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5 Oral Health Tips for Seniors

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.

1.  Watch Out For Cavities As You Age

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.

2.  Share Your Medical History with Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos

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.

3.  Cosmetic Procedures Are For Patients of Every Age!

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:

  • Veneers: These can be done on aging teeth can help patients have more confidence in their smiles.  
  • Teeth Whitening:  This works on natural teeth and can make teeth look more youthful.  Please note that whitening does not work on crowns.
  • Orthodontics:  There are options that exist as long as teeth have good bone support.  Our teeth become more crowded as we age which can result in some teeth becoming crooked over time.
4.  Let Us Know if Your Dentures Are Loose

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!

5.  Don’t Forget Your Oral Health Care Basics

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

Let’s Get to the Root…of Root Canals: 3 Root Canal Myths

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.

Root Canal Myths

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!

What is a Root Canal?

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

5 Signs You Need to Make a Dental Appointment

The sign in our office is true: “Those teeth aren’t going to brush themselves.”  Your teeth need you to brush and floss daily, and they need you to get regular check-ups with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos.  However, 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year. Whether it’s a busy schedule, dental anxiety, or lack of insurance, professional oral health care should not be avoided.  Seeing a dentist regularly is a great way to support your oral health and can help prevent small issues from becoming big dental problems. By catching problems early on, you can save yourself time, money, and pain.  Here are five signs it’s time to make an appointment with us:

You have pain.

A toothache is the classic reason to come to our office and should not be ignored.  There are many possible causes for a toothache such as a cavity or broken tooth. Either way, a toothache should be evaluated by Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos right away to determine the cause and prevent the tooth from dying.  Jaw pain can also be a sign of a dental issue such as bruxism or teeth grinding.  Whatever pain you’re experiencing in your mouth, Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos can diagnose and address the issue, as well as help you avoid future issues.  

You try to hide your smile.

What if you could have the smile of your dreams in just one or two dental visits?  If you’re self-conscious about your smile, it can affect your confidence and prevent you from living your life to the fullest.  Whether you’re missing a tooth or wish your teeth were whiter, many dental issues can be corrected through cosmetic dentistry. Building a relationship with us so we can understand your goals and needs is a great way to not just take care of your health, but also to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

You notice blood when you brush or floss.

There are several reasons for bleeding gums, one of them being gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease.  If your gums bleed easily, it’s time to talk with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. Gingivitis is reversible and preventable and we can help you get on the right path to better oral health.  Bleeding and swollen gums could also be a sign that something else is wrong, another important reason to involve us in your health care.

You’re pregnant.

Coming in for a check-up should be on every mom-to-be’s checklist.  As we’ve said before, oral health is directly related to overall health, and regular dental check-ups and a good oral health routine will help keep you and baby healthy.  Pregnancy hormones can also cause changes in your mouth. For example, many women develop pregnancy gingivitis, or swollen gums, which can be helped with extra dental cleanings.  Some women also develop overgrowths in their mouth called “pregnancy tumors,” which can be uncomfortable. Mostly, these growths go away on their own, but if you have discomfort or concerns, come in and see us.

It’s time for a check-up.

If it’s been over 6 months since you last visited, then it’s time to come in for a cleaning and exam.  Even if you don’t have any symptoms, regular dental check-ups can help prevent problems from developing and treat symptoms (like those in the list above) before they advance.  Regular visits to our office are just as important as brushing and flossing your teeth daily. Plus, we always love to see you!

It you’re experiencing symptoms or if it’s time for your next appointment, give us a call at 207.781.5900.  Our team of knowledgeable and compassionate professionals are here to make your dental care as effective and comfortable as possible.

April Fool’s Day: Silly Dental Jokes!

Our team loves a good laugh and April kicks the month off right with April Fool’s Day.  Don’t worry–we decided to skip the pranks and go straight to the foolery! After all, they say laughter is the best medicine.  Here are some of our favorite dental jokes to keep you laughing all month long.

