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October « 2012 « Mark Freeman, DDS

Archive for October, 2012

And The Emmy Goes To . . .

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Congratulations to a great patient of ours, Geoff Weidele.  Mr. Weidele recently won an Emmy from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  Mr. Weidele is part of Henrico County’s HCTV-17 where he produced and directed the 29 minute feature called “Airwaves of Yesteryear:  Early Television in Central Virginia”.  His Emmy was in the category of Arts & Entertainment Program or Special.

The winners were announced at The 54th Emmy Awards held in Washington D.C.   This was the fourth Emmy won by Henrico County’s Public Relations & Media Services, and the first Emmy for Mr. Weidele.  His program was competing against other nationally recognized features from Maryland and the D.C. area.  Mr. Weidele recently told our Hygienist Melanie and Dr. Freeman about the evening.  “Even as I was sitting there, and they were calling out the names . . . I never expected to win.”

Mr. Weidele graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Communications.  He has worked for over 25 years in television production and joined the Henrico County TV team in 2005.  Before this, he was a producer for Henrico School’s channel 99.  He has worked in local television and video production around the Metro Richmond area and Northern Virginia for some time now, and has won several national awards for other productions.  He really enjoys working in the television / video field.  Everyone here at Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates is very proud to have such a talented man as a patient.  Way to go Geoff!

His program is available online at http://www.co.henrico.va.us/pr/channel-17/online-programs.html


Way To Go . . . Madalyn Saunders !

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Congratulations to one of the nicest young ladies you will ever meet, Miss Madalyn Saunders.  Madalyn recently completed her orthodontic treatment at our office in August, 2012 — just in time to have her braces off for the start of the school season.  Madalyn has been a patient at our office since she was a very young girl, and at her Mothers’ request, we began her orthodontic treatment in June of 2011.  Due to Madalyn’s hard work and cooperation we were able to finish her case in 1 year and 2 months!

Madalyn’s success hinged on her and her family aiding us all the way through to the last day of her case.  We often tell our orthodontic patients that treatment is like a Triangle — it takes three sides to get great results.  First, our office has the knowledge and talent to complete the work needed to be done.  Second, the parents are responsible for the finances and, more importantly, getting the patient to their appointments.  Last, but not least, the young patient is responsible for their oral hygiene and watching what they eat so as not to break off any brackets.  In this case, everyone did their part, resulting in a beautiful, wide smile.  Madalyn had a great support team of family and close friends who helped to get her to appointments, and she was very diligent on wearing her appliances and keeping her teeth clean.  Through the entire treatment, Madalyn did not break off a single bracket!

Madalyn’s case started with moderate crowding complicated by a deep bite.  In order to align her teeth in a nicer arch form, 5-6 mm of space was needed in the upper and lower arch.  In Madalyn’s case, her arches were wide enough in the posterior but narrow in the front, so an appliance known as a Fan Appliance was used to widen the anterior portion of the arch.  This is what gave her the wide, movie star smile in the end.  While we were expanding her arches, micro brackets and bio-efficient wire were used to rotate the teeth into the proper positions on the new arch form.

A deep bite is when the upper front teeth covers more that 10% of the lower front teeth when the patient is biting down.  In some cases, patients have 100% coverage and cannot see the lower teeth at all.  As one gets older, this can cause excessive wear on the lower anterior teeth and the lingual (backs) of the upper front teeth.  As adults, patients with deep bites tend to need large restorations on the lower front teeth  like crowns and root canals.  At the start of Madalyn’s case, she had 80% coverage.  A small acrylic block called a Rick-A-Nator was placed behind her upper front teeth to open her bite to the proper height.  Over the course of treatment, the patient’s molars and premolars reach out for contact and erupt into a higher position creating a new posterior bite.  Once the natural dentition is holding the bite in a more proper position, the acrylic appliance is removed.

In the end, Madalyn’s case was a great success.  Her parents and I were very happy with the results, but I think Madalyn was the most excited.  Madalyn understands that she needs to wear her purple retainers every day for the next 6 months to keep her teeth in position.  We will miss seeing this wonderful young lady every 6 weeks for her ortho appointments, but will look forward to her regular cleanings to catch up on what people think about her beautiful smile.


Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233

Everyone Needs Their Spit !

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Your saliva is one of the most important fluids in your body.  You many not know this, but people who suffer from Xerostomia (dry mouth) understand its importance.  Dry mouth is when the saliva glands reduce or stop in the production of spit.  This can occur for several reasons but the most common reason a person experiences dry mouth is due to a side-effect of medications they are taking.  Xerostomia can also occur as one gets older and is more prevalent in elderly patients.  Without a good saliva flow, these patients suffer from burning tongue, higher decay rates, and the aggravation of their lips and cheeks keep sticking to their teeth!  Your saliva protects you from a variety of issue such as these because it acts as a natural lubricant.

