A Healthy Mouth and Healthy Aging

For over 20 years, September has been designated healthy aging month. This is an annual celebration of the positive side to growing older. During this month, a variety of sources provide Inspiration and ideas for baby boomers and adults aged 45 and above to help them to improve their physical, mental, social, as well as financial well-being.  It is our hope that we at Designs For Dental Health can provide some pertinent information to contribute to our fellow baby boomers.

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It is interesting to note that there are over 76 million baby boomers today over the age of fifty and the first of the 82 million Generation X-ers are about to reach that milestone in 2015.  Why not use September as a time to look back on where you’ve been and consider what you might truly like to do with the rest of your life.  If you’re happy and fulfilled with what you’re currently doing, keep on keeping on!  If not, this is definitely the time to make a change.  From my point of view, I’m happy to keep on doing what we, as your dental care providers, love to do most.  Help to keep you healthy! dreamstime_l_21764121

So, with that in mind, here’s our question for you today: How’s your smile? 

  

First of all, research supports the idea that those who smile more are just plain happier.  Secondly, those with a healthy mouth are much less likely to develop a myriad of diseases commonly suffered by those of us in the 60+ population. So ask yourself- when is the last time that you had a comprehensive dental examination to determine your overall oral health and the best methods used to maintain it?  I promise to provide such a comprehensive examination free of charge for anyone over age 55 who has been a patient in our practice for more than 5 years and who requests it.  That’s right!  All you have to do is ask! I’ll sit down with you for as long as it takes to discuss your concerns and desires.  Then, we’ll do a comprehensive examination including an oral cancer screening, evaluation of your teeth, gums, and bite. Together, we’ll discuss any options that might be available to you to improve your dental health and from that discussion we will arrive at the best treatment plan for you.

 

Consider this – a mere 60 years ago, it was assumed that we would lose all of our natural teeth as we aged.  Now we know that a healthy mouth and teeth will help you to not only look good, but to eat delicious and nutritious foods, to speak clearly and to be confident.  An excellent quality of life demands a vibrantly healthy mouth.  Just consider the fact that those whose oral health is subpar are at risk for various serious medical conditions including: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, cancer, and various other diseases which are common in older adults.

 

What are some common oral health problems?

 

  1. Dry mouth.   Reduced salivary flow is most commonly the result of cancer treatments, the use of certain medications, and certain diseases. Dry mouth is a significant cause of decay and gum disease in older patients because saliva serves to buffer acids that are produced as we eat.  Without the protection of these buffers, rapidly advancing problems occur. 

  2. Darkened teeth.   Our teeth tend to darken with time as the pulp in our teeth recedes and the outer layer of enamel becomes thinner, thus allowing the darker dentin to show through. There are various methods available to whiten the teeth for a more youthful appearance.  These techniques do not harm teeth and most patients are extremely happy with their whiter, more beautiful smiles. 

  3. Root decay. As the gums recede, exposure of the tooth roots result. Exposed root surfaces are less resistant to decay than enamel and decay here is quite common. Good brushing and plaque removing habits go a long way to protect these surfaces. In addition, the judicious use of fluoride rinses can be most helpful to protect these exposed surfaces. 

  4. Gum disease. Inflammation of the gums and resulting bone loss in more advanced cases is quite common in adults over the age of 50.  Gum disease is worsened by poorly fitting tooth restorations, less than ideal dietary choices, and certain diseases like anemia, cancer, and diabetes.  The best way to fight gum disease is to practice excellent oral hygiene and have regular dental exams and cleanings as recommended in your particular case. 

  5. Tooth loss. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss; however, teeth which have broken due to old, large silver fillings or simple attrition require prompt attention to avoid unnecessary loss of teeth!  Restoring a broken tooth is always better and less expensive than losing a tooth and later trying to replace it. 

