Archive for November, 2011

Good Foods Can Help With A Great Smile

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Healthy gums are the foundation of a beautiful smile.  Of course, brushing and flossing are the key to having healthy gums.  However, new research shows that eating certain foods can also help keep your gums in the pink.  Just like the rest of you body, your gum tissue responds to the types of foods you eat and the minerals and vitamins those foods provide.  Think of these nutritional boosts, listed below, as the perfect partner for oral home care and regular dental visits.

1) Salmon – This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces inflamation all over the body, including your gums!  A study found that patients with proper home care who ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids slashed their risk of gingivitis by up to 20%.







2) Strawberries – These delicious berries are bursting with vitamin C.  Vitamin C  helps to build collagen, an important component of healthy gum tissue.  In fact, people who consume less than 60 milligrams of  Vitamin C each day are more likely to develop gingivitis.  Consume just six large Strawberries, and you have exceeded that recommended amount.   But stay away from vitamin supplement drinks.  They have been shown to erode tooth enamel with long term use.





3)  Whole Grain Bread – Whole grains contain iron and B vitamins, two nutrients essential to gum health.  One study found that eating three servings of whole grains a day reduces the risk of gum disease by 23% in patients with good oral hygiene.  Consider adding barley, oatmeal, and brown rice as well.






4)  Green Tea – Hot or cold, this brew is brimming with antioxidants that help to kill the bacteria  leading to gingivitis.  Also, Green Tea has been shown to reduce the germs that cause bad breath.  Be aware, however, that many pre-bottled green tea drinks are sweetened with sugar or mixed with fruit juices.  It is important not to undermine your healthy gums by promoting cavities!






5)  Pistachios – These nuts are also rich in antioxidants and have been show to fight gum inflammation.  Plus, chewing hard foods like nuts helps to scrape dental bacteria off of your enamel.








By enjoying a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins as part of your Home Dental Care, you are strengthening your gums and fighting gingivitis from the inside out!  Remember, you are what you eat!  Keep brushing and flossing, eat healthy, and keep smiling!



Congratulations to Jackson Bergstrom: Another Beautiful Smile

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Jackson shows off his new smile

On the first day--Jackson's before photo

Congratulations to our patient Jackson Bergstrom who completed his Orthodontics Case with Dr. Freeman on October 19.  Jackson, who is now 13, has been a patient since 2004 and we have enjoyed watching as he and his brothers have grown.

Each of our Orthodontic Treatment cases are developed to meet the specific needs of each patient.  In our assessment of Jackson’s case, we determined that his arches were not wide enough to support the size of his teeth.  This is a common Orthodontic problem which creates crowding and rotation of the teeth on the arch.

In addition, he was also developing a deep bite, a condition in which a the upper front teeth cover the majority, if not all, of the lower front teeth when the patient bites down.   In adults, coverage of more than about 20% can lead to fillings, root canals and crowns as the lower teeth are subjected to extreme wear.  In a deep bite, impact trauma from the lower teeth can sometimes cause soft tissue damage to the rough of the mouth.  To prevent this damage to gum and tooth structure, it is critical that a deep bite be opened to a more proper position.

Jackson began his Orthodontic Treatment on March 25, 2010 with the placement of upper and lower Series 2000 expanders.  Dr. Freeman favors these appliances because they utilize internal springs to place a continuous low pressure against the arches.  This creates the needed space to rotate the teeth into the proper position.  In addition to the expanders, brackets and wires were attached which began to straighten Jackson’s teeth.

After only 5 months, the expanders came off, and Jackson began the second half of his treatment.  A Rick-A-Nator was used to help open Jackson’s deep bite.   The Rick-A-Nator positions the bite in a more proper position and holds it there until the molars and premolars erupt further.  After a short time, the posterior teeth will hold the new position on their own and the appliance can be removed.

With any Orthodontic Case, the patient is really one of the team members. Throughout the entire process, Jackson kept up his part of our Orthodontic Partnership.  He was diligent with his oral hygiene and he watched the things he ate to protect his brackets and wires during treatment.  Everything went extremely well with Jackson’s case, which was completed in less than 1 year, 7 months.

On October 19, 2011, he arrived at our office early in the morning for his debanding appointment.  We were all excited to see his big reveal–how would his teeth look without his braces?  We removed his brackets and appliances and polished his teeth.  WOW !  What a great result.  By 9:30 he was off to school to show off his new smile.

Thank you, Jackson for being such a stellar team member and such a great patient!  Don’t forget to wear your retainers, and always remember who makes you smile!

