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An Introduction to Dental Veneers

If you don’t know much about dental veneers, you can’t make an informed decision about whether they’re right for you or not. Your dentist can tell you everything you need to know about these quick and painless little pieces that can make a huge difference in your overall appearance, but it’s understandable if you want to have some background knowledge before you talk to your dentist.

Here’s a quick primer for you.

 

Understanding Dental Veneers

porcelain veneers

Veneers are hand-crafted, custom-made thin sheets of ceramic or porcelain that are carefully shaped to precisely fit on the front surfaces of your most visible teeth. When properly put in by an experienced dental professional, they look perfectly natural because some light is reflected away while some passes through — just like with natural teeth. Covering discolorations as well as minor chips, cracks and other problems is possible, and dentists do these kinds of things with veneers every day.

Essentially, dental veneers are a nearly instant fix for tooth imperfections and even some orthodontic issues.

 

Just Two Office Visits

Perhaps the best thing about dental veneers is that they can be arranged and installed painlessly in just two quick and simple visits to the dental office. It all starts, of course, with a talk with the dentist to make sure that veneers can do the job for you. Then, you work with the dental office professionals to determine just how things should be. An impression is taken, then the veneers are custom-designed for you. Since etching your natural teeth is necessary to make the adhesive stick, you may be fitted with temporary veneers while you wait for your permanent ones.

When the permanent veneers are ready, you return to the dental office to have them professionally installed. That’s all there is to it. The veneers will last for years with minimal care and professional monitoring.

If you live in San Diego, and would like a consultation about dental veneers, visit: http://brightondentalsd.com

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Need Braces? You Really Need To Take Some Kind Of Action!

Please understand that if you’re looking into orthodontic treatment, there are alternatives to traditional braces, including veneers in limited cases where the alignment issue isn’t significant. Plus, there are modern Invisalign plastic aligners. But understand this too: if you need orthodontic treatment and don’t get it, there can be serious consequences.

Braces and their alternatives do more than just make your teeth look better. They improve function, prevent jaw problems in some cases and allow you to chew more effectively. They also improve teeth spacing, and this can prevent gum disease and other periodontal issues.

While veneers only cover up problems, both braces and Invisalign cost about the same and deliver the same results: straight, healthy teeth you’ll enjoy showing off.

before and after bracesBut we can’t stress enough that action is preferable to inaction.

There are potentially a lifetime of health consequences when you don’t get braces or something else to correct your teeth spacing and alignment issues. Orthodontic issues can get worse and worse as time goes on, and that can lead to worsening oral health problems — and potentially problems that can’t be corrected at all.

Metal braces usually cost between $3,500 to $6,000. Invisalign costs roughly the same amount for the same person and level of treatment. When confronted with those numbers, most people choose Invisalign, but old-fashioned braces still do the job.

Keep in mind that health insurance may cover a portion of the treatment cost for people who are under age 18. It may also be possible for anyone to purchase supplemental coverage that will help reduce the cost of orthodontic treatment at some practices.

When you carefully consider the alternatives, you’ll see that there’s an affordable way to get the braces you need or one of the alternatives to braces. When faced with the costs involved in a lifetime of dental health issues, the relatively low cost seems even more reasonable.

San Diego residents looking for Cosmetic dental solutions & braces, visit:

http://sandiegocosmeticdentists.org/

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Best Holistic Dentist San Diego Has Offers 30 Years Experience And Life Plan

Dentist, Dr. Daniel Vinograd

 

The best San Diego dentist brings more than 30 years of experience to his patients and offers something unique: a six-point life plan designed to help you get healthy and stay that way. Dr. Daniel Vinograd believes in systemic health and overall wellbeing and offers his patients and the world this series of six life principles:

 

