Is painful cavity treatment a thing of the past?

Is painful cavity treatment a thing of the past?

We love new technology, especially when it helps our patients feel comfortable at our office. It looks like there might be some exciting changes on the horizon regarding the way we treat cavities! There is a new product called Silver Diamine Fluoride that might help patients avoid the drill in the unfortunate event that they get a cavity.

Silver Diamine Fluoride is an antimicrobial liquid that can be brushed onto teeth directly over a cavity. This is a painless treatment that shows evidence of stopping tooth decay. In all honestly, this is not a recent discovery, in fact Silver Diamine Fluoride has been used as a method for treating oral health issues in other parts of the world for many years. For example, in Japan there are records of cavity treatment using this technology for several decades.

While we may feel a little envious knowing that SDF has been used in other countries for many years, we are thankful that the method has been thoroughly vetted before entering the United States market for use in dentist offices across the nation.

The first step in making Silver Diamine Fluoride available all across the nation was having it cleared for use by the Food and Drug administration. Though it has not been made fully available, it is making progress. For example, it is now permitted for use in people over the age of 21 to aid in teeth desensitization. Evidently it is very effective for this use in addition to healing cavities in all ages. It is our hope that in the near future, Silver Diamine Fluoride will be free for use on all ages for cavity prevention and for halting the progression of preexisting cavities.

The main benefit of using Silver Diamine Fluoride as an alternative to traditional methods of treating cavities is that it is completely pain free! We may be able to say goodbye to using the drill and injections for such common oral health issue as cavities. This will certainly make the visit to our office a lot more fun!

The one downside of SDF, is the fact that it is not always the most aesthetically pleasing alternative. When the SDF touches the cavity decay of the tooth, it turns the brown decay into a blackish color. Of course, if a cavity is small and not on the front of a tooth, this isn’t a large deterrent to treatment.

Overall, this could alter the dentistry industry in significant ways by making treatment more efficient, painless, faster, and less expensive. That is what we call a win-win.

How gum disease is related to pancreatic cancer

How gum disease is related to pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer that can develop in the human body. Responsible for over 40,000 deaths a year, 95% of people diagnosed die within the first 5 years. More and more doctors are turning to the mouth as an early detection tool for these kinds of cancers and diseases.

A certain kind of bacteria that causes periodontal disease has also been linked to patients that have pancreatic cancer. Looking at oral samples, researchers have found connections between Porphyromonas gingivalis. In this study the prevalence of this bacteria was accompanied by an overall 59% greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Those who carried Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were 50% more likely. Both types of bacteria cause periodontitis which is a serious gum disease.
The microbiome of the mouth is a really fascinating place to do bacterium studies. With over 700 different kinds of species of bacteria, there’s a lot of variation. Five previous studies show that those who suffer from gum disease – bleeding, or swollen gums, and those who have missing teeth associated with gum disease are also linked to have an increased likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer.

It seemed odd at first but the statistics don’t lie. Looking at what general inflammation means and how that’s important in relation to cancer is important to help with an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis with a cancer as aggressive as pancreatic could mean the difference between life or death with most patients.
Your dentist could be the first line of defense in knowing what’s going on with the rest of your body, so it’s important to make sure you’re regularly seeing them and taking care of your oral health. Anything that raises a red flag to me, I’m sure to notify my patients. I’m always thinking of their health collectively.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

The link between your oral health and physical health is growing stronger every day as more and more research is completed. Many illnesses and diseases develop preliminary symptoms that are being found, firstly, in a patient’s mouth. One of the newest correlations found, is between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer – the 4th most common cause of cancer related mortality.

Pancreatic cancer is expected to rise to the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths, and even though it accounts for only 3% of new cancer cases each year, it’s lack of symptoms can lead to a late diagnosis. In this particularly aggressive form of cancer, and a late diagnosis is the difference between life, and death.

Thankfully researchers come bearing good news. Evidence indicates that chronic infections, and inflammation, of the gums is associated with an increased risk of cancer development. Frequent occurrences of periodontal disease may be one of the earliest forms of detection available for pancreatic cancer. Now before you become worried about the state of your health, keep in mind there are two types of bacteria that can cause periodontal disease. Participants with Porphyromonas gingivitis had a 59% greater risk of cancer development than those without. This study concluded that those who had poor oral health, may be at a predisposition for pancreatic cancer to develop.

While genetics still remain to be the most steadfast way of determining a person’s likelihood of developing cancer, the new research available from NYU concluded that periodontal disease, did, in fact, precede pancreatic cancer. This is important and exciting news for anyone with a history of illness. Being able to catch pancreatic cancer in its developing stages might be the best way to decrease its mortality rate.

