The Value of Professional Dental Cleanings

A recent study presented to the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011 has reaffirmed that professional tooth scaling was associated with fewer heart attacks and strokes. Among more than 100,000 people, those who had their teeth scraped and cleaned by a dental professional had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and 13% lower risk of stroke compared to those who had never had a dental cleaning. The participants were followed for an average of 7 years.

Professional tooth scaling has shown to reduce inflammation-causing bacterial growth that can lead to heart disease or stroke.

 

Article from Dentistry Today, January 2012

Posted in Dental Care, Heart Disease, Oral Hygiene, Periodontal Disease, Professional Dental Cleanings, Stroke | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New Mouthwash May Render Tooth Decay a Thing of the Past

A new mouthwash developed by a microbiologist at the UCLA School of Dentistry has shown to be highly successful in targeting Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the principal cause of tooth decay and cavities.  In a recent clinical study, subjects who rinsed just one time with the experimental mouthwash experienced a nearly complete elimination of the S mutans bacteria over the entire 4 day testing period.

Most common broad-spectrum antibiotics, like conventional mouthwash, indiscriminately kill both benign and harmful pathogenic organisms and only do so for a 12-hour period. This new mouthwash acts as a sort of “smart bomb”, eliminating only harmful bacteria and remaining effective for an extended period.

More extensive clinical trials are in the works and if the FDA ultimately approves the new mouthwash for general use, it will be the first such antidental caries drug since fluoride was licensed nearly 60 years ago.

We might be able to say good bye to tooth decay in the near future…

 

Article from Dentistry Today, January 2012

 

 

Posted in Cavities, Dental Care, Mouthwash, Oral Hygiene, Tooth Decay | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

One Visit Dentistry

Same Day Smiles

One visit dentistry is just what it sounds like.  We have integrated cad/cam technology into our office which allows us to offer same-day porcelain crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers. Porcelain restorations are the predominant restoration of choice to replace large old fillings and repair broken teeth due to their esthetic qualities and strength.  Traditionally, receiving dental restorations required two separate visits. Using the latest advances in dental care technology, we can create strong and esthetic dental restorations  in our office in just a single visit. The best part is that these dental restorations are crafted quickly yet without compromising quality and without extra expense to you.

CEREC Technology: Advanced Dental Care and Restorations

The secret to one visit dentistry is the use of CEREC dental restoration technology. The CEREC machine is able to analyze your teeth, create a customized restoration plan, and craft the dental restoration all on site.  Dr. Pope and his staff  have had extensive advanced training with CEREC and are utilizing this amazing technology daily to create wonderful smiles instantly.

Dental Crowns, Inlays, and Onlays in a Day

The CEREC machine is able to produce high-quality porcelain crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers.  With the continued advancements in porcelains, our philosophy is changing and becoming much more conservative and emphasizing preserving more tooth structure.  With the CEREC, we are able to create wonderful porcelain restoration with less tooth reduction, resulting in less stress on the tooth, a stronger and more esthetic restoration with better long-term health benefits as well.

Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Care, Dental Implants, Esthetic Dentistry, Looking Younger | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Botox and Dentistry

So how is there a connection between Botox and Dentistry?  Actually a very natural relationship exists between the two.  Dentistry is focused on facial esthetics and Botox and dermal fillers are used to enhance facial esthetics.

Botox is the brand name of Allergan’s purified protein-botulinum toxin type A, derived from anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Type A is one of seven distinct botulinum toxins (identified as types A-G) produced by different strains of the Clostridia bacterium.

Although botulinum toxin has been assessed as being the most poisonous substance known to man,  Botox has been approved in more than 75 countries to treat 20 different neurological disorders.  In 2002, Botox gained FDA approval for cosmetic use and in 2005, Botox ranked as the number one minimally invasive cosmetic procedure in the U.S.

Botox is injected into muscles and used to improve the look of moderate-to-severe lines and wrinkles of the face in people 18 to 65 years of age for a short period of time (temporary).   It is administered by a healthcare professional as a simple, nonsurgical treatment that is injected directly into the muscles.  It works by blocking nerve impulses to the injected muscles.  This reduces muscle activity that causes moderate to severe lines or wrinkles to form.  Botox is also used to treat TMJ related pain.

Dermal fillers are used to smooth facial wrinkles, volumize nasolabial folds and fill in areas caused by collagen loss.  Restylane and Juvederm are excellent examples of dermal fillers.

