Archives for February 2009

Tooth Whitening-read this before you bleach!

treswhite01treswhite03toothwhitening02Mirror, mirror on the wall, I want the whitest teeth beyond them all.  But the mirror doesn’t have a dental degree nor a basic understanding of what’s important here.

Tooth Whitening products are available from many sources and can vary considerably in final cost for the same results.  It’s a huge industry with a lot of good and bad information.

The basic chemistry used is carbamyl peroxide which is a relatively stable (good shelf life) and viscous (easy to use) form of peroxide (H2O2).  And then comes the marketing hype, of the safest, easiest to use, no sensitivity and quickest results.  Like toothpaste, over time, all of these products yield very similar results.  The difference comes in how you use or misuse the products.

An extensive study by one of the most respected researchers in the dental field, CRA, established that quick vs. slower acting was inconsequential since all products and techniques yielded very similar results over time.  More important was ease of use and consistent quality of the product.

Tooth Whitening salons have bragged about how quick you can whiten your teeth.  Quite often this is accomplished with the use of a laser or special light source that zooms you to that new “Hollywood smile” right out of  “Glamour” magazine.  What they don’t tell you is that a very slight increase in temperature that may occur inside treated teeth can quite often result in irreversible pulpitis and the need for root canal therapy.  The other common source of tooth sensitivity can occur when self fitted and applied trays are left on the teeth too long.  The teeth actually become dehydrated and the sensitivity is similar to a bad hangover.

So what’s the best way to whiten those smiley pearls?  First, make sure your teeth and gum tissue is healthy.  A regular exam and cleaning by your dentist or hygienist can insure the conditions are right for effective and successful bleaching.  Quite often we recommend tooth whitening before any cosmetic restorative service in order to get the teeth back to the baseline color you were or wish you were born with.  Next, we discuss different techniques depending on your individual needs and circumstances.  Usually the simplest and cheapest product is a good way to start.  But for some, such as those who have developmentally stained teeth, a more sustained and long term product may be best.  Finally, when using any product, the amount of time per application is no longer than 45 minutes.  The effective half life for this type of chemistry is no longer than this.

The link for “TresWhite Bleaching Trays” is a good example of a quality product that we have obtained consistent and reliable results with.  There are many more out there but as usual, “let the buyer beware”.


Super Healing-an excerpt

superhealing01Your body has an amazing ability to repair itself after serious illness or injury.  The following excerpts are from an AARP essay based on Rodale Press’  “Super Healing” by Harvard’s Julie K. Silver, M.D.

Start with Good Nutrition:  Eat five times a day consisting of three meals and two nutritious snacks.  Use Complex Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (below 55) in order to minimize blood sugar spikes that cause cellular inflammation-nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.  Protein is essential for cell repair and should be 20% of your caloric intake; plant based proteins have phytochemicals that help with healing and additional fiber.  Eat at least five servings of dark fruits and vegetables which have more vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants.  Supplements should be a good multivitamin with additional calcium and vitamin D.

Make seven to eight hours of sleep a priority.  No alcohol, caffeine, stress or exercise close to when you go to bed.

Get Moving!  Physical activity promotes faster healing and repair of tissues.  Simplest goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day or 5 to 6 miles; a pedometer will help you measure and keep track of this.

If you’ve been ill or injured or have a chronic medical condition, aim for maximum healing – and don’t stop till you achieve it.

VELscope Enhanced Oral Cancer Screening

 

VELscope Oral Cancer Screening

Chances are you don’t have oral cancer.  But wouldn’t it be nice to be sure?

Oral Cancer Facts:

  • Oral Cancer kills one North American every hour of every day.
  • Oral Cancer strikes more victims than cervical and lung cancer combined.
  • 2/3 of Oral Cancer cases are detected in advanced/ late stages.
  • Advanced/Late Stage Oral Cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 22%.
  • Early Detection of Oral Cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 80% – 90%.
  • Tobacco and Alcohol are High Risk Factors.
  • Studies have linked Oral Cancer to the human papilloma virus (HPV-16) via oral sex.
  • 25% of Oral Cancer victims have never been exposed to alcohol or tobacco.
  • Before VELscope, only 35% of Oral Cancer cases were diagnosed in early stages.
  • Pre-malignant changes actually start below the surface, at the basement membrane.  These changes may not be apparent to the naked eye until the disease progresses to the surface.

