What’s That Spot?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_604410821.jpgPicture it: You wake up in the morning and open your mouth to brush your teeth. But instead of just being greeted by your usual set of pearly whites, you see a dark, blood-red spot about the size of a pencil eraser on the roof of your mouth - and you definitely don’t remember seeing it there when you brushed last night. If you’re like many people, you probably have a million questions running through your mind: What is that spot? Where did it come from? How long will it last? What should I do about it? Is it dangerous? But before you panic and call in sick to work, check out this handy guide to Angina bullosa hemorrhagica (ABH), or as it is more commonly known, an oral blood blister.

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Dental Sealants: Protecting Children’s Teeth From Decay

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_477715900-1.jpgIt’s no secret that parents worry about their children, and kids' health and wellness is probably most parents' No. 1 worry. If there was a way to prevent kids from needing painful procedures down the road, most parents would happily take advantage of it. The good news is, when it comes to oral health, there is a scientifically proven way to protect the teeth of school-aged children from cavities and decay!

Dental sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay by close to 80 percent in molars, where nooks and crannies make them especially prone to problems. Unfortunately, the CDC reports that only 43 percent of children ages 6 to 11 have received sealants, and those who haven’t have three times more cavities than those who have had the simple treatment.

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Traveling for Work? Don’t Skip the Oral Health Routine

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_263484728.jpgWhether you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned pro, it’s impossible to know everything there is to know about raising babies. This is especially true when it comes to caring for your baby’s teeth. Perhaps that’s why nearly 35 percent of children don’t see their family dentist for the first time until after their second birthday, more than a full year after the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's (AAPD) recommendation of age 1.

But even the most diligent parent can still have questions about their children’s teeth and still may not know when their children should meet certain oral health milestones. One particular milestone that many parents may miss, or may not realize the importance of, is the discontinuation of the baby bottle. Though it may not seem dental-related, extended use of baby bottles can be harmful past the age of 1. Dr. Martin Abelar of San Diego, California, explains why.

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Laser Treatment May Soon Replace Painful Gum Procedures

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_149625803.jpgFor patients with damaged or diseased gum tissue caused by advanced gum disease like periodontitis, treatment options have historically been very slim, and very painful. But a new laser-assisted treatment called "laser-assisted new attachment procedure," or LANAP, may be poised to change the periodontal surgery game forever.

Developed by Robert H. Gregg II and Delwin McCarthy, the LANAP procedure uses lasers to precisely cut away diseased gum tissue in the gum pocket without taking out healthy tissue in the process. This precision makes the procedure much less painful, and because it leaves healthy tissue behind, it allows the gums to heal faster and the areas with removed tissue to regenerate faster.

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Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_245617978.jpgDental X-rays are both a useful source of oral health information and a controversial topic that many aren’t sure how to feel about. While they can literally give your dentist a much clearer picture of your overall oral health, they also come with a downside: radiation. In fact, just four bitewing X-rays expose the body to .005 millisieverts of radiation, which is the equivalent of the radiation exposure you’d get if you spent the day in the sun or took a short airplane flight. But while that may not seem like a lot of radiation to some, others are concerned that this exposure occurs so quickly, since most X-rays are done within minutes. So, what’s the bottom line with X-ray radiation exposure? Are X-rays safe, or should you skip them altogether?

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What’s in a Tooth?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_144116677.jpgTeeth. From the outside, they probably don’t look like they’re all that complex. After all, they’re so small, it’s hard to imagine there's much going on inside of them. But believe it or not, these small but mighty bones are more complex than they look – and a lot different from the other bones in your body. Whether you’ve always wanted to know what goes on inside your teeth, or you never really thought about it before, knowing what’s going on inside your teeth can help you understand why it’s so important to take care of them, and better understand what’s going on in your dental procedures.

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Reasons Your Crown May Have Broken

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_553064398.jpgIt is estimated that 75 percent of Americans have some degree of anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist. For approximately 30 to 40 million of those people, that fear is enough to keep them from visiting their dentist regularly. While outright avoidance of the problem may provide temporary comfort, skipping the dentist altogether can have dire consequences for your teeth. Thankfully, there are ways to help those plagued with fear relax during any dental appointment.

