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  • Teeth Straightening: Don’t Do it Yourself

    There are lots of “do it yourself” projects you can complete successfully with just a little time and effort. However, “do it yourself” braces is not one of them. Despite that, there are a rising number of videos on YouTube instructing on how to fix your teeth at home, and even more online sites selling braces kits for those who want straighter teeth but want to avoid the orthodontist.

    “There’s a common misconception in the general public that braces are simple — you push on the tooth and it moves where you want it,” says Jeffery Iverson, D.D.S., M.S., an assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Dentistry. “Orthodontics is very complex. Human physiology, occlusion, biomechanics, craniofacial growth and development, tooth size, shape and morphology, as well as the patient’s overall lifelong dental health, must be taken into consideration.”

    The most basic method of DIY braces is placing a rubber band around teeth in an attempt to move them together. While this may cause teeth to move, it can also cause a number of complications like tooth fracture, gum damage, root damage, tooth loss, or serious medical complications.

    “Blood circulates just below the surface of the oral mucosa, and the placement of toxic, non-sterile items in the oral cavity can injure it and is a good recipe for infection,” says Iverson. “These infections can spread through the blood or through facial spaces, and these infections could become life threatening.”

    He has seen the damage a simple rubber band can do firsthand. “I saw a 12-year old patient during my residency that tried to close some spaces in her lower mandibular incisors using a rubber band,” Iverson says. “X-ray evaluation revealed severe bone loss on the distal roots of the mandibular lateral incisors.”

    The child ended up needing surgery to remove the rubber band, which had done lasting damage to her teeth.

    Another option gaining popularity involves companies that will send consumers kits to take impressions of their teeth, and then will send them clear alignment devices. They claim the process is overseen by a qualified orthodontist and that the kits should only be used by those with a “mild” alignment problem. However, Iverson has his doubts.

    “If overseen means a doctor looks at some pictures and impressions over the internet and the patient is never seen in the beginning, throughout treatment nor has the final result evaluated at completion, I could see multiple problems with that type of treatment,” he says.

    Iverson also says treating even a mild alignment problem is more complex than simply taking teeth impressions and fitting a device. “In an orthodontic office every patient receives a set of orthodontic records, which include orthodontic x-rays,” he says. “I don’t see where these companies are providing an x-ray evaluation on their patients, so many potential problems could possibly be missed.”

    There are also “black market” braces options available, which can cause even greater damage. The materials being used may not be sterile or may even be toxic. There is a chance they could come loose or be swallowed. Then there is the issue of removing them. “Removal of DIY braces can fracture the teeth or extract the teeth depending on the method of cementation,” says Iverson.

    The bottom line? If you want straighter teeth, see an orthodontist — face to face.

    “It takes a trained orthodontist to position the teeth in their correct positions so detrimental damage doesn’t occur,” says Iverson.



  • Kellogg Dental offers free dental services

    Kellogg Dental and the Kellogg Family Dental Foundation will hold their sixth annual Free Dental Day on Saturday at Kellogg Dental, 1250 Byron Road in Howell.

    Dr. Thomas Kellogg and his staff are partnering with Dentistry From the Heart, a nationwide mission hosted by 200 dental offices in 49 states, to provide free dental care to those who cannot afford it.

    Six area dentists — Kellogg, Dr. Brian Bishop, Dr. Carolyn Kim, Dr Shana Francois, Dr Jeff Dunwell and oral surgeon Dr. Aaron Ruskin, together with staff and friends — will provide free dental treatment to those in need. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The team will work diligently to see as many patients as possible in that time frame, performing one service for each patient seen. Services available are cleaning, filling or extraction.

    The event requires over 60 volunteers and takes about nine months to plan.

    “We had many people who were treated last year who are volunteering to work (this) year’s event,” said Sarah Tottingham, volunteer.

    Last year’s donation was over $25,000 of free dentistry. The total since the service began is over $150,000 and over 800 patients served. Kellogg believes the event’s response proves that there is a greater need for this type of event.