The photo gallery:

Before and after:  The view from the front

This is where it all started

Straight, healthy smile--goal achieved


Before and after:  A peek at the upper teeth

An upper view shows that teeth will need to rotate

Upper teeth now in alignment


Before and after:  The lower teeth before and whole mouth after view

The lower teeth need to move as well

Uppers and lowers now in place



Extending the Life of a Periodontally Questionable Tooth

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Plaque bacteria is the primary cause of gum disease.  As the bacteria colony grows on a tooth,  it develops a hard layer called Tartar or Calculus.  This layer spreads along the surface of the tooth, and as the bacteria  extends below the gum line, Periodontal Disease develops.  At first, the patient will show signs of  Gingivitis or an irritation and bleeding of the gums.  Advanced stages, however, will exhibit a swelling / inflammation of the gingiva and  bone loss around the tooth.  As the bone retreats from the tartar, the tooth will  become loose and may eventually need to be extracted.  Research shows that a tooth’s survival rate in a healthy normal mouth over a person’s life time is over 95%:  however, in the presence of Periodontal Disease,  a tooth’s survival rate drops below 60%.  At the office of Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates, we classify a tooth which has lost 40 % or more of it supporting bone as being “Questionable” or perhaps “Hopeless”.

With the help and dedication of the patient, Periodontal Disease can be arrested, and teeth with “Questionable” support  can often be maintained for many years.  This requires a major shift in the way the patient thinks about their teeth, oral hygiene and dental care.  If the patient  accepts treatment and is willing to make changes, the life span of their periodontally involved teeth can be extended.   First, a patient with advanced Periodontal Disease will need some level of Scaling and Root Planing.  This can be done either at our Dental Office or the Periodontist (gum specialist) depending on what the Doctor believes will get the best results.  Often called Quadrant Scaling, the patient is given anesthesia and each tooth is scaled to the bottom of the periodontal pocket, removing all hardened plaque bacteria.  Once debridement is complete, the Doctor may choose to place an anti-microbial agent, such as Arestin, in the deep pockets to prevent new bacterial growth and assist the gum tissue in reattaching to the root structure.

After  Quadrant Scaling, it is up to the patient to increase their home care.  Correct brushing and flossing methods are taught to the patient to keep the newly cleaned surfaces free of food debris and plaque.  This is often where the treatment is most vulnerable to failure.  The patient has had years of poor dental habits which created their Periodontal Disease, and now it is necessary for them to perform aggressive home care  practically overnight.  At our office, we recommend the SoniCare Toothbrush to help with this learning curve.  Properly used, it aids the patient in removing food debris, plaque and stain from the teeth and helps to flush out the gingival pockets by pulsating fluid downward with a sonic wave.  Many other devices can be recommended to the patient for cleaning their teeth, but at this point it is up to the patient to spend the time and effort to maintain their smile.

To check the patient’s progress and help maintain a better oral condition, patients are placed on a three month periodontal recall .  Patients come in every three months for additional cleanings and to have their periodontal pockets checked.  Questionable teeth are of a particular concern and closely monitored.  Depending on the patients severity and how well they are preforming their home care, they may be kept on a three month cycle or moved to a four month recall.

The primary goal of Periodontal Therapy is to stop the progression of the disease and save tooth structure.  Studies have shown that Patients who invest the time and funds into Periodontal Treatment can prolong the life of their Questionable  teeth.  In a study of 262 patients who accepted Periodontal Scaling and aggressively altered their home care, 88 % of questionable teeth were able to survive for a period of 15 years and more.  This is in comparison to a similar population who declined treatment.  The patient must understand that once the bone support is lost, it is lost for ever.  It is our goal to stop the progression of the disease, to create a more healthy periodontal condition and to maintain the patient at this level.   This will  allow them to keep their natural teeth as long as possible.

For more detail and videos about Periodontal Disease and its treatment, please visit the Your Oral Health page of our Web-Site at   If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.

Patient Wins on Wheel of Fortune (thanks to his wife!)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Today I heard one of those wonderfully funny stories from a patient that we often hear.   I had to ask him if I could share it with you.  A long time patient of ours, Mr. Sherman Weisinger was in today wanting to get some work completed before his up-coming trip to Costa Rica.  When I asked him about his trip, he told me it was a funny story.  He said he and his wife were sitting watching television one night and he went to turn on his regular football game.  His wife told him she was not done watching her show — The Wheel of Fortune — turn it back!   As any good husband knows, he turned her game show back on and watched with her, thinking he was only missing the pre-game show.  As he watched, the contestant on the show spun the wheel and won a trip to Costa Rica!  As they went to commercial, the host turned to the camera and said — “If you are Sherman W. from Richmond Virginia and your Spin Number is 59823 you will also win the trip to Costa Rica if you reply on our Web-site in the next 24 hours.”  Mr. Weisinger turned to his wife and said “I think that’s my number,” and when he checked, he was right!

Congratulations to Mr. Sherman Weisinger for winning the trip on Wheel Of Fortune, and two thumbs up to Mrs. Weisinger for getting her husband to watch the show.  What a great story!  From everyone here at Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates, we wish you two a safe trip and the best time.




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