If you find yourself “jittery” in the dental chair or have ever had a “white-knuckled” grip during appointments, don’t feel you are in the minority. Unfortunately, an estimated 70 percent of American adults have some level of anxiety or fear when it comes to going to a dentist.
Even worse, about a third of these adults have such deep levels of fear that they’re classified as ‘dental phobics.’ These are people who find it difficult to even call a dental office. Some have avoided dental care for decades.
Some people are unable to pinpoint where such fears originated. However, the majority of these fears are the result of traumatic dental experiences in the past (often as children).
Those with severe levels of dental fear often avoid dental care until they have an emergency need. Typically, the discomfort becomes so intense that it forces them into a dental chair for treatment. What I often see, at this point, are problems that could have easily been avoided had they been able to receive regular check-ups and cleanings.
Regardless of an individual’s level of fear, we know it’s vital that every patient feels a sense of trust that we won’t subject them to pain. We commonly start with a conversation in our consultation room. This room is away from the clinical side of the office so you won’t hear sounds or see a treatment chair.
During this time, we are seated in comfy armchairs in a private setting. We discuss your oral needs and goals, particular concerns (including dental fears) and what you want to accomplish when your oral health has been restored. For fearful patients, however, our first goal is to assure each one that comfort is a priority at all times in our office.
I explain the various options we use for enhanced comfort. Since many people are uneasy about dental visits before they walk into a dental office, I may recommend oral sedation. In pill form, oral sedation is highly-effective and safe.
Before the patient is seated in a treatment suite, the medication has taken effect. Patients relax as they ease into a state where many doze in and out. I administer numbing medication to the areas being treated so there are no worries about discomfort. Sedated patients are also monitored by a trained staff member along with advanced monitoring equipment to ensure safety and comfort.
An advantage of oral sedation is its ability to erase most or all memory of treatment afterwards. Fearful patients like knowing this. Occasionally, a patient may share later on that they recall hearing the sound of my voice during treatment, but most have no memory of their time while in the treatment chair.
Patients also like that oral sedation has a quick recovery time. After a brief nap at home, most patients feel refreshed and back to normal within hours. Although I am certified to provide I.V. sedation, also referred to as “twilight sleep,” it does require a longer recovery time (even though it’s within 24-hours) and is a bit more costly than oral sedation.
Oral sedation is a practical way for fearful adults to have dental care while being totally relaxed before and throughout treatment. In addition to achieving the healthy, confident smile you desire, a healthy mouth plays an important role in your overall health. Research has shown that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through weakened tears in inflamed gum tissues. This bacteria has been linked to heart disease, memory loss, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and some cancers.
We are always pleased to watch once-fearful patients overcome their fear altogether. Often, after one or two visits with oral sedation, patients feel they no longer need sedating. If fear prevents you from a healthy, attractive smile, begin with a friendly phone call at 843-871-6351 or tap here to request a no-charge consultation.Read More
This is the number of people the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. They also warn that there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia)
In the U.S., the disease affects over 5 million adults, with one in three seniors dying from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death. (https://www.alz.org/)
Research is actively pursing a way to not only predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, but prevent it. Of course, this requires finding its cause. Major studies are continually making headway in this pursuit. One of its possible ties has revealed itself in a way that may surprise you – Periodontal (gum) disease.
The oral bacteria of gum disease is getting more and more attention from researchers for its ability to create inflammatory reactions far beyond the mouth. Research has already found links between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, impotency, preterm babies and more. Now, the correlation between oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia adds to a long, concerning list.
Obviously, the bacteria in your mouth are far more destructive than the cause of bad breath and cavities. According to researchers, the infectious bacteria of gum disease has been linked to brain tissue degeneration. In one study, brain tissue samples from patients with and without dementia showed that a particular component of oral bacteria was found in 4 out of 10 Alzheimer’s disease tissue samples. This same bacterial component was not found in any of the brain tissue samples of people who did not have Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers think these bacterial components found in the brain may trigger a response by the immune system that lead to pathological changes. Through this chain reaction, the study shows a pathways is created to Alzheimer’s. While the findings do not prove that oral bacteria causes Alzheimer’s disease, the links shown are sound reasons to maintain good oral health.
Because the bacteria of gum disease can weaken oral tissues, bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream and travel through the bloodstream to the brain. This can lead to degeneration in brain tissue that appears similar to Alzheimer’s disease.
This extensive research was conducted after a previous study on mice infected with specific periodontal bacteria. Researchers in this study found the bacteria traveled to the brain in mice, which prompted further studies involving humans.
Periodontal disease begins silently. It is not always obvious in early stages. However, as gum disease progresses, you may see blood when brushing and have frequent bad breath and sore and swollen gums. As it worsens, gum tissues turn from a healthy pink color to red.
Some level of periodontal disease exists in over 47 percent of the adult population. (https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm) Its early-stage, gingivitis, is one of the most common diseases found in humans and is more common than the common cold. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, nearly 64 percent of adults ages 65 and over have moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease.
Yet, preventing gum disease requires minimal time and expense. Twice daily brushing (at least two minutes each time) and flossing will help keep oral bacteria to a minimum between regular dental check-ups and cleanings. These visits remove any built-up If you are a smoker or take medications that are drying to oral tissues, hygiene visits every four months may be advised.
Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible way to spend one’s final years, and just as bad when we watch people we love as they suffer through years of decline. Keep the bacteria levels in your mouth under control and stay involved with regular dental visits to lower your risk.
Remember – gum disease only worsens without treatment. In addition to increasing susceptibility for serious diseases, it is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. If you are having symptoms of gum disease (as mentioned above), contact our office at 843-871-6351 or tap here for an appointment.
If you prefer, you can begin with a no-charge consultation to discuss the exam and treatment process, comfort options, and payment plans.Read More
It is estimated that only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions and a whopping 80 percent fail by February. (https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail)
Although losing ten pounds or training to run a marathon may not be achieved by the end of the year, we’d like to suggest a “replacement resolution” that is easy to keep, takes mere minutes a day, and can save you much in time and money.
What, you ask, could this be?
The simple steps you take to maintain good oral health can pay off greatly by helping you avoid cavities and in the prevention of gum disease. As an added bonus, you’ll have a brighter smile, fresher breath, and even enhance your overall health.
How could good oral health improve your overall health?
The bacteria in our mouths can accumulate to the point where they can cause inflammation in gum tissues. This can cause the gums to become swollen, tender, red, and bleed easily when brushing.
If not treated promptly, this early-stage of gum disease (known as gingivitis) can progress to periodontal disease. In addition to attacking gum tissues and the bone that support teeth, this disease can weaken gum tissues and allow entry of infectious bacteria into the bloodstream.
Once bloodborne, the bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Research has shown it can increase one’s risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm births, impotency, and some cancers. That’s pretty scary stuff – far scarier than a cavity.
By being committed to a good oral hygiene regimen at home and having dental cleanings and exams every 6 months, you can prevent cavities, gum disease, and even protect your overall health. And, it’s easy; perhaps as easy as making small adjustments to your existing routine.
Let’s look at your daily brushing habits. First, you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day. And, it’s not just your brushing but in HOW you brush.
For example, you should use a soft or medium bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride. Additionally, each brushing should last at least two minutes, even if using an electronic toothbrush.
But, it’s not just in the time you spend at the sink, but the technique you use. For example, you should brush all sides of all teeth, including the tops and backs. You should also brush near the gum line to dislodge oral bacteria that has gathered at the base of teeth.
Flossing your teeth is also important. This action dislodges food particles caught between teeth, which if left to rot, can provide fuel for more bacterial growth. Our hygienists can help you with the proper way to floss your teeth – comfortably! Ask at your next visit.
If flossing seems too difficult, consider using a water flosser. These have proven to be just as effective as manual flossing. Ask us about which brands are easy and affordable. (Hint: Most of them are!)
Many people do not realize what a hotbed of bacteria exist in the tongue, but it can house over 25,000 types of bacteria with over 700 species identified in its oral microbiome. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5585543/) This is why we recommend either brushing your tongue at the end of brushing teeth or using a tongue scraper.
A tongue scraper is often a flexible strip that you slide over the surface of the tongue, from back to front. Rinsing of the scraper is done after each pass. These are easy to use and take just seconds but the action can uproot millions of micro-organisms.
The goal is to minimize oral bacteria. You can help this further by keeping the mouth moist. Although saliva is designed to rinse bacteria and food particles from the mouth, it can only do so much. With today’s frequent snacking habits and our sugary, carb-laden diets, saliva flow is up against the odds.
You can aid saliva flow by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Colas, tea and coffee don’t count. They actually make things worse! Because these beverages contain caffeine, they can be drying to oral tissues, which depletes saliva.
Be sure to minimize sugar intake, alcohol consumption, smoking, and caffeine. At the very least, swish with water several times afterwards. Sipping colas or sucking on candy or mints containing sugar can place you at high risk for developing cavities and gum disease.
Your 6-month oral hygiene check-ups are structured so you are given a ‘clean slate’ of sorts twice a year. During this time, our hygienists remove plaque (a film of bacteria) and calculus (a hardened form of plaque) from teeth. They can also point out areas at risk to help you avoid further damage with instructions for effective at-home care.
Delaying or avoiding these twice-a-year dental visits can heighten your potential for tooth decay and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. This is unfortunate, especially since it takes mere minutes each day to avoid and is so inexpensive to do.
So, if you want a resolution you can easily keep and reap the rewards almost immediately. make it to have good oral health for 2019 and for the rest of your life! Our Summerville dental office can help! Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a no-charge consultation to begin.
Over the years, our Summerville dental office has developed a reputation for successfully helping adults who struggle with dental fears.
We understand that, for many fearful patients, it takes a great deal of effort to just come in for a consultation. Once here, however, they see that our office is structured to attend to their unique needs.
Our goal is to give all patients an environment where they can achieve a healthy, confident smile. For those who have avoided dentistry, we feel this enables many to have much-needed treatment BEFORE they are ‘forced’ into a dental office because of severe pain.
When regular dental care is avoided, it increases the risk for losing natural teeth and/or developing gum disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disease that is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Gum disease is also associated with serious health problems. The bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammatory reactions far beyond the mouth. It has been linked to higher risks for heart disease, stroke, preterm babies, arthritis, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction (ED).
Some patients prefer to begin their care with the addition of Oral Sedation. This is in pill form and allows the patient to be fully relaxed throughout their care, even “dozing” in and out.
For those who prefer a deeper level of sedative, I am certified to administer I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep). Both forms of sedation erase most or all memory of treatment afterwards and have a practical recovery time.