Our Oral Cancer Screening:

  • Takes about 5 minutes.
  • Features a traditional visual and palpation examination, plus a screening with the state-of-the-art VELscope Oral Cancer Screening System.
  • Non-invasive and completely free of pain or discomfort.
  • With the VELscope system, abnormal tissue typically appears as an irregular, dark area that stands out against the otherwise normal, green fluorescence pattern of surrounding healthy tissue.  Thus VELscope enables us to discover abnormal tissue as early as possible.
  • Any suspect area is then referred to an Oral Surgeon for biopsy and diagnosis.

Oral Cancer Symptoms May Include:

  • A sore that doesn’t heal within 2 weeks or increases in size.
  • Persistent pain in your mouth.
  • Any increased swelling of hard or soft tissues.
  • White, red or dark patches inside your mouth.
  • Difficulty in swallowing or moving your tongue or jaw.
  • Numbness, soreness, looseness or pain around your teeth.
  • Changes in your voice, teeth or bad breath.

It is highly unlikely that you have oral cancer but for Peace of Mind, schedule your VELscope enhanced oral exam today!

The VELscope enhanced oral exam can help detect many different kinds of oral lesions, not just precancerous or cancerous ones.  This new technology helps to look for possible problems beneath the surface of soft tissue in the same way  X-rays check for hidden problems in teeth.

BEST DIET PLAN

pyramid_forriver2The best diet plan is simple and straight forward.  A great set of diet guidelines is now available from “The Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Go to their link listed on the right.

This website contains information regarding the food pyramid, fats and cholesterol, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables, and vitamins, as well as other nutrition information.

This information came to me via the “Health Professionals Follow-Up Study Newsletter” since I have been involved with this study as long as I have practiced dentistry here in West Chester, PA.

A Plea To Parents For Children’s Dental Health

February is children’s dental health month.  Parents are the key to making this effort successful.

As your infant is transitioning from nursing to solid food, the worst thing you can do is to add sugar or salt so it tastes better to you.  At this point the baby could care less.  But adding sugar or salt is the initiation of a life long addiction.  Yes, salt and especially sugar is a “gateway drug”.

A “gateway drug” is defined as a habit forming  substance whose use may lead to the abuse of drugs that are more addictive.  Last night, ABC aired “Hidden America-Children Of The Mountains” which demonstrated this in epidemic proportions.  Infants, children and then adults drink “Mountain Dew”, a highly acidic poision laden with 19 spoons of sugar in each and every bottle.   This concoction is highly addictive and more corrosive than car battery acid.  Gatorade is not much better.  This region has a very high incidence of tooth decay, obesity, alcoholism and drug addiction.

The tobacco industry takes advantage of this early dependency by making sure cigarettes and smokeless chew tobacco are loaded with sugar.  The earlier, these peddlers of sugar and nicotine can grab a captive user,  the more success they have to retain and increase this use through adulthood. The need to regularly take in a substance that creates a false sense of euphoria is worsened by a weak family structure with little or no parental guidance.

A healthy mouth is a clear indicator of a healthy mind and body.  Parents who take an active role in guiding their children toward a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise can make this happen.

Life Can Begin With New Dentures

locator01locator02Life Begins When You Can Chew Anything With Your Dentures!

Do you recall the joke about when life really begins for a married couple?  After the kids are finished with schooling and the tuition is paid in full?  When your daughters are all married? When the dog dies?  Sorry pet lovers, it’s only a bad joke.

What’s not a joke, is the common frustration of not being able to use your dentures to eat.  Huge globs of pink denture adhesive don’t seem to help.  The lower denture never seems to fit but slips and slides around like a skate board without wheels.  Well that’s because the tongue moves and breaks the seal of the lower denture more than 2000 times a day, every time you swallow.  The upper denture is rarely a problem because it is relatively secure with undisturbed suction.

Well life really begins when you can chew anything with your dentures!  How is this possible?  Two implants placed by a surgeon are the foundation for two locator abutments which is the dentist’s version of clothing snaps.  Once these are inserted into your lower denture, you can throw away that awful adhesive forever.

Placement of locator abutments to stabilize lower dentures is now considered the “Standard Of Care” which means all insurance companies should cover this type of procedure.  Any knowledgeable dentist should be able to offer this very successful service.  I personally have placed many of these systems.  Fortunately we can adjust how tight they are because the usual complaint is that the denture is too hard to remove from the mouth.

Life can begin with that new set of dentures.  Pass that corn on the cob.