I was online and ran across an article on Yahoo titled, "The No. 1 Threat to Kids' Health" (http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/no-1-threat-kids-health), so I naturally felt compelled to see what it was. The author Lisa Collier Cool, stated it was 'tooth decay'. To summarize the article, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in kids, affecting over 16 million kids. The worst part is, it's preventable. With proper diet and oral hygiene, tooth decay can be prevented, but less than half of our kids brush their teeth twice a day as recommended. Because of this, 50 million hours of school are missed each week because of treating tooth decay, and 25 million hours of the parents work are missed because of treating tooth decay.
Prevention starts early, even before children have teeth. Start by wiping their gums with a damp wash cloth to decrease the bacteria count in their mouth. As they get older make sure to help them brush their teeth because children are unable to effectively brush their own teeth until they are 4 or 5. After that age make sure and check they are brushing effectively. When kids are 2 years old, you start using a fluoride toothpaste, but only a small pea sized amount. Too much fluoride can discolor forming teeth.
As the adage goes, and ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. This could not be more true for tooth decay. Preventing tooth decay can prevent tooth aches, tooth abscess, tooth loss and decrease the likelihood of diabetes and heart disease, and in extreme cases even death from tooth infections.
Why am I talking about heart health as a Dentist? The primary reason is that we at Ikuta Smiles care about everyone's total health along with their dental health. Of course it doesn't hurt when they are one in the same. I read an article about the six worst habits for your heart (http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/worst-habits-your-heart), and three of them are things we do for our patients on a daily basis.
The six habits are:
1. Being glued to the tube
2. Having a negative attitude
3. Ignoring snoring (Sleep Breathing Disorders)
4. Not flossing
5. Foregoing fiber
Not surprising that being active, eating healthy and not smoking are on the top six list, but the other three aren't as well documented.
Ignoring snoring or sleep apnea can really impact a persons health. A person who suffers from sleep apnea and is untreated can expect to have a life span reduced by about 12 years. I feel it is going to be the next wave of preventative medicine because effective treatment of sleep apnea can prevent the adverse affects from sleep apnea. Knowing this is why we screen every patient in our office for sleep apnea risk and help those individuals with either treatment or proper referrals for their treatment.
Not flossing can increase the risk of periodontal disease, and that is the real heart killer. People who have periodontal disease are twice as likely to have heart disease opposed to someone who has healthy gums. Knowing this is why we screen everyone for periodontal disease and gum infection, and manage those patients to maintain maximum health.
As far as changing a negative attitude, well, that has to be something that comes from within, but we can make that easier. Many people appear to be a sourpuss or a negative Nellie because they don't smile. It may not be because they are mean negative people, it may be that they are ashamed of their smile or suffering from chronic pain. We have helped many people by taking them out of pain and giving them a smile they can't wait to show off. It is an amazing transformation, not only physically, but emotionally. Allowing someone to not be ashamed of their smile or distracted by chronic pain will allow them to display their happy emotions with a smile they are proud of.
Recently I ran across an article about the link between Sleep-Disordered Breathing and neurobehavior complications, which includes attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by Chevrin, Ronald et al, PEDIATRICS Volume 117, Number 4, April 2006. I found it extremely interesting and insightful for a couple different reasons. It, for one, speaks to my passion about treating SDB, second I have a soft spot for childhood development.
The study looked at children ages 5-12 who needed adenotonsillectomy (AT) for various reasons and tested them for SDB and neurobehavior (ADHD). After 1 year, the children were tested again, and half of the children who previously were diagnosed with ADHD no longer qualified for the diagnosis. The biggest potential impact of this study, is that before this study was conducted, ADHD was previously considered a chronic disease treated with only management. It would be like a child diagnosed with diabetes (another chronic disease) having a simple surgery and one year later no longer having diabetes! The other big impact of this study is that there may be a cause and effect of SDB and ADHD. Scientist don't know what causes ADHD, so anything that shows a strong correlation to a cause and effect can potentially lead to a big breakthrough.
From what I can see, the only drawback to this study, is that it isn't well known. I would love to see this become common knowledge, so more studies could be done, to further our knowledge, but more importantly help children burdened with neurobehavioral disorders and SDB.