Until today, November 15, 2011, the State of California restricted highly trained dentists from performing these same procedures while allowing untrained personnel including certain RN’s, PA’s and MD’s to perform these procedures in and around the mouth.  California dentists can now perform Botox and dermal filler procedures.  Across the country, dentists are finally being trained in Botox and dermal fillers to be able to provide total facial esthetics for their patients.

Pope Dental has already gone through the training for Botox and has it available to reduce wrinkles  and treat TMJ pain and tension headaches.

Posted in Oral Hygiene | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Is There A Hole In Your Pocket?

If you had a hole in your pocket, you’d want to fix it before you lost your wallet or your money, right?  Surprisingly, however, many patients with dental insurance “lose” hundreds (even thousands) of dollars a year because they fail to use or maximize their insurance benefits before year’s end (December 31st).  Once these benefits are gone, they are lost forever…they don’t apply to the next year.  These are benefits “someone” has paid for.

So if you are due for an exam and cleaning or need additional dentistry done, please give us a call before the end of the year to schedule an appointment.

Sew up that hole in your pocket now before it’s too late!

Regards,

Scott H. Pope, DDS

Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Care, Oral Hygiene | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Why brush twice a day?

Why brush twice a day? There are several answers to this question. We brush, floss, and rinse repeatedly every day to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth, prevent disease development, avoid halitosis, remove stains, and remove food particles, among others. All these answers are true, valid, and accurate, but there is a more important reason than all of these.  It relates to what is known as mechanisms of biofilm formation.

Biofilm develops in a precise sequence of bacterial species stacking on top of one another.  It happens the same way over and over, every time biofilm starts building up.  The first bugs congregating on a newly forming biofilm are always the same gram-positive aerobes, Streptococcus and Actinomyces.  The most important feature of these early colonizers is that they are not pathogenic.

In other words, they cannot cause periodontitis.  In fact, they are considered favorable or beneficial and are associated with healthy gingiva.  For clarification, a healthy gingival sulcus is not sterile or devoid of bacteria.  It is rather, populated by the right types of bacteria, namely the early colonizers.

If a newly developing biofilm is not eliminated or at least adequately dismantled, the later-arriving periodontal pathogens have a chance to come on board the biofilm.  The periodontal bugs are always among the later colonizers.  The bad bugs cannot land on the biofilm until conditions are appropriate and it is their turn.  Holding them back gives the immune system a fighting chance to keep the pathogens in check.

Prior to joining the biofilm, the periodontal pathogens are freely floating around the mouth.  They cannot cause disease in this state.  Bacteria must be attached to the gingival epithelium to cause gum disease.  No attachment, no disease, period.

When the biofilm is not brushed away, the perio pathogens start piling on.  In approximately three to 12 weeks, they will become the predominant species.  This is the start of gum disease.

So the primary reason to brush twice a day is to knock down the biofilm with our homecare efforts, causing it to start over and over again.  Forcing the biofilm to keep starting over maximizes the favorable, early colonizers and minimizes the later-colonizing periodontal pathogens.  Removing the biofilm as often as possible keeps the the bad bugs in a holding pattern, circling around the mouth without a place to land.  This is where we want them, since they cannot cause disease in a non-attached position.

Frequent, effective home care is critically important, since periodontal diseases have local effects in the oral cavity and global effects around the rest of the body.  So brushing twice a day can greatly help in protecting not only your teeth, but your general health and well-being.

Article from Dental Economics, May 2011

Posted in Dental Care, Oral Hygiene, Periodontal Disease | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Outsourcing Dentistry

There is a rising trend for some dentists and dental labs to send their crown and bridge work to countries outside the United States because of the extremely low costs.  They can get a Chinese-made crown for $13.  Unfortunately, many dental labs in China and India are producing poor quality restorations made in sweatshops, utilizing substandard metals like lead that can have increased health risks  and cause metal allergies to the patients that are receiving these crowns.   Make sure your dentist knows where their lab work is going and as a patient, request a materials certificate verifying the quality of the restorations.  Be careful, because you get what you pay for.

Posted in Dental Care | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Cold Sore Laser Treatment

Cold sores are usually found on the outer lip.  Cold sores can be caused by trauma, sunburn, stress, illness, cold weather, and the like.  Most people don’t realize that cold sores are actually a highly contagious herpes simplex virus infection (usually HSV-1, or oral herpes) on the lips.  Although most people are exposed to the herpes virus, only a small percentage suffer from recurrent outbreaks.

Commonly, the first sign of an outbreak is a skin irritation or rash. The area then blisters, often oozing a transparent liquid, then becomes crusty. Cold sores are easily transmitted. Here are some simple ways to avoid contagion:

  • Do not kiss someone with an active lesion
  • Do not share razors
  • Do not share towels
  • Do not share cups or glasses

It is important to treat this condition with caution, as it can be transmitted to the eyes and the genitalia. When this occurs these conditions are much more difficult to treat and can have long term effects.

