Diabetes and Dental Problems

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you undoubtedly have made lifestyle changes to reduce and maintain your blood sugar. The back story of diabetes is what it can do to your teeth. Did you know that diabetics are more likely to develop gum disease, and are much more likely to lose their natural teeth than non-diabetics?

This is true. Blood sugar issues impact diabetes patients in more ways than just insulin dependency or sugar restriction. Only you can control future dental problems, but the first line of defense is to control your blood glucose level. First up? Take good care of your teeth and gums by daily brushing and flossing. Your mouth naturally contains many types of bacteria. When starches and sugars in food and beverages interact with that same bacteria, a sticky film, or plaque, forms on your teeth. The acids in the plaque attack the hard, outer surface of your teeth which can lead to tooth decay. The higher your blood sugar level; the more likely that sugar acid will degenerate your teeth.

Plaque, which contains bacterial colonies, must be removed with brushing and flossing or it will harden on your gum line. The longer that bacteria remains on your teeth, the more the tissue around each tooth will be irritated. This condition is known as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis becomes a more serious infection called periodontitis. Your soft tissue will become inflamed and eventually the bones that support your teeth pull away from them; causing teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. We have found that people with diabetes are more likely to contract periodontal disease and lose their natural teeth.

Bottom line? Diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows the healing process, especially when it comes to your mouth.

What can you do? Have regular checkups at our office at least every six months. Diabetics have special dental needs and we are equipped to meet them! Please let one of our hygienists or Dr. Petrusha know of any changes in your condition and any medication you might be taking. Above all other things; we care about you and your oral health.

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Keep Your Teeth Preserve Your Memory

Is there a relationship between keeping your teeth and preserving your memory? Experts think so. In a study published in Behavioral and Brain Functions, more than 4,200 Japanese seniors (aged 65 or older) underwent both a thorough dental examination and a psychological evaluation. The investigators found that those with fewer of their own teeth were at increased risk of memory loss or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the University of South California also found that missing teeth and chronic inflammation of the mouth in youth and young adulthood quadruples the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In our office, we have paid particular attention to these studies, since our patients’ lifelong health is a concern. If you think oral bacteria and its link to dementia are a stretch, consider this: oral health impacts the ability to eat, which is essential to overall health. If dementia exists or progresses, oral health conditions become more complex. One common complaint is that dementia patients can be less cooperative; often experiencing difficulties with chewing and swallowing as their dementia progresses. Malnutrition is a major concern for dementia sufferers.

We understand the importance of gentle treatment; recognizing that patients with dementia with have a deep need for extra care, kindness and respect.  We also know that twice-yearly checkups are a must for this patient group. If you believe a healthy smile dramatically affects a person’s sense of dignity, and you have a family member or friend with dementia symptoms, please call us to customize a special experience in our office for your loved one.


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The Benefits Of Green Tea

We all know that drinking green tea has health benefits, but you can add healthy gums and teeth to the list of benefits.

Preventive Medicine recently published that drinking at least one cup of green tea a day increases the odds of keeping your teeth as you get older. The power in green tea comes from anti-microbial molecules called catechins which serve to protect teeth and gums by killing bacteria that promotes decay. Although in lesser amounts, the molecules can also be found in oolong tea. For those of you who add sweeteners, researchers found it may lessen the powerful benefit of green tea.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy body. That is why it is so important to find simple ways to boost oral health – such as regularly drinking green tea.

Of course, seeing a dentist regularly is also important. When was your last visit?

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Gum and Heart Disease

Being sure we have the right facts on oral care and your health is important to us at Petrusha Family Dentistry.  Recently, there’s been confusion as to whether an actual relationship exists between periodontal disease and heart disease. The American Heart Association clarified that periodontal disease and atherosclerotic vascular (heart) disease DO have the same risk factors, such as smoking, age and diabetes.   Researchers also confirmed that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease, which is another excellent reason to maintain your health with professional cleanings. Periodontal disease can also worsen existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infection may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures; your cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires antibiotic pre-medication.

We care about your overall health; at your next visit, please let us know if you have had any changes in your medications or if you’ve recently had a change in your health status.

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We Celebrate Labor Day!

Dr. Petrusha and staff would like to wish you all a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!  You might take time this weekend to celebrate with a cookout with friends, find a great sale at the mall, but without our “laborers” this weekend wouldn’t exist.  As a federal holiday, we celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers.  We’d like to thank you for all the hard work you do to make our city and state a wonderful place to live.  Aside from a day off from work, another common employee perk is dental benefits.  Did you know that most benefits, if not used, are lost? Don’t let this valuable compensation go to waste! Treat your benefit package like a treasured day off and put it to work for you.

