You May Have It…

Periodontal disease is a common and challenging bacterial infection that affects the gums and the bone supporting the teeth. It can also affect the whole body in strikingly dangerous ways. Periodontal disease can even delay conception and cause harm to mother and baby during pregnancy. Alarmingly, scientific research shows that up to 85 percent of the adult population has some level of periodontal (gum) disease and only about 10 percent know they have it.

How dangerous is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can wreak havoc on the entire body. Bad breath and bleeding, swollen and/or recessed gums can be some of the first signs of periodontal disease, but may not be obvious until the middle to late stages of the disease. If left untreated, the disease can lead to bone loss in the jaw, more serious gum abscesses (“gum boils”), loose teeth and even tooth loss. Most of all, the health of the entire body is at risk when periodontal disease is present.

What’s worse, periodontal disease is highly contagious and can be transmitted via mouth-to-mouth kissing or by sharing food and/or drinks. It’s an inflammatory disease, which is why it is so destructive to every organ and cell in your body (and your developing baby). So it’s important for both partners to get checked—and treated—even before conception. In addition to being harmful to mother and baby during development, periodontal disease can also affect conception. An Australian study published in 2012 found that women with periodontal disease take an average of two months longer to conceive (seven months) than those without gum problems (five months).

What are my options?

Because periodontal disease is such a complex infection, its management requires a multi-faceted approach. There are many steps you can take to avoid gum surgery, loss of teeth and complications in the rest of the body as long as you are under the watchful eye of a dental professional experienced in treating periodontal disease.

For decades, Dr. Lisa Marie Samaha of Port Warwick Dental Arts has been urging people to understand the direct correlation between good dental health and overall wellness. Over the last three decades, Dr. Samaha has developed a private practice devoted to comprehensive dental care for the ultimate goal of what she refers to as “Total Body Wellness through Complete Health Dentistry.”

You may have periodontal disease…

Lisa Marie Samaha, DDS
Creating Beautiful, Healthy Smiles
in Hampton Roads since 1982

Posted in Uncategorized

People With Periodontal Disease Have Higher Cancer Risk

People who have periodontal disease have a higher overall risk of developing cancer, say researchers in the June issue of The Lancet, Oncology.

Studies have suggested that tooth loss and periodontal disease might increase patients’ risk of developing cancer, but smoking might have confounded the association.

To determine whether periodontal disease or tooth loss is associated with cancer, Dominique S. Michaud, ScD, Imperial College London, and colleagues from Harvard University, Boston, and University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, used data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS, originally begun in 1986).

Participants reported baseline periodontal disease with bone loss, number of natural teeth and tooth loss in previous two years, as well as smoking history and food intake. They also reported any new cancer diagnoses on the follow-up questionnaires. The endpoints researchers measured were overall cancer risk and individual cancers with more than 100 cases reported.

A total of 48,375 men with a median follow-up of 17.7 years were eligible for the study. Researchers recorded 5,720 cases of cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer and non-aggressive prostate cancer) among the participants. The five most common cancers were colorectal (1,043), melanoma of the skin (698), lung (678), bladder (543) and advanced prostate (541).

After adjusting for known risk factors, including smoking history and dietary factors, they found that participants with a history of periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of developing cancer than did participants with no history of periodontal disease. Researchers noted significant associations between periodontal disease and lung, kidney, pancreas and hematologic cancers. They also noted that having fewer teeth at baseline was associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute.

Posted in Gum disease, Periodontal Treatment

The Art of Healing

Nutritional support is an essential ingredient of our highly successful and internationally acclaimed non-surgical protocol for treating periodontal disease. Beginning in the 1980’s, Dr. Samaha initiated leading -edge clinical evaluations into the positive effects of pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplementation on periodontal disease. Building on success, Port Warwick Dental Arts continues to develop improved technique in the expanding scientific field of clinical nutrition. For those being treated for periodontal disease, we recommend only pharmaceutical-grade nutrients of the highest quality and absorbability, specifically targeted toward the health of the soft tissues in the mouth. Because the mouth is the home of the most aggressive bacteria and the most delicate tissue, the periodontal tissues (gums and jaw-bone) possess an extraordinarily high, unique nutritional appetite. In support of the periodontal tissues, certain nutrients inhibit enzyme release, prevent plaque accumulation, and enhance healing while strengthening and replenishing the immune system and decreasing bleeding and inflammation.

