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Hello Friends!

Today’s topic isn’t a glamorous one, but important nonetheless.  Your gums are the foundation and cornerstone to your overall oral health and it’s imperative that you care for them.  Gums protect and support your teeth and the tissue that holds them to the bone. When they aren’t healthy, you risk tooth loss and damage to your overall health.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “gum disease”, but what is it?  What does it mean if you’ve been diagnosed with it?  Is it really that big of a deal?  WebMD featured an informative article on the topic and we’ve included some of that information below.gingivitis-symptoms

How Gum Disease Happens

It “usually starts in areas that you’re not brushing or keeping clean,” says Mark Ryder, DMD, chair of periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry. “Bacteria build up in a film on your teeth and you get a reaction to that bacteria — inflammation.”

Swelling of the gums (also known as gingivitis), can be one of the first signs of gum disease. Other symptoms include:

  • Gum redness
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Receding gum line
  • Loose teeth
  • Constant bad breath
  • Mouth sores

Pain isn’t one of the first symptoms of gingivitis.

“What’s unique about early gum disease is that it doesn’t cause much discomfort at all,” Ryder says. “So you really have to pay attention to these other symptoms.”

Gum problems can get worse if you don’t get gingivitis treated.

“Infection and inflammation will spread deeper into the tissues that support the tooth,” Ryder says. “When that happens, the inflammation becomes destructive.”

The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, which lets in more bacteria. At this stage, gum disease is called periodontitis.

That condition “causes the tissues and bone that support the teeth to break down,” Ryder says.

This creates pockets where bacteria can grow.

“As you lose bone, your teeth get looser and looser, and eventually, they fall out,” he says.

What’s more, oral health affects your whole body. People with gum disease are more likely to get heart disease and are less able to control their blood sugar, studies show.

The CDC found that 47% of adults older than 30 have periodontitis. After age 65, that number goes up to 70%.

Your odds of getting gum disease are higher if you:

  • Use tobacco products
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a family history of gum disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high stress
  • Grind or clench your teeth

Some birth control, antidepressants, and heart medicines may also raise your risk. Tell your dentist about any medications you take regularly.

“Stop smoking, manage diabetes correctly, and if you’re pregnant, think about visiting the dentist more often during your pregnancy,” Ryder says.

How to Treat Gum Disease

Your dentist will remove the root cause: plaque on your teeth.

“The dentist would clean around all the affected areas, and really go down to the bottom of the pocket of the tooth, because that’s where the most harmful bacteria is,” Ryder says. This deep-cleaning process is called scaling.

Other causes will also be explored, like loose fillings or crowns. Your dentist may take X-rays to check for bone loss. You might need surgery if the disease is severe or doesn’t get better with time. You might visit a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in gum disease.

Tips to Manage Gum Disease

To keep it at bay, you should:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Clean between the teeth, with floss or another cleaning tool.
  • Swish twice daily with antiseptic mouth rinse.
  • See your dentist regularly.

 

It seems like common sense, but so often people underestimate the importance of maintaining their teeth and gums.  Oral health is often overlooked, especially if there is no pain involved.  But as is so often the case a little prevention can prevent a lot of trouble later.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have any concerns about your oral health, contact your dental professional.

 

As always, if you have any questions or need more information, we would be happy to help.  Contact our office at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com.

 

Yours in Good Dental Health:)

Brunner Prast Family Dental

 

***The above information is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or treat any condition or disease.  If you have any concerns please contact a dental professional.

 

Hello Friends!

It’s that time of year again!  And no, I’m not referring to the upcoming holiday season. I’m referring to the end of the dental benefit year.  WooHoo!  Exciting? Hardley.  But it is important.  Why?  For the vast majority of patients with dental insurance, the policies run on a calendar year.

