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.

Are e-cigarettes bad for oral health?

Are e-cigarettes bad for oral health?

It is a commonly known fact that smoking cigarettes is bad for your oral health. Smoking causes tooth decay, tooth staining, gum disease, and in some cases even mouth cancer. Though traditional cigarettes are said to be worse for your mouth than smoking the new electronic cigarettes, new research shows that may not be the case.

If you smoke electronic cigarettes you may notice that you often struggle with bad breath. This is because electronic cigarettes contain the highly addictive and dangerous chemical called nicotine. Nicotine causes the mouth’s natural production of saliva to slow down, which often causes dry mouth, plaque build up, and even tooth decay.

Fortunately, e-cigarettes don’t contain many of the teeth staining chemicals that traditional ones do. For example, they don’t produce the smoke or contain tar which both stain teeth yellow. However, when e-cigarettes contain high nicotine level, the liquid does eventually begin to yellow and has some of the same staining effects.

The vapor created by burning the liquid in e-cigarettes was originally thought to be harmless to consumers but as more research is conducted it is becoming increasingly evident that this is not the case. In fact, “when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases”(Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.). This causes growing uncertainty regarding the safety of this wildly popular cigarette alternative. Little information regarding the ingredients in e-cigarettes is disclosed to the consumer. Most users have almost no information regarding the content of the product they are consuming on a daily basis, and many “e-juices” are produced overseas with little to no regulation.

Additionally, the Journal of Cellular Physiology published an article that stated over a period of three days the vapor created by e-cigarettes killed 53% of mouth cells. The deterioration of healthy mouth cells can lead to infection and a whole host of other oral health issues.

Overall, the extent to which e-cigarettes are detrimental to oral health is unclear. However, based on current research it is difficult to deny they cause damage if used regularly. We would recommend that our patients discontinue or severely reduce using e-cigarette products.

Had your fill of fillings?

Had your fill of fillings?

There is a rumor going around that people don’t like going to the dentist since they’re afraid of having a cavity. If that rumor is true, the twice yearly visit to the dentist may be about to get a lot easier. Groundbreaking research regarding a new drug that treats Alzheimer’s Disease is proving to have some incredible oral health benefits! We may be saying goodbye to fillings and hello to a more natural alternative.

When a tooth is damaged by decay, the body creates a thin layer of dentine to fill any holes in the tooth and protect it from further damage. Problems occur when the layer of dentine that the body naturally produces isn’t large enough to fill holes in the tooth. These holes become cavities, and must be filled by a dentist using materials like gold, composite resin, and porcelain.

Though these methods of filling are effective and safe, they do not heal or restore the damaged tooth. A study out of Kings College London recently found that the molecule “glycogen synthase kinase” helps the body naturally produce more dentine to completely restore healthy levels. The researchers found that the exact molecule that was found to naturally repair the holes in teeth was already undergoing clinical trials for a drug that treats Alzheimer’s Disease.

These findings could have a huge influence on the way that we treat cavities and other oral health issues in the near future. Tideglusib, the drug found to reinforce dentine, can be applied to the teeth using collagen sponges and is completely pain free. This method would also mean that dentists wouldn’t need to drill a larger hole in the tooth in order to fill it and the overall risk of infection would be decreased. Due to the drug being in advanced stages of rigorous clinical testing for other causes, it is likely that it would be approved much more quickly for uses in dentistry.

I am always searching for the best, and newest technology to help my patients maintain dental health and a brilliant smile. I’ll be keeping my eye out for this cutting edge, pain free option for dental fillings!

What your Smile Says About You

What your Smile Says About you

Our smile is one of the first things we use to communicate with others when we have a conversation or meet someone for the first time. How we choose to present our smile to others can say a lot about our personality, health, and how we want others to see us. While clothes and other accessories may depict our style or what’s currently trending, our smile and the shine of our teeth give others a peek into our eating habits, genetics, and how comfortable we are with ourselves. Living in a society where we pride ourselves on the condition of how straight or bright our teeth are can be make looking at someone’s smile an interesting starting point in knowing the not-so-obvious traits a person has.

In terms of personality, how we smile in a social setting can tell us a lot about the people we surround ourselves with. A person who doesn’t show their teeth in a photograph may tell you that that person is shy or reserved compared to a person who shows all of their teeth and has a wide smile on their face, which most of the time, we interpret as confidence and expressing happiness.

