(dentist xenia ohio opioid addiction opioid crisis) TIME TO GET SERIOUS

by Lee Anne Austria on September 18, 2017 , Comments Off on (dentist xenia ohio opioid addiction opioid crisis) TIME TO GET SERIOUS

(dentist xenia ohio opioid addiction opioid crisis)

Substance abuse isn’t a new problem and neither are opioids.  Just to remind you, opioids are a class of drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain.  Some – such as oxycodone and hydrocodone – can be legally prescribed to help control pain after medical and dental procedures and surgeries.  Heroin would be an illegal version.   All have been in the news a lot lately.

Why are they a problem?  Because they are extremely addictive and thus can be easily abused.

Why are they so addictive?  The official reason is because the medications in drugs bind to the areas of the brain that control pain and emotions, driving up levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine in the brain’s reward areas producing an intense feeling of euphoria.  (www.cnn.com/2016/09/23/health/heroin-opiod-drug-overdose-deaths)  In other words, they can be described as the ultimate “chill-pill.”  As the brain becomes used to these feelings it can take more and more of the drug to produce the same levels of pain relief and well-being, leading to dependence, and later, possibly, addiction.

Here are some scary statistics:

  • 3 out 4 new heroin users start by abusing prescription drugs.
  • Deaths from synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) jumped 72% from 2014 to 2015.
  • Deaths from prescription drug overdoses have more than quadrupled since 1999.

Unfortunately, this epidemic has disproportionally hit small towns and rural America (mainly Appalachia and the Southwest), far away from the spotlight of the national media. The reason why is a subject for another blog post.  However, it has been getting more attention lately.

So what does all of this have to do with dentistry?  Well, when we think about drug abuse, usually the first thing that comes to mind is damage to the brain (Remember the fried egg analogy?  “This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs”), as well as the heart and lungs.  But these powerful drugs can also destroy oral health in general; specifically the teeth and gums.  Drug addicts have more cavities and gum disease than the general population.  Most likely because good oral health is not at the top of their priority list.  Here are some specific ways that opioid addiction is detrimental to oral health:

  • Opioids can cause users to grind and clench their teeth.  Grinding can crack teeth and weaken the jawbone that supports teeth.
  • Opioids reduce pain, which can lead to the user ignoring or missing painful warning signals caused by cavities or gum disease.
  • Injecting opioids can cause oral fungus or viral infections that harm the mouth.
  • Addicts often neglect oral hygiene because the fixation on getting the next high will often replace brushing their teeth for days on end.
  • Cravings for high sugar food and beverages combined with bad oral hygiene habits decay teeth.
  • The condition of the teeth and gums can suffer due to nutritional deficiencies from not eating right.

Dentists often prescribe low-level opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone after oral surgery (think wisdom teeth extractions.) These drugs are believed to have played some role in contributing to the current crisis.  As a result, the American Dental Association has issued guidelines for opioid prescriptions to help advise dentists before prescribing them to patients.  Additionally, in our offices we require parents and legal guardians to read and sign a consent form before prescribing opioids to minors.

For more information on this serious subject, here are some helpful websites:


National Institute on Drug Abuse

American Public Health Association

Additional Sources:  http://www.dentaltown.com/blog/post/7912/how-opioid-abuse-affects-oral-health

dentist xenia ohio opioid addiction opioid crisis


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DON’T LOSE IT! xenia ohio dentist

by Lee Anne Austria on October 20, 2015 , Comments Off on DON’T LOSE IT! xenia ohio dentist

autumnThe days are getting cooler and shorter, there is frost on the pumpkin, and that busy time of year (aka the Holidays) is rapidly approaching!  That can mean only one thing:  TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE UNUSED DENTAL BENEFITS!  (You thought we were going to tell you to start holiday shopping, right?)

Most dental insurance companies, along with flexible spending and HSA accounts have