Your Dental Visits After Surgery

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                                    Your Dental Visits After Surgery

Have you ever wondered why your dentist bugs you about your health status at least twice a year?  Why they keep making you fill out all those forms that ask the same questions all the time?

The short answer is to keep you healthy.

Every time any dental procedure is performed, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream.  This even occurs with routine activities, such as chewing, brushing, or flossing.  For most people this isn’t a problem.  For others it can result in everything from a mild gum infection to something that could jeopardize your well being.

If you have had certain surgical procedures or have compromised health we will be contacting your physician to discuss necessary steps to keep you safe and healthy.  This may require the need to take antibiotics or stop blood thinners before treatment or a referral to a specialist or even treatment in hospital.

The most common surgical procedures or health conditions that require clearance from your Doctor prior to dental treatment are:

  1. Hip or knee replacement.
  2. Heart transplant, or artificial heart valves, and some types of congenital heart problems.
  3. A recent heart attack
  4. Some systemic inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
  5. A weakened system from chemotherapy or radiation.
  6. Insulin-dependent (type I) diabetes or hemophilia.
  7. Pregnancy

Our office prides itself on providing the best possible treatment to our patients. And sometimes this care requires coordinated information between your medical Doctor and our office.    Your health is of utmost importance to us and takes precedence over everything else. 

Please let us know when scheduling an appointment if there have been any health changes since your last visit.  We will contact your medical Doctor, upon your written authorization, to make sure you are cleared for your dental treatment.

 Thank you,

Dr. Simmons (661) 947-3163

Best MouthWash for You

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Most non-prescription mouthwashes offer an array of benefits ranging from killing the bacteria that produce plaque and bad breath to strengthening tooth enamel, and improving gum health. For an all-purpose mouthwash that accomplishes all of the above, you may want to consider Colgate Total Daily Repair.

However, if you are looking for a mouthwash with a more specific treatment goal, the following mouthwashes received high reviews from Business Insider and Review.com.

Best Overall – Listerine Cool Mint Antiseptic Mouthwash

Best for Cavity Protection – Colgate Total Daily Repair

Best for Anti-Plaque – ACT Advanced Care

Best for Fresh Breath – Crest Scope Outlast Mouthwash

Best Fluoride – ACT Anticavity Fluoride Rinse Mouthwash

Most Gentle – CloSYS Gentle Mint Mouthwash

Best Natural – Nature’s Answer PerioWash or Uncle Harry’s Natural Miracle Mouthwash

Best for Whitening – Crest 3D White Diamond Strong

Best for Dry Mouth – Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse

Mouthwash use can be traced back more than 4,000 years.  Ancient Chinese and Indian texts discuss using liquids used to sanitize the mouth, though exactly what they  swished remains a mystery. Some Ancient Romans reportedly used urine as an oral disinfectant (preferring, for some reason, Portuguese urine), while many Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans used rinses made of salt water often infused with plant extracts both to cleanse their teeth and to soothe aches and pains in the mouth.

In 1865 Sir Joseph Lister transformed the future of medical care with his discovery of an antiseptic, that was used to cleanse surgical instruments and wounds,  drastically reducing the infections that caused death in patients. Hence, the name of the mouthwash,  “Listerine.”

Mouthwash, however, is no replacement for brushing and flossing.  It is an addition to regular home care.  Mouthwash is uniquely capable of reaching nooks and crannies, which are hard to reach with your toothbrush.  Since your teeth only constitute about 25% of the mouth’s total surface area, mouthwash can help curb bacteria in the remaining 75%.

It’s important to ask your dentist what he recommends for you and your family.

Understanding Your Dental Insurance

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                    Understanding Your Dental Insurance

 There are currently  two types of insurance: PPO or Indemnity plans, where you can see any Dr of your choice and  HMO plans which assign you a Dr or practice they contract with.

