Archive for August, 2013

How to Enjoy Preventing Tooth Decay

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Enjoy a sweet treat without the worries of causing tooth decay.  This sweet, effective alternative sweetener is Xylitol.  Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is derived from plant fibers such as fruits, vegetables, birch trees and corn cobs.  Humans consume about 8 to 10 grams daily in our diet, and it is naturally synthesized in the liver, which is essential for the conversion of food to energy.  The beauty of xylitol is that it is non-fermentable by oral bacteria because it consists of a 5-carbon chain, and bacteria need a 6-carbon chain food source to metabolize, cell divide and colonize.  The sweetener xylitol tricks the bacteria into attempting to use it as a food source, but it cannot digest it and use it for energy.  The xylitol also encapsulates the existing bacteria and reduces their stickiness, thus reducing the cavities.

Think about what this means for dentistry.  Studies show that Xylitol effective in reducing oral bacteria and dental decay when using it on a daily therapeutic dose for 6 months, and it has a lasting effect for two years when discontinued.  The recommended exposure protocol for xyletol is five times daily, at a minimum of 1 gram per exposure.  Strive for five!  The exposure time is five minutes, with no rinsing or eating for 15 minutes to allow the oral bacteria to bathe and ingest the xylitol.

Xylitol products vary, so reading labels is important.  For example, if the label on the product lists other natural sugarless sweeteners such as sorbitol (which can still be digested by MS), the xylitol may loose its effectiveness due to the competition with the other sweeteners.  When reading product labels, make sure that xylitol is the first ingredient and that no other sweeteners are listed.

Xylitol addresses 4 areas of concern for dentist:

  1. Reduces Oral Bacteria
  2. Increases saliva flow
  3. Raises the pH of saliva (bacteria need an acidic environment to create decay)
  4. Remineralizes the enamel by helping with the uptake of calcium

Typically xylitol products include chewing gum, mints, candy, toothpaste, and mouthrinses.  Xylitol testing has found the sweetener to be completely safe for all ages, but exceeding 40 grams per day may cause a laxative effect until the body adjusts.  It is important to note that dogs and other pets cannot tolerate Xylitol, and it is recommended that you keep it away from all pets.

 

 
 
 
Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233
804-270-3080

 

When Good Gums Go Bad

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Periodontal Disease (also known as gum disease) doesn’t just cause yuck mouth.  Numerous studies have linked it to serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.  Not only does gum disease affect your mouth and cause tooth loss, but it also affects your body causing an inflammatory response that affects your health.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all Americans 30 years old and older have some level of periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease is an inflammation of the gums and bone structures that hold the teeth in place.  Bacteria in the mouth continually form a sticky substance known as plaque, which adheres to the teeth and gums.  If plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, then the bacteria builds up along and under the gum line, creating a hard deposit called tartar.  The presence of tartar stimulates a chronic infection in the gums, which eventually can lead to tooth loss if untreated.  The first signs of periodontal disease typically occur as adults reach the age of 30.  This is a slow process with the earliest signs being gum bleeding when you brush or floss.  Healthy gum tissue is tight and pink, but infected gums will appear puffy and red.  As the disease progresses, other symptoms include bad breath, sensitive teeth, and receding gums.  Advanced periodontal disease will eventually lead to loose teeth, painful chewing, and tooth loss if the disease is not arrested.  To halt the progression of the disease requires extensive dental cleanings and regular hygiene recalls.

Poor Oral Hygiene is the leading cause of periodontal disease, but genetics also play a big roll in this problem.  Other risk factors include smoking, diet, hormonal changes as we get older, diabetes, and certain medications.  The link between periodontal disease and diabetes is so strong that many insurance companies have begun to pay for an extra dental cleaning a year for their patients with diabetes.  For additional information on Periodontal Disease see our Web-Page at

https://www.olddominionfamilydental.com/periodontaldisease.php

Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233
804-270-3080

CSI & Dentistry

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Have you ever watched one of the popular detective shows like CSI or Criminal Minds?  If you have, you have probably seen an episode where Dental Records were used to identify a body.  Forensic Dentistry has been around for a long time, but it has just been in the last 50 years that it has become a dental / medical specialty.  From the view of a private dental practice, like the office of Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates, record keeping is one of the most important parts of Forensic Dentistry.  At our office, every new patient is given an hour and a half first appointment (if possible with the patient’s schedule).  This extra time is used to collect data and develop a patient base line chart.  This chart includes a Full Mouth Series (FMX) of x-rays or a panorex.  Which one is taken is usually decided on by the Doctor or Hygienist based on the patient’s needs at that time.  Both films will show all of the patient’s teeth and bone levels, but the panorex shows more of the bone relationships with the jaw bone / sinus / and nasal passage.  These films are usually taken every 3-5 years to note changes in bone and dentition.  Between these times, Bite-wing x-rays will aid in indicating any changes which take place in the mouth, such as new restorations.

Also part of the first visit is the Existing Oral Conditions.  When charting or drawing the existing restoration, we are making note of what the patient already has in their mouth on that specific date.  Our charting acts as a marker of what the patient’s teeth physically look like at that time.  A complete charting is redone every 3-5 years, but in between those markings, a list of new restorations is also kept to indicate any work done post the first visit.  Dates, the materials used, the tooth numbers, and sides of the restoration are indicated on the Treatment List.  Along with Existing restorations, we also indicated missing teeth, impacted teeth, root exposure, and pocket depths/defects that the patient may have.  All of these things are specific for that individual and, therefore, can help identify a person much like a fingerprint.

Records should also include thing in or around the mouth such as scars, tattoos, and lesions noted during a comprehensive extra-oral examine.  This is part of what is called the Head And Neck Exam.  Small moles, freckles, and unusual markings may be measured and noted in your chart along with the color and shape of the lesion.  Other oddities such as root morphology and evidence of previous oral surgeries are also noted.  All of this creates a specific record and image of the patient’s oral condition in case needed by a Forensic Team.

When are records needed for identification?  It is unfortunate that some patients do not pass away at home surrounded by their family.  Some people die in fires, car accidents, or are not found for a long time and are hard to identify do to decomposition of the body.  Sometimes it is foul play, but other times it is just an unfortunate circumstance.  At this time, if the police and the Medical Examiner believe they know who the John Doe is, they can call for their dental records.  Like a finger print, the exact arrangement of teeth / fillings / and other oral markings can identify a body, and give the police a name to work with.  Knowing who the deceased is gives the family peace of mind to move forward with arrangements for the body.

I have been in practice 24 years as of September 2013, and in that time, we have only been involved with two (2) forensic identification cases.  Both of these men were long time patients of our practice, and although we were very sad that they passed, we were proud to be part of the process which identified them and brought closure to their family.   We are very dilagent about our record keeping.  Please know that this is why we need to take the time to keep YOUR records so up to date and accurate.

 

Who Makes You Smile?
Dr. Mark Freeman & Associates
3290 Church Road
Henrico, VA  23233
804-270-3080

 

 

 



 

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