Why we recommend and use Dental Laser Therapy. Periodontal disease is a multifaceted, inflammatory disease process which involves more than genetics. Dr. Samaha believes that if you have periodontal disease, the first step is to determine the easiest and most efficient manner to treat your disease. Along with targeted nutritional supplementation, gentle dental laser therapy can be used to heal tissue by killing bacteria and encouraging the formation of new, healthy tissue. The dental laser also vaporizes diseased tissue, cell remnants and toxins preventing these harmful substances from spreading through the bloodstream to the rest of the body. There is also no risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria formation. Remarkably, as a result of specialized types of laser therapy, regenerated gum tissue can attach to teeth and new bone can grow around and between teeth.

Posted in Uncategorized

Reclaim Your Smile – Reclaim Your Health

Healthy dental habits are important for maintaining a pleasing smile, and they are more important than you might think for maintaining a healthy body. In fact, they are critical to achieving Total Body Wellness. Many will agree that healthy lifestyle habits are important, especially so for those who are predisposed to health problems such as heart attack and stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, infertility, erectile dysfunction and cancer, among other issues.

As such, waves of health-conscious adults are now setting their sights on organic produce, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish. Gym memberships have become standard practice, and healthy individuals steer clear of smoking. They also make flossing, brushing, and visiting their dentist for regular check-ups an integral part of their life because they know that periodontal disease – an infectious bacterial disease that destroys the gums and jawbone – can cause harm to the rest of the body. According to the World Health Organization periodontal disease affects 85% of the adult population and is the number one cause of tooth loss.

Millions of harmful bacteria live in your mouth, and their ability to attach to teeth and gums is the primary cause of periodontal infection. While excellent oral hygiene, good nutrition and professional dental care greatly reduce chances of getting periodontal disease, the disease is highly contagious, so you still might not be in the safe zone. Several factors should be considered that may, in fact, put you at high risk for periodontal disease:

  • Having family members or friends with periodontal disease
  • Inheriting the genetic marker for periodontal disease
  • Diagnosis of other conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis, or if you are pregnant or post-menopausal
  • Maintaining a low-quality nutritional intake; a wide range of vegetables are key to keeping your gums healthy
  • If you are experiencing stress, distress or depression

It is important to note that periodontal disease is silent until its middle-to-late stages, so it takes a skilled dental health professional to make a proper diagnosis and provide proper treatment options. Learn how to avoid the symptoms of periodontal disease like smelly breath, loose teeth, bleeding, receding gums, and tooth loss. Most of all, learn how to keep a healthy mouth to avoid the dangers that periodontal disease can wreak on the rest of the body.

Everyone wants a beautiful, healthy smile, and with that comes a healthier body! It’s important to understand periodontal disease and use healthy dental habits to achieve and maintain Total Body Wellness.

Posted in Dental Health, Gum disease, Oral health, Periodontal Treatment

Planning on Starting a Family? Don’t Forget this Critical Care

Before trying to start a family, get your gums checked. When you make the decision to start a family, you receive a lot of advice from doctors, friends, family and other well-wishers who have been through the process: eliminate exposure to cigarette smoke and alcohol, eat a healthier diet, exercise in moderation, take supplements, etc. But the one bit of advice you might not get is to have your dental condition checked, too. In fact, the ideal time to make sure you are dentally healthy is well before you conceive.

For couples who are already pregnant, a periodontal exam is especially in order; it’s critical. Additionally, periodontal disease can be worsened due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. And periodontal treatment during pregnancy is not only safe, it could be life-saving for mother and baby.

How common is periodontal disease and what affect could it have on my baby? Since periodontal disease is the world’s most common, chronic disease and affects more than 85% of the adult U.S. population, the pregnancy concern is significant. Preterm births and low birth-weight babies can be affected by respiratory distress syndrome, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, decreased lung function, anemia, jaundice, intracranial hemorrhage, malnutrition, congestive heart failure, and even death. In Obstetrics and Gynecology, February 2010, Dr. Yipping Han published the first documented case of the still-birth of a full term baby who succumbed as a direct result of the mother’s periodontal bacteria having crossed the placenta.

Greater than 543,000 premature births occur in the United States per year, and the numbers are rising. In Virginia, the overall premature birth rate was 11.4 percent in 2009. Unfortunately, according to the Daily Press, September, 2001, Hampton Roads was cited as “Home of Virginia’s Tiniest Babies.”And according to current estimates, the average hospital bill for a premature infant is $55,242 versus an average of $4,551 for full-term babies. Preterm-related causes of death together accounted for 35% in 2008 of all infant deaths, more than any other single cause.