 Most dental insurance plans carry a yearly maximum benefit of $1,000.00-$2,000.00 for you to use each calendar year or contract period.  Each carries an annual deductible ranging from $50.00 (the most common amount) to $150 that must be met before the insurance pays.  

 Insurance companies have specific coverage rules (i.e. what they will pay) on every procedure.  Just because you have a $1000 dental insurance plan, doesn’t mean that they allow you to use it carte blanche. 

For example:

  1. Preventative/maintenance care such as exams, x-rays and, teeth cleanings, the insurance will pay 80-100% of the cost
  1. Basic care such as fillings, extractions, root canals, gum surgery, the insurance will pay 70-80% of the cost. note: -some insurance’s will only pay for amalgam fillings on your back teeth, even though the white       composite material is a stronger, more permanent filling)
  1. Major care such as crowns (caps), fixed bridges, removable dentures, implants the insurance will pay 40 – 50% of the cost.

 Choosing insurance every year is confusing.  We want to help you get the best possible care for your hard earned money.     

Below is a list of insurance plans we are contracted with as in-network PPO providers.

 Delta Dental Premiere Provider

  1. MetLife /  Metropolitan 
  2. Cigna
  3. Guardian
  4. Aetna
  5. United Concordia 
  6. DHA Assurance 
  7. Sun life Financial 

 Being a PPO provider means we provide you with the best possible care in a private room, not a clinical setting, and we guarantee the dental work we do on our patients.  We also purchase the best materials and supplies available to provide all our patients with quality, long lasting, dental treatment.  

The bottom line is, if you can choose your own dentist, then why not choose the dental family that has been at the same location for over 37 years?  Dentists who have your best interests at heart. We thank you for allowing us to care for you and your family.

 Please call us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

 Dr. Gerald and Michael Simmons


Caveman Plaque

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Caveman Plaque

Scientific break-throughs have allowed scientists to analyze plaque on Neanderthal man’s teeth!  They have found that there are striking differences in their diets, depending on where they lived.  The findings in the current issue of the Nature journal mark the first and oldest dental plaque to be genetically analyzed.  Caveman samples were studied from two different areas ranging from 36,000 to 48,000 years ago.

   This newest research changes the perception of our “caveman ancestors” from  grunting club-bearing beasts to individuals who are capable, intelligent, and friendly.

 Understanding the Neanderthal diet means studying their teeth, specifically the layers of hardened plaque called calculus.  This hardened grunge contains DNA particles of food and microbes that occupied ancient man’s mouth.  The calculus that hardens on our teeth actually locks in and preserves the bacteria in our mouth.  The caveman studied from the Belgian area (36,000 years ago) shows that they ate mostly the meat of rhinoceros and wild sheep.  Whereas, the caveman from Spain (48,000 years ago) ate mushrooms, pine nuts and moss, and no meat!  All this has come to light from being able to study our distant ancestors calcified plaque.  It appears that eating meat was relatively new to these cavemen!

 Also found in this hardened plaque was evidence that the Spanish caveman suffered from a stomach bug and a dental abscess.  Even more interesting is that there were signs that ancient man may have self-medicated.  The fossilized calculus showed signs of them using poplar as a form of aspirin, and a natural antibiotic mold found on some plants.  It can only be imagined that they just knew they felt better when eating these items.

 One of the most fascinating discoveries is that the oldest microbe newly discovered contains the same bacteria prevalent in today’s gum disease.  And this microbe dates back 120,000 years ago!  How did this microbe pass from ancient caveman to our human ancestors?  One theory is that neaderthal and humans were friendlier than originally thought.  They may have exchanged food or kisses, which would explain how this was passed between these two ancient peoples.  What we can learn from this is that the plaque we carry on our teeth today may be part of our history of tomorrow.

 Just a thought to take with you:  Our office has patients we see from the age of 2 up to 105!  We are accepting new patients, and would love to meet you.

 Your Gentle Dentists,

 Dr. Simmons  947-3163

 

 

 

HAS FLOSSING GONE AWOL?