  6. Uneven jawbone. This common problem is a result of premature tooth loss.  Once a tooth is lost, the bone previously around that root vanishes and teeth adjacent to and opposing the missing tooth will shift.  This causes an uneven bite and places for food and bacteria to become trapped. 

  7. Oral cancer. Routine examinations are essential to identify possible cancerous conditions in the mouth. Always report unusual lumps or bumps or discolorations to your dentist or hygienists promptly! 

So what is the best way to maintain your good oral health?  It’s the same regardless of your age!    

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  1. Brush at least twice a day with good quality toothpaste as recommended by your dentist or hygienist. The most important time to brush is just before bed!! 

  1. Floss or otherwise thoroughly clean between your teeth at least one time each day. 

  1. Visit your dentist or hygienist on a regular basis as recommended by them for regular cleanings and oral examinations.  

  1. Use appropriate rinses or fluorides or other such adjuncts as recommended by your dental professionals. 

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If you have any questions about healthy aging month or would like a complementary comprehensive examination please call us at 908.359.6655 or contact us via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Alzheimer’s Disease And The Oral-Systemic Connection

Infections in the mouth are now considered as potential risk factors for the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that inflammation – like that which results from dental disease like periodontitis (gum disease) – has a role in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation caused by specific bacteria in the mouth cause an inflammatory cascade throughout  the body which impacts our systemic health.

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A dental infection can cause severe illness requiring hospitalization.  Such infections are more common than most people might think. Some months ago, one of our patients postponed an appointment during which a tooth infection was to have been treated.   This infection was found on an x-ray, and this patient had no pain or other obvious symptoms of a problem.  Several days after the original appointment we received a call from the patient that she had developed severe swelling over her eye.  This infection ultimately resulted in this patient’s being hospitalized for four days and requiring IV (intravenous) antibiotics.

Just to be clear, oral diseases which are more chronic in nature than the example above may not only be direct causes of systemic disease. They indirectly cause an increase in severity especially in those diseases which are known to be inflammatory in nature.  It is clear that eliminating oral inflammation reduces the inflammatory impact on many systemic inflammatory diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Although Alzheimer’s disease is generally not considered to be inflammatory disease, inflammation does have a role in accelerating the progression of this disease.

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CBS News’ 60 Minutes produced a wonderful show about aging                                   which presents interesting information about Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here’s a link to view this show: 

www.CBSnews.com/news/living-to-90-and-beyond/

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Research has identified five specific pathways by which gum disease and oral infections seem to influence the progression of Alzheimer’s disease:

1. Bacteria from the mouth can directly enter the bloodstream.

2. These bacteria cause systemic (whole body) inflammation impacting Alzheimer’s disease.

3. The bacteria P. gingivalis plays a role in the formation of blood clots and thereby cardio vascular disease and strokes which are both risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Germs from the mouth can travel directly to the brain.

5. Some people have a genetic predisposition which can increase the effects of oral inflammation

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To summarize, the ways by which oral infections and periodontal disease affect disease progression is not always direct. However, the link between diseases of the mouth and body is established, and the evidence is clear that maintaining a healthy oral environment is crucial to minimize the progression of various systemic diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.

If you have any questions about the oral-systemic connection or diseases of the mouth, feel free to call us at 908.359.6655 or contact us via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Dentistry

Continuing our discussion concerning the health connection between the mouth and the body, we will review the condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, its common symptoms and what can be done to minimize the potentially devastating effects of this disease.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which patients repeatedly stop and restart breathing during sleep. The throat muscles intermittently relax during the sleep cycles, and the airway becomes  temporarily blocked.  The muscles normally support the soft palate and tongue. When these muscles relax, the airway either narrows or closes as a breath is taken, and the flow of air is blocked. As a result the blood level of oxygen is reduced, the nervous system thereby senses impaired breathing and awakens the patient so that an open airway is restored. These events can occur as many as forty or even more times each hour throughout the night. The end result is an inability to reach the normal, deep, restful and necessary phases of sleep.  This lack of quality sleep results in sleep deprivation.

