Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Flossing VS. The Waterpik

This month’s topic comes to us via the dental hygiene department. Hygienists are often asked by patients if they have to floss if they use a waterpik daily. The answer came plain and simple. YES! 

Standard floss is the most effective tool for cleaning the tight spaces between your teeth. By scraping the floss up and down the sides of your teeth, food particles and sticky plaque caused by bacteria is removed, thus preventing a build up of calculus. Brushing alone is not sufficient enough to remove the plaque from in between your teeth. 

The Waterpik is a very popular oral irrigator that works by allowing the user to direct a stream of water or irrigating solution in between the tight spaces of your teeth. It is a very useful aid in keeping the gums and teeth healthy by rinsing out food and bacteria from between the teeth and increasing the oxygen concentration making it harder for destructive bacteria to grow. It is NOT a replacement for flossing, but a good addition to your oral care regimen.

Now don’t get me wrong, a waterpik has its absolute advantages. Dentists and Hygienists are known to recommended the use of a waterpik to patients who are are periodontally compromised, have crown and bridge work, braces and those with various maladies that are known to increase chances of gum disease.

For those of you who aren’t so forthright with your flossing, don’t ditch your pik…Waterpik that is. Daily use of your Waterpik is definitely encouraged and better than not flossing at all. As my hygienist, Autumn Heller, RDH told me, “ Brush first, floss second. Waterpiks help, but NOTHING replaces flossing!”

Original Post from our July 2009 Newsletter

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Baby Teeth Worth More Than What The Tooth Fairy Can Offer?

It just might be the case! Researchers have discovered that baby teeth contain a rich supply of stem cells inside the nerve tissue found in exfoliated baby teeth!

There are laboratories that harvest these potentially life saving cells from the baby teeth and store them for future use. The stem cells obtained are the child's own tissue, so they can be used later on, behalf of the donor, to treat maladies such as, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injury, and even cancer and heart disease without any fear of tissue incompatibility or transmission of infection from another donor.

To learn more about this invaluable information, please visit http://www.bioeden.com

Original post by Dawn_DA 2009

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Let's Talk Dirty!

Many of you have asked me, “What is Trench Mouth and is it contagious?”  So now it’s time to talk dirty and get the facts out about this terrible sounding condition.

Trench Mouth was a slang term that came into being in the First World War.  The conditions in the trenches were so unsanitary that many diseases flourished in these cesspools.  One of the many problems of the First World War was that many of the soldiers were having big problems with their teeth and ‘gums’ due to the stress of war and the fact that there was no time for hygiene of any kind in the trenches of Europe during this conflict.  The problems the soldiers were having with their mouths in the trenches got the slang name of Trench Mouth but what the soldiers were really suffering from was Periodontal Disease.  Now if you have been diligent in keeping up with Cohen’s Corner, (no; this is not a quiz Susan) you know all about Periodontal Disease.

The main point is that Periodontal Disease, which is a disease of the bone that supports the teeth, is said to be the most wide spread disease in America today.  OK, back to the trenches!  So in the 1914-1918 era in the trenches of Verdun and all around Europe the slang term of Trench Mouth was born.  The people at that time didn’t know much about oral diseases and so they really didn’t know how to treat the disease.  Because of the fact that the soldiers and the medical field didn’t know how to treat Trench Mouth, and the fact that they saw it spreading amongst the soldiers, they assumed it was contagious.  They thought that the trays and forks the soldiers were using were not getting cleaned enough and that was leading to this dreaded disease.  The truth of the matters is that Periodontal Disease (Trench Mouth) is not a contagious disease.

You cannot ‘catch’ Periodontal Disease from somebody else.  The bacteria that causes Periodontal Disease is a normal bacteria found in the human oral cavity.  It is when people don’t brush and floss correctly that the problems occur.  I hope this has cleared up the Trench Mouth question.

Dr. Bruce Cohen DDS

Original Post in our October 2007 Newsletter!

Monday, April 21, 2014

How many different types of teeth do we have?

We have four different types of teeth, each with a different function:

Incisors for cutting off bites of food.

Cuspids (sometimes called canines because of their long sharp points) for tearing food

Bicuspids (with two points) to tear and crush food

Molars with large relatively flat surfaces to crush and grind food.

Now you know each of your teeth serve a purpose be sure to take care of them with check-ups at least twice a year. (:

original post by 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Traumatically Induced Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome

A whiplash injury can result in problems such as chronic headache, ear ringing, dizziness, eye problems, and clicking and/or jaw pain.  Whiplash injuries in the past have been thought to be a minor and limited type of injury which was not thought to be connected with any related serious and/or permanent type side effects.  

In the last ten plus years it have been found that following a whiplash injury (or other type of neck trauma), seemingly unrelated symptoms can develop, sometimes even months after the initial trauma.  These symptoms are now known to be in some instances associated with, and related to the whiplash injury.  Some of the many symptoms that have been directly related to a whiplash type injury are listed below. 
  1.   Chronic headache
  2.   Dizziness or lightheadedness
  3.   Ringing and/or feeling like there is fluid in the ears
  4.   Facial pain
  5.   Difficulty in swallowing
  6.   Pain around the eye and other visual problems
  7.   Pain and clicking in the jaw joint
  8.   Difficulty chewing
  9.   Pain in the scalp area
  10.   Unusual fatigue and/or lack of energy
These symptoms more often then not cause the patient to seek health care.  Sometimes after extensive testing and medications, the patient is told that there is nothing more that can be done and that it is now time to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist in order to see if the source of the problem is psychosomatic in origin.  Although many health care providers know that these same symptoms can be an indicator of a Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction; a few don’t know where to send the patient for an evaluation of the Temporomandibular Joint.  

If you have had a traumatic injury to the neck and have had every medical test done that has shown no real cause for the suffering you are experiencing; then I suggest you talk to your dentist about the situation.  I am not saying that this will always help diagnose and treat your problem; but for those who suffer needlessly with pain, it always helps to see if there is a causative agent.  

Original post from our April 2008 Newsletter

Monday, April 7, 2014

Too Late For Healthcare.. but not Dental!

The official "open enrollment" into the "Affordable Healthcare Act" (Obamacare) has expired. However, when it comes to your dental care you are not left paying full price. As dental plan, Savon Dental Plan can provide you with INSTANT COVERAGE 24 hours a day 7 Days a week and do so at a LOW ANNUAL PRICE. Don't miss out! Go to www.GetSavon.com today for more details!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Is Fluoride Really Necessary?

Most of you at some point have received in-office fluoride treatments after your or your child's cleaning. Although these treatments are not required, they often come highly recommended by both your dentist and your hygienist for their many benefits.

Fluoride is a natural occurring cavity fighting mineral often found in drinking water and most toothpastes. Fluoride has been used clinically in dental offices since the early 1930's when physicians and dentists discovered that patients who consumed drinking water containing fluoride suffered 75% less cavities than people who did not drink the fluoridated water. Since then, studies show that the minerals in fluoride help harden the enamel on teeth which in turn helps cut down on the amount of cavities a tooth may be susceptible to. Fluoride also helps remineralize calcified enamel on teeth and has been used to treat areas of the teeth along the gumline that cause sensitivity due to erosion or recession of the gums, leaving the dentin, or 2nd layer of the tooth under the enamel, exposed to the elements.

While there has been controversy as to the health risks of fluoride, the ADA and the FDA have both concluded that clinical routine fluoride treatments and the trace amounts of fluoride found in toothpastes pose no major health risks to the public if used according to the labels or if applied by a dental health professional. Should you have questions as to whether or not fluoride is a recommended treatment for you, do not hesitate to consult with your dental care provider.

Original post from our October 2010 newsletter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Process of Obtaining Quality Dental Care for the Developmentally Disabled

If there is a specialty that is sorely lacking in the dental field, it is this one. And even though there doesn't appear to be an actual specialty category for treatment of disabled persons, in my humble opinion there should be! Is it because of the limited instruction given in dental schools? The slow or limited funding by medicaid or the governmental agencies that provide dental coverage for the disabled? Is it because of the cost of establishing a practice that can accommodate special needs patients? All of the above.

It is estimated that up to 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have periodontal disease. There are many possible reasons for this staggering statistic. Many have cognitive impairment, meaning that they simply don't understand the need for maintaining proper oral hygiene. Many do not have the manual dexterity to do the task, and many take medications to control drooling and excess saliva which causes the mouth to be dry, hence the risk for dental caries is increased. Caregivers are often the ones who must see to the basic needs of these patients. It is unfortunate, but brushing and oral hygiene are often overlooked in many cases because the medical needs of the patient are more pressing. Finding quality dental care in a private practice setting for patients of this type is difficult, because treatment is different for each individual due to the level of severity of their disability. Consequently, private practitioners will, in many cases, refer the patient to a University or a teaching facility to have their dental treatment done. This is not such a bad thing(!), as many Universities and teaching hospitals have residency programs and specialized treatment options and are well equipped to handle it. Additionally, pedodontists are the one specialty group that have the advanced training to handle patients with disabilities...although most limit their practice to children.

We've discussed the difficulties encountered by the patient and caregiver, now we'll address the issues and difficulties that the private practitioner faces when treating a developmentally disabled individual.

The first issue is training, or the lack thereof. Dental schools provide very limited, basic training in this field. Unless a new practitioner completes his/her residency in a teaching facility and gains hands on experience working with the disabled, he/she may come away with limited knowledge of how to treat the patient. They may leave college and go straight into private practice, or complete their residency with a private practitioner.

The next issue would be the cost of set-up; that is, establishing a practice that is equipped to accept disabled patients, i.e., special equipment, wider doorways, wider hallways, knowledgeable staff.

Next, slow or limited payment by the governmental agencies and programs designed to give financial aid to the disabled patient. Granted, this is a common problem everywhere...it doesn't matter what the specialty or service! However, it is a deterrent for private practitioners.

Every patient is different. It isn't as simple as being wheelchair accessible. Added challenges for treating developmentally disabled persons may include: behavioral problems, uncontrolled body movements and mobility issues (are they able to get into a dentist chair?). Some patients are non-verbal and cannot tell you if they are in pain, uncomfortable, etc. Some suffer seizures. Some have difficulty swallowing. The dentist must be aware of and sensitive to all of those issues in order to successfully treat the patient.

All of that said, there are continuing education classes available to a practitioner and it is possible to complete a residency at a teaching facility that has a specific department or program geared toward the disabled. The unfortunate thing is that such a small percentage of practitioners will actually take advantage of the opportunity.

Thanks to Dr. C and Dawn_DA for the professional input for this blog!

Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the growth of cells that invade and cause damage to the tissue it surrounds.  It often appears as a growth or sore that does not go away.  Oral cancer can be located on the lip, tongue, check, floor of mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, pharynx.  Some ways to determine oral cancer are patches in the mouth that are white, red, or mixture of both.  Sores that will not heal, bleeding in the mouth, pain when swallowing, loose teeth, and a lump in the neck.  Anyone with these symptoms should consult a doctor or a dentist.

Treatments for oral cancer are the same for other types of cancer.  Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  Proper treatment is solely dependant on what stage the cancer is at.  Surgery is commonly used for oral cancer this is usually done with a biopsy to remove the cancer.  Most people who are diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of fifty years old.  There is no single cause of oral cancer, but some factors increase oral cancer are, smoking or chewing tobacco, alcohol, also sun exposure to lips.