Rest assured – patients who are sedated are closely monitored throughout treatment with advanced safety equipment and specially-trained staff members.
No matter what your fear level, you CAN experience gentle dentistry where you’ll feel relaxed before, during and after your visit. And, like many of our once-fearful patients, you can enjoy a healthy, confident smile without having a white-knuckled experience!
Dental fear affects over 70 percent of Americans, but it can be overcome. We have hundreds of formerly fearful patients who now have confident, healthy smiles. They know that dentistry can be performed without discomfort and enable them to achieve excellent oral health. You, too, can achieve this regardless of your level of fear.
We’ll begin with a friendly conversation in our private consultation room. This room is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, you can share your concerns and learn about options that can help you move at a pace that’s right for you. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a convenient time for this no-cost consultation.
In the right hands, you can have the healthy, confident smile you desire!Read More
It is a misconception that losing natural teeth is a normal part of the aging process. Although previous generations may have assumed that tooth loss (and ending up in dentures or partials) was natural for adults as they grew older, we know today that this is far from true – and certainly not desirable.
When teeth are missing in a smile, it compromises its appearance, often causing people to feel self-conscious when smiling. Yet, the repercussions of missing teeth go far beyond esthetic. It is now known that dental challenges caused by missing teeth can lead to a long list of problems.
The space left by missing teeth needs to be filled to avoid teeth drifting. Drifting teeth can lead to:
• Compromised chewing efficiency
• The tooth above or below the missing tooth growing too long
• Neighboring teeth moving out of alignment
• More challenges with food accumulation, accelerating bacteria growth
• Uneven chewing patterns, which strains jaw joints and can lead to worn teeth, tooth fractures and chips, clenching and grinding, and headaches
• Loss of jaw bone mass in the extracted area
• Facial changes and biting/chewing problems in the area of tooth loss
• Increased risk of tongue biting
Periodontal (gum) disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, it is easily preventable with simple measures applied on a daily basis. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing and twice-a-year dental visits can greatly reduce the risks of gum disease and subsequent tooth loss.
Those most at risk for tooth loss with the highest susceptibility to gum disease are:
• Males over the age of 35
• Adults who fail to have professional dental care
• Not brushing teeth
• Having diabetes, high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Additionally, teeth most commonly lost due to gum disease are in the front of the mouth rather than back teeth. Health issues such as diabetes and arthritis can also make you more vulnerable to developing gum disease.
When a tooth is lost, it is imperative that it be replaced as soon as possible. We recommend dental implants because they restore the look and feel of a natural tooth. Dental implants also recreate the presence of a tooth root in the jaw bone. This helps halt bone loss, protects your facial structure, and preserves the natural alignment of your bite.
Missing natural teeth? We offer many tooth replacement options to restore the look, feel and function of a natural-looking, confident smile. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a free consultation to discuss the choices that may be best for your individual needs.Read More
Through decades of research and findings from countless studies, there is no doubt that your oral health plays an integral part of your overall health. Not only does oral bacteria overload lead to tender, bleeding gums, it causes cavities, bad breath and some serious health problems far beyond the mouth.
Studies have shown that oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, it can cause inflammatory reactions that have been associated with a long list of diseases and health conditions. These include stroke, heart disease, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers.
Still, with all these findings, it’s perplexing that nearly half of American adults have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. I believe the problem lies in the fact that gum disease can begin – and even exist to a certain extent – without obvious symptoms.
To help our readers be in a better position to avoid (or respond promptly to) gum disease, I hope the following Q&A will help in your appreciation of good oral health:
What is gum disease? Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It forms from accumulated oral bacteria. Like any infection (which is bacteria that is straining the capability of the immune system), it causes redness, tenderness, and swelling. Because it is hidden inside the mouth, gum disease is easier to ignore than if the same were to occur on a skinned knee. Early-stage gum disease causes the gums to bleed when brushing, tender gums, and frequent bad breath. As it progresses, gums swell and turn red. The gums loosen their grip around the base of teeth. Eventually, persistent bad breath occurs and may be accompanied by pus pockets that form on gum tissues. As the bacteria eats away at the structures that support tooth roots, the need for tooth removal can occur.
Why should I worry about gum disease? As if the discomfort, bad breath, and rotten teeth weren’t enough, many people are unaware that gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. When a tooth is lost, it creates a domino effect that can lead to more tooth loss. Replacing teeth can be expensive. For some tooth replacement options, it typically causes bone resorption. This is when the jaw bones that once supported natural tooth roots begin to shrink in mass. A thinning jaw bone is what causes a denture or partial to slip or rub uncomfortably on tender gum tissues. (Dental implants, fortunately, mimic the presence of tooth roots. This halts the process of resorption.) Additionally, as mentioned prior, gum disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to a number of serious, even deadly, health problems.
How do I prevent gum disease? Although I’d like to say that twice-daily brushing and daily flossing is sufficient, that’s only part of the equation. It is necessary to keep the mouth moist. Aging and the side effect of many medications can be very drying to the mouth. This mean that oral bacteria are not being washed away efficiently. Also, American diets are full of sugar. Sugar is especially challenging in the mouth, triggering acids that can damage almost immediately. Too, just over 52 percent of the adult population visit the dentist every six months. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 20 percent (in 2014) stated they only saw a dentist every “few years.” (https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/dental-statistics/patients) Your dental check-ups are structured to remove built up oral bacteria that has hardened on teeth (known as tartar, or calculus). Seeing your dentist every six months helps you to prevent, or greatly minimize, the risks associated with gum disease.
As a dentist in Summerville, I’ve been pleased to offer a “dental home” where our patients know we will treat them thoroughly, respectfully, and with gentle hands. We keep our fees affordable so all individuals can enjoy the benefits and confidence of a healthy smile.
If you suspect you have gum disease or have not had a dental cleaning in over six months, call 843-871-6351 to schedule an appointment. If preferred, ask to begin with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we’ll discuss your unique needs and how we can assist you in achieving the smile you desire.Read More
When I go to the eye doctor for my annual eye exam, it’s usually one of my least favorite items to check off my healthcare to-do list. Having my pupils dilated, that puff of air shot at my eye ball, and sitting still while a bright light blares into each eye is no fun. However, I see my vision as not only a vital part of living a full and active life. As a dentist, having good vision is vital.
Having an annual eye exam is an appointment most people want ‘over and done with’ quickly. But, like many medical screenings and checkups, we know it’s wise to take the time. Dental checkups, although not something most people look forward to, are also important to your health and well-being. Plus, these twice-a-year dental visits are structured to help you avoid or minimize time and expenses for treatment that can occur without regular care.
Fortunately, these visits typically require only an hour or so of your time. In our office, we try to minimize wait time and use advanced skills and technology to create more efficiency while optimizing comfort. This certainly makes dental visits more appealing for all patients. Yet, for people who do struggle with dental fear, these visits require far more of them than just setting aside the time needed for each visit.
I have decades of experience helping patients who have anxiety or fear (and even dental phobia) to be able to relax through dental treatment. Some have been able to overcome their fears altogether. While I don’t claim to convert them into dental appointment ‘fans,’ I will say that a large percentage go from a sense of dread and ‘white knuckled’ tension to walking in with a smile and leaving with a smile, having completed their appointment without dealing with the grip of fear.
In our nation, periodontal (gum) disease effects over 47 percent of adults – a staggering statistic when you consider how easy it is to prevent. Gum disease occurs from the over-accumulation of oral bacteria that cause inflammation. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, oral health is not the only thing compromised because of gum disease.
These potent bacterial organisms can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. Research has shown they can cause reactions that have been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers, erectile dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease. As more research is conducted, new findings keep connecting oral bacteria to more and more health problems, some that are deadly.
With that said, our nation sadly has far more people who are nervous or afraid of dental visits than not. It is estimated that over 70 percent of adult have some level of dental anxiety or fear. Because this fear prevents some people from being able to receive regular dental care (often delaying treatment until pain forces them), it’s to no surprise that so many suffer with gum disease. As mentioned prior, it’s nearly half of our adult population.
Although we offer both oral and IV sedation (twilight sleep), all patients (in our office) enjoy the benefits of a number of comfort options. In addition to a gentle touch, we’ve invested in a wide variety of advanced technology that reduces treatment time and enhances comfort. (Even our drills are designed to eliminate that dreadful, high-pitched whine, with a gentle humming sound instead).
We also pace each patient’s care to match individual needs. Some people are happy to move through treatment in one or two appointments while others wish to proceed in small steps. We are also careful to communicate what is being done in their mouths, and why. This is reassuring to patients, especially those with fear issues. They may ‘perceive’ pain when there is unknown action taking place that they can’t see.
We encourage anyone who has dental fear or anxiety issues to begin with a private conversation at no charge. This consultation is just a chat. I take the time to learn the unique concerns of each individual and make recommendations based upon those concerns. From there, we can determine the most comfortable way to proceed. Or, they may choose to do nothing for the time being. The choice is in the hands of the patient. We are not here to nudge someone into treatment, but rather to support them when they are ready.
If you would like to schedule a private, no cost consultation, call 843-871-6351. From the very first conversation on the telephone, I’m certain you’ll understand why so many once-fearful people have chosen us to help them achieve healthy, confident smiles.Read More
Most of us know someone who enjoys roller coaster rides or scary movies. Quite frankly, I’m not one of them and not afraid to admit it!
Yet, I know that a scary thought to many people is a visit to the dentist. Those who experience fear or anxiety associated with dental visits are plentiful — nearly 75 percent of the adult population by some estimates. And, an estimated 5-10 percent of those can be categorized as ‘dental phobics.’ These people have such intense fears of dentistry that they avoid care until something becomes so painful that they have no choice.
Unfortunately, what prevents fearful patients from having regular dental care is a past, traumatic experience in a dental office, more often than not. When a dentist continues to work on a patient who is not fully numb or indicating discomfort, the damage inflicted can be lifelong.
What the individual is left with is a looming fear of dental care. And, the health of your mouth has been found to be even more vital to overall health than ever.
Recent research has shown that the bacteria of gum disease can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This systemic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies, erectile dysfunction and impotency.
As a dentist who is experienced in caring for fearful patients, I understand that past traumas are difficult to set aside. I know these fears are common and try to reassure these patients that they have nothing to be ashamed of, not in our office anyway.
My entire team is focused on providing gentle care to all patients at every visit. Our desire is to provide a positive experience from the time an individual walks through our front door through the time they check out.
