Shortage of Dentists Causing Great Concern for Michigan Residents

 

dentist Philadelphia

A report issued by the Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health at the University of Albany, found that, “limited access to oral health services is a persistent problem in some geographic areas and for some populations. Improving access to oral health services is a difficult proposition that requires multifaceted strategies.” This particular problem is evident in the state of Michigan, in particular, Detroit.

 

As many of you already know Detroit filed for bankruptcy back in 2013 after it was unable to come to an agreement with it’s creditors, unions and pension boards. The years leading up to the bankruptcy have been rough for Detroit with some many neighborhoods looking like ghost towns because the loss of jobs, companies moving or shutting down.

So how does this relate to dentistry? Well considering that over 50% of the number of Michigan’s dentist are 55 or over that means a large amount of them will be going into retirement with a new stream of dentists replacing them. Therefore the shortage is real.

Why isn’t there a new stream of dentists in Michigan in particular Detroit? Ask anyone and see if Detroit is a desirable place to live or have a family. That means without the proper needed healthcare practitioners available, finding quality dental care will become increasingly problematic for Michigan residents.

So what is the answer? One idea is to change legislation on who can actually provide this type of care. For instance if dental hygienists were able to get advanced training that will allow them to practice, this would greatly help for those who need oral care desperately like children, pregnant women, the elderly and the developmentally disabled.

Teeth Grinding Treatment to Preserve Tooth Structure

238707178-xsThe outer layer of the tooth, which is called the enamel, acts as a barrier between the inner structures of the tooth and harmful bacteria. If the tooth enamel is worn down or damaged, bacteria can infect the dentin layer, or worse, the root canals of the teeth. While restorative dentistry services can repair damaged tooth enamel and treat any other dental complications that arise, it is best to prevent these problems all together by preserving the strength and structure of the teeth. One oral habit that poses a serious threat to the tooth’s protective layer is teeth grinding. Teeth grinding puts excessive pressure on the teeth and will eventually wear away the outer layer of the tooth. At Dentistry at 1818 Market St., we provide our Philadelphia patients with teeth grinding treatments that will prevent this damaging and harmful oral habit.

Preventing Teeth Grinding

When tooth grinding occurs on a regular basis, it causes a serious threat to tooth structure, and overall oral health. There are several steps that can be taken to prevent this harmful habit so that patients can preserve tooth strength and avoid dental complications. Below are some treatment options that may be considered when a patient is diagnosed with bruxism (habitual teeth grinding):

  • Relaxation techniques: In many cases, stress and anxiety are causes of the condition. By practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation, patients may be able to relieve stress through more healthy outlets. Unfortunately, teeth grinding often takes place at night, so relaxation techniques may not be recommended as a sole treatment for teeth grinding, but they can be helpful when combined with other treatments.
  • Use of a dental mouth guard: The majority of teeth grinding takes place while a patient sleeps, giving the patient little control over this habit. By wearing a protective mouth guard at night, patients can physically prevent the teeth from grinding or clenching against one another. An additional benefit of these mouth guards is that they help hold the jawbone in proper alignment. This can be beneficial since misalignment is one potential cause of teeth grinding.
  • Orthodontic treatment: Misalignment of the jaw or crooked teeth can cause teeth grinding. If these problems are significant, orthodontic treatment may be recommended to create proper alignment of the teeth and jaw and to help prevent teeth grinding.

Restoring Damaged Teeth

In most cases of teeth grinding, the condition is diagnosed after signs of damage have developed. Because of this, restorative dental treatment to repair the teeth and restore tooth structure may be required. Whether the teeth have suffered from minor damage or more serious structural damage, we can perform restorative treatments that will rebuild tooth structure and renew the strength and function of the teeth.

Schedule an Appointment

Teeth grinding has the potential to cause serious oral damage; fortunately, the dentists at Dentistry at 1818 Market St. can help you prevent this harmful habit. If your smile has been compromised by teeth grinding, schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn more about our treatment options. We look forward to hearing from you!

