Thursday, September 24, 2020

Get Shades Whiter!

 What is the Zoom Whiting all about?
Zoom Whiting is a bleaching process that lightens the discoloration of enamel.

What is the process for the procedure?
First, you will begin with a short preparation to cover your gums and lips leaving only your teeth exposed. Next, the assistant will apply a whitening gel all over your teeth, then they will apply the light. Now is the time to sit back and relax.

How long is the procedure?
This procedure will last a total of 45 min. Three 15 min. sessions. Between each session, the assistant will reapply the whiting gel.

Are there any side effects?
Some people may experience sensitivity. On rare occasions, tingling may occur after the treatment. You can ask your dentist to prescribe an anti-sensitivity toothpaste before treatment.

This is a fast way to achieve a brighter smile but in my opinion, it's not worth the pain afterward. I have had this procedure twice. The first time, I had no idea what to expect. The second time, I was told the gel was reformulated for people who have sensitive teeth...Well, all I can say is, I will never have this done again!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Effect of Vaping On Oral Health

The nicotine in vapor can cause periodontal disease and cause your gums to recede. However, it does not have the same effect as a normal cigarette.  That is not to say that it's healthier for you!

Although vaporizers with zero percent of nicotine can be easily found on the market, most of them still contain a certain percent (the amount varies from 0 to 35 mg/ml)

Nicotine is harmful in so many ways and when it comes to teeth it causes the following:

• Gum recession
 – by reducing the blood flow through the blood vessels, nicotine deprives the 
gums from oxygen and all other vital substances.

• Periodontitis (gum infection) – inflammation around the tooth which damages the soft tissue around the teeth and the bone that supports it

•Gingivitis – inflammation around the teeth usually caused by bacteria. Nicotine promotes the gum’s susceptibility for this condition.

So, consider that the younger you are, the earlier you may begin to see symptoms of gum disease. Although it is better than cigarette, the risk is still there.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cracked Tongue?

 Have you ever experienced a cracked tongue? Me neither. 

Cracked tongue is where a person's tongue has one or more groves alongside the surface of the tongue. These cracks can be very minimal or very deep. Although this may seem extremely painful, people have mentioned that they usually only feel a burning sensation after they have eaten acidic food or drinks. 

As of right now, there is no rhyme or reason for cracked tongue syndrome but there has been some research that has found a few links connecting the two. These include:

  • B12 Deficiency
  • Low Zinc levels
  • Low Iron levels
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
If you are experiencing cracked tongue syndrome, it's important to step up your oral health routine. Make sure you remove any food particles that may become trapped in the groves. If you do not remove these you are putting yourself at a higher risk of different bacterial infections. 

Image found on google.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Can Obesity and Gum Disease be Related?

 Researchers have been working to verify the suspicion, but as it appears now, people who suffer from obesity could be at a higher risk of developing gum disease than everyone else.

The reason obesity raises the risk?

Obesity causes the body to release proteins containing flammatory properties called cytokines.  These cytokines could potentially damage or injure the gum tissue, which could likely lead to gum disease.   However, half of the US population over 30 suffer from gum disease.  Gum disease itself also releases cytokines, which if you're obese, could lead to other dangerous inflammatory diseases throughout the body.  

To get the latest information on this study, check out the original article HERE.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Could Your Mouth Be Causing IBD?

As you may know, oral health can affect more than just the inside of a mouth. Poor oral hygiene can cause other serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes but could it also be causing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Nobuhiko Kamada, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine in the division of gastroenterology at U-M Medical School has been collecting and researching the different types of bacterias found in a person's gut. During his research, Dr. Kamada has found that the overgrown bacteria found within the gut of a person who suffers from IBD is also linked to bacteria that is normally found inside the mouth. 

Dr. Kamada contacted the dental school and asked them "does oral diseases affect the severity of gastrointestinal diseases?"

After further research, a study was published in Celi, which shows that oral bacteria found in the gut can worsen inflammation. 

If you would like to read more about the study click here!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Are Mail Order Braces For Everyone?

 Clear braces are the current rave...and many young adults and teens are hoping to escape those "ugly metal braces".  But are they right for you?  Maybe not!

Clear braces may sound like a more attractive deal than they really are.  There are many mail order types available, ranging from $79 kits to $1895 packages that allow you to take your own impressions, mail them in and then wait for the aligners to come in the mail.  What many people don't understand is that there are  certain dental maladies that clear braces cannot fix, such as a tooth that has not fully erupted or grown in, or a twisted tooth, or even a misaligned jaw.  Those things require metal braces. While companies like Invisalign have come a long way in recent years, i.e. treating more severe cases of malocclusion, there are still advantages to wearing metal braces. Additionally, you may be required to wear clear braces for a longer period of time than you might with metal braces.  

Clear braces are expensive.  Although some insurance companies now cover Invisalign, be sure to see a certified Invisalign provider to make sure it is the right fit for you!  

Keep Smiling!  

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Are Virtual Dental Visits A Feasible Option?

 In our September 2020 Newsletter, a Savon member asked: "Are virtual dental visits a feasible option?"

Savon's response was: "If you are using a virtual visit to replace a visit for a dental problem then I don´t think it´s a feasible option.

