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Ask Your Gettysburg Dentist about Abscessed Teeth

Posted by Peter Samuels on Sun, Apr 24, 2016 @ 15:04 PM

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There are a number of causes of toothache, including decay, injury, sinus problems, and even clenching or grinding. An abscessed tooth-- which is an infection that occurs in the pulp of the tooth and can then spread to the bone and tissues surrounding the tooth root, can be a serious dental emergency that needs prompt treatment.

Symptoms

Could you possibly have an abscessed tooth? Only your dentist can tell you for sure, but consider the following symptoms:

  • Tooth pain If you have persistent, severe pain that wakes you up at night an abscessed tooth might be the cause.
  • Fever. An abscessed tooth is an infection, so the body may respond with a fever.
  • Swollen gums. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of gum discomfort. An abscessed tooth, however, can also cause swollen, red, and tender gums. Sometimes, an open, draining sore on the gums will also be present.
  • Foul-smelling breath. While there are many causes of halitosis, persistent, foul-smelling breath can be indicative of an abscessed tooth. Likewise, a bitter taste in the mouth should prompt further investigation.
  • No Symptoms. Surprisingly, many abscessed teeth do not hurt at all.  Pain from an abscessed tooth is caused by pressure building up in the bone. If the infection finds a place to drain or dissipate, there may be no pain.  Signs of an abscess can show up on a routine dental x-ray, usually as a dark shadow above the root tip.

Prevention

The main culprit behind an abscessed tooth is severe tooth decay. Your best line of defense against developing an abscessed tooth is good oral hygiene, including:

  • Regular brushing. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, and more often if you've been indulging in sugary snacks or carb-loaded food.
  • Flossing. Brushing alone is not enough. Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene; floss can reach the areas between the teeth where food particles and bacterial plaque get trapped.
  • Preventive care. Visiting your dentist for check-ups, professional cleanings and fluoride treatments is a vital part of maintaining a healthy smile. It’s the only way to catch cavities when they are small before the decay gets close to the pulp and can cause a dental abscess. 

 

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

717-334-0555   GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Dentist Gettysburg, Absessed tooth

Tips for Finding a Dentist in Gettysburg

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Feb 18, 2016 @ 15:02 PM

 

Gettysburg Dentist Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Three Tips for Finding a Dentist in the Gettysburg Area


The relationship between oral health and the body's overall health is well-documented. In fact, poor oral hygiene is linked to a number of health concerns, ranging from diabetes to heart disease. When it comes to your oral health, brushing and flossing at home isn't sufficient preventive care. Visiting a dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings is also essential. Equally important is finding the right dentist for your unique needs. If you're in the market for a new dentist, consider the following tips:

Ask for recommendations. When it comes to choosing a dentist, simply doing a quick internet search isn't typically effective. Instead, consider asking friends, family members, and even co-workers where they receive their dental care. Your family doctor is also a good resource for recommendations.

Do your research. Once you've gathered some recommendations, do your own research. Where should you start? Check out the websites of the practices you're considering. Review their business hours and look over the dentist's education and training. Then, look for patient reviews. If the website doesn't have a page reserved for testimonials, check online review sites for more information.

Ask questions. If you can't find the answers to the questions you're looking for on the company website, give the office a call. You might consider asking the following questions:

  • What is your policy for handling dental emergencies? Unfortunately, dental emergencies don't always occur during standard office hours, so it's important to make sure that any practice you're considering has a plan in place for handling after-hours emergencies.
  • What is involved in preventive care at your office? Besides a cleaning and check-up, what else is involved in preventive care? How often are X-rays taken?

 

  • If you're looking for a dentist in Gettysburg, contact us today. We'd love to help you achieve your healthiest smile!
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Topics: Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

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 Discusses the History of the Toothpick

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

 

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"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 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 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 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

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

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