    Over 100 million people do not have dental insurance in the United States. For most, the expense of dental insurance is not an option.

    “There are so many people who cannot afford to fix their teeth. Dental pain can be disabling; it is horrible to have to go without treatment. The timing is right for this kind of event. Anyone can help. It feels really good to see these people smile again,” said Kellogg.

    After providing dentistry overseas in countries like, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Guatemala for years, Kellogg’s staff came up with the idea to benefit the local community, partnering with Dentistry from the Heart.

    “We’ve seen a lot of people who have lost their jobs and benefits and we wanted to help,” said Beth Roland, event coordinator.

    Along with free dental care there will be music, raffles, face painting, prizes and free food.

    Kellogg and the Kellogg Dental team offered special thanks to those who donated goods and services to help make the event possible and the enormous generosity of all the volunteers, who give of themselves, serving the community.

    “I challenge other dentists to do this kind of thing. It’s great for everybody. It is truly the highlight of our year in our office,” said dental hygienist, Becky Minca.

    For questions about hosting a similar event or about Saturday’s event, Kellogg can be reached at or 517-546-3330, or visit the Kellogg Dental website at

    — The Livingston Daily

  • Young Finnish men neglecting dental health

    Young Finnish men neglecting dental health

    Research carried out amongst Finnish conscripts reveals that almost half have at least one cavity in need of dental treatment. Smoking and the use of snuff also appear to be on the rise comparative to earlier studies.

    Young men are not taking care of their teeth, according to a licentiate study presented in Oulu on Wednesday. Furthermore, the research shows that previous positive progress on oral health has stalled.

    Clinical research was carried out on around 13,500 conscripts who entered military service in 2011. Nearly half of the young servicemen had at least one dental cavity that required professional dental treatment.

    Tooth decay is influenced by general health habits, socio-economic factors and the conscript’s place of residence.

    Almost half smoke daily

    According to the research, young men are also using snuff and tobacco more than they used to. Amongst conscripts 40 percent smoked daily and nearly 20 percent used snuff occasionally or on a daily basis.

    The oral health of smokers was clearly worse than that of non-smokers. However, snuff users appeared no worse off than those who did not use any tobacco products.

    The research was conducted as part of Tarja Tanner’s Licentiate in Dentistry, which was examined at the University of Oulu on Wednesday.



  • Why a bedtime glass of milk can ruin your child’s teeth: The lactose in it is a type of sugar and can be harmful at night

    Angela Debley took her son Fin, then eight, to the dentist for a check-up, confident that he’d be given the all-clear.

    After all, Angela, an admin manager from Bracknell, Berkshire, was a self-confessed ‘health freak’ who was always careful to give her two sons, Fin and Joe, then three, a nutritious diet. She was also meticulous about their dental hygiene.

    ‘I avoided giving them sweets in favour of what I believed was an extremely good diet full of natural foods,’ says Angela, 40.

    ‘Instead of fizzy drinks, chocolate and crisps, the kids would have pure fruit juice, muesli bars and granola with natural yoghurt and honey. They also brushed their teeth morning and night.’

    When the dentist broke the news that Fin had two cavities in his milk teeth, which had developed since his last appointment six months before, Angela says she ‘felt like the worst parent in the world’ – but she couldn’t work out where she’d gone wrong.

    ‘The dentist seemed to assume I was feeding him junk food and sweets, which was upsetting because we ate well.’

    In fact, it was her children’s healthy diet – and particularly their snacking habits – that had caused the damage.

    Angela later learned it wasn’t just the quantity of sugar that was the problem, but the frequency with which teeth are exposed to it. ‘By offering juice, fruit and honey between meals, I was bathing my sons’ teeth in sugar and acid.’

    As Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific adviser to the British Dental Association, explains: ‘Children today snack far more often than previous generations, which leaves teeth under constant attack.’

    Last month, a Royal College of Surgeons report revealed that one-third of five-year-olds in England suffer from tooth decay, and it is now the leading cause of hospital admissions for under-nines.

    The report, The State Of Children’s Oral Health, found that every year 46,000 children were admitted to hospital for multiple tooth extractions – almost 26,000 of those aged between five and nine.