  1. Eat correctly. For Dr. Vinograd and for you, too, that means eating lower quantities of processed foods and greater quantities of yogurts and other cultured foods. Also, the dentist promotes eating a lot of protein and getting necessary vitamins and mineral from juicing fruits and veggies.
  2. Make your healthcare pros answer questions. There’s no reason to accept the advice of a dentist or doctor just because he or she claims to be an expert. Ask questions and require answers before agreeing to anything.
  3. Choose biocompatible, holistic dentistry for overall health. You shouldn’t have anything put into your body that isn’t compatible with the essence of what humans are. That means no mercury filling and avoidance of metal dental work unless absolutely necessary. Fluoride and toxic chemicals are a no-no too.
  4. Clean your teeth and mouth with ozonated water. Since mouth bacteria can’t live in the presence of oxygen, it make sense to introduce as much oxygen as possible into the mouth to kill more bacteria.
  5. Understand that everything is linked. Good dental health is associated with good overall health. To understand the link, talk to Dr. Vinograd and study up for yourself.
  6. Be a spiritual person. It doesn’t matter what kind of spirituality you practice, but being spiritual enhances overall health. It’s as simple as that.

 

When you practice these six life principles as prescribed by the best Dentist San Diego has within its city limits, you’ll have a healthier mouth and a better life too.

 

If you live in the San Diego area, visit Brighton Dental San Diego for a full list of services, or Call (619) 630-7174 for a free consultation with Dr. .

 

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Dental Homeopathy

homeopathyConventional medicine emphasizes treating illness with prescription medicines.  While pharmaceutical medications are useful in many situations, they can have harmful, even fatal, side effect.  In many situations, other treatment options may prove just as effective, without the harmful side effects.

Until modern medicine, homeopathy was widely practiced in the US, and still is in much of Europe.  Homeopathy sees the body as being affected by various elements, both internal and external, all of which contribute to the balance or imbalance of mind, body, and spirit.  Homeopathy holds that all parts of a person are closely tied, and what affects one part affects the rest, and seeks to aid the body in healing itself with safe, nontoxic methods that have no side effects.

The term comes from the Greek homoios, similar, and pathos, sickness.  The idea is that a substance that causes mild symptoms in a healthy person can cure an illness that causes the same symptoms.  Hippocrates wrote about the concept in 400 B.C., and was developed into a therapeutic practice in the 1800s by the German physician Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann and ultimately published in the Materia Medica in 1927.

Traditionally, practitioners tried one remedy at a time until symptoms subsided.  For modern homeopathy, the substances used as remedies have been tested under controlled conditions to determine what symptoms they produce in healthy individuals.  The practitioner observe the patient’s symptoms and prescribes the appropriate remedy.  Using the wrong remedy produces no ill effects, but will not produce any change in symptoms.

Sometimes a successful round of homeopathy can produce a whole new set of symptoms.  Symptoms are the body’s way of communicating that something is out of whack and an attempt to restore balance.  There are many factors that influence balance that restoring balance in one area can reveal another imbalance relating to the root cause of the original symptoms.  You may go through several rounds of symptoms that go progressively deeper until all of the root causes of disease are addressed.  The end goal is to strengthen the immune system so that the body can maintain balance in spite of any external influence.

Homeopathic therapies can be found at any health food store.  Some are sold under the name of the illness they are intended to treat, such as Flu, Asthma, Allergies, Appetite Control, Kidney Stone, etc.  These products are a blend of multiple remedies.  Other products contain a single remedy, which is a good way to start out using homeopathy.  Once you determine how you respond to a specific therapy, then you can read the labels on other products to see which one has the combination that will best suit you.

You may find it helpful to obtain a copy of the Materia Medica.  You may be able to find it at your health food store.  If not, you should be able to find the same information online.  Before using homeopathic remedies, take some time to familiarize yourself with the remedies and the symptoms they are intended to treat.  Be aware that certain strong flavors, such as mint or coffee, or certain strong perfumes or other smells can interfere with the effectiveness of some remedies.

Though homeopathic remedies are safe to use, it is always wise to consult with a physician, especially if you are considering giving a homeopathic remedy to a child or using it while pregnant or nursing.  Many modern doctors are not generally trained in homeopathy, to find one who is, ask at your health food store or look in the yellow pages.

Homeopathic preparation are made through a process called potentization.  Each substances is alternately diluted and vigorously shaken until none of the original substance remains.  Potencies are designated with a number and an X, which represents 10.  The higher the number, the more diluted the remedy, and the stronger it is said to be.  So a 6x is more diluted, and stronger than, a 3x.  You may also see the letter C for 100 in place of the X.

