The Future of Dentistry! An Interview with Dr. Brunacini

As we begin a new year, one cannot help but think about the future.  What lies ahead?  How will things change?  How will our lives improve?  When it comes to oral health care, there are a lot of interesting developments in the works and on the horizon.  To gain a better understanding of what the future may hold for dentistry, we spoke with Dr. Brunacini.  

1.When you think of the future of dentistry, what is most inspiring to you?

Itero Element 2 Digital Scanner

Dr. Brunacin:  The digital workflow in dentistry will be a significant gamechanger.  By using a digital scanner (pictured, right) instead of traditional impressions, we can achieve better fitting crowns and dentures in a much more efficient and comfortable manner.  Digital scanners are a wand-like device that allow us to capture a 3D image of a patient’s mouth. 

We can now begin planning oral rehabilitations digitally before performing any surgeries as well.  This helps us better anticipate any challenges that may arise and creates improved predictability, which also helps us achieve one of our top priorities:  a much better patient experience!

Also, replacing teeth with dental implants will continue to increase in prevalence because they combine both great esthetics and function for the patient.  There are so many advances  to look forward to in dentistry!

2. Have there been any takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic that you think will impact the future of oral health care?

Dr. Brunacini: During the pandemic, I’ve been struck by the power that stress has on our bodies.  The increase in stress and anxiety that we all feel has correlated to a significant increase in TMJ symptoms and broken teeth.  Of course, we need to treat teeth with cavities due to decay, but broken teeth due to bruxism (grinding/clenching) is new to a lot of people and really can do significant damage to the teeth and gums over time.  As we’ve discussed before, it will continue to be important for patients to consider their whole body health as part of their oral health.  It’s all connected…when you’re stressed, it shows in your mouth.   

3. Integrative Dentistry is an important part of the oral health care philosophy at FDA.  How do you see that evolving in the years to come?

Dr. Brunacini:  Integrative Dentistry is a care philosophy that views the oral cavity – mouth, teeth, and gums – as another system in the human body that requires a whole body approach when thinking about care.  I’m looking forward to the continued increase in collaboration between medicine and dental care.  For so many years, dental care has always been separate from the medical model.  Over time, I expect more connections between oral health and overall health to increase, which will create more motivation for both the patient and provider to improve oral health.  

4. Technology is advancing all the time.  What are some of the exciting technological advances taking place in oral health care?  

Dr. Brunacini: As I’ve mentioned before, the digital workflow using digital scanners and 3-D printers will continue to improve in quality; therefore, it will soon become the preferred way to fabricate crowns and dentures.  This will create a more efficient and more effective treatment for the patient, which is really sensational!  

5. What’s one thing patients can do to improve the future of their oral health?

Dr. Brunacini:  Proper homecare and diet continue to be the best way to improve oral health.  I tell patients repeatedly that the best dentistry is no dentistry.  If a patient can maintain proper oral hygiene plus a healthy diet to minimize decay risk, then a majority of dental problems can be prevented.  So keep brushing, flossing, and eating healthy!

 

Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!

Your teeth have a lot to look forward to in the future!  As Dr. Brunacini recommends, keep those teeth healthy and happy by following a proper home care regimen: brush twice-a-day, floss daily, and come in for your regular check ups!  And don’t forget to eat well and find ways to reduce stress in your life, too.  If you have any questions about your oral health care, or need to schedule an appointment, call us today at 207.781.5900.

 

*Scanner image courtesy of www.itero.com

 

Welcoming Wellness: 3 Ways to Begin Practicing More Holistic Oral Healthcare

The start of a new year is a great time to incorporate healthy new habits into your routine…hello new year’s resolutions!  This year, we want to encourage you to take a holistic approach to your oral health.  Yes, we still would love if you started flossing every day, but we also want you to think bigger.  That means going beyond the toothbrush and thinking about how your mouth is connected to the rest of your body.  From your mind to your stomach, how you treat yourself impacts the health of your teeth and mouth.  Chances are, you’ve heard Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos talk about this oral health care philosophy before, or read about holistic oral health care on our blog.  But it is a message worth repeating!  We thought it would be useful to share 3 tips to help you begin practicing more holistic oral health care in 2021.

