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Gum Disease and Dementia: How Dental Cleanings May Prevent Alzheimer's disease

February 3rd, 2020

The Research

Did you know that the bacteria in your gums may possibly contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease?

Though it seems that these two topics should be unrelated, new studies have pointed to results that say otherwise. A recent study conducted in 2019 by Science Advances and funded by the pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, demonstrated a correlation between bacteria that cause gum disease and Alheimers. The study found bacteria from gingivitis (called P. Gingivalis) residing in the brains of patients with Alzheimers.

The same bacteria found in our gums when we don't sufficiently brush our teeth, may find its way up to our brain and could lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

This bacteria was also found to be associated with the production of amyloid proteins, a dangerous protein that causes neuroinflammation and ultimately neuron death, the mechanism of memory loss.

This is not the first study to find a correlation between gum disease and dementia. A study done by The Chung Shan Medical University Team in 2017 was compiled to determine if there was a relationship between periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease) and an increased risk of Alzheimer 's.

Although there was no direct causation found, the Chung Shan Team noticed a trend that

"People over the age of 70 that had been living with periodontitis a decade or more were 70% more likely than people without periodontitis to develop Alzheimer’s.”

This study also noted that there was an increased amount of inflammation in the bodies of patients who suffered from chronic periodontitis (gum disease) and that inflammation in general may play a vital role in the development of Alzheimers.

The first study to discover a correlation between gum disease and Alzheimers was initiated by the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2016. The school was provided donated brain samples from Brains for Dementia Research in order to expedite Alzheimer's research. They meticulously studied the brains of dementia patients compared to those without dementia, and noticed a significantly higher presence of the P. Gingivalis bacteria in the brains of patients with dementia.

Before this study, the only bacteria and viruses that had been correlated with dementia were those from the Herpes simplex Type 1 and other different strains of bacteria, therefore this was a significant discovery. Dr. Sim K. Singhrao, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Central Lancashire stated:

“We are working on the theory that when the brain is repeatedly exposed to bacteria and/or their debris from our gums, subsequent immune responses may lead to nerve cell death and possibly memory loss. Thus, continued visits to dental hygiene professionals throughout one’s life may be more important than currently envisaged with inferences for health outside of the mouth only.”

Finding P. Gingivalis in our blood stream may signal as a marker and risk factor for developing dementia in the future.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

So how can we prevent gum disease and the potentially dangerous bacteria that comes with it? It’s easy.

  • Brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes (put on a timer!) twice a day. Do not forget to brush your gum line.
  • Floss twice a day as this eradicates all the stubborn bacteria and the plaque that are most responsible for gum disease.
  • Keep up with our yearly or quarterly hygiene cleanings. Your hygienist can detect the progression of gingivitis early on and ensure that it does not advance to periodontitis. If periodontitis is already present then it is especially important to keep the bacteria that has congregated underneath your gums to a minimum even though it is irreversible.
  • Invest in yourself and buy an electric toothbrush. Many studies have shown that electric toothbrushes remove more bacteria and plaque than manual toothbrushes.
  • Use natural mouthwash. Studies have also shown a lower incidence of gum disease with those who use mouthwash daily.
  • Stay away from smoking and tobacco. Smoking can expedite the progression of gum disease and eventually cause oral cancer.
  • Be more conscious about your sugar intake. Reducing sugar and drinking more fluids can dramatically reduce the sugar loving bacteria from forming.

If you notice that your gums have been consistently inflamed, swollen, painful, and bleeding please make an appointment with Dr. Gates or Dr. Kasali as soon as possible. Other signs of gum disease may be persistent bad breath, receding gums, and loose or separating teeth.

Although there has not been direct causation found between gum disease and Alzheimer's, studies are continuing to reveal that dental health and brain health are much more interconnected than we presume. In conclusion this data points to how paramount dental health’s role is in the picture of our overall quality of life

What is the Average Cost of a Dental Implant?

August 27th, 2019

The average range for a single dental implant can be anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on where you live and your oral needs.
The average range for an entire dental implant procedure could be anywhere from $1,500 to $6,500 depending on where you live and your oral needs. 

In this post we are going to dive into why this range is so widespread and all the factors that go into the cost of this surgical procedure.