Virtual dental visits have been in use since 2012 in areas where dental care is inadequate and dentists are limited.  In most of these cases a dentist works virtually with a hygienist to assess the needs of the patient and schedule appointments as required.

While this system works for undeserved areas you are always better off actually seeing a dentist in person if possible."

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Food For Your Oral Health - The Good and the Bad

 Have you ever wondered what you've eaten that causes dental caries (cavities)? Or, on the flip side, have you ever wondered what foods have contributed to your good dental health?

The following is a list of the five best foods for your teeth, followed by the five worst.  


1. Milk
2. Yogurt
3. Strawberries
4. Green Tea
5. Sugar Free Gum


1. Raisins
2. Lemons
3. Soda
4. White Bread
5. Gummy Candy and Hard Candy

Eat the good stuff, and Keep Smiling!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Dental X-Rays

One question that I get asked constantly is "why is my dentist taking X-rays"? Well, dental x-rays are a important part of dental treatment because they can detect damage to the teeth and gums that are not visible during a routine visual exam.

Some of the most common reason for x-rays are listed below:
  • Looking for decay between the teeth - sometimes decay is not visible to the naked eye.
  • Checking for bone loss associated with gum disease - Gum disease can cause bone loss and the x-ray can show how advanced it is.
  • Checking for decay under fillings - Sometime decay under the fillings can occur and the only way to detect this is by x-rays.
  • Looking for infection at the tip of the root - Infections can appear at the bottom of the teeth where the bone is, which x-rays are needed to confirm.
  • Examine before procedures - Dentist need a full view of the area they will be working on, whether it is braces, fillings and tooth extractions.

So, next time you get upset about having another set of x-rays taken, remember this is for your own oral health. Also, ask yourself, if w
ould you rather take the x-rays and see potential problems or be blindsided?

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Why Dentists Aren't Retiring

"I just realized my dentist is older than dirt! Shouldn't he retire?"  "Is it safe to see a dentist that is well past retirement age?'  

These are some of the questions I have been asked recently.  The answers are complicated.      

The average age in the U.S for a dentist to retire is 68 years, according to a study done in 2017.  That said, I have known dentists who have continued to work into their seventies.  

Following the recession in 2008, many dentists were actually forced out of retirement.  Many who may have retired during that time chose instead to continue working.  Many simply love the work....and the income!  

There is no guideline for when a dentist should retire.  If he is able to practice at age 74, then bravo!  Many will continue to practice but at a diminished capacity, sticking to the simpler procedures.  

If you have doubts or are skeptical about getting treatment by an elderly dentist, you can always contact your local Board of Dental Examiners to see if there are any recent complaints or if his/her license is restricted.  Most often, though, they are able to perform just as well as they ever did.  Chalk that up to experience! 

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Do's and Don'ts For Dog Dental Health

 I came across a picture from that explained what you should and shouldn't do for your dogs dental care, and I thought I would share it with you!


  • Brush your dogs teeth at least once a week.
  • Check your pets mouth and gums for abnormalities once a month. This includes looking for swollen gums, brownish tartar on teeth, bad breath and loose teeth.
  • Invest in a chew toy. This will help remove tartar build up.
  • Look for foods and treats formulated for dental care and approved by Veterinary Oral Heath Council (VOHV).
  • Use human toothpaste. Fluoride is extremely dangerous for pets. 
  • Ignoring signs of gum disease. Visit your vet at least once a year.
  • Give up - slowly introduce your dog to teeth brushing. It will be new and they may resist but don't give up, they will eventually become used to it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

DIY Tooth Repair-Would You Dare?

I thought this one was worth re-posting as it is so relevant in today's DIY oriented world.  Especially now, with the COVID crisis and dentists working reduced hours or taking emergencies only.  The definition of "emergency" has changed somewhat with all this going on.

Anyway, here goes:

There are all kinds of stories out there about people fixing their own broken or decayed teeth, dentures, crowns and whatall; some are even using dental floss and fishing line to craft DIY braces...but, is this taking it a little too far? Probably, but it is a world of extremes we live in and lets face it, dentistry is high priced and unless you have excellent credit or say, 10 to 15K in an account earmarked specifically for dentistry, it's not really affordable. I would venture to say that lack of affordability and fear of the dentist are the two major reasons why people might try to repair their own teeth or dentures.

There is a shift occurring in the way people think and do things nowadays and goodness knows there are endless supplies of DIY solutions out there, so why not for dentistry, right? Afterall, you can find almost anything you need on Youtube! How hard can it be, after all? Now, don't get any ideas just yet. Google some of those stories! Trust me, they didn't all end well. Having said that, there are some success stories just try to use common sense (please) if you plan to attempt a home repair on your teeth, and maybe keep these simple, humorous yet "common sense" suggestions in mind.

Well, I know the first one is futile, but I still feel the need to say it:
     DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!!!!!   followed by:

      - Super Glue can be TOXIC. It is also permanent. Trust me! You don't want to glue your lips shut.
      - Gum doesn't hold. Really, it just dissolves.
      - Dental Floss was not intended for use in home orthodontia. Neither was fishing line, rubber bands          or paper clips. 
      - Seriously, shield your eyes if you're going to actually use that Dremel tool.
      - Put the pliers away and forget you even thought about pulling your own tooth.