Saliva also protects the teeth by helping keep your decay rate low.   Through an antimicrobial functions, spit mechanically clears bacteria from the mouth.  This is why 4 out of 5 dentist recommend sugar free gum to their patients after meals.  By chewing sugar free gum, you help to remove small food particles from the surface of the tooth and stimulate high salivary flow to wash away excessive bacterial growth.

Saliva is the primary defense system against the bacteria and acids associated with dental caries.  Saliva provides the balance between demineralization and remineralization of the enamel surface. Your saliva is a “base” on the pH scale.  When bacteria sits on the enamel and absorbs simple sugars, it creates an acidic atmosphere which causes tooth decay.  Saliva helps to buffer these acids, reducing the pH levels in the mouth and thus reducing decay.   The most important functions of saliva are flushing and neutralizing.  The higher the salivary flow rate, the better the bacterial and acid clearance from the mouth.  Conversely, those with reduced saliva often have a high cavity rate.  This is especially true among the elderly with Xerostomia.  Hormones, changes in the body and general health also influence the production of saliva.

In summary, saliva helps us by:

  • Maintaining the pH level in the mouth as base
  • Keeping an active flow rate to wash the mouth.
  • Creates a layer on the tooth which interferes with the adherence of bacteria.
  • Lubricates Teeth and inter-oral tissue
  • Betters digestion


Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico,  VA   23233



How Are You Sleeping?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

How are you sleeping at Night?  Do you wake up drained as if you have had no rest at all?  Do others complain about your snoring or “snorting” for air during the night?  If so, you may be one of the many people who suffer from Sleep Apnea.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a periodic disruption in breathing while asleep.  This disruption is breathing is due to the relaxation of musculature in the neck and throat region which collapses, cutting off the airway.  This disruption in breathing causes oxygen shortages to all parts of the body.  The cumulative lack of adequate oxygen as we get older causes blood vessels to narrow.  Eventually, the narrowing blood vessels in the brain can obstruct blood flow resulting in a Stroke.

A National Institute of Health study in April of 2010 concluded that Sleep Apnea increases the risk of stroke in middle-aged and older men and women.   The study showed no gender preference, but it found that the increased risk of stroke in men appears starts with mild sleep apnea and rises significantly with severity of the disease.  Notable in this report was that the increased risk was independent of other stroke risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, race, smoking, and Type II diabetes.   Most recent research also links Sleep Apnea to silent or mini-strokes in which there is death of some brain tissue without apparent symptoms.  Even those men and women with very mild sleep apnea were linked to having silent stokes.  The National Stroke Association reports that nearly two of every three stroke survivors have some type of sleep-disordered breathing, particularly Sleep Apnea.  Sleep Apnea is a growing epidemic in our country and it is public awareness that is our greatest defense.

While all of the research supports the debilitating nature of sleep apnea on brain health, the key point is the pressing need for qualified medical professionals to increase their efforts in screening and referring individuals to sleep labs for testing.  It is estimated that only 10% of individuals with Obstructive Sleep Apnea have actually been diagnosed, and only one of every four of those are being successfully treated.  Sleep professionals must collaborate and be certain that diagnosed individuals know their treatment options and follow through with the option that they can adhere to in order to manage their disease.  Current treatment options are CPAP (air pressure face mask while sleeping), oral sleep appliances worn over the teeth that reposition the jaw, or airway surgeries.  All of these treatment options are to enable adequate nighttime breathing.

At our office, both Dr. Freeman and Dr. Scott can treat patients for snoring and/or sleep apnea.  Dr. Freeman, himself, suffers from Sleep Apnea and uses a CPAP mask at home and an oral appliance when traveling.   After discussing the problem with the the patient and collecting any data available from a sleep study, we can go over the different appliances possible for helping the patient’s condition.  After deciding on the proper appliance, impressions are taken and sent to a special lab to fabricate the Sleep Apnea device.    It is important to remember that a CPAP mask and/or an intra-oral appliance does not cure sleep apnea.  It simply helps to modify the patient’s breathing during the night to lessen the negative effects Obstructive Sleep Apnea has on the body.  By using either air pressure with a CPAP or repositioning the jaw musculature with an oral appliance, air flows more freely to the lungs allowing a steady flow of oxygen to the vital organs of the body helping to lessen the event of a stroke in our patients.

For more information on Sleep Apnea and Snoring appliances see the occlusal guard section of our web page    https://www.olddominionfamilydental.com/occlusalguards.php   




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