Flemingsburg Dental Care Announces Special Offers for Families Suffering from Unemployment

Parade Magazine had an interesting article recently:  “Don’t Let the Economy Endanger Your Health.”   The article said that 57% of people say that the economy has affected their ability to take care of their health.  As part of the article, Parade quoted Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, saying that U.S. health care needs to shift its focus away from treating illnesses and problems and move toward prevention instead.  “We cannot achieve our ultimate goal—a healthier nation—unless we shift away from a sick-care system,” she said at a Senate hearing earlier this spring. “We pay for emergencies, not the care that prevents them, with little emphasis on the responsibility each of us has in keeping ourselves and our families well.”  In tough economic times, we sometimes place our health and dental needs on the back burner.  And sometimes this causes expensive problems later.

At Flemingsburg Dental Care, we recognize that these choices are not easy.  That’s why we’re offering to do something special.  For the remainder of 2009, if you or someone in your family is unemployed, we will provide our examinations and x-rays for your family at no charge.  We’re making this offer available to our existing patients and for new patients as well.

We hope this can help make dentistry affordable.  For a typical preventive (“cleaning”) appointment, this offer will cut costs to less than half.  We’ll also work with you to prioritize problems and look for interim solutions that can help to reduce problems and avoid expensive repairs later.

For patients with urgent problems and no financial resources, we’re also announcing that we will offer a special summer edition of our Dentistry With A Heart.  On Friday, July 31st, our office will be open to provide free dental treatment specifically for families suffering from unemployment.  We first did an “Unemployment Day” in July, 1982, when the unemployment rate was so high, and have continued doing so every Christmas for the past twenty-six years.

Watch this website for more information about our Free Treatment Day on July 31st.   And if you or a family member is unemployed and wish to take advantage of our special offer, call us at 606-845-2273 (or toll-free 888-917-2273) to set up your appointment.

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Alcohol in Mouthwash Linked to Oral Cancer

I read the following article regarding mouthwash use.  I think you’ll find it interesting:

Australian researchers have linked alcohol, an ingredient found in many mouthwashes, to oral cancer and are calling for them to be pulled immediately from supermarket shelves. The review, published in the Dental Journal of Australia, says there is “sufficient evidence” that “alcohol-containing mouthwashes contribute to the increased risk of development of oral cancer.”

The alcohol is believed to allow carcinogenic substances to enter the lining of the mouth more easily. In addition, acetaldehyde, which is a toxic byproduct of alcohol that can build up in the mouth when mouthwash is swished around, is also thought to cause cancer.   Some brands, such as Listerine, contain over 25 percent alcohol.

Lead author Professor Michael McCullough believes mouthwashes that contain alcohol should be available only by prescription. McCullough, who is chair of the Australian Dental Association is urging the organization to consider withdrawing their seal of approval for mouthwashes that contain alcohol. (The American Dental Association also gives mouthwashes containing alcohol its seal of approval.)
“We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of alcohol-containing mouthwash,” he told News.com.au. McCullough’s review found that using alcohol-containing mouthwashes daily raised the risk of developing cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx 400 to 500 percent. Those who smoked and used alcohol mouthwashes had a 900 percent increase in risk.
McCullough believes mouthwashes are more risky than alcohol or beer because they usually contain higher concentrations of alcohol than wine or beer and are kept in the mouth longer. “If you have a glass of wine, you tend to swallow it,” he said. “With mouthwash, you have a higher level of alcohol and spend longer swishing it around your mouth. The alcohol that is present in your mouth is turned into acetaldehyde.”
McCullough recommends switching to an alcohol-free mouthwash.

This article is one more reason we recommend Tooth and Gum Tonic.   In addition to not being as effective in controlling periodontal inflammation, Listerine and other mouthrinses containing alcohol are being implicated in oral cancer. Listerine is 25% alcohol.
Tooth and Gum Tonic is the best sweet breath freshener you can find because it not only kills the most dangerous bacteria that cause periodontal disease, it also kills the volatile sulfur compounds which cause bad breath.
Tooth and Gum Tonic products are available in our office.

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Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

News for Expectant Moms & New Parents

One of my team members found an interesting research article this week that is definitely worth sharing.  Doctors from Yale & Case Western Reserve have just recently released a study that discovered new bacteria that may be responsible for most premature labor.  The Discovery Channel report says that this previously undiscovered bacteria usually found in the mouth may be responsible for up to 80 percent of early pre-term labors.  Most importantly, the research indicates that preterm births can be prevented by improved oral hygiene and by the use of targeted antibiotics.