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People with sleep apnea usually snore (often loudly), may wake during the night with  gasping or choking, or may seem to stop breathing periodically according to their bed partners. OSA is most commonly seen in middle-aged and older adults and people who are overweight.  Men are more frequently affected, but women and children may also exhibit symptoms of Sleep Apnea.

Common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring (often loudly)
  • Episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep
  • Abrupt  awakenings during the night
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
  • Morning headaches
  • Mood changes including depression or irritability insomnia

In addition, certain factors increase the likelihood of a patient’s having Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Those with one or more of these signs are urged to speak with their primary care physician about the need to be tested for OSA. These factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a neck size greater than 17 inches for men and 16 inches for women
  • Having high blood pressure especially if resistant to medications
  • Having a narrow airway possibly due to enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Diabetes — type I or 2
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Frequent use of alcohol

 

If a patient is unaware of their Sleep Apnea condition or if is left untreated, a variety of complications may develop.  Conditions associated with OSA include:

  • Cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, as well as heart failure and stroke and heart arrhythmias.
  • Daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability as well as difficulty concentrating.
  • Children with OSA may have problems in school and commonly have attention or behavior disorders.
  • Sleep deprived partners — commonly bed partners may choose to sleep in a separate room.

 

In addition to seeking the advice of your doctor, there are steps that you can take to at least minimize the effects of OSA.

  • Try to sleep on your side
  • Avoid drinking alcohol close to bedtime
  • If you are drowsy, avoid driving or using machinery
  • If you are overweight  lose weigh
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Use nasal decongestant

If you are diagnosed as having Obstructive Sleep Apnea, there are three traditional therapies which are used to control this condition.   The first is positive airway pressure in which a device called a CPAP is worn over the nose and/or mouth while you sleep.   It employs a steady stream of air to maintain an open airway.

Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP)

Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP)

The second is a dental appliance which is designed to hold the jaw in a downward and forward position.  In this position, the tongue and soft tissue at the back of the mouth are held  to effectively maintain an open airway. These devices are also used to minimize or eliminate snoring.

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Third, there are various surgical procedures which may be appropriate for some patients.

If you have any questions about obstructive sleep apnea or the oral appliances which are used to treat this disease, please call us at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

 

 

 

Gum Disease, Inflammation, and Your Health

All of our body’s organ systems are interconnected. What happens in one system can and often does affect other systems. One prominent and currently emphasized interrelationship is the one between periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular disease. And in particular, it is inflammation which is the common link between these two conditions.

Inflammation by itself is not a bad thing. Acute inflammation is the body’s normal response to injury and infection. This type of inflammation is experienced as redness, pain and swelling. Immediately after an injury, there is a biochemical reaction which improves blood flow to the affected area. Nerve and other cells send out signals to recruit white blood cells which help fight foreign bodies. This acute inflammation is absolutely necessary for normal good health.

There is another kind of inflammation which is our main concern in this article. That is chronic inflammation which is also known as low–grade or systemic inflammation. This inflammation is long–lasting and examples include autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In these cases the body mistakenly initiates an inflammatory response even though there is no actual infection or injury to be fought. Other examples of chronic inflammation include inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

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Chronic “hidden” inflammation occurs throughout the body when something engages the immune system. This engagement varies from person to person but may include repeated or prolonged infection, smoking and gum disease. Obesity also makes one prone to inflammation as fat cells turn out inflammatory proteins called cytokines. Most people don’t know that they are inflamed. There is a test which measures the inflammatory marker called the C–reactive protein but it is not used routinely to determine increased risk of associated diseases. The important point is that inflammation is the primary cause for most of our serious chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease to name but a few.