Now, on the flip side, there are products out there that you can buy OTC and use to TEMPORARILY (and I cannot stress that word enough) temporarily, repair a broken tooth or cover a lost filling and yes, believe it or not, you can even make a temporary tooth if you happen to have one missing and there is a wedding to go to on Saturday.  Notice I'm not naming any products here. If you dare to make your own dental repairs you'll just have to Google the rest of the info yourself. :)

Keep Smiling!



Thursday, August 13, 2020

Delaying Dental Appointments Again?

 Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended delaying any non-essential dental appointments again due to Covid-19. This means that any routine check-ups, dental cleanings, and preventative care should not be provided until the WHO has seen a significant drop in COVID cases. Who knows when that could be since we are already going on 6 months. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) has released a statement which states " respectfully yet strongly disagrees" with the World Health Organization's interim guidance recommending that "routine" dental care be delayed in certain situations because of COVID-19.

"Oral health is integral to overall health. Dentistry is an essential health care." ADA President Chad P. Gehani said. "Dentistry is essential health care because if it's role in evaluating, diagnosing, or treating oral disease, which can affect systemic health."

The ADA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have set their own guidelines on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within dental practices. These include:

  • Screening patients for travel and signs and symptoms of infection when they update their medical histories.

  • Taking temperature readings as part of their routine assessment of patients before performing dental procedures.

  • Making sure the personal protective equipment they use is appropriate for the procedures being performed.

  • Using a rubber dam when appropriate to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.

  • Using high-speed evacuation for dental procedures producing an aerosol.

  • Autoclaving handpieces after each patient.

  • Having patients rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution before each appointment.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting public areas frequently, including door handles, chairs, and bathrooms.

What are your thoughts on delaying non-essential dental appointments again?

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Does The Art of Dentistry Justify The High Cost?

 So often we will have someone call our office and they are absolutely shell shocked at the cost of a dental procedure or a treatment plan.  Let me start by saying that dentistry is rarely simple anymore. It is a science, yes, but it is also a fine art, and in many cases you get what you pay for. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is among the most costly. If you've ever seen a full mouth reconstruction done, you'll have great respect for the dentist/artist.  This is a craft that requires at least 8 years of schooling, constant continuing education and even further instruction and practice to be able to perfect these restorations and perform oral miracles.  Not to mention the high cost of the technical machines and tools needed.  If you understand that, you understand why the cost is so high.  But, if you are one of those people who visits the dentist every 10 or 20 years, there is no avoiding the shell shock factor, which is why I've linked this blog to an informative page.

I recently found a site that gives the average consumer an idea of what restorative dentistry costs.  It is broken down by procedure and it's probably the most informative, simple breakdown I have seen to date.  If you are considering cosmetic restoration or have many dental issues and are in need of a full-mouth makeover, look HERE  first.  I think you'll be glad you did.
The moral of the story here is to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings (for prevention, if nothing else) and stay informed. Don't become a shell shock victim!

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Question From Our Member

 Questions From Our Members

D. Rockwell of Buffalo, New York asks: 

“I need to visit the dentist but I also need to know that their office is safe and clean during this pandemic.  What should I be looking for from the dentist?”

Savon’s Answer

Even before this pandemic, dental offices were always some of the cleanest medical facilities.  Considering that every procedure produced some sort of human bio–hazard side bar, the dental offices we already ahead of the current Covid–19 hygiene standards.

This being said, the A.D.A. (American Dental Association) lists some steps dentists can take to help prevent transmission of the disease in their offices, in addition to standard precautions, including:
  • Screening patients for travel and signs and symptoms of infection when they update their medical histories.

  • Taking temperature readings as part of their routine assessment of patients before performing dental procedures.

  • Making sure the personal protective equipment they use is appropriate for the procedures being performed.

  • Using a rubber dam when appropriate to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.

  • Using high-speed evacuation for dental procedures producing an aerosol.

  • Autoclaving handpieces after each patient.

  • Having patients rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution before each appointment.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting public areas frequently, including door handles, chairs and bathrooms.
Since most dental offices follow the guidelines published by the A.D.A., I would be pretty comfortable visiting my dentist even in these trying times.

Original post is from our Aug. 2020 Newsletter

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Natural Treatments For Adults With Thrush

Adults and children of any age can be afflicted with thrush.  

Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the tongue, gums, inner cheeks or lips.  It looks like a white pasty coating on the tongue or patchy white sores on the inner cheeks or roof of the mouth.  
Babies, people with compromised immune systems and diabetic people are commonly prone to this type of infection.  It can be difficult to treat, but there are some things you can do at home to help.

1. Check your diet! Avoid sugar and starchy foods. Large amounts of sugar and white carbohydrates can bring on or worsen a bout of candida (Thrush).  Eat fresh raw vegetables and lean proteins or yogurt, or you can eat foods that contain vinegar, such as sauerkraut or pickles to actually ward off the infection.!
2. Try a natural remedy such as grapefruit seed extract (a few drops diluted in water,just wish a few times a day) coconut oil ( excellent to cook with in place of vegetable oils), plain, sugar free yogurt (yogurt contains healthy bacteria that helps to balance the ph in the body).  Adults with the infection can also take acidophilous capsules or liquid to help reduce the growth of bacteria.

3. Remember to clean your toothbrush and your tongue scraper with a bleach/water solution after each use to avoid reinfecting yourself when you brush your teeth. 