Homeopathic products are available in multiple forms, depending on how it should be used.  Liquid remedies are made as an alcohol extract that is placed under the tongue with a dropper.  Because they are made with alcohol, they should not be given to children.  Pellets and tablets are made with lactose to be dissolved in the mouth and are a better choice for children.  Creams, salves, and ointments are used externally for sore muscles, for disorders of the jaw, or for dental treatments.

Homeopathic remedies should be taken at least 15 minutes before or after eating.  Length of treatment varies from person to person.

To learn how Homeopathy can aide your dental health, call (619) 640-5100.

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We Recommend A New Paradigm For Preventing Disease

heartdiseaseThe advice that we’re getting from the medical community over the last decade or so aimed at helping us prevent some of the worst killer diseases like heart attacks, cancer and diabetes has fallen short. When you examine these issues closer and consider some the most recent research, you start to see that myths — like the impact of cholesterol in causing heart disease — are starting to fall away in the face of statistical evidence.

This much is true: heart attacks, cancer and diabetes are indeed responsible for most of the deaths in our society. It’s simply a fact.

The causes of these conditions, however, aren’t being accurately represented by some in the medical community. Whether for their own gain or as the result of mistaken thinking, some medical professionals aren’t giving their patients the real story.

Research indicates that the following important reasons are the real culprits of the current disease epidemic:

– the extremely high consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates
– the extremely high consumption of bad Omega 6 fatty acids, which some suggest is at ten times the optimal ratio or more in today’s diet
– the extremely high consumption of processed foods, and
– the increasingly sedentary and isolated lifestyle.

But change for the better is possible. We can make specific adjustments that can help protect our health and the health of our families for years to come.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the top two adjustments we can make are to avoid smoking and to get some exercise. For many people, making these two adjustments can make a significant positive difference that will reap rewards and benefits for many years.

But there are others important things you can do too, including:

1. Reduce or eliminate sugars and refined carbohydrates from your diet. Consuming these things results in high levels of inflammation and organ degeneration, and these things in turn lead to life-threatening diseases that can be avoided with a change in the diet.

2. Eliminate unbalanced consumption of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. One specific way to make a big difference immediately is to avoid fried foods. When cooking at home, season with liberal amounts of uncooked flaxseed oil. This oil is most effective for health when purchased in small quantities and refrigerated to keep it from going rancid. When cooking, use clarified butter — called ghee in some cultures — and keep the heat low to prevent burning.

3. Incorporate more raw, uncooked and unprocessed fermented foods into your diet. This includes kefir, kambucha, pickles, kimchi, sour kraut and similar foods. These promote good bacteria in the gut. (It’s also important to avoid taking antibiotics unless absolutely necessary to prevent destroying this good bacteria.)

4. Swap in fresh fruits, vegetables and protein sources for packaged, processed and refined sources whenever you can. Refined foods have much of their nutrition removed and often have undesirable substances added in, including a lot of sugar.

5. Take some time to contemplate or meditate to order your thoughts. Develop a practice of gratitude and kindness toward yourself and others. Then, also take time to be around those you love and care about. There are untold benefits to an ordered mind and a relaxed and happy body.

When you put aside the misinformation often provided by unthinking doctors who don’t understand the whole picture and you instead consider your body and the world holistically, you can begin to see that a narrow view of medicine and health is an unnecessarily restricted one. And when you implement simple suggestions like these, you can begin to feel better than you ever thought possible.

Those interested in a free consultation with Dr. Vinograd, call (619) 540-5100

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Dental Spas Are A Great New Trend In Dentistry

dental spaDentists are moving away from the old way of doing business and moving toward the dental spa concept, a new trend in dentistry. Patients no longer have to expect pain and discomfort from the dentist’s office experience and can feel good — even pampered.

Patients often feel anxiety about a dentist visit because of past experiences involving pain, and that creates resistance to necessary treatment. But times have changed.

Those early childhood experiences at the dentist caused many people to lose trust in the dental treatment process. Going to the dentist for many people meant getting hurt by someone they were told they could trust, and that creates a lifelong negative association.

The dental spa model is completely different. No longer hurting patients is the top priority, but a number of other things make today’s dental spas different from and better than old-fashioned dental offices.