There are exceptions, of course (some government or educational agencies come to mind as examples).  But for the most part, if you don’t use your dental benefits, you lose them.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, when you are given a dental insurance policy, either through your employer or one you purchase yourself, the plan typically covers a set dollar amount, a “maximum” amount you are allowed for the year.  Most plans do not roll over into the next year.  So the benefits you pay premiums for are lost.

Calling to schedule your dental appoinment sooner rather than later will ensure that you will receive the appointment time that works for you.  It will also allow time for the doctor to create a comprehensive treatment plan should you need one and allow time to schedule before the end of the year.  Holidays become very busy in a dental office.  Many people try to take advantage of having time off work or school to schedule, so it may become difficult to schedule.

The good news is that it’s still early enough to schedule.  The bad news is that we can’t help you if you don’t call.

Of course if you have any questions regarding insurance or anything else, we are always happy to help.  We look forward to hearning from you soon:)

Your Friends at

Brunner Prast Family Dental

734.878.3167

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

 

*This blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.  If you have any questions or concerns, please consult a healthcare professional.

Hello Friends!

You’ve probably heard that it’s not normal for your gums to bleed.  Or that you should brush and floss at least twice a day.  And rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.  And see your dentist for a professional cleaning and exam every six months.  And stay away from sugary foods and beverages.  And avoid highly acidic foods.  The list goes on and on!  But life is busy!  You’re rushing out the door in the morning and often fall into bed exhausted at night.  Like so many other things that are good for our health, it can become easy to fall into the “I’ll do it tomorrow” trap.  But, much like other aspects of our health, dental neglect will begin to show warning signs.  Often one of the first is bleeding gums.  If your toothbrush bristles are always pink when you brush or the water you spit into the sink afterwards is tinged with blood, that’s probably an indicator of mild gum disease or gingivitis.  Your gums bleed because they are swollen, inflamed and irritated by the bacteria that has hardened into plaque. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease.

Aside from the obvious negative oral side effects (bad breath, cavities, tooth and bone loss) of periodontal disease, there have been numerous studies linking periodontal disease to overall health problems.  According to the ADA, the harmful bacteria that is in your mouth can travel to other parts of your body and has been linked to the increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The only way to truly maintain good oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly and see your dental professional every six – twelve months.  Like most things, catching problems early is the best way to avoid more serious problems and potentially  more expensive treatment later.

So as hard as it may be to add more things to your ever-growing “to-do” list, it is so important to take care of yourself and make time to brush and floss!

Yours in good dental health

Your friends at

Brunner Prast Family Dental

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

Hello Friends!

I came across this post and wanted to share.

CHOOSE DENTAL HEALTH. IT’S MUCH CHEAPER.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

I recently had a patient cancel her appointment at the last minute. This happens sometimes. It’s frustrating for a dentist or hygienist when we’ve set time aside for a patient and they don’t come. Usually there’s a good reason. In this case, no reason was given.

As I sometimes do…I took it personally. Why did this person choose not to have the treatment done that we discussed? What could I have done better?

This particular patient has been coming to our office for years. She is someone you might describe as “skeptical” of dental treatment. I suspect she had some bad dental experiences before I even came into the picture. She’s at least mildly phobic of dental treatment, too. However, I think she’s probably one of those people that believe that when I come in the room that I’m simply looking for work to do, probably to line my pockets.

-Do I really need this crown--It’s a difficult spot for a dentist. Often times we’re both the internist that diagnoses the problem and the surgeon that fixes it. Patient see this as a conflict of interest. The guy who is telling me that I have cavities is also the guy who benefits from them being fixed. I completely understand this. I take my role as a doctor very seriously and I put my patient’s needs first. But can you blame a patient for being skeptical of a doctor’s motivations?