Root Planing and Scaling: Effective Treatment for Gum Disease

94789483-xsBacteria, plaque, and tartar can be extremely harmful to a patient’s oral health. Not only can these elements break down tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay, but they are also damaging to the health of the gums. When bacteria work its way beneath the gum line, plaque and tartar are also likely to build up. This can cause the gums to become tender, swollen, and red, and may lead to a receding of the gum line and the creation of dangerous “pockets” of space between the teeth and gums. At Dentistry at 1818, we offer restorative dentistry treatments to renew the strength and health of the teeth and gums. One of the treatments that we frequently use to combat mild to moderate forms of gum disease is a process known as root planing and scaling. For our Philadelphia patients, root planing and scaling can effectively eliminate periodontal disease so that patients once again have a healthy foundation for their teeth.

Candidates for Treatment

Root planing and scaling is a non-invasive form of gum disease treatment that has been effective in treating various degrees of gum disease. For patients who display mild signs of periodontal disease to those with more advanced symptoms, root planing and scaling may be able to effectively eliminate harmful bacteria from beneath the gum line so that the gums are able to heal and oral health can be restored. Below are some symptoms of gum disease that may be a sign that a patient is a good candidate for root planing and scaling:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Pain or sensitivity in the gums or teeth
  • Bleeding when the teeth are brushed
  • Receding gum line
  • Loose teeth
  • Halitosis (consistently bad breath)

Treatment

Root planing and scaling is a non-invasive procedure that is typically performed using just a local anesthetic. This procedure can effectively clean the teeth all the way down to the roots (beneath the gum line), thus removing harmful bacteria, plaque, and tartar from beneath the gum line. During this procedure, a dental tool is used to scrape away any plaque or tartar that has built up on the surface of the teeth. This technique goes beyond a routine dental cleaning by extending the cleaning area to include parts of the teeth that sit beneath the gum line. When the teeth have been cleaned, the roots of the teeth will be “planed” to create a smoother surface. This is meant to make it more difficult for bacteria, plaque, and tartar to cling to the teeth. The root planing and scaling procedure is often concluded with anti-bacterial treatment to ensure that all harmful bacteria is eliminated from the teeth and gums. With the teeth and gums thoroughly cleaned, the gums can begin to heal and any pockets that were created should close up as the gums once again hug closely to the teeth.

Schedule an Appointment

At Dentistry at 1818, we offer patients the treatments necessary to restore and maintain a smile that is healthy and beautiful. If you are looking for high quality dental care that is combined with personal patient care, you will find what you’re looking for at Dentistry at 1818. Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists at your earliest convenience. We look forward to meeting you!

Dry Mouth: The Causes, the Dangers, and Options for Treatment and Prevention

Philadelphia Dry Mouth Causes and Dangers

223807033-xsDr. Maurry Leas and Dr. Jonathan Siegel are two of the leading dentists in the greater Philadelphia area. This is because of their commitment to restorative dentistry that enhances dental wellness and the latest in cosmetic dentistry to make smiles look their very best. Preventative care and treating general dental health issues remains one of the cornerstones of the practice, however, which includes treating problems such a tooth decay, chronic bad breath, and dry mouth. We’d like to use this post to look at the issue of dry mouth in greater detail.

What is dry mouth?

Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth refers to the lack of saliva in the mouth. When moisture is missing in the mouth, it can lead to a number of annoyances and inconveniences, though it can also mean major dental health problems.

Some of the common causes of dry mouth include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Side effects of certain medication
  • The use of narcotics
  • Blockage of the salivary glands
  • Nerve damage affecting saliva production
  • Lowered saliva production due to advanced age

Simple Problems Associated with Dry Mouth

When it comes to relatively minor problems related to dry mouth, the most common issues are difficulty speaking, problems chewing and swallowing, and general discomfort. Dry mouth can also make bad breath more pronounced, which can lead to embarrassment in social settings.

More Serious Problems Associated with Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can make tooth decay, tooth erosion, and gum disease progress faster since saliva is not present to remove food particles and help remineralize the teeth. In some cases, dry mouth may be the sign of a serious dental problem, such as oral cancer or some other kind of medical condition.