The past few years there have been a number of studies that have linked a person's oral health with their systemic health. Recently, there have been more connections, and broader connections that poor oral health will negatively impact. It is very well documented that periodontal disease will increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, and with a certain bacterial pathogen (Porphyromonas Gingivalis) by a factor of 14 times. It is also well known that periodontal disease will negatively impact the control of diabetes due to the increase in A1C hemoglobin levels. Now, there are links with periodontal disease and upper respiratory diseases. These include pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Inside Dentistry, October 2011).
Although the exact mechanism of how everything interrelates is not known at this time, the fundamentals of biology state that no part of the body will work in isolation. (Inside Dentistry, October 2011) This may be exemplified by the fact that there are saliva tests that can be run, that can help detect a type of early-stage pancreatic cancer. (Inside Dentistry, October 2011). There is still a lot of research to be done, but in my opinion we are only looking at the tip of the iceberg. There has been preliminary studies linking poor oral health with early onset Alzheimer's disease, anemia, and increase risk in breast cancer. In the meantime, it may behoove you to keep your mouth healthy, not knowing exactly what an unhealthy mouth could effect.
We just attended the IACA San Diego, and we learned so much about the current state and future of Dentistry. We have always been excited for our profession, but the best is still to come! The new digital technology, quality of products, and advancing science have us all jubilant for the future. One interesting facet of the profession that is emerging is saliva testing. Saliva is a great medium to test for metabolic health, DNA analysis, and specific bacterial or viral testing.
Ever wonder why the guy who almost never brushes his teeth doesn't have horrible gum disease, while the woman who takes superb care of her mouth is suffering with it? With saliva tests we can see how genetically susceptible a person is to periodontal (gum) disease. It is able to tell if some people are at a higher risk for oral cancer by testing for a specific Virus that is known to cause oral cancer. The last aspect saliva can test for is specific bacteria that causes periodontal disease. If we know what bacteria are present, it makes it easier and more effective treating periodontal disease.
Like I mentioned earlier, saliva testing is still emerging, and I cannot wait to find out what else it will be capable of diagnosing in the future.
I recently stumbled across an article on sleep apnea, in the sports section of all places. "Shaquille O'Neal's girlfriend schools him on Sleep Apnea". I find it fascinating that sleep apnea can affect anyone, even professional athletes. The video linked on the page was very informative and is a great way to see the process of diagnosing sleep apnea and possible treatments for it. After watching the video (http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Shaquille-O-8217-Neal-8217-s-girlfriend-school?urn=nba-wp3654), I couldn't help but wonder if another professional athlete may have had undiagnosed sleep apnea, Robert 'Tractor' Traylor, who recently died of a heart attach at the age of 34 (http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20110511/OSH02/110511147/Michigan-legend-former-Buck-Tractor-Trailer-dead-34). Not to forget Reggie White who died of Sleep Apnea at the age of 43. It helped me remember that just because someone is in shape and a great athlete, doesn't mean they are immune to sleep apnea and its deadly consequences.
Yes!!! According to the California Dental Association (http://www.cda.org/popup/xylitol), certain sugar free gums can help prevent cavities, and the first ingredient listed has to be xylitol (a sugar substitute).
Xylitol has been proven to reduce cavity formation because the bacteria that cause cavities take in xylitol as food, but can't digest it, so it can kill the bacteria. Over time it leads to less bacteria, which leads to less acid eroding the teeth causing the cavities.
In order for xylitol to be effective one must use xylitol containing products (gum or mints) 3-5 times daily and chewed for at least 5 minutes each time.
Chewing xylitol gum or mints won't prevent cavities on their own, but it can help reduce the occurrence along with regular brushing at least twice a day and flossing. If you already chew gum, why not chew gum that helps keep your teeth more healthy?
Sleep apnea affects approximately 27% of the population according to sleep physicain Dr. Bret Sherman and approximately 87% of the people have no idea they have sleep apnea (http://health.yahoo.net/caring/7-signs-you-have-a-sleep-problem-you-don-t-know-about). Untreated sleep apnea reduces the life expectancy of a person by 8 years (http://www.evergreen8.com/sleepapnea/). There are, however, many risk factors that increase the chances of a person having sleep apnea. Those include snoring, stoppage of breathing while sleeping, obesity which is defined as a BMI over 30, large neck circumference over 17 inches, high blood pressure, narrow airway, advancing age and family history (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleep-apnea/DS00148/DSECTION=risk-factors). The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. The first step is to see a sleep physician and obtain a diagnosis. From the diagnosis the sleep physician will go over the options to treat their sleep apnea.