Here, each person is treated with respect, compassion and to the highest standards possible. We’ve also incorporated advanced dental technology and techniques to enhance every aspect of treatment, regardless of the procedure.
For example, we use a ‘silent’ drill. Rather than a high-pitched whine, these make a gentle whir sound. Another example is our CEREC 3D technology. This creates crowns and implant ‘restorations’ (replacement teeth) in one visit. This eliminates the need for the patient to have to return for a separate placement visit and have an additional numbing.
For new patients with dental fears, I often offer oral or I.V. sedation. For many, sedation helps them to relax through their initial visits so, in many cases, they come to relax on their own. Many, after only one or two visits, state they no longer need a sedative.
Oral sedation is a pill that is taken prior to one’s visit. By the time the patient arrives to our office, he or she is in a relaxed state. We seat them immediately in a comfortable treatment chair and administer numbing medications while they are in this relaxed state.
I.V. sedation, for which I am certified, is an ‘in-the-vein’ drip of anesthetic. This creates a deeper ‘sleep state’ for patients with a greater amnesiac effect. However, oral sedation also erases most (if not all) memory of the procedure. It also has a faster recovery time.
Both are safe and patients are monitored throughout treatment with trained staff members and advanced safety equipment.
As a dentist with a track record of helping hundreds of fearful patients achieve healthy, confident smiles, I know sedation options are but a piece of the puzzle to feeling good about dentistry. When it comes to a patient who has no fear of being in pain and enjoys achieving the look and feel of a healthy, beautiful smile, that comes from a relationship of trust.
This is where once-fearful patients find a solution. In knowing they are in the hands of people who care about their comfort, will never rush them, and respect their unique needs and concerns, our patients are able to enjoy smiles they are proud to share!
If fear has kept you from achieving the healthy, appealing smile you have only ‘hoped for,’ call to request a no-charge consultation appointment. This visit occurs in a private consultation room that is removed from the clinical side of our office. During this time, I’ll learn about your concerns, make recommendations, and answer your questions.
We are here for you. We know your smile is important to you. Call 843-871-8351 to schedule.Read More
Dentistry is an exciting field. I love that I can replace missing teeth in our patients with the durability and stability of Dental Implants. I am always pleased to watch a patient get that first look at their new smile after a cosmetic dentistry. Yet, I am thrilled that research is now proving the links between our oral health and our overall health.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Consider that the majority of the bacteria that enters the body comes in through the mouth. When gum disease weakens oral tissues, the potent bacteria can enter the bloodstream.
Years ago, researchers found that many serious diseases were the result of systemic inflammation. This occurs when the body’s immune system goes haywire and turns on itself. This chronic inflammation has been blamed for heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, erectile dysfunction (ED) and a series of other problems.
What the researchers began to note was how oral bacteria could contribute to inflammatory triggers. For example, an article published in 2010 by the Journal of Oral Microbiology, they point out that “individuals with periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are reported to have an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarction, and atherosclerosis” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3084572/)
The surge of research surrounding the link between periodontal disease and serious health problems has reached as far as showing connections with Alzheimer’s disease, preterm babies, some cancers (including lung, oral and pancreatic cancers), and contributing to elevated PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) levels.
Now, researchers are fast-tracking studies surrounding microbes. These have been found to be mixes of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Although it sounds like an icky cesspool, these microbes are much like the bacteria in our guts.
For those of us who take a daily probiotic capsule, we do this so the good-guy bacteria in our digestive system can keep the bad-guy bacteria in check. It’s a similar issue with microbes. Researchers have determined that microbiome send signals to certain parts of the body. These signals can help with the efficiency of certain functions, but like bad-guy bacteria in the gut, they can also misfire. It is in the misfire that has become the focus of many studys. What causes them to misbehave?
Getting back to the bacteria in your mouth, we’ve acknowledged that it is plentiful and can enter the bloodstream. When certain strains of periodontal disease bacteria settle in at certain points, a chain reaction begins, none of it good. One study found that the makeup of the bacteria found in advanced gum disease was almost identical to tissues taken from arthritic joints. And, findings also showed that the successful treatment of gum disease could create significant reductions in arthritis symptoms. (https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/gum-disease/ra-and-gum-disease.php)
When it comes to the devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists are looking diligently for potential sources. In one study, a team at Chung Shan Medical University used data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database to examine whether patients age 50 or older with chronic periodontitis had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Although no overall link was determined between periodontitis and Alzheimer‘s, they found that “people who had the chronic gum inflammation for 10 or more years were 70 percent more likely than people without periodontitis to develop Alzheimer’s disease.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-alzheimers-gum-disease/long-term-gum-disease-linked-to-alzheimers-disease-idUSKCN1AX2F0)
Certainly, we want fresh breath and bright smiles, which are good reasons to brush and floss. However, these findings are pretty telling that a healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body, and vice versa.
If you’re behind on regular dental checkups and cleanings, let’s get you seen sooner than later. You may be doing a lot more than avoiding cavities! Call 843-871-6351 to schedule, or ask to begin with a free, no obligation consultation. During this time, I can discuss a program that may be appropriate for your needs as well as comfort options and easy payment plans.
The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. That’s 9.3 percent of the population and is an increase from a 2010 estimate of 26 million. This does not include the one in four who have diabetes yet don’t know it.
The CDC states, “Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels. Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use.”
