Monthly Archives: February 2011

Osteoporosis and Why Your Dentist Should Know

Ever wonder why your Atlanta dentist has to know what drugs you are taking? After all, what effect could this possibly have on your mouth? Many people do not feel comfortable sharing this type of personal information, and it can be especially difficult for women who are taking medications (or had ‘female’ procedures done) to divulge that information to a male dentist.

Osteoporosis

  • During her later years, menopause becomes part of a woman’s life. Many women worry about osteoporosis or osteopenia and turn to their OB-GYNs for direction on what they can do to prevent that from occurring.
  • There have been many forms of medication in the past that were prescribed for these bone conditions. For the last decade or so, the major drug of choice has been some form of what is called a bisphosphonate drug. Examples include Floramax, Boniva, Actonel, Didronel, and Reclast.
  • Some of these drugs are also used to treat other bone diseases like Paget’s Disease as well as some forms of cancer. These drugs do wonders for maintaining the bone levels of women in their postmenopausal years.
  • However, there are always side effects with any drug we take, and it is important to know those serious side effects, especially on medication that is taken on a daily basis for long periods of time.

Bisphosphonates

  • These bisphosphonate drugs are no different. The drugs work by affecting the bone cells, called osteoblasts and osteoclasts, which means they slow or stop the natural process that dissolves bone tissue, resulting in maintained or increased bone density. So why is all this important for your mouth and jaws?
  • Patients who are taking the medication for osteoporosis take it by mouth as a pill. Many forms of cancer use these drugs in an I.V. form. For those who take the I.V. form, there is a high risk of what is called osteonecrosis of the jaw.
  • Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a condition in which the bone is dying. For patients who take the pill form, it is important to understand that, based on the information currently available, the risk for developing bone osteonecrosis is low.

Preventing osteonecrosis of the bone

  • Some of the dental treatments that have this risk tied to them include oral surgery, tooth extractions, gum and bone disease, dental implants, and root canals. The best form of treatment is preventative treatment.
  • If you think you will be on a bisphosphonate drug in the near future, or if you already are on one, give us a call so we can do a thorough dental examination and treat any conditions you may have early, to avoid any need to worry about osteonecrosis of the bone.
  • Again, you are likely at low risk, but it is important for us to know you are on these medications so we can make sure you maintain a good clean bill of dental health. So, when your dentist asks if you are on any new medications, let us know. Stay up to date with your visits to the OB-GYN and let them know you still see your dentist on a regular basis.

Top Tips for Choosing the Right Cosmetic Dentist

8 Simple Steps to Find the Right Dentist (Dr. Boulden)

How do you choose a cosmetic dentist? It’s a very difficult and confusing process. Choosing a cosmetic dentist can be a great first step to creating that wonderful smile you've always wanted and dreamed of. In fact, 96% of Americans feel an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to a member of the opposite sex, according to a study done by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

With every dentist out there claiming he or she performs cosmetic dentistry, it's difficult to determine who will deliver exactly what you're looking for. Here are some things to think about when choosing your "cosmetic" dentist.

Is it his or her focus?

Look for a dentist who has tried to make cosmetic dentistry a focus in his or her practice. Obviously, the more cases a dentist has done, the more likely he or she can deliver consistent results.

Before and after photos

This one is big. Make sure the dentist you are selecting has copious photography of his/her work. Before and after pictures are essential for evaluating the level of performance you can expect from that dentist's work. If a dentist cannot provide you with high quality before and after pictures, run the other way!

Level of post-graduate dental education

Minimal amounts of cosmetic dentistry are taught by dental schools. Make sure to view dentists' post-graduate credentials when choosing your cosmetic dentist. Do they have credentials from post-graduate institutions? What membership affiliations do they have? What is the focus of their continuing education?

Other patients' experiences

Testimonials on a website are great, but it's even better for the dentist to have patients whom you could call to discuss their experiences. Other patients sometimes give you a better idea of what to expect before, during, and after treatment.

The dentist should be proud to give you a list of  "raving fans" to call who have gone through the particular procedure you’re seeking.

Technology and office standards

Have a look around the office. This is your opportunity to see the equipment, ask questions about available technology and procedures, and check out the sterilization areas. For instance, if the sterilization area doesn’t look up-to-date, do you think you’ll be happy with the results from that particular dentist?

Are you comfortable with the dentist?

It is important that you get a sense of honesty and have a high level of communication with the cosmetic dentist you choose. You will be spending some time with the dentist you pick, so if you get a bad feeling, it might be best to move on.

Inquire about their ceramist

The level of ceramics (or porcelain) will likely be a direct reflection of the quality of fit and aesthetic of your dental appliance. If you are seeking the best cosmetic dentistry possible, ask your dentist if he or she uses a "master ceramist."

The level of training the ceramist has is EVERY BIT as important as the cosmetic dentist's level of training. Together, they will work to create the smile you have always dreamed of.

Different treatment options

You should expect options when consulting with a cosmetic dentist. During that consultation, a dentist may explain to you an "ideal" treatment, as well as a variety of other options. Options are important because ultimately you are responsible for your own decisions.

Have they won any awards?

Advances in cosmetic dentistry, like most technology, move very fast. Make sure that the cosmetic dentists you are looking into are not ‘resting on their laurels’ from back in the '90s. One way is to see if they’ve actually won awards for their cosmetic dentistry in competition with dentists nationally and internationally (these competitions are held by dental organizations typically).

These are a few crucial tips that you can use to find the cosmetic dentistry professional that is right for you! If you would like to schedule a consultation with Atlanta Dental Spa, simply call us at 470-237-4504 today!