Summer is in full swing which means long days, trips to the beach, and, of course, busting out the BBQ! It is always a treat to be outside celebrating the season with family and friends, and if you’re like us, you like to look for ways to make your outdoor meals both delicious and healthy. However, perhaps you haven’t always thought about the ways you can make your gathering tooth-friendly, too…well, we’ve got you covered! Since it’s July, a quintessential BBQ month, we decided to share some of our tips for keeping your mouth healthy while you enjoy this beautiful season in Maine.
At many BBQs, the crunch usually comes in the form of a potato chip. These starchy snacks can be just as bad for your teeth as sugary sweets as they tend to stick in your teeth, giving cavity-causing bacteria a chance to go to work. Include a healthy crunch at your next meal by putting out a platter of fresh fruits and veggies. Having apples, carrots, and celery to munch on is not only healthy for your body, but it’s great for your mouth, too. Those crisp fruits and veggies will help stimulate saliva and keep your teeth clean…kind of like brushing your teeth!
Whether it’s enjoying a cheeseburger, a zesty yogurt dip for your veggies, or putting together an epic cheese platter, incorporating dairy into your next summer soiree is a smart choice. Dairy products are rich in tooth-strengthening calcium and phosphorous, and there is research that suggests that eating more dairy may lower your risk for developing gum disease.
We all know how unhealthy soda is, but on a hot summer day a cold drink really hits the spot. Here’s a fun way to avoid the empty calories and cavities at your next gathering: serve water infused with your favorite fruits. Think cucumber and mint, or strawberry and lemon…the possibilities are endless! Infused water is low in sugar, looks pin-worthy, and is oh, so refreshing. So, hydrate smart and in style this summer!
Did you know that ketchup is 25% sugar and a typical BBQ sauce can have 5 grams of sugar and 22 grams of carbohydrates in one teaspoon! By adding so many sugary sauces to your BBQ plate, you can easily reach your recommended intake of sugar for the day before you even think about dessert! Limit the unnecessary sugar in your next BBQ where you can by providing sliced tomatoes, onions and pickles for flavor enhancement. If you’re feeling bold, you can make your own ketchup without so much sugar. Your teeth will thank you.
We hope you are enjoying these amazing Maine summer days and that these tips help keep your teeth in good shape while you indulge in the treats of the season. Let us know if you have any favorite infused water recipes, and, please call us with any questions or concerns at 207.781.5900. We are here to help you have a smile that is healthy and happy!
*Image courtesy of www.familycorner.blogspot.com
Did you know that your routine dental check-up could save your life? Dentists are on the front lines of a growing health concern: oral cancer. Oral cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade the oral cavity (mouth) and the oropharynx (part of the throat at the back of the mouth). According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 53,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2019; that means 145 people each day. Prevention and early detection is one of the most effective strategies for treating oral cancer, as when it is caught early there is an 80-90% survival rate. Oral cancer screenings are an important part of our regular dental exams and something we want to help create more awareness about for our patients. To learn more about this critical health topic and the resources we have at FDA, we talked with Dr. Brunacini.
Dr. Brunacini: As dentists, we are part of your health care team. A lot of what is seen in the mouth can be an indicator of overall health and a lot of patients see their dentist more frequently than their physician. That makes an oral cancer screening at the dentist extremely important for early detection of any changes in the mouth which can be the key to easier treatment options for oral cancer, as well as a rapid recovery, and a prolonged life.
Dr. Brunacini: A lot of the oral cancer screening is simply examining the soft tissues with our eyes. We examine the gum tissue, lips, cheeks, and tongue. We also palpate areas of the face and neck to check for any nodules or lumps. If there is an area of concern, we also offer to do a VELscope screening. VELscope is a non-invasive oral cancer screening device that emits a safe blue light that provides earlier detection of abnormal cell growth that could be cancerous or precancerous.
Dr. Brunacini: The most common risk factors include tobacco, alcohol, and sun exposure. Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco account for most cases of oral cancer and lip cancer is often caused by excessive sun exposure.
Also, another risk factor, although less known, is HPV (Human Papillomavirus). It is a very common virus that most of us get exposed to throughout our childhood. There is now a vaccine that can be given, which could help decrease the risk for oral cancer.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about these risk factors and your health.