Based on health data from 2012, the National Diabetes Statistics Report was released in 2014 revealing that non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults. The age of those being newly diagnosed is also a particular concern. In the 2012 data, 208,000 people under the age of 20 were diagnosed with diabetes (both types). (https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesfactsheet/)
Sadly, the rate of those struggling with diabetes is expected to triple in the coming decade. A National Institutes of Health report states diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that compromises the body’s ability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is a leading cause of death because of the vascular complications attributed to it.
The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 (insulin dependent) and Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with symptoms typically emerging after the age of 45.
Early symptoms of diabetes include bad breath and bleeding gums although the general public rarely associates one with the other. For scientific researchers, however, the emergence of diabetes through oral problems makes perfect sense.
Periodontal (gum) disease is said to be the sixth greatest complication of diabetes. Like diabetes, periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition.
Oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body. Research has shown that gum disease is linked to other inflammatory diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease.
With gum disease and diabetes, research has also shown that one tends to trigger the other. Gum disease has been found to occur more frequently – and with greater severity – in diabetics with poor glycemic control. On the flip side, properly managing glucose levels has shown to be helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.
Over 47% of American adults have some level of periodontal disease. Symptoms include gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses, the gums darken in color, pus pockets form and teeth loosen and may eventually require removal. Due to its widespread prevalence, gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Because diabetics have a particular vulnerability to internal inflammation, they are urged to be especially committed to good oral health. This begins by knowing the signs of gum disease, maintaining a thorough at-home oral hygiene regimen and having dental check-ups every 3-4 months.
Whether you are diabetic or not, you are urged to react to signs of gum disease promptly by having a thorough examination. Early symptoms are often ignored or deemed ‘normal,’ allowing gum disease to worsen and require more-extensive treatment. Remember – by the time obvious symptoms begin, the infectious bacteria are running rampant.
Call 843-871-6351 if you have questions or to arrange a no-charge, no obligation Consultation.Read More
I remember watching a “Three Stooges” episode when I was young and laughing at the different sounds that Moe, Larry and Curly Joe made while sleeping. Their snoring was comedic, but I know, as an adult, that snoring can be more than a nuisance, it can be a health risk.
For those who sleep with heavy snorers, they know that sleep quality can be greatly compromised. Some mates end up sleeping in separate rooms so at least one escapes the disruptions caused by the noise. Some snorers can be coaxed to “turn over,” which can put a halt to snoring. However, some snoring is so intense Many factors, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight, can lead to snoring.
When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate.
Snoring effects up to 25 percent of women and 45 percent who are categorized as habitual snorers. Snoring is also the most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), effecting up to 95 percent of patients. However, snoring is a poor predictor of OSA because of the high prevalence of snoring in the general population. In addition to snoring, OSA is associated with a number of serious illnesses, including arterial hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952752/
What causes snoring?
The following can affect the airway and cause snoring:
Anatomy – Due to individual anatomy, one may be more prone to snoring. For example, a low, thick soft palate creates a more narrow airway. The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful airflow becomes. This causes tissue vibration to increase, which causes your snoring to grow louder.
Sleep Position – Sleeping on the back narrows the airway passages from gravity’s effect on the throat.
Weight – Being overweight means extra tissues in the back of the throat, which can narrow the airway.
Nasal Problems – For people who have chronic nasal congestion or a deviated septum (crooked divider between the nostrils), the uneven path of airflow can lead to snoring.
Elongated Uvula – When the piece of tissue than hangs down from the soft palate is longer than normal, it can obstruct airflow, which increases vibration sounds.
Drinking Alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol before bedtime can cause the throat muscles to over-relax.
Yet, the most intense snoring is associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the throat tissues partially or completely block the airway, which halts the breathing process during sleep. Eventually, the pause in breathing (which can last for up to a minute each time) causes the person to wake up, which often begins with a loud snort or gasping sound.
Louder snoring associated with more severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was actually evaluated through one study of over 1640 habitual snorers who were referred for evaluation of sleep apnea. In the study (published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine), the average age was 48 with the average BMI of 31 with 65 percent of study participants being male.
With the intensity of snoring, also assessed were body mass index (BMI), neck size, sleep stage, and body position. It should also be noted that the male participants were older, heavier, and had larger neck circumferences than the females.
Using AHI grading (apnea-hypopnea index), the severity of OSA was measured as none for less than 5, 5 to 15 for mild, 15 to 30 for moderate, and severe being 30 to 50 with very severe registering over 50. The results showed that snoring intensity increases progressively across all categories of AHI frequency with the intensity of snoring increasing as OSA becomes more severe. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/complications/con-20020286)
While snoring is no laughing matter, sleep apnea can be deadly. Sleep apnea has been associated with heart attacks, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, liver problems and complications following surgery.
For people who are heavy snorers or suffer with mild to moderate sleep apnea, there may be a simple, effective solution.
We are certified to create custom-fitted oral appliances that open up air flow by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. These appliances are FDA approved, small and do not interfere with sleep.
These are ideal for people who have tried CPAP devices and find them too cumbersome, noisy or confining. We use the Oravan system, which has an ideal track record for comfort and ease of use. For those who have tried our Oravan system, many agree with this user:
“I am sleeping soundly and have no problems using the mouth piece. This has helped me get rid of that bulky CPAP and my wife is thrilled!”