    Professor Nigel Hunt, of the Royal College of Surgeons, blamed sugary foods and drinks, saying these should carry cigarette-style warning pictures to highlight the risk to children’s teeth.

    But the problem is certainly not confined to children brought up on junk food, or who aren’t taken to the dentist regularly. In fact, dentists say they are seeing more and more children from middle-class homes whose health-obsessed parents are inadvertently harming their teeth.

    Dr Rhona Eskander, of the private Chelsea Dental Clinic, says parents are horrified to discover that they have caused their children’s dental decay.

    ‘Sometimes sporty children may be given unnecessary sports drinks, which are high in sugar and acids that damage teeth,’ she says. ‘Health-conscious parents also like yoghurt drinks – but these “healthy drinks” usually contain high levels of hidden sugars.’

    And while a favourite ‘virtuous’ snack is the muesli bar, some cereal bars have twice the levels of sugar as a similar-sized chocolate bar.

    There are two ways in which these kinds of foods damage teeth. One is acid erosion, which occurs when teeth are exposed to acidic foods such as fruit and juice. Dried fruit such as raisins may cause acid erosion, too.

    Bacteria that live in the mouth cause decay, because as they feed off sugars they excrete an acid that attacks enamel in a similar way to acid erosion

    Tooth enamel begins to soften and be destroyed when acid levels in the mouth drop below 5.5 on the pH scale. (Water has a pH of 7, oranges have between 3 and 4.)

    After 30 minutes to an hour, saliva, which is alkaline, will restore natural pH balance in the mouth and the enamel will harden, but if the exposure to acid is too frequent – as caused by constant snacking – then the enamel begins to wear away.

    This not only makes teeth more vulnerable to decay, but if teeth are brushed within 30 minutes of acid exposure, the softened enamel can be literally scrubbed off.

    ‘As children’s milk teeth have thinner and softer enamel, they are particularly at risk,’ says Dr Hanel Nathwani, of Reading Smiles in Berkshire. The second major threat is sugar. As Professor Walmsley explains: ‘Bacteria that live in the mouth cause decay, because as they feed off sugars they excrete an acid that attacks enamel in a similar way to acid erosion.’

    These bacteria love refined sugar most, but they also feed on honey, and even processed starchy foods such as bread.

    ‘Acid attacks can last for up to an hour, but teeth can recover provided you limit the sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes only,’ says Professor Walmsley.

    Even if it’s only the milk teeth that are affected, this can still lead to long-term problems.

    Angela used to give her sons muesli bars as an after-school snack

    ‘If children have to have milk teeth removed, teeth start to shift to fill the space, so their second teeth can’t grow into their natural position,’ says Dr Nathwani. ‘This can affect the alignment of their teeth, and mean the child is more likely to need braces.’

    He adds: ‘I often see parents who feed their families generally great diets and are very shocked when they learn that their children have tooth decay because of these apparently healthy foods.

    ‘I feel for them, as they are trying their best to do the right thing.’

    This rang true for Angela. Fin and Joe would have four or more snacks a day, such as granola and honey mid-morning, milk at night, plus juice and fruit whenever they wanted it during the day.

    She used to give her sons muesli bars as an after-school snack.

    ‘I thought they were a healthy alternative to sweets and biscuits, but after I moved the family to Dr Nathwani’s practice, I looked more closely at the labels and noticed they were packed with more sugar than a chocolate bar.’

    Angela gave the children milk before bed, thinking the calcium would be good for their teeth. However, Dr Nathwani says: ‘While milk during the day is fine, the lactose in it is a type of sugar and can be harmful at night, as when we are asleep we produce less of the saliva that would neutralise it

    Angela is far from the only health-conscious parent to discover she’s unwittingly exposed her child to tooth decay.

    Louise Jones (a pseudonym, as she’s too embarrassed to give her real name) discovered her ‘fruit monster’ son needed four fillings at the age of seven because he constantly snacked on oranges, grapes and apples.