One of them is aromatherapy. Many pure essences have a relaxing effect. Just activating a patient’s sense of smell in this way can help eliminate the sense of danger and make for a more pleasant experience. Plus, aromatherapy can generate an overall sense of wellbeing that lasts long beyond the time in the dental office.

Also, we make every effort to counsel patients and help them separate past bad experiences from present experiences which are not bad, and that’s also key to their increasing trust in our dental office experience. While we can’t cause people to stop thinking about things that are already imprinted on their brains, we can help them address the elephant in the parlor so they can move on with their lives.

We can help people realize that those historical events don’t have anything to do with this present moment. Once they realize that there is a separation between then and now rather than drawing a connection, their experience can improve.

The dental spa experience also involves cosmetic dentistry and teeth whitening, procedures that don’t have much discomfort involved with them. But these patients may also need some additional, more extensive work, and they need to know that the technology and procedures are available to help them eliminate their connection with any painful experiences of the past and get the help they need.

The dental spa experience also involves merging traditional medicine and dentistry with holistic medicine and dentistry as well as Eastern philosophies and more. When performed together, these ways of approaching issues can do the most good.

For so long, there has been conflict between allopathic practitioners and holistic dentists and doctors, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If someone gets run over by a car, they don’t want to go to a herbalist. They need emergency care from professional orthopedic surgeons and others who know how to take care of the problems. But for those with chronic pain or other chronic problems that allopathic medicine cannot help with, it often makes sense to look at alternative treatments because they tend to have more success with those kinds of things.

The dental spa experience can also include acupuncture, and some dental spas actually have acupuncturists come into the practice to help with specific issues. These include the reduction of the pain sensation and the reduction of anxiety. When used alongside massage, reflexology and similar modalities, these things can help make the dental spa experience as enjoyable and productive as possible.

There’s no reason to settle for an exclusively old-fashioned approach to dentistry anymore when the dental spa experience is available in many places, including at our clinic. Please contact us now at (619) 640-5100 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Vinograd, a holistic dentist who offers a dental spa experience. You’ll be very glad you did.

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Dr. Vinograd – Nominated For Best Dentist

Thank you to Jill for nominating Dr. Vinograd as UT San Diego’s best dentist. If you would like to cast your vote for Dr. V, visit http://uniontrib.secondstreetapp.com/l/sdbest-2015-nominate/Ballot/HealthyLiving , click on dentist, then type in Daniel Vinograd, DDS.

 

Thanks!

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Ease Your Dental Anxiety with Aromatherapy at Brighton Dental

aromatherapy oilThere are few settings that are more widely anxiety provoking than going to the dentist.  As many as 20% of adults put off routine dental care until they have a problem that causes a great deal of pain.  As a result, small problems become large and painful problems, which require invasive (and often uncomfortable) procedures to correct.  Many of these patients require sedation in order to relax enough for the procedures.

At Brighton Dental, our goal is help our patients overcome their anxiety, so we can help them improve their oral health.  To accomplish this, we are always on the lookout for new ways lower anxiety levels for our patients.

In response to recent research on the effects of aromatherapy on anxiety, Brighton Dental is now offering aromatherapy to patients during their appointments.  Aromatherapy has been used in both alternative and complementary medicine since ancient times.  Citrus has traditionally been used to relieve anxiety.

One study in particular examined the effects of orange essential oil on thirty children between the ages of six and nine undergoing two separate treatments that included prophylaxis and sealant.  These specific treatments were chosen because they are generally pain-free and would prevent physical discomfort from skewing the results.

Each child had one such treatment using the aromatherapy, and another without, with half the children receiving the aromatherapy during the first visit, the other half during the second visit.

The children’s anxiety levels were determined by measuring their pulse rates and the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in their saliva.  Regardless of whether the orange oil was used during the first or second visit, the children demonstrated lower levels of anxiety when they received the aromatherapy than when they didn’t.

These findings are significant because, not only does pain increase anxiety, but patients who are anxious are more sensitive to pain.  This results in a vicious cycle that leads to patients avoiding needed dental care, which can result in poor dental health and increased cavities and gum disease.