How bad does my periodontal disease have to be to cause a problem for my baby? In the Journal of Periodontology, 2001, Dr Marjorie Jeffcoat and researchers revealed that women with as little as two sites of periodontal disease may be up to seven times more likely to deliver a preterm, low birth weight baby. As the level of periodontal infection increases, so do the risks to mother and baby, such as gestational diabetes, hypertension and pre-eclampsia in the mother and a myriad of complications of preterm birth in the infant, as noted above.

Infertility in moms-to-be? An Australian study published in 2012 found that women with periodontal disease take an average of two months longer to conceive (seven months) than those without gum problems (five months).

What about periodontal disease in fathers-to-be? As for the male side of the equation, infertility in men can be attributed to periodontal disease. Amongst others, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed 68% of men with periodontal disease had low or zero sperm counts and/or diminished sperm quality/mobility. Periodontal disease has also been shown to contribute to a three-fold increase in erectile dysfunction, according to the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 2012.

Don’t take unnecessary risks. Periodontal disease is highly contagious and therefore, innocently spread among family members. It does little good for the mom to be periodontally healthy if her kissing partner is not. If untreated, parents can compromise the healthy birth of their baby, and after birth, they can infect their baby’s mouth with the bacteria that cause periodontal disease and tooth decay. Because periodontal disease is such a complex infection, its management requires a multi-faceted approach. There are many steps you can take to avoid gum surgery, loss of teeth and complications in the rest of the body as long as you are under a watchful, professional eye.

Posted in Dental Health, Gum disease, Oral health, Periodontal Treatment

How Do Your Gums Affect Your Heart?

Since the mid-nineties, scientists have been increasingly observing a strong connection between poor oral health and heart conditions.

How might oral health affect the heart? In gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease, infection leads to chronic inflammation—gums are swollen, red, and sometimes bleeding. Bleeding gums indicate the bacteria is active throughout the mouth and the body. In periodontitis, the more severe form, the infection affects the bones that support the teeth, leading to tooth loss. In both cases, disease is caused by an accumulation of bacteria, or plaque, between the gums and the teeth. These organisms release toxins that can circulate through the body.

In particular, the body’s arterial system is affected. Numerous reports in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology and other esteemed journals, display a startling correlation: the more severe the gum disease, the thicker and harder the walls of the arteries. This is true even for young, healthy adults with no other symptoms of heart problems. Narrowing of the arteries (or atherosclerosis) is a key component of heart disease.

But gum disease threatens more than your heart. The toxins in dental plaque can cause harm wherever they go. In fact, scientists are finding more and more links between oral health and conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, preganacy complications, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even many types of cancer.

With professional cleaning, excellent oral hygiene, nutrients and removal of bacterial buildup, gum disease can be reversed—if it’s caught in the early stages. In the later stages, it must be treated more definitively.

A 2007 report in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that patients in an intensive six-month program to treat gum disease emerged not only with healthier gums but with improved endothelial function—a reference to the lining of the blood vessels. This result has been confirmed in other studies.

Too many of us neglect our gums and teeth. Good oral health will obviously help you avoid tooth loss. And it is also the way to a healthier heart and much more.

Posted in Dental Health, Gum disease, Oral health

Fountain of Youth™, The Natural Choice!

Based on principles of Neuromuscular dentistry, the hard tissues and the soft tissues, muscles and nerves, are allowed to work harmoniously by determining the position that best benefits the individual’s mouth and facial structure.

Fountain of Youth™ Dentures employ principles of neuromuscular dentistry that seek to achieve and maintain optimum muscle relaxation and function. Because they offer a customized fit, these dentures can allow the wearer to experience functional and aesthetic benefits that traditional dentures can’t.

Many patients often wonder “How much will Fountain of Youth™ Dentures cost?” Most patients are surprised to hear that a portion of Fountain of Youth™ Dentures may be covered by dental insurance and that they are billed the way traditional dentures are billed. Because Fountain of Youth™ are so customized, they are also more expensive than economy or traditional dentures but can offer improved fit, comfort, function and aesthetics.

While traditional dentures are a popular option for teeth replacement, Fountain of Youth™ Dentures offer you comfort, customization, beauty and confidence. They also work to combat jawbone resorption, the cause of the aged or “sunken in” facial appearance that occurs when we lose our teeth.

