Waterford, MI Dentist
Lloyd H. Alpert, D.D.S.
4025 Highland Road
Waterford, MI 48328
(248) 682-6010

Posts for: September, 2012

Every hour of every day, in the United States, one American dies of oral cancer. This deadly disease is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths with no significant improvement in the survival rate in the past 40 years; in fact, while the American Cancer Society recently reported that overall cancer deaths and incidence have decreased, the oral cancer death rate increased by 5.5% and the incidence increased by 1.5%. More than 50 percent of patients diagnosed with oral cancer will die within five years.

If discovered in its early stages, oral cancer is 90 percent curable, but less than 50 percent curable if discovered in its later stages. To help achieve early detection, we offer patients the benefits of ViziLite Plus TM with TBlue630 Oral Lesion Identification and Marking System, a technology cleared by the FDA for identifying oral abnormalities in patients at increased risk for oral cancer. ViziLite Plus, marketed by Zila Pharmaceuticals is a medical breakthrough that helps professionals detect oral abnormalities that could be early indicators of cancer.

ViziLite Plus was developed to improve the traditional method of detecting oral abnormalities. Once pre-cancer or cancer can be seen or felt by a healthcare practitioner, it has possibly already advanced to the late stages where it is considerably less curable. In fact, 70% of oral cancer lesions detected with the traditional exam are detected late, in stage III and IV when the five-year survival rate is 57%.

ViziLite Plus is an easy, painless and non-invasive examination. The exam is a three-step process and takes only a few minutes. First, the patient rinses with a raspberry-vinegar flavored solution to prepare for the exam after which the dentist snaps the ViziLite Plus lightstick, activating it so that it glows. The dentist then places the lightstick in a retractor and shines it in the patient's mouth while examining the oral tissue for abnormalities. Abnormal tissue will glow a blue-white color. Once the dentist has ruled out trauma as a cause, the TBlue630 Oral Lesion Marking System, a bluish dye, will be applied to the lesion to help the dentist visualize the precise extent of the lesion.

Oral cancer is more prevalent than cervical cancer; it's common practice for women to get a mammogram and Pap smear every year. ViziLite Plus is a screening technology that we have incorporated into our daily practice; it's a way we show our patients that their overall health is important and that dentists and hygienists do so much more than merely checking for cavities.

Patients considered high-risk for oral cancer are: age 40 and older, users of smoking or chewing tobacco, currently or within the past 10 years and users of one or more alcoholic drinks daily, including one beer, one glass of wine or one drink of spirits. Patients with any combination of these risk factors, and patients with a personal history of oral cancer, are considered at highest risk. Alarmingly, 27% of oral cancer victims have no lifestyle risk factors.

If you have any mouth sores that don't seem to heal or see any suspicious marks or discolorations on your lips, cheeks, tongue, palate or gum tissue, call our office and ask about early cancer detection.  

A sensitive gag reflex is a source great concern and embarrassment for many people. It's often beyond an individual's ability to control. Children are especially effected be- cause adults may not fully understand how physic- ally difficult it is for them. Kids may be easily embarrassed, particularly if they vomit. Children frequently need a long series of visits, often over a period of years if they require orthodontics (braces). A sensitive gag reflex can be a childhood battle when kids are sick and need to take medications or swallow pills. These events can add up to a series of traumatic episodes that leave the patient with dental phobia as an adult. Patients may also have a gag reflex or intolerance of foreign objects in their mouth relating to a traumatic, abusive past. Intolerance to foreign objects in the mouth, sensitivity to tastes, textures and even foods can also be caused by a condition termed, sensory integration dysfunction.

Fortunately, there are many things we can do to make patients comfortable at the dentist and make dental care available without the fear or embarrassment. Dental visits most often begin with dental x-rays. We can use mouth rinses that dull sensation to help the x-ray process. Panoramic x-rays are also available, where no dental film is placed inside the mouth at all. If need be, all x-rays can be taken while the patient sleeps under sedation. There are techniques with local anesthesia (commonly called novocaine) that can numb the tongue and palate to reduce gagging. Various forms of sedation are available that generally can make patients entirely free from the gag reflex. The purpose of the initial consultation is to learn the needs of the patient and begin to develop a plan of care so that the patient can have their dental care in comfort, their way. I hope that our patients will always be able to tell us how they feel, and what we can do to make them the most comfortable.  

Did you know that the shape, shade, length and spacing of your teeth could significantly affect your smile? And our smiles can greatly affect our self-esteem and confidence. Common conditions that impact negatively on your smile include broken, cracked or worn teeth, discolored teeth, missing teeth, crooked teeth, decayed teeth, gaps between your teeth and/or "gummy smiles." The good news is that with modern technology and improved materials, these situations can be dramatically changed to create natural looking and long-lasting beautiful smiles.

Each patient and each specific circumstance must be evaluated on its own merits. Factors such as occlusion [bite], oral habits, available space, health of the gum tissue, severity of the problem and patient expectation must be taken into consideration while planning your cosmetic makeover.

Depending on the situation, there are a variety of choices that all result in excellent esthetic outcomes. For whiter natural teeth, in-office or at-home bleaching [whitening] techniques are available. Repairing teeth or closing spaces may be accomplished with tooth-colored composite resin bonding, porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns.

These procedures vary in time and cost and have differences in longevity and appearance. If you're not satisfied with your smile or want to learn if you're a good candidate for any of these remarkable techniques, call our office for a cosmetic consultation. 

September 05, 2012
Category: Dental News
Tags: Sealants  

The application of systemic or topical fluoride since the early 1970’s has lowered the incidence of tooth decay on the smooth surfaces of the teeth. However, about 90% of the decay found in children’s teeth occurs in tooth surfaces with pits and fissures. To solve this problem, dental sealants were developed to act as a physical barrier so that cavity-causing bacteria cannot invade the pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of back [posterior] teeth.

A sealant is a plastic resin material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth—premolars and molars. This material is bonded into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces and acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from attack by plaque and/or acids.

Dental sealants are usually professionally applied. The dentist, hygieniest or assistant cleans and dries the teeth to be treated; then paints a thin layer of liquid plastic material on the pits and fissures of the tooth. A blue spectrum natural light is shined on the applied material for a few seconds to cure the plastic. Some brands of sealants cure chemically.

After curing, the plastic becomes a hard, thin layer covering the treated portions of the tooth. Despite the incredible pressures placed on teeth during chewing each day, dental sealants often remain effective for five years or longer, although sealants do wear naturally and should be checked at regular intervals. If sealants wear or become damaged, they can be repaired or replaced simply by applying new sealant material to the worn or damaged portions.

Children should receive sealants shortly after the eruption of their first permanent molars, around age 6 and again at age 12 when their second molars appear.

During the child’s regular dental visits, we will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.  



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