Monthly Archives: August 2013

Dentures – Are they Efficient?

What is a denture?

DenturesA denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjoining tissues.  Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from shifting position.  Complete dentures are either “conventional” or “immediate.”  A conventional denture is placed in the mouth after all of the teeth have been removed and the extraction sites have healed.  An immediate denture is placed as soon as the teeth are removed.

Who needs a denture?

Did you know that the chewing efficiency for people with dentures is Old man no teethapproximately 30% from those with all their teeth?  Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth.  So the efficiency has gone from 0% with no teeth to 30% with dentures. 

A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles.  A denture can greatly enhance a patient’s facial appearance and smile.

How do you get a denture?

Wax try inThe denture process takes about one month.  There are usually five or more appointments needed to complete the process. The process includes the initial diagnosis; the making of an impression and wax bite to determine the dimensions and proper jaw position; a “try-in” to assure proper color, shape, and fit; placement of the final denture; and any minor adjustments. New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new “teeth,” Soft foodbecause even the best-fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. Your normal speaking ability usually resumes shortly after final denture placement.  In addition, in order to become accustomed to chewing with the new denture, it is often recommended that you start with soft, easy-to-chew foods.  To ensure proper fit, see Dr. Marinic on a regular basis.

How do you care for a denture?

  • Remove and brush the denture daily with a denture cleanser or toothpaste and a brush designed specifically for cleaning dentures.
  • Avoid using boiling water to sterilize the denture, because hot water can cause the denture to lose its shape.
  • If you wear a partial denture, remove it before brushing your natural teeth.
  • When you’re not wearing the denture, soak it in denture cleanser or water.
  • To avoid misplacing your denture, store it in the same place after removal.

Should a denture be worn at night?

While you may be advised to wear your denture almost continually during the first two weeks—even while you sleep—under normal Dentures in glasscircumstances, it is considered best to remove it at night.  Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours during either the day or night allows the gum tissue to rest, and permits for normal stimulation and cleansing of the mouth by the tongue and saliva. This promotes better long-term health of the gums.

Are there any alternatives to dentures?

Dentures are no longer the only way to restore a mouth that has little or noimplant-overdenture teeth.  Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place.  Implants and bridges may more closely resemble the “feel” of real teeth, but they tend to be more expensive than dentures.  The chewing efficiency for implant retained dentures goes up to 60% and for implant supported dentures up to 90%.  Not everyone is a candidate for implants and bridges, however.  Talk to Dr. Marinic to learn more.

Cardiovascular Disease and Your Oral Health

Large group of peopleCardiovascular disease is a class of disease that affects the heart and/or blood vessels.  It is estimated that more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.  These forms include

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease (acute heart attack and angina pectoris)
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

Studies have shown that there is a link between cardiovascular disease andImage gum disease periodontal (gum) disease, the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue.  Forms of gum disease, such as gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (bone loss), can be indicators for cardiovascular problems, which is why it is important for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease to visit Dr. Marinic on a regular basis, practice good oral hygiene, and keep Dr. Marinic informed of any oral and overall health issues.

How are periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease connected?

circulatory systemIt has been suggested that the inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with gum disease enter a person’s bloodstream and can cause various effects on the cardiovascular system.  A study published in the February 2005 issue of Circulation examined the presence of the bacteria known to cause periodontitis and the thickening of the blood vessel wall typically seen in heart disease.  After examining samples from more than 650 participants, the investigators concluded that the presence of the same bacteria known to cause periodontitis was associated with an increased level of blood vessel thickening.

What can I do to keep my gums and heart healthy?Woman brushing teeth

Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy gums.  This includes flossing regularly, brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste, and visiting Dr. Marinic at least every six months.  A healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve both your cardiovascular health and your overall health.

What do my physician and Dr. Marinic need to know?

Pill bottlesIt is important to keep all medical professionals up-to-date on your oral and overall health issues.  Inform your physician if you have been diagnosed with a form of periodontal disease or are experiencing any issues with gum inflammation.

Likewise, inform Dr. Marinic if you have been diagnosed with any form of cardiovascular disease, have experienced any cardiovascular problems, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease.

What other risk factors are associated with cardiovascular disease?

Individuals who are most at risk for cardiovascular disease include:

  • People over the age of 65
  • African-Americans
  • Hispanics
  • Males

While these particular factors cannot be changed, there are some risk factors that you can change through lifestyle management and/or medical treatment to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. These risk factors include:

  • Smokingsitting on couch
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress

If you have any questions, be sure to ask Dr. Marinic or your physician.

Pacifiers – Beware of Their Problems

Baby with pacifierPacifiers can be great for children, especially during their first six months.  In addition to its calming effect, pacifier use in infants can help decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and aid in the development of jaw muscles.  Although pacifier use is generally a healthy habit within the first two years of life, continued or improper use may ultimately have a negative impact on your child’s oral and overall health.

Potential pacifier problemsOlder child with pacifier

Pacifier use typically is acceptable after an infant is 1 month old and has had sufficient time to develop a healthy breast-feeding habit.  However, experts recommend that children stop using pacifiers after age 2, when it becomes more of a habit than a developmental need.  Research shows that continued pacifier use, especially after age 2, often is associated with:

  • Increased risk of middle ear infection
  • Improper growth of the mouth
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Dental cross bite and/or open bite
  • Development of a thumb-sucking habit

Parents should aim to rid children of their pacifier habit before age 2 to avoid associated emotional and habitual attachments to the objects.

Tips for correct pacifier use

For infants, correct use and care of pacifiers must be considered. Here are a few tips:

  • Purchase orthodontically designed pacifiersOrthodontic pacifier
  • Clean pacifiers regularly
  • Check frequently for cracks or discoloration in the pacifiers’ rubber. Discard if damaged
  • Replace old pacifiers
  • Wash pacifiers prior to first use
  • Do not tie pacifiers around your infant’s neck
  • Offer pacifiers after and between meals, before naps, or at bedtime

Following these basic rules will help ensure your infant’s pacifier use is both safe and healthy.

Proper pacifier cleaning

The shape and materials of pacifiers make them susceptible to colonization by bacterial organisms, including Staphylococcus, which causes staph infections.  To prevent the spread of bacteria and disease, clean your child’s pacifiers at least once a day.

They can bSoap and watere cleaned using mild soap and water.  When cleaning pacifiers, make sure to remove all excess water from the nipple, where it can collect and cause bacterial growth.  Also, pacifiers that are dishwasher safe can be cleaned easily in the dishwasher; just follow the instructions on the pacifier package.

Saying goodbye to the pacifier

For some infants, giving up the pacifier can be difficult, especially if theyMother rocking child become emotionally attached to the habit.  Parents looking to wean their children from the pacifier can begin by offering other alternatives, including:

  • Rocking motions, singing, or music before naps or at bedtime
  • Activities and games
  • Toys

To further help break the pacifier habit, parents also can:

  • Limit pacifier use gradually over time
  • Reduce pacifier satisfaction by piercing the pacifier’s nipple
  • Dip the pacifier in a safe but undesirable flavor, such as white vinegar
  • Go “cold turkey” and refuse to offer the pacifier.

If you have more questions or want more information regarding pacifier use, talk to your child’s pediatrician or Dr. Marinic.