It is important to acknowledge that these findings do not confirm that one causes the other, only that, in some, way they’re correlated. It’s more plausible to think that periodontal disease acts as a symptom of developing cancerous cells. Inflammation in the body is a known precursor for cancer development.

The medical field is expanding constantly, and rapidly, and we’re lucky to live in a country that is on the cutting edge of research. I’ve always known that the mouth is a glimpse into the rest of the body and being able to monitor my patients’ health more thoroughly is exciting and important to me.

Most of my patients have been with me for many years, their loyalty is my bread and butter. Keeping them healthy is my top priority and in hard cases like these, cancerous illnesses and the like, it breaks my heart to discover bad news. But with early detection, as this research detects, hopefully we can start winning more battles against pancreatic cancer.

Be sure you’re scheduling with me regularly especially if you notice inflammation in your gums. Keeping your mouth healthy is a necessary step in keeping the rest of you healthy as well.

Marijuana and Gum Disease, What’s Really Happening.

Marijuana and Gum Disease, What’s Really Happening.

As more and more information gets released about medical marijuana uses, one of the less than appealing aspects about its users, is the increased likelihood they’ll develop periodontal disease. A strong correlation between heavy users of the herb, and the increased incidences of gum disease (especially in young adults), has been noticed by researchers, doctors, and dentists alike. So before you light up, consider the harms associated with heavy smoking.

Since it’s recent, State-specific legalization, studies can, and will, be coming to more concrete conclusions about the positive, and negative, aspects of marijuana use. Those prescribed the herb are usually looking for safer ways to alleviate various pains and discomforts, without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. But like any medication, this, of course, is not without its respective challenges.

The mouth’s ecosystem is a series of routinely healing the attacks our environment takes on it. Foods, drinks, brushing and flossing habits, all greatly affect overall mouth care. Drinks and food eat away at enamel and create plaque. That, in it of itself, is already a difficult repair to naturally reverse itself. This is why we need to brush, floss and visit the dentist, because without those things we’re prone to disease and our health is adversely affected.

Anytime you introduce smoking to your habits, your mouth has an even more difficult time recovering. The hot smoke held in your mouth wreaks havoc on your gums that normal maintenance doesn’t help fully recover from. Studies show that with time, the mouth repairs itself quite well. Those who quit smoking in their late 20s had almost no signs of oral health problems in their 30s. But if you’re smoking every day, the mouth doesn’t have time or resources to properly heal itself.

The most common issue with marijuana use, is the dry mouth it causes with most users. There are a lot of medications and habits that contribute to dry mouth, but the effects of it are all the same. Dry mouth leads to less saliva production which helps keep the bacteria in the mouth balanced. ‘Cottonmouth’ can lead to periodontal disease for simply allowing the acid in the mouth to get out of control.

Some studies have found that the actual chemical THC found in marijuana can’t be completely broken down by the mouth and can lead to gum disease. As marijuana usage increases each year with its movements towards legalization, new and more comprehensive studies of side effects can be completed.

I recommend, if you are a smoker of any kind, that your visits to me are well maintained. I’m always invested in the health of my patients and being in dentistry as long as I have, you learn that the mouth can tell you a lot of secrets about a person’s health. Don’t be embarrassed about confiding your habits in me, together we can better monitor your health and figure out what’s working for you and not working for you.
The times maybe changing, but I’m not going anywhere. So be sure you’re checking in with me on a regular basis.

Soda – Kryptonite for your Teeth

Soda – Kryptonite for your Teeth

Almost no one reaches for a glass of milk or water anymore, instead our convenience stores are lined with refrigerated soft drinks and sports drinks. We start our mornings with coffee or juice and end our evenings with wine or beers. While these things are okay in moderation, they may be doing more harm than good to our teeth.
These drinks cause suffering to the consumer by altering the natural PH balance in your mouth. An overall mouth PH balance less than 4.0 is considered to be corrosive to teeth, and make them more prone to decay. Most sodas have a PH of 2.37 – 3.4. Gatorade and Powerade have a PH balance in the high 2s, things like Vitaminwater are doing a little better, at around 3.2 and orange juice is at 3.8.

For adults, alcohol can cause some serious damage to our teeth as well. Alcohol not only strips away at the enamel; it can also turn into sugar in your metabolism which settles onto your teeth. Alcohol also strips your body of water, leaving you dehydrated and with a dry mouth. A lack of saliva means that bacteria is more likely to grow out of control and we know what that means – more plaque buildup.