4.  For babies, always see your healthcare professional.  Their sensitive little mouths require a doctor's care.   

These are some of the ideas I came up with from around the web.

Enjoy, & keep smiling!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Dental Hygiene For Men

Here are some of the risk factors for developing gum disease:

Being male: Men are more likely to suffer from gum disease than women.

Being African-American: Black men are more likely than white men to develop gum disease.

Lack of funds and insurance: People at the lowest socio-economic levels tend to have the most severe gum disease. This is largely because they don't have access to (or can't afford) regular dental care.

Age: As we get older, our gums gradually recede, exposing the roots of the teeth to plaque. We also produce less saliva, which plays an important role in rinsing plaque out of the mouth.

Genetics: If your parents lost teeth to gum disease, you are at greater risk.

Neglect: Not brushing and flossing regularly.

Poor diet: Sugary snacks and drinks encourage the growth of plaque, and crunchy snack foods can damage enamel and teeth.

Clenching, grinding teeth: Chronic teeth grinding can sometimes result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may also damage tooth enamel and wear teeth down. This kind of damage can lead to the need for a host of expensive dental work, including bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures.

Smoking: Recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of gum disease. In addition, following periodontal treatment or any type of oral surgery, the chemicals in tobacco can slow down the healing process and make the treatment results less predictable.

Original post by btflbutterfly77 on November 5th, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Why You Should Never, Ever, Ever Use Your Teeth As Utensils!

From the time we are babies, we put objects in our mouths.  Toys, rocks, keys, marbles, the dogs ear, the cats tail, however, we learn as we get older that the dog and the cat are off limits...(snicker)   Some of us never learn though, that our teeth were not meant to be used as tools! We open bottles, can tabs, plastic containers and bags that should be cut with scissors...we have oral jewelry implanted on our lips or tongue and fiddle with them all the time. We hold our keys in our mouths, our pens and pencils, sun glasses, hair clips and other things and never even think about the damage we could be causing to our teeth! Misusing our teeth in this way can cause serious chipping, cracking and misalignment, whether by accidental occurrence or over time. This adds up to $$$ spent for tooth repairs and it all could have been prevented if we had just used our common sense in the first place and avoided the impulse to chew on something that wasn't food!

The bottom line is this: Objects that are not meant for human consumption should never be put in our mouths!
Keep that in mind, and Keep Smiling!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

8 Dental Problems You Can Fix Yourself

Here are a few ways to treat some dental problems from home, until you can visit your dentist.

Sensitive Teeth:
Cause~ Exposed nerve root.
Treatment~ Lay off whiting treatments, brush teeth a little softer than normal.

Lost Tooth:
Cause~ Sports.
treatment~ Rinse it with milk and push it back in right away, then bite down gently on a soft cloth or moistened tea bag to hold it in place. Then visit your dentist.

Burned Palate:
Cause~ Hot food.
Treatment~ Try using Kenalog in Orabase, an over-the-counter corticosteroid paste that creates a protective coating on the burn and speeds healing.

Burned Tongue:
Cause~ Hot drink or food.
Treatment~ Rinse your mouth with a solution of 1 teaspoon of salt and a cup of warm water.

Jaw Soreness:
Cause~ Temporomandibular joint disorder.
Treatment~Try sleeping on your side or back with a supportive pillow, instead of face-down.

Canker Sore:
Cause~ Sugary foods/Citrus.
Treatment~ Apply vegetable oil to a cotton ball and hold it against the sore three or four times a day.

Lost Filling:
Cause~Popcorn, Peanuts, Caramel.
Treatment~You can use sugarless chewing gum (chew it first) or soft wax to caulk the hole and reduce the sensitivity until you can visit your dentist.

Gum Pain:
Cause~Gingivitis (gum disease), tobacco use.
Treatment~ You can ease the pain by swishing peppermint tea around your mouth.

*This is not intended as medical advice. With any dental problems always see your dentist as soon as possible.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Could Your Headaches Be Caused By Orthodontic Treatment?

If you are not prone to headaches already, the answer is usually no. In almost every other case, if there is a headache it is usually only for a day or two and usually right after an adjustment.

For some patients however, orthodontic treatment can cause unexpected problems that can lead to distortions because of excessive adjustment. This can cause undue strain on the temporomandibular joint which may lead to excessive strain and the eventual perception of generalized headaches and migraine pain.

The remedy for this is not a quick one. Attempts to correct it in one reconstructive treatment typically result in failure. T he best correction process for this problem is done over an extended time period. Adjustments are incremental, which allow the jaw structures to achieve healthier repositioning through a natural process.

Correcting a distortion of can be done through the use of different types of dental components ranging from new posterior crowns, gold onlays and porcelain onlays. For some patients, orthotic devices can be used.

In any case, if you are wearing braces and start getting headaches that last more than a day or two, you should consult your orthodontist right away.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Ways Your Bad Breath Could Mean Bad Health

Yuck, what is that smell? Could it be your breath? Checking your breath may not just save you from social moments, but it may save your life. Recurring bad breath could be a sign of underlying medical conditions.