Treatment Options for Dry Mouth

The most common treatment options for dry mouth are quite simple in a number of instances. If patients have blocked salivary glands, dentists may recommend that patients suck on sour candies. This helps promote saliva production, which may be able to unblock the salivary glands without advanced treatment.

For persistent dry mouth, dentists may recommend different kinds of artificial saliva products and mouth moisturizers. The artificial saliva often comes in spray, gel, or lozenge form and can add moisture to the mouth when it is missing.

If your reduced saliva production is coupled with other serious symptoms, be sure to meet with your general practitioner to find out if you are suffering from a major health problem of some kind. Getting treatment sooner rather than later is best for your future wellness.

Dry Mouth Prevention: Tips for Optimal Dental Hygiene

In order to prevent dry mouth, we recommend the following:

  • Stay well hydrated with water through the day
  • Be wary when consuming alcoholic beverages or coffee
  • Avoid using tobacco products
  • Chew on sugar-free gum to help promote saliva production

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Maurry Leas and Dr. Jonathan Siegel

To learn more about treating and preventing dry mouth and how you can have a healthy and beautiful smile, we encourage you to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Dentistry at 1818 Market St. looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve all of your dental health goals.

Gum Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

163959893-xsCould you be suffering from gum disease? It’s more common than you think. At Dentistry at 1818 Market St., our Philadelphia dental team sees cases of mild to severe gum disease almost every day. The good thing is that, once gum disease has been diagnosed, there are several restorative dentistry treatments for gum disease that can improve the health of your teeth and gums.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Everyone’s mouth is host to bacteria. When bacteria start to multiply, especially when that bacteria is being fed by sugary food particles, it produces a sticky residue called plaque on the surface of your teeth. This plaque then turns into hard tartar, which can be difficult to remove. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar can all cause irritation and infection of the gums, a condition that is also known as gingivitis or gum disease.

While bacteria growth is often the root cause of gum disease, the condition can also be helped along by other irritating factors like smoking or a hereditary predisposition.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

How do you know if you have gingivitis or gum disease? You should be able to tell if you have any of these telltale symptoms:

  • Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
  • Red inflamed gums
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss

What Are the Symptoms of Advanced Gum Disease?

If you do not properly treat your gum disease when it is in its mild beginning stages, it can easily progress to periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. This is a serious condition characterized by gums that begin to recede and pull away from the teeth, allowing bacteria to flourish beneath the gum line. This can encourage a bacterial infection to take hold deeper within the gums, causing more permanent damage, including loose teeth, as the gums, connective tissue, and bone structure holding your teeth in place are exposed to decay.  The symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Loss of gum or bone tissue

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Treatments for gum disease may vary depending on how far a patient’s particular case has advanced. For some patients it may be as easy as a routine tooth cleaning. Depending on your case, you may be a candidate for non-surgical or surgical treatment. This range of treatment options includes:

  • Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing) – This is a treatment in which your dentist will remove plaque and tartar build-up from underneath the gum line (scaling) and smooth out the surface of the tooth to prevent further bacteria growth (planing). While this is a non-surgical procedure local anesthesia is administered.
  • Flap/Pocket Reduction Surgery – If more advanced treatment is needed, your dentist will probably start with flap surgery or pocket reduction surgery. This involves using surgery to lift the gums away from the teeth and clean bacteria out of hard to reach areas, then removing extra gum tissue and replacing that tissue so that the gums sit tighter against the tooth surface.

Learn More about Gum Disease Causes and Treatment

If you suspect that you might be suffering from gum disease, don’t wait until it becomes a serious problem to seek treatment. Contact Dentistry at 1818 today to schedule an appointment us and find out if gum disease treatment is right for you.

The Causes of Bad Breath and How It Can Be Treated

182076506-xsDr. Maurry Leas and Dr. Jonathan Siegel have helped patients throughout Philadelphia with dental problems great and small. Their practice offers advanced cosmetic and restorative dentistry procedures that treat dental problems and beautify smiles. An issue that we have helped many patients treat over the years is bad breath. Let’s take a look at this issue right now.