The most effective way to treat the Herpes virus is with the use of a diode laser.  The laser light kills the virus.  Laser treatments can give immediate pain relief and the lesion will heal in 24-72 hours.  Since the laser eradicates the cause there will never be another outbreak in that specific area. The diode laser promotes healing and lessens the chance of scarring.

In our practice Dr. Pope routinely employs use of Laser technologies for rapid and successful treatment for a variety of oral lesions and ulcerations.  Laser treatment takes only a few minutes and is painless.
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Mini Dental Implants

There is no question among dentists and patients that dental implants are one of the most successful and important additions to clinical dentistry in the entire history of dentistry. Since attaining FDA approval in 1976, millions of conventional-diameter implants have been placed, and their cumulative success rate of around 95 percent is impressive.
In the early 1990′s, some innovative practitioners started using small diameter implants (SDIs) for long-term use in situations with insufficient bone. These SDI implants were originally considered to be for transitional use only, but it soon became obvious that properly placed SDIs could be used long-term and received FDA approval.

These SDIs or “mini” implants have found great success in supporting full and partial dentures where bone loss has occured.  SDIs are also more affordable than conventional implants, easier to place, minimally invasive and a true service to those individuals with full and partial dentures.  Most often, these mini implants can be put into use right after placement.  This means more comfort, stability and enjoyment for the patient right from the start.

Posted in Dental Implants | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

How To Protect Your Eyesight

Many people take their vision for granted. They never think about what might happen if one day they suddenly could no longer see as well as they used to. But weakening vision is something that affects many people, even before “old age” sets in. It’s important to think about the ways in which you may overuse your eyes throughout the day and understand the risks associated with those activities.
There are a few things that most people do every day that can cause severe vision damage without even realizing it. Staring at a computer all day, not wearing sunglasses, poor diet, and not getting your eyes checked on a regular basis can contribute to decreased visual capabilities.
The number of people who use computers daily for a long period of time is increasing. As a result, their eyesight is suffering. Computer vision syndrome (CVS) as defined by the American Optometric Association is “a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use.” The symptoms of CVS include: eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain.
Sometimes working at a computer for an extended period of time is unavoidable. Try these tips if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer.

1. Get a comprehensive eye exam. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), people who work at computers often should have an eye exam before they start working on a computer and once a year thereafter.
2. Use proper lighting. Eyestrain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When using a computer, the brightness of the lighting should be about half that found in most offices.  Eliminate exterior light by closing drapes, shades, or blinds.  Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes.  If possible, position your monitor so that windows are to the side of it, instead of in front or behind it.

3.  Minimize glare. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor.

4.  Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screen. Adjust the display settings on your computer so the brightness of the screen is about the same as your work environment.

5.  Blink more often. Blinking is very important when working at a computer because it wets your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.  Studies have shown that when working at a computer, people blink less frequently – about five times less than normal.

6.  Take frequent breaks. To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent breaks during your computer work day.

7.  Modify your work area. If you need to look back and forth between a printed page and your computer screen, this can cause eye strain.  Place written pages on a stand next to the monitor.  Bad posture during computer work also contributes to computer vision syndrome.  Adjust you chair to the correct height.

Benefits of sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses is one of the best ways in which you can care for your vision.  Sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection are the best to wear when you’re in the sun.  UV light causes long-term damage to the inner structures of the eye, but wearing sunglasses can help prevent conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  A cataract is an eye condition in which the lens of the eye becomes clouded, impairing vision.  Macular degeneration is an eye disease in which the macula, a structure within the eye that allows you to see, gradually deteriorates, leading to decreased vision or blindness.

Diet and nutrition. What you eat is an extremely important part of the daily lifestyle choices you make.  Foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health as well as the health of your eyes.  Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables for optimum eye health.  A diet high in saturated fat and sugar may increase your risk of eye disease.  On the other hand, healthy foods, such as greens and fruits, may help prevent certain eye diseases and other health problems.

Regular exams. Routine eye exams are important, regardless of your age or your physical health.  Eye exams are an important part of health maintenance for everyone.  Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of disease.  Eye exams for children play an important role in ensuring normal vision development and academic achievement.  Tests done by licensed ophthalmologists or optometrists are the best for providing a comprehensive picture of your overall eye health.

Article from Academy of General Dentistry, March 2011

Posted in Nutrition, Vision and Eyesight Care | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments