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ORAL AND THROAT CANCER AND YOUR HEALTH - May 20, 2016

In 2013 the Canadian Cancer Society estimated that there were 4100 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed. Eleven new cases each day! On average, 16 years of life is lost to oral cancer, one more than all cancers in general. American statistics show that there are 3x as many deaths from oral cancer as there is Identafi_Homepage_Slider1from cervical cancer.

 The risk factors for oral cancer include smoking, heavy alcohol consumption (especially if combined with smoking), use of smokeless tobacco and increased exposure to the sun causing higher risks for cancers on the lips. Those who use smokeless tobacco are 15 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those who don’t. Today, one of the fastest growing causes of oral cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV) and it is estimated that in the near future this will be the leading cause of oral and throat cancer. It has also been shown that a diet lower in fruits and vegetables increases the risk of oral cancer as fruits and vegetables seem to have a protective factor that lowers the risk of oral cancer.

 In the past, men (especially men over 40 years of age) use to have a 6:1 higher risk than women but now that is changing with men now only twice as likely to have oral cancer than women. Oral cancer is 70% more common in those with a family history. The risk of oral cancer is 2.5x higher in those with gum disease and 60x greater in those with 6 or more missing teeth.

 The 5-year survival rate is only 20% if detected late. The mortality rate of oral cancer is greater than that of breast and prostate cancer, however, oral cancer is one of the most preventable cancers with an 80% success rate if discovered early.

 Early detection and prevention can be accomplished with regular dental exams, elimination of the use of smokeless tobacco, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, use of lip balm with UV protection and a diet higher in fruits and vegetables.

 

At Palermo Village Dental we routinely perform an oral cancer screening with visual inspection under magnification, palpation of the head and neck area and with the Identafi Oral Cancer Screening device.

Contact our office today for your oral cancer exam-it may save your life!

Snoring, Sleep Apnea and the “Nightly Grind” - May 1, 2016

SNORING, OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA AND ‘THE NIGHTLY GRIND” If you are like most Canadians you likely don’t get eight hours of sleep each night and you may feel tired the next day, but if you find that this sense of exhaustion is constant or that you are experiencing headaches for no reason or have unexplained high blood pressure, you may be suffering from a more serious problem-obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or “the nightly grind”.palermo1

Common symptoms of OSA could include chronic fatigue, snoring or high blood pressure. People who suffer from OSA repeatedly stop breathing during the night due to complete or partial obstruction of their airway. The jaw and throat muscles relax and the tongue collapses to the back of the throat to obstruct the airway. This leads to a lack of oxygen and this can occur up to hundreds of time each night.

OSA has been linked to numerous health problems including acid reflux, strokes, diabetes, heart problems and even memory loss. While snoring may seem like just a nightly annoyance, it should not be taken lightly as it may be a symptom of a more serious problem.

Individuals who snore or who think they may be suffering from OSA or who exhibit any of the symptoms mentioned above should have a sleep study done at a certified sleep clinic to determine if they do suffer from OSA. After the results of a sleep study your doctor may recommend a CPAP device that forces air through your nose and mouth while you sleep to keep your airway open or they may recommend surgery for your throat and soft palate to open your airway to prevent obstruction.

A possible solution for mild OSA that may be recommended may be a dental appliance that can open your airway by moving your jaw forward at nights, while you sleep, to prevent obstruction of your airway and eliminate your snoring.

Another common nightly habit many of us have is grinding or clenching our teeth. If you wake up in the mornings with stiffness in your jaw, headaches or if you see worn flat spots on your teeth, then you may be grinding or clenching your teeth.

At Palermo Village Dental we make custom fitted oral appliances that can eliminate your snoring, address mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and address your grinding or clenching habits. Contact our office today to see how you can benefit from oral appliances that address snoring, address mild OSA or even eliminate the “nightly grind” so many of us exhibit.


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Technology in Dentistry - November 20, 2015

In today’s fast moving world with an ever-increasing demand for technology in our lives, dentistry is evolving to meet that growing need. From computerization of our offices to digital 3D printing or milling in manufacturing dental prostheses dentistry is embracing the latest in technology to deliver better, more accurate and faster care.