When I examine a patient I’m looking to see what level of dental health the patient has. And when I see a problem, I’m obliged to tell them about it. I have found what I believe is the most effective way to do this. I do all of my recall exams with a dental operating microscope. This microscope magnifies what I can see and has a very bright light that allows me to see parts of the mouth that don’t get lit up very often. I’ve attached an HD camera to the microscope with a monitor mounted over the patient to allow them to see exactly what I’m seeing…as I see it. I feel like this is a great solution to the problem of showing the patient what I see instead of me just describing it. I like it more than still photos because I can show it to them “live” as I’m describing it.

blog post scopeBack to my patient that chose not to come in today. I definitely examined her with the microscope and I definitely showed her what I was seeing. I recommended to some treatment because I saw some problems. I try and do this dispassionately. I try not to “sell” a patient on treatment by showing them what I’m seeing. I try to help the patient choose dental health by showing them what I’m seeing and describing what we can do to correct dental problems.

I have a suspicion that this patient still thinks what I’m describing isn’t a real problem. Like many dental problems, what I’m describing probably doesn’t hurt. Most cavities don’t hurt. Gum disease almost never hurts. Even broken teeth often aren’t painful. If you use pain as the threshold for dental treatment, you’re probably going to end up choosing the most expensive way to fix the problem or worse, sometimes the problem can’t be fixed leading to the loss of a tooth. A small cavity left untreated almost always becomes a bigger cavity, so what may have been easy to fix with a filling could end up needing a crown or even a root canal. This sounds like a scare tactic used by a dentist. Ask any dentist and they’ll explain that they see it. All. The. Time.

So I’m going to suggest that you listen to your dentist’s recommendation. The choice to treat is always yours. But almost always, the sooner you treat a problem, the less expensive and potentially painful the fix is.

The above post was from Dr. Alan Mead at Mead Family Dental and can be found at the following link:

http://meadfamilydental.com/2016/01/choose-dental-health-its-much-cheaper/?utm_content=buffer76438&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

Have you ever had difficulty deciding to complete your dental treatment?  Do you have confidence in your dental practice?  What are your biggest concerns making the decision? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yours in good dental health,

Brunner Prast Family Dental

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

 

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.

Hello Friends!

Are you a “sipper”?  Do you have that delicious icy cold lemonade or sweet iced tea by your side all day long?  Maybe it’s that refreshing Coke or Pepsi by your side to quench that thirst.  Or maybe it’s that energy or sports drink you’re sipping.  Whatever you choose, unless it is plain water, it is important to remember not to sip continuously throughout the day.  The continuous exposure to the sugar and acids in these drinks makes a perfect environment for decay.

If you choose to drink these beverages, finish them in a short amount of time and rinse with water to minimize the risk for decay.

Sports Drinks info graphic

Have a great summer!!

Your friends at Brunner Prast Family Dental

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

 

 

 

spring cleaning tooth

Hello Friends!

Happy Spring!  Though it’s technically been spring for a month now, it’s really starting to feel like it here in Michigan.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the temperature’s finally warming up.  That’s a pretty big deal for Michiganders.  The weather can be pretty fickle around these parts.  I think that’s why we get so excited once the calendar flips over to April and May.  We can finally throw the windows open, get outside and enjoy nature.

Many people get inspired to “spring clean” when the temperatures start to climb, but I think it’s also a really good time to take care of your health.  Re address your exercise goals.  Make your annual physical and schedule any routine tests.  Of course as a dental professionals we want to emphasize making your dental checkup appointment.  We understand that it’s easy to procrastinate or put it to the bottom of your priority list, but I’d argue that it’s a great time to visit your dentist.  You really want to make sure that your smile is in tip-top shape for the summer.  There are so many things your dentist can help with your oral health.  Are you interested in whitening or cosmetic treatment?  Your dentist will discuss your treatment options for optimizing your smile.  Do you or your children play sports?  A mouth guard is an important way to keep your teeth safe from trauma and a custom can be created in as little as two appointments.  And of course, a cleaning and a thorough oral exam are always a good idea not only to check for cavities but to screen for oral cancers and periodontal disease.

