Diabetes and Dental Health
Diabetes affects over 29 million Americans. This statistic reflects that almost 10% of the population is diabetic. Research shows that 8 million people are living with diabetes and don’t know it. Most of us understand the effects on our overall health, but do not know that diabetes plays an important role in our dental health.
Diabetes affects your body’s ability to process sugars in foods. Diabetes can cause high blood sugar levels which directly effect your kidneys, eyes, nerves, heart, teeth, and gums. It is important to understand the warning signs of diabetes and the role the disease plays in your mouth.
Warning signs of diabetes are excessive thirst and the need to urinate frequently. Also, weight loss and fatique are common symptons of diabetes. If blood sugars fall to low, then one can lose consciousness and become disoriented.
Diabetes can cause severe symptons in the mouth. Diabetics typically have less saliva. This can result in a dry mouth and an increase in cavaties. Dry mouth can also affect your ability to taste food. Diabetes also can result in inflamed gums and increase susceptibility to periodontal (gum) disease. Diabetics tend to be more prone to infections and have delayed healing in the mouth.
Poor blood sugar control in older adults results in an increase in periodontal disease!
Research indicates that 22% of the diabetic population develops gum disease. Serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise, which makes diabetes harder to control. This results in more susceptibility to infections and one is less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums. Diabetics tend to heal slower than healthy individuals.
There are some important steps you can take if you are a diabetic to reduce the risk of periodontal disease and tooth loss. Regular visits to your dentist for preventative care, typically every 3-4 months, are a key to lowering the risk of gum disease. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, thus decreasing the progression of the disease.
Daily home care is another important aspect to control periodontal and infections in the mouth. Also, drinking water and utilizing Fluoride mouth rinses help to prevent cavaties, especially for those suffering from dry mouth.
Diabetes takes a toll on your entire body, but it can also increase your risk of dental disease and other symptoms in your mouth. One in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. The good news is visiting your dentist regularly help decrease the likelihood of developing diabetes-related mouth issues.
Cancer and Your Oral Health
A healthy mouth is imperative for a patient who has cancer and is undergoing treatment. Cancer and cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, weaken your immune system. This can leave you more prone to infection. Sometimes these infections can be serious enough to delay cancer treatment. Studies indicate that 1/3 of all cancer patients develope complications in the mouth.
Radiation treatment for cancer can effect your mouth particularly if the radiation is in the head and neck region. This can lead to damage to your salivary glands. You will typically experience thick, sticky saliva and a dry mouth, known as xerostomia. A dry mouth can increase your chances of developing cavaties and infection.
Prior to starting cancer treatment, it is wise to visit your dentist. Your dental team can evaluate your oral health and discuss treatment you should consider to keep your mouth healthy. Treatments focus on reducing the possible side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation. Fluoride treatments and supplements are typically recommended to prevent cavaities. Restoration of cavaties with fillings and placement of crown and bridgework will ensure you are able to chew food for proper nutrition. Treatment of gum disease and removal of infected teeth are recommended.
During your cancer treatment you may experience mild-to-severe side effects of mouth sores, dry mouth, sensitive gums and gum disease, jaw pain, and infection. It is important to consult with your cancer care team prior to dental treatments. They can advise you about potential bleeding issues and the risk of infection during dental procedures.
Most of us do not realize that your mouth is an important part of your overall health. It is important to maintain a healthy mouth before, during and after cancer treatment. Your dentist and dental team can develop a plan to ensure that the effects of cancer treatment are managed properly to maintain healthy teetrh and gums.
Back to School Dental Health Tips
Back to school is just around the corner! Start the school year off with a healthy smile. Now is the perfect time to schedule your child’s teeth cleaning and evaluation for cavities.
The summer time offers the flexibility to schedule before our Northern friends return and calendars becomes bogged down with after school activities, meetings and homework. A dental prophylaxis (cleaning and Fluoride treatment) improve the dental health of your child. Bitewing radiographs are recommended once a year to check for cavities between the teeth where the dentist can not see. Your dentist can diagnose not only decay, but also determine if orthodontic (braces or Invisalign) treatment would be beneficial.
