and dislodge any unwelcome food particles.

In Greece and Rome, they also found the need for abrasive ingredients, using crushed bones and oyster shells. They also used various flavorings to freshen up breath such as charcoal and bark.

As ingenious as these powders and pastes were, they remained crude and the abrasive ingredients may not be very friendly to tooth enamel and gums. In the 1800’s, soap was used to try to mitigate some of the abrasive nature of these pastes.  An actual paste sold in jar became commercially available and, in 1873, Colgate decided to mass produce the toothpaste, as we know today.

Over the years, with research and experimentation, toothpaste has become less abrasive. More synthetic ingredients were added such as sodium lauryl sulfate as a foaming agent and sweeteners to make tooth brushing a more pleasant experience. The 1950’s and 1960’s saw the addition of fluoride for better dental health and from then on, toothpaste took on more sophistication with the use of additives such as gels and whitening agents. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth, toothpaste to whiten and brighten teeth, and toothpaste to strengthen enamel, the choices are as varied as the needs of the populace.

Toothpaste will continue to evolve, with more emphasis on preventing dental decline. To keep your dental health in optimal condition, it is important to get regular checkups and professional cleaning. Contact us today for all your dental needs. 

 

Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry, dentist, Dental Hygiene, Dentist in Gettysburg, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg dentist discusses mercury free fillings

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 @ 15:02 PM

 

Gettysburg mercury free fillings

 

 

Modern dental fillings are usually made of mercury free, composite or ceramic materials first created in scientific laboratories. A wide range of white colorings are available to mimic the shade of a patient’s natural teeth. These modern fillings look and feel similar to the rest of the tooth and can be molded and bonded to fit perfectly. They have no heavy metals or metals which could cause allergic sensitivity. Modern advances in dental treatment make fillings nearly undetectable. Examining the history of dentistry provide some interesting facts about dental fillings.

• One of the earliest materials used is still with us today: gold. Teeth with gold filling have been dated as far back as the Roman Empire. Gold was an obvious choice because of its relative softness when compared to other metals.  It is still one of the best materials to use on back molars where the gold can be made very thin, yet still last and perform as a chewing surface about as well as natural enamel.  It is very biocompatible and virtually non-allergenic.

• Archeologists have found evidence from the Middle Ages that show cork and small stones were used to fill teeth. Cork’s malleability made it a viable option but, being a wood it is porous, and it almost certainly worked to trap liquid which would lead to further tooth decay.

• Around the time of the Renaissance European dentists developed a procedure to fill teeth with various metals. They soaked the metal in acid to dissolve it and poured it into a hole in the tooth they made with tiny metal picks. The metal would then solidify but not before causing burns to the patients mouth and further damage to the tooth.

In the mid 1800s dental amalgam (a mixture of mercury and silver) became widely used. Amalgam can be easily shaped to fill cavities and even rebuild an entire tooth.  Although not very esthetic, it is still widely used today.

• The 20th century saw the birth of electricity and modern dentistry. The first electric drills made removal of decay much faster and more precise. Around the same time came the first silicon based fillings. These fillings were the first esthetic materials in that they could be made in various tooth shades.  Unfortunately they were not very strong or durable and could only be used on front teeth.

Today our composite materials look and feel like real teeth.  They have no mercury or metals, are very durable, and have an advantage in that they can be bonded to teeth.  We can use composites to veneer teeth to improve a smile or to fix cavities in front teeth or molars.  Unfortunately, many insurance companies will still only pay for amalgam (silver-mercury) in back teeth.

Topics: mercury free dentistry, Gettysburg mercury free, Gettysburg holistic dentist, holistic dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Gum Disease and Diabetes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 @ 14:02 PM

Gettysburg Dentist Gum Disease

 


 

Various population studies indicate a strong relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. These two chronic and highly prevalent diseases work like a tandem bicycle, one affects the other and vice versa. People with periodontal disease have a harder time controlling their blood glucose level and, conversely, patients with diabetes are more susceptible to infection, which can further complicate periodontal disease. In recent years, researchers and dentists have been able to understand a little more of the complicated puzzle to better treat periodontal disease. Recent development may shed more light on how to manage periodontal disease and in so doing, keep diabetes in check.