Dr. Brunacini: Yes, patients should be aware of any white patches or areas that bleed more easily, as these can sometimes be a sign of oral cancer. If there is a noticeable and recent change in your mouth, such as tenderness or a change in the way your teeth fit together, it is always a good idea to let us know. We will assess and address the issue and make sure that you are equipped with the information you need to make the best decisions for your well-being.
Dr. Brunacini: Generally, if there is an area of concern, the next step will be a referral to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon will perform a biopsy of the area to determine the diagnosis. A lot of times, the biopsy determines that the area is not of concern. However, when the biopsy is positive for cancerous cells, then further treatment may be indicated. Throughout this process, we are here to support our patients with the follow up care they need.
Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!
We strive to be your dental care partner for a healthy life and always want to make sure you have information about how we can help you achieve that. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health or would like to schedule an appointment with an oral cancer screening, please call us at 207.781.5900.
Here’s something to smile about: you can have the smile of your dreams in as little as two visits to our office! We all want to feel confident when we look in the mirror, and having a smile that you are proud to show off is a big part of that. If you find yourself self-conscious about your teeth or hiding your smile in social settings, know that we can help! Many dental issues can be corrected through cosmetic dentistry and that starts with a simple consultation with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. To learn more, we highlighted the cosmetic procedures we offer…perhaps there is one that is the right fit for you!
Teeth whitening is a very safe way to achieve the bright smile you’ve always wanted, and can be done in just a few treatments. We offer both in-office whitening as well as at-home options for our patients. The first step is to have a conversation with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They will help determine the right option for you, as in-office bleaching can be uncomfortable if you have sensitive teeth and might not be the best option if you having previously restored teeth.
If you have chipped, worn, or stained teeth, porcelain veneers may be a good solution for you. Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells that are shaped and fixed to your natural teeth. Veneers feel and look just like your other teeth, and they don’t require any special or additional care. They can be custom fitted in just two short visits and dramatically improve the shape, color, and length of your teeth!
Dental bonding is an affordable and painless procedure that can address many different cosmetic flaws or damages. Small chips and discolorations in your teeth are often unnoticeable to others, but can be glaring when you look in the mirror everyday. We use dental bonding to sculpt individual teeth with a special tooth-like material that looks, acts, and feels like the real thing. Bonding can also be completed very quickly, as the composite resin adheres quickly to your teeth and can then be polished and shaped to match your other teeth.
If you have missing teeth, there may be a better solution for you than wearing uncomfortable dentures. Many people believe that if they can still eat, tooth loss isn’t an issue; however, missing teeth can lead to a loss of support in the mouth, forcing other healthy teeth to drift. Many people with a healthy jawbone and soft tissue are suited for implants–your general health is a better indicator than your age. Dental implants provide a great long-term option for replacing lost teeth in a safe and predictable way, as they are designed to last a lifetime. Talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about your options!
There are many advantages to replacing your old metal crowns and bridges with porcelain. Porcelain restoration provides you with the translucency and shine of your natural teeth—you’d never be able to tell there was a need for a crown—and the texture of the polished porcelain is very similar to that of enamel.
You can rest assured that by improving the physical characteristics of your crowns, inlays, and bridges, you won’t also be wearing down your opposing teeth. When we fit a porcelain crown, we sculpt and shape the porcelain to fit perfectly with your existing bite, and the porcelain is hard enough to resist wear while soft enough to avoid damaging your natural teeth.
As you can see, there are lots of options for those of you who are looking to improve your smile. Whether your reason is cosmetic, physical, or a bit of both, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos are here to discuss all of your dental health goals with you. Let us help you have a healthy smile that makes you proud! Please call us at 207.781.5900 with any questions or to schedule your consultation.
*Image courtesy of IEmoji.com
Oral health is important no matter your age. It’s not just a part of maintaining a beautiful smile, but also a crucial element in overall wellness and quality of life. The health of your body and the health of your mouth are connected, and both require ongoing care. This is especially true for our older patients. Aging certainly doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to dentures…with proper care, your teeth can last a lifetime. However, there are additional concerns that come up for patients over 60. To learn more, here are 5 tips from Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos.