As far as the connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, research indicates that heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke and bacterial endocarditis may all be linked to oral health. Researchers believe that gum–disease–producing bacteria enter the bloodstream and make their way to the heart. And just as these bacteria create chronic inflammation and damage of the gums and bone around the teeth, the same bacteria can cause a similar response in the blood vessels. Inflammation can begin and accelerate the build-up of plaques with in blood vessels – called atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. These plaques decrease the flow of blood to both the heart and the brain, and if such a plaque breaks free can result in a heart attack or stroke.

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What can you do? Roughly 75% of adults have some form of gum disease and 30 % have moderate to advanced periodontitis. Those with more advanced gum disease are much more likely to develop associated inflammation-related heart disease or stroke or the other inflammation-related illnesses. Having a thorough periodontal examination and following up with necessary gum disease periodontal therapy is the best first step. Avoid the obvious creators of inflammation which have been proven to be unhealthy. Prime examples are smoking and heavy drinking of alcohol.

There are many who advocate an “anti-inflammatory” diet. Many of the recommended foods would be typical of Mediterranean cuisine and certainly represent good nutrition. Such a diet would include:

• Generous amounts of fruits and vegetables

• Using healthy fats like olive oil

• Eating small portions of nuts

• Drinking red wine in moderation

• Eating fish regularly

• Limiting or eliminating red meat

If you would like more information about inflammation, gum disease and your health, please feel free to contact us by telephone at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Crooked Teeth and Sleep Apnea

As I mentioned in our last blog, we will be describing various connections between oral health and systemic (or total body) health. Today, I’d like to report on a very interesting class which I attended about a week ago. This was an Invisalign Study Club meeting which was meant to increase our skills in planning Invisalign orthodontic cases. But, every now and then, we watch a gifted speaker provide you with much more information than the announced topic would suggest.

My longtime patients know that I have been a lifelong student of dentistry and especially occlusion’s (the bite’s) role in preserving dental health for the long term. I have studied the various connections between occlusion and overall health including TMD and head/neck pain, occlusion and advancing gum disease, as well as occlusion and the airway to name but a few.

Well, at this particular lecture, the speaker showed slides of various patients with crowded teeth as well as some with narrow dental arches. Many of these patients, like many of those I see every day in my office, have what we call, tori, on the inside of their lower jaws. Patients are often aware of these tori, most are generally not bothered by them, but some ask if they should be concerned about them. I had always considered these to be a sign of patients who are chronic clenchers of their teeth, and many of them are. However, the speaker made a legitimate case for the chronic growth of these tori in patients whose teeth are tipped towards the tongue.

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But perhaps I am getting off of the point. The combination of people who have narrow jaws and tooth crowding are very likely to have sleep apnea. I have always known that there is a connection between narrow jaws and sleep apnea, but this presentation made it so clear that patients like those described above do not have adequate space in their mouth for their tongues. As a result, their tongues are forced back into their airways, and the result is sleep apnea.

Such patients may have had orthodontics when they were children,and had four teeth extracted because of their crowding. Such patients are quite likely to have sleep apnea because their jaws are narrow and their teeth have been moved back to where the tongue wants to be to close the space created by the extracted teeth. The tongue is thereby forced to rest towards the airway. Now, I am considering whether or not to treat such patients orthodontically to expand their arches. This is one means of improving their airways and reducing their likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea.

When such patients come to my office, they must be carefully screened for obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other systemic issues which are related to obstructive sleep apnea.

If you have a bite which sounds like the type that I have described above, please contact us so that we can perform a proper screening for obstructive sleep apnea. If you have any questions about your occlusion or sleep apnea, please feel free to contact us by telephone at 609.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Why We Love Spring!

After this long winter, with its record setting low temps and more snow storms than we could handle, it’s safe to say that we are all ready for some warm weather.  For some of us, it’s not just the change in temperature that get us excited for spring, but the activities and life that comes with it. Some of the staff at Designs for Dental Health took a brief moment to share why we love spring. See our answers below!

