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April 11, 2014

Why Skipping the Dentist is Bad for You

| posted by Jenny Everett in SElf Magazine.

While we don’t love going to the dentist, we try to make ourselves do it twice a year. But for some reason, we’re more likely to blow off a tooth sprucing than any of our other health-related appointments. It just feels more “optional” than, say, a trip to the gym.

 

And we’re not alone in this: According to the Centers for Disease Control, 71.4 percent of women over age 18 had their teeth cleaned in 2008. That means more than a quarter of all women are skipping the dentist!

 

To find out exactly what health benefits we’re missing out on when we skip a cleaning — and for some motivation to set up an appointment — we spoke to Sally J. Cram, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association and a periodontist in Washington, DC.

“I have seen a significant number of patients who want to stretch cleanings to once a year rather than twice a year and put off X-rays due to the expense,” says Cram. “A lot of this has to do with the economy. At the same time, I think more people are starting to see the relationship between oral health and overall health.”

 

Here are some non-tooth-related health conditions that may be spotted or prevented by a dentist (or go undiagnosed if you skip an appointment).

 

1. Heart disease. A new study from researchers at Berkeley found that women who get dental care may reduce their risk of heart disease by one-third.People who have chronic infection in their oral cavity are at higher risk for heart attack, strokes, coronary artery disease,” says Cram. “When you have an infection around your gums and teeth, that gets into your blood, thickens the vessels and narrows them. If you have a family history of heart disease, it’s very important to be vigilant about oral health.”

 

 

2. Oral Cancer. “Every time you have your teeth cleaned, they are doing a visual and manual inspection looking for swollen or red areas, ulcerated areas and anything that looks out of the ordinary,” says Cram. “Often times these oral cancers are asymptomatic and the dentist can bring it to your attention.” People who are especially high risk: Smokers (duh) and anyone who consumes more than one alcoholic beverage on a daily basis.

 

3, Nutritional deficiencies. By looking at your tongue and gums, your dentist may be able to tell if you are lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients. One thing they look for is pale tongue, which may indicate an iron deficiency, says Cram.

 

4. Diabetes. The condition of your teeth and gums may point to diabetes, says Cram, who has helped dozens of patients get diagnosed in her career. “There is a definite cause and effect between diabetes and oral health, and it goes both ways,” she says. “Diabetes reduces your body’s ability to fight infection-causing gum and teeth issues, and gum disease also makes it hard to control your diabetes.” If you have a family history of diabetes or are a diabetic, Cram suggests talking to your dentist, who may recommend that you have cleanings three or four times a year.

 

“The key thing to remember is that for most of the things that can go wrong with your mouth, it’s much less expensive to get regular cleanings than it is to get major procedures such as crowns and root canals later,” says Cram.

 

March 24, 2014

TMD/TMJ and Neuomuscular Dentistry

What is TMJ?

When jaw joints don’t work together a cycle of pain, muscle spasms and jaw joint problems result.  The letters “TMD” stand for temporomandibular dysfunction. This refers to problems with the muscles and joints that join the mandible bone of the jaw to the temporal bone at the base of the skull.

Symptoms of TMD

Symptoms my include headaches, worn teeth, painful muscles in the face, neck and shoulders, clicking and popping of the jaw joint, earaches, pain behind the eyes, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, ringing in the ears, tingling hands and other problems.

Headaches

Headaches - Tell Your Dentist

A problem bite can cause TMD

There are many causes of TMD, such as grinding of teeth, an injury and emotional stress.  But a very common cause is a bad bite. Fortunately, TMD is treatable.  Our doctors will analyze your bite using advanced equipment to identify any problems.  We may make you a custom made orthotic or we may replace missing teeth, move teeth or place crowns and veneers on all of the teeth.

Call Kuhn Dental Associates today – 910-692-4450 – to schedule you evaluation with Dr. Mandy Grimshaw or Dr. Ritt Kuhn.

 

March 13, 2014

Same Day Porcelain Crowns

Did you know we offer One Day Crowns?

With the Cerec digital system there are no more messy impressions and you do not
have to wear a temporary crown while you wait three weeks for your permanent
crown to be made in a dental laboratory. This saves you the time, money and
hassle associated with multiple appointments and procedures. This is a great
benefit for all of our patients.

Kuhn Dental Associates is committed to using the latest technology to provide dental
care that suits your busy lifestyle.  Call us at 910-692-4450 or visit us at http://www.kuhndentist.com/cosmetic-dentistry.html.

October 28, 2013

A Smile is the Greatest Asset to Memorable First Impression

 When it comes to making a positive first impression at work or in personal relationships, nothing comes close to the impact of an attractive smile, according to a new survey conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Forty-eight percent of Americans believe that a smile is the most memorable feature after first meeting someone - more so than the first thing a person says (25%), the way they dress (9%) or the way they smell (8%).  Adults 50+ are even more likely than their 18-49 year old counterparts (52% vs. 45%) to remember a smile when first introduced to someone.  The survey also showed that some Americans view people with crooked or stained teeth as less attractive (37%) and less confident (25%) than those with perfect teeth.  More women than men (40% vs. 35%) say that an imperfect smile makes someone less appealing.
Call Kuhn Dental Associates to reserve your Smile Consultation today.  910-692-4450
Source: Dental Town  Magazine

October 10, 2013

When you go for your dental cleaning appointment, do you hate having to lie?