  • Electric Nose Technology: Detects lung cancer from bad breath- This is a cheaper alternative than doing a biopsy to detect lung cancer. The "electronic nose" detects different profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breaths. All you would need is a simple breath test.
  • Breath tests can detect heart failure- By taking a breath test, Researchers can use "mass spectrometry" technology to analyze the sample for molecular and chemical compound signs of heart failure.
  • Fish Breath: Kidney Failure: The fishy breath occurs when the kidney failure affects the respiratory system and makes it hard to breath. This is because the damaged kidneys can no longer filter waste products from the blood and turn it into urine.
  • Sleep Conditions may cause sour mouth- Saliva decreases during sleep, which causes a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Excess Weight- A poor diet and lack of water can play a major role in bad breath. Try drinking large amounts of water and eating lots of fruit and vegetables, this will help keep breath fresh.

If you notice your recurring bad breath please seek medical help!

To read more click here!

Dental Enamel Does Not Regenerate!

There are alot of "snake-oil" treatments out there that claim to be able to regenerate tooth enamel and heal cavities.  Don't fall for it!
Dental enamel, unlike bones, does not regenerate or "heal" once it is damaged. Dental enamel is formed during the original growth of the tooth underneath the gums. While there are many factors that can contribute to the loss of dental enamel, such as poor dental hygiene or certain hereditary conditions, there is good news. Researchers are actively seeking treatments and therapies that could change everything. Of course, proper hygiene and regular visits to your dentist are the best way to combat any kind of dental dilemma, but for dental enamel in particular, there are now certain treatments that can help slow the process of enamel degeneration that can be applied during your regular dental visits as part of your preventative maintenance regimen. 

For more information on such treatments, click HERE

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Teach Children How To Brush And Floss!

This is a fun but messy activity to teach your young children how to brush and floss correctly!

All you will need is:
  • Rubber glove
  • Peanut butter
  • Dental Floss
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
Have an adult put on the glove, have someone or yourself put some peanut butter between your fingers (make sure you get it all the way down). Tighten your fingers together (your fingers represent the teeth and the peanut butter is the food that gets trapped). With your fingers still tightly together and extended, have your child use the toothbrush and toothpaste to try and remove the peanut butter. Once they are finished brushing have them try and remove the peanut butter using the floss.

This will help your child understand that brushing simply can't reach all the places between your teeth and that dental floss does a much better job at removing food!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Who Should Extract My Wisdom Teeth, General Dentist or Specialist?

I recently had a member call and ask me if they were required to go to a specialist to get their wisdom teeth removed. As usual my first question to them was "have you seen your regular dentist and asked them about it?". They told me that they had not yet visited the regular dentist but wanted to save money on 2 visits if they were referred to a specialist.
To answer the base question, the answer is NO. Some general dentists can and will pull your wisdom teeth, if they are comfortable and equipped to do so. My advise was, and always has been, to let your general dentist make that call. Wisdom teeth are more tricky than wise. They can cause you problems or pain especially if they are coming in crooked. In some cases they grow in at an awkward angle and push on your back molars, causing pain and ultimately affecting the healthy growth of the other teeth. In most cases such as that, a specialist would likely be involved. However, if the wisdom teeth are growing in straight and with no issues, then it is possible that your general dentist, if equipped and comfortable with doing so, would be able to extract the wisdom teeth for you.
How the wisdom teeth are growing in can easily be identified through x-rays. If regular check-up and x-rays are taken then the chances of early diagnosis of how the growth pattern of the wisdom teeth is increased.
So in short, (and this applies to any procedure), always check with your general dentist first! Let them make the call to refer you to specialist or not. This, in the long run, can save you a lot of money, time and effort.
If you are a member of our dental plan, please make sure that the specialist that you are visiting is indeed in our network of specialists.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Question From Our Member

Questions From Our Members

R. Hammond of Denver, CO. asks: 

“I have developed a ringing in my ears and after several tests, my doctor told me to see my dentist and get check out.  Is there a dental condition that can cause this?”

Savon’s Answer

What you have is a condition known as ‘Tinnitus.’  It´s a condition that causes distracting tones when the person isn´t talking or listening to something.  Yes, this ringing can also be a symptom of a dental condition called, ‘TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder.’  Because afflictions of the jaw can affect hearing, TMJ can result in tinnitus for some people.

We strongly suggest that you follow your doctor´s advice and visit your dentist as soon as possible.

The original post is in our July 2020 Newsletter!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What is Dental Sleep Medicine?

By definition, according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine,  Dental Sleep Medicine is an area of practice that focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, through the use of oral appliance therapy and/or upper airway surgery.

More and more dentists are entering into this field of treatment.  The way it works is this: A qualified physician diagnoses the condition through a series of studies done on the patient,  then the dentist provides treatment; ( i.e. usually a custom fitted oral device, worn during sleep and designed to keep the airway open by supporting the jaw and tongue.)

A loved one may notice heavy snoring or interrupted breathing patterns that can happen many times during the sleep cycle, however, if you live alone the following signs could be an indication that you may need to be checked out:

                  Mild to heavy daytime sleepiness
                  Morning headaches
                  Decreased libido
                  Inability to concentrate

Additionally, if you are overweight  you may have a higher risk for sleep apnea.  Essentially, through oxygen deprivation and lack of refreshing sleep, this disorder can wreak havoc on your body over time. It can put you at risk for high blood pressure, stroke and even heart attack, not to mention the risk of sudden death while sleeping due to the closing of the airway.