    ‘My family call me the “fridge Nazi” at home, because I’m so careful with my children’s diet,’ she says. ‘I was very proud that he loved fruit so much.

    ‘I was horrified when his dentist told me that my son had such bad teeth because constant exposure to acid in fruit was literally dissolving the enamel on his teeth. I now give fruit at mealtimes and just once a day as a snack.’

    The fad for smoothies doesn’t help, as Dr Uchenna Okoye, of London Smiling dental practice warns. ‘Juice from fruits has a high acid content and can damage the enamel of your teeth in exactly the same way as fizzy drinks do.’




  • Debate brewing over teeth whitening products

    Georgia are now able to have their day in court after the state board of dentistry ordered several to shut down because they’re not licensed dentists.

    The ruling affects customer service-oriented businesses that give customers trays filled with a lightening gel, not over-the-counter strips sold in stores.

    A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Savannah woman can sue Georgia’s dental board, which ordered her business to close or face punishment.

    If you search online for teeth whitening in Atlanta most results are for dental offices. That’s because under Georgia’s Dental Practice Act, teeth whitening services are considered dentistry and anyone else who is not a dentist and is offering it is committing a felony.

    Atlanta resident Jim Valentine ran a successful teeth whitening business called White Smile USA from 2007 to 2010.

    He said the active ingredients in his product are the same as the ingredients in products sold at drug stores over the counter. The difference is at his business the customer gets a gel-filled tray and sits under a whitening light.

    “We were selling hydrogen peroxide, that’s it. So until they can regulate that, they can’t stop whitening,” Valentine told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri. “If you have a custom tray made from a dentist, it’s minimum $300. This was basically $99.”

    Valentine said from the beginning several state dental boards tried to shut him down.

    “They’re dentists and it’s hurting their marketplace,” Valentine said.

    After costly litigation and a weak economy, Valentine said he went under.

    Tuesday a federal judge in Atlanta ruled a Savannah woman can sue Georgia’s dental board to reopen her business after the board ordered she shut down in 2014.

    The Georgia Dental Association sent Viteri a statement that read:

    “When it comes to teeth whitening services, there are safety concerns that must be addressed with the skills and professional diagnosis of a licensed dentist. A discolored tooth may signal dental problems, such as an abscess, that may not be detected by an untrained individual. Often an X-ray is needed to determine the proper treatment, and timely treatment can make a difference in keeping or losing the tooth if it is dissolving away.

    “In addition, improper application of chemicals in the mouth can damage fillings and inflame gums and the palate. Dark teeth can also be caused by tooth decay or leaking fillings, which are not affected by bleaching but need another type treatment. A dentist examines the current condition of the mouth and existing fillings, and is able to treat any side effects that may be related to a future treatment or change in oral condition. Consider a patient who has tooth colored fillings. Whitening does not change the color of the fillings, so the patient may look worse if those are not identified by a dentist, or the patient may have to spend much more money to replace the old fillings in order to match the different color of the bleached teeth. Whitening done improperly can damage some restorations which can not only cause cosmetic issues but can lead to more serious dental conditions, such as avoiding the proper treatment for tooth decay or abscesses while performing treatment that may not be needed.

    “Lastly, everyone needs a dental home with a professional who knows what is normal for that individual, and what to do if some abnormal problem arises. A dentist will work with a patient to determine if they are an appropriate candidate for cosmetic services based on the state of their current oral health and their desire for a beautiful smile. Cosmetic services are only one part of the oral health care a dentist can provide.”

    “If it’s more convenient than I am totally for businesses selling it,” Atlanta resident Mary Agramonte told Viteri.

    “They’re going to lose in court which is going to cost the taxpayers of Georgia, me included, more money on this issue,” Valentine said.

    Viteri contacted Georgia’s dental board and a representative told her they do not comment on pending litigation.

    An attorney for the Institute for Justice, which is handling the businesswoman’s case, said they expect to bring their case against the board within the year.


