Diabetes and Dentistry

If you’re diabetic, beware of gum disease! This harmful condition affects 80% of Americans, and you may not know you have it. Gum disease, clinically known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the mouth. In the early stage, symptoms may not exist. However, mild to significant redness, swelling, tenderness, and bleeding of the gums may indicate the presence of gum disease.

Checkups are extremely important in the fight against gum disease because plaque, and hardened plaque called tartar are the primary causes of the condition. However, diabetics are more prone than others to develop periodontal disease – and resulting complications.

According to perio.org, the website for the American Academy of Periodontology, “Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar. This puts diabetics at increased risk for diabetic complications. Thus, diabetics who have periodontal disease should be treated to eliminate the periodontal infection.” (more…)

Detecting Oral Cancer Early Can Save Your Life

Do you know that approximately 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year? It’s true, but unfortunately, it’s not a problem that many people know about.

Because oral cancer is often detected in the later stages, it has a higher mortality rate than that of other health problems, including several other forms of cancer.

Dr. Jeffrey Allen and his dental team in Pella, Iowa make this pledge to you: at every routine dental cleaning and exam you have in his office, Dr. Allen will thoroughly screen your mouth for signs of oral cancer and other serious health problems.

With the help of modern technology, screening for oral cancer is easier than ever. Using a device called VELscope, Dr. Allen will shine the fluorescent light in your mouth and observe the colors that “glow” over the various areas in your oral cavity. Usually, healthy tissue will glow a light blue or green color, while abnormalities will appear darker.

Screening for oral cancer is quick and does not require any rinses, stains, or discomfort on your part. This, along with a traditional visual exam, is an effective process for diagnosing oral cancer.

All adults should have an annual oral cancer screening exam. Men over 40 and women between the ages of 20 and 40 are the most prone to the disease, but it can appear in anyone. People who use tobacco, consume alcohol daily, have viral infections, autoimmune deficiencies, or diabetes should be screened more frequently.

For more information about VELscope, oral cancer, or treatment for the disease, call Dr. Allen’s dental office in Pella, Iowa at (641) 628-1121.

Whiten Your Teeth in the Privacy of Your Own Home

Over time, you’re teeth can dull and become yellow, mostly as a result of the foods and drinks you consume, as well as lifestyle factors (such as smoking), and the natural aging process.

To give your smile an update, Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a family dentist in Pella, Iowa, can prescribe an at-home whitening system that will safely lighten your teeth, giving you a white, brighter smile.

To begin your teeth whitening process, Dr. Allen will examine your teeth to make sure that at-home whitening is an appropriate option for you. If it is, Dr. Allen will take impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab where your custom bleaching trays will be fabricated.

Once at home, you’ll fill the trays with specially formulated whitening gel and place the tray over your teeth for the prescribed amount of time. Typically, patients begin to see whiter teeth in one to two weeks. Once your whitening process is complete, your smile will be noticeably whiter and brighter.

To maintain your new white smile, avoid foods and beverages that stain, such as coffee, cola, tea, berries, and red wine. Also, it’s important to come to Dr. Allen’s office for occasional touch-ups to remove new stains. Call (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Caring for Children and Families in Pella, Oskaloosa, and Lynnville

As a father, the health of his daughter is one of Dr. Jeffrey Allen’s priorities. As a general family dentist, your kids’ dental health becomes one of his top priorities.

Dr. Allen and his staff, many of whom are parents, have all fought (and hopefully won) the battle of getting their kids to brush their teeth.

Teaching children proper brushing habits sets a good foundation for a healthy mouth that will last a lifetime. Dental health is an important component of overall health, so it’s important to know that the kiddos are brushing their teeth thoroughly, rather than just putting some toothpaste on a toothbrush and swishing it around for a few minutes.

The American Dental Association teaches proper teeth brushing habits in just five simple steps.

1.     Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.

2.     Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes.

3.     Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.

4.     To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

5.     Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

Of course, your four-year-old isn’t going to know what a 45-degree angle is, but there is no better way to teach than by example. Turn brushing time into a family affair until your kids have gotten the hang of it. Using a timer is a great way to make sure your little one is brushing for long enough.

We recognize that teaching personal hygiene to your kids can be a process, but ensuring their future dental health is extremely important. Once they’ve mastered brushing their teeth, you can tackle flossing!

Dr. Allen and his staff love to see children and families in our office. Call (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Pella Families Shouldn't Fear Fluoride

Dental fluoride is a routine part of most dental cleanings and exams at many dental offices. For some time, however, the use of fluoride has been a debate among dental and health professionals.

The question remains: Is fluoride good for you and your teeth, or not?