 ”Been flossing,” asks the hygienist. “Sometimes,” you answer, which can mean once a month, once a week or just before the appointment, right?

 Dental professionals can tell if a person has been flossing correctly or not. The key word here is correctly. I want to make you aware, not guilty. 

Did you ever notice there are no instructions on a package of floss, a toothbrush or a tongue scraper detailing how to or why to use the products? Both need to be used correctly to get maximum results for healthy gums and teeth.

 It is a simple fact that clean gums and clean teeth do not get infected. Both decay and gum disease are bacterial infections that can spread throughout the body. 

Teeth Flossing

How to Floss

Each tooth has four sides: cheek side, tongue side and two in-between sides. A toothbrush only gets the cheek and tongue side. Floss gets the in-between sides. If you just brush and don’t clean the sides, you are missing anywhere from 20-40 percent of the teeth. It is kind of like only cleaning 60 percent of your kitchen after cooking a big meal.

Food stuck between the teeth can and will stay there for a long time. It becomes a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease. Toothpicks only push out some of the food and don’t clean between the teeth or the gums. They only push the big particles through and don’t take the place of floss.

Be sure floss is sliding below the gums. This is a good thing because that simple swiping of floss will alter the bacteria below the gums. The bacteria that cause gum disease are killed by oxygen.

Just that one action introduces enough oxygen to kill the bad bugs while physically cleaning below the gums. If your gums bleed upon flossing, you have some form of gum disease. There is a saying, “If it bleeds, it needs.”

The easiest way to visualize proper flossing is to hold the floss tightly next to the side of the tooth forming a C, as the picture demonstrates. As you swipe down in between teeth, you are removing food debris and bacteria from the teeth. Continue to floss to below the gums in order to clean there.

Here is another reason the dental profession push brushing and flossing as strong as they do: they actually care about your dental health, and they care about you.

Yes, dentistry can be expensive and a hassle; but the best dentistry is no dentistry at all, and that can be achieved by keeping your teeth perfectly clean. As I said above, clean teeth do not get dental disease.

If it has been awhile since your last dental visit, please pick up the phone and call Kuhn Dental at 910-692-4450.

September 19, 2013

Are you dentally in the proper biting position?

The general consensus among comprehensive dentists is that a majority of the population is not in their proper biting position.

When  people are not in a biting position that is muscularly comfortable position headaches, jaw pain, TMJ, and backaches follow.

Think of your head being a bowling ball. It doesn’t weigh that much when it is balanced on the neck and shoulders, but if it is put forward, it starts doubling in weight.

Head pain due to posture

An overworked muscle is going to fatigue over time. The more stress on a muscle, the faster it will fatigue. An example is taking a heavy weight and holding it to your chest versus holding it at arm’s length. The muscles are going to give out a lot faster when the ball is away from the body.

Head position influences the way the teeth come together. If you tilt you head way back and very lightly touch your teeth together, only the back teeth touch. If you bend way forward, only the front touch, and the same with tilting the head left or right.

You can visualize as the head moves forward, the muscles in the front of the neck get tight and tend to pull the jaw down and back. We tend to think of the jaw and teeth as their own entity, but now, you can see that the jaw bone is connected to the neck bone and the neck bone is connected … as the old song says.

Call Dr. Mandy Grimshaw, an LVI fellow for a TMJ consultation at 910-692-4450 or visit her at http://www.kuhndentist.com/neuromuscular-dentistry.html

September 5, 2013

Dentists are Disease Detectives

Early detection of medical conditions is happening in dental offices.  More than 120 disease signs and symptoms can now be detected through a routine oral exam.  This is why regular dental checkups are more important than ever.

Oral clues that may indicate a serious health issue:

Anemia: Burning, fiery red tongue, inflammation of the corners of mouth.

Diabetes: Dry mouth, distinctive breath odor, burning tongue, high rate of tooth decay, inflammation and infections in the mouth.

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia: Chemical erosion of tooth enamel, fillings that appear to be raised above the eroded tooth surfaces, sensitive teeth, enlargement of parotid glands making the face look full and round.

Kidney Failure: Retarded tooth development in children, dry mouth, odor, metallic taste and ulcers on the tongue and gums.

Heart Disease: Pain radiating to the jaw caused by insufficient oxygen to the heart muscle. See more information http://www.kuhndentist.com/the-heart-connection.html

Oral Cancer: examinations of the oral cavity and neck.  Cancers of the mouth, tongue and jaw are usually first discovered during dental examinations. See more information http://oralcancerfoundation.org/

August 13, 2013

Oral Cancer

Filed under: Mouth-Body Health — Tags: , , — Kuhn Dental @ 6:02 pm

Prevention and early detection are important tools in the fight against oral cancer.