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Dr. Nadler:

 “Spring is definitely my favorite season. Everything comes back to life, brown turns to green, flowers start to bloom and everyone comes out of their winter funk.  Spring also means that the golf season will soon be under way.  That REALLY makes me happy.  And, spring is when days are getting longer giving us more daylight to enjoy the outdoors and just be alive!  I love spring.”

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Liz:

“I love spring because it means the cold weather is almost gone. It’s great to see everything getting green again. And most of all it’s one step closer to Summer!”

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Maria:

 “I’m looking forward to spring because the weather is perfect.  It’s never too hot or too cold.  I can go on a bike ride with my family and spend more time being outside.”

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Remi:

“I Look forward to Spring every year! Especially after cold, long winters. But like all the seasons I find beauty in them all..(Fall is my favorite)

I love the colors that pop up everywhere you look, from the green grass to the leaf buds beginning to grow. I love how the air smells fresher almost cleaner, and you can’t help but enjoy the rebirth of almost forgotten flowers.

The poor confused crocus can finally come up and enjoy the sunshine! I don’t suffer from allergies (knock wood) and when I smell fresh cut grass it invigorates me! I love to watch the tulips that my daughter and I planted awaken from their long hiatus. And my daughter loves to pick me daffodils almost every other day. She tells me it’s because she loves me. I sometimes smile and reminisce of the first pedals/flower heads she used bring me when she was a toddler(the poor things). We are all grateful she is a more skilled gardener now. I love how even the department stores have all the vibrant colors on display!  And of course the Easter dresses and bonnets for the little ones. What is not to love about Spring?  And yes the “Golf” it’s a promise I made to myself…to get back on the course this year…with my husband.”

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 Allison:

“I love spring not only because the temperatures are near perfect, but because the warmer weather allows me to get outside and go for long runs, spend time horseback riding, and work on projects outside. I also look forward to watching the trees and flowers slowly come back to life.”

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Why do you love spring? Let us know in the comments section below!!!

Oil Pulling – A Dentist’s View

I first heard about oil pulling several years ago when one of my more “holistic” patients asked about it. Recently, the subject has been raised with increasing frequency. “Oil pulling” is an ancient Indian folk remedy in which oil is used as a kind of mouthwash. This technique is touted to improve oral health as well as provide many incredible detoxification benefits.

What is oil pulling and how does it work?

A tablespoon of oil is placed in the mouth and is swished around the teeth for twenty minutes. During this swishing process, bacteria that are present on the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth become trapped in the oil. Certain bacteria like Streptococcus Mutans cause gingivitis and dental decay, and eliminating them certainly leads to improved oral health. After the twenty minutes, the oil is expectorated (spit out) into the trash, not the sink or the toilet so as to avoid causing a clog.

Various different oils are recommended. The original technique apparently called for sesame oil, but more recently there seems to be a trend toward using coconut and sometimes sunflower oil. It is very important that the oil not be swallowed as all the collected bacteria could lead to systemic illness if ingested. Some people recommend performing this technique every day, while others suggest that four to five times a week is adequate.

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So what are the professed benefits of oil pulling?

This technique acts as an antibacterial and antiviral system, and so detoxifies the mouth and indirectly the entire body. The potential benefits of this treatment include:

  • Whiter teeth
  • Healthier teeth and gums
  • Improvement of acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • Clearing sinuses and helping allergy sufferers
  • Eliminating halitosis
  • Helping with general pain issues
  • And many more

Is there any truth to all of these claims?

As a matter of fact, there is reason to believe that this technique does provide detoxification benefits. This is one of a number of methods which can be used to clean the mouth so thoroughly that the body is better able to heal itself. Apparently there is a study which was published in 2008 in which oil pulling using sesame oil resulted in a significant reduction in Streptococcus Mutans after two weeks. However, this technique was not as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash which is commonly recommended by dentists and periodontists to control gum inflammation. In addition, a serious limitation of this technique is that the oil only travels about one millimeter deep into the gums around the teeth, and the more damaging infections are more than three millimeters deep. This technique should not be used by people with active gum disease.