The Cost of Dental Implants Differ From One Patient to the Next 

When it comes to dental implants,the most common question we get from our patients is how much does a dental implant cost?  Our staff will delightfully let you know that the cost of a dental implant is different for each individual person, depending on your needs. We would prefer to schedule an appointment and take a look at your specific situation in order to give you the best estimate we could possibly give you.

We do not want to inform you incorrectly over the phone especially when this range is so broad! 

As we mentioned before, the dental implant or the "tooth root" of this procedure, can be anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000. But the dental implant is only one piece of the cake.

Image result for dental implantImage by https://www.artofsmilespasadena.com/dental-implant-surgery/

Other costs that should be factored in are the abutment which is usually about $300 to $500, and the crown which is usually $1,000 to $2,000.  Then we will need to determine if your teeth need to be extracted which will be about $100 to $500 for each extraction. Depending on the strength and density of your jaw, bone graft may also be needed to ensure a secure and stable ground for the implant itself. This usually costs $400 to $600.Then there is a matter of your individual insurance and how much they will cover.

According to DeltaDental.com the average cost for a dental implant procedure for McKinney residents with the zip code 75070 is $5,142 to $6,195.

If you don't live in McKinney, click here to find out how much dental implants cost in your area.

Now that we know the average cost in McKinney, I will show you our approximate fees at Custom Dental in McKinney:

Our Approximate Fees: 

Tooth Extraction: $288 

Bone Graft: $488 

Implant: $2015 

Abutment: $480 

Crown: $1,388

Total= Approximately $4,659 for a dental implant procedure at Custom Dental of McKinney.

With our Custom Dental Savings Plan applied (our In House Savings Plan): %20 Off All Fees

Tooth Extraction: $230.40

Bone Graft: $390.40

Implant:$1,612

Abutment: $384

Crown: $1,110.4

Total=$3,727.20 for a Dental Implant Procedure at Custom Dental of McKinney with our Savings Plan.

Our Payment Plan Options

Dental Implants are expensive but life changing, therefore, we want to make sure that as many patients as possible are able to afford them. We offer financing through third parties such as Care Credit and Proceed Finance which can turn an overwhelming number into completely doable and small monthly payments. Click here to learn more about our third party payment plans and even apply today!

What makes dental implants so expensive? 

Dental implants are the absolute best replacement for failing and missing teeth with a 98% success rate in a span of ten years. The type of metal (titanium or zirconium) that is placed in your jaw integrates thoroughly into your jaw bone halting bone decay and muscle atrophy, preventing and solving the “sunken in” and aged appearance.

Placing a dental implant is also an extremely technical surgical procedure that should only be done by an experienced dentist and implantologist, oral surgeon, or prosthodontist. The angle of the implant entering into your bone must be executed flawlessly and as we have discussed there are many other parts involved. This is not like a filling procedure where you are finished the same day. Your bone and gums are exposed and take months to be completely healed. There is a process that must be followed and your healing must be analyzed. Here is what that process looks like at Custom Dental in McKinney:

  1. First Appointment: Exam, Consultation, and X-Rays- This is the initial appointment where our dental assistants will take you to our 3D Imaging Panorama machine where we will analyze a detailed 3D image of your entire jaw.We will assess for infection, how much bone decay is present, the quality of your bone and if it is strong enough to hold a dental implant, and if there are any abscesses or teeth that must be removed. 
  2. Second Appointment: Implant Placement- Your next appointment, the implant itself will be properly placed into your jaw bone at the exact depth it needs to be for ultimate success. Once this implant is placed, a temporary tooth will be placed on top so you will not be leaving our practice without a tooth. The next appointment will usually be in 3-6 months depending on how much healing time you need and for the implant to integrate into your bone.
  3. Third Appointment: Abutment Placement- Now that your gum and bone has fully healed we can screw the abutment into your implant to make it permanent. Another temporary crown may be placed if it has not come in from the lab yet.
  4. Final Appointment: Permanent Crown Placement- We will remove your temporary crown and finally place the permanent beautiful crown on top! 

Your implant is now complete and you have a beautiful gleaming tooth (or an entire new smile) to show off to the world!

