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Scuba Divers Have Special Dental Risks

Scuba divers should consult their dentists periodically to prevent a condition known as "diver's mouth syndrome," says Dr. Ryne Johnson, regarded as Boston’s best prosthodontist and managing partner of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners. Diver's mouth syndrome, known technically as barodontalgia, can include gum problems, pain in the jaw joint, or a condition known as "tooth squeeze," in which changing pressure causes pain in the center of a tooth. "Many divers drag the bulky air regulator through the water with their teeth, and this can cause stress or damage to the oral cavity. Divers may bite too hard on the mouthpiece which can lead to pain in the jaw joint and gum lacerations. Complicating this problem is the fact that most standard mouthpieces are too small for most people and only support the very back teeth. Divers really have to work to keep their lips pursed around these small pieces of rubber." But the problem, he says, is easily remedied. "If a diver feels pain or soreness in the jaw, he or she should consult with a dentist," says Dr. Johnson. "A custom-fitted mouthpiece is available in most scuba shops that will support all of the teeth, so these problems can be avoided." Tooth squeeze can occur when a cavity, a deteriorated or broken dental filling, a dental abscess or an incomplete root canal has developed an air space and reacts to the changing pressure once the diver is under water. It can occur both in descent and ascent as can other squeeze problems. "It can be very painful, but the irony is that many divers do not feel it because of the exhilarating experience they feel at being in the water. When divers do feel tooth squeeze, they should schedule a dentist visit to get the appropriate dental care." Dr. Johnson recommends that divers be in good dental health before diving. Be wary of scuba diving if you have recently undergone dental treatments in which there was a tooth extraction or if a tooth contains a temporary filling. "The change in pressure can cause severe pain and cause healing to take much longer," says Dr. Johnson. “Be cautious if you have dentures. "Be sure they are well-fitted; have them relined or remade if necessary.” Go to a dentist where you can be evaluated for joint pain or earaches. "Custom-made mouthpieces are readily available. Yes, they cost more, but you will be amazed at the difference," says Dr. Johnson. "It's worth the cost because the dive will be much more comfortable." It's never too late to improve your dental health. Visit www.NewtonWellesleyDentalPartners.com for more blogs or to contact Dr. Johnson  

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Geriatric Dental Issues – Newton, Wellesley, MA

There’s a commonly understood recipe for living a healthy life as we get older, and it goes something like this: Exercise, eat healthy food in moderation, don’t smoke, get plenty of sleep, maintain a good social network and engage in mentally challenging activities.

Yet, according to Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist  and managing partner at Newton Wellesley Dental Partners, “there’s another, largely overlooked, ingredient: oral health care”. Because our bodies become more vulnerable as we age, decay, infections and bacteria that occur in teeth, gums and mouth can grow into serious problems that impact overall health. Plus, there are issues seniors have that exacerbate problems and inhibit a senior’s ability to brush, floss or visit the dentist. Medications can create dry mouth. Arthritis limits dexterity and creates transportation and mobility issues. And a lack of dental insurance can halt regular dentist visits.

“Many of older adults are getting used to living in pain,” says Johnson. “They have active infections that have been going on for five, 10, 15 years. Poor oral hygiene is particularly harmful to seniors”.

Poor oral hygiene can increase risks for diabetes, pneumonia, infections elsewhere in the body and strokes, he says. Also, mouth cancers — which can be discovered through regular dental checkups — can go undetected. Many seniors wish they had access to better dental care. But often, after retirement, they lose dental insurance and can’t afford new coverage. Medicare, for instance, doesn’t cover most dental work. In 2012, a survey indicated that being able to afford dental care was the No. 1 health issue for seniors, even more than general medical care (38 percent to 30 percent).

Among the primary oral-health issues older men and women face are:

Dry mouth: Having a drier mouth can be part of the aging & geriatric  process. But older people tend to be on more medications, and hundreds of those medications inhibit production of saliva, which protects against tooth decay and controls bacteria. “That creates an environment that is very acidic, because the saliva is not there anymore,” says Johnson, “That leads to more tooth decay, gum disease and an increase in bacteria”. Some studies have shown gum disease can lead to heart disease. And an increase in bacteria has been linked to a higher risk of pneumonia (with bacteria breathed into the lungs) and diabetes. It’s important for seniors to drink more water to battle dry mouth. Also, seniors should provide their dentist a list of medications they are taking.

Oral cancer: Rates increase with age, so if seniors skip regular dental checkups, they run the risk of cancers going undetected early. And even seniors who have no natural teeth and use a full set of dentures should continue regular checkups for mouth cancer.

Caregivers: it’s important for the people who care for seniors to help them with brushing and flossing, and to make certain they see a dentist regularly.  “Very often, I have a family member telling me, ‘My mom or dad was scrupulous with their health and took excellent care of their teeth, and now they’re in horrible condition,’” says Johson. “A lot of decay, a lot of periodontal illness because they just lost the capacity to take care of themselves. It takes some active intervention on the part of their families or others.”

"The importance of education can’t be overstated. The baby boomers’ tsunami wave is coming,” says Johnson. “This is a problem that is upon us, whether we want it or not. We have to continue improving the educational process to avoid potential problems.”

The Centers for Disease Control offers a checklist for seniors to maintain good oral health that includes: • Drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste to protect against tooth decay. • Brush and floss regularly to reduce dental plaque and prevent periodontal disease. • See your dentist regularly, even if you wear dentures and have no natural teeth. • Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol to lower risk of oral and throat cancers. • Caregivers should provide daily oral hygiene for seniors unable to take care of themselves. • If medications produce a dry mouth, ask your doctor if there are alternate medications that can be substituted. If not, drink plenty of water or chew sugarless gum to keep your mouth moist.