We are extremely pleased to announce that next week we are getting a digital impression system. What this means is that we will be able to take impressions with the ease of taking a few pictures, NO MORE GOOP!!! No more difficult impressions, gagging, frustration, and stress.
There is an old saying, "The mouth is a window to the health of the body," so a healthy mouth means a healthy body. There are multiple studies correlating the overall health and dental health confirming the old saying. More specifically the presence of periodontal disease increases the likely hood of low weight pre-term births, heart disease, vascular function, and diabetes. The science was compelling enough for insurance companies to do some studies on their own, and they concluded: treating periodontal disease decreases the overall cost of treatment for patients with diabetes, coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease or stroke.
There is a substance produced in the liver called C-reactive protein (CRP), and it is produced by the liver in response to chronic inflammation. The level of CRP is actually a better indicator of a person's risk for a cardiac event than cholesterol. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation, and there is a direct link between periodontal inflammation and the levels of CRP.
There is a bad synergy between diabetes and periodontal disease. Unfortunately people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. The flip side of the coin is that periodontal bacteria challenge blood sugar control, and increases the rate of diabetes. Periodontal disease also increases the difficulty of treating diabetes complications. It can increase the mortality rate by a factor of 7 or more in the later years. Fortunately, with treating periodontal disease and great home oral hygiene it can significantly improve the compromising factors of blood sugar control.
Periodontal disease, although painless, is far from benign. It can contribute to the onset of diabetes, exacerbate the complications of diabetes, increase the risk of heart disease, and increase the risk of a low weight pre-mature birth. So the next time you hear your gums are bleeding don't shrug it off and say to yourself, "Yeah, because you poked it with the sharp thing," remember it is just the tip of the iceberg for the malevolent symptoms that go unseen.
Instant orthodontics is becoming more and more popular to help fix people’s smiles. Smiling can light up your face and if you suffer from crooked or bad teeth, then you probably don’t smile as much as you could. While there is always the option of receiving conventional braces, this option is not appealing to many people due to the long correction process and pain the process causes.
If you want to avoid months or even years of traditional orthodontics, then instant orthodontics may be for you. It is important to explore all of your orthodontic options before making your final decision.
There are several reasons why instant orthodontics is gaining popularity. The main reason is because of the convenience of the procedure. Most of the time, you can get results in just one or two visits. In today’s busy world, this is a major time saver and appeals to those who have a very busy schedule.
Another convenience is that with instant orthodontics, there is no need for a retainer. With traditional orthodontics you often have to wear a retainer for several years or even the rest of your life.
Lastly, there are very limited side effects. With conventional orthodontic treatments, you can suffer from severe tooth pain as the teeth are shifted. While a few people do occasionally experience some tooth sensitivity after having instant orthodontic applied, this tends to be rare.
While there are numerous reasons why instant orthodontics may be the right choice for you, we encourage you to contact us for a complimentary smile evaluation. Together we can explore your options and help you come to a decision that best suits your needs. Drs. Ikuta serve cosmetic dentistry patients in Reedley, Fresno and surrounding areas of California.
I recently went to an advanced orthodontic course taught by the world famous Dr. Jay Gerber, and received amazing wealth of knowledge. One of the points that really stuck out to me was the importance of early orthodontic treatment. If treatment starts after the age 11, there is a chance that irreversible facial distortions can be in place. The other aspect is pathological posture could become habitual as well, leading to a lifetime of neck and back pain, probably accompanied with headaches.
The good news is that there are ways to fix these problems before they become irreversible. By visiting a dentist who has received training in Neuromuscular Functional Orthodontics, they can spot the pathology and intervene.
A few basic things to look for are if a child has a deep overbite, mouth breathes, snores, narrow upper arch, crowded teeth, forward head posture, or retruded lower jaw. These are all signs that the child is developing pathologically.
Some people are very self conscious of their smiles due to crooked teeth or gaps. Thankfully, there are ways to fix those problems, and one of the ways is called instant orthodontics. Instant orthodontics uses porcelain veneers. There are a few steps in the process of using porcelain veneers:
1. It is important to understand that not everyone is going to be a candidate for instant orthodontics. Some teeth may be too crooked or crowded and may require some other orthodontic treatment before receiving the porcelain veneers.