Many people have this disorder and are unaware of the danger it poses.  It is effectively a silent killer.  If you think you or a loved one may have this, contact your healthcare provider and arrange for a screening.  It could save your life!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Smoking Causes More Than Bad Breath

Quitting smoking isn't easy, but there is another reason why you should make the effort to quite. Smoking causes more than just bad breath, it can lead to oral cancer - which includes the mouth, throat, salivary glands, tongue, and lips.

Early signs of oral cancer include lumps, red or white patches inside the mouth, difficulty chewing, swallowing numbness in the mouth, thickening of the cheeks, and voice changes.

Oral cancer's top risk factor is tobacco whether its from smoking or chewing.

To help prevent oral cancer you should visit your dentist regularly for check-ups, and keep up on your oral routine at home by brushing and flossing daily.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Your Dental Visit - An Exercise in Patience

We've all heard (and are tired of hearing) the term "new normal".  It is an unfortunate but inevitable circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors and dentists have had to rearrange their scheduling, their staff and their sanitation practices to be in compliance with the FDA, ADA & others.  Here are some things you might expect when you visit the dentist for the first time since the pandemic began:
  • Longer wait times for appointments, especially routine appointments
  • You will probably need to wear a mask until you are in the chair
  • Dr.'s and staff will be wearing extra protection
  • You may not be able to have another person present for your visit
  • Expect to have your temperature checked 
  • Expect to be asked to wait in your car until your appointment time.
While many of you will just be expecting a routine exam and cleaning, many others have waited for months for root canals, crowns and fillings. It is likely that they will hold priority, so for routine care, you may have to wait for a couple of months.  
Of course, your patience is appreciated!  Try to be understanding of the delays and remember that this is not the fault of the dentist or his/her staff.  

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Natural Ways To Heal Canker Sores

We all know how uncomfortable and painful canker sores can be.  I'm sure you have tried Orajel and Canker-X to help heal the pain but have you tried any natural remedies? 

Listed below are some natural remedies to help heal those painful sores:
  • Alum Powder (kitchen spice) - Place a small amount of alum directly on the sore, allow it to sit for 1 minute then spit out. *Do not swallow*
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - Soak a cotton ball in ACV and apply it to the sore.
  • Vitamin E - Open a vitamin E casual and apply directly to the sore.
  • Aloe Vera - Put some fresh aloe Vera juice on the sore 3-4 times a day.
Hopefully, with the help of these, you will get some relief from the pain and discomfort.

To help prevent canker sores you should brush your teeth after every meal and floss twice a day to keep your mouth free of food particles that trigger these painful sores.

If you still end up with a canker sore, use a soft toothbrush such as a perio-toothbrush to prevent irritation while brushing and avoid toothpaste and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Great Toothbrush Dilemma - Soft or Medium

When you go to store to buy a new toothbrush, the dilemma begins. What kind of brush do you buy? Soft bristle, Medium Bristle, Extra Soft? So many choices!! Well, the answer is quite simple. First of all, just know that a hard bristle brush (you know, the kind that could almost double as a BBQ grill cleaner) are few and far between and hard to find anymore. For most people, the soft brush is a good fit, but let's compare them so you can decide for yourself.
Soft Bristle: This is what the majority of people will use. The bristles are firm enough to effectively clean your teeth and loosen anything that is stuck in your teeth as well. The soft bristles are designed to be easy on your gum line and will reduce the chance of getting cuts.
Medium Bristle: The need for a medium brush is rare. First, if you have sensitivity in your gums you will want to stay away from it so you can avoid irritation. This is a good fit for someone who is a "soft brusher". Which means if the pressure you put on your brush is really light, then the medium bristles will counteract that.
Extra-Soft: This brush is key for people that have sensitive teeth and gums. The bristles are soft enough to avoid irritation.
Make sure that you consult with your dentist about which brush is recommended for you!

As always, keep smiling!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dental Problems Linked To Breast Cancer

Attention Women: Studies have shown that periodontal disease has been liked to breast cancer in women. This study was done in October of 2010 in Huddinge, Sweden. This study consisted of 3,000 women between the ages of 30-40 years. For more details on this study click here.

Bacteria that are found in periodontal disease, can affect the entire body's blood supply. This infection then sets off co-infections that an already weakened immune system has to fight, leaving it to suppressed (weak) to fight off cancer cells.

Periodontal Disease is also liked to heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and many others.

It is very important that everyone takes care of their oral health. Brushing and flossing on a regular bases, also combined with regular dental cleanings.

Here are some signs of periodontal disease:
  1. Bad Breath
  2. Painful Chewing
  3. Sensitive Teeth
  4. Bleeding Gums

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Stem Cell Dental Implants?

Could traditional implants and dentures be a thing of the past?

Imagine going to the dentist, having a tooth extracted and finding out that you can simply grow another in it's place; with a little help from science, that is.  It may be the way of the near may even be cheaper than implants (and we all know that the full process for an implant can take up to 6 months, right?)  Apparently this new process of growing a new tooth can be done in only 9 weeks.  Unbelievable!

Here is a link to an article that explains the science behind it, and the process.  Amazing.

Now if they could only come up with a way to do an extraction that is non-invasive...well, one can dream, right?