For additional information on this topic visit the American Dental Association: www.mouthhealthy.org/en/adults-over-60.  For additional blogs by Dr. Johnson or to contact the office, visit: www.NewtonWellesleyDentalPartners.com

Original article: San Diego Union-Tribune Artwork: yourdentalpartners.com

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Dental Implants (Knock Offs & Their Risk) – Wellesley, Newton, MA

Squeezed between billboards promoting “Free Donuts” and “855-Car-Hit-U”,  I recently spotted an ad for $400 dental implants.  Radio also has numerous promotions for “teeth-in-a-day”. According to Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist and managing partner of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners, “This makes for a market that creates confusion for the public. There really is a huge difference between quality and cheap”!

There are dozens of dental implant companies that sell implants in the USA. However many of these companies are copies or “clones” of other successful implants.  Since these smaller companies do very little research or development, they are usually 1-2 generations of implant design behind the major companies.  In the many implant complication cases referred to us, we have seen a higher rate of problems in the “clone” implants…even though they look very similar to the major implant brands.

An additional concern is that as smaller implant companies come and go there is a risk of not being able to get parts compatible with these numerous implants to make the crowns or bridges that attach to them.  I would not put a clone implant into a family member’s mouth (not even my mother-in-law!). Innovative companies that approach implant dentistry responsibly with research and education provide quality and service are doing very well, while implant companies that compete only on price are not a good fit for any practice.

Would you want a discounted hip or knee implant? How would you feel if your dentist was charging you the regular price and giving you a cheap implant knockoff?  Do you even ask or know? The consumer needs to know that all implants are not created equal, and they should ask what brand is being used at a particular office.

Here are some implant companies that Dr. Johnson has worked with over his 29 years of clinical practice and have a good track record and lots of data: Biomet 3i, Zimmer Dental, Straumann, Keystone,  Astratech and Nobel Biocare.

  For more information on Dr. Johnson, click here To arrange a consultation or contact the office, click here For additional blogs by Dr. Johnson, click here

Original publication by Dr. Mitchell Josephs on LinkedIn Artwork: www.oralanswers.com

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E-Cigarettes as bad the Real Ones? – Newton, Wellesely, MA

Former and would-be smokers who opt for electronic cigarettes may not be doing their teeth a whole lot of good, according to a new study.  Dr. Ryne Johnson, ryneprosthodontist and managing partner of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners has been educating his patients on the harmful effects of smoking on dental tissues for 30 years.  "Many have shifted toward the e-cigarettes thinking that they are a ‘safe’ alternative but new evidence suggests that both may increase the likelihood of gum disease".

However, research published in the journal Oncotarget, which focuses on cancer-related issues, suggests that electronic cigarette smoke may wreak the same type of havoc on teeth and gums that conventional tobacco does. A team of scientists from the University of Rochester and Stony Brook University found that the vapors released in e-cigarettes can cause tissue inflammation and damage comparable to that produces by regular ones.

Furthermore, chemicals used to flavor some e-cigs may cause even more harm to mouth tissue, the researchers say.  project1

Some caveats: This particular experiment was conducted on gum tissue, not live human participants. It’s possible that there are other confounding factors that may contribute to gum disease and in e-cig and regular cigarette users alike.

But it’s the latest example of scientific skepticism surrounding the health benefits of e-cigarettes. Manufacturers claim that they are an obviously superior alternative to conventional products that contain known carcinogens; but the overall public health ramifications of the products remain unclear, including whether or not they may actually be encouraging more kids to smoke.

For additional blogs by Dr. Johnson, click here To contact the office or reach Dr. Johnson, click here

Original article:  http://fortune.com/2016/11/17/e-cigarettes-yellow-teeth-study/ Artwork: www.motherjones.com

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Diabetes…Its Impact on Dental Health – Newton, Wellesley, MA

Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist and managing partner at Newton Wellesley Dental Partners wants you to know that, “if you have diabetes, you know the disease can harm your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. Did you know it can also cause problems in your mouth? People with diabetes have a higher than normal risk of periodontal diseases”. Project1

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. In advanced stages, they lead to painful chewing problems and even tooth loss. Like any infection, gum disease can make it hard to keep your blood sugar under control.

What Is the Link Between Diabetes and Periodontal Disease?

Diabetic Control. Like other complications of diabetes, gum disease is linked to diabetic control. People with poor blood sugar control get gum disease more often and more severely, and they lose more teeth than do persons with good control. In fact, people whose diabetes is well controlled have no more periodontal disease than persons without diabetes. Children with IDDM (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) are also at risk for gum problems. Good diabetic control is the best protection against periodontal disease.

Studies show that controlling blood sugar levels lowers the risk of some complications of diabetes, such as eye and heart disease and nerve damage. Scientists believe many complications, including gum disease, can be prevented with good diabetic control.

Blood Vessel Changes. Thickening of blood vessels is a complication of diabetes that may increase risk for gum disease. Blood vessels deliver oxygen and nourishment to body tissues, including the mouth, and carry away the tissues' waste products. Diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients and the removal of harmful wastes. This can weaken the resistance of gum and bone tissue to infection.

Bacteria. Many kinds of bacteria (germs) thrive on sugars, including glucose -- the sugar linked to diabetes. When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in mouth fluids may help germs grow and set the stage for gum disease.

Smoking. The harmful effects of smoking, particularly heart disease and cancer, are well known. Studies show that smoking also increases the chances of developing gum disease. In fact, smokers are five times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease. For smokers with diabetes, the risk is even greater. If you are a smoker with diabetes, age 45 or older, you are 20 times more likely than a person without these risk factors to get severe gum disease.

For additional blogs by Dr. Johnson, click here To contact the office, click here

Original article at http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/periodontal-disease Original artwork: www.deltadentalco.com

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