Nonsurgical Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease (due to unchecked oral bacteria) that works to destroy the tissues and bones that support the teeth. If left unattended, the disease can inflict eventual tooth loss. In the early stages of periodontal disease, nonsurgical treatments are used for damage control and to prevent progression. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, basic nonsurgical procedures did not improve the glycemic control of patients with type-2 diabetes. However, there is evidence that more proactive intensive periodontal treatment may be effective in glycemic control.

In the above research, 500 patients were divided into two groups. One group had basic periodontal treatments done such as scaling, root planing and an oral rinse, followed by further periodontal treatment after three and six months. The other group received no treatment at all. After six months, the group receiving treatment showed improvement in the gum disease, but no visible improvement in their blood-sugar control.

In the light of recent developments, one thing remains constant: prevention is better than cure. The perennial, old fashioned method of diligent oral care remains your best defense against periodontal disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommend daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and quitting tobacco use.Patients with diabetes should also receive annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation (includes thorough assessment of periodontal health and any other risk factors).

Do your body a favor.  Keep your teeth and gums healthy.  Call us today for a visit with a Gettysburg hygienist.

Topics: Dentist in Gettysburg, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

Denture Treatment through the Ages

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 @ 08:02 AM

 

 

Dentures

 

Dentures can be used successfully to replace missing teeth. Whether it’s a partial or complete set of dentures, they’re designed to fit nicely in the mouth to facilitate eating, talking and smiling. But this hasn’t always been the case. Dentures have evolved from crude contraptions to durable, look-like-real teeth. The history of dentistry gives us an interesting look at dentures and how they’ve changed over the years:

  • As early as 2500 BC, ancient tribes in Mexico used animal teeth, reportedly from wolves to act as replacement teeth. They were simply placed in the socket, previously holding the lost teeth.
  • On the other side of the globe, the Etruscans of Italy fabricated gold wire or bands to hold human and animal teeth to act as replacement teeth (circa 700 BC).
  • Archaeology revealed that Egyptian mummies also had teeth replacements held in place by gold and silver wire at around 300 BC.
  • Fast forward to 1500s, the Japanese designed the first recorded set of wooden dentures. Made from Japanese Box, it was supposedly used by priestess Nakaoka Tei. It bore a strong resemblance to modern dentures and they were held in place by suction. The Japanese continued to use wooden dentures until the Meiji era of the late 19th century.
  • At the end of the Renaissance period, in the 1700s, the trend shifted to using human teeth, animal teeth and carved ivory. They didn’t fit well. George Washington used a variety of these dentures and according to history, he wasn’t particularly pleased with these innovations.
  • The Waterloo teeth came into the scene during this time frame. After the battle of Waterloo, many soldiers fell and since teeth were badly needed, scavengers went around removing teeth from the dead and shipping them to Europe to be used for dentures for profit.
  • Real advancements were made when British physician, Alex Duchateau, created the first set of porcelain dentures in 1770. It was far from perfect due to the tendency to shrink during the firing process. Dubois De Chemant, a prominent French dentist of that time overcame the problem and King Louis XVI duly granted him an inventor's patent. He later fled to England and in some accounts, was Duchateau's assistant.
  • In the early 1800s, porcelain teeth became readily available and quite the norm in replacing teeth. However, the denture bases remained ill-fitting until the invention of vulcanite (hardened rubber) in the 1850s.
  • As technology advances, dentures become more durable and functional. In the early 20th century, acrylic resin became the standard material used.

In the last 70 years, dentistry made huge strikes in helping people cope with missing teeth. While dentures remain an option to replace missing teeth, there are now other options such as dental implants and root canal treatments. Modern dentistry stresses prevention as the first line of defense.

Looking for the most modern, denture treatments available?  Give us a call! 717-334-0555

Topics: History of Dentistry, dentures in Gettysburg, Gettysburg Dentures, Dentist in Gettysburg, Gettysburg dentist

Do You Know How to Take Care of Your Dentures?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 @ 16:01 PM

Gettysburg Dentures

 


 

You’ve finally had your dentures made. Whether you need them to fill up missing teeth or to replace all your teeth, dentures give you a boost of self-esteem by completing your smile and enabling you to eat properly. You want them to last, to look good for a long time and stay clean and healthy. Here are some effective tips to keep your dentures in better shape than ever. 