2. It is always important to explore all of your options, including conventional orthodontic procedures. It is a good idea to get an evaluation of your teeth and then learn about all the options you have available. Working closely with your dentist will allow you both to make the best decision for your smile.
3. Once you have decided that porcelain veneers are the right option for you, you will undergo a full mouth examination. During this exam, you will receive x-rays, photos and even a model of your teeth. You may also be able to see a digital illustration of your veneers to give you an idea of what the end result will be.
4. Before the permanent veneers are placed on your teeth, you will have temporary veneers applied so you can see how your new smile is going to look.
5. On your next visit, the temporary veneers are removed and the permanent veneers are carefully bonded to your teeth. Once this is complete, you are ready to show the world your beautiful new smile!
If you are considering instant orthodontics, please contact us for a complimentary evaluation. We will work with you to find the best option for your case and give you a beautiful smile you will be proud of. Ikuta Smiles serves cosmetic dentistry patients in Fresno, Reedley and surrounding areas of California.
Sleep dentistry is beneficial to people who have severe anxiety about going to the dentist. Visiting a dentist is part of maintaining overall good health, but due to the stress that many people feel when going to the dentist, they may avoid them altogether. In order to make trips to the dentist less stressful, sleep dentistry has become more popular.
There are three different types of sedation dentistry used in at our practice:
Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is the lightest form of sedation used in our office. The use of this non-toxic gas gives you a sense of relaxation. This form works very quickly and it can be easily controlled. Plus, this form of sedation has very few side effects, so you can safely drive to and from your appointment.
Oral sedation is a stronger form of sleep dentistry. With oral sedation, we will provide you with an oral medication that you need to take approximately one hour before your visit. Oral sedation provides a very strong calming effect, which will keep you relaxed during the exam or procedure. Oral sedation also has an amnesic affect, so you will remember very little, if anything, about the visit or procedure once the medication has worn off. Because of the strong effect of this medication, you will need to have someone who can safely drive you to and from your appointment.
The third sedation option that we offer in our office is called conscious sedation. This form of sedation is administered in pill form before the procedure. The sedative will provide you with a state of deep relaxation and you may tend to drift in and out of sleep. This form of sedation allows you to talk and be aware of what’s happening, but you will be completely relaxed and feel no anxiety. Many patients find that they need to take a nap afterwards so it is important that you have someone who can drive you home after your appointment.
If you are one of the many people who suffer from a fear of going to the dentist, please contact Ikuta Smiles serving Fresno and Reedley, California today for a free consultation. We can help you choose the best option for you needs and help you feel more comfortable coming to dental appointments.
We are pleased to announce we now offer 3D CAT Scan technology in our office! We are one of a very select few offices, nationwide, to offer this service. We also upgraded to one of the best reading software systems available, so we are able to extract the most information possible from each scan we take.
Dental CAT Scan units differ from medical ones in a couple of different ways. The most important differences are an upright posture while taking the X-ray, and many times less radiation exposer. The exposer is less because of the way it transmits the beam, in the shape of a cone and the realtively small area of the scan. Many people refer to Dental CAT Scan units in general as cone beam technology.
The reason the upright posture is important is because it can be used to diagnose and view the TMJ in it's functional posture. In Medical CAT Scans they have the patient laying on their back, and gravity pulls the jaw back in a non functional posture.
The images we take can be used for a plethora of different things. The most common reason for using it would be for implant placement. With a real size 1:1 ratio 3D image we are able to digitally treatment plan and place implants before doing any surgery on patients. We are able to locate and track nerves, sinuses, and view how much bone is actually available to select the optimum implant for each case. Knowing all of this before any work is done makes for a more conservative procedure, faster procedure, and less post operative discomfort.
The other functions the images help diagnose, as a eluded to earlier, are TMJ evaluation, Nerve tracking prior to wisdom teeth removal, and evaluation of airway. With our upgraded software we are able to view the airway to see if there is any obstructions with tonsils or adenoids, deviated septum, or enlarged turbinates. Any of these problems can have an extreme adverse effect on one's overall health. With severe obstructive sleep apnea, it can reduce a person's life span by up to 15%, or about 12 years of a average Americans lifespan.
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