Last updated 2 months ago
Many adults suffer from periodontal disease, which has serious consequences for a person’s oral health. However, periodontal disease can also affect your overall health. If you notice any potential signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums or persistent bad breath, see a dentist promptly for treatment. Talk to your dentist about the link between gum disease and other health problems such as respiratory disease. Research has suggested that gum disease may contribute to the development of respiratory disease and can aggravate existing conditions.
Dentists recommend brushing twice and flossing once daily because these healthy oral habits remove plaque from the teeth and gum line. When left unchecked, plaque, which contains bacteria, contributes to the development of periodontal disease. As periodontal disease worsens, the bacteria continue to accumulate and spread. These bacteria can be inhaled into your respiratory tract, where it has the opportunity to grow within the lungs, leading to pneumonia and aggravating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal disease, your dentist may have discussed an inflammatory response in your gingival tissues. This is caused by the buildup of bacteria. This inflammatory response isn’t necessarily limited to your mouth. It may be possible for the inflammation to be systemic, which would mean that the tissues lining your lungs could also become inflamed. Inflammation of the airways inhibits proper respiration.
The association among a lowered immunity, respiratory disease, and gum disease is a two-way street. If you already have a respiratory illness, your immune system may be suppressed, which puts you at a higher risk of developing aggressive periodontal disease. Additionally, gum disease is an infection which suppresses the immune system. This could lower your body’s ability to fight off other infections, such as respiratory ailments.
Scheduling appointments with a dentist every six months can help safeguard your overall health. Residents of the Belmont and Cambridge areas are encouraged to call Belmont Dental Group at (617) 209-4058 to schedule a professional cleaning and check-up with one of our highly qualified dentists. Be sure to ask us about our sedation dentistry services.
Last updated 2 months ago
Is your anxiety keeping you from getting the dental care you need? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. Up to 75% of adults in the U.S. report that they feel some degree of apprehension about seeing the dentist, and up to 10% of those individuals have such crippling anxiety that they won’t see the dentist until an emergency strikes. The good news is that there is a way to get the care you need without emotional trauma: sedation dentistry. With conscious sedation dental care, you will be awake for your procedures, but will be calm and relaxed. Belmont Dental Group specializes in sedation dentistry and offers this infographic to explain how it works. Chances are you know many other people who have also been putting off crucial dental check-ups, so please feel free to share this information with your friends and family so they too can get relief from dental anxiety.
Last updated 2 months ago
(Fictional names are used)
At the time of his stroke, Antonio Watkins was 75 years old. Antonio’s teeth were in poor repair when I met him.
Antonio was a great talker. Every person was a lifelong friend, or soon to be. I was running late one morning when Antonio pulled out a thickish book of photographs. Here was the handsome young Army corporal, slim and smiling. Each picture had a story. I had no time, but Antonio would not let me go. Lorraine was in a few of these pictures. They were a beautiful Korean War era couple.
The time came when I could do no better for Antonio than fit him for complete dentures. This treatment requires a whole step up in dentist-patient relationship. Antonio began to get to my office before I did. I would find him each morning smiling and waving from the window of his camper-van. It takes about eight months for the mouth to heal well and for the dentures to fit well. During that time, Antonio would just drop by, dozens of times, along with stories and photographs.
Seventy years ago, each dentist had wide experience in denture making. Today, it’s very hard to get patients for our dental students to make denture for. People are saving their teeth. Making dentures is an art that is being lost. Dentures are, in this way, an ‘orphaned’ treatment.
Antonio adjusted to the dentures well enough. After two years Lorraine called. Antonio was in a rehabilitation hospital following a stroke. He could no longer wear his dentures. She asked me to visit him and see what I could do.
Just putting the dentures in partway caused uncontrollable gagging. I had never encountered such a thing. The stroke took his clear speech and his ability to walk. Did it also have to take away his appearance? Antonio, the great greeter of men, was collapsed into the face of an old, toothless man.