  • Scientists discover 14,000-year-old evidence of dental work – and it sounds miserable

    A large team of researchers with members from institutions in Italy, Germany and Australia has found what they claim is the earliest example of dental cavity manipulation. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team describes their work on studying the tooth from a 14,000 year old human skeleton uncovered back 1988, and the techniques they used to show that the marks they found were caused by human intervention.

    Cavities occur when parts of teeth decay—in modern times, the fix requires drilling out the decayed matter and filling the resultant hole with a hard material that will stay put preventing further damage or decay. People living during the Late Upper Paleolithic were not so lucky, they had to suffer, or undergo cavity manipulation from a friend using a sharp piece of flint—at least according to the researchers working on the teeth of a skeleton unearthed in Italy over twenty five years ago. No one noticed at the time that a cavity in one tooth appeared to have undergone treatment, or repair. The skeleton was dated back to 13,820 to 14,160 years old and his approximate age at death was placed at 25.

    Upon noticing that it appeared that the cavity had been cleaned, the team decided to take a closer look. They studied the surface inside the cavity with an electron microscope—that revealed grooves and ridges that appeared to be caused by scraping. The team then conduced several experiments on teeth that were subjected to rocks, wood and other abrasive material to see if they could replicate the grooves and ridges found in the ancient tooth—marks made by sharpened flint, they found, matched nearly exactly. The evidence suggests that the young man underwent the first found example of corrective dentistry—someone had dug around in his cavity with a sharpened piece of flint attempting to remove the decayed matter and thus, most likely, alleviating a tooth-ache.

    The finding predates other examples of known early dentistry, such as a tooth with a beewax filling from approximately 6,500 years ago and evidence of dental drilling that occurred approximately 9,000 years ago. The researchers suggest it marks a major milestone in dental manipulation and shows that early people combined with creative thinking to alleviate suffering due to tooth decay.

    More information: Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 12150 DOI: 10.1038/srep12150



  • Dental Problems Can Be Deadly!

    What started as a toothache from a lost filling became a raging infection that landed Christopher Smith in the emergency room, then in intensive care on a ventilator and feeding tube.

    “It came on so quickly and violently. I was terrified,” says Smith, 41, of Jeffersonville, Ind., who lacked dental insurance and hadn’t been to a dentist for years before the problem arose last month. “I had no idea it could get this serious this quickly.”

    Smith is one of a growing number of patients seeking help in the ER for long-delayed dental care. An analysis of the most recent federal data by the American Dental Association shows dental ER visits doubled from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.2 million in 2012, or one visit every 15 seconds. ADA officials, as well as many dentists across the nation, say the problem persists today despite health reform.

    “This is something I deal with daily,” says George Kushner, director of the oral and maxillofacial surgery program at the University of Louisville . “And there is not a week that goes by that we don’t have someone hospitalized…People still die from their teeth in the U.S.”

    Often, what drives people to the ER is pain, “like a cavity that hurts them so much they can’t take it anymore,” says Jeffrey Hackman, ER clinical operations director at Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill in Kansas City, who’s noticed a significant rise in the number of dental visits over the last five years.

    Limited insurance coverage is a major culprit; all but 15% of dental ER visits are by the uninsured or people with government insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover dental services for children but not adults; federal officials say “essential” benefits were based on services included in employer-sponsored medical plans. Medicaid plans for adults vary by state and often cover only a short list of basic dental services. Medicare generally doesn’t cover dental care at all.

    By law, ERs have to see patients even if they can’t pay. But although they often provide little more than painkillers and antibiotics to dental patients, they cost more than three times as much as a routine dental visit, averaging $749 a visit if the patient isn’t hospitalized — and costing the U.S. health care system $1.6 billion a year.

    “If we were going to the dentist more often, we could avoid a lot of this,” says Ruchi Sahota, a California dentist and consumer adviser for the ADA. “Prevention is priceless.”

    Access a challenge

    But federal figures show four in 10 adults had no dental visit in the past year, and one big reason is cost. Just over a third of working-age adults, and 64% of seniors, lacked dental coverage of any kind in 2012, meaning they had to pay for everything out-of-pocket.