1. Meditate

More and more, we see signs of stress are showing up in dental exams.  Not only does stress increase the likelihood of clenching or grinding teeth, but it can also cause dry mouth, a neglect of oral hygiene, and decreased immune function.   While we can help address the symptoms that arise with these issues, it is just as important to think about the root cause and find ways to lower your stress levels.  One of the most effective ways to reduce stress is to meditate.  Meditation not only helps reduce stress, but it also improves your oral health by boosting your immune system, reducing chronic inflammation, and increasing saliva production.  There are loads of resources out there to help you get started and please feel free to ask our team of compassionate care providers to recommend an app or breathing technique at your next appointment.  We are here to support you!  So breathe in…and breathe out for a healthier mind and a healthier mouth.  

2. Eat Your Greens

Perhaps eating more vegetables was already on your list of new year’s resolutions, which is great!  Eating a healthy diet is not only good for your body, it’s good for your mouth too.  In particular, leafy greens like kale and spinach pack a real punch!  These superfoods are full of calcium which support teeth enamel, and folic acid which may help treat periodontal disease.  We love to recipe share, and there are plenty of tasty options like blueberry-spinach smoothies and kale pesto that will make incorporating more greens into your diet a cinch!

3. Turn to Tea

Fancy a cup of tea?  Go for the green!  Dating back some 4,000 years as a popular and medicinal beverage enjoyed in China and Japan, recent studies have shown that green tea protects against cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.  The tasty beverage is full of antioxidants and compounds called polyphenols, which help reduce bacteria and promote the health of gums.  Studies have also shown a decreased risk of oral cancer in green-tea drinkers, another important reason to incorporate a cup into your day.  It’s important to remember that sweeteners can still erode your teeth, so for the best health benefits skip the sugar and honey.

 

While these tips are a great way to more holistically support your oral health, they are no replacement for the tried-and-true routine of brushing twice-a-day, flossing daily, and coming to see us for regular check ups.  If you have questions about how you can incorporate more holistic health habits into your oral health care routine, please let us know!  We are your partner in your oral health care and want to support you.  Call our office at 207.781.5900.

 

Home for the Holidays: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy!

“Home for the Holidays” has a whole new meaning this year.  Many of us are recalibrating our holiday celebrations to keep our loved ones and community safe.  In the midst of all this change, let’s not forget our dental health commitment!  To keep it simple for you, we put together our top 5 tips for keeping your teeth healthy and treating yourself right this holiday season.  

1. Treat yourself to a new toothbrush!

When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush?  We (and the ADA!) recommend you replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles become frayed.  It’s also important to replace your toothbrush after an illness to ensure you don’t spread more germs.  Our hygienists are fans of electric toothbrushes for top-notch brushing and frequently recommend them to patients.  Sounds like the perfect stocking stuffer!

2. Treat your teeth and gums to a massage!

We’ve talked about this on our blog before, but it’s actually possible to brush too hard.  Putting more elbow grease into your two minutes, twice-a-day doesn’t mean you’re doing a better job keeping your mouth healthy…in fact you could be damaging your tooth enamel or gums.  Be gentle with your teeth and brush like you are giving them a nice massage.  Find your moment of zen while you brush and your mouth will thank you!

3. Treat your whole body right!

Good oral health care doesn’t stop at the bathroom sink.  It’s also important to incorporate a healthy diet and healthy habits into your oral health care regimen.  The holidays are full of tempting sweets and goodies, but you’ll be treating your body and your teeth right when you make an effort to incorporate some crunchy veggies or fruit into your holiday nibbling.  From leafy greens to carrots to apples, there are a lot of healthy snacks out there that help support a healthy mouth.  Also, cheese lovers will rejoice to learn that they are supporting their teeth with a serving of calcium and Vitamin D!

4. Treat yourself to a new habit…flossing!

Get a jump start on the new year by adopting a new healthy habit that will support your oral health and your whole body: flossing!  We probably don’t need to tell you again that flossing is not only a crucial part of your dental care but that it has also been linked to improving health conditions such as diabetes.  There are other options for cleaning between your teeth beyond just traditional flossing, so you can figure out what works best for you. It doesn’t matter when you floss each day, just do it! 

5. Treat yourself to a dental checkup with our compassionate team of dental professionals who care about you!

We are your partners in oral health and want to provide you with the absolute best oral health care possible.  If you have put off your routine check up due to concerns about the virus, please call us at 207.781.5900. We can discuss your concerns and describe our health screening and COVID-19 protocols that are in place to protect both you as our patient and us as your provider. 