We’ve known for several years now that pregnant women with gum disease problems were at a very high risk for premature labor.  Obstetricians and insurance companies have been encouraging expectant mothers to see their dentist at least by their second trimester to have their teeth cleaned and treat any problems with swollen gums.

There is also interesting news to share with new parents.  We’ve all seen studies that show how breast feeding helps infants be more healthy.  Regarding dental decay on teeth of a newborn, research shows that breast feeding not only does not cause cavities, but it actually deposits calcium and other useful nutrients onto the enamel.  It has helps prevent decay!

In our community, we still see too many children that have very high decay rates.  We learned about seven to eight years ago that if either parent has a high decay rate when their child’s first teeth erupt, their child will have a much greater chance of always having decay problems.  All of us understand that parents are going to be in close contact with their baby – including kisses and hugs.  The close contact causes the bacteria in a parent’s mouth to get spread to their child.  So if the parent has bacteria that have caused lots of cavities, that bacteria gets spread to the child.  This information shows how important it is for parents to see their dentist – for their child’s sake.

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Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

As mentioned in last week’s article, periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.  Periodontal disease, or so called “gum and bone disease” acts much like termites on the foundation of your house.  And like termites, the disease is silent until it is very advanced.

Below are photos of one of our patients before and after periodontal treatment.  In the left photo, notice the swollen, red gums and the thick tartar on the teeth.

Periodontal Disease - Before and After Treatment
Periodontal Disease - Before and After Treatment

 
When she first came to our office, this patient had periodontal pockets that extended up to 6 mm (1/4”) under the edge of her gums.  In addition to improving her appearance, her breath also dramatically improved.

Bacteria thrive in the deep periodontal pockets.  The bacteria and its by-products create plaque, and the plaque eventually absorbs calcium from the mouth to form calculus, or in lay terms, tartar.  Calculus leaves a very rough surface on the root of the tooth, and even allows the bacteria to imbed itself onto the root surface. 

Treatment for periodontal disease is primarily aimed at removing the bacteria that cause the disease.  One of the primary treatments for periodontal disease is root planing, where the hard deposits of calculus are removed from the root surface, then the root surface is smoothed to remove infected tooth structure.  Unlike an ordinary cleaning appointment, root planing is performed in a very detailed fashion under the gums. 

Root planing can be done comfortably, either by numbing the treated area, or with a product called “Oraqix” that delivers topical anesthetic gel gently into the periodontal pockets to numb the gums without injections.  To keep patients even more comfortable, we recommend they take a non-steroidal medication like Advil or Aleve before the root planing, which results in a dramatic decrease in inflammation and discomfort from the procedure.

Our office is one of a few in the United States that has ozonated water available to aid in treatment during root planning.  In it’s July 2008 edition, the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice stated that “ozonated water strongly inhibited the formation of dental plaque…(showing that) ozonated water is useful in reducing infections caused by microorganisms present in dental plaque.”
Improved home care is also a must in treating periodontal disease.  Different tooth brushing techniques are taught to provide additional gentle massage for the infected gums, and daily use of floss or floss substitutes also greatly improve healing.

When periodontal pockets are especially deep, a referral to a periodontist, a specialist in gum surgery, may be needed to improve the chances of saving teeth.
Because your toothbrush and floss cannot reach further than 3mm (1/8”) below the gums, patients with periodontal disease usually require more frequent cleanings.  Only a dental professional can reach these deep areas.  By allowing your dental hygienist to perform this gentle cleaning every three months, harmful bacteria are disturbed before they can cause additional damage.

If you’re concerned you may have periodontal disease, call us today to schedule an examination.  Click here to learn about a special offer for our web readers.  You can reach us at Flemingsburg Dental Care at 845-2273, or toll-free 888-917-2273.

How to Select a Good Dentist

Questions and Observations That Will Help You Choose a Dentist

Many situations can occur that may require finding a new dentist, such as moving, having a dentist retire, or needing special services your present dentist can’t provide. Although we all know that proper dental care is vital to good health, most of us don’t know how to choose a good dentist. It can be difficult to know what questions to ask and what things to observe in the process of choosing a good dentist. You will want to know both how the dentist treats you as a person and how he treats your mouth. Following are some key questions to ask and observations to make in the process of making your choice.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PROSPECTIVE DENTIST

