Dental Benefits Encourage Overall Health

Employee benefit plans usually focus on health insurance, but a recent article from Benefits Pro highlights the health benefits of dental plans.  Those with dental insurance are twice as likely to maintain a schedule of regular cleanings and dental examinations, which can actually cut the cost of medical coverage in the long term, because of the relationship between proper dental hygiene and overall health.  According to the article:

“Diabetes, heart disease, blindness and pregnancy complications can all be affected by dental hygiene and impact overall health costs. In fact, the National Institute of Health estimated in 2007 that $174 billion in direct and indirect expenses were created by diabetics, and those suffering from diabetes are 2.3 times more likely to have higher medical costs than people without diabetes. The diabetic population is growing, Sherman says, but with good oral hygiene, it is easier to control one’s insulin levels.”

Besides the ability to cut costs on medical coverage through better overall health, dental plans also assure that an employee is less likely to have a dental emergency and be in pain or leave work, as they may if they have not had the proper preventive care.

To learn more about how dental benefits encourage better overall health, READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY BENEFITSPRO

April! April! Are You Alright???

CPR Refresher Course at Designs for Dental Health

CPR Refresher Course at Designs for Dental HealthCPR Refresher Course

Last week the Designs for Dental Health Team participated in a CPR refresher course, keeping us up to date on our training and certification in CPR.  We would like to thank our trainer Josh from the Somerset Medical Center for his experience on what to do in the event of an emergency.

As health care professionals, it is important for us to remain up to date and in practice (hopefully only on dummies!), but we  recommend that everyone would benefit from learning basic CPR to know what to do in case of an emergency.

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month

So, this month, ALL of our patients will have their blood pressures measured and evaluated.  We’ll also check your blood oxygen levels and pulse rates.  Not only can High Blood Pressure (HBP) have devastating affects on your health, but it is frequently associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), especially if your HBP is resistant to standard treatment.

OSA is a sleep disorder involving your airway which can result in a series of medical issues over time.  OSA often exists unknown, undetected and undiagnosed to the patient, increasing the risks of further medical complications.  We screen every patient for OSA and treat it in conjunction with sleep doctors using custom dental sleep appliances.

Want to make an appointment?  Call us at 908-359-6655.

To learn more about High Blood Pressure and its associated health risks and treatments visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Health Information Center’s Website.

UN Mercury Free Treaty Seeks to Phase Out Metal Amalgam

Mercury Free Dentistry May Soon Be Required By UN Treaty

Mercury Free Dentistry

Dr. Nadler has offered only mercury free dentistry for over 20 years!

The American Dental Association officially states that the mercury in amalgam fillings is safe. Be that as it may, our office has taken no chances with your health, having offered only metal-free fillings for the past twenty plus years. While several countries have banned the use of amalgam fillings, its use in the U.S. is still prevalent. A recent report by the Concord East/West consulting firm stating that 32 tons of dental mercury is used annually in the U.S. Besides possible health effects, there is concern over the environmental impact of amalgam fillings. According to the E.P.A., “approximately 50 percent of mercury entering local waste treatment plants comes from dental amalgam waste”, costing taxpayers an additional $41 per filling for environmental costs, cleanup and waste treatment.

However, all of this may soon change. As reported by foxnews.com, by next year, the United Nations Environmental Programme will have completed the text of a legally binding, global treaty on mercury pollution. The treaty is supported by the U.S. State Department, and will serve to phase out the use of products containing mercury. Amalgam fillings on are on the treaty’s list of products to be phased out. If the treaty passes all dentists may be facing a global mandate to stop the use of silver amalgam fillings completely.

The treaty and the phase out of amalgam in dental restorations are not without controversy. The treaty is supported by organizations such as the World Health Organization, but others see it as a scare tactic used simply to enforce further regulations. There is ongoing debate among dental and other health professionals about the possible health risks of mercury exposure from amalgam fillings and whether the mercury present in the fillings is enough to cause any risk.

If the treaty passes, whether or not there are in fact health risks related to the use of mercury in fillings, dentists across the country and the entire world will be affected and forced to change their treatment choices. The ADA “has expressed the view that any proposed ‘phase-down’ of dental amalgam should be linked to a ‘phase-up’ of dental preventive programs. We have also focused on the safety of dental amalgam, the need for further dental materials research and the proper management of dental amalgam waste”, addressing both health and environmental factors in its response.

The next conference of the UNEP to discuss the progress of the “mercury free treaty” will be held in June.

LINKS AND RESOURCES

Read more about the proposed U.N. “mercury-free” treaty 

More on the environmental impacts of mercury fillings from the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology

ADA Leadership Report response to the UN treaty meetings

NOTE: Originally posted April 24th, 2012

Hidden Health Risks: Sleep Apnea and Silent Stroke

STUDY LINKS SLEEP APNEA AND SILENT STROKE

Strokes affect 795,000 Americans annually, according to the American Stroke Association. The estimated 12 million Americans with the sleep disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are at an increased risk for strokes to occur. Now a new study also links OSA to “silent strokes” which cause tissue death in the brain without any symptoms. So, OSA has itself been linked to an increase in strokes.