The most interesting thing about this technique is that it highlights the fact that as our oral health improves, so does our general health. Everything in the body is connected. So that improvement in the sinuses, the throat, the cardiovascular system, the skin and various other body systems is a very positive byproduct. When the mouth is healthier, the level of inflammation in the body is reduced, the body is better able then to heal, and we feel better and look better.

Oil pulling may be considered as an alternative to an excellent oral homecare regimen. Such a regimen would include brushing for two minutes twice each day and especially before bed, flossing between the teeth regularly, and perhaps using a WaterPik with an antimicrobial agent on a regular basis as well. Ideally people should have their dentist or hygienist recommend an oral care system specifically designed for him or her. In addition, nowadays we even have a DNA test which can determine specifically which bacteria are present in each patient’s mouth, and if they have the specific marker which might make them more susceptible to periodontal disease.

If you have any questions about oil pulling or would like information about developing a homecare regimen for yourself, please feel free to contact us by telephone at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

All-on-4®, A Dental Miracle

All–on–4® is the name for a technique used in the total rehabilitation of patients who have lost or will soon lose all of their teeth in one or both arches. This system was developed in the 1990s through studies which were funded by Nobel Biocare which has been a corporate leader in the implant industry since the early 1980s.

The All-on-4® treatment concept is a miracle because patients arrive at their dentist’s office in the morning with either no teeth or teeth which cannot be saved in one or both arches.  At that appointment, the implant surgeon (usually a periodontist or oral surgeon), the prosthetic dentist (in this case, me) and a lab technician work collaboratively.  A few hours later the patient leaves the office with a complete set of teeth which are not removable, which function well and which look amazing.

In addition, no grafting is required before placing the implants with this system. Therefore, most patients who have been told that they are not good candidates for implants because of a lack of bone, or large sinuses, or other anatomical circumstances are perfect candidates for the All–on–4® procedure.

There is no grafting, and no lengthy healing time required. Four implants are placed in each treated jaw. This procedure takes advantage of the dense bone which is available in the front of both the top and bottom jaws and places two implants there. Two more implants are placed in the back of the jaws and at an angle to both avoid sensitive anatomic areas as well as to take advantage of available dense bone there. Permanently fixed bridges can then be secured to these four implants immediately because of the solid primary stability which is gained by these strategically placed implants.

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The full dental bridge which is attached to these implants is not removable, has no coverage of the palate, and can be used immediately to eat a complete diet without restriction. After four to six months, a final fixed prosthesis is placed over the implants once total healing is assured.

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The advantages of All–on–4® are many:

1. Get implants in one day with minimal surgery.

2. Entire procedure completed in one location and one day.

3. Avoid the expense and healing time of bone grafting.

4. Have fixed, not removable teeth.

5. Have a complete new set of teeth which look and feel natural – Smile Again!

6. Have the ability to again eat all the foods that you desire.

If you have any questions about the All–on–4® procedure or if you know someone who would benefit from it, please contact us at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.designsfordentalhealth.com

Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan

Starting this month, we will be offering our Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan!!
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The Designs For Dental Health VIP plan* offers new and existing patients more affordable dental care on the most common and necessary dental services. This discount plan will save patients 15% off treatment fees for most of our services at no extra cost to you! In addition, there is no yearly maximum coverage limit, no deductibles, or waiting periods

What’s included in the plan?

  • 15%* discount on fillings, periodontal deep cleanings, crowns, bridges, implant crowns, dentures, extractions and root canal therapy.
  • Two regular exams per year, regularly $122.
  • Two regular cleanings per year, regularly $230.
  • All x-rays included with your cleaning visits, regularly up to $153
  • Oral Cancer screenings
  • One Fluoride treatment per year (up to age 16), regularly $48        (15% courtesy does not apply only to in-office bleaching or bleaching products, Invisalign Orthodontics, SixMonthSmiles Orthodontics, All-on-4 procedure, TMJ therapy, Sleep Apnea appliances, Arestin treatment, and full-arch or full-mouth rehabilitation)

With Designs For Dental Health’s VIP Program there are NO worries!