Let’s go back and compare today to the 19th and early 20th century when it was customary not to smile in photographs. Everyone appeared to be somber, even children. It was hypothesized that because cameras where a new and developing technology, the exposure time to capture an image took as long as one minute and expressions couldn’t be held for the duration it took to capture a picture. A second theory as to why people didn’t smile in their photographs was due to the fact that they did not have good dental hygiene and, thus, were self-conscious about their smile.

As the decades went by, smirks began to sneak in and eventually smiling was an acceptable form of appearing in a photograph that lead us to where we are today. As dental hygiene methods improved, as well as quicker exposure times for camera technology, people began to show their pearly whites.

The color and shape of someone’s teeth are unique to the individual and it is natural for teeth to have a yellow tinge of color to them. However, modern dentistry has helped us improve the appearance of our teeth and now many people opt to have bright, white teeth and love to show them off in selfies. In fact, the Teeth Whitening Industry in 2015 made over $11 billion with an additional $1.4 billion spent on teeth whitening products according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Our teeth are often considered as a part of ourselves that we present to others. It is important to keep them in shape and take care of them just like any other part of our body. By scheduling routine maintenance and dental cleanings every six months and with proper daily brushing and flossing, you will keep those teeth white, bright, and camera ready well into your golden years.

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

When we have a bacterial infection, our immune system kicks in to try to rid our bodies of harmful pathogens. While fighting off foreign bacteria, the immune system sends white blood cells and antibodies to find, destroy, and repair any damage that may have been caused which often results in us feeling sick. The problem with bacterial infections is that the bacteria multiply at a rapid rate making it difficult for the immune system to respond and treat the illness quick enough. However, modern medicine has developed a way to speed up the battle our immune system takes each time a bad bacteria invades our bodies. Antibiotics are prescribed when we are fighting off a bacterial infection and typically help speed up the recovery process.

Essentially, antibiotics work by targeting the pathogens causing the damage and killing the bad bacteria while also slowing down or putting a stop to their harmful multiplication cycle. This in turn allows our bodies to take care of the remaining infection and within a week or two we begin to start feeling like our normal selves.

The problem with antibiotics is that while it kills off bad bacteria, it also rids our bodies of good bacteria as well. Our bodies maintain a balance of bacteria naturally within our digestive system and sometimes when antibiotics are prescribed, this balance can be thrown out of whack. Many doctors, regardless of what bacterial infection you may be experiencing, often recommend to supplement your antibiotic prescription with yogurt to replenish good bacteria.

Another problem with antibiotics is that while they act as a miracle drug to many bacterial infectious diseases, many people do not complete their entire set of prescribed antibiotics. Sometimes we start to feel better after just taking a few days of antibiotics and because of that stop taking what remains in the prescription. This is troublesome because it gives the opportunity for pathogens that remain in our body to find ways to react to the antibiotic and mutate a resistance towards it, making it less effective and harder to fight off the next time we get sick. Unlike a viral infection where a virus is always changing it’s gene pool, bacteria are somewhat stable in their genetic makeup, until they find ways to mutate and combat antibiotics.

The over prescribing of antibiotics is also a cause for concern. It is estimated that 70% of illness causing germs are resistant to at least one antibiotic. In 2015 it was estimated that there were 50,000 deaths due to resistant antibiotic germs. The primary reason of resistant antibiotic germs is excessive use of antibiotics. When we are given antibiotics, it is important to finish all of the pills given to us and that when we are taking medication to be sure it is for something that our immune system needs assistance with in order to get better. Antibiotics have been used for years and have helped us cure many terrible bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, mouth infections, and much more. Without the advent of antibiotics, we would be living in a much more difficult world.

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween is upon us and you want to know what’s spooky? Sugar is the biggest component to the cause of dental decay. Yes, that’s right, the sugar you and your families are about to soon get a lot of. Tricks and treats and you won’t need to smell their feet because cavities are just as near. What are some tips you can use so that you don’t lose out on celebrating Halloween?

