Health

Trust Modern Dental Advancements to Reveal the Signs of Disease, Deficiencies, Infections, Illnesses and Harmful Habits

By Dr. Tom A. Stamas, DDSApr 22, 2021 12:00 AM

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Emerging research and technology have completely changed dentistry in the last few decades. We have discovered a person’s mouth is a window into their overall health.1 This discovery has made it essential for dental offices to do everything in their power to help patients receive regular dental care. According to DDPA Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey, it is estimated that 42% of American Adults do not see the dentist as often as they would like, yet 85% of Americans believe that oral health is very or extremely important to their overall health.2 From this survey, it is clear that people know the importance of seeing the dentist, but they do not go as much as they should. With the recent Covid 19 Pandemic, and the decline in patients wanting to visit the dentist, we think it is important to highlight a few statistics and facts we now know about periodontal disease, systemic health and cancer:

-       Over 47% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.3

-       People with periodontal disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.4

-       More than 90% of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations,5 and many systemic diseases first present as or can be identified based on changes within the oral cavity; such as, Lupus, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Leukemia, Diabetes Mellitus and many eating disorders.6

-       Men with periodontal disease are 49% more likely than women to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.7

Knowing the prevalence of periodontal disease, its impact on systemic health and the growing research on the association of chronic inflammation and malignancy development, we consider visiting the dentist an essential step in ensuring a healthier, more disease-free life. So why avoid dental care? We have found that many people avoid dental care because of one or more of the following concerns: fear of pain, time constraints and cost.

State-of-the-art technology and advanced training of the entire dental team gives modern dentists real solutions to all of these concerns. Dentists are able to identify problems early, and provide efficient, predictable results that translates into less visits, time in the chair, and expense for the patient. These technological advancements optimize dental care and give patients the opportunity to achieve great oral health.

The VELscope we own, is one of the most important high-tech tools in our office. The VELscope is an oral cancer diagnostic device that helps diagnose malignant and premalignant lesions in the oral cavity. It uses tissue fluorescence technology that allows dentists to see certain changes in tissue that may not be visible to the naked eye. Supplementing an extensive oral cancer tissue exam with the non-invasive VELscope has been critical to early detection of malignancies in our patient base.  

Another tool that we routinely use is the DIAGNOdent. When combined with a thorough oral exam, you can find decay that would normally be impossible to detect visually or when using a dental instrument. This way, cavities can be painlessly treated before they become a bigger, more expensive problem. The DIAGNOdent uses laser fluorescence to detect in the pits and fissures of teeth, and in areas that appear to have intact outer tooth surfaces.

Our facility also uses digital x-rays, intraoral scanners, 3D printers, and some of the best professional dental lab equipment in the country. Most of our crowns are created at our facility by our own professional lab technician. Having an in-house lab is effective and resourceful. We have the luxury of serving only our office, providing the very best quality control.

Another cutting-edge technology we use is the award winning, All Tissue Waterlase. It utilizes a water-energized laser beam that simultaneously cuts and cauterizes gum tissue, which greatly reduces patient discomfort and healing time.8 We find it to be a great tool in our practice to design aesthetic smiles. Unlike most dental lasers, the Waterlase is powerful and can efficiently cut hard tissue (tooth and bone).

We are one of very few dental offices in Wisconsin that routinely do full mouth rehabilitation in as little as 2-3 visits. We call these transformations, “Smile Designs.” We are able to treat patients who need a large number of root canals and crowns in this time frame.

Because we value our patients time and understand their dental fears, we offer complimentary oral conscious sedation to patients that require extensive treatment. Both of our doctors provide this service and are ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) certified. During their appointment, our patients are never fully sedated and are able to respond and follow instructions. What is amazing is how many patients wake up to the smile of their dreams with little to no memory of their dental experience. With state-of-the-art equipment and a highly trained dental staff, we are able to provide excellent care that translates to less time spent in the dental chair, and more time spent showing off your new smile.

There are basically two main schools of thought for the rehabilitation of 16-28 teeth at one time: Centric Relation taught by The Pankey Institute, Florida, and The Dawson Academy, Florida; and Neuromuscular Dentistry pioneered by Dr. William Dickerson, Nevada.

Being trained at both facilities gives us the advantage of using the best technique for each

individual patient and circumstance. Many people that require full mouth rehabilitation have an unhealthy oral environment that can not only affect their teeth and gums, but also their muscles and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint). Restoring broken or damaged teeth without changing the hostile environment they reside in, may lead to future problems or their re-occurrence.

For rehabilitation, we use extremely high-tech devices that help determine the optimal position of a patient’s new cosmetic smile that is in harmony with their muscles and TMJ.

One of the most vital tools to evaluate if a patient’s TMJ is stable is Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA). JVA is composed of extremely sensitive accelerometers that record vibration and measure jaw movement in 4-Dimensional Space,9. JVA is considerably less expensive than an MRI, and more valuable than x-rays, which are only static pictures of the joints in certain positions.10 The dentist places headphones over the patient’s joints and records the vibrations of either soft tissue or bone, depending on the health of the joint. Today, most experts feel that this device is mandatory when determining the overall function and stability of the joint. JVA provides objective proof of what is happening to the joint as it functions.10 It is completely painless, requires no radiation, and is more accurate than the handheld ultrasonic listening device and stethoscope used to screen for TMD problems. 