What is bad breath?

Also known as halitosis, bad breath simply refers to unpleasant odors that emanate from the mouth. The odor may not originate in the mouth per se (more on that below), but it winds up being noticeable when a person is speaking, smiling, or has his or her mouth open.

Common Causes of Bad Breath

Some common causes of bad breath include the following:

  • Oral Bacteria – Oral bacteria is the most common cause of many cases of bad breath. The bacteria feeds on food particles and produces foul odors in the process.
  • Tooth Decay and Gum Disease – Bad breath is a common side effect of problems affecting your teeth as well as your gums.
  • Tobacco Products – Cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco have many negatives, and among them is the ability to make your breath awful.
  • Dry Mouth – The lack of saliva in your mouth allows food particles and dead cells to fester, making bad breath even worse.
  • Mouth Breathing – Breathing through your mouth dries it out and can lead to bad breath in the manner mentioned above.

Foods and Beverages That Can Cause Bad Breath

In addition to the common causes above, there are some foods and beverages that are common culprits of bad breath. These include the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Coffee
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Fish
  • Red meat
  • Dairy products
  • Sugary foods
  • Acidic foods

Bad Breath as a Sign of a Medical Health Issue

In addition to being caused by the various conditions, actions, and substances we’ve discussed, bad breath is sometimes a symptom of various medical conditions. This includes problems with the sinuses, the throat, the lungs, and the digestive tract. Be sure to get chronic or persistent bad breath checked by your dentist to determine if you have a medical problem that needs to be treated.

Treatment Options for Bad Breath

Treating bad breath means targeting the cause of the problem. In a number of cases, that means helping address tooth decay and gum disease through general treatments as well as restorative procedures. Bad breath related to smoking can be addressed by quitting, and your dentist or physician can provide you with tips and information to help make this happen.

During your consultation at the practice, we will be more than happy to go over all treatment options in detail so that you can speak, smile, and laugh without being so self-conscious about your breath.

Bad Breath Prevention Tips

The following tips will help you prevent bad breath from ruining your day:

  • Avoid smoking and using any other kind of tobacco products
  • Avoid breathing through your mouth
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day with water
  • Use sugar-free gum or mints to mask bad odors
  • Reduce your consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss your teeth every night
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups

Learn More About Your Dental Care Options

For more information about treating and preventing bad breath as well as other topics related to overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry practicetoday. The entire team here at Dentistry at 1818 Market St. looks forward to your visit and helping you have a beautiful smile.

Understanding Causes of Tooth Erosion and How it can be Treated

144913813-xsTooth erosion is a serious dental problem that causes patients to lose healthy tooth enamel, weakening the teeth and potentially causing heightened sensitivity and discomfort. While the ultimate effects of tooth erosion are very similar to those of tooth decay, patients should be aware that they are two very different conditions. It is important to understand the causes of tooth erosion so that patients know how best to avoid this condition. When tooth erosion has occurred, our skilled dental team at Dentistry at 1818 offer our Philadelphia patients restorative dentistry treatments to rebuild tooth structure and strengthen the teeth so that they are, once again, fully functional.

What Causes Tooth Erosion?

While decay is the result of harmful bacteria buildup, tooth erosion has a different source. The primary causes of tooth erosion are exposure to acid and excessive abrasion, both of which break down tooth enamel and weaken tooth structure.

  • Acid exposure: The most common cause of tooth erosion is an overly acidic oral environment. Teeth that are consistently exposed to acidic foods and beverages are likely to become structurally damaged. There are a great number of foods and beverages that can throw off the pH balance in the mouth, creating an acidic environment. These include coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, citruses, and apples. Those who suffer from eating disorders or gastrointestinal problems are also vulnerable to tooth erosion, as these conditions may introduce stomach acid to the mouth on a fairly frequent basis.
  • Abrasion: Abrasion and excessive force can also cause tooth erosion. When the teeth are exposed to pressure and force beyond what they are built to sustain, the enamel will erode and break down. Habits that put excessive force on the teeth include clenching, teeth grinding, and nail biting. Hard and sticky foods should also be limited in order to preserve tooth enamel.