Well, the answer is yes. Fluoride contains a protective component for your teeth, but it can be harmful in certain circumstances, as well.

If you are over the age of 8, wear braces, have dry mouth, or have difficulty brushing and flossing your teeth properly, fluoride treatment benefits you the most. Fluoride in small amounts strengthens your tooth enamel, the number one protector of your teeth. Without fluoride, and other helpers such as saliva, your tooth enamel would not reharden after eating and drinking and would leave your teeth exposed to plaque and decay-causing bacteria.

On the other hand, fluoride in large amounts can be very harmful, especially for young children. Fluorosis is a condition caused by over-exposure to fluoride that can cause softening and crumbling of your enamel and permanent discoloration to your teeth.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid of fluoride.

It’s safe to assume that you use fluoridated toothpaste. Most people do, and it’s unlikely that a toothpaste will get the ADA seal of approval if it contains no fluoride at all. Many areas of the U.S. have fluoridated water, so it’s likely that you ingest small amounts everyday. Between the fluoride in your toothpaste and drinking water, it’s enough to promote healthy teeth and gums, but not enough to harm you.

Also, if your dentist gives you a fluoride treatment, don’t be afraid to take it. Just be sure not to swallow it, as pure fluoride is much more harmful than diluted fluoride when ingested directly.

I’m Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a family dentist in Pella, Iowa, and I make it a point to keep my patients informed so that they can make sound decisions about their dental health. Call my dental office at (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule dental appointments for you and your family.

Dentist in Oskaloosa, IA Reveals Bacteria in Used Band Instruments

Band instruments, especially used brass and woodwind instruments, can contain heavy amounts of bacteria. According a recent study published in the March/April 2011 issue of General Dentistry, over 440 different bacteria, 58 molds, and 19 yeasts were found on 13 different used musical instruments. Researchers tested 117 sites on the instruments, including internal chambers, mouth pieces, and cases.

“Parents may not realize that the mold in the in their child’s instrument could contribute to the development of asthma,” stated R. Thomas Glass, DDS, PhD, lead author of the study. He further stated that the yeasts can cause infections on the mouth and lips. Some of the bacteria found were the types that cause staph infections, which resist many prescribed antibiotics.

The research brings to light that sterilizing used band instruments is essential prior to using them. Your student’s band instructor can provide thorough steps for sanitizing an instrument. After initial sterilization, the instrument should be wiped down frequently, especially the parts that contact the face and mouth. Dr. Glass also recommends that students should refrain from sharing instruments with others.

Dr. Jeffrey Allen, A Pella, IA dentist, believes the best way to fight the bacteria in your mouth is by following the American Dentist Association’s guidelines of brushing two times a day, flossing once a day, rinsing after meals, and keeping your semi-annual dental visits. Contact Dr. Allen’s office at (641)628-1121 to schedule your six-month appointment. A healthy mouth can play beautiful music! We support the schools and bands in Pella, and we want your young musician to remain healthy for lifelong success!

Pella Cosmetic Dentist Creates Beautiful Smiles

What defines a beautiful smile, and how can you achieve one? An average or less-than-perfect smile can be enhanced with cosmetic dentistry.  During a smile makeover consultation, your cosmetic dentist will evaluate the shape of your teeth, the size, the texture, and the color.  Dr. Jeffrey Allen is an experienced and trained cosmetic dentist offering a variety of minimally invasive, highly affective cosmetic treatment.

Veneers: To repair chipped, stained, crooked, gapped, or crowded teeth, Dr. Allen may suggest porcelain veneers. These custom-made porcelain shells adhere directly to existing teeth.  Placement of porcelain veneers customarily takes two appointments. During the first appointment, impressions are taken and teeth are shaped and prepared for the veneers. At the second appointment, teeth will be cleaned, polished, and the veneers will be bonded to the teeth.

Bonding: Bonding can close gaps between teeth and lengthens small or misshapen teeth. In one appointment, Dr. Allen can apply a resin directly to the teeth to improve the size and texture. A low-intensity light hardens the resin after the desired shape is achieved.

Whitening: Teeth-whitening is the most common cosmetic dental procedure. Dr. Allen offers home teeth whitening systems. The home system lightens and brightens teeth with a specially formulated whitening gel and a customized whitening tray. The gel and tray should be worn for a few hours each day. Home whitening systems allow you to gradually whiten your teeth, but ultimately result in whitening of 8-10 shades – the same results you’d see with a one visit whitening system.

If you feel your smile is less than beautiful, contact Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella, IA cosmetic dentist at (641)628-1121 to schedule a smile makeover  consultation. I perfect smiles for residents of Pella, Oskaloosa, Monroe, Newton, and surrounding areas.