Monday, September 14, 2009

Smile Reminder..exciting new addition to the practice

We are now participating in the Smile Reminder service. This innovative program integrates with our office software and sends automated email and text confirmations for your dental appointments. Participation is optional and one can opt out whenever they want. Patients who participate will be able to confirm appointments with a simple click of the mouse. Part of the service is also the SmileDash system which allows patients to check their account and even pay their bills online. The service also will allow us to send out office newsletters via email and we will be sending out special offers on services as well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dental Appliance for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder where people have episodes where they stop breathing during the night. This is the most severe form of snoring. It is caused when the airway in the throat collapses and air can not pass into the lungs. Long term damage can occur leading to hypertension, heart diseaese, stroke, and the like. Apnea sufferers often feel groggy all day even when they get a solid nights sleep. A common treatment is the CPAP machine which is a mask worn by the patient to basically pump air past the obstruction during the night. CPAP is quite effective but many people have trouble tolerating the device.
There is an effective alternative to the CPAP. Dental devices have been proven to be a comfortable alternative to CPAP machines for the treatment of sleep apnea. Current recommendations by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine are that oral appliances are indicated for treatment of .....
bulletMild to moderate sleep apnea
bulletSevere sleep apnea where CPAP has been tried and failed
bulletPrimary snoring without sleep apnea

We provide the TAP 3 (Thornton Adjustable Appliance) in our office. It represents the latest in design, comfort, and effectiveness for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dominican Dental Project 2009

This year's Dominican Dental Project went very well. Three Dentists, six University of Maryland dental students, and three Domincan dentists saw over 400 patients in a week providing extractions, fillings, and partials. We worked in the towns of El Cercado and Honde Valle in the San Juan province near the Haitan border.
Here are some pictures.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Laser up and Running

I recently traded in my Waterlase MD dental laser for a new Lares Powerlase. I have been happily practicing laser dentistry since 2004, but now am loving it even more. The main advantage to the Powerlase is that it is faster than the Waterlase when treating teeth for fillings, yet paradoxically even more comfortable for the patient. Most fillings can be performed with no numbing at all so no needles, puffy lips, or funny talking after dental appointments. It is also two lasers in one (known as Er:Yag and ND:Yag). The Erbium(Er:Yag) laser is used to prepare teeth, remove bone during periodontal and oral surgery, and can be used for soft tissue surgeries as well. The Nd:Yag laser is for soft tissue only and is used to do scalpel free periodontal surgery, biopsies, gingivectomies, and the like. Both lasers when used for surgery result in more rapid healing with significantly reduced post operative discomfort. This is a great machine resulting in both better dentistry and more comfort for the patient.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Keep Sports Drinks on the Playing Field

Gatorade and it's kin are a handy way to rehydrate while exercising on a hot day. They can also be useful keeping sick kids (and grownups too) hydrated during a bad illness. However, I have seen an increase in recent years of families using sports drinks as a regular every day drink. Bought by the case at the local warehouse club by mom and dad, kids will drink these around the house all day, every day. Parents often tell me they considered it a healthier alternative than soda. This is not surprising given how the ads for these drinks seem to promote them as some kind of healthy super drink. These drinks are designed to help keep fluids and electrolytes in balance during and after vigorous exercise where a lot of sweating occurs. They are quite good at this. However their nutritional value is about zero (and don't be fooled by the ones with vitamins in them!).

The problem dentists are seeing from these drinks is a sometimes quite dramatic increase in tooth decay for regular users. Adolescents are at particular risk. When we advise patients regarding decay risk we stress the importance of limiting frequent sugar exposure (particularily in liquid form) and to avoid acidic drinks. Most sports drinks are loaded with sugar and are quite acidic. Both of these factors can increase decay activity immensely. It has not been unusual to find multiple decayed teeth in teenagers pop up even from their last six month appointment. In my experience these cavities are also more aggressive than what is typical these days in the age of flouridation.

Bottom line? Keep the sports drinks on the playing field and encourage healthier drinks at home like iced tea or lemonade with non sugar sweetener, milk, or good old fashioned tap water (not the bottled kind!......I'll get to that on a later post).