Treating Tooth Erosion

While the causes of tooth erosion and tooth decay are different, the effects are the same. The teeth will become weak and sensitive. This will compromise oral functions and is likely to cause some degree of pain or discomfort. The teeth also become vulnerable to extensive tooth decay or infection because the protective layer of enamel has been compromised. Because the results of tooth erosion and tooth decay are the same, the conditions are treated in the same way. We offer our patients a full range of restorative dental treatments that includes dental fillings, inlays and onlays, and dental crowns. Depending on the extent of tooth damage, one of these treatments will be recommended to rebuild tooth structure. In the most extreme cases, we may recommend tooth extraction. If this is the case, a dental bridge or dental implants can be offered to replace a tooth or teeth that have been lost to tooth erosion.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have experienced pain or heightened tooth sensitivity, you may be suffering from tooth erosion. At a dental exam at Dentistry at 1818, one of our experienced dentists can determine if tooth erosion is present and recommend a treatment best suited to the degree of erosion that has occurred. To restore comfort, strength, and function to your teeth, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled dentists as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you!

Conditions Corrected with Full Mouth Reconstruction

66219793-3-xsLiving with complex dental issues is not easy. You may feel a lack of self-confidence, and it can even be difficult to perform everyday tasks like eating or talking the way you once did. At his Philadelphia office, Dr. Maurry Leas offers full mouth reconstruction treatments to correct challenging dental conditions.

What Is Full Mouth Reconstruction?

You may have heard the term “full mouth reconstruction” before, whether from your dentist or elsewhere, but what does it mean? What is involved in a full mouth reconstruction?

In actuality, there is no one dental procedure that constitutes a full mouth reconstruction. Rather, the term “full mouth reconstruction” can refer to one or a combination of restorative or cosmetic dentistry techniques that a dentist can use to correct complex issues like damaged or missing teeth. A full mouth construction may involve such techniques as:

  • Dental implants
  • Dental bridges
  • Invisalign® clear braces
  • Porcelain dental crowns
  • Dental bonding
  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Teeth whitening

A complete and healthy set of teeth can completely change the look of your face, supporting its structure and ending problems such as sunken cheeks or shrinking gums. With full mouth reconstruction, the goal is to restore to patients a full, natural-looking, and fully functional smile.

What Conditions Can Be Corrected With a Full Mouth Reconstruction?

With so many treatment options as part of the full mouth reconstruction arsenal, a cosmetic dentist is able to correct a wide variety of conditions including more complicated issues involving not just the teeth themselves but the jaw and bite issues. Some of the problems that can be solved by full mouth reconstruction techniques include:

  • Broken or damaged teeth
  • Teeth worn down by bruxism (tooth grinding)
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Missing teeth
  • Periodontitis (gum disease)
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites

Am I a Good Candidate for Full Mouth Reconstruction?

How do you know if you should be considering full mouth reconstruction? It all depends on the condition of your dental structure. If you only have a mild dental issue, such as a simple cavity or gingivitis, you are not the target demographic for a full mouth reconstruction procedure. Because of the more extreme nature of full mouth reconstruction, the ideal candidate also has more extreme issues in need of correction. A patient who is a good candidate for a full mouth reconstruction is someone with several teeth that are missing, worn down, or otherwise damaged.

Learn More about Full Mouth Reconstruction Today

If you have been living with damaged or missing teeth from decay or an injury, you know that these issues can be physically and emotionally debilitating. But through modern advances in dental technology, even the most complex dental issues can be resolved with full mouth reconstruction techniques. In addition to restoring full function, full mouth reconstruction can make you look younger and refreshed. If you are considering dental work, contact Dr. Maurry Leas at Dentistry at 1818 to schedule an appointment and learn more about full mouth reconstruction today.