Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oral Cancer: Causes and Symptoms

The Importance of Early Detection

Your dentist has recent good news about progress against cancer. It is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the opportunity for a cure is great. Only half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years.

Your dentist has the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. You and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer. Know the early signs and see your dentist regularly.

You Should Know
    •    Oral Cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth.
    •     It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, check lining, tongue and the hard or soft palate.
    •    A change in the way the teeth fit together
    •    Oral Cancer most often occurs in those who use tobacco in any form.
    •    Other signs include:
    ◦    A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
    ◦    A color change of the oral tissues
    ◦    A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
    ◦    Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
    ◦    Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
    •    Alcohol use combined with smoking greatly increases risk.
    •    Prolonged exposure to the sun increases the risk of lip cancer.
Oral cancers can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors.
Oral Cancer is more likely to strike after age 40.
Studies suggest that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may prevent the development of potentially cancerous lesions.

Regular Dental Check-ups Important
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a dental examination. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. You may have a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore and not be aware of it.
Your dentist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue and in some patients may notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore. Although most of these are harmless, some are not. Harmful oral spots or sores often look identical to those that are harmless, but testing can tell them apart. If you have a sore with a likely cause, your dentist may treat it and ask you to return for re-examination.

Dentists often will notice a spot or sore that looks harmless and does not have a clear cause. To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, your dentist may choose to perform a simple test, such as a brush test. A brush test collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth. The cells are sent to a laboratory for analysis. If precancerous cells are found, the lesion can be surgically removed if necessary during a separate procedure. It’s important to know that all atypical and positive results from a brush test must be confirmed by incisional biopsy and histology.

Facts About Oral Cancer
Incidence and Mortality
    •    Oral cancer strikes an estimated 34,360 Americans each year.  An estimated 7,550 people (5,180 men and 2,370 women) will die of these cancers in 2007.1
    •    More than 25% of the 30,000 Americans who get oral cancer will die of the disease.2
    •    On average, only half of those diagnosed with the disease will survive more than five years.4
    •    African-Americans are especially vulnerable; the incidence rate is 1/3 higher than whites and the mortality rate is almost twice as high.5
Risk Factors
    •    Although the use of tobacco and alcohol are risk factors in developing oral cancer, approximately 25% of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors.6, 7
    •    There has been a nearly five-fold increase in incidence in oral cancer patients under age 40, many with no known risk factors.8, 9, 10, 11
    •    The incidence of oral cancer in women has increased significantly, largely due to an increase in women smoking. In 1950 the male to female ratio was 6:1; by 2002, it was 2:1.
Prevention and Detection
    •    The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
    •    Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.
    •    Many types of abnormal cells can develop in the oral cavity in the form of red or white spots. Some are harmless and benign, some are cancerous and others are pre-cancerous, meaning they can develop into cancer if not detected early and removed. (American Cancer Society)
    •    Finding and removing epithelial dysplasias before they become cancer can be one of the most effective methods for reducing the incidence of cancer.
    •    Knowing the risk factors and seeing your dentist for oral cancer screenings can help prevent this deadly disease. Routine use of the Pap smear since 1955, for example, dramatically reduced the incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer in the United States.12
    •    Oral cancer is often preceded by the presence of clinically identifiable premalignant changes. These lesions may present as either white or red patches or spots. Identifying white and red spots that show dysplasia and removing them before they become cancer is an effective method for reducing the incidence and mortality of cancer.

Article Source: http://www.ada.org/3016.aspx?currentTab=1

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eating Disorders and Oral Health

It has been estimated that more than 10 million Americans currently are affected by serious eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. While anyone can suffer from an eating disorder, they are most common in teen and young adult women. Eating disorders can have a large negative impact on an individual’s quality of life. Self-image, relationships with families and friends as well as performance in school or on the job can be damaged. It is critical for anyone with symptoms of an eating disorder to seek professional help since an individual can die from the medical complications these disorders can cause.

Types of Eating Disorders

Anorexia typically involves an extreme fear of gaining weight or a dread of becoming fat. Even though these individuals may be very thin or even extremely underweight, they see themselves as “fat.” They may attempt to reach or maintain what they think is their perfect body weight by literally starving themselves. They may also exercise excessively. Others may eat excessive amounts of food in one sitting and then attempt to get rid of the food and calories from their bodies by forcing themselves to “throw up” or by the misuse of laxatives or enemas.

Bulimia also includes the fears of being overweight. But it also includes hidden periods of overeating (binge eating) which may occur several times a week or even several times a day. While overeating, individuals may feel completely out of control. They may gulp down thousands of calories often high in carbohydrates and fat – in amounts of food that would be greater than what an average person would eat at one sitting. After they overeat, the individuals try to “undo” the fact that they ate too much as quickly as possible by forcing themselves to “throw up” or by the misuse of laxatives or enemas. This is often referred to as “bingeing and purging.”

Binge Eating or Compulsive Overeating may affect almost as many men as women. In the past, these individuals were sometimes described as “food addicts.” They overeat (binge eat) as noted in bulimia above, but do not regularly try to get rid of the food immediately by throwing up or by misusing laxatives or enemas. Feelings of guilt may make it easier for the person to overeat again.