Whether you’re a patient on a regular 6 month  rotation or haven’t been to a dentist in a long time, spring is a great time to visit your dentist to either stay or get back on track.  As always, if you have any questions or need more information, we are happy to help.  Visit us at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com.

Sincerely,

Your friends at

Brunner Prast Family Dental

Hello Friends!

Happy New Year!  Hope 2016 finds you happy, healthy and ready for new adventures.  We decided to start off the new year with some suggestions for making your child’s visit to the dentist easier.  While some children are enthusiastic about visiting the dentist, others are more apprehensive.

  1.  Role Play.

Prior to their dental appointments, practice what will happen.  Explain in very basic terms about the visit.  Use child-friendly terminology; that the hygienist will “count teeth”, and use a “spin toothbrush” and a “Mr. Slurpee”.  Avoid using any reference to shots, fillings, drilling or tooth pulling.

2.   Discuss what to expect in the waiting room.

Discuss what to expect in the patient waiting room.  Especially if visiting a pediatric dentist, most lobbies have a section tailored to young children.  Toys, bright colors and child-friendly furnishings are common.  Prize boxes or “treasure chests” are also fun to look forward to after the appointment.

3.   Be prepared to reschedule

Don’t worry if your child isn’t ready to sit in the chair and complete their cleaning.  It’s OK!  Sometimes it takes a few visits to get comfortable with the surroundings and to build trust with the staff.  Especially with very young children, waiting a few months can make a huge difference in their maturity and the ability to sit still.  Unless there are serious dental concerns or issues, it may be ok to wait.  Don’t shame or threaten a child into staying if they are afraid.  The hygienist and/or doctor will be happy to give suggestions if necessary.

Remember – dental professionals are used to all types of behavior issues and work with patients of all ages.  If you have questions, concerns or feel your child may need special accommodations, please feel free to contact the office ahead of time.  Most offices will try to make the visit as pleasant as possible.

Hope these suggestions help:)  If you’d like more information please visit our website at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com.  We’re always willing to help.

Sincerely,

Your friends at

Brunner Prast Dental

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Friends!

We came across this excellent article at the Huff Post by Tim O’Neill, M.A. in Medieval Literature.  

Did you know?

People in the Middle Ages considered healthy, white teeth a sign of beauty and wrote of sweet smelling breath as a desirable attribute. So, not surprisingly, we have extensive evidence that people liked to keep their teeth clean and a large amount of evidence of tooth pastes, powders and treatments, as well as mouth washes and treatments for halitosis.

Contrary to the depiction of medieval peasants with blackened and rotting teeth, the average person in the Middle Ages had teeth which were in very good condition. This is substantially due to one factor – the rarity of sugar in the diet. Most medieval people simply could not afford sugar and those who could used it sparingly – usually as a seasoning or minor ingredient and almost never as a condiment or the basis of a dish. This means that most people used natural sugars such as those in fruits and honey and even then ate this kind of sugar sparingly. Taken with a diet high in calcium via dairy foods, high in vegetables and cereals and low in foods that cause decay, the average medieval person ate the way most modern dentists would recommend for good teeth.

Not surprisingly, tooth decay was actually much less prevalent in the Middle Ages than it became in later centuries, when mass imports of sugar from the tropics made it a staple rather than a rarity. Surveys of archaeological data from the medieval period show that an average of only 20% of teeth show any sign of decay, as opposed to up to 90% in some early twentieth century populations. A more common dental issue for medieval people was not decay but wear. Eating stone-ground bread daily as part of almost every meal meant medieval people’s teeth saw considerable abrasion from grit which, over years led to the teeth being worn down. To an extent this actually helped prevent decay, as their molars had less crevices in which plaque could accumulate. But in the long run it could lead to the complete abrasion of dentine and tooth loss.