The dental team can also encourage your child to adopt healthy habits. Children with diets high in candy, soda, and other sweets are more likely to develop cavities. Healthy snacks and drinks can reduce the susceptibility to dental decay. Many times high Fluoride tooth pastes and mouth rinses are recommended to prevent decay. Encourage your children to brush after meals and before bedtime!
It is important to diagnose dental decay early to minimize the chances of sensitivity and painful teeth. If your child mentions they are having a problem with a tooth, it is important to see a dentist immediately. Cavities typically start without symptoms. If you wait until a dark hole in the tooth is visible, this may lead to costly nerve treatments and crowns.
Children in the fall typically participate in contact sports like soccer, football and baseball. Mouth guards are highly recommended to prevent painful and costly injuries to the teeth. Over the counter mouth guards can be made. Custom mouth guards fabricated by a dentist are more comfortable and more likely to be worn by a child.
Many teenagers are concerned with there appearance. A smile is an integral part of one’s self esteem. Whitening procedures can improve the appearance of a young persons smile. Both tray whitening and light activated (laser and Zoom whitening) are safe ways to brighten a smile. Your dentist can also determine if your teenager’s wisdom teeth need to be removed.
Parent’s can help children to a life of good dental health by setting examples for their children. Show your children that you brush and floss each night before bed to help prevent decay and gum problems. Parents can help children to choose smart snacks such as vegetables and nuts, along with avoiding sodas, sweet teas and energy drinks. Parents can schedule their dental appointments with their children to show a child that a preventive cleaning is not a threatening experience.
Our lives are very hectic particularly once school starts. Dental emergencies can become an inconvenience for the entire family. A preventive visit to the dentist during the summer can many times prevent dental problems from occurring. A healthy smile is a smart start to the school year.
Spring Cleaning and Dentistry
Spring signals a new beginning and a time to prepare for the rest of the year. Most of us start spring cleaning with our homes and businesses. This process typically involves removing old material from our lives, organizing systems, and implementing new features to improve the quality of our life.
Our health also needs a spring cleaning attitude from time to time. We have a tendency to ignore the vital aspects of our health. One of the most
over-looked areas of our health is our dental health.
A spring cleaning checklist for our dental health should include a plan to treat dental cavities and gum disease. Less than half the population sees the dentist on a regular basis. All of us have a life-long need for dental care.
For those of us who have neglected their dental health, a comprehensive examination with necessary x-rays is a great place to start. A dentist can develop a treatment plan to address your specific dental issues. Most dental problems start without symptoms and if addressed in a timely manner can be treated before they become painful and costly.
If you have periodontal(gum) disease, a specific cleaning can be performed to treat your problems. Gum disease typically does not become painful until it has progressed to an advanced stage. The key is to have a diagnosis and treatment early in the disease process.
Dental health has an effect on overall health. Periodontal disease has been linked to heart and vascular disease. It has also been associated with premature births as well as low birth weight babies. Dental pain can lead to stress and affect the bodies ability to respond to infections.
Your general health affects your dental health. Patients on blood pressure medicines have a tendency to have dry mouths which can cause an increase in periodontal disease and decay. Medications for heart patients affect bleeding and dental treatment. It is important for patients on blood thinner medications to reduce the potential for removal of teeth and surgery for emergency dental problems. Diabetics are more prone to gum disease and have a tendency to heal slower.
Children need to develop healthy habits to ensure that they keep their teeth for their entire life. A dental check up is a great pathway to great dental health at an early age. If a child is introduced to dental care early in life, they will typically not develop anxiety about dental treatment.
Changes to our teeth and smiles can improve our self-esteem and health. Many times updating old filings and crowns can dramatically improve one’s smile. Another option is to whiten teeth. A dentist can determine which type of whitening process can give you a more vibrant smile.
Now is the time for a spring cleaning mentality to improve your dental health. Schedule an appointment to develop a plan to better dental health!
The Untold Facts About Dental Insurance
THE UNTOLD FACTS ABOUT DENTAL INSURANCE
Do not let the lack of dental insurance keep you from visiting the dentist! Many times patients can actually save money in the long run without dental insurance. Our practice works with our patient’s to prioritize treatment to address dental problems in a timely and effective manner. Dental insurance is not like medical insurance! Dental insurance has a yearly maximum which it will pay on each patient. This amount is typically $1000 – $1500 per year. To put this in perspective, in 1970’s when dental insurance started the maximum was $1000. Inflation has caused expenses in all of our lives to increase dramatically over the years, yet dental insurance still pays at the same rate of over 40 years ago.