 

 

 

 

Citations: https://www.deltadental.com/us/en/cost-estimator-results.html

https://www.spiritdental.com/blog/individuals/the-cost-of-dental-implants-broken-down&highlight=WyJicmlkZ2UiXQ==

Why Implants May be a Better Option than Crowns and Bridges

July 26th, 2019

Unfortunately, the two most common routes that people decide to take to address their missing and failing teeth are dentures or bridges. These are usually the most economic decision and this is why they are chosen initially. Implants, though more expensive, have become more commonplace and like all things in the market the price adjusts downward.

Image result for dentures and bridges

Today there is a lesser gap in the affordability of dental implants than one might think. 

Once you evaluate all your options it is important to note the drastic difference that implants have between dentures and bridges and why are they absolute worth the higher price. Dental implants are the ONLY permanent solution, working successfully 98% of the time after ten years, which cannot be said for dentures or bridges. Furthermore, many of the people that are looking for a satisfactory solution to their missing or failing teeth have already tried and bridges before they ended up visiting our office.

As a result, we help people who feel like this is their last and final chance to make things normal for them.  A huge goal at our practice, is to educate people EARLY before they are shocked to realize the dissatisfaction and issues that bridges and dentures may cause.What I tell all my patients about dentures: Many patients come to me initially only seeking interest in dentures. I always want to set realistic expectations with dentures so that patients know exactly what they are getting into so I tell them this story:

The best a denture will ever be is a wooden peg.

Think back to the Civil War days- when a soldier lost a limb the best prosthetic they could offer was a wooden leg and some crutches. Actually in this same era, if you had missing teeth, and you were lucky you would get dentures as well. Let’s fast forward to the future and take note of the differences. We have far surpassed the technology of a wooden peg and now offer titanium articulated joints that will take the place of what’s missing and what’s even more amazing is that many affected people do not let a missing limb stop them from remaining athletic and they may even have an advantage. This is the same for dental implants. They are the premium replacement and are built for the long run. 

Image result for wooden prosthetic leg

  • They often slip creating challenges for eating and talking, making it very obvious that they have dentures. This can cause many insecurities. 
  • When you are eating certain foods this can cause pain when biting down.
  • The problems associated with the taste and ease of use of denture pastes and creams can be awful; a minty flavor does not guarantee a refreshing taste.   

At our practice, the complaints of our patients are certainly taken very seriously. The concerns we have not only coming from wanting our patients satisfied and confident in their smile, but also concerns with the adverse health effects of dentures. From a medical professional’s standpoint these can be very problematic and include:

  • Deteriorating bone quantity and density which cannot be corrected. 
  • Atrophy of the muscles that are unused.
  • Restriction of blood flow to the mouth which can lead to even further complications.

Before I explain further, let’s do an experiment to demonstrate the impact blood flow has on gum tissue, specifically how it can be impeded by dentures, causing accelerated bone deterioration. Take your finger and press it into the back of your hand and lift it up after ten seconds. What do you notice? You will likely see for a short amount of time, a white off color area in the shape of your fingertip.  Why is there? Because you have restricted the blood flow to those areas. This is exactly what happens with dentures and partials, they restrict blood flow!

A healthy flow of blood can be compared to a luscious river providing water and nutrients to the land around it. If water flow is impeded the land around it begins to deteriorate and wither away.

Except the restriction of blood flow is now causing your muscles to break down and your bone to wither away causing an older more “sunken in” look. Cigarettes can also restrict blood flow to the mouth in an even greater degree. This is ultimately why dentures and partial bridges do not work. They actually create further tooth, bone and muscle loss causing a vicious cycle and accelerating the aging process. 

My goal is that each and every patient gets the solution that is best for them but that they are also aware of all of their options and the reality of the situation.

At the end of the day, I want you to go home extremely happy with your results and it is my job to inform you of all the pros and cons.

 

Picture citations: https://www.offislanddental.com/service/dental-bridge-vs-dentures/

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/folk-art/primitives/late-19th-century-wooden-prosthetic-leg/id-f_4259463/

biotechpossibilities.com

 

Top 10 Benefits of Dental Implants

July 22nd, 2019

I treat patients whose lives change dramatically from one day to the next solely because of dental implants.