    Meanwhile, the 10% of adults with Medicaid dental plans struggle to find dentists to take them; studies have shown that less than 20% of dentists accept Medicaid in some states, largely because reimbursements dip as low as 14% of private insurance reimbursement last year. Add to that a shortage of more than 7,000 dentists in the United States.

    Americans who go without care pay a price. More than a quarter of working-age adults, and one in five seniors, have untreated cavities, and 19% of seniors have lost all their teeth. When poor people do get care, dentists say they usually get only basic services.

    “I take out teeth every week that could have been saved with restorative work,” Kushner says.

    Besides lacking coverage, dentists say people tend to ignore dental problems until things get really bad, which can happen outside of business hours and send them to ERs.

    When money’s tight, “dental care is something people put off to the very end,” failing to realize it’s crucial to overall health, says Michael McCunniff, chairman of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Public Health and Behavioral Science.

    Smith learned the hard way just how crucial oral health is.

    The reggae vocalist and part-time security system installer says he’d been without dental insurance for a couple of years, and hadn’t been to a dentist for longer than that, when a filling fell out of a bottom left molar on June 6. He tried to fix it with a do-it-yourself kit, but the temporary filling came out during a concert that night. He tried to numb it with Anbesol the next day, but the pain got worse as his jaw swelled, and he drove to the emergency room at 4 a.m. the following morning.

    Doctors there referred him to a nearby dentist, who saw the worsening infection and sent him back to the ER, where his tooth was removed. At home, the infection drained into his neck, making it difficult to breathe — prompting a third trip to the ER. As he sat in the waiting room, the swelling doubled. “I could feel my windpipe close,” he recalls.

    Doctors admitted him, cut into his neck to insert a drain for the infection and gave him strong antibiotics — and kept him in the hospital for a week.

    A day after returning home, all he felt up to doing was resting with his dachshund, Sinatra. The scar in his neck was visible, and his still-swollen jaw made it impossible to open his mouth all the way.

    Toward solutions

    Dentists say patients can be much better served by getting regular care in the community, where many issues that bring people to ERs can be handled and serious problems prevented. Community health centers with dental clinics offer one longstanding alternative for low-cost care, and another newly-touted option involves university dental school clinics.

    The University of Maryland School of Dentistry, for example, has a pre-doctoral clinic, where students provide a range care under the close supervision of faculty, and a walk-in clinic for people with urgent needs.

    An ADA report last year found that dental ER visits had fallen between 2012 and 2014 in Maryland amid state reforms such as increased Medicaid reimbursement for dentists and a larger provider network — inspired in part by the 2007 death of a 12-year-old boy from a brain infection that began as a toothache.

    The ADA also points to ER referral programs across the nation to get patients into dental-school treatment. Officials say there currently are 125 such programs, up from eight a year ago. In Kansas City, patients at Truman have only to walk across the street when they’re referred to the University of Missouri clinic.

    “An emergency physician can provide some temporary care — things like pain medication and antibiotics — but rarely are we able to definitively treat the underlying cause of dental problems,” says Truman’s Hackman. “We know that through the ER referral program, a good proportion of them are getting definitive care. We’ve certainly seen far fewer repeat visits.”

    Ultimately, some dentists say they’d like to see dental care among the services insurers are required to cover. The ADA pushed this idea as the health reform law was being written and is now advocating for increased coverage for adult dental care under Medicaid. Some dentists say they’re encouraged that some states expanding Medicaid have started seeing more recipients going to dentists.

    Smith says ER staff helped him sign up for Indiana Medicaid, and now that he’s been referred to a dentist who has agreed to take him, he plans to get regular checkups and take meticulous care of his teeth at home.

    McCunniff says that’s a much better plan — for all Americans — than forgoing care and frantically seeking help in the ER. “All that does is put a Band-Aid on the problem,” he says. “It doesn’t cure it.”



    Source: USAtoday

  • A new dental implant that signals dental problems early on

    Patients can spot trouble with new dental implants


    Patients with new dental implants may be able to detect signs of trouble early enough to help prevent complications that can damage gums and bone, a British study suggests.