It’s near impossible to keep track of the PH levels of all the drinks you’re consuming throughout the day, but it is important to keep in the back of your mind that sugary drinks have real ramifications on the health of your teeth. When the sugar interacts with the natural bacteria in your mouth, acid is formed that latches onto the surface of the teeth. This creates plaque and plaque dissolves the tooth structures and can even leave holes, cavities, in the teeth.

For the parents out there, kids and teens are much more susceptible to decay and tooth erosion because the enamel isn’t quite developed. Teach them good brushing habits young and try to encourage as much water intake as possible so they learn to think twice about reaching for that soda first.

Enjoying the things we sip on is a wonderful facet to life, and like with anything, everything is okay in moderation. If you’re prone to dental disease, sugary drinks might be the culprit. There are some easy tricks to make sure that your mouth stays balanced and your teeth stay healthy.

You can use a straw to make sure the soda stays as far away from your teeth as possible. ‘Rinse’ or swish your mouth with water after drinking a soft drink so that the natural PH balance is restored more quickly and the sugar doesn’t have a chance to settle on the surface of your teeth. Never go to sleep without brushing your teeth and try to only keep water at your bedside to rehydrate. The longer sugar sits on your teeth, the more problems it leads to.

Also be sure you schedule checkups regularly with me so I can keep your teeth in tip top condition. I’ll be able to tell you if your diet is working for you just by looking at your teeth and you might hear me suggest to cut back on sugary and acidic drinks, but only because I’m looking out for you!

Mouthwash Helps Provide a Total Clean

Mouthwash Helps Provide a Total Clean

Mouthwashes are a great addition to your oral hygiene ritual. There are two predominate kinds, one with fluoride, a chemical used to strengthen teeth and reduce decay; and there’s the kind with antiseptics, designed to attack the germs that can cause decay and gum disease. Both are effective in their promise and will deliver results to the user, but they’re no substitute for flossing and brushing, and should be treated as an accessory to use after your more thorough regime is complete.

I know most of my patient’s dislike flossing. Not without reason, it’s time consuming and awkward. For infrequent flossers, there can be some discomfort associated with picking at your gum-line. But, it is absolutely essential for your mouth health. I can see when my patients don’t floss correctly, or even at all. Plaque builds up along the bottom gum line and can cause discomfort if left untreated for too long. Bleeding gums and pain are all potential signs of peritonitis and can be avoided if one practices proper flossing habits. With so many options available, you can make it easy to find something that fits you. There’s personal flossers with handles, there’s the traditional dental string and there’s even dental tape. Differentiating thicknesses and wax application make the options endless and are aimed to find a solution to the discomfort many people experience during the process. The more you take flossing into your own hands, the less I have to scrape out during your visits to me.

Mouthwash is a great tool to use after flossing, and your mouth will be extra healthy with this winning combination. After food and plaque gets uprooted and loosened away from the teeth, rinsing with mouthwash neutralizes what was just brought out and kills the germs that surround the base of our teeth. Mouthwash can get in between the crevices of teeth and more easily remove buildup that’s been loosened with the proper care techniques. There are a few different kinds of mouthwash you can choose from, they’re all effective but if you have specialized concerns, a little research into what you’re swishing with can go a long way.

Mouthwashes with fluoride are used to help strengthen teeth while adding extra protection against tooth decay. Since fluoride is present in most toothpastes, and tap water – consuming excessive amounts can have some negative health side effects, so keep in mind an approximate amount that you’re actually consuming. Antiseptic mouthwashes contain chlorhexidine gluconate, a chemical that stops the growth of bacteria. This mouthwash is recommended for people who are battling an infection and stronger versions can be picked up over the counter with a prescription from your dentist. These mouthwashes break down plaque intensely in the short term, but can cause more bacteria to grow if overused, since it so harshly strips the mouth. Antiseptic mouthwash is also useful for anyone who suffers from halitosis. Fresh off the farm to table trend, natural mouthwashes are now more available than ever. They’re alcohol free and contain no fluoride, so they work similarly to conventional or cosmetic mouthwashes. If you’re going the au-natural route, a pinch of salt and warm water can ease inflammation and pain associated with dental problems, and this can also treat the mouth for infection and injury.
While mouthwashes are great for a lot of things, they won’t replace regular checkups with me. I love a lazy life hack as much as the next guy, but you’re still going to need to brush and floss twice a day, every day, even with the addition of a mouthwash. Be sure you’re following your oral hygiene routine normally to keep your teeth happy and healthy, and visit me regularly so I can remind you of what a great job you’re doing.