Unknown to most patients who experience tooth loss are the issues that occur as a result of not having teeth. As long as natural teeth are in place and disease is absent, our upper and lower jaws can be expected to remain healthy and intact. However, traditional dentures – that are designed to rest on top of the gum tissue – do not provide direct stimulation to the jawbone and thus do nothing to combat the effects of bone resorption, resulting in patients who look much older than they really are.

Fountain of Youth™ Dentures are designed to stimulate the jawbone by creating a better fitting denture that rests partially on the muscles. The teeth are placed so the bite is built in a position where the muscles will best function – the same position that provides the greatest facial support and works to achieve denture stability and greater facial harmony.

Posted in Fountain of Youth™, FOY Dentures®

Live Securley with Fountain of Youth™ Dentures!

Do your dentures cause you embarrassment and pain? They may be loose and even hurt badly enough that you don’t even wear them. Some dentures float and lift, causing sore gums because they rock and food traps underneath them. Other dentures cause a lisp or a click during speaking or eating. Worn-out or “economy dentures” may cause you embarrassment and discomfort. These are the kind of dentures that can give dentures a bad name.

What do you mean by “Fountain of Youth™ Dentures?” When Port Warwick Dental Arts creates Fountain of Youth™ Dentures for you, you will look years younger – like you’ve had a facelift! And best of all, no facial surgery is needed. Sound pretty amazing? It is – and artist/dentist Dr. Lisa Marie Samaha and her Lab Assistant have been providing them for years. In fact, Port Warwick Dental Arts became the first practice in Virginia (and one of the first in the world) to be trained in this technique. At Port Warwick Dental Arts, Dr. Samaha has been creating beautiful smiles since 1982, to include custom-designed dentures. Often many hours of appointment time and try-ins were needed in order to accomplish what we can now do in a fraction of the time with the Fountain of Youth™ Denture technique. Now, these custom-fashioned dentures can be yours, often from start-to-finish, in a matter of a few hours of relaxing appointment time. With this technique, we are able to quickly determine where your teeth would have ideally been located when you were in your twenties or thirties. We will listen to your desires and create a new, refreshed smile that looks natural and feels comfortable.

Why do people who lose teeth often look so old, so fast? When a person loses all of their teeth and gets a set of dentures, jaw bone has already been destroyed. Many times the cause for the bone loss is periodontal disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and the jawbone. This common and aggressive disease can cause drastic bone loss. Uncontrollable infection can set in, and teeth become loose and must be removed. When the jaw bone is eaten away as a result of the gum infection, the roots of the teeth no longer have any “soil” to dig into. Gum disease is the number one reason people loose teeth. Even if you don’t have bone loss before you get dentures, bone loss is natural after you get dentures. This is because after teeth are lost, the jaw bone is programmed to disappear. Eventually, you will get a “sunken-in” face. Your chin and your nose will get closer together as your face begins to collapse, aging you rapidly. Fountain of Youth™ Dentures help to restore the soft facial tissue and recreate the lost jaw bone. Fountain of Youth™ Dentures support the face the same way your natural teeth and bone supported your face many years ago.

What if my bone loss is so severe I no longer have a ridge on which to place the dentures? Great news! The Fountain of Youth™ Denture technique will still be successful for you. In fact, the loss of the jawbone will be minimized by the Fountain of Youth™ technique, which includes a specific plan to help preserve your bone. Other options might include nutritional support, grafting and/or implant placement for those who have or are in danger of severe bone deterioration. If your bone loss is extremely severe and your ridge is not stable enough to hold any denture in place, Dr. Samaha is also experienced in the placement and restoration of dental implants; small titanium posts which are gently placed in your jaw bone and snap onto a tiny attachment inside your denture. The denture will fit securely, no longer rocking or slipping while eating or speaking. Voila’! You not only have a beautiful smile, but you can eat nearly anything you want!!

The smile of my dreams? One thing is for certain, Fountain of Youth™ Dentures are not a passing craze. Your Fountain of Youth™ Dentures will be as close to the “real deal” as anything you can imagine. Just call us today to schedule a consultation.

Posted in Uncategorized

6 MONTHS…It’s the Clear Choice

How can teeth be straightened in only six months with adult braces? The Six Month Smile™ technique employs the latest technology and techniques in dentistry to move your teeth
quickly and safely with clear adult braces. The key components of the treatment are the use of unique, clear braces and a primary focus of moving the teeth that show when you smile.