If you’d like to discuss the Oravan system for yourself or someone you know, call 843-871-6351. Consider beginning with a no-cost consultation. I will be happy to answer your questions and discuss costs. We can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, if desired.Read More
For decades, research has shown links between the bacteria of periodontal disease and serious diseases and conditions in the body. The list includes heart disease, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and erectile dysfunction.
Based on findings of previous studies, a long-term study has revealed the bacteria of gum disease as a contributing factor to developing pancreatic cancer, which will be diagnosed in over 50 000 people this year. Because pancreatic cancer typically goes undiagnosed until advanced stages, fewer than 10% of those diagnosed will be living 5 years later.
One study, however, determined that people with 2 types of periodontal disease–causing oral bacteria have a greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in June 2016 (http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2526607), oral bacteria may provide an early marker for pancreatic cancer.
In the study, the DNA in saliva from over 360 adults who eventually developed pancreatic cancer was compared to samples of DNA in saliva to a similar number of adults who remained healthy.
In both groups, adjustments were made for age, gender, race, and body mass as well as for alcohol consumption, smoking and having diabetes. Participants who developed pancreatic cancer within two years of providing DNA samples were omitted to ensure no pre-existing factors could distort statistical outcomes.
Coupled with findings from previous studies, researchers were able to pinpoint two specific types of periodontal disease pathogens. Researchers noted that one pathogen type was more prevalent in the saliva of subjects who developed pancreatic cancer, showing a 59 percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The second pathogen type was shown to increase the risk by 50 percent.
This study is yet another reason to acknowledge that your oral health is an integral part of your overall health. When your teeth and gums are healthy, you can prevent gum disease, cavities, and according to research, the penetration of potent oral bacteria into the bloodstream.
Signs of periodontal disease include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, frequent bad breath, gums that deepen in color from a healthy pink to red, and gum recession as gums pull away from teeth, exposing darker and sensitive tooth roots. Eventually, teeth will loosen and may require removal.
More than 47 percent of American adults have some level of periodontal disease. However, achieving and maintaining good oral health is quite simple. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, having 6-month dental check-ups and avoiding a dry mouth are easy ways to limit oral bacteria.
Obviously, periodontal disease bacteria is potent. As more findings are revealed, I’ll share updates. In the meantime, be proactive when it comes to the symptoms of periodontal disease. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 843-871-6351 to arrange a no-charge consultation. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss ways to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile.Read More
Like many diseases that form in our bodies, periodontal (gum) disease begins without obvious symptoms. However, unlike our response to something unusual like a lump or bump, the initial signs of gum disease are often ignored. Why?
An estimated 25% of men over the age of 39 have an annual prostrate exam and an estimated 50% of women ages 40 to 85 have an annual mammogram. Yet, the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that over 47% of American adults have some level of gum disease. I believe this is because our population is truly unaware of the signs, and subsequent risks, of periodontal disease.
A couple of generations ago, many people believed they had to use a stiff toothbrush and really scrub their teeth to get them clean. Many grew up believing that abrasive substances such as baking soda helped to do a good job. Today we know that this will wear down tooth enamel and wear away gum tissues that support teeth. Still today, some people assume that seeing blood in the sink when brushing is a sign they are doing a good job.
Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Losing a natural tooth is often the beginning to subsequent tooth loss. As a matter of fact, statistics show that when you lose a tooth, the next you’re most likely to lose is one adjacent.
Losing teeth creates a long list of decisions and expenses. Yet, tooth loss is just one problem associated with gum disease. Decades of research has shown that the bacteria of gum disease is associated with serious health problems in the body.
We now know that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Once bloodborne, the bacteria has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions associated with heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.
When you think about it, gum disease is one of the most preventable of all diseases. A thorough at-home routine of twice daily brushing, daily flossing, drinking plenty of water and limits on snacking and sweets are easy ways to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum.
Additionally, it is important to have regular dental check-ups and cleanings. These visits are vital to keeping a healthy smile by removing accumulated tartar and noting signs of gum disease at their earliest stages.
How gum disease develops should be familiar to everyone. Below is its path of development:
• Accumulation Of Oral Bacteria: The mouth is a warm, moist environment that is open access to a tremendous amount of bacteria. Bacteria is on food, utensils and even our toothbrushes. Bacteria in our bodies is a fact of life and something we are structured to manage. However, at certain levels, the problem exceeds the limits that can be effectively handled. Too much bacteria in the mouth is how gum disease begins.
• Formation of Plaque: Without regular and thorough brushing, flossing and saliva flow, oral bacteria reproduce rapidly. Just over the course of a day, their accumulation forms a sticky film that coats teeth and gums. This film is known as plaque.
• Development of Calculus: In about 48 hours, plaque can harden into tartar, also known as calculus. This hardened form of oral bacteria attaches to teeth and can no longer be brushed or flossed away. Tartar will continue to reproduce as oral bacteria subsist on tooth enamel and gum tissue.
• Gingivitis: As the first stage of gum disease, gum tissues are now inflamed. The gums become tender, bleed easily when brushing and your breath will feel not-so-fresh. By taking proper measures at this point, you may be able to restore your gums to a healthy state. Halting gingivitis at this stage is important to avoid the further development of gum disease.
• Periodontal (Gum) Disease: At this stage, gum tissues are inflamed and tender. The gums will turn red and some teeth may show darker root portions as gum tissues loosen their grip around teeth. You’ll have persistent bad breath. As gum disease worsens, pus pockets may form and some teeth will loosen.
