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Written By DR. MIRJANA JOJIC, ABC News Medical Unit Nov 13, 2011

Going to the dentist can be stressful, frightening and painful — but it may also help your heart.

Research presented Sunday at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual conference in Orlando, Fla., suggests that not only do frequent dental cleanings ward off plaque and gum disease, but they can also reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.

“Periodontal, or gum health, as a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, has been looked at several times over the past 10 years,” said Dr. Thomas Gerber, an AHA spokesman and a professor of medicine and radiology at the Mayo Clinic. “Some prior studies found a relationship between gum disease and heart or other disease, whereas others didn’t.”

The exact mechanism of how gum disease may be linked to heart disease and stroke is unclear.

One thought is that poor dental hygiene leads to an overgrowth of oral bacteria. These organisms, fairly benign in the mouth, can get into the bloodstream through the gums and, once there, they can clump on blood vessel walls and grow into plaques that clog arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, because these bacteria are foreign to the body, once they infiltrate the bloodstream, blood vessels think they are being attacked and try to kill them, just as they would an infection. This results in inflammation and swelling that narrows blood vessels and prevents adequate blood flow to vital organs like the brain and heart.

The recent study was less concerned with the details of why gum disease increases risk of heart disease and stroke, but whether the risk can be reduced through frequent dental visits.

“Poor oral hygiene has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” the study’s abstract acknowledged. “However, the association between preventive dentistry and cardiovascular risk reduction remained underdetermined.”

Dr. Zu-Yin Chen and colleagues at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan followed more than 100,000 patients over a seven-year period, only half of whom had ever had their teeth cleaned.

They found that the participants who had ever had their teeth cleaned had a 24 percent decreased risk of heart attack and a 13 percent lower stroke risk compared to those who had never had a dental cleaning.

Not only did any dental cleanings reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, but Chen said in the news release, “Protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year,” meaning that the more often people had their teeth cleaned, the lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Although the results suggest that preventative dental care can lower risk of heart disease and stroke, the study did not account for other cardiovascular risk factors that could have contributed to the association.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that most heart attacks and strokes are related to the so-called traditional risk factors, and those are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, smoking, weighing too much and not exercising enough. It remains very important to take control of those risk factors,” said Gerber. “People shouldn’t think that by going to the dentist more often they’re going to reduce their risk of heart disease.”

Dr. Daniel Meyer, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) senior vice president of science and professional affairs, agreed that it is too early to make that assumption, but stressed, “Regular dental visits are important to diagnose and treat dental disease. Some conditions in the mouth may indicate disease elsewhere in the body, so by maintaining a schedule of regular dental visits, the dentist can certainly refer patients to physicians or other health care providers for evaluation for a potential systemic disease.”

Clearly, science has yet to establish a direct cause and effect between dental hygiene and health, but researchers are continuing the quest.

In fact, a second study, also presented at this week’s AHA conference, suggested that the number of teeth one has is associated with risk of heart disease, stroke and heart failure.

Most people have 32 teeth, wisdom teeth included. The study, conducted by dentist and researcher Anders Holmund at the Centre for Research and Development of the County Council of Gävleborg, Sweden, found that people with only 21 teeth had a 69 percent increased risk of heart attack, and those with the fewest teeth had a 2.5 times increased risk of congestive heart failure.

The researchers also looked at the gum disease, gingivitis, and found that people with gum bleeding had a 2.1 times increased risk of stroke, while those with gum infections had more than a 50 percent increased risk of heart attack.

“These studies appear to be done well, with large patient populations and long follow-up time,” said Gerber of both studies, “but more research needs to be done before someone can definitively say there is a link between dental visits and heart health.”

He encouraged people to continue following the American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines, which recommend visiting the dentist at least once every six months for a professional exam and cleaning.

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Announcing the biggest advance in cosmetic dentistry in over 4,600 years – Lumineers by Cerinate porcelain veneers painlessly create permanent smiles without dreaded shots, grinding or removing painful tooth structure.  Now you can get a pain-free dramatic new smile without the tooth grinding of traditional veneers! Whether your teeth are stained, unevenly spaced or crooked – even if you’ve got crowns or bridgework, Lumineers by Cerinate take away the trauma of invasive dental procedures to bring you a dramatically more-beautiful smile!

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To find out more about lumineers visit http://www.pazdental.com or call Dr. Paz today at 636-456-2454

Thanks to everybody who celebrated our 25th Anniversary with us on thursday October 14th. We had a blast with some long time friends and enjoyed meeting some new people. If you missed it we gave away Lots and Lots and had some amazing food and fellowship. We love Warrenton and we love our patients. Thanks again for making the last 25 years amazing!!

Sharon hasn’t seen a dentist in 19 years.

Jim saw one once in 1987 but then never went back.

Annie last saw a dentist when she was 17 –
and swears she’ll never go to one again.

Three different people with three different stories, but each of them is part of the 40 million Americans the Academy of General Dentistry estimates don’t go to the dentist because of fear or anxiety.1

Pain and Loneliness

Fear of the dentist isn’t all they have in common, though. Every one of them is at risk of some very serious problems.

  • Untreated cavities, chipped and cracked teeth look bad – and, unfortunately, people notice. That’s a big problem socially — and in business, too. All too often, people with damaged smiles simply get left behind.
  • Untreated gum disease leads quickly to bad breath – and no matter how many quarts of mouthwash folks use, they end up avoiding getting close to people. Even people they love.
  • Worse yet, untreated gum disease can contribute to a wide range of serious conditions, several of them life-threatening.
  • Untreated dental problems also make it hard to eat. Most healthy foods involve serious chewing that’s painful when teeth are loose or decayed. And having to turn down many foods is awkward in social situations.