Health Day reports that Dr. Jessica Kepplinger, a fellow at the University of Technology in Dresden, Germany, ran a study which evaluated 56 patients who had an acute stroke and found that 91% of them had a form of Sleep Apnea. Using brain imaging software, they also found that the more severe the Sleep Apnea, the more likely it was for the patients to suffer silent strokes.

WHY ARE WE SO CONCERNED ABOUT SLEEP APNEA?

Sleep apnea is an airway condition. People with sleep apnea literally stop breathing for intervals of 10 seconds or more during their sleep. This can occur dozens of times each night and results in many related health risks due to disturbances in the sleep cycle as well as oxygen deprivation in the brain.

The American Sleep Association notes that 4% of the adult population is diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, but about 80% of the people with OSA are left undiagnosed. When left undiagnosed and untreated, those with OSA are often unaware of the multitude of additional health risks and factors such as stroke and silent stroke.

HOW A VISIT TO THE DENTIST CAN HELP

Detection, diagnosis and treatment of Sleep Apnea can help improve overall health and wellness. By making those suffering from Sleep Apnea aware of other health risks patients are better able to address and manage them.

Who better to detect an airway issue than a dentist who is already examining your mouth? Dr. Nadler screens every patient for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If any risk of sleep apnea is evident, patients are referred for a sleep test and informed about treatment options, including a custom dental device that repositions the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open.

If you have questions about our Sleep Apnea screenings or treatment with dental appliances, please call our office at 908-359-6655.

LINKS AND RESOURCES

More about symptoms and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea at Designs For Dental Health

American Sleep Association website about sleep apnea

Full article about the study linking sleep apnea and silent stroke

NOTE: Originally posted April 5th, 2012

What is the Golden Proportion?

Two quantities a and b are said to be in the golden proportion ? if:

Golden Proportion Formula

This number and the “Golden Ratio” has had amazing significance in art and design for at least 2400 years. The Parthenon, the most well known example of Greek architecture, displays this proportion in its façade. And the statues which resided in this temple are said to embody the golden proportion as well. This ratio is found in nature everywhere, and has been used by artists, architects, and mathematicians in a variety of ways.

Golden ProportionThe principles of golden proportion apply to the parts of the face as is discussed in the attached article concerning “human attractiveness.” It so happens that the golden proportion is used when we restore teeth as well. One very important element of a beautiful smile is the relative widths of each of the front teeth. The upper front teeth (the central incisors) are 1.618 times the width of their neighbors, the lateral incisors. And the canines behind the lateral incisors are .618 the width of the laterals as viewed from the front. If the proportionality rule is broken in the display of each tooth’s relative width to its neighbor, the esthetic result is severely compromised. In addition, there is a similar appropriate proportion relating the height to the width of each tooth. Teeth are supposed to be taller than they are wide. If they are too long or too short (think squarish) relative to their width, again they are not as esthetically pleasing to the eye as they could be.

There are other proportionality rules which we use to “design” our cosmetic restorations. Using the newer porcelain materials which are both strong and strikingly life-like, we can perform amazing smile enhancements which make patients smile – beautifully!

If you have any questions about cosmetic dentistry, we invite you to contact us at (908) 359-6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

LEARN MORE: See a video about the effect of ratio on human attractiveness on the Huffington Post. 

NOTE: Originally posted February 14th, 2012

Learn More About…Sleep Apnea in Women

Sleep Apnea: Hidden Illness for Women Can Lead to Real Dangers

Attached is a link to an ABC News article about sleep apnea in women. In the article, there is a good example of how driving can be quite dangerous for people with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea. And, the misconception that only big, snoring men have this condition is highlighted. We screen all of our patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with a questionnaire and a simple evaluation of any potential airway blockages If you have any questions about Sleep Apnea, please feel free to call us at 908.359.6655 or send a question via our website @ www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

READ the ABC News article-Sleep Apnea: Hidden Illness for Women Can Lead to Real Dangers

NOTE: Originally posted February 9th, 2012

Shaq Attacks Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Celebrities Snore Too!

Do you snore? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Celebrities and sports stars snore too! And, the more you snore, the greater the chance that you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is a condition that occurs when the soft palate relaxes too much and blocks your airway during sleep.

In this video, produced by the Harvard Medical School, Shaquille O’Neale is the patient. Members of the Sleep Medicine team talk about OSA — explaining its signs, symptoms and complications as well as steps that can be taken to address and treat the problem. Watch the video to learn more.

WATCH THE VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment at Designs for Dental Health

All patients at Designs for Dental Health are screened for Obstructive Sleep Apnea during their regular examination and cleaning appointments. Patients who are at risk are referred to their family doctor or a local sleep center for evaluation. The only true way to know if you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep test. If appropriate, Dr. Nadler can provide a dental appliance which repositions the lower jaw to help open the airway during sleep. Comfortable and easy to use, this snoring appliance allows patients to sleep all night and wake up feeling more refreshed. If you have more questions about OSA or want to schedule an appointment for a sleep apnea screening, please call us at 908-359-6655 or visit us at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

NOTE: Originally posted February 6th, 2012

Dental Decay on the Rise? Tips for Preventing Cavities

Is Dental Decay On the Rise Again?