Want a healthy mouth? Want to avoid problems in the first place? Want to give your overall health a leg up? Begin by looking at your daily oral care routine. If you’ve delayed your 6-month dental check-ups, schedule one as soon as possible. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.
With proper care, you can easily enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease as mentioned above, call toll free 1-877-966-9009.Read More
As a dentist with a reputation for patient comfort, we occasionally see a new patient who is ‘forced’ into dental care because the pain has become so severe he or she can no longer avoid treatment. Sadly, many have already lost natural teeth and are at risk of losing more. Most have some level of gum disease.
When teeth are lost, a destructive cycle begins. It is a fact that, when a tooth is lost, the next you’ll lose is one adjacent. Too, natural tooth roots nurture and stimulate the jaw bone that supports them. When a tooth root no longer exists, the bone goes through a process known as ‘resorption.’ This is a shrinking of bone mass that can affect the health of neighboring teeth and contribute to changes in facial appearance.
A declining jaw bone leads to deep wrinkling around the mouth and jowls that form from the detachment of facial muscles. Bone loss also causes the mouth to appear collapsed into the face and the chin to point. This creates what is referred to as a ‘granny look.’
In addition to a higher risk of tooth loss, adults who avoid dentistry are at higher risk of gum disease. Periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Even worse, the infectious bacteria of gum disease can become bloodborne through tears in weakened gum tissues.
Research has found the bacteria of gum disease can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This potent bacteria has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, preterm babies, memory loss and erectile dysfunction (ED).
A healthy smile is good for you, inside and out! In addition to supporting your overall health, studies have shown that smiling causes the release of endorphins, the brain’s ‘happy’ chemical. And, this occurs even when you ‘fake’ a smile. Too, people who smile frequently are estimated to add up to seven years to their lifespans.
A number of studies have been conducted over the years to show the power of a smile. (See: http://www.naturalhealth365.com/smiling.html/ for a summary of several). Yet, smiling occurs easily when an individual feels good about how their smile looks. When a smile is clean and healthy, it’s easy to smile even if some ‘flaws’ exist (such as gapped, crooked or chipped teeth).
My team and I pride ourselves on our commitment to combine exceptional care with a gentle touch. For patients who have high levels of fear, however, it is a challenge to just walk in the front door. During consultations, it is not uncommon for both men and women to become tearful as they recall traumatic experiences in a dental chair. These memories are so deeply embedded that many will endure severe pain rather than see a dentist.
Dental fear is nothing to be ashamed of and can be overcome. We realize that perceived pain can seem just as real as actual pain for those who had traumatic episodes in the past. However, we know that these fears can be overcome by many. We have hundreds of once fearful patients who now walk in with a smile and leave smiling, knowing their oral health is in excellent shape. You, too, can achieve this regardless of your level of fear.
For many anxious or fearful patients, we add Oral Sedation to treatment. This provides total relaxation during treatment and is helpful for patients who have lengthy appointments. For a deeper level of sedation, some patients prefer I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep). This requires a longer recovery time but allows patients to sleep through their visits. Both sedation options erase most or all memory of treatment afterwards.
No matter what your fear level, you can rest assured that your comfort is always a priority in our office. We want you to feel relaxed before, during and after your visit. And, like many of our formerly fearful patients, we know you can achieve a healthy, confident smile without having a white-knuckled experience!
Begin by calling toll free 1-877-966-9009 to arrange a no-cost consultation. This is a friendly discussion in our private consultation room, which is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, comfort options will be discussed as well as how we can structure your care at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
Don’t let your fears destroy your smile. In the right hands, you can achieve the healthy, attractive smile you’ve imagined.Read More
If you are diabetic, you’re in lots of company. The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in recent decades and is expected to triple in the next ten years. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level. A report published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine through the National Institutes of Health states that diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.”
For those who are not familiar with diabetes, it is a metabolic disease that compromises the body’s ability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is a leading cause of death because of the vascular complications attributed to the disease.
The most common types of diabetes are type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with initial symptoms emerging after age 45. Early indications of this disease are bad breath and bleeding gums.
The emergence of diabetes through oral problems is typical even though the general public rarely associates one with the other. For those in the medical and scientific field, it makes perfect sense. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. Other inflammatory diseases (such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease) have been linked to gum disease by numerous research studies.
Periodontal disease is not only cited as the sixth greatest complication of diabetes, research has shown that one tends to trigger the other. Gum disease has been found to occur more frequently – and with greater severity in diabetics – with poor glycemic control. Proper management of diabetes for controlled glucose levels has been shown to be helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.
Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, gum recession that expose dark tooth root sections, and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses the gums deepen in color, pus pockets form at the base of teeth and teeth will loosen. Eventually teeth require removal. As a matter of fact, periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
While it is important to be familiar with the signs or gum disease, diabetics are urged to be as proactive as possible when it comes to their oral health due to their particular vulnerability to internal inflammation. For our diabetic patients, we advise having a dental check-up every 3-4 months.
If you have diabetes, arrange for a thorough examination at your earliest convenience. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment. It’s early symptoms are easily ignored. By the time obvious symptoms begin, it is typically well underway. Too, delayed care often results in more treatment time and greater expense.
Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 if you have questions or to begin with a free Consultation to discuss your symptoms and oral health.Read More