Handle With Care 

Although dentures are made with hardy materials such as acrylic resin or durable plastic, they still need tender loving care. Rough handling may chip, break or scratch the polished surface. When handling dentures, stand over a towel or a sink full of water.

Daily Care

Treat dentures like natural teeth. Brush faithfully, at least twice a day to prevent build up of food particles and plaque. Dentists advise using a toothbrush with soft bristles to prevent abrasive effect on dentures. It’s a good habit to remember to rinse dentures in between meals.  One of the very best denture cleaners is antibacterial hand soap!

Denture Cleaner

Even with careful brushing, sometimes, stain, bacteria and plaque may still build up in between teeth. To remove these undesirable elements, a number of denture cleaner (or cleanser) is available. It ranges from chemical formulas in the form of cream, liquid, powder or tablet to mechanical cleaners such as denture brushes or ultrasonic denture cleaner that uses sound waves to dislodge deposits. If in doubt as to what cleaner to use, look for one with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. Your dentist will be the best person to advise you on what to use to effectively clean your denture.

When Not in Use

You see it on television, how dentures are placed in a glass of water by the night stand when not in use. As antiquated (perhaps the black and white movie is to be blamed) as that seems, that’s the idea. Dentures should be kept moist when not in use. They should be soaked in a denture cleaning solution or water.

With proper care, your denture will stay in optimal shape and condition and will serve you well. Proper care will also maintain oral hygiene and reduce denture odor.

If you’ve further questions about taking care of dentures, feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to help you with your dental needs.

 

Topics: dentures in Gettysburg, Gettysburg Dentures, dentures Gettysburg, Dentist in Gettysburg, Dentist Gettysburg

Gum Disease May Increase Certain Health Risks

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 @ 14:01 PM

Gettysburg dentist gum disease


 

Gum disease is the result of unchecked bacterial activities in the mouth causing inflammation of the gums and tissues that surround and support the teeth resulting in eventual tooth loss. But its devastating effects are not just confined to the mouth. Various studies reveal a frightening correlation: a number of health risks may be related to gum disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. 

Endocarditis

The bacteria in the mouth don’t just stay in the mouth cavity. Bacteria may enter the blood stream via the infected gum and attached themselves to the damaged areas of the heart. When that happens, the inner lining of the heart becomes infected resulting in endocarditis. If it's left untreated, it may cause damage or destroy the heart value. 

Cardiovascular Disease

Those suffering from gum disease are twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease because bacteria in the mouth may cause the hardening of arteries. There are two possibilities. In the first possibility,  the bacteria traveling through the blood stream may stick to the fatty plaques already in the blood stream, bulking it up and narrowing the arteries in the process. The other possibility, and the more current of the two, has to do with the body’s response to invading bacteria in the blood stream. It triggers inflammation, thereby causing the blood cells to swell and narrow the arteries.

Diabetes

Does gum disease compound diabetes or does diabetes contribute to gum disease? The chicken-and-egg question remains open to debate but one thing is clear: research shows that gum disease and diabetes are closely linked. Those with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar level, which may lead to more diabetes complications. Conversely, diabetes makes the body more susceptible to infection, gum included.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, the disease that leads to bone loss, may also affect the bone in the jaw. When the density of the bone in the jaw decreases, it becomes unstable and loses its ability to support the teeth.

Respiratory Disease

People with gum disease are also more susceptible to respiratory disease as bacteria in the oral cavity may be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory complications and chronic lung conditions such as emphysema.

Other Diseases

Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Sjogren's syndrome (an immune disorder), complications in people suffering from HIV/AIDS, even premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to gum disease.

If gum disease increases certain health risks, it is paramount to maintain good oral health by exercising oral hygiene and having regular dental checkups. Call us today for a comprehensive exam. 

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, Dentist in Gettysburg, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

What You Should Know About Periodontal Disease Before It's Too Late

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

gum disease Gettysburg

 

Periodontal disease affects the gum and compromises the bone supporting the teeth. In full-blown cases, this silent but insidious disease may lead to eventual tooth loss. One out of two Americans, aged 30 and older, suffer from some form of periodontal disease, according to the Center for Disease Control. Given the preponderance of periodontal cases, how can you prevent periodontal disease? If knowledge is power, knowing how periodontal disease comes about and how you can prevent it is key to keeping it at bay. Let’s find out:

How It All Started

Just like a few little termites can eventually bring down the house by reproducing more termites to eat at the foundation of the house, periodontal disease begins small too. First, poor oral hygiene may give it fuel. Bacteria (together with food particles) in the mouth deposit a clear, slimy layer on the teeth, called plaque. If it’s not removed by tooth brushing or flossing, they hardened and form tartar (not the cream of tartar, but nasty gum-ruining tartar). Tartar can be stubborn and can only be removed with the help of professional cleaning.