Weeks later, Lorraine wheeled Antonio into my office. I could not even get a finger in his mouth before he would gag. I had consulted with a neurologist, but not his neurologist. I had exchanges with a clinical psychologist who researches physical-psychological disorders. I consulted with experts in complete dentures. No one had an answer. His internist, also a patient of mine, sagely suggested that I re-evaluate Antonio in a few months.
I told Antonio that I just could not find anybody to tell me what was going on and how to help. I apologized to him and Lorraine. As Antonio slurred that he understood, he started to cry. Since I had given up hope, so had he. I let them both down. I felt like a rat.
I redoubled my efforts and eventually hit upon Wallenberg’s Syndrome. If the stroke is in the right place, patient can have a hyperactive gag reflex. The treatment is Effort, Time and Faith. Effort consists of trying several times a day to move the dentures into the mouth. This desensitizing works, but it takes Time. Time is also about healing, which is all too slow in neurological damage. Faith takes many forms, but it includes a firm handhold between doctor and patient.
Antonio is home now. He has some physical deficits. Speech is slurred and he uses a wheelchair. Imagine how happy I was to see his van parked early in front of my office. Lorraine was driving. Antonio wanted his denture ‘trimmed’, and to show me some photos of their anniversary.
Dr. Jim Nager is a practicing dentist and resident of Belmont, and a Clinical Instructor at Harvard. Call Belmont Dental Group today at (617) 209-4058 to arrange an appointment for any of our general dentistry services. Questions of a general nature that may be addressed in this space can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated 3 months ago
Sedation dentistry is commonly referred to as sleep dentistry. However, this term is a bit of a misnomer. There are actually different levels of sedation available, ranging from mild sedation, in which you are fully awake yet relaxed, to deep sedation, in which you are asleep. One of the most widely used types of sedation dentistry is an oral sedative, which may make you drowsy enough to fall asleep, yet the dentist will be able to wake you if needed. Talk to your dentist today to determine if this service is right for you.
Many people choose sedation dentistry because they have dental anxieties. In fact, for some people, these anxieties are so severe that they put off going to the dentist. Neglecting to undergo regular cleanings and necessary treatments is detrimental to your oral health. If you experience anxiety regarding the dental chair, sedation could be a good option for you. You do not necessarily need to have a severe phobia to benefit from this service; even if you experience a low level of discomfort regarding treatments, you might consider talking to your dentist about sedatives.
This service could benefit you even if you are fully comfortable with cleanings and other dental procedures. If you are planning extensive treatment, such as root canals or restorations, you may consider using a sedative. By doing so, you can likely undergo the full procedure in just one visit, rather than scheduling multiple visits.
In addition to easing anxieties, sedation dentistry allows for a more positive experience at the dental office. You will be fully relaxed and comfortable. In addition, when you take an oral sedative, you’ll have few memories of the actual treatment.
Belmont Dental Group is proud to offer sedation dentistry to residents of the Belmont area. To learn more about us or to schedule an appointment, please call (617) 209-4058. We offer convenient evening hours and Saturday appointments.
Last updated 3 months ago
Even if you brush your teeth at least twice a day, bacteria can still accumulate between your teeth and beneath the gum line. When bacteria are allowed to build up, you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay. Dentists recommend flossing thoroughly at least once every day to preserve your oral health. Start by wrapping about 16 inches of floss around both middle fingers, leaving a couple of inches of floss between them.
Insert the floss very gently between your teeth, using a gliding, back-and-forth movement. Guide the floss under the gum line and curve it so that it “hugs” your tooth. Gently move the floss up and down to remove plaque and food debris. Repeat these movements on both sides of each tooth. If you have dexterity issues and experience trouble holding or manipulating the floss, your dentist may recommend using floss holders.
Schedule your next dentist visit today by calling Belmont Dental Group. Residents of the Belmont area can reach us at (617) 209-4058.