At Brighton dental, we recognize that your comfort is the key to your oral health.  That’s why Dr. Vinograd has worked so hard to perfect his Gentle Dental techniques, and why we’re always looking for new ways to provide all of our patients, especially those who have dental anxiety, with the most comfortable possible treatments.

If you’ve been putting off needed dental care because of anxiety, call Brighton Dental today at (619) 640-5100.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Gum Disease May Increase Pneumonia Risk By Up To 40 Percent

pneumonia lungsIt’s a staggering statistic to comprehend, but recent research has shown that periodontal disease can increase your risk of a certain kind of pneumonia by up to 40 percent, perhaps indicating an urgent need to get gum disease under control before it spawns or contributes to other even more serious conditions.

A review of almost 1700 studies was undertaken by Susanna Paju, who does her research for the Department of Biology at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. She found 36 relevant studies and did a complete and thorough analysis of them. What she found may surprise you.

The first important fact she uncovered is that taking action to deal with gum disease through either manual cleaning, topical chemicals or antibiotics was able to reduce how offer a certain kind of pneumonia happened by about 40 percent.

The second, related, fact was that while there are strong links between gum disease and COPD, no definite connection could be found for certain.

With those findings in mind, Paju reached several important conclusions. Most obvious is the fact that the link is strong enough to believe that mouth pathogens are connected to the development of what is called nosocomial pneumonia.

And she made two additional conclusions. One is that the medical community doesn’t know enough about this subject and should study it further using standard research methods. Another is that the connection with COPD needs to be further studied so it can be determined if a real and valid link can be shown.

For patients with gum disease who have other risk factors of lung disease — including a history of smoking — there’s every reason to believe that treating the gum disease will result in better overall health and a decreased risk of potentially debilitating lung problems.

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Link Established Between Dementia And Bad Oral Health

dementia diagramA study from England has shown that people who have gum disease or poor oral health practices in general could be at greater risk for developing dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease than people who have good teeth and don’t have to have a lot of complex dental procedures.

The study come from the University of Central Lancashire and determined that some people who have dementia have in their brains a bacteria commonly associated with gum disease. They reached this conclusion by studying the brain samples of 10 patients with dementia and 10 patients without the condition who had donated their brains after death for scientific study.

The study was small but important, according to experts. And it was published in the prestigious Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The kind of bacteria that’s usually found in the oral cavity can get into the bloodstream in a variety of ways, and from there it can get into the brain, the experts suggest. Simple things like chewing, eating and brushing release the bacteria — and so does having complex dental procedures when the bacteria is present and hasn’t been first eradicated.

The study joins another conducted in New York that found a solid link between Alzheimer’s disease and poor condition of the oral cavity. That 2010 study found that Alzheimer’s is linked to inflammation of the gum tissue and concluded that gum disease can contribute to cognitive dysfunction.

Most experts agree that more research on this topic is needed to decide whether a link between gum problems and dementia can be determined with certainty. It also isn’t yet known if poor oral condition of healthy people can lead to dementia or if the bacteria functions only to make it worse in those who already have it.

What’s certain is that there is a growing list of conditions linked to poor oral health.

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Dental Spas – The Latest Medical Craze

dental spa candlesGoing to the dentist can be a frightening experience. Most people would do anything to avoid it. This fear is known as dental anxiety or dental phobia, and affects up to 20 percent of Americans. It basically leaves people terrified and panic-stricken. Some patients experience severe anxiety, flu-like symptoms, nervousness, and sleeping problems before a dental exam. This has lead to the rise of dental spas, a new trend in dentistry. These facilities provide a wide range of services not normally associated with dental care, such as acupuncture, botox treatments, microdermabrasion, reflexology, and massage. Patients are welcomed in a warm and friendly environment that helps ease anxiety and stress.

What Is a Dental Spa?

Dental spas are becoming more and more popular every day. These dental practices are supervised by an oral health care provider and offer various services designed to relax patients. They feature world-class amenities and top-of-the-line equipment for a relaxing experience. Clients can opt for different services, including:

• Massage therapy
• Paraffin wax hand treatments
• Dental chairs that offer relaxing massages
• Energy drinks and natural juices
• Movies, videos, and flat screen TVs
• Heated hand mitts and neck pillows
• Aromatherapy
• Acupuncture
• Soothing spa music
• WiFi Internet
• Botox and Restylane treatments
• Facial treatments
• Tanning
• Waxing

These dental facilities also offer conventional oral health services, such as crowns and bridges, sealants, dental cleaning, teeth whitening, implants, laser dentistry, extractions, root canal therapy, and complete dentures. Patients can ask for a foot massage, a warm lavender neck pillow, or DVD goggles.