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Permanent Birth Control Device Blamed for Tooth Loss

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_521930455_20170821-143915_1.jpg   For women around the world who have made the decision to stop having children, very few permanent options are available. Historically, women seeking permanent birth control have had to rely on surgical procedures such as tubal ligations or hysterectomies. But all that changed in November 2002, when the FDA approved the world’s first permanent birth control, a device called Essure.

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All About Adult Braces

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_538723510_20170816-153545_1.jpg   Dental crowns are deluxe fillings that cover the entire tooth like a cap. They are used to repair teeth that are either broken or have too much filling-to-tooth ratio to be considered strong enough to chew with. But although your crown is essentially stronger than the damaged tooth it is replacing, it is not stronger than a healthy tooth, and if a healthy tooth can break, so can a crown. 

Breaking a crown can be a startling experience, especially if you didn’t feel any discomfort prior to its breaking. There are a few common reasons that crowns may break. And even if you haven’t broken a crown yet, knowing these risks may help you prevent a broken crown in the future.

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Four Ways to Make Your Teeth Look Whiter Instantly

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_96752179.jpg   Whiter teeth. Everyone wants them, but not everyone has the time or money to get them. So, what can you do if your teeth need a bit of a pick-me-up but you’re short on time and money? Try these quick tips for a whiter, brighter smile. 

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Laughter Is the Best Medicine: How Nitrous Oxide Helps Us Relax at the Dentist

b2ap3_thumbnail_quality.jpgSometimes it can be hard to tell the quality of something until it’s too late. When it comes to your health, making a mistake can cause years of problems and a huge financial burden. So, how do you know if the dentist you are considering offers truly quality care?

One size fits all approach

If it seems like patients ride a conveyor belt through the office this should bring up a red flag. Developing a relationship with your dental professional is important in ensuring that you’re receiving quality, individualized care. Something simple said in conversation could cue them in on an issue you didn’t realize you had. Treatment plans should be based on all aspects of the patient’s health, concerns and philosophies and without this relationship, a lot could be missed.

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Dentists Can Help Patients Identify Symptoms of Lyme Disease

b2ap3_thumbnail_lyme-disease.jpg There are approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease reported a year and the numbers are rising, according to the Center for Disease Control. They caution that the months of May through July are the most concerning time of the year in the United States as more people will suffer tick bites during these months than the entire rest of the year.

Not all ticks carry diseases and a bite by a tick does not mean disease is present. However, the biggest concern surrounding tick bites is due to their ability to transmit Lyme Disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, through a bite to a human. This disease can be incredibly dangerous and can affect the joints, heart and even the nervous system.

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Causes of Gum-Line Recession

b2ap3_thumbnail_Mercury.jpgThe Environmental Protection Agency is working to minimize and maybe one day completely eliminate the mercury that is entering the waterway and airways in the United States of America.

The EPA’s First Ruling

On December 15, 2016, the EPA passed a new ruling establishing updated restrictions on the disposal of mercury in dental offices among other regulations. The Obama administration approved the ruling, however, when President Trump took office, he rescinded all rulings that had yet to be published to the Federal Register in a sweeping executive order.

The official name of the ruling is the "Effluent Limitations Guideline and Standards for Dental Category" and in this ruling it states that "the purpose of this final rule is to set a uniform national standard that will greatly reduce the discharge of mercury-containing dental amalgam to municipal sewage treatment plants, known as POTWs, in the United States."

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Sedation Dentistry Calms Fears

b2ap3_thumbnail_dental-fear.jpgPsychology researchers from West Virginia University have found that anxiety and fear related to dental care can be genetically inherited from parents. These findings are one of the first of their kind as previous insights have found links predominately to environmental factors. Data collected by the Center for Oral Health Research from a large group of participants was used to reach these conclusions that the scientific community believes may be groundbreaking in the future of treating dental fears and phobias which currently affect 10 to 20 percent of adults in the United States.

Dr. Abelar is very understanding of dental related fears and has focused on becoming an area leader in the field of sedation dentistry. Thanks to advances in treatment, using a combination of Single Visit Dentistry (CEREC) and oral sedation techniques, a patient with anxiety can now have years’ worth of dental work done in only one or two visits with very little memory of the procedures afterward. Sedation dentistry can be as simple as taking a medication before you come in for a cleaning or procedure (and even the night before in more serious cases of anxiety). Patients report feeling so relaxed it has been nicknamed "Sleep Dentistry" even though they are awake during the entire procedure.