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HAS FLOSSING GONE AWOL?

 

     Flossing made headlines a few months ago when the news reported research that showed little evidence that flossing is worth our while!  However, if you dig a little deeper, all of the studies on this were of very short duration, even as short as two weeks!

     We often get asked questions such as to how often should I floss, is flossing necessary, and what teeth should I floss?  The response used by dentists the world over, " you should only floss the teeth you want to keep!"  You see, next to brushing, flossing is the most important thing that you can do to ensure good oral health.

     The purpose of both brushing and flossing is to reduce the number of bacteria which live in our mouth.  Millions of microscopic bacteria feed on the left over food particles on and between our teeth. This bacteria can build up, promoting acid production that erodes our teeth and leads to cavities.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the bacteria also pour out volatile sulfur compounds creating embarrassing bad breath. Flossing helps us get rid of these harmful bugs.

     If you do not floss, and allow plaque (a combination of mucus and debris) to remain in between teeth, it eventually hardens into a substance called tartar.  Tartar cannot be removed by brushing, and can only be removed by your dentist!  Over time dangerous levels of bacteria can build up in tartar producing toxins which irritate and inflame the gums.  This is called gingivitis.  Left untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease – where bacteria and toxins invade not only the gums, but also the bones and structures supporting the teeth.  This can lead to bone loss, loose teeth, and teeth that fall out.  But it doesn’t end there!  From here the bacteria can travel through the body increasing the chances of heart attack or stroke!

 

So yes flossing is vital to a healthy mouth!

 

     If you struggle to floss well with a traditional spool, consider trying the pre-strung flossers.  These make it easier to access those hard to reach back teeth!  These are available at most stores and your dental office.

   Remember your smile says so much about you.  Let us help you keep a beautiful and healthy smile.

 

Your Gentle Dentists,

 

Dr. Simmons (661) 947-3163

   

 

 

How Will I know If I Have A Cavity?

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How Will I Know If I Have A Cavity?

    This may sound surprising to most people, but the large majority of cavities are completely painless.  This is because the outer enamel has no nerves.  It is only when the cavity enters the underlying dentin that the cavity may begin to feel sensitive.  The most common cavity symptoms are an increased sensation to cold, sweet foods or beverages.  A cavity is often responsible for a broken filling or a tooth cusp, and can easily cause a fracture when biting down.

      Patients are sometimes taken off guard when they learn that they have a few cavities, but they don’t have any symptoms.  It is far better to treat a small cavity than to wait until they have symptoms; such as pain.  By the time there are symptoms, the cavity may have spread to infect the dental pulp, necessitating a root canal procedure or tooth extraction to eliminate the infection.  Always remember that most dental problems are insidious – that is, they sneak up on you.  Regular dental exams, at least twice a year will greatly reduce the likelihood that a dental cavity will go undetected and spread, causing toothache pain and infecting the dental pulp.

      Your general dentist can detect cavities with a combination of an oral exam and x-rays.  Once a cavity is detected it must be cleaned and filled properly. It will not disappear on it’s own!

      The process of cleaning a cavity begins with removing the infected and decayed enamel and dentin.  The remaining defect in the tooth is then sterilized and filled with a material that is bonded to the tooth.  The filling material is designed to imitate the natural tooth, so that it can hold-up to the forces of chewing and occludes properly (making sure your teeth make contact correctly).  But remember, no matter how good the latest technology is (white composite fillings) we can never mimic the natural tooth 100%.  That is why it is so important to prevent cavities from occurring in the first place.

      If you are already a member of our dental family or are new to our practice, we look forward to seeing you soon!  We have “Holiday Specials” available right now.  We are offering $600 off full-case Invisalign Orthodontics, and “Teeth Whitening Specials” for only $89.00!  (No interest and very low down payments are available!). 

    Let us help you keep your Smile Bright Thru the Holiday Season!