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Implant Supported Bridge

downloadDo you have missing teeth?  If you do, you may be a candidate for an implant-supported bridge.  The implant-supported bridge is similar to a regular dental bridge, but it is supported by implants and not by natural teeth. Most of the time, when an implant-supported bridge is used, one implant is placed in the jawbone for each missing tooth. Then the crowns are connected to each other to form one piece.

When Is This Used?

An implant-supported bridge is used when more than one tooth is missing. I may also use it when I am concerned that you might put too much pressure on individual implants that are not connected to each other.  If you clench or grind your teeth, enough pressure is put on each implant that the chances increase that they will loosen from the bone and fail. An implant-supported bridge reduces the pressure on the individual implants in the bone, and spreads it across the entire bridge; this helps ensure a great result.

To have the implant placed next to your remaining natural teeth, both the teeth and the surrounding gums must be in good health.  If you do not have enough bone to place the bridge or support dental implants, the bone in the affected area can be built up before the actual implant procedure begins. Bone grafting is a newer technique, but highly successful in cases where teeth have been missing a long time, or gum disease has eroded the site.

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What Do I Do if a Tooth Is Knocked Out?

knocked20outActing quickly is important!  First, locate the tooth itself. Pick it up gently and avoid touching the root surface.  If it’s dirty, quickly and gently rinse it in cold water.  Do not use soap or any other cleaning agent, and never brush the tooth. If possible, the tooth should be placed back into its socket.  The less time the tooth is out of the socket,the better chance of saving it. If the tooth will not go back in the socket, put it in milk; you’ll keep the living cells moist and alive for a few more hours.  Another option is to put the tooth back in the patient’s mouth between the gum and cheek.  Do not store it or transport it in water or a dry cloth or paper towel because the root cells will die and reduce the long-term prospect of saving the tooth.
Call us immediately!

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Are you a candidate for sedation?

thSedation dentistry is perfect for people who have moderate to extreme fear of dental procedures, or the dental office environment itself. Patients have told me about things that they negatively associate with dentistry, like the sound of the handpiece (you may call it a “drill”), or a certain smell or other memory. If you have, at any age, had a negative past dental experience, I’d highly recommend sedation to you. Not only will you be completely relaxed and comfortable, but there’s a good chance that you’ll remember nothing about your appointment whatsoever. Relaxation, comfort and security can be yours – and we’ll supply the headphones, so you can listen to something pleasant! There’s no need to fear your next dental appointment; just ask us about this life-changing option.

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Why I Believe in Sealants

sealant-copyIf I told you that a small piece of plastic would improve your life, would you be interested? Or better yet – if you knew you could invest $50 and it would save you thousands…would you do it? That’s’ the premise behind having sealants placed on your child’s molars. Or your own! I’m a huge fan of them because I believe prevention is preferable to the cost and demands of the cure.

Not sure what a sealant is? Easy enough. Sealants are a thick plastic coating that’s applied to the chewing surface of teeth, then cured rock-hard with a special light. Yes, the teeth do have to be extremely dry before sealants can be placed, which can be a challenge for people with a lot of saliva. In our office we’ve perfected a fast, comfortable way to apply the solution and cure it quickly. Sealants usually last about 3 to 4 years – long enough to protect the tooth during the pre-teen and teen years, until strong adult brushing habits are in place.

The real reason I’m a fan is because both my girls (who are now in college) had sealants and *neither of them* has ever had a cavity. I can’t think of any better endorsement. For a small investment anyone in your family can be one step closer to being cavity-free. I call that money well spent! If you’d like to pursue sealants for yourself or your child, give our office a call.

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What Are Your Teeth Saying?

occlusal-guardIf your teeth could talk, they might actually tell a story about your overall health and well-being. Your body is constantly throwing out clues that you can decipher. What if your teeth are worn or have flat edges? That’s dental warning sign #1! You are under stress. Whether you’ve considered it or not, clenching or grinding your teeth during sleep (or even during waking hours) is a clear sign of too much tension. Can you feel flattened places on your teeth now? Does your jaw ache from clenching? Consider an occlusal guard (also called a “night guard”) that will prevent your teeth from touching, and protect them. Dr. Petrusha is a firm believer in night guards. He has worn one for the past 10 years along with most of his family members.  These appliances have greatly reduced and eliminated the wear and damage to their teeth and as well as stress-related headaches.  Chronic headaches are common with this condition, because jaw muscles spasm after clenching for long periods of time. You might also feel muscle aches in your neck or upper back. De-stressing will help your body and your mind!

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