Volume 2 Issue 1 Winter 2018

A Letter from Dr. Couzens

This Valentine’s season we take time to recognize those we care about – you. Our patients are important not only because you are fundamental to our practice but also because of the personal connections we have with you. To show our appreciation, we constantly learn the newest techniques in dentistry so we can continue to give you the best care available. In December, Dental Hygienist Martha Wethington and I attended a conference in Arlington, VA to learn new procedures to treat periodontal gum disease. If you have comments or questions about our practice, please feel free to call our office at 859.236-4304 or contact us online at www. susancouzensmd.com. 

I look forward to hearing from you, 
Susan
 

Meet Our Team: Amy Baker 

Last July, Amy Baker began working at Susan Couzens, DMD as an EDDA (Expanded Duty Dental Assistant). Before starting here, she trained at the Academy of Dental Assisting and worked eight years in dental practices in Lexington. Her training and experience qualifies for numerous tasks. Her most common duties include taking x-rays, placing fillings, using the Cerec computer-driven manufacturing system, creating temporary crowns, and using coronal polishing to remove plaque and stains from teeth. 

Amy has been married to husband Austin for almost ten years. The couple has a five-year-old daughter named Ella. Amy’s favorite activity is quality time with family, whatever form that takes. Going to the movies, bowling, and riding four-wheelers are common pastimes. Even Ella joins in on the fun of four-wheeling with a vehicle that everyone can ride safely together. The Bakers live in Garrard County, where Austin works as a welder. 

“I came from a high-stress, high-volume practice before coming here,” says Amy, “so I enjoy that this is a pleasant environment.”
 

How To Protect yourself From Gum Disease

Healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth. However, gum (periodontal) disease occurs when gum tissue deteriorates, causing pockets to form around the teeth. Over time, these pockets collect bacteria which make them even deeper. Left unchecked, gum disease leads to tooth loss, along with pain and health risks. 

Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in the developed world, so it is important to know if you are at risk. Some risk factors include inadequate dental hygiene, genetic predisposition, diabetes, teeth grinding, tobacco use, stress, and pregnancy. Certain medications such as steroids, anti-depressants, heart medicines, and oral contraceptives can also increase the risk of developing gum disease. 

In individuals with gum disease, bacteria collect in the mouth and weaken the immune system. Heart disease, pregnancy, and stroke are among the many health issues that are tied to gum disease. Gum disease can also worsen symptoms of preexisting conditions such as diabetes, COPD, and pneumonia. 

You can take steps to help prevent gum disease. Make sure you brush, floss, and see the dentist regularly. Home care and professional care are both necessary to ensure maximum dental health. If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about the possibility of using a mouth guard. If you have any risk factors, ask your dentist if he or she suggests changes to your regular dental hygiene routine. 

Common signs of gum disease include unexplained mouth bleeding, pain, redness, swelling, longer-looking teeth, bad breath/halitosis, loose teeth, and pus in-between teeth. See a dentist to determine the best treatment plan if you experience any of these symptoms. Call us or visit us online to make an appointment. For cases that are caught early, a couple of regular cleanings may be all that is necessary. A more advanced cleaning called rooting and scaling can help the healing process and shrink pockets. If deep cleaning does not work, periodontal surgery can reduce the size of the pockets.

From the Mayo Clinic:

When and how often should you brush your teeth ? 

ANSWERS FROM THOMAS J. SALINAS, D.D.S.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. 
When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque — a sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria. After you eat a meal or snack that contains sugar, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. Repeated attacks can break down tooth enamel and lead to cavities. Plaque that isn’t removed can also harden into tartar, making it harder to keep teeth clean. 
In choosing when to brush your teeth, you might also consider your diet. If you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink, avoid brushing your teeth right away. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can remove enamel. If you know you’re going to eat or drink something acidic, brush your teeth beforehand. 
In addition to brushing your teeth, the American Dental Association recommends that you: 
• Floss daily 
• Drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks 
• Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are irregular or frayed 
• Schedule regular dental checkups

 

Implant Dentures Show Improved Quality of Life.

The loss of teeth is proven to have a noticeable impact on the quality of life. Replacing missing or damaged teeth has a positive impact on physical health, mental health and social well-being. Dentistry has advanced in approach and technique dramatically over the past two decades, making ill-fitting hard-to-use dentures a thing of the past. The days of a denture slipping or making eating difficult should be things of the past with modern dental approaches such as fixed dentures.

Implant dentures are tooth replacements that either remain fixed in the mouth except when removed for maintenance or cleaning or can be removed easily by the patient. For many patients, this is a welcome alternative to the old-fashioned denture that may make eating difficult and can trap food and require embarrassing removal. The increased stability of fixed dentures can increase patient confidence as well as comfort, ease, and functionality. 

There are three basic varieties of implant dentures, each type designed to meet the needs of individual patients. Fixed Hybrid Dentures provide the closest look and feel to natural teeth. They are designed to remain in the mouth except when removed by your dentist for maintenance or periodic examinations. Two other options allow for patient removal for cleaning A second alternative is the Retained Bar Denture where the denture is snapped into place using a metal bar that conforms to the shape of the mouth. The third type is an Implant Assisted Over-Denture, often called a “snap on” because of its ease of removal.

All of these approaches provide the patient with attractive replacements for natural teeth. Studies show an increase in quality of life following the placement and restoration using dental implants, Research has demonstrated a significant improvement in quality of life pertaining to oral health in patients where at least one dental implant is in place.

Dr. Couzens offers both implant and traditional dentures. If you are interested, talk with her to decide what is best for you. If finances are a concern, you can ask about costs and visit our website for financing information.

FIXED HYBRID
Designed to remain in the mouth except when removed by your dentist.

RETAINED BAR DENTURE
Snaps into place using a metal bar that conforms to the shape of the mouth.

IMPLANT ASSISTED OVER-DENTURE,
often called a “snap on” because of its ease of removal.
 

Water Flossing: What you need to know

A combination of water flossing and dental floss cleans better than either individually.

As an alternative to or in conjunction with traditional dental floss, water flossing can be an important tool to improve your dental health. Water flossers aim a pressurized stream of water along the gum line to remove bits of food and bacteria from the gums and in between teeth. The best water flossers have several different pressure settings and pulsate about 1200 to 1400 times per minute.

Why Water?
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends water flossing for those who have dental work such as bridges and braces that can make flossing difficult. In addition, it can be less painful for those with sensitive gums. Water flossing is easier for those who find dental floss difficult or cumbersome. It can be more effective than traditional dental floss at cleaning periodontal pockets that can form gum disease. A combination of water flossing and dental floss cleans better than either individually.

What Else You Should Do
Water flossing is not for everyone. Water flossers are difficult to use on-the-go, while dental floss is easily portable. Even if you regularly use a water flosser, keep some traditional dental floss for times, such as travel, when your water flosser is not readily accessible. Water flossers must be cleaned at regular intervals to prevent buildup of bacteria and must be stored in a safe, clean space.

Note that flossing or using a water flosser does not replace brushing and seeing a dentist regularly. Choosing the best option for you should be a decision made with your dentist. He or she may recommend using dental floss, a water flosser, or both. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Couzens, call our office or visit us online.