As we age, we become more prone to cavities. Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is often the cause and is a side effect of many medications. Saliva is one of your mouth’s best defenses against tooth decay. Be sure to tell Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about any medications you are taking or if you are experiencing dry mouth. They will have recommendations for how to restore moisture and work with you to help keep your mouth healthy.
We are a part of your health care team. Beyond sharing what medications you are taking, it is important to share any medical conditions such as heart conditions. In such cases, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos may recommend antibiotic prophylaxis, which is taking antibiotics prior to a dental procedure. We all have bacteria in our mouths, but for people with certain conditions when that bacteria enters the bloodstream it can cause infection elsewhere in the body. Talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos if you have any questions or concerns about the interactions between your medical conditions and oral care.
If you are self-conscious about your smile or wish you could improve the look of your teeth, let us know! There are several cosmetic options for patients of any age that can dramatically improve your smile. Examples include:
There have been many advances in recent years to help people with loose dentures. If you have discomfort or concerns about the fit of your dentures, talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They can discuss possible choices for you such as implants which help dentures have a tighter fit, or implant-support bridges. The point is, there are options and we are here to help!
It’s important for all our patients, especially those over 60 to follow our recommended oral health care regimen: brush twice daily, floss daily, and schedule regular appointments with FDA. We hear from some patients with arthritis that brushing can be a literal pain. We recommend an electric toothbrush to help get to all parts of your teeth while limiting your arm movement. We also like to remind our patients to include healthy diet as part of their oral health care. For example older patients need to make sure they are getting enough calcium–not just from supplements, but from dairy products and leafy greens to support teeth health.
Thank you Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos! If you have more questions about your oral health or need to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 207.781.5900. Our entire staff is dedicated to providing you with the most caring and comfortable environment possible while also providing top quality dental care for all ages.
*Image courtesy of www.cdc.gov
For many patients, even the mere mention of a root canal causes fear and anxiety. It doesn’t need to be this way! Decades ago, these treatments were painful, but with advancements in dentistry and local anesthetics people have little, if any, pain during a root canal procedure. In fact, it’s probably more painful to live with an infected tooth than it is to get a root canal. So why does this fear persist? We think it has something to do with all the misinformation about root canals that is out there. We decided to look at some common myths and help educate you about what a root canal really involves.
MYTH 1: No Pain, So No Need
While it’s true that pain is a great indicator of an infection or that something is wrong with your tooth, everyone experiences pain differently. Some people think if they only have a little bit of pain, then there’s no need for a dental procedure. Let Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos know if you are experiencing any pain. They can examine your teeth for cracks or other signs of damage as well as take x-rays to determine if there is an infection in your tooth that requires a root canal.
MYTH 2: Root Canals Will Make You Sick
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet! Apparently a poorly designed research study from a century ago is still cited by some as a reason to avoid root canals. This long-debunked study conducted by Weston Price in the 1920s claimed that the toxins in infected teeth could cause diseases such as arthritis and cancer, however there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Don’t let rumors prevent you from getting the oral care you need.
MYTH 3: Root Canals Need to Be Redone Often
Some people think that once they receive a root canal, they will need to have repeat procedures in the future to maintain the tooth. Preserving your natural tooth is always the best option and root canals have a high-success rate. Follow your regular oral health care regimen of brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos for regular check-ups. With this proper care, your restored tooth will last a lifetime!
Now that we’ve dispelled some misinformation, let’s return to the basics. A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a damaged or infected tooth. It is an alternative to removing the tooth, which would then require an implant or bridge. Teeth have a soft substance at their core called ‘pulp’ which contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. When a tooth gets a cavity or a crack, bacteria can get into the pulp and cause pain in the tooth. Symptoms of this occurring may include swelling, pain, and temperature sensitivity.
The procedure may take one or two visits and involves removing the infected pulp and cleaning the root cavity. Once the tooth core and root have been cleaned, it will be filled and then sealed. We may determine that you also need a crown to further protect the tooth if it has been severely damaged. In some cases, a metal post inserted into the tooth may also be needed to help secure the crown. At FDA, we offer oral sedation for patients, which helps make the root canal procedure as easy and stress-free as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns about root canals or the general health of your teeth, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 207.781.5900. Our goal is to give you the best oral care possible and we always want you to feel comfortable and informed about all the procedures you may need while in our care.
*Image courtesy of shutterstock.com