Each of these eating disorders can rob the body of adequate minerals, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients needed for good health. Individuals with eating disorders can display a number of symptoms including dramatic loss of weight, secretive eating patterns, hair loss, feeling cold, constipation and, for women, the loss of their monthly menstrual period. Eating disorders may also cause numerous other physical health complications, such as heart conditions or kidney failure, which can lead to death.

Eating disorders can also affect oral health. Without the proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissue inside your mouth may bleed easily. The glands that produce saliva may swell. Individuals may experience chronic dry mouth. Throwing up frequently can affect teeth, too. When strong stomach acid repeatedly flows over teeth, the tooth’s outer covering (enamel) can be lost to the point that the teeth change in color, shape and length. The edges of teeth become thin and break off easily. Eating hot or cold food or drink may become uncomfortable.


IMAGE: Damaged tooth enamel resulting from eating disorder front viewIMAGE: damaged tooth enamel resulting from eating disorders upwards inside view

Photos courtesy of Craig Mabrito, D.D.S

Eating disorders arise from a variety of physical, emotional and social issues all of which need to be addressed to help prevent and treat these disorders. Family and friends can help by setting good examples about eating and offering positive comments about healthy eating practices. While eating disorders appear to focus on body image, food and weight, they are often related to many other issues. Referral to health professionals and encouragement to seek treatment is critical as early diagnosis and intervention greatly improve the opportunities for recovery.
Treatment of Oral Health Consequences of Eating Disorders
  • Maintain meticulous oral health care related to toothbrushing and flossing.
  • Immediately after throwing up, do NOT brush but rinse with baking soda to help neutralize the effects of the stomach acid.
  • Consult with your dentist about your specific treatment needs.
  • See your dentist regularly.

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dental Fillings Explained

Thanks to advances in modern dental materials and techniques, dentists have more ways to create pleasing, natural-looking smiles. Dental researchers are continuing their often decades-long work developing materials, such as ceramics and polymer compounds that look more like natural teeth. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.

These new materials have not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental materials, such as gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam. That’s because the strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations, such as fillings in the back teeth where chewing forces are greatest.

What's Right for Me?

Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and cost of dental restorations. These factors include: the patient's oral and general health, the components used in the filling material; where and how the filling is placed; the chewing load that the tooth will have to bear; and the length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.

With so many choices, how do you know what's right for you? To help you better understand what's available, here are the advantages and disadvantages of commonly used dental restorations.
The ultimate decision about what to use is best determined by the patient in consultation with the dentist. Before your treatment begins, discuss the options with your dentist.

Types of Dental Restorations

There are two types of dental restorations: direct and indirect.

Direct restorations are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include dental amalgam, glass ionomers, resin ionomers and some resin composite fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling and adjusts it during one appointment.

Indirect restorations generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns and bridges fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics or composites. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory, which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
Amalgam Fillings

IMAGE: Amalgam fillingUsed by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.

Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.

While questions have arisen about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content, the major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.

Because amalgam fillings can withstand very high chewing loads, they are particularly useful for restoring molars in the back of the mouth where chewing load is greatest. They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.
Disadvantages of amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. And to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate an amalgam filling than for other types of fillings.

Composite Fillings

IMAGE: Composite fillingComposite fillings are a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium that produces a tooth-colored filling. They are sometimes referred to as composites or filled resins. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. Composites can also be "bonded" or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth.

The cost is moderate and depends on the size of the filling and the technique used by the dentist to place it in the prepared tooth. It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than what is required for an amalgam filling. Composite fillings require a cavity that can be kept clean and dry during filling and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time.


IMAGE: Ionomor fillingGlass ionomers are translucent, tooth-colored materials made of a mixture of acrylic acids and fine glass powders that are used to fill cavities, particularly those on the root surfaces of teeth. Glass ionomers can release a small amount of fluoride that may be beneficial for patients who are at high risk for decay. When the dentist prepares the tooth for a glass ionomer, less tooth structure can be removed; this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam.
Glass ionomers are primarily used in areas not subject to heavy chewing pressure. Because they have a low resistance to fracture, glass ionomers are mostly used in small non-load bearing fillings (those between the teeth) or on the roots of teeth.
Resin ionomers also are made from glass filler with acrylic acids and acrylic resin. They also are used for very small, non-load bearing fillings (between the teeth), on the root surfaces of teeth, and they have low to moderate resistance to fracture.

Ionomers experience high wear when placed on chewing surfaces. Both glass and resin ionomers mimic natural tooth color but lack the natural translucency of enamel. Both types are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.

Indirect Restorative Dental Materials (Two or more visits)

Sometimes the best dental treatment for a tooth is to use a restoration that is made in a laboratory from a mold. These custom-made restorations, which require two or more visits, can be a crown, an inlay or an onlay. A crown covers the entire chewing surface and sides of the tooth. An inlay is smaller and fits within the contours of the tooth.