Nearly 36,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Yet oral cancer is one of the more treatable cancers when it is detected in its early stages. Your dentist can use a quick and painless diagnostic tool called a brush biopsy to test unexplained red or white spots in your mouth.  At Kuhn Dental Associates, we do an oral cancer check at each hygiene visit; another good reason not to miss your scheduled hygiene appointments.

Less than half of all oral cancer patients fully recover, and those who do are often disfigured.  More than 9,000 American die from oral cancer each year, and the five-year surival rate has stagnated at only 57% for the last 40 years.  If caught early, the five year survival rate jumps to 81%.  Prevention and early detection are the keys to keeping oral cancer at bay …. any maybe even saving your life.

July 24, 2013

Your Mouth is Key To Overall Body Health

Every day there is more and more evidence that proves the important connection between your oral health and your overall body health. In my own career I have seen increasing collaboration between dentistry and medicine because inflammatory diseases are common to both health management groups. That is, there are many ways in which researchers are linking gum diseases with systemic diseases and other conditions that you may have or may eventually develop including cardiovascular diseases. 

In fact in 2009, a special consensus paper by editors of The American Journal of Cardiology and Journal of Periodontology called for additional research and recommended that patients with moderate to severe periodontitis, a progressive inflammatory gum disease, should receive an evaluation by their doctors and possible treatment to reduce their risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Although the cause and effect are not crystal clear, the totality of evidence is sufficiently compelling to initiate an interdisciplinary consensus. 

Cardiovascular diseases are not the only risk for those with poor oral health. People with diabetes, for example, are more likely to have gum disease than people who do not, and gum disease makes it more difficult for the diabetic to control blood-sugar levels. Some research has shown that when periodontal infections were treated, the management of diabetes markedly improved, and research continues in this promising area. As well, a number of studies have demonstrated that periodontal care significantly reduces the medical costs associated with diabetes, and New York University has sponsored a feasibility study to use gingival blood from periodontal patients as a means of diagnosing diabetes and identifying prediabetes. 

These systemic relationships are complex. Alzheimer’s has also been linked to diabetes … and circulatory disorders … and periodontal disease. In fact, USC researchers, in a study funded by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging concluded that periodontal disease, particularly in the early years, should be seen as a signpost for exposure to inflammation, which in turn can go on to damage brain tissue and lead to dementia. 

There really isn’t enough time or space in one blog to address the mouth-body link in its entirety. Suffice to say that a comprehensive body of evidence from both long-term and short-term studies that are both credible and reliable has linked gum diseases with arthritis, cancers, osteoporosis, hearing loss, and complications of pregnancy in addition to the topics discussed here. 

So what to do? Prevention is best, but treatment and monitoring run a close second. Gum disease begins at or below the gumline. Left untreated, these infections can lead to inflammation, which leads to bleeding. Your gums, previously an intact system, have become a wound, providing an open gateway for invading bacteria. 

Many scientists believe that harmful oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream through damaged gums and travel throughout your body. Your immune system can’t always fight the resulting infection. Other scientists are exploring the possibility that bacteria-fighting blood cells release proteins that have harmful side-effects. New research continues to astonish with ways that bacteria protect themselves and even use your defenses to their advantage. 

Bottom line? Regardless of the mechanism, the link between gum disease and systemic diseases is clear. If you have poor oral hygiene, or tend to delay routine examinations, you might be putting more than your teeth in jeopardy. I encourage you to call Kuhn Dental Associates at 910-692-4450 to make and/or keep your recare appointments, and bring your questions with you.

July 8, 2013

Facelift Dentures

Filed under: Cosmetic Dentistry,Dentures — Kuhn Dental @ 2:16 pm
Before Facelift Dentures

Before Facelift Dentures

 

Strickland Facelift Dentures™  are designed for comfort, fit and functionality, allowing the wearer to eat the foods they want. As the name implies, they also offer cosmetic benefits, providing the underlying facial support that plumps lips and helps fill out the face.
With natural teeth, bone material in the jaw is stimulated by the tooth root during biting and chewing action.  However, when people lose their teeth, it can lead to deterioration in the jawbone.  With Facelift Dentures, dentists use neuromuscular techniques designed to stimulate the jawbone by creating a better fitting denture that puts the jaw in the most natural position. This technique builds the bite at a position that the muscles will best function.  This is the position that provides the greatest facial support to achieve denture stability and better, more natural facial aesthetics. Thanks to these advanced techniques, Facelift Dentures provide greater stability, as well as the facial support that enhances the wearer’s facial aesthetics and eliminates the “sunken” look that can result with other dentures. You can see the difference in this after photo.  

After Facelift Dentures

Call Kuhn Dental Associates today to discuss Strickland Facelift Dentures – 910-692-4450 or email us at KuhnDental@kuhndentist.com.

 [Disclaimer: The Strickland Facelift Dentures™ services are in no way related to Dr. Sam Muslin’s exclusive Face Lift Dentistry ® treatment.]

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