Computers in our offices and treatment rooms has made for faster processing of dental claims, instant connection to a wealth of knowledge and training online, more accurate record keeping with quicker access to those records, fewer misplaced records and a green office. In our office we utilize digital photos for record keeping which allows us to involve the patient in co-diagnosis and treatment planning. It also gives us a more accurate means for comparison of changes in the mouth as time goes on. Digital x-rays have allowed us to be able to achieve greater diagnostic information with even less radiation than with x-ray films. The elimination of chemicals to process films has also contributed to a “greener” office.Technology Photo

Lasers are now being used on a more widespread basis as an alternative in some instances to the traditional forms of treatment used in dentistry. Lasers can be used to perform surgical procedures and can reduce or eliminate the need for freezing in some situations, reduce or eliminate bleeding during procedures and promote faster healing after certain surgical procedures. Lasers can also be use to drill teeth and may reduce the need for freezing in certain situations.

Use of CAD/CAM technology has become widespread in dentistry with the technology being routinely used to fabricate crowns, bridges and dentures. With machines like CEREC it is possible to make crowns in our offices in one day while eliminating the need for messy molds of the teeth. Digital molds of the teeth allow for 3D printing of appliances for our mouths or milling of restorations.

Technology is also being employed in oral diagnosis and screening with the use of devices like the Identafi and Velscope in the early detection of oral cancer. Computers are being used to diagnose disease and plan surgeries to make the outcomes more precise and predictable.

The age of digital dentistry is upon us and at Palermo Village Dental we embrace technology and are utilizing it daily to provide exceptional care and improve the lives of our patients. Contact our office today to see how the technology we employ in our practice can improve you smile and your life.

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The Gum Disease and Diabetes Connection - June 28, 2015

Today, in North America, it is estimated that about 30 million people have diabetes, with about 27 million of those having Type II diabetes. Type I diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot make insulin. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes are treated with insulin injections. Type II diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin properly. These individuals are usually treated with diet modification or oral medications and may eventually have to use insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
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 The long-term complications of diabetes and complications of uncontrolled diabetes are circulatory problems leading to cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), vision impairment, kidney complications and poor wound healing. In addition, diabetes has been shown to be a contributing factor to periodontal disease (gum disease, disease of the gums and bones around your teeth). Diabetics have more severe gum disease than non-diabetics, especially if their diabetes is uncontrolled.

 The oral-systemic connection between diabetes and periodontal disease has been well established and now much research is being done to look at chronic oral inflammation due to bacterial infection (as seen in uncontrolled gum disease) and its relationship to many systemic diseases. Uncontrolled gum disease adversely affects the metabolic control of diabetes.

 Recently, research has shown that controlling gum disease can have an impact on glycemic control (controlling blood sugar). In particular, Type II diabetics have been impacted positively by controlling their periodontal disease and this could lead to a decrease in the long-term complications associated with diabetes.

 Today, as part of our whole health approach to treating our patients, we are educating our patients and nurturing good oral health as a benefit for lowering blood sugar levels and possibly reducing the long-term complications associated with diabetes.

 Contact our office today to see how our whole health approach may benefit your overall health. Stay tuned for more articles on the oral-systemic connection and to learn how optimizing your oral health can help to optimize your systemic health.
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Mouthguards and Concussions in Sports - June 1, 2015

MOUTHGUARDS AND CONCUSSIONS IN SPORTS


In recent years a lot of attention has been drawn to concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in sports. From our local arenas and sports fields to the big stage of big league sports, TBIs have become commonplace.   Concussion symptoms can be very subtle and may not be apparent at the time of injury and these symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even longer.
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Symptoms can include some or all of the following: headaches or feeling of pressure in the head, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, temporary loss of consciousness, ringing in the ears or a sensation of being in a “fog”, slurred speech or appearing dazed. Delayed onset of symptoms such as altered sense of smell or tastes, sensitivity to light or sounds, sleep disturbance, irritability or other personality changes or memory loss or concentration issues is also a possibility.

 Today, a lot of education on safer play and improvements in equipment have gone a long way to bringing awareness to this problem and to minimize the number of TBIs suffered on the playing fields. A proper fitting sport mouthguard is one such piece of equipment that can help to reduce the number of sports related TBIs or even lessen the severity and duration of these injuries. A proper fitting mouthguard not only protects your teeth and jaw from fracture but they can help to absorb the impact of certain types of blow to the jaw and thus minimize the possibility of a TBI.