1. Brush your teeth after you or your kids eats candy. Brushing your teeth is the easiest and most efficient way to get that candy off of your teeth. Sticky, chewy candy is the worst for oral hygiene and it’s important to get all that sugar residue off as soon as possible. If left on the teeth, the sugar will cause plaque to build up and teeth to start decaying.
2. Encourage your kid to rinse with mouthwash after eating the candy. If we remove even some of the sugar by mouth rinsing, we are reducing the risk of decay. If you’re not near your toothbrush, just a quick swish will do. Again it’s about neutralizing the sugar and getting the candy off of your teeth quickly after eating it.
3. Your kids don’t have to eat all of the candy, after a few weeks reduce the load so the candy consumption will not go on forever. While there are a few reasons to avoid eating all your candy in one sitting, try to think of it as preserving the stash. Your teeth and body will thank you if you don’t overload on the sugar all at one time.

Kids are most likely to develop dental decay for a lot of reasons, so be sure this time of year to be on top of their brushing. It’s so important to celebrate holidays with your family, use it as an opportunity to teach your little ones how to take care of themselves while still enjoying themselves. Upset tummies and tooth decay, be gone, because now you and your mouth are armed to the teeth with tips.

The Amazing Bioactive Glass Filling

The Amazing Bioactive Glass Filling

It’s about that time of year when your kids are going to unload pillowcases full of candy. Even if you’re not tempted (kudos to you, you’re doing better than most of us), it probably reminds you of the sweet sticky memories of your own Halloween’s past. Maybe all that sugar led to a cavity of your own, or maybe you had a filling pulled out by a tootsie roll. Whatever the case may be, the fact of the matter is: candy can cause cavities.

Shocking I know, but cavity-havers can breathe a small sigh of relief. Scientists in London have developed new dental material for their fillings, Bioactive Glass. This new material not only blocks decay development, but it can repair any decay that may start to grow. Fillings made with bioactive glass have been proven to make fillings last not only as well as traditional materials, but also for a lot longer.

Eventually all fillings will fail. It’s the nature of things. Bioactive glass has been shown to slow secondary tooth decay and provide minerals that could replace those that have been lost. The antimicrobial effect of bioactive glass is proving to be great for the mouth’s ecosystem. The glass releases ions such as those that are from calcium and phosphate that usually have a toxic effect on oral bacteria, but actually are neutralizing the local acidic environment. The bioactive glass composites release fluoride as well as calcium and phosphate, the needed materials for tooth minerals. Compounds such as silicon oxide, phosphorus oxide, and calcium oxide are the compounds that land the glass its ‘bioactive’ surname. These oxides interact with the body, unlike polymer and other modern tooth fillings.

Even though technology keeps improving our mouths at an astonishing rate, good ol’ oral hygiene habits go a long way. So whoever’s eating the candy this month, (yeah, we know you are too) be sure your little ones are brushing all that gunk off of their teeth. Don’t forget to floss! If you notice a post trick-or-treat toothache, be sure you schedule an appointment with me so we can get you all taken care of.

A Nasal Spray to Numb Teeth?

A Nasal Spray to Numb Teeth?

Is there anything more uncomfortable than getting a shot in your gums? Even if the numbing relief soon follows, the thought alone is enough to set most people’s teeth on edge. Unfortunately, it’s been one of the necessary evils in dental work, that is, unless of course you have Superman’s pain tolerance. However, fret no more, because a new nasal spray anesthetic will take all that pain away without the need of invasive needles.

Kovanaze has been approved by the US Food and Drug administration as a ‘nasal spray anesthetic’ and will soon be available for clinical use. Basically dentists, like myself, can now spray the nose to numb the upper teeth. Since so many procedures require a numbing of the gumline to perform, Kovanaze will be easier to administrate and safe for almost everyone.

Since your sinuses are connected to your mouth, it only makes sense that an anesthetic could be administered nasally. By restricting the blood vessels around this cavity, it makes a successful solution and effective anesthetic. The pain that travels through these nerves can be centralized to reduce discomfort during dental procedures.

Nobody likes needles. My patients get nervous about needles and even most dentists get nervous about administering them. They’re uncomfortable and a little scary, especially when working with kids. We’re excited about this option in my office. Alleviating discomfort on any level is important to us and a nasal spray would certainly help take away a little of the anxiety that comes with most procedures.

Knowing there’s a safe, comfortable way to better treat my patients is always top priority in my book. Using top of the line products like this will ensure that my patients are happy and content sitting in my chair.