Six months sounds good, but will I still have a mouth full of metal braces for the whole time? No! Six Month Smile™ uses clear braces that are barely visible to gently straighten your teeth.

How are Six Month Smile™ braces more comfortable than
regular braces? Six Month Smile™ uses low force to move teeth gently. Many people think that the accelerated braces treatment means simply “tightening” regular braces to get the teeth moving, but that is not true. Six Month Smiles utilizes standard orthodontic mechanics, but with an emphasis on the cosmetic appearance of your teeth rather than the position of your bite.

Do Six Month Smiles braces damage the teeth, roots, or gums? There are no more risks of root damage or other issues that are associated with traditional orthodontics. Since the forces used with Six Month Smiles braces are lighter and teeth are seldom
extracted, they are actually easier and safer.

Will I have to wear a retainer? Yes, as with any teeth-straightening treatment a retainer is necessary to maintain the straighter position of your teeth. A bonded retainer’s best, or a remonvable retainer might also be used. There are a variety of options that you can choose from according to your personal preference and situation.

What’s the catch? There is no catch. If you are an adult (16 years and older) with crooked or spaced teeth and you’re not looking for a major alteration to your bite, this could be the solution for you! Most adults ARE candidates for Six Month Smile™.

Call today for a consultation to determine if Six Month Smile™ is right for you!

Posted in Clear braces, Orthodontics, Six Month Smiles

Feeling Tired Even After a Full Night’s Sleep?

If you’re snoring loudly at night and exhausted during the day, sleep apnea may be to blame. Sleep apnea, episodes when breathing stops during sleep, can wake you and your partner and cause you to fall asleep during the day. But sleep apnea is more than an annoyance – it can be fatal.

“You are literally suffocating in your sleep and have no awareness of it,” says dentist Lisa Marie Samaha, owner of Port Warwick Dental Arts in Newport News, who treats sleep apnea in coordination with a sleep physician. “Although most sleep apnea patients are overweight and older, this condition can afflict young people, thin people and children.”

The episodes of apnea (when breathing stops) can last for 10 seconds or more – with the average being 18 seconds and the longest on record 138 seconds. About 17 percent of the adult population has sleep apnea, but many are undiagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. According to research―patients with untreated sleep apnea will die an average of 10 years sooner than those without sleep apnea. Alarmingly, 93 percent of all women and 82 percent of all men with sleep apnea are undiagnosed.

Symptoms include snoring, and then waking up with a gasp, frequent silences during sleep, falling asleep during the day, and feeling exhausted even after what should have been a full night’s sleep. “Sleep apnea can cause or contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, heart disease, low libido, erectile dysfunction, short-term memory problems, weight gain, indigestion (gastric reflux or GERD), dry mouth, sore throat, low energy and even auto accidents,” says Samaha.

In collaboration with a Board Certified Sleep Physician, Dr. Samaha and her highly trained team at Port Warwick Dental Arts in Newport News have been helping sleep apnea patients breathe easier for many years. Patients wear a small, custom fitted dental appliance that positions the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward to keep the airway open all night. Samaha is one of the small number of dentists in the United States specially trained to offer this treatment.

“We want to work alongside our patients’ physicians to help add a new, simpler dimension to what is being offered,” Samaha says. “We can help the patients who cannot or will not wear their CPAPs. We are also able to help about 90 percent of snorers stop snoring. There are so many people who want and need this kind of help.” For Harry Broskie of Newport News, seeing Dr. Samaha was dramatically life-changing.

“Dr. Samaha gave me a referral to a sleep center and they told me I had the worst snoring and sleep problems they had ever seen,” Broskie says. “That led me to their CPAP machine and other options, which were cumbersome and caused my sleep to be restless. Dr. Samaha provided me with a custom-fitted oral appliance instead, and my sleep improved considerably. I was able to fall asleep and wake up comfortably eight hours later. Soon, I was no longer exhausted all the time. I felt like I had my life back after many, many years.”

The difference after treatment is dramatic. Medications can often be reduced under the direction of the patient’s physician, depression and other physical complaints often become a thing of the past and patients have an energy level they haven’t known for years, sometimes decades. Spouses sleep more soundly and are no longer worried about their partner or resentful of having their own sleep disturbed. They are happier and quite relieved, too!

Posted in Sleep Apnea, Snoring
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Port Warwick Dental Arts - Dr. Lisa Marie Samaha
251 Nat Turner Blvd S
Newport News, VA 23606

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