Dental insurance also has fee tables for reimbursement for each procedure. These tables are basically profit tables for the dental insurance company and have no pertinent relation to fees in your area. The dental insurance company also has waiting periods before benefits for many procedures can be reimbursed. These waiting periods are typically many months to sometimes a year. Dental insurance plans have exclusions for some procedures. In many cases if you are already missing a tooth prior to enrolling in your current plan, the coverage will not pay to replace the tooth. The dental insurance plan may also not cover many necessary procedures (e.g. bite adjustments, wear problems, implants, and more frequent cleanings to treat gum disease).
Many cheap dental plans are sold with closed panel participation (i.e. HMO’s and PPO’s). These plans limit your choice of dentists to those on your plan. They are basically contracts between dentists and dental insurance companies to cover your care. These types of practices typically have two types of care in their practice: 1) high quality private pay patients and 2) dental plan patients where materials and systems have to be compromised to meet the reduced fees of the plan. Closed panel dental practices typically are high volume and you may not see the same dentist during your treatment visits. Also, you need to be aware that some procedures may be performed to maximize your insurance benefits.
Our commitment to you is that we will only do what is necessary to help you obtain ideal dental health. We base your treatment on your dental needs and not your dental insurance or wallet. We work with patients to prioritize treatment to meet your needs and work within your budget. The bottom line is that if you have dental insurance as a benefit from your employer, then it will help to discount dental fees. If you are paying personally for dental insurance, then you will want to do the math to see if it makes sense to continue to pay the premiums after you meet the deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximum allowance. If you are purchasing dental insurance, you will also want to have freedom of choice of which dentists you may see in your plan. If you are going to base your dental health totally on dental insurance, remember that dental insurance cares more about their bottom line then your dental health.
What story does your smile tell?
WHAT STORY DOES YOUR SMILE TELL?
Every smile tells a story! If you are not happy with the story your smile tells, then it is time to consider a smile make-over. Cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of options to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile. Sometimes a simple whitening procedure can dramatically change dull, dark teeth to a brighter more youthful appearance. Broken teeth, worn edges, and stained, old fillings and crowns can keep you from feeling confident about your smile. In these cases, cosmetic dentistry can restore years of wear and tear to your teeth.
Whitening procedures are most economical cosmetic dentistry treatment. Our practice can evaluate your smile to determine if a whitening procedure will benefit to you. Existing dental fillings and crowns can compromise the success of whitening. Our practice offers tray whitening and laser whitening procedures. Tray whitening involves wearing custom bleaching trays at home for one week to brighten teeth. Impressions are taken in our office to fabricate bleaching trays and the optimum bleaching solution is prescribed based on a number of factors. Laser whitening provides immediate brighter teeth in about one hour in our office. The results of both types of whitening are maintained with touch-up trays used approximately once a month.
Cosmetic dentistry can dramatically change the appearance of your teeth and smile. Old worn teeth can be revitalized with ceramic veneers and crowns. The appearance of the surrounding gum tissue also can be altered with a laser to make teeth look more natural. The number of teeth treated to improve a smile varies with each person. Smile make-overs utilize cutting-edge technology to make a smile look years younger.
Ceramic veneers can improve your smile with thin ceramic facings bonded to the front of your teeth. Veneers allow us to conserve tooth structure to keep your teeth strong. Existing crowns can now be updated with more natural all-ceramic crowns. Sometimes simply replacing an old crown is all that is necessary to improve your smile.
Dr. Willey has trained extensively in cosmetic dentistry in the United States and Brazil. He has also lectured on cosmetic dentistry to his colleagues for the Florida Dental Association. Dr.Willey utilizes the latest up-to-date materials and procedures to change smiles. A thorough cosmetic consultation can determine which procedure will improve the appearance of your smile. You are never too old to have cosmetic procedures to brighten your smile. Our practice offers a complimentary cosmetic consultation to discuss your options to allow you to smile with confidence and feel younger!