Medieval people cleaned their teeth by rubbing them and their gums with a rough linen cloth. We have various recipes for pastes and powders that could be put on the cloth to help clean the teeth, to whiten them and to aid fresh breath. Sage ground with salt crystals was one popular mixture. Powdered charcoal from rosemary stems was another. A crushed paste of pepper, mint and rock salt was also used, and there were many more. Most consisted of an abrasive and a scented herb, though others included a range of spices such as cinnamon, mace and cloves.

Mouth washes tended to be wine or vinegar-based, with herbs and spices steeped in these acidic liquids. Again, mint features heavily in these recipes, along with marjoram and cinnamon. Chewing fennel seeds, parsley or cloves were the most common recommendations for bad breath.

The fact that dental hygiene was relatively good compared to later periods would have been a benefit to people at the time, given that dental surgery was pretty bad. Most treatment consisted of simply removing the tooth, which tended to be done by the local barber and with no anesthetic other than perhaps getting drunk before hand. More skilled surgeons had treatments for mouth cancer, involving the cutting out of affected tissue and then cauterization. We also have evidence of dentures made from cow bone or human teeth, though only for the very rich. On the whole though medieval dental hygiene was based on the same concerns as today – white teeth and fresh breath – and medieval people developed some reasonably effective ways of maintaining both.

So next time you are at a party and need a fun fact, feel free to share:)

And if you or someone you know need dental care or have questions, please visit our site at http://www.brunnerfamilydental.com  We would be happy to help:)

***The entire article can be seen by visiting the link below at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/dental-hygiene-was-actual_b_7590896.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Hello Friends

I found an article by Robert Raible on the ADA website and the facts listed are troubling:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week released statistics on the high prevalence of dental caries (cavities) among U.S. adults, and the numbers are sobering.  Ninety-one percent of Americans over 20 have had cavities at some point in their lives. Notably, the agency reports that 27 percent of adults over 20 have untreated caries.

“Despite all the advances in our ability to prevent, detect and treat dental disease, too many Americans—for a variety of reasons—are not enjoying the best possible oral health,” said ADA President Dr. Maxine Feinberg.

Dr. Feinberg noted the substantially greater rates of untreated disease among African Americans (42 percent) and Hispanics (36 percent), saying, “The disproportionate rates of disease among some minorities is particularly disturbing and underscores the need for greater outreach to these underserved populations.”

According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, dental care utilization in 2012 was at its lowest level among working age adults since the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey began tracking dental care use in 1996. Adults who do not plan to visit a dentist in the next 12 months most frequently cite cost and the belief that they do not need dental care as reasons.   

Responding to the continued need to improve the nation’s oral health, the ADA in 2013 launched Action for Dental Health, a nationwide, community-based movement to provide care now to people who already suffer from untreated disease, strengthen and expand the public/private safety net and increase dental health education and disease prevention.

Dr. Feinberg emphasized the ADA’s belief that prevention is the ultimate answer to eliminating the vast majority of dental disease.

“We know that prevention works.  While it is critical to treat disease that has already occurred, the public health community needs to increase its focus on proven means of preventing it,” she said.  “Community water fluoridation, sealant programs for children, teaching people how to take care of their families’ teeth and gums, and getting the greatest possible number of children and adults into dental homes are the keys to better oral health for everyone.

“We are doubling down, and we urge the broader health care community, federal, state and local officials, the private sector—everyone with a stake in a healthier, more productive nation—to join us.”

Hopefully, consistent patient education and community dental programs will continue to make people aware of the seriousness of gum disease and tooth decay, inspiring people to take action.  Our office strives to make patient education a priority. Our hygienists and doctors routinely visit schools, beginning at the pre-school level and participate in community events to speak to the public and to distribute educational materials about disease treatment and prevention.  We see the effects of dental neglect on a person’s overall health on a daily basis, and make it our mission to spread the word.

If you have questions or need information regarding your dental care, please feel free to contact the office and we will be happy to help.  Visit http://www.brunnerfamilydental.com

Until next time

Your friends at Brunner Family Dental

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing 158,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website MouthHealthy.org