What Makes Dental Spa So Popular?

The friendly staff at dental spas will take exceptional care of you and make you feel like home. Whether you request a periodontal treatment, dental implants, or invisible braces, you won’t feel pain at all. The whole experience is relaxing and stress free. All you have to do is to choose the services you’re interested and forget about your daily worries. During the dental exam, patients can relax in a massage chair, surf the Internet, and watch movies. Some dental facilities also provide babysitting or dog sitting services, concierge services, pre-treatment meditation, and facial treatments.

Even the most anxious patients can relax and have a good time at dental spas. As soon as you enter the waiting room, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the friendly ambience and beautiful decor. Many dental day spas have fireplaces, soothing music, and lounge chairs in the lobby. Before treatment, you can request a collagen eye mask, a foot detox, or hot stone therapy. The combination of spa amenities and personalized care will relax your mind and body.

Dental day spas are the ultimate medical craze. The market for those wanting to be relaxed at the dentist is growing. There is absolutely no reason to be afraid to see the dentist! By going to a dental spa, you can enjoy pain-free treatments, soothing hand massages, foot scrubs, and organic spray tanning in a cozy ambiance that will delight your senses.

For the dental spa experience, call (619) 640-5100

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The Surprising Benefits of Acupuncture in Dentistry

acupuncture needles on dental patientAcupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat mental and physical illnesses. This ancient practice has its origin in ancient Taoist philosophy, which states that all diseases all caused by blockages in energy flow (chi). By placing thin needles at specific points in the body, acupuncturists can remove these blockages and treat the root cause of your illness. Recent studies show that acupuncture can be successfully used in dentistry as a way to relieve anxiety and pain.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

This practice dates back to 200 B.C.E. The ancient Chinese believed that chi, the universal energy flow, circulates through the body in channels called meridians. When this energy doesn’t flow freely through your body, you can develop mental, physical, and emotional disorders. There are numerous ways to restore the flow of chi, including acupuncture. This therapy works by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to remove blockages.

Today, acupuncture is seen as a form of alternative or complementary medicine. Wellness centers, hospitals, and clinics from all around the world use this therapy to help patients get rid of pain and recover faster. Modern research shows that acupuncture may increase the production of endorphins and other pain-relieving substances. For this reason, many health care providers recommend this therapy for treating osteoarthritis, lower back pain, migraines, upper respiratory infections, infertility, depression, and anxiety.

An overwhelming number of studies indicate that acupuncture helps relieve headaches and stress-related conditions. In dentistry, this practice is being used for pain management and severe dental anxiety. More than five percent of Americans are afraid to see the dentist. About 20 percent of the general population has some form of anxiety. Acupuncture helps reduce anxiety symptoms and relaxes your mind. The best part is that it works faster than therapy and keeps you drug-free.

Acupuncture and Dentistry

Acupuncture has a wealth of benefits, from pain relief to stress management, better digestion, and increased energy. More and more dentists are using it to help patients feel relaxed before and after their treatment. According to researchers, this centuries old practice can reduce anxiety and pain when seeing the dentist. Millions of people suffer from odontophobia, which describes the fear regarding oral health work. This condition affects more than one third of patients. Acupuncture can help ease the stress of going to the dentist, which may reduce the added time and expense of pain-relieving drugs.

A study conducted on a group of volunteers has shown that acupuncture has reduced anxiety and stress levels by 15 percent in just 15 minutes. Inserting thin needles in certain areas on your body can ease the pain caused by dental procedures and calm the central nervous system. Although this therapy can not replace the drill, it can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments for jaw pain, dental post-operative pain, anxiety, temporomandibular disorder, dry mouth, nerve pain, chronic muscle pain, and jaw clicking. Acupuncture changes the way you process pain signals and releases serotonin, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in the brain. This helps stimulate your nervous system and relieves dental anxiety.