 

Your Gentle Dentists

 

Dr. Simmons (661) 947-3163

Why Is My Tongue White?

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Why is My Tongue White?

 

            A White tongue is most often a sign of dehydration or a dry mouth (caused by some prescription medications and autoimmune diseases). The dryness allows bacteria and debris to build up on the tongue instead of being washed away by saliva.  Within a short time it is usually accompanied by bad breath. 

            White spots or patches can occur on the tongue with infection, irritation or chronic inflammation.  Sometimes they can be precancerous so if white patches suddenly appear please schedule an appointment with your dentist to have them assessed.  There is a benign condition called Geographic Tongue where the tongue presents with a white border and irregular red patches.  This is due to a lack of papillae normally present on the tongue.  It is a harmless condition and generally runs in families.

            Causes of tongue irritation can vary from too much rinsing with alcohol mouthwash, using a toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate, rinsing with non diluted hydrogen peroxide and even spicy foods.  Even everyday stress can affect our dental health by making our mouth drier than normal

 

Tongue Facts:

1.  Taste buds on the tongue vary in length.  About 50% of the population have taste buds so long and dense that their tongues are more prone to hosting the organisms/bacteria that cause dental decay and gum disease.

2.  It is estimated that 90% of bad breath originates from these creatures living on the surface of our tongues!

Tongue Hygiene

     While most of us brush our teeth on a daily basis, we neglect to clean our tongues!  The extra minute this takes can make a big difference in preventing bad breath and returning the tongue to its normal color.

     Using a tongue cleaner will help remove the largest amount of organisms possible from the tongue surface.  It’s not necessary to scrape hard; you do not want to bleed!  You simply need to press hard enough so that the tongue cleaner contacts your tongue flush across the surface, moving from the back of the mouth to the front. 

    Tongue cleaning will not kill the bacteria that are causing the bad breath below the surface of the tongue.  It’s job is to remove the gunky substance.  In order to get rid of the bacteria, you must use an oxygenating toothpaste which can penetrate beneath the tongue surface.  Please call us if you would like a recommendation on which brands to use!

     Brushing your tongue should be part of your daily mouth cleaning.  This small act can improve our breath almost instantly!

 

Your Gentle Dentists,

 

Dr. Simmons

(661) 947-3163

    

 

     

Choosing A Toothpaste

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     CHOOSING A TOOTHPASTE

 

         We are often asked what is the best brand of toothpaste?

       Toothpaste has come a long way since the Egyptians invented it 5,000 years ago (way before the invention of toothbrushes).  Its basic function – to clean the teeth and improve the breath hasn’t changed but, the ingredients fortunately have; crushed eggshells mixed with ground hooves and spices doesn’t sound at all appealing.

 .      Toothpastes today not only clean and freshen the breath they fight decay, harden softened enamel, desensitize teeth, and slow down the buildup of tartar which occurs if plaque is not removed at least every 24 hours.  The tartar builds up and makes teeth and gums even more susceptible to decay and gum disease. This can then create a negative cycle of gingivitis, serious periodontal disease, and in turn possibly heart problems. 

     Two of the most recommended current toothpastes are "Crest Pro-Health and Colgate Total" Both of these contain fluoride and triclosan, a biocide that kills the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. This material remains active between brushings, even after you eat and drink.  These toothpastes are not recommended for children under 6 years old, and because these contain sodium lauryl sulfate, can sometimes irritate sensitive mouths.  For those prone to canker sores or sensitive teeth can,Sensodyne Pronamel, which contains fluoride but not SLS may be a better choice. 

     When it comes to “whitening” toothpastes, dentists are skeptical.  No toothpaste can change the color of your teeth, they can only work to remove stains so that your natural tooth color shows through.

    "Xylitol" is the newest toothpaste ingredient that's attracting attention.  Clinical studies confirm that this natural sugar aids in preventing cavities and gingivitis, and when combined with fluoride is an especially beneficial combination.

