June 15, 2017
Q: All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth…will they hold up?
A: The trend I usually see when I prescribe treatment, is a decision to wait, thus avoiding the decision itself. When it comes to dental health, a decision to wait is a decision to allow things to get worse. Is that the right thing to do? For how long? Your question then requires knowing when the worsening will claim your 2 front teeth. I usually tell my beloved procrastinators that the crystal balls are on back order. What I do know, is that waiting results in pain, infection, an emergency after hours, an esthetic crisis, or broken tooth. Now what you have to do is opt to treat more destruction that now has to cost more time and resources…why wait?
June 8, 2017
Q: What is a Special Care Dentist?
A: Without going into historical detail, this is a relatively new field in Dentistry. It is General Dentistry with additional training on how to provide it to people who have active or complex medical issues going on at the same time. For example, someone with radiation therapy to the mouth will develop short term and long term mouth problems. Many of those can be monitored and controlled in advance. A special care dentist typically collection all the medical information and puts a comprehensive plan together for your dental health that gives the medical conditions their rightful place in your care, including coordinating with your healthcare providers. Dr. Mary Makhlouf is a Diplomate of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry (DABSCD).
June 1, 2017
A: I fired my dentist because he would not give me an antibiotic when I called. Why didn’t he want to help me?
Q: I am sure your dentist had good reason not to call in an antibiotic sight unseen. If you were a patient of record and he was already aware of a vague existing condition, an antibiotic would have further buried the new evidence he may have been looking for to reveal the culprit. Why? When you become aware of pus, there is normally a tunnel that leads to the source, and there may be other tell-tale signs that may be lost under the influence of antibiotics. In dentistry, antibiotics RARELY are the cure. Give credence to your dentist’s professional hunch and guidance. Just think about it. I would have been a lot easier to do as you asked instead.
May 25, 2017
Q: It can’t be true! How can my mouth put me at risk for heart attacks or strokes???
A: The good news is that if your teeth and gums are healthy, then you don’t have a higher risk. However, if you have any kind of inflammation (like bleeding gums) or infection, your liver responds by making a protein (CRP) that in turn increases your risks by about 3 times. Remember too, infection or inflammation doesn’t always hurt! So: teeth are apparently connected to the rest of the body…”who knew”??! In my practice, we show you and even email you pictures of areas in your mouth that need improvement and guide you to health. It’s a team effort. Get healthy!
May 18, 2017
Q: My wife says I have to see a dentist, but I have never had any pain or trouble from my teeth. Who is right?
A: It is a matter or risk and how much of it you want to take. Consider this; cancer is silent and painless until it grows enough to be noticed. By then, you wish it had been discovered earlier. Gum disease is silent until you get a gum abscess or your tooth/teeth become loose. By then it is generally too late to save the loose tooth. Cavities are silent until they get to the nerve. How do you really know you have a problem? A dentist is trained to diagnose and treat. Let the pros get involved. Also, do you value prevention?? In my office, I not only look for disease, but for the basic ingredients of a future problem, and I teach my patients what to do to avoid the potential problem(s) they face. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
May 11, 2017
Q: What do teeth have to do with diabetes?
A: Here’s an example: I was doing a detailed initial exam on a diabetic lady and noticed puffy gums, some loose teeth, and an area of beginning yeast infection in her cheek that looked white and speckled. I investigated further and asked her if her blood sugar was table because so many of my findings said otherwise. “Get outta here!” she exclaimed. Her physician had been trying to get her sugar controlled and she had already been switched to so many different diabetes medications. After thorough cleanings, some medication for the yeast, and preventive instructions with regular follow ups, she now has stable blood sugars and a healthier mouth! Keeping regular checkups is key!
May 4, 2017
Q: I heard that dental disease is preventable. How can that be if I come from a family of denture wearers?
A: Dental disease is preventable in this day and age. There is so much more scientific knowledge about its causes. We have much more “Intel” to fight back. There are 3 categories of causes barring accidents and rare genetic diseases. These “famous 3” are: 1) Bacteria which cause cavities and gum disease, 2) Chewing forces and imbalanced function (crack or loosen teeth), 3) Chemicals (included acid produced by bacteria or acid from other sources or dry mouth or other chemicals). Simple solutions: brush and floss bacteria away, get your tooth crowned or a night guard if your dentist suspects a weak fracturing tooth or clenching/grinding. Lastly, keep teeth away from repeated exposures such as sports drinks, sodas, etc and get help for your dry mouth.
April 20, 2017
Q: April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. What should I know about it?
A: This month alone, I saw 4 patients with oral cancer. It can start out as a painless area that may be red and/or white, or you may think you bit it, and it has not healed. Interestingly, the fastest growing segment of the people with oral cancer is non-smokers under the age of 50. What’s new on the scene? HPV (papilloma virus)! How do you know if you have the type of HPV that puts you at risk for oral cancer? We have a harmless “swish and gargle” saliva test and you will get the results in 3-5 days. We still do routine cancer screening exams even for those with full dentures! Remember: The longer the diagnosis is delayed, the worse the outcome! Keep your regular checkups!
March 15, 2017
Q: What? My tooth broke in half all the way to my sinus? How can that happen?
A: Some teeth are already compromised and others are as strong as the day they came in. Either way, all can break with the right amount of force applied in the right direction. How much force? Anywhere between eating a twinkie to 1000 psi!!! A compromised tooth doesn’t need much force to break. It is one that already has a large filling, or is softened by a large cavity that remains painless and invisible to you. However, a virgin tooth can also break when you place enough force on it; a popcorn kernel or chewing ice can do damage, but so does grinding your teeth. That’s where the 1000 psi was measured….in your sleep.
February 15, 2017
Q: You are a General Dentist. WHY are you running a Bone Marrow Registry drive?
A: “Will you Marrow Me”™ is our annual Valentine’s bone marrow registry drive in collaboration with Be The Match®. As a general dentist, I always notice healthy potential donors. I challenge all 18-44 year olds! All it takes is 4 painless swabs of the cheek. As a post hospital dentist, I saw many patients with cancer or blood illnesses desperate for a Match. Much better to be proactive than to wait for disaster and have to search the world over for a match! For every 200 registered there is ONE match!