Keep Smiling!  

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Benefits Of Straight Teeth!

Many people think that having straight teeth means you have a perfect smile, but did you know that there are many different benefits of having straight teeth? Below is a list of reasons why you may want to look into getting braces!
  1. Better Brushing - Overlapping teeth can trap food and straight teeth allow easier brushing/flossing.
  2. Clear Speech - Crooked teeth can cause many speech impediments.
  3. Easier Eating - Crooked, crowded teeth compromise chewing.
  4. Less accident-prone teeth - Protruding teeth are more prone to breaking also mouthguards may not fit correctly.
  5. Fewer headaches - Uneven wear puts pressure on the jaw resulting in chronic headaches.
  6. Improved gum health - Lower risk of gum disease.
  7. Better overall health - Tooth decay and gum disease is linked to heart disease and high blood sugar.
  8. Affordable dental care - Few issues mean few expensive treatments.
  9. Lower risk of soft tissue injury's - Cuts sores and infections can result from crooked teeth pushing against soft tissues in the mouth.
  10. Self-Esteem - Confidence in any situation!
If you are interested in getting straight teeth, contact an orthodontist!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Many Benefits of Digital X-Rays

Technology is such a wonderful thing!  We've definitely come a long way in the advancement of diagnostics and diagnostic tools in both the medical field and the dental field.  Some may ask what the benefit is of digital x-rays vs. traditional x-rays.  Well, in terms of preventive care,  the difference is huge!  The following are some points of interest regarding digital x-ray machines.

     ~ The images produced by a digital machine are a much higher quality.
     ~ The images can be adjusted so that the doctor can see imperfections in the teeth early in            the diagnostic process.
     ~ There is significantly less radiation with a digital x-ray, which limits your exposure.
     ~ There is no chemical developer involved .
     ~  The images can be transferred from one office to another via email, saving time for the                doctor and the patient.

On the flip side,  the only real negative aspect to this is the cost of the machine, which falls on the dentist. A digital x-ray machine is very expensive.  Consequently, many practitioners do not have them available as yet.  More and more, however,  it is becoming a regular fixture in dental offices throughout the US.  Ask your dentist if digital x-rays are part of their routine.  It's a better option all the way around!

Keep Smiling!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Could Oral Ulcers Be Linked To Covid-19?

If you suffer from mouth ulcers (small, painful sores inside the mouth) you could possibly have or had COVID-19. Studies are still being conducted, but if you would like more information you should check out this article "Oral ulcers may be sign of the virus that causes COVID-19" by Melissa Busch, assistant director.

May 28,2020 --Painful ulcers in the oral cavity may be linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes COVID-19, according to an article published on May 5 in Oral Diseases. This is thought to be the first reported case of oral lesions being a possible symptom of COVID-19, the authors noted.
A connection is possible considering lesions inside the mouth are often misdiagnosed due to the lack of an intraoral exam, as well as the severity of other pathological processes that might occur with SARS-CoV-2 infection, they wrote.
"It makes good sense that this virus provokes exanthematic lesions that may resemble other viral processes we are used to diagnosing in the dental clinic," wrote the group, led by Carmen Martín Carreras-Presas from the adult dentistry department, oral medicine, at the European University of Madrid.
Still learning
At press time, approximately 5.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including about 343,00 deaths, have been reported globally to the World Health Organization. More than 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 100,000 deaths have occurred in the U.S.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, scientists and healthcare workers are also learning new details about the infection. Initially, the most common signs and symptoms of a SARS-CoV-2 infection were fever, sore throat, and headache. Over time, symptoms of diarrhea, loss of taste and smell, and skin conditions, including vasculitis and chicken pox-like lesions, were added. Therefore, it is plausible to think that lesions found in the oral cavity of one COVID-19-positive patient and two suspected positive patients are connected, the authors wrote.
All three patients developed the oral lesions during an isolation period between the last week of March and the first week of April. Due to the shutdown, the clinicians saw the patients via video consultations.
A 56-year-old healthy man
A man who had a fever and enlarged lymph nodes in his neck, felt weak, and lost some of his ability to smell and taste was suspected of being infected by SARS-CoV-2 and told to self-isolate. The man was asked to send photos of his mouth after he began experiencing pain in his palate and a sore throat. The lesions looked like herpetic recurrent stomatitis; however, it was the first time he had them. The lesions healed after the patient took the prescribed valaciclovir 500 mg every eight hours for 10 days and used topical antiseptics with chlorhexidine and hyaluronic acid. At the time of this writing, the man was waiting for serological testing to confirm whether he had COVID-19.
A 58-year-old man with underlying conditions
A man with diabetes and hypertension reported pain on his palate. He assumed it was a bacterial infection of a tooth. His wife had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and they were both isolated in their home. The doctors had him send a photo of his mouth, which showed multiple small ulcers on his palate with unilateral affection. He had no previous history of herpetic infection. The lesions healed within one week after using a topical antiseptic mouthwash.
A 65-year-old woman infected with SARS-CoV-2
A woman reported having a high fever, diarrhea, and pain on her tongue on March 12. She was obese and had hypertension, which were controlled with diuretics and an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. A week later, she fainted at home and was taken to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. She was given antibiotics, corticosteroids, and the antiviral drugs lopinavir, ritonavir, and hydroxychloroquine. She was discharged from the hospital on March 30. On April 4, she developed a rash on various parts of her body. Though she experienced tongue pain from the beginning, she said she never had an intraoral examination.
She returned to the hospital and a dermatologist performed a biopsy and prescribed antifungal medications. A week later, she developed blisters in her internal lip mucosa and desquamative gingivitis. She was prescribed hyaluronic acid and chlorhexidine mouthwash. Her general practitioner prescribed prednisolone, 30 mg per day. Her lesions improved within three days, and she continued recovering in isolation at home. The biopsy revealed nonspecific morphological findings with some criteria suggestive of a nonspecific viral rash or eczema-like lesions with discrete blood extravasation.
More to know
Biopsies could not be performed on all of the patients, and further studies are needed to determine whether ulcers in the oral cavity are common in patients affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection or if the emotional distress of the situation triggers the lesions, the authors wrote.
These cases also shine a light on the importance of conducting intraoral exams.
"We encourage all medical doctors, dentists and dermatologists to perform intraoral examinations in patients suspected or affected by SARS-CoV-2, always when having the recommended protection measures available," they wrote.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