Mentoring

Mentoring

One of the best ways to learn what your career will actually look like is by doing a mentorship. Dentistry is no different. A highly demanding career, being a dentist is comprised of exciting and rewarding work. After all, working with people’s smiles is the highlight of the career, but there is a lot of technical skill and experience behind any good dentist.

Dentistry has provided me with the best career possible. One of my favorite parts of being a dentist is being able to work in a field that allows for continual learning. Technology is getting more advanced every day, and making our jobs both easier and more educational. With new and improved machines, dentists are on the first line of defense against any oral problem that may be plaguing our patients.

As we learn more and more about people and their health, the human mouth comes as a really fascinating point of intrigue. Not only is a person’s medical history available through their saliva, so is life changing information like their DNA makeup as well as their day to day habits. There truly is a story written in every person’s mouth.
It’s also a job for people who like people. Dentistry has given me the gift of getting to know countless people and then later their families as their kids become old enough to start seeing me. This is one of the most heartwarming experiences, as I get to see families evolve. Most of my patients have been with me since they were little, getting to watch them grow and hear all their stories as they enter adulthood and beyond are really a driving factor in why I love what I do.
Since the science of dentistry is always expanding, my skills are constantly being tested to avoid becoming outdated or irrelevant. This is an exciting career for people who like new things and information. We’re constantly pushing forward and challenging ourselves to remain updated and current on the latest information. Not only does it give us something to talk about at our dentist dinner parties, it also keeps the mind young and fresh and eager to learn.

There’s nothing more rewarding than finding young minds who are looking to start a career in dentistry. Since I’ve found such joy and love and passion in my career, I’m always excited to pass on my wisdom to those excited to hear it. If you have kids that are interested in becoming a dentist, consider bringing them in for a nice chat with me. I’d love to show them the office and equipment and perhaps even spend a day showing them what my day – to – day job looks like.
Being a dentist is certainly a calling and if your kid or someone you know is hearing that call, put them in touch with me so we can explore this mutual passion together.

Guided Bone Regeneration

Guided Bone Regeneration

Guided bone regeneration surgery is a dental procedure that uses the barrier membranes in a patient’s mouth to help guide and direct the growth of new bone and tissue in areas with insufficient volumes. This procedure is mainly for prosthetic restoration in patients with dental implants although esthetic restoration is sometimes used as well.

Guided bone regeneration is applied in the oral cavity to support new hard tissue growth to allow stable placement of dental implants. A very reliable and successful procedure when using bone grafting with guided bone regeneration.

The use of barrier membranes to help direct bone regeneration is not a new practice and the theoretical practices date back to 1959. By excluding unwanted cells from lining healing sites, the growth of desired tissues is much easier. Positive clinical results of regeneration led to the focus on the potential for re-building alveolar bone defects using regeneration. The theory of regeneration was challenged in the use of dentistry for awhile, but is now seeing a resurgence in positive clinical trials as a safe and effective treatment.

With the use of dental implants becoming widespread and predictable for the restoration of missing teeth and other cases, it’s clear the regenerative technique is an important step which assists the process of bone regeneration. The clinical success of implant therapy was taken from the direct anchorage of the implant in the bone tissue without the interposition of fibrous tissue. Clinical trials have been positive in proving to promote bone growth.

Guided bone regeneration has been reported as a reliable and successful means for augmenting bone regrowth in the case of vertical and horizontal defects in particularly edentulous patients. The data pulled from these implants suggests that GBR should be considered a safe technique to obtain bone formation and placing dental implants, especially in cases in which it would be otherwise impossible.

As patients with dental implants increase, so has the demand of treatment protocols that take less time and require fewer surgeries. With GBR, the patient undergoes a surgical procedure once, placed with initial stability, so the tissues regrow back without any pockets or problems that will cause the implants to uproot from there. It is clear that the use of a regenerative technique with dental implant placement is an important step which assists the process of a bone regeneration. Isolating the bone defect from the surrounding connective tissues provides bone-forming cells with access to a secluded space intended for the regeneration to take place.

The evolution of surgical techniques, awareness of tissue without the interposition of fibrous tissue, and the considerable research conducted to promote bone growth have all led to positive, safe, results.

Based on the research, GBR is not only a safe and effective technique for obtaining bone formation, but also makes dental implants available in situations where it would not otherwise be possible.