    When researchers asked 75 people who received dental implants in the past year if they had complications such as bleeding, pus or loose replacement-tooth “roots,” they expected clinicians to routinely catch problems that the patients missed.

    But that didn’t happen.

    Because the mouth is a very sensitive part of the body, it’s not surprising that patients and clinicians had a similar opinion about post-implant oral health, said Bruno Chrcanovic, a researcher in odontology at Malmo University in Sweden who wasn’t involved in the study.

    That doesn’t mean patients are forever in the clear, however, or that all problems can be easily detected without regular dental checkups, he said.

    “Some patients have the feeling that they understand the problem and can properly deal with it by themselves,” Chrcanovic said by email. “It is not always true.”

    About 3 million people in the U.S. have dental implants, and another 500,000 implants are placed each year, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.

    Implants are artificial tooth roots – typically titanium posts – inserted into the bone of the jaw to replace missing teeth. An implant with an attached crown, functions like a normal tooth and can help preserve the jaw structure and prevent bone loss, unlike bridgework or dentures.

    While generally safe, dental implant procedures, like any surgery, are not risk-free. Patients can develop damage to blood vessels, nerves, sinuses or other teeth. They can also get a serious condition known as peri-implantitis, a bacterial infection that can lead to inflammation around the post and bone loss.

    The study, co-authored by Dr. Simon Wright of the Implant Centers of Excellence in the U.K., tested a hypothesis that patients can’t perceive the difference between successful and unsuccessful implants. Wright didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

    Patients who received implants from one of two dentists at the practice within the previous one to 11 months were asked to complete questionnaires and have an exam to see if their responses lined up with what clinicians saw in their mouth.

    The patients ranged in age from 23 to 92 years old, and none of them was treated as part of the National Health Service, the U.K.’s publicly funded health system.

    Researchers focused on five areas of post-implant health: aesthetics, loose restorations, bleeding or pus, fractured implants and what’s known as occlusion, when the upper and lower teeth collide when the mouth is closed.

    On all five of these variables, there wasn’t a significant difference of opinion between the patients and the dentists, according to the results published in the British Dental Journal.

    Patients perceived fractures in 5.3 percent of restorations, whereas dentists detected fractures in 1.4 percent.

    For loose restorations, patients thought this of 14.7 percent of implants, while dentists found 13.3 percent of restorations to be loose.

    With occlusion, patients reported this 1.3 percent of the time, but dentists found it during 5.3 percent of exams.

    Patients may have been fairly accurate in assessing their own oral health because they were educated on the potential risks before implant surgery and then taught proper implant care after the procedure, the researchers note. The study is also too small to draw conclusions about a broader patient population.

    Patients who aren’t well educated may struggle to spot complications and also be less likely to continue with routine checkups, said Dr. Frank Strietzel, an oral health researcher at Charity Medical University Berlin.

    “If the patient will not follow the advice of the dentist, there is a risk of undetected inflammation around the implants,” Strietzel, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “A dental implant is a foreign body like a prosthesis, which requires regular observation.”


    Source: Fox News

  • Oregon kids starting school will be required to have dental screenings

    Oregon children who are starting public school and are 7 years old or younger will be required to have dental screenings, or show proof they’ve had one, under legislation signed by Gov. Kate Brown.

    Starting with the 2016-17 school year, new students will have to submit certification that they have received a screening within the previous 12 months from a licensed dentist or dental hygienist, or from a school employee qualified to spot dental problems. The certification must be submitted within 120 days of the student’s first day for him or her to remain enrolled, said Ely Sanders, school health specialist for the Oregon Department of Education.

    State Rep. Cedric Hayden , R-Roseburg, a dentist who was the chief sponsor of House Bill 2972 , said it will have little impact on children who already receive regular dental care. “This is designed to capture children that don’t have that opportunity,” he said.

    Hayden and Sanders said the bill has two goals: identifying children who have cavities, abscesses or other dental problems that may cause them to miss school, and raising parents’ awareness of the importance of oral health. Parents of children who are screened at school will be notified of the results and informed about followup and preventive care.