Progression to Gingivitis

If plaque is left to fester, it wrecks damage. The bacteria inherent in plaque may cause gum inflammation, causing the gum to become red, swollen and to bleed easily. The dentist refers to this mild form of periodontal disease as gingivitis. It’s the beginning of the slide, unless you seek dental treatment right away.

Periodontal Disease

Unless gingivitis is taken care of, the plaque will continue its sure and sly work, causing the gum to pull away from the teeth, leaving “pockets” between the gum and the teeth, opening it up to infection. As the body tries to fight off these bacterial invasion of the gums, bacteria toxins formed and they break down the bone and connective tissue in the process. If it’s left unchecked, they will gradually destroy the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth. The sad result? Loss of teeth.

How can you make sure you’re not a victim of periodontal disease?

Watch out for these telltale signs: perpetual bad breath, red, swollen gums that bleed easily, receding gums, longer-looking teeth, loose or sensitive teeth. If you’ve any of these symptoms, a visit to the dentist is necessary, even crucial.

Because periodontal disease can inflict serious damage in the long run, nipping it in the bud is your best bet. Call us today for a comprehensive dental exam.

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a an instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School and a local Gettysburg dentist.  GettysburgFamilyDentist.com  334-0555

Submitted by Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, Dentist in Gettysburg, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

George Washington and His Denture Woes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 @ 16:01 PM

 

Dentures of George Washington

 


 

Poor George Washington had bad teeth. They were often blamed for the shortest speech ever given by a President—just 135 words and a mere 90 seconds to deliver it. The outstanding commander of the Continental Army and the first president of the United States was often perceived as boring, stiff-jawed and bad tempered. There may be a reason for this persona as some interesting facts about dentistry reveal. 

Should we blame his poor image on his teeth? Perhaps, if you study the dentures he had to endure. His dentures consisted of crude fabrication of teeth that came with springs and bolts to hold these dentures in the mouth. Imagine trying to deliver a speech with the dentures rattling and air escaping through the gaps between the teeth.

History tells us that George Washington’s troubles with his teeth started when he was twenty-two. Over the course of the next thirty-five years, his teeth started falling off, one by one. And no, it was not because of his poor oral hygiene. According to records, he took heavy doses of mercurous chloride for his many infections (he was reputedly beset with all kinds of ailments from dysentery to smallpox), which in turn may have led to the destruction of his teeth. His fastidious brushing, use of dentifrice and mouthwash didn’t help much. By the time, he had his inauguration in 1789, he had one good tooth left.

For most of his adult life, he grappled with dental problems. Constant toothaches, infected gums and abscessed teeth, which we now know are symptoms of periodontal disease, plagued him. Initially, he had partial dentures with hippopotamus ivory carved to fit the upper gum and eight human teeth held by gold pivots for his lower plate. Spiral springs were used to secure them to his mouth. He had quite a few dentures made and he often returned them for adjustments and repairs. Clumsy and ill-fitting, they were forcing his lips out and his portraits revealed unfortunate facial changes. The final set of denture, made just before his death had a swagged gold plate, fastened by rivets.

Contrary to popular beliefs, none of dentures were made of wood. His four known sets of dentures include gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey components likely).

Looking at George Washington’s ordeal with his oral health, thankfully, dentures have come a long way. Modern-day dentures look like real and are designed to make eating, talking and smiling as natural as possible. Held in by dental implants, they can be almost as natural as real teeth. Had George Washington lived today, he probably would have smiled more often (and therefore, deemed more friendly) and his speech would definitely be longer than 90 seconds.

For more information about the most upd to date denture techniques. dentures held in by dental implants or any dental needs, contact us.  

Submitted by Peter Samuels, DDS

Topics: dentures in Gettysburg, Gettysburg Dentures, dentures, Gettysburg dentist

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