  • No yearly maximum coverage limit
  • No deductibles
  • No waiting period
  • No pre-existing condition exclusions
  • No ID cards necessary
  • No Insurance consultants

What is the cost of membership?

Only $325 for one entire year beginning on your registration date. That’s an automatic savings of up to $180 on your regular exams, cleanings, and x-rays alone!

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Making high-quality dentistry even more affordable!

 Designs For Dental Health has many options to help you pay for quality dental care. We accept cash and checks. We even offer a 5% prepayment discount for all treatment prepaid in full with cash or check when scheduling a service, and when dental insurance isn’t being billed.  That means when you use the Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan and pay in full you can save 20% on treatment! 

We also honor Visa, Discover, MasterCard and American Express. And, we offer 0% financing (if paid in full over 12 months*) and flexible payment options through CareCredit and Springstone. For those with insurance, our team will file all your claims and work with you to receive the absolute maximum benefit from your dental insurance.

How do I sign up?

Come on into our office and we will be happy to sign you up ASAP! No appointment necessary, and new patients are always welcome. And if you have any questions about the Designs For Dental Health VIP Plan and would like to get more information, just ask us and we will be happy to help.

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Call us at 908-359-6655 or visit our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

*This plan is subject to change without notice

*Discounts cannot be combined with any other offers

*Fee discount is limited to 5% with any financing offer

Is It Really A Migraine??

Last week in the course of a routine examination, I asked a standard question of our young woman patient: “Do you have any problem with headaches?” She replied that she does have “migraines”. So I asked a few relevant questions about the headaches, and as is often the case, this patient’s answers led me to believe that her headaches are, in fact, not migraines.

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In our office, we often treat patients with head and neck pain who have been diagnosed by their doctors as having temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Oftentimes, such patients visit their doctors because they assume that the headaches from which they suffer must be migraines.

What are the typical signs and symptoms of a migraine headache? A typical migraine may last several hours to as many as three days. The pain is moderate to severe, pulsating, and usually on one side of the head. Typical associated signs of migraines include nausea and/or vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and noise. Many migraine patients describe an “aura” just before the migraine begins. Auras are exhibited as a change in vision or hearing. Episodic migraines occur fewer than fifteen times per month with only some of these headaches being actual migraines. Such headaches occurring more than fifteen days per month with pain lasting four hours or more over a three-month period are considered to be “chronic migraines”.

Migraines may be triggered by various factors, and three out of four migraine sufferers describe specific triggers. Common examples of these triggers are physical exertion, stress, hormonal changes, weather changes, and others.

Tension headaches are the most common primary headaches. Such headaches may be misdiagnosed as migraines and vice versa.

Cluster headaches are severe attacks of pain on one side of the head lasting between fifteen minutes and three hours. These headaches may occur every other day or as often as eight times each day. Cluster headaches may be associated with facial sweating, restlessness, agitation or nasal congestion.

Other types of headaches include those brought on by exertion or coughing.  They may be described as feeling like stabbing pain or other equally unpleasant feelings.

If you or someone that you know suffers from headaches, we can generally help determine whether or not migraine headache is a proper diagnosis. The determination is made based upon the patient’s history and description of the pain as well as a screening examination to rule out the possibility of TMJ-type pain. We even have a computerized evaluation system to diagnose which muscle or muscles may be causing the problem. Patients often find it hard to believe that their headaches may be related to their jaw joints or their bite. The truth is, the connection between head and neck pain and the muscles involved in moving the jaw as well as those holding the head erect are commonly the source of such pain.

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If you have a question about headaches or would like additional information please feel free to contact us via our website www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com or by calling our office at 908.359.6655.