To explore how acupuncture can help at your next dental visit, call (619) 640-5100

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How Gum Health Interacts With Your Other Health Conditions

woman's gumsDid you know that proper oral hygiene is essential for good health overall? That’s right: brushing and flossing your teeth and maintaining a regular program of dental office visits can help you stave off and prevent the worsening of a variety of medical conditions. While it may not seem possible at first, there’s a link between dental health and many other health issues.

In many cases, oral health issues are actually a symptom of the condition. This is the case with diabetes. In other cases, the periodontal issues can cause or contribute to causing the disease. While the exact nature of the link between gum disease and some conditions isn’t completely established, it’s clear that many links exist — and that clearing up oral health issues is a smart decision for maintain good quality of life for as long as possible.

Your mouth, after all, is part of your body, as holistic dentists are always trying to point out. And the research is mounting to prove connections between many conditions of the whole body or parts of it and the bacteria normally found in the mouth.

So let’s take a few moment to sort out some of the ways gum disease is linked with other conditions, and we’ll start with one of the most common diseases in the world.

Diabetes

It’s clear and long established that gum disease is a complication of being diabetic. The excess sugar in the blood that’s one of the markers of diabetes changes the very nature of blood vessels and therefore makes important changes in the way blood flows. This reduction in flow to the mouth can weaken gums over time and increase the vulnerability of this sensitive tissue to infection, according to longstanding research. Also, high blood sugar that’s common in untreated diabetics can actually encourage more bacteria to grow in the mouth.

In fact, the link is so strong between gum disease and diabetes that a 2011 study found that two-thirds of dentists can accurately predict diabetes by examining the mouth. This is important since it’s believed that more than 7 million people have the condition and don’t know it.

Heart Disease

If you have a family history of heart disease, you need to be especially careful about maintaining the integrity of your gums. A number of studies have been clear that there’s a link between gum disease and heart disease as well as stroke. A particular 2003 study review found that there was a 19 percent increase in the risk that people with gum issues would get heart disease when compared with the average person on the street. And you don’t want to do anything that can raise your risk of something as serious as heart disease.

Researchers can’t pinpoint exactly why there is a link, but it’s clearly there. One reason may be because gum disease increases inflammation in the body, and inflammation is known to be a risk factor for heart disease. It could also be because bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream easily and build up along with the plaque already building up in arteries. One study has shown that mouth bacteria is sometimes in plaque found in the arteries.

While it can’t be said for certain that gum disease increases your risk of heart problems, you need to take heed if you have a history of heart disease or other risk factors like smoking, advanced years or diabetes.

Pregnancy

We know that pregnancy isn’t exactly a disease or condition, but there is a link between gum disease in pregnant women and an increased risk of preterm birth. While the studies can’t say for sure that gum problems lead to premature births, researchers think that an immune response to infection in the mouth could be a reason why the birth process starts too soon.

It’s unfortunate, however, that there’s no evidence that treating the gum problem causes the risk of preterm birth to go down.

Additionally, a study from 2011 in Australia found that you may take longer to get pregnant if you have gum disease, so that’s something else to think about.

Knee Arthritis

A study conducted in 2012 showed that bacteria in the mouth can contribute to arthritis. The researchers determined this by taking a synovial fluid sample from around the joints of 36 patients with arthritic conditions, and five of those had mouth bacteria in the joint fluid. Of those, two patients had bacteria that was able to be matched genetically to the kind of bacteria in their mouth.

This establishes that bacteria from the mouth may make arthritis worse. But the study was very small, and more research is necessary — but it’s one more reason to clear up oral infections as soon as possible, especially if you already have arthritis.

Respiratory Disease

The bacteria in your mouth may also find its way into your lungs when you breath in tooth plaque, and that can lead to pneumonia and other severe respiratory issues. The risk s greatest if you have underlying conditions, it appears, especially if your immune system is compromised.

This much seems clear: emphysema and other chronic lung problems can be made worse by mouth bacteria — and you certainly don’t want that.

And this is also clear: the link between oral bacteria and various manifestations of bad health is strong. That’s why it’s important that you discuss any conditions you have or may be at risk for with your dentist as you consider treating your oral health issues.

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