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Homemade Toothpaste: Should it be used?

b2ap3_thumbnail_AbelarBlog.jpgDr. Abelar is so passionate about quality care for his patients that he expects the same in every aspect of his practice. From the materials he uses to the labs he works with he expects nothing but the best and will not settle for anything less. His technicians have a true passion for their patients’ well-being and everyone in the office works with kindness and genuine sincerity to provide the best possible care available.

Even the office itself is designed with patient care and quality experiences in mind. The environment is one of relaxation and spotless hygienic practices. The quiet atmosphere and relaxing colors used in decorating show Dr. Abelar’s attention to detail in not only your oral health but in your overall experience when visiting his office. You can take a photo tour of his office here.

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Sleep Apnea During Pregnancy

b2ap3_thumbnail_pregnant-woman-sleeping.jpgResearchers at Brown University have determined that women who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea may be at an increased risk of experiencing serious complications during pregnancy.

A Study on Sleep Apnea’s Effects on Pregnancy 
Using the U.S. National Perinatal Information Center database, the medical records of over one and a half million pregnant women from 2010 to 2014 were analyzed. Only 12 percent of those women showed a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, but from these numbers, they determined the women were 174 percent more at risk for admission in the Intensive Care Unit than those without the sleep disorder. The average length of hospital stay was three days for women without obstructive sleep apnea but was five days for those with it.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The Facts 
When breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep, obstructive sleep apnea may be the cause. It’s the most common form of sleep apnea and can be a serious concern when it comes to your health according to Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, a San Diego area dentist who treats patients for this sleep disorder.

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A Visit to the Dentist Could Help Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers

b2ap3_thumbnail_arthritis.jpgRheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, painful, inflammatory disease that affects the joints. There’s no cure for the disease, but medications and therapy often help relieve symptoms. Thanks to scientific research, those suffering from gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, may find relief from their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by seeking professional oral care to treat their gum disease.

Studies Support a Connection 
A study was published in the Journal of Periodontology that discovered that people suffering from RA were eight times more likely to develop gum disease than those without it. This brought to light the proverbial question of "which came first the chicken or the egg" to the forefront of research on gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Does gum disease play a role in the development of RA or does RA create an environment that encourages gum disease?

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Break the Bruxism Habit Today

b2ap3_thumbnail_sad-tooth.jpg In the dental world, teeth grinding is actually called bruxism. It affects around 30 million Americans, and the number is growing. The numbers are actually probably higher since many people aren’t even aware they’re doing it. This is because some people only grind their teeth during sleep.

There’s no one specific cause of bruxism, but for many, the likely culprits are stress and anxiety. It can also be caused by a misalignment of the jaw or by certain medications.

Since many patients aren’t aware they’re grinding their teeth, here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • Waking up with a headache or sore jaw and face
  • Difficulty opening the mouth all the way, especially in the morning
  • Damaged, broke or worn down teeth
  • Pain in the ears and jaw joint that is located just in front of the ears
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Helping Children with Dental Anxiety

b2ap3_thumbnail_swollen-gums-anim.jpg Chronic gum disease, also known as periodontitis, affects over 47% of Americans 30 years old and over. When the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth becomes infected, it can lead to major problems if left untreated.

Patients often admit to avoiding treatment for gum disease because of the discomfort associated with traditional periodontal surgery methods. In the past, gum surgery meant incisions, sutures and extended healing times.

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Can Chewing Gum Prevent Cavities?

b2ap3_thumbnail_girl-bubblepop.jpg People chew gum for a variety of reasons. Some do it to focus when they’re feeling anxious or stressed, others chew gum to freshen their breath or get rid of a bad taste in their mouth after eating. What if chewing gum not only freshened breath but also helped prevent decay?

A new study conducted by the Institute of Empirical Health Economics found that those who already chew gum could help save $4.1 billion on dental expenses worldwide by chewing just one extra piece of sugar-free gum each day. Even the American Dental Association says that after a meal, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes can help prevent decay.

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