 

Dental Jokes

Q: What kind of award do teeth never want to receive?

A: A plaque.

 

Q: Why did the tree go to the dentist?

A: To get a root canal.

 

Q: What time do you go to the dentist?

A: Tooth-hurty!

 

Q: What has teeth, but can’t chew?

A: A comb.

 

Q:  What do you call a dentist’s advice?

A: Their floss-so-phy.

 

Last, but not least, here is a favorite joke from our beloved Dr. Knock:

Legend has it that comedian Rodney Dangerfield once asked his dentist for advice.  

“Doc – my teeth are yellow. What should I do?”

To which his dentist replied: “Wear a brown tie!”

 

We hope we tickled your funny bone with these jokes…we sure do love to see you smile!  If you have a great joke to share with us or need to schedule an appointment for a check-up, give us a call at 207.781.5900.

 

**Image courtesy of www.pearlriver.com

Have You Thanked Your Dental Assistant Today?

One of our favorite things about March is that there is a Dental Assistant Recognition Week.  It’s true! And we are lucky to have an amazing team of Dental Assistants committed to excellent patient care at FDA.  The theme of this year’s Recognition Week was “Today’s Dental Assistants–Polished, Poised, and Professional,” and we couldn’t think of a better way to describe Mary, Melissa, Mirela, and our newest staff member, Pat.  Let’s meet our four fabulous Dental Assistants and learn a little bit more about what a dental assistant does!

When you visit FDA, you may notice lots of people doing different jobs.  You might not realize the difference between some roles. For instance, do you know the difference between a Dental Hygienist and a Dental Assistant?

When you come to the office for a procedure with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos, Assistants are sitting chairside working directly with the dentists.  They are the bridge between the patient and the dentist and are focused on patient comfort and understanding. They need to know every step in each procedure so they can always be one step ahead of the dentist.  Each procedure and each dentist is different, so it is crucial that the Assistant is familiar with all the tools and materials and the order the dentist will need them. Beyond sitting chairside, Dental Assistants also take impressions, perform in-office whitening procedures, conduct lab work, and make temporary crowns.  Also, all of FDA’s Dental Assistants have their radiology certification, so they may have taken your last set of X-rays.

FDA’s Fab Four

Mary has worked in the dental field since 1995, many of those years with us.  For Mary, the dental care is excellent at FDA in part because of the encouragement and support that staff members receive to take continuing education classes. “We’re constantly improving our knowledge,” she explains. “These courses help us to communicate well together, which is very important.  Our motto is, ‘Have fun while doing great work!’ It’s all about working as a team to do the best for our patients and keep them relaxed. Everyone here helps each other.”

Melissa has been in the dental field since 2003 and is a chairside assistant along with 
handling whitening procedures, fabrication of crowns, and 
laboratory duties.  She has a passion for helping people, which is what led her to dentistry. “I love waking up each morning knowing that I am going to help someone today,” Melissa says. “Sometimes, we are able to change a person’s life, and that is powerful.”

Mirela has worked in the dental field since 2003, joining the Falmouth Dental Arts team in May 2017. She has worked in pediatric dentistry for most of this time, which lends her a unique perspective on dentistry. “Anyone can be afraid of going to the dentist – not just children,” she shares. “That’s why we do everything we can here at FDA to make patients feel comfortable and relaxed while they’re in our chairs.”   She also provides language support for the team with her fluency in Albanian and Greek.

Pat was a member of A Perfect Smile before and joined FDA earlier this month.  We are excited to have her on the team!  APS patients will recognize her and the wonderful care she provides. Please help us welcome Pat to the FDA family!

We are so grateful for all the amazing work and excellent patient care these women provide.  We strive to provide the best oral health care to our patients and couldn’t do that without our Dental Assistants.  We are lucky to have them as part of our team. Next time you see them at the office, say hello…and if you are in need of a visit to our office, give us a call at 207.781.5900.  We look forward to seeing you!

 

**Image courtesy of www.adaausa.org