We also employ Bio EMG and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) at our office to help determine the most comfortable position to rebuild a patient’s bite. Bio EMG uses surface electromyography for recording muscle specific activity in the skeletal muscles of the face and neck. This information allows the dentist to create aesthetic dentistry in accordance with the patient’s physiology.11

TENS is used to pulse the muscles of the jaw for about 45 minutes, allowing the jaw to respond by pulsing on what is called the Neuromuscular Trajectory.12 We have found that this position almost always eliminates or reduces joint vibrations and the uncomfortable symptoms patients were suffering from before treatment.

If your dentist does not have a T-Scan occlusal analysis system, he or she is limited to using articulating paper (a type of carbon paper) to adjust occlusion and bite interferences. According to Kerstein and Radke, subjective interpretation of occlusal marks is not an effective clinical method for determining relative occlusal forces of tooth contacts and this method should be replaced with a more objective one. Also, 94% of dentists admit that they struggle to pinpoint occlusion using articulation paper alone.13 Unlike the T-Scan, occlusal paper does not show which teeth hit first, last, or the hardest.

We commonly use the T-Scan occlusal analysis system to identify the force and the timing of when individual teeth come together, which contribute to the occlusal stability of one’s bite.14 We are confident we can improve and optimize the unfavorable environment that is responsible for damage and wear to your teeth that we offer a “pay once guarantee.” If you trust us with your smile design procedure and are willing to come in at least every six months for a checkup and cleaning, we will replace/repair any fracture, chip or crack on any of your new porcelain crowns. This guarantee includes accidents, falls or trauma, but does not include recurrent decay or neglect.

When you desire to be the best, you surround yourself with the best. Dr. Stamas has extraordinary facility and one of the greatest teams around. We will expertly maximize your insurance for you and help create a financial plan to meet your needs.

About Dr. Stamas:

Dentistry is my passion. I have been a dentist for over 31 years. My wife, Anna, is a dental hygienist and an adjunct associate professor at Marquette University School of Dentistry. My sister, Kathy, is a dentist and is one of the youngest women to ever graduate from Marquette University School of Dentistry. She proudly covers for me when I am out of the office. My son, Paul, is a dentist who works with me at our facility. My daughter, Maria, is on our administrative staff and my brother, George, is our professional in-house lab technician. With our extensive dental expertise, we can confidently take care of all of your dental needs and concerns.

References: 

1.     Healthy mouth, healthy body. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2006;137(4):563. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2006.0230

2.     Americans still wish they saw their dentist more. www.deltadental.com. Published March 20, 2018. Accessed March 23, 2021. https://www.deltadental.com/us/en/about-us/press-center/2018/americans-still-wish-they saw-their-dentist-more.html

3.     Eke PI, Dye BA, Wei L, Thornton-Evans GO, Genco RJ, CDC Periodontal Disease Surveillance workgroup: James Beck (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA), Gordon Douglass (Past President, American Academy of Periodontology), Roy Page (University of Washin. Prevalence of periodontitis in adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. Journal of dental research. 2012;91(10):914-920. doi:10.1177/0022034512457373

4.     Publishing HH. Gum disease and heart disease: The common thread. Harvard Health. Published March 2018. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/gum-disease-and heart-disease-the-common-thread

5.     Dentists detect diseases - Delta Dental. Deltadentalins.com. Published 2012. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/dentists-detect.html

6.     Gaddey HL. Oral manifestations of systemic disease. General Dentistry. 2017;65(6):23-29. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29099362/

7.     Gum Disease and Men | Perio.org. www.perio.org. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-men\

8.     Waterlase Laser Dentistry. BIOLASE. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.biolase.com/patients/why-laser-dentistry/

9.     Bio JVATM - Joint Vibration Analysis. BioRESEARCH Associates, Inc. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.bioresearchinc.com/joint-vibration-analysis/

10. Dr. Mendelsohn E. Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA) in Routine Restorative Dentistry. www.serenitysmiledesigns.com. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.serenitysmiledesigns.com/blog/local-south-jersey dentist-offers-joint-vibration-analysis-jva-in-routine-restorative-dentistry/

11. Bio-EMG-IIITM EMG for Dentistry. BioRESEARCH Associates, Inc. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.bioresearchinc.com/emg-bioresearch/

12. Dr. Adler M. Why Neuromuscular Dentistry and the TENS unit. Adler Advanced Dentistry. Published May 30, 2014. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.adlerdentistry.com/blog/why-neuromuscular dentistry-and-the-tens-unit

13. Kerstein RB, Radke J. Clinician accuracy when subjectively interpreting articulating paper markings. CRANIO®. 2014;32(1):13-23. doi:10.1179/0886963413z.0000000001

14. T-Scan Novus. Tekscan. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.tekscan.com/products-solutions/systems/t-scan-novus

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