7 Things You Didn't Know About Toothpaste!

As we all know there are so many different types of toothpaste out on the market! But did you know there are things you need to know about toothpaste!
  • It’s all about the fluoride- when buying toothpaste look for the one with added fluoride.
  • Look for the seal of approval- when looking for toothpaste look for the ADA seal before purchasing.
  • Whitening toothpastes work—at least to a certain degree- All toothpaste contains mild abrasives to help remove surface stains on your teeth, but toothpaste does not have bleach, so you will not get the professional look.
  • Less is more- Most people pile on the toothpaste, I know I do! But did you know actually less is better? All you need is a pea-size amount!
  • How you brush is more important than what you brush with- when brushing your teeth you need to brush at a 45-degree angle, and brush in a circular motion!
  • What’s inside your toothpaste might surprise you- some ingredients inside your toothpaste are seaweed and detergents. This is how they get your toothpaste to foam.
  • Pastes or gels—they all do the trick- they both work equally!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Do you know the Cost vs Benefit of your dental coverage?

Do you know the Cost vs Benefit of your dental coverage? Would it surprise you to know that most people don't? It is sad reality that most people who are paying for some form of dental coverage cannot even tell you what it covers. So to them I ask this: What are you paying for? 

Now, if I made you go to your filing cabinet, grab your benefit guide or insurance declarations, then this blog has already served it's intended purpose. If not, read on while I fill you in on this little tidbit of information. If you don't know what the benefits you are receiving are, how do you know if you cost is worth it or not?

Let's break it down a little further. I will pick on dental insurance again because that's my favorite thing to do! Let's say you are paying $45.00 per month for your family, (that's $540 per year). What are getting for that? If you just said "dental insurance" then you owe me 20 push-ups. Look deeper, 30%-80% off of dental work. (you are getting there, keep going), 2 free cleanings per year (alright), 12-24 month waiting period on major procedures..(wait... what was that??) YES! My point exactly. You are going to be paying for this coverage for an entire year before your little Sammy or Sally can get their braces, or you can the get a bridge or implant that you might need. Even worse, once you are eligible to even have the procedure done, what percentage is really covered? 30%, 35%, 50% or 60%, because I can guarantee you it will not be the 80%. (that comes after you have maintained coverage for 3-4 years). Read a little more.. $1500.00 of dental work covered per person per year. So you are paying $540.00 per year to have $1500.00 worth of work done (which can go fast now days) and don't even get me into the deductible!

Anyway, my point is this. Make sure that you are not just being bedazzled by the "low monthly premium" phrase.  Please Please Please check your Cost vs Benefits and make sure you are getting coverage that is worthy of your money.

To compare various insurance or plans side by side, visit this comparison zone!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Homemade Denture Cleaner

Tired of constantly buying denture cleaner? I know I get tired of buying it for my retainers.

Now you will no longer have to buy denture cleaner after I give you a few simple homemade cleaner recipes I have found made from household products.

  •  Bleach-based soak:
    • Directions for Making: 
      • 1 part bleach mixed with 10 parts of water.
      • Best to make when ready to use.
    • Directions for use:
      • Soak for only 3-10 minutes. **Do not soak overnight**
      • Rinse dentures off with cool water before placing them back into the mouth.
  • Vinegar-based soak:
    • Directions for making:
      • Soaking duration mixtures:
        • 10-minute soaking: Full strength vinegar.
        •  30 minute soaking: 1 part vinegar to 1 part water.
        • 8 hours soaking: 1 part vinegar to 9 part water.
    • Directions for use:
      • After soaking, brush the denture to help remove stubborn mineral deposits.
      • Rinse the denture with cold water and place them back into the mouth.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate soak:
    • Directions for making:
      • 1 Tsp of baking soda dissolved in 8 oz of water.
    • Directions for use:
      • Soak for 30 minutes.
      • Rinse and place back into the mouth.
*Note: If you are not placing your dentures back into your mouth after you have soaked them, they should be immersed in clean water.

Remember to always discuss your plan with your dentist before trying something new!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Process of Obtaining Quality Dental Care for the Developmentally Disabled

A subject worth reposting....

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 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!