  1. Will the dentist listen to me, and answer my questions? Rather than just telling you what to do, the dentist should explain the results of the exam and work with you to develop a total treatment plan based on the big picture of your oral health and wellness. The dentist should make recommendations based on your needs not just on insurance availability. Remember, you want a dentist who can offer enough information in language you can understand so you can help to make an informed decision.
  2. Does the dentist keep up with the latest techniques in dentistry? Dentists that are dedicated keep up with the latest developments in their field. They will likely appreciate the opportunity to tell you about the courses or conferences they have attended.
  3. Do you comply with OSHA and American Dental Association guidelines for infection control? This includes such things as wearing gloves and a mask and sterilizing handpieces.
  4. Do you maintain a thorough record of my dental problems? The dentist should maintain a record that tells all of the work that has already been completed on your teeth and what work still needs to be done. You should be allowed to see your probing chart, your x-rays and the record of your dental problems.
  5. What dental services do you offer that may meet special needs in the future? What areas does the dentist excel in? Most dentists are general practitioners, but some dentists have more areas of expertise. For instance, only 10% of dentists have a thorough understanding of bite-related problems. Can the office provide cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, dental implants, help with headaches, teeth straightening, or laser dentistry.  Can they treat all members of the family?  While you may not need all of these services, it is helpful to know how broad the dentist’s training is to meet special needs that may arise in the future.

OBSERVATIONS TO MAKE

Some things can only be learned by observation or by asking former or present patients for their opinions. Here are some things that are important to learn:

  1. Does the dentist ask for a complete medical history? Your detailed medical history will be important for many reasons including determining allergies and possible drug interactions or tolerances.
  2. Does the dentist do an oral cancer screening? This should be routine at your initial exam and then there should be a follow-up during every cleaning appointment. Your dentist needs to look not only at your teeth, but at your entire mouth.
  3. Does the dentist use the most up-to-date tools for detecting dental decay, such as dental lasers and digital x-ray equipment? Dental lasers can detect decay in the grooves of teeth without the guess work and picking that was once associated with the procedure. Newer digital radiographs greatly reduce x-ray exposure for the patient, and can help your dentist show you any problems present on the computer screen.
  4. Does the dentist check thoroughly for gum disease, decay, and correct bite? A thorough initial exam includes using a periodontal probe to check six points on each tooth – three on the cheek side and three on the tongue side to check for the depth of possible bone loss caused by gum disease. As a follow-up, periodontal probing should be done by the dental hygienist at every cleaning. Also, at the first exam, the jaw and teeth relationship and the contact points in your bite should be checked. This is important because changes in your bite can cause stress and cracked teeth.
  5. Does the dentist take the proper number of x-rays for your individual case? The number of x-rays taken should be personalized for your individual case. The x-rays are necessary to make sure your mouth is examined for decay between each tooth, and to check for bone disease, cysts or any other type of problem.

Many dentists will provide a free consultation prior to providing service. Consider all of these questions and observations as you visit and also assess how you are treated by the staff and doctor.  With this, you should be well on your way to finding a great dentist that can serve you well.

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Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Bruxism – “Tooth Grinding”

Of the three causes for tooth loss, the one that surprises most people is excessive bite forces.  The American Dental Association says that approximately one in three adults grind their teeth when they sleep.  The condition, called bruxism, places unhealthy forces on teeth that can cause flattened or worn-down teeth, chipped areas at the gumline, loose teeth, and damages to your jaw joint.

The most frequent causes of bruxism are stress and bite discrepancies.  In a healthy bite, the teeth come together in harmony to protect the teeth and your jaw joint.  That harmony can be lost when you have periodontal disease, tooth crowding, or missing teeth that have allowed the remaining teeth to shift or tilt.  Even if your bite is perfect, stress can cause you to grind your teeth.  Of people that are restless sleepers, 95% grind their teeth.  The same brain activity that causes you to toss and turn also causes the bruxing.

Let’s look at an example of bruxism.  In this photo, the teeth have already been shortened by at least one-fourth of their length.  Often patients with problems even this severe are not aware that they are bruxing, and many will even deny it when shown the severity of the problem.   And if your spouse sleeps more soundly that you, he or she may also be unaware of the problem.

As a dentist, I hear patients make comments like “I sleep with my mouth open, so that can’t be happening.”  Bruxing doesn’t occur constantly when you sleep, but if it’s happening, it still will cause damage.

Below are some questions that may tell you a problem is present:

  • Have you noticed worn teeth that seem to be getting gradually worse?
  • Do your teeth feel like they have more than one place that feels like a “home base” to touch when all of the teeth come together?
  • Do your jaws feel tired at the end of the day or when you awaken in the morning?
  • Do you sometimes awaken with headaches?
  • Do you avoid eating foods like bagels because it’s not comfortable?