Dental Decay on the Rise?Well it certainly has seemed like it in our office this week. Not only have we seen more “cavities” than normal, but more of them PER PATIENT! And, naturally, none of these people are too happy. We’ve heard this question on several occasions: “Why am I getting cavities?!?” So, consider the following at least a partial answer to that question.

As has been discussed in earlier blog entries, cavities result according to this simple formula:

Bacteria + Food + Time = CAVITIES or GUM DISEASE or both

Bacteria are in the plaque which sticks to the teeth and grows every 24 hours.

Food is any carbohydrate, but especially sugar in any of its forms.

Time means how long it takes bacteria to produce acid from the food – about 20 minutes.

Want to prevent cavities? Eliminate any one of these three contributing factors. That’s it!

So, if you remove the plaque well every day — no cavities.

If you don’t ingest “bad” foods or drinks (e.g., candy, soda, etc.) OR if you clean such foods off your teeth shortly after ingesting them (i.e., cut down the TIME) –no cavities!

Brush Your Teeth!Yes, we understand that everyone eats some junk and has some plaque on their teeth, but applying a few simple rules will go a long, long way to help you prevent cavities and gum disease in your own mouth! Generally, when we see patients with cavities, we see substantial plaque. And, these patients are all brushing their teeth. Maybe these suggestions can help:

1. Use an electric toothbrush! Our favorite is the Sonicare, but any electric brush will accomplish more than a manual brush from our experience.

2. Brush the vulnerable parts of the teeth and gums. Especially the gumline where the teeth and gums meet. Cheek-side and gum-side. Aim the brush at an angle towards the gumline, and the biting surfaces of the back teeth where all the food and plaque catches in the grooves.

3. Do something to get between the teeth where we have seen a lot of decay lately. We used to call these “flossing cavities” because of the plaque stuck between the teeth. If you hate flossing, use a pick, mini brush, electric “flosser” (which are pretty cool and quite popular now) or whatever…

4. Use a good toothpaste with fluoride. Forget the whitening toothpastes as they can cause sensitivity and some may be too abrasive. We really like ClosysII which has worked really well for many patients and me. We insist that patients undergoing “major” dental work use this product to stay healthy during treatment.

5. BRUSH BEFORE BED always and then do not eat or drink anything except H2O!

6. Be careful what you eat or drink a lot of. Sports drinks have sugar, soda in all forms, or whatever can get around your teeth and cause cavities. Moderation or quick removal are the keys.

7. Call us if you have any questions or would like some Oral Hygiene Instruction. It will be our pleasure to help!

We can be reached at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com. We’ll follow up and expand on some of these suggestions in future blogs. Let us know if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like addressed. May you have a happy, healthy and cavity-free 2012!

NOTE: Originally posted January 12th, 2012

Can Mouth Guards Boost Sports Performance?

Lebron James wears a mouth guard when playing.

Athlete LeBron James uses a mouth guard to protect his mouth. Could it also help make him play better?

Some mouth guard manufacturers have claimed in the past that their appliances could boost sports performance and now there is evidence supporting this statement. A recent article published on Medscape Dentistry and Oral Health and a study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association claim that mouth guards worn during athletic activity may do more than just protect the teeth.

One study found that athletes wearing a mouth guard inhale more oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide with each breath than athletes who do not wear a mouth guard, whether the athletes without a mouth guard breath through their noses or mouths. Another report claims that biting on something hard helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, potentially improving the ability to exercise without fatigue. In yet another study, testing the Pure Power Mouthguard brand “mouth guards were custom designed to put each athlete’s teeth in ideal occlusion. The effect…is similar to wearing orthotics, and getting the user’s jaws aligned can improve the alignment of the rest of the body.” In this study athletes wearing the mouth guards were able to jump a bit farther, bench press slightly faster, and score somewhat higher on Wingate anaerobic tests than those not wearing them.

I have actually seen several demonstrations where improvements in strength and flexibility are seen just by repositioning the jaw. That must be why many professional atheletes like LeBron James wear them. And the ideal jaw position is the same one that we use when treating patients who have TMJ problems. Regardless of the ability of mouth guards to boost athletic ability, they are important to protect against injuries to the teeth during sports activities.

If you currently use or are considering getting a mouth guard, the American Dental Association recommends a custom-made guard from your dentist for the most protection and the best fit. They are more expensive than stock types or boil-and-bites because they are created from a custom dental impression so they fit better, are more comfortable and are more likely to stay in place.

Click to read more basic information about the use of mouth guards on the ADA website. 

Considering getting a custom-made mouth guard? Have questions for Dr. Nadler about mouth guards? Please give us a call at 908-359-6655 or visit our website @ www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

NOTE: Originally posted December 2nd, 2011