I. Stephen Brown, DDS
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Archive for October, 2012

A Confident Smile Can Change Your Day!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Give them a smile: a happy, friendly, and genuine smile. Go ahead, flash it; its contagious, it’s infectious, it’s the universal expression of happiness.  A simple smile can change someone’s day.

Some people are a little nervous about smiling. They don’t think their smile looks good, or they think that too much smiling might look unprofessional or signal vulnerability. No matter how professional, intelligent, or “together” you think a serious face appears; people almost always respond more favorably to a smile. A great smile can be your greatest personal asset.

We all know of someone who has an “infectious” smile.  Infectious smiles always start with confidence.  If you’re not 100% confident in your smile, we’re here to help. “Smile Makeovers” are our specialty at The Perio Group.

While our first concern is keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible, we have the tools and the training to provide you with an enhanced smile that gives you confidence and one you’re excited to share with others.

Would you like to make a dramatic improvement in your appearance without taking any extreme measures? A smile makeover can provide you with a straight, even and exceptionally bright smile that feels as great as it looks.

A smile makeover takes into consideration your facial appearance, skin tone, hair color, teeth (color, width, length, shape and tooth display), gum tissue and lips to develop your ideal smile. Smile makeovers are performed for many reasons and customized according to your unique considerations.

A beautiful smile is an asset beyond measure. White, well-shaped teeth will make you look fantastic, feel better about yourself, and show others the real you. Complete smile makeovers change patients’ appearances and lives!

We’re more than happy to discuss the many options available to help you achieve a smile worth sharing and a smile that will change someone’s day, including your own.

Can My Headaches Be Caused By My Teeth?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

People who experience recurrent headaches are often diagnosed as having TMJ Dysfunction. TMJ is an umbrella term which refers to acute or chronic inflammation of the Temporomandibular Joint, which connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull. The disorder and altered function that often accompanies it can result in significant pain and impairment. These problems often include jaw joint pain, clicking, dislocation, chronic headaches, sinus problems and even loss of hearing.

What Causes TMD?

The cause of TMJ Dysfunction is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.

Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck – such as from a heavy blow or whiplash – can cause TMD. Other possible causes include:

 

 

Some common symptoms of TMD include toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitis).

A study headed by a well-respected researcher from the University at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine, showed that examiners could reproduce tension-headaches in eighty- two percent of subjects, by performing a comprehensive clinical examination, including palpation of the temporalis muscle, one of the key chewing muscles involved in TMJ Disorder.

Diagnosis for TMJ requires an examination by a physician or dentist who has advanced training and expertise in the area of head and neck pain.

If you experience any of the symptoms such as those listed in this article, you may be just an appointment away from being headache and pain free. Call us for a comprehensive examination. We can assist you in finding relief from these vexing symptoms.

Some worthwhile links you may want to use:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001227.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tmj-disorders/DS00355/DSECTION=symptoms

Why You Should Get An Early Screening for Oral Cancer

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can develop anywhere in or around the mouth and has been identified as a variety of cancers associated with the head, neck, and associated anatomic structures.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Often there is no obvious explanation as to why one person gets oral cancer and others do not. However, dental medicine has identified several factors that are intimately associated with increased risk of oral cancer.

  • Tobacco and Alcohol Use: The majority of cases of oral cancer are related to tobacco and alcohol use. Approximately 90% of people who develop mouth cancer are tobacco users. Smokers are 6 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop cancer of the mouth. Those who drink alcohol are also 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those that don’t drink. Individuals who smoke AND drink are 15 times more likely to develop mouth cancer!
  • Sun Exposure: Excessive exposure to the sun can contribute to the development of lip cancer.  Consistent use of sunscreens and hats with a brim are often helpful in prevention. Smoking also substantially increases the probability of lip cancer.
  • History of throat or neck cancer: People who have been diagnosed with another form of throat or neck cancer are more likely to develop a second cancer in the region. A family history of head and neck cancer also statistically increases the probability of a similar diagnosis.
  • HPV (Human Papilloma Virus): The most sexually transmitted virus in the USA is now one of the primary risk factors. It is thought that this may be related to oral-genital contact.

 

Importance of Early Detection

Mouth cancers have a higher percentage of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, melanoma and cervical cancer. However, overall survival rate is close to 60%. Survival rates with early discovery can be as high as 90%, thus the time line of detection is extremely important.

Since cancer is so prevalent in the mouth, in an effort to protect our patients we provide Vizilite Plus, Oral Cancer Screening. This is a painless, fast, and non-invasive test. An annual ViziLite Plus exam, in combination with a regular visual examination, provides a comprehensive oral screening and prevention procedure for patients at increased risk for oral cancer.

 

Some worthwhile Links you may want to use:

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/oral-cancer

http://oralcancerfoundation.org/

Are There Links Between Gum Disease and Cardiovascular Disease?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Researchers may be one step closer to establishing a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease (CVD) – the number one cause of death worldwide.