One treatment for bruxism is the use of a bite guard.  A bite guard is a plastic appliance that fits over your teeth and protects them from damaged that’s caused by grinding.  The kind of bite guards sold at the pharmacy can actually make things worse.  Custom nightguards can be made that are extremely comfortable, and the newest designs, like the one shown here, actually have a relaxing effect on the muscles.

If the arrangement of your teeth lacks harmony, there may be advantages to changing how your bite comes together.  Orthodontic treatment (“braces”) can make dramatic changes, or your dentist can use a process called equilibration to reshape the biting surfaces of your teeth to improve the way they come together.

If you’re suffering headaches, or see tooth wear that you’re concerned about, give us a call at 845-2273 (or toll-free 888-917-2273).  Your teeth and your mouth will thank you!

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Why Replace Missing Teeth?

Many people wonder why it’s necessary to replace missing teeth. Let’s see what happens when a tooth is lost and is not replaced.

For the sake of our example, we’ll presume you have a missing lower molar, as in the photo here. When we’re young and our teeth are erupting, they’re programmed to keep erupting until they meet something.
So when you lose a tooth and don’t replace it, the process starts again. The corresponding tooth in your opposite jaw will once again start erupting. Unfortunately, when the shifting occurs, the tooth moves, but the bone that holds in the tooth does not move with it. This results in a loss of bone support for the opposing tooth.

Teeth also literally lean on each other. When you lose a tooth, the tooth immediately behind shifts forward. This throws off your bite and makes you more prone to tooth grinding (“bruxism”) and disorders related to the joint between the upper and lower jaws, the TMJ.

All of this shifting has a domino effect. Since it’s more difficult to clean these areas, cavities develop in the hard to reach areas. Periodontal disease, or so called “gum and bone” disease also develops more easily since you can’t clean these areas.

There are solutions for replacing teeth that I’ll cover in a future article. But if you have a choice on whether to save a tooth, you’ll have less cost and a better result if you save your tooth.

If you know your teeth need attention, give us a call today! You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Cavities Can Be Contagious

The Lexington Herald-Leader published an article on Sunday titled “Kentucky’s dental disaster begins before kindergarten,” about the severe problems dentists see in too many children in Kentucky.  The author, Sarah Vos, did a good job showing the problems our state faces regarding children’s dental health.  Toward the end of the article, she discussed a fact that has only been known for a few years – cavities can be contagious.  If a parent has a high decay rate (“lots of cavities”), it’s very likely that their child will also have the same problem.  While part of the problem is related to the family’s habits and dental visits, a large part is that the family is fighting a bacterial infection – the bacteria that cause tooth decay.  Researchers within just the last ten years discovered that if either of a child’s parents have a high decay rate when the child’s teeth are first erupting, at around age 5-7 months, the child will often catch the parent’s infection.  Decay in baby teeth usually transfer to adult teeth when they come in. In severe cases, decay can lead to serious infections – and even death.

The good news is there are solutions.  The first step is a professional dental exam for your child.  If a high decay rate is found, the problem can be resolved, but it requires a very thorough approach.  Treatment includes getting rid of all of the cavities, modifying the family’s diet, and the use of fluorides and prescription anti-bacterial mouthwashes.  It’s also best to treat the entire family, not just the child.

Beginning in 2010, children entering school in Kentucky will be required to have a dental screening.  If you or your child have unmet dental needs, you can SAVE on future dental expenses by getting those needs taken care of now.  Untreated dental problems often have no symptoms, but they always get worse over time.  Click here for a special offer for a complete exam and x-rays at no charge for new patients. We want to help you and your family avoid serious problems.  Your teeth and your mouth will thank you for it…and you’ll be healthier overall!

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Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Make it a White Christmas

How many times have you struggled so long to come up with the perfect Christmas gift for your loved one, but never been able to come up with a gift that is truly special?  For the first time, we’re making Gift Certificates available for Tooth Whitening.

But this isn’t just any offer.  The ordinary fee for Whitening is around $300.  What if you could buy the gift for just $97?

Our “White Christmas Gift Certificates” are available now through December 23rd, and they never expire.  They can be used for our entire Home Whitening system, including impressions, custom trays, personalized instructions and follow-up visits.  Or the coupon can also be used for $300 off our in-office Deep Bleaching procedure, regularly priced at $695.

For more specific information on tooth whitening systems and what we use in our office, read the article, “The Truth About Tooth Whitening.”  If you have further questions about whitening, or about this special offer, just give us a call, or send us an email.  We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Gift certificates can be purchased in our office at 303 South Main Cross in Flemingsburg, or charged to a credit card and mailed to you.  Be sure to mention this post to your friends and family so that they can enjoy this special offer and, who knows, give you a white Christmas!

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041