Not only is there a great aesthetic advantage, but the improvement in your overall psychological and physical health is remarkable.  Here is a list of the top 10 benefits that can come from dental implants that I have personally heard from my patients and that are reported world wide: 

Ability to chew nutritious food and eat anything you like without pain or discomfort. An example of this would be a patient biting into an apple after years of not being able to do so. A wonderful patient of mine, who was also an employee of the company had struggled with failing teeth for years. She informed me about her avoidance of eating out with friends because she felt obliged to order soft foods to not show the discomfort she would display if she were to have ordered something harder like steak and vegetables. Over time, we were able to give her the gift of implants again and she was able to enjoy things that many of us may take for granted: like biting into an apple. 

Improving overall health because you are able to eat more solid and nutritious foods (fruits and vegetables). This same patient, and many other patients were able to eat foods like carrots, apples and meat for the first time in years. Expanding the variety in your diet once again is vital to improving the amount and quality of nutrients consumed.

Improvement of psychological health and well-being. In a world where we should be using our smile to change the world, we need to be mindful of how losing our smile can change us. I’m acutely aware of this every day when I go to work and meet patients with failing or missing teeth. Their confidence is deflated, and they cover their mouth when they smile. It is such a shame. However, once solutions are enacted to reverse these problems I literally see my patients change before my eyes. I've seen spouses cry when seeing their significant other with implants for the first time as they have not seem them smile in years! The radical improvement of confidence and increase in self esteem go hand in hand when receiving dental implants.

Image result for happy people

Instead of covering your mouth while laughing and smiling, you are eager to show off your new smile. This ties back into the psychological benefits we just discussed.

Dental Implants are more cost effective in the long run. It may seem that in the moment you are saving a lot more money on dentures and bridges, however you only have to change crowns about every 15 years and the dental implant itself could even last a lifetime.

You don’t have to have dentures or bridges fixed every five years anymore. Because of the constant deterioration of your bone and muscle loss that dentures and fixed bridges may cause, your bridges and dentures must be fixed to adjust to the form of your jaw. With dental implants this is not necessary because it STOPS this deterioration of bone and muscle loss leading to the next benefit.

Image result for dentures slipping out

Eliminating further bone loss and the “sinking in” of the jaw and stopping muscle atrophy of the mouth. This elimination is so detrimental as to why dental implants are the most superior missing or failing tooth replacement. Eliminating further bone and loss and muscle loss, literally stops the aging process from continuing and can even make you look ten years younger! Going from a sunken in jaw, to a jaw that is filled thick with healthy bone and muscle contributes to a far more youthful experience as demonstrated in the picture below. 

Image result for dental implants muscle atrophy

Not having to remove your temporary teeth every night. This is a given! Implants are permanent solutions that have a 99% success rate over a span of 10 years!

You are suddenly able to talk naturally, without concerns of “lisp like” sound or clicking of dentures. Many patients report a lack of confidence in their speaking abilities because of their dentures or missing teeth. Even when a dentures fits beautifully, it can still be daunting to learn how to speak again with a new structure in your mouth. Your body has adapted to the prior form of your jaw, so getting used to dentures can be a learning curve. Dentures cause your mouth to produce an extra amount of saliva and the excess saliva and the difficulty to control it causes lisps, gargling sounds, and whistling noises. Even when denture adhesive is applied correctly, they can slip causing quite an annoying clicking noise.

Reducing the risk of bad breath associated with dentures. If not brushed thoroughly twice a day, a film of lingering food can develop on the dentures causing the development of plaque and bacteria. This plaque buildup and bacteria can cause a very unpleasant smell that can become difficult to remove if not taken care of daily.

These are only eight of the benefits from dental implants that can be truly life changing. This process can transform our smiles which are often our signature, and a genuine smile carries through into the way we carry ourselves and even the spark in our eyes. It is a sign of friendliness, and kindness and is such an important factor in opening up opportunities for greater happiness and fulfillment.

Picture Citations: https://meadows-chiro.com/testimonios/happy-people/

https://implants-teeth-in-5days.com/blog/7-essential-things-you-should-know-about-dentures

https://pittsburghimplantsandperio.com/blog/all-on-four-dental-implants-cost/