Taken together, it’s a recipe for pain and loneliness.  People with these problems are often afraid to smile. They cover their mouths when they laugh. Meeting new people is painful and getting passed over at work is all too common.

It’s Not Your Fault

Today dentists have a real understanding of the situation. In the words of Dr. William Kuttler, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, we “recognize dental anxiety is a real condition. Helping patients overcome their fear of visiting the dentist has become just as important as mastering the latest clinical techniques.”2

We know that in about two thirds of cases people have become fearful as the result of a bad experience.3 Others are reacting to an unpleasant experience someone else has had, to a feeling of loss of control in the dentist’s chair or as a result of an anxiety or mood disorder.

Bottom line – we know it’s not your fault.

Real Help

What’s more, we know how to help – with real understanding of your feelings plus strategies to help you feel more at ease – and more in control.

Best of all, today my staff and I can offer you safe, gentle FDA approved medications that let you truly relax.

With these breakthrough medications you’ll be comfortably drowsy but still in control. Fear vanishes and you feel like you’re just drifting along without a care in the world.

In fact, many of our patients are so stress-free they choose to have longer visits so we can do large amounts of work – taking care of years of damage in just one or two visits.

If that sounds good, give us a call. We’ll take the time to discuss your fears, offer solutions that work and put your mind at ease.

Call Dr. Paz today 636-456-2454 or visit www.pazdental.com for more info

  1. Peter Milgrom, DDS, Dir. Dental Fears Research Clinic, U. of Washington, quoted by WebMD http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/don’t-fear-the-dentist.com
  2. William Kuttler, DDS, FAGD, Academy of General Dentistry Spokesperson, ’Dental Anxiety is a Real Condition, Academy of General Dentistry InfoBites http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=c&iid=288&aid=1120
  3. Peter Milgrom, DDS, Dir. Dental Fears Research Clinic, U. of Washington, quoted by WebMD http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/don’t-fear-the-dentist.com

It’s a kinder and gentler world at the dentist office these days. Many of the scary needles and drills are being replaced with high tech equipment that didn’t even exist in years past. One such piece of dental technology is the digital X-ray.

Clearer,More Acurate X-rays

Dental X-rayshave traditionally been “good enough” but with today’s modern dental technology a more accurate diagnosis is required Enter the Digital X-ray .

Because of fluoridated water, tooth enamel has become much harder and decay resistant , Says Dr. Jerry Paz, a Dentist with over 25 years experience. “This is good except that it makes decay much harder to detect, so it often doesn’t even show up on a traditional X-ray.”

Digital X-rays Provide Clearer and much more accurate pictures of what’s going on inside a patient’s mouth. This allows for a much more accurate diagnosis. Leaks or breaks in fillings that used to go unnoticed, often leading to root canals, can now be found and treated before major damage is done.

Less Radiation Exposure

The new X-ray technology also produces 90% less radiation than earlier methods. “Traditional X-rays are, and always have been, perfectly safe,” Says Dr. Paz. ” The problem was that some people were nervous about the amount of radiation they were receiving in the dental office. This new technology cuts radiation exposure by about 90%.”

For more information on digital X-rays and other advancements in dentistry call  Dr. Jerry Paz at 636-456-2454 or learn more online at www.pazdental.com

Fox News Did A segment with Dr. Paz (a dentist in Warrenton Mo.) About Laser Dentistry and talked about how the laser and how it can in over 84% of the time replace the need for a shot and even replace the drill. Only 5% of all dentist have a waterlase laser. find out more at http://www.pazdental.com

Today there’s an increasing demand for dental care that goes beyond the usual cleanings and fillings. The trend today is toward cosmetic dentistry. This is dentistry done simple to make your teeth and smile look better and function more efficiently.

Probably the most frequently performed cosmetic procedure is teeth whitening. This is a simple procedure that is started in the dental chair and continued at home by the patient.

What Makes Teeth Yellow or Stained?

The most common cause of yellow or dull looking teeth are; normal aging, consumption of coffee, tea, colas, tobacco, the use of antibiotics such as tetracycline, excessive fluoride and nerve degeneration. Oddly enough – and for reasons no one is quite sure of – trauma can also cause the teeth to lose their whiteness.

Safe, Effective and Inexpensive

Teeth whitening has been around for many years. However, earlier versions often included overly strong chemicals that were difficult to handle. In addition the treatment was often times quite costly.

Today, all that has changed. Teeth are now whitened with the use of a mild, but powerful gel made from carbamide and peroxide. The gel is placed in an appliance similar to an athletes mouth guard. It’s important that the appliance be custom fit for each patient by their dentist so that the whitening gel gets located directly on the teeth and not the gums. The appliance is worn at night, while you sleep or during the day for a few hours. This process is repeated anywhere from 3 to 14  days. Resuts can usually be seen after the first application. And the fees for whitening can Vary between $400 and $600.

Is Teeth Whitening Effective for Everyone?

An Estimated 95% of all patients can receive teeth whitening with good to spectacular results. Your dentist can determine how the procedure can work for you.

The whitening process may not be effective for every patient. Patients with Periodontal (gum) problems will not benefit from the procedure until the gum disease is under control. In other instances patients may experience gum irritation or tooth sensitivity. However, these symptoms can be treated easily and usually disappear within one to three days after interruption or completion of treatment.

Teeth Whitening today is a fast and inexpensive way to make your teeth white and bright. The majority of people say that with a whiter teeth they smile more and have an increase in Self Confidence.

Dr. Paz is located at 507 n. Hwy 47 in Warrenton MO and can be reached at 636-456-2454 or find out more by visiting www.pazdental.com