    The school screenings won’t be full dental exams. Instead, they’ll consist of “a quick look in the mouth with a mirror and a bright light,” said Dr. Bruce Austin, the state’s new dental director, who will implement the law.

    Under discussion now is who will do the school screenings. “Doing a screening inside somebody’s mouth requires a certain amount of dental knowledge,” Austin said.

    School nurses had criticized the bill, saying they didn’t feel they had sufficient training to detect dental problems. They also raised concerns that dental screenings would reduce the time they could spend on other health issues.

    Hayden said the new law will not require school nurses to do the screenings. Sanders said other school staff could be trained, or schools could work with local nonprofits.

    HB 2972 will also require school districts to report to the state annually on the percentage of their students who did not submit dental certification. The bill has an estimated fiscal impact of about $16,500 for that recordkeeping, Hayden said.

    Hayden said that as with other school-based screenings, parents will have the opportunity to opt out based on philosophical beliefs.

    The Oregon Dental Association has said the screening program will help prevent “needless pain and suffering” for many Oregon children and will help dentists target programs and services to the parts of the state where children have the most dental problems.

    “If we improve Oregonians’ oral health it’s going to improve our overall health,” Austin said.



  • Find out more about a new form of “Relaxation Dentistry”

    SUMMARY: A relatively new practice has emerged to cater to individuals who experience anxiety when scheduling a dental appointment: relaxation dentistry.

    Posted: June 12, 2015

    The idea of going to the dentist may not exactly excite people, but for some, the thought of sitting in that chair can cause more than a normal amount of anxiety. In fact, dental phobia exists and, according to Harvard Health, 13 to 24 percent of people in the world have it. For these individuals, going to the dentist is terrifying. However, they, like everyone else, need regular oral care . A relatively new practice has emerged to cater to those who experience anxiety when scheduling a dental appointment: relaxation dentistry.

    What is relaxation dentistry?
    Relaxation dentistry (also called sedation dentistry) uses sedative methods to provide a calm atmosphere at the dentist. Patients may be given sedatives through an IV, but for those who don’t like the idea of being hooked up like that, needle-free methods are also available. In fact, oral sedation, in which patients receive medication through the mouth, is the most common practice.

    According to the Chicago Tribune, relaxation dentistry utilizes only the lowest dose of sedatives that a doctor can provide, while sedative dentistry may encompass more potent medication.

    “Sedation is a continuum,” Dr. Peter Tomaselli, dentist at Chicago Smile Design, told the source. “We stay very, very far to the conscious end of things and far away from the unconscious end of things.”

    The benefits of sedation
    Sedation dentistry appeals to people because it’s a seemingly quick experience. Patients note that they feel they’ve slept through the appointment or that the time spent at the dentist was much shorter than it actually was. The reality is that patients actually maintain consciousness, but the medication makes them feel sleepy or that time is passing quickly.

    This provides a variety of benefits. For starters, people who are afraid of going to the dentist are able to relax and speed through the process. Additionally, dentists can get more done. Usually, some procedures are broken up into several appointments. For instance, a patient who has multiple cavities may have to come in for each individual filling because they can’t sit through all the work at once. However, sedation dentistry enables doctors to perform all the necessary work in fewer appointments, as their patients are able to lay happily in the chair for longer periods of time.

    Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of sedation dentistry is that it helps patients get the routine oral care doctors recommend with relative ease. Those who put off appointments until something hurts can feel comfortable visiting their dentist every six months, preventing issues before they occur.

    Sedation regulations
    The Chicago Tribune also noted that sedation dentistry is heavily regulated to ensure the procedure is safe. Illinois dentists, for example, have to undergo 75 hours of supervised training before they can earn a permit to practice sedation dentistry.

    How to know if it’s right for you
    Only you can say whether sedation dentistry is a good fit. However, if you avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety, it may be worth the effort. Remember, routine oral care helps prevent major issues, so going to your dentist often can reduce the amount of big procedures you may have to have done.