An onlay is similar to an inlay, but it is larger and covers some or all chewing surfaces of the tooth. The cost of indirect restorations is generally higher due to the number and length of visits required, and the additional cost of having the restoration made in a dental laboratory. Materials used to fabricate these restorations are porcelain (ceramic), porcelain fused to a metal-supporting structure, gold alloys and base metal alloys.

All-Porcelain (Ceramic) Dental Materials

IMAGE: All-Porcelain (Ceramic) dental overlayAll-porcelain (ceramic) dental materials include porcelain, ceramic or glasslike fillings and crowns. They are used as inlays, onlays, crowns and aesthetic veneers. A veneer is a very thin shell of porcelain that can replace or cover part of the enamel of the tooth. All-porcelain (ceramic) restorations are particularly desirable because their color and translucency mimic natural tooth enamel.

All-porcelain restorations require a minimum of two visits and possibly more. The restorations are prone to fracture when placed under tension or on impact. The strength of this type of restoration depends on an adequate thickness of porcelain and the ability to be bonded to the underlying tooth. They are highly resistant to wear but the porcelain can quickly wear opposing teeth if the porcelain surface becomes rough.


IMAGE: Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental overlayAnother type of restoration is porcelain-fused-to-metal, which provides strength to a crown or bridge. These restorations are very strong and durable.

The combination of porcelain bonded to a supporting structure of metal creates a stronger restoration than porcelain used alone. More of the existing tooth must be removed to accommodate the restoration. Although they are highly resistant to wear, porcelain restorations can wear opposing natural teeth if the porcelain becomes rough. There may be some initial discomfort to hot and cold. While porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations are highly biocompatible, some patients may show an allergic sensitivity to some types of metals used in the restoration.

Gold Alloys

IMAGE: Gold alloy crownGold alloys contain gold, copper and other metals that result in a strong, effective filling, crown or a bridge. They are primarily used for inlays, onlays, crowns and fixed bridges. They are highly resistant to corrosion and tarnishing.
Gold alloys exhibit high strength and toughness that resists fracture and wear. This allows the dentist to remove the least amount of healthy tooth structure when preparing the tooth for the restoration. Gold alloys are also gentle to opposing teeth and are well tolerated by patients. However, their metal colors do not look like natural teeth.

Base Metal Alloys

Base metal alloys are non-noble metals with a silver appearance. They are used in crowns, fixed bridges and partial dentures. They can be resistant to corrosion and tarnishing. They also have high strength and toughness and are very resistant to fracture and wear.

Some patients may show allergic sensitivity to base metals and there may be some initial discomfort from hot and cold. However, due to their metal color, gold alloys do not look like natural teeth.

Indirect Composites

IMAGE: Indirect composite dental inlayCrowns, inlays and onlays can be made in the laboratory from dental composites. These materials are similar to those used in direct fillings and are tooth colored. One advantage to indirect composites is that they do not excessively wear opposing teeth. Their strength and durability is not as high as porcelain or metal restorations and they are more prone to wear and discoloration.

Frequently Asked Questions

If my tooth doesn’t hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced?

Constant pressure from chewing, grinding or clenching can cause dental fillings, or restorations, to wear away, chip or crack. Although you may not be able to tell that your filling is wearing down, your dentist can identify weaknesses in your restorations during a regular check-up.
If the seal between the tooth enamel and the restoration breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the restoration. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Decay that is left untreated can progress to infect the dental pulp and may cause an abscess.

If the restoration is large or the recurrent decay is extensive, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining to support a replacement filling. In these cases, your dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown.

Are dental amalgams safe?

Yes. Dental amalgam has been used in tooth restorations worldwide for more than 100 years. Studies have failed to find any link between amalgam restorations and any medical disorder. Amalgam continues to be a safe restorative material for dental patients.

Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam?

Only a very small number of people are allergic to one or more of the metals used in amalgam fillings. In these rare instances, the filling may trigger a localized reaction that produces symptoms similar to a skin allergy. Often patients who have this reaction to amalgam have a medical or family history of allergy to metals. Another dental filling material will be used instead of amalgam in these situations.
Is there a filling material that matches tooth color?

Yes. Composite resins are tooth-colored, plastic materials (made of glass and resin) that are used both as fillings and to repair defects in the teeth. Because they are tooth-colored, it is difficult to distinguish them from natural teeth. Composites are often used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. They can be used on the back teeth as well depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay. Composite resins are usually more costly than amalgam fillings.

Article Source: http://www.ada.org/3094.aspx?currentTab=1 

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dr. John Hagopian At CDA Presents 2012

HB Dentistry's very own Dr. Hagopian attended this year's CDA conference in Anaheim, CA. Here he is at the President's Ball, representing the HB Dentistry office in full CDA conference attire.

Looks great, doesn't he?

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teeth Whitening: How To Bleach Teeth With Baking Soda

Video Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5oZUDvGIxg&feature=relmfu

If you live in the Niles area and are looking for a dentist, please visit our website for more information: http://www.hb-dentistry.com

Our office is located at 9101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 302, Niles, IL.  60714
Call us at  847-296-4030.

Follow us on twitter:  @hbdentistry