Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Lost Art Of Denture Making

So many people can relate to this: the long and tedious process of fitting a new set of dentures. What goes into the process is mind boggling. The dentures must fit the jawbone. They must fit your facial structure. The teeth must be the right size. Your jawbone must be able to support dentures, possibly requiring bone grafts. Then there are the adjustments after the many fittings...The cost alone is bad enough; the high price of dental prosthetics is becoming unmanageable. Many people, primarily the elderly, are opting for economy dentures made by labs that basically use an assembly line process for manufacturing. Add to that the lack of good denture technicians (not that there aren't any...it's just a dying breed), and consequently, the end result is generally an ill-fitting set of dentures that end up in a drawer or the medicine cabinet because the patient will revert to their old set in favor of comfort, even if the old ones are loose. Typically, you get what you pay for, sorry to say! Then, of course, there is the use of denture adhesives. Just how much adhesive can one person use to secure an ill-fitting set of teeth?

This brings me to the explanation for the title of this blog: The Lost Art Of Denture Making. Many dentists are opting out of standard denture making for the patient altogether...it's simply too time consuming, and due to so many factors, unpredictable. Basically, when fashioning a denture for a patient, it's a crap shoot, whether they are made in house or at the lab. Dentists today are choosing instead to go with implants, or implant supported dentures. This is a much better option than loose fitting, ill-made dentures that float around in your mouth, however, it is much more expensive, and a little more time consuming, but the end result is a more solid, comfortable fit for the patient. Technology today has made it possible to have a completely false set of teeth that look , feel and function like normal teeth. If you are one of those poor souls who knows exactly what I'm talking about, maybe you would be a candidate for implants or implant supported dentures. Ask your dentist for his/her opinion. It could greatly improve your lifestyle and your overall health.
Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dental Pain In Pets

We all wish our pets could tell us what they want or if they are in pain. Right??

So if you notice any of the signs below, contact your veterinarian to schedule an exam.
  • Bad Breath - "Doggy breath" and "tuna breath" is not normal. This can be a sign of periodontal disease.
  • Altered Behavior - You know your pet the best, so if you notice anything unusual such as; chewing on one side of the mouth, not grooming themselves or just acting grumpy, these could be an indication of dental pain.
  • Bleeding - Bleeding from the mouth is usually do to periodontal disease or could be fractured teeth.
Although these are just a few warning signs of dental pain in your pet, always call the veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis and the correct pain medication.

Don't let your furry pet suffer in silence.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is Your Dentist Prepared for a Chairside Emergency?

It isn't a common occurrence, necessarily.  But it does happen.  Medical emergencies in the dental chair can't always be prevented but the risks can be drastically reduced if the patient and the doctor are completely transparent and open with each other about illnesses, medication and health history. All dentists have at least some training for medical emergency treatment, however in addition he/she should have at least one staff member trained in CPR, and have an emergency plan in place which includes emergency phone numbers, a defibrillator, medications on hand and procedures to stop bleeding, etc. He should take your blood pressure reading and heart rate prior to treatment, and again after treatment. If administering general anesthesia, he should be anesthesia certified. Some states issue separate licenses for anesthesia. Always make sure he is certified, or that he has a certified anesthesiologist on staff!
 
That said, here are some helpful suggestions for the patient to remember when having a procedure done:

  • Disclose all medications that you take daily, even if it is just an aspirin or something over the counter. 
  • If you have ever had high blood pressure, let the dentist know!
  • If you suffer from acute anxiety, say so!  Many dentists cater to the anxious patient. Things can be done to help you with that. 
  • If you are pregnant, let him know!
  • If you have allergies to medications, let him know! 
  • If you have taken anything prior to your visit for relaxation....a sedative, an alcoholic beverage, marijuana....seriously, he needs this information. Many people will do this before a visit and not disclose it thinking it won't pose a problem. The dentist isn't going to judge you, but he is going to treat you and there is a serious liability factor involved, especially when it comes to anesthesia, so don't hold anything back!  

The medical history of the patient is the single most helpful thing for a dentist to have before treatment begins.  Your honesty is imperative.  He cannot effectively manage your treatment plan without this knowledge!

Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bleaching Woes….They do happen.

At some point during your routine dental check-up you have probably been approached about bleaching.  For those of you who have tried the in-office bleaching or at home treatments, below is a few common “woes” bleacher’s encounter and their remedies.