WHY DOES DR. WILLEY REFER TO DENTAL SPECIALISTS
WHY DO I NEED TO SEE A DENTAL SPECIALIST?
The quarterback for your favorite football team cannot play every position to the highest skill level. It is impossible for the quarterback to become a great passer and at the same time become a great tackler and kicker and receiver! The same analogy is true in dentistry. The requirements for a general dentist to become proficient in every aspect of dentistry are not feasible with regards to the investment in time and technology.
Patients frequently want to know why Dr. Willey refers them to a dental specialist for periodontal (gum) disease, endodontic (root canal treatment) issues, orthodontics (braces/Invisalign), implant placement, and removal of third molars (wisdom teeth). Dr. Willey feels that his patients should receive the optimum care for their dental problems. With all of the advances in technology and treatment for dental problems, it is impossible for Dr. Willey to be up to date and proficient in every aspect of dental treatment. Dr. Willey specializes in developing treatment plans to insure that his patients obtain optimum dental health with the best outcome. Each treatment plan utilizes the best treatment approach to insure excellence and comfort. Dr. Willey directs his patients to a specialist when he feels that the patient will receive the best care to insure the best prognosis.
Studies show that the success rates for many procedures from root canals to implants to braces are dramatically higher when a dental specialist provides treatment. The specialists that Dr. Willey uses are up to date on the most advanced procedures and are able to handle complications should they arise. The specialists are not limited on their treatment approaches. Our specialists utilize microscopes and imaging which most general dentists do not have available. This technology improves the outcomes for dental treatment for root canals, implants, and periodontal disease. Also, a general dentist who advertises Invisalign usually does not do conventional braces. There are times when Invisalign is not the best treatment for orthodontic issues.
Dr. Willey strives to provide the best restorative care to insure a beautiful smile and comfortable, healthy teeth. He will recommend a dental specialist when he feels that your dental health will benefit from their treatment. Dr. Willey will be happy to discuss why he is referring you to a specific specialist.
X-Rays and Your Dental Health
Radiographs (X-rays) are necessary to provide Dr. Willey and his staff valuable information to properly diagnose and treat your dental problems. Our practice utilizes Dexis digital radiography. This technology allows us to reduce your exposure to radiation by 50%! Dexis radiography allows our practice to see images immediately so we can determine if a different view of a patient’s teeth is needed to aid in diagnosis.
The new digital radiography is friendly to the environment since it eliminates chemicals from our practice and eliminates paper copies. This technology also saves you time in the dental chair. Our practice routinely exposes bitewing radiographs once a year at one of your preventive visits. The bitewing radiographs allow our practice to compare the status of teeth, supporting bone, and decay from year-to-year. Our practice recommends a full series of radiographs every 5-7 years. Dr. Willey will recommend an appropriate interval for full series of radiographs depending on your decay and periodontal (gum) disease susceptibility.
With digital radiography, we are also able to e-mail high definition x-rays to specialists and to Northern dentists for our winter patients. Our staff and Dr. Willey will be happy to answer any questions or concerns about radiographs. We strive to minimize your exposure to radiation but still obtain valuable information to detect problems before they become major issues.
LASER TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION
Dentistry is entering a new and exciting era of technology. Our practice has utilized lasers in patient treatment for 20 years. We recently incorporated a new Biolase iPlus Laser into our treatment. This new laser allows us to treat many cavities without anesthesia. It also can be used to treat periodontal (gum) disease without traditional gum surgery. We also can perform surgical procedures, such as biopsies and tooth removal, with less bleeding and post-operative discomfort. In the future you will likely experience this new laser in many aspects of your care in our office. The iPlus helps our practice to provide an even higher level of excellence in our treatment.
We were one of the first offices to utilize e-mail and text communications to verify appointments. As these services develop, we strive to improve our communications with our patients. You will notice a change from our past provider to GURU. This service will provide you with reminders of your appointments. In addition, you will receive information about important dental issues and treatment we recommended. Please contact our office if you have questions or suggestions to improve our communication with you.
Contact us: Phone 863-658-4272
Email us at: Send Us An Email
4741 Lakeview Dr.
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Sebring, FL 33870