     The bottom line is that with so many options to choose from, toothpaste is a personal preference for flavor, thickness and texture.  Any toothpaste that contains fluoride is effective when used often and well enough.  The trick is to find one that encourages you to clean your teeth.  

 Your Gentle Dentists

 

Dr. Simmons  (661) 947-3163

Oral Bacteria Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

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Oral bacteria linked to pancreatic cancer

      Growing evidence shows that the presence of certain bacteria in the mouth may reveal increased risk for pancreatic cancer, and earlier, more precise treatment.  Pancreatic cancer patients are known to be susceptible to gum disease, cavities, and poor oral health in general, say the study authors. That vulnerability led the research team to search for direct links between the makeup of bacteria driving oral disease and subsequent development of pancreatic cancer.  A disease that is difficult to detect, and kills most patients within six months of diagnosis.  Pancreatic cancer is responsible for 40,000 deaths a year in the U.S.

      According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, men with a history of gum (periodontal) disease could be at increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.  The purpose of the study was to determine if gum disease or tooth loss may be related to pancreatic cancer. After adjusting for age, smoking history, diabetes, obesity, diet and other potential contributors to pancreatic cancer, the reviewers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer than men without a history of gum disease.

     Nobody knows why gum disease may be linked to pancreatic cancer. Although the study showed an association between gum disease and pancreatic cancer, a definite cause and effect relationship was not established. Researchers speculate that chronic infection in the gums triggers inflammation throughout the body, which can potentially promote the growth of cancer.

    Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth.  It attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and it’s supporting tissues to break down.  Periodontal risk factors include tobacco smoking or chewing, diseases such as diabetes, some medications, dental work that no longer fits properly, defective fillings, pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives.

     Except in most cases, the risk of periodontal disease can be controlled with good dental habits:  brushing and flossing your teeth, and regular visits to your dentist.  So, don’t delay, call your dentist today and schedule an appointment for a check-up!  

     Let us help keep your smile and your health at it’s best!

 

Your Gentle Dentists,

 

Dr. Simmons

Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

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Are E-Cigarettes Safe 

    Although electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) don’t contain tobacco, they still contain nicotine from the tobacco plant.  They work, using batteries, to produce an aerosol that you inhale or “vape”.  To create the e-liquid, nicotine is extracted from tobacco and mixed with a base (usually propylene glycol), flavorings, colorings, and other chemicals.

 

    In 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that “e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or whether there are any benefits associated with using these products.”  Clinical studies are ongoing to understand e-cigarettes’ impact on health.

******What Parents Should Know******

-  Nicotine can affect brain development in children and teens.

-  Some e-cigarettes have candy flavoring, which could make them appealing to kids.

-  They don't leave a smell like tobacco. So it's harder for parents to know if their kids are vaping.

******Nicotine******

     The nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive. If you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, depression, restlessness and anxiety.  Vaping can be dangerous for people with heart problems. And it may harm your arteries over time.  E-cigarettes can cause gum recession and other oral health problems even though the nicotine dose is lower than traditional cigarettes.  Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins. Without sufficient blood flow, the tissues in the mouth do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy.  The result is gingivitis and periodontitis, which can cause bad breath, and inflammation throughout the body.  And as you no doubt remember, inflammation caused by gum disease causes or promotes heart disease, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers.

******Nicotine Intensifies Teeth Grinding******

     Nicotine, being a stimulant,  fires up the facial muscles, making you grind your teeth more intensely if you’re already a grinder.  It may even prompt you to start grinding your teeth, which will eventually wear down your teeth.

 

If you are going to use e-cigarettes, you must be vigilant about seeing your dentist more often.  Visit your dentist every three months to monitor your gums and teeth for gum disease in order to prevent tooth and bone loss.

Please call us for an appointment for your next dental exam and cleaning.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Your Gentle Dentists,

Dr. Simmons (661) 947-3163