Happy Holidays from our FDA family to yours!  Stay safe and stay healthy!

 

Season of Giving: FDA’s Favorite Dental Charities

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…to give back! Healthy smiles are one of the best gifts, and we believe that everyone should have access to oral health care.  That’s why we work with Dental Lifeline and Dancing with the Dentists to help people in our community receive the dental care they need.  If you haven’t heard of these two wonderful organizations, let us help you learn more about great work being done in oral health!

Dental Lifeline is a national charitable organization that was founded in 1974.  Its mission is to improve the oral health of people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile.  Through its flagship program, Donated Dental Services (DDS), oral care is provided to people who cannot afford necessary treatments and cannot receive public aid.  With its network of 15,000 dentists and 3,500 labs nationwide, the DDS program has provided $378 million in donated therapies and transformed the lives of 120,550 people.

Our beloved Dr. Knock envisioned Dancing with the Dentists and drew from his local dental network to build a ballroom dancing competition that generated funds for several local charities.  Our very own Dr. Brunacini and his wife, Jenny, won the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy in Season 1!  Dancing with the Dentists Season 4 will take place in 2022, and will feature 10 courageous dental professionals on the ballroom floor, showing off their moves to raise money for The Root Cellar and Dental Lifeline.  A fun competition that also makes a real impact, Dancing with the Dentists raised over $40,000 for charity at their last event!

We have also worked with Dentists Who Care for ME and look forward to continuing to support their great work when they are able to hold the next event for their services.

Giving back and caring about our community has never felt more important. 2020 has been full of challenges, to say the least.  This holiday season, we also look forward to supporting our local business community.  As a locally-owned small business, we feel grateful to be a part of such a conscientious and kind community.  We’re all in this together!

We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season!  Thank you for being a part of the FDA Family!

*Image courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

 

Causes–and Complications–of Dry Mouth

Did you know that saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against tooth decay?  We speak the truth…saliva is a really big deal!  Saliva helps wash away food, fortify your teeth with minerals,  and neutralize acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.  It is crucial to your oral health, which is why if you experience dry mouth, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos want to know.   Dry mouth, also known xerostomia, can be a symptom of another medical issue or a side effect of certain medications.  It can be a particular issue for patients over 60.  So, what causes dry mouth?  And what are the complications that can result from it?  Let’s take a closer look:

Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is not a disease, but can be a symptom of other medical conditions.  One example is Sjogren’s Syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture producing glands.  Other conditions that can cause dry mouth include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and cystic fibrosis.  Hormonal changes in the body like women experience during pregnancy and menopause can also impact saliva production.  Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos are part of your health care team, and if you have a medical condition that impacts your saliva or mouth, it is helpful to keep us in the loop.  Share your medical history with us so we can help you be proactive about your symptoms and your oral health.

Along with your medical history, it is also important to share what medications you take with Dr. Bruncini and Dr. Karagiorgos.  Certain medications can have dry mouth as a side effect.  These medications can range from chemotherapy to antidepressants to over-the-counter antihistamines.  Dry mouth is one of the most common adverse side effects and fortunately there are options to help restore moisture to your mouth.  Sharing your medication list with us helps us know all the factors contributing to your oral health so we can help design a treatment plan that is right for you.

Complications of Dry Mouth

It can be uncomfortable to experience dry mouth and problematic to your dental health.  You may experience complications such as a sore throat, trouble speaking, difficulty chewing and swallowing, or notice that your saliva feels sticky and that you have bad breath.  Mouth sores and yeast infections are other complications that may arise.  If you wear dentures, you may experience issues with their fit and comfort without proper saliva production.  Your mouth will also be exposed to more bacteria which puts you at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease.  

 

Don’t worry, if you’re experiencing some of the discomfort associated with dry mouth, we can help!  Talk to Dr. Brunacini, Dr. Karagiorgos, or your hygienist.  We will have tips and recommendations to help you find relief while you care for your teeth and mouth.  For example, we can help you find a sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva and restore moisture, or steer you towards oral rinses that will replace moisture.  As always, remember to keep brushing twice a day and flossing once a day!  If you have more questions or concerns about your oral health or would like to schedule an appointment or consultation, give us a call at 207.781.5900.

 

**Image courtesy of www.thedoctorweighsin.com