 A mouthguard should be worn in situations where there is a strong likelihood that your head could come into contact with another person or a hard surface. A mouthguard should be worn when participating in sports such as hockey, football, wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, martial arts or skateboarding to name a few.

 A custom-made properly fitted mouthguard will be far superior to store bought “boil-and-bite” mouthguards as they will be made specifically to fit your mouth, are far less likely to be dislodged during contact, will be more comfortable and will have greater longevity. Recent research has shown that such a mouthguard can reduce the incidence of mild TBIs by as much as two times that of store bought mouthguards.

 At Palermo Village Dental we are proud supporters of local sports teams and will make custom fitted mouthguards at cost for our young athletes. Call our office to see how a custom fitted mouthguard can be cost-effective and more beneficial for your child.

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Gum Disease and Heart Disease - April 30, 2015

GUM DISEASE AND HEART DISEASE

Recently, I wrote an article that illustrated the oral-systemic connection between periodontal disease (gum disease) and diabetes and how controlling periodontal disease can be beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels and have a positive impact on reducing the long-term complications associated with diabetes, particularly in individuals with Type II diabetes.IYN3_SS

Continuing along this line, this article will focus on the oral-systemic connection between oral health and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The relationship between gum disease and CVD has been well documented and, recently, more research is being done to study the gum disease-hypertension (high blood pressure) linkage.

A recently published research paper showed a strong association between gum disease and high blood pressure. Individuals with uncontrolled gum disease will also demonstrate a localized and systemic inflammatory (immune) response due to the presence of chronic bacterial infection, and evidence of high blood pressure may be indicative of an enhanced inflammatory response. Diabetes and high blood pressure have a negative effect on our circulation and both often occur together.

Of the participants in the study, those with severe gum disease were more likely to be men, smokers, heavy and binge alcohol drinkers and likely to have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. In addition, they were less likely to eat greater than 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day or to have visited a dentist in the last year.

In addition to high blood pressure, research has shown that chronic inflammation, as seen in gum disease, is linked to the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in some individuals. Both the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Periodontology agree that patients should be made aware that maintaining good periodontal health helps to reduce harmful inflammation in the body, which could go a long way towards reducing their risk of CVD. Patients should have a thorough periodontal exam at least once a year which should involve a detailed exam of their gums and teeth, as well as an assessment of risk factors such as age, smoking and overall health status. In addition, patients diagnosed with gum disease should inform their primary care physician and cardiologist to encourage better integration of their care.

Contact our office today to see how our whole health approach may benefit your overall health. Stay tuned for more articles on the oral-systemic connection and to learn how optimizing your oral health can help to optimize your systemic health.

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What is Periodontal Disease and How Can I Avoid It? - April 29, 2015

Periodontal or gum disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria at the gumline. This bacteria, called plaque, eventually hardens into tartar. When the tartar is not removed, it can lead to an infection that may eventually break down the gum tissue and spread to the underlying bone.
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In extreme cases, teeth can loosen and fall out. Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream through the gums and lead to other serious health problems. 

Good oral hygiene can help prevent gum disease, but regular dental check-ups are essential to early detection, especially in those with a family history of the disease. 

When detected, gum disease can be treated. In its early stages, your dentist may recommend a thorough cleaning and improved oral hygiene routine. In later stages, you may be referred to periodontist.

With regular dental check-ups and excellent oral hygiene, you can keep your gums and teeth in optimum health. Talk to us to learn more.

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Is Sedation Dentistry a Good Choice for Me? - April 29, 2015

Some patients may find dental treatment a challenge because of fear and anxiety. Fortunately, we offer sedation dentistry to alleviate anxiety. Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help patients remain relaxed and comfortable during their dental procedures. It is also a great option if you are pressed for time because we can do more work in just one visit.

You may be a candidate for sedation dentistry if you have:

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  • intense fear of dental visits
  • a bad dental experience in the past
  • sensitive teeth
  • fear of needles
  • extreme dislike of the smells and tastes associated with dental procedures
  • strong gag reflex or inability to keep mouth open during treatment
  • difficulty with traditional “numbing” i.e. the numbing does not take
  • extensive treatment or multiple procedures to be done at the same time like ceramic restorations or dental implants, 
Do not let dental anxiety keep you from regular dental care any longer! Talk to us to learn more about sedation dentistry.

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