These investigators report that older adults who have higher proportions of four periodontal-disease-causing bacteria inhabiting their mouths also tend to have thicker carotid arteries, a strong predictor of stroke and heart attack. The study, published in the journal Circulation, was supported by four agencies of the National Institutes of Health.

While current research does not yet provide evidence of a causal relationship between the two diseases, scientists have identified biologic factors, such as chronic inflammation, that independently link periodontal disease to the development or progression of cardiovascular disease.

According to the authors, these data mark the first report of a direct association between cardiovascular disease and bacteria involved in periodontal disease, inflammation of the gums that affects to varying degrees an estimated 200 million Americans.

Periodontal disease is characterized by bacterial growth and production of factors that gradually destroy the tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. Some symptoms may include gums that are swollen or tender, receding gums or persistent bad breath.

According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, periodontal disease contributes to blood vessel dysfunction, which was improved by an intensive regimen of periodontal treatment.

Currently, more than one in three Americans over age 30 has some form of Periodontitis, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Recent statistics have  estimated that the prevalence of moderate to advanced gum disease may be as high as 50% of adults in the US.

If you are concerned about the health of your gums and teeth, call today to schedule an appointment with a highly-trained periodontist. We can provide you with a thorough periodontal examination, from which we can make an assessment of your cardiovascular risk potential, associated with Periodontal Diseases.

 

Some worthwhile Links you may want to use:

http://www.perio.org/consumer/heart_disease

http://www.perio.org/consumer/AHA-statement

What Causes Bad Breath?

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Bad breath is a condition affecting over 80 million Americans. Temporary malodor, or the more persistent condition known as halitosis, can be caused by certain foods or systemic disease, but more often, it is due to a combination of poor oral hygiene and gum (Periodontal) disease. (previous sentence starting “Temporary malodor should be hyperlinked to: http://badbreathawarenessmonth.org/?page_id=18

The warm, dark, moist environment of the mouth, with many hidden spaces, is populated with more than 500 different types of bacteria. These germs are most often found in gum pockets and on the surface of the tongue. The microorganisms feed on leftover food particles and naturally occurring sulfur containing proteins. Bacteria digest these proteins, which in turn, produce the familiar rotten egg smelling gases known as Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs).

Mouthwashes, Breath Mints, Toothpaste, Chewing Gum and other commonly used “remedies,” represent a billion dollar industry, whose products are largely ineffective in eliminating bad breath. At best, they provide momentary “perfuming” of the breath. Such attempts are doomed to failure, because they represent nothing more than an unsatisfactory attempt to minimize the results, without eliminating cause.

 

How Can This Condition Be Improved?

Bad breath can usually be avoided by proper dental care and prevention of gum disease. Gum Disease is caused by bacteria which result in the build up of plaque. Often called Gingivitis in its early stages, gum disease affects an estimated 80% of adults. Left untreated, periodontal disease may lead to gum recession, tooth loss and other, potentially life-threatening health problems. Gum disease also may be connected to damage elsewhere in the body; recent studies link oral infections with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature, low-weight births. (Hi light or another color and hyperlink to: http://perio.org/consumer/mbc.top2.htm­)

 

Gum Disease, Bad Breath and Other Health Problems

Your teeth and gums can hold important clues to overall health. Studies suggest that people who have gum disease are at a much higher risk from heart attack and other systemic diseases. One of the mechanisms for this problem is bacteria hidden within the infected gums and tongue surface, which can dislodge and attach to plaque in the arteries.1

Of further interest, especially for the elderly, “an association between oral conditions such as periodontal disease and Respiratory Diseases has been noted. Recent evidence has suggested a central role for the oral cavity in respiratory infection. The teeth may serve as a reservoir for respiratory pathogens, and oral bacteria can be aspirated into the lungs to cause pneumonia.”2

 

Effective Methods of Treating Bad Breath

Bad breath can be treated by minimizing or eliminating the bacteria associated with periodontal disease. Effective removal is facilitated by treating active gum disease, thoroughly removing bacteria, and eliminating foreign material and dead tissue from the surface of the tongue. One of the best methods for achieving this result is to make use of the laser as an effective tool in the war against the bacteria known as periodontal pathogens. (Hi Light and hyper link to: http://www.theperiogroup.com/laser-gum-treatment-philadelphia/laser-alternatives-to-gum-surgery.html

An oxidizing agent, such as (Activated Chlorine Dioxide), has the capability of eliminating existing odors (VSC’s) by:

  • Killing the germs that produce the odors
  • Neutralizing sulfur proteins used by the bacteria

Combining this three pronged attack:

  • Treating the gum disease
  • Removing the bacteria from the tongue
  • Neutralizing the gases with an oxidizing agent

The foregoing will provide the most comprehensive and effective means for eliminating chronic bad breath. Routine preventive periodontal maintenance, no less than four times a year, will insure ongoing freedom from breath malodor.

 

 

1. AcademyofGeneralDentistry, Oral Health Resources, March 2007

2.  J. of Periodontology, July 99, vol. 70, No. 7, 793-802