Sensitivity:
This is very common.  If you already suffer from sensitive teeth, you may wish to talk to your hygienist or dentist about using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth (i.e., Sensodyne ) prior to and after your bleaching treatment.  This cuts down on the cold shock after your treatment.

After I bleach, my teeth take on a “hue”:
This is also a common “woe” for people who are avid coffee, tea, red wine and dark soda drinkers.  It’s usually advised to cut back or not drink these beverages when you’re bleaching.  However, if you’re like me and have to have that coffee daily, I always brush my teeth right after I’m done while bleaching.  And to keep those newly pearl whites bright…rinse with water after drinking these staining offenders.
Not seeing results?
Most dentists take a starting shade of your teeth before you start. If you're using an over the counter treatment, then ask your dentist to take one for you before you start.  (Usually, this takes less than a minute and no appointment is necessary.) Given the fact that your are inspecting your teeth daily to see your bleaching results and whitening results vary from subtle to BAMM, you may not notice the slight changes in the shade of your teeth.  I usually suggest bleaching your lower arch a few days after you bleach your upper arch, the contrast becomes apparent.  If you still aren’t confident in your bleaching results, contact your dentist.  The strength of the bleaching agent may not be working well for you and they may need to adjust your treatment. 

(this article was written by Dawn Lawler, DA, "Chairside Chat" Savon Dental Plan Newsletter September 2010)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Benefits of Coffee For Prevention of Oral Cancer

This was a very lengthy study and although this idea is still being researched and is yet to be confirmed, the results appear to be promising. 


A brief on oral cancer:
Those who use tobacco or alcohol are naturally at a higher risk of developing oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer.  People who have HPV (human papilloma virus) are also at a high risk as recent studies have shown. Oral cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages due to the fact that the symptoms can easily be mistaken as something else.  Common symptoms include mouth sores that don't seem to heal, or pain that will not go away.

Where coffee comes in:
There have been many studies over the years linking coffee to a reduced risk of mouth cancers.  The study actually began in 1982.  Nearly 1 million people took part, submitting their health and lifestyle information, including their tea and coffee intake.  When the study began, all participants were cancer free.  After nearly 30 years of monitoring and follow up, the results of the study were astonishing.  Out of the near million people who participated, 868 people died from oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer.  When the relation to these deaths with coffee and tea consumption was analyzed, it was found that participants who reported drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 49% reduced risk of death from oral cancer than those who reported drinking less or only having an occasional cup.  Gender, alcohol and tobacco were not a factor.  The link to decaffeinated coffee was insignificant and the link to tea drinkers was non-existent.

What it means now:
While we would all love to believe that coffee is the cure for oral cancer, unfortunately, more research needs to be done.  There are many factors that would need to be considered before they can determine coffee as a preventive or guaranteed treatment.  There are also many other types of cancers and this study only focused on one.  So, for now, myself and my fellow coffee drinkers can simply feel a little bit better about our consumption.  As more research and studies unfold, however, I imagine we can expect to see a breakthrough on this idea soon.

Until then, Cheers to coffee, and keep smiling!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Member Question: Why On Earth Would They Let A Dog Run Around An Office?

Questions From Our Members:

E. Harding of Miami, Flordia asks: 

“I went to the dentist today and was shocked to see a small dog running around the office.  Why on earth would they let a dog run around an office?  I can't see how that can be sanitary!”

Savon’s Answer:

What you actually saw was not just ‘dog.’  It's a comfort dog!  Research has shown that these special dogs actually help patients relax.  We know about them and we think they are pretty cool.  The fact of the matter is you can also find them in hospitals.

So next time you go to that dentist, just give the little pup a pet!

(the content of this blog was originally posted in our January 2016 Newsletter in the article "Here's Your Answer")

Monday, January 11, 2016

Don't just go to specialist, wait to get a referral.

While talking to customers on the phone I have noticed an interesting trend. Patients are going to a specialist to get work done without seeking a referral from their general dentist first. There is an assumption our there that if a root canal is needed that you need to go to an endodontist to get it done. Some are going to a periodontist to get routine style cleanings and others are automatically setting appointments with oral surgeons to get an extraction done.

I admire their proactiveness, but if you are doing this than you may be paying more that you may need to. A general dentist is capable of doing a lot more that people think. If you need dental work done, your first stop should be your general dentist. Let them examine you, advise you and plan your treatment with. If they feel that a specialist is necessary or the best course of action for your dental health, then let them tell you that make the referral. Then you can go the specialist to get it done.

Give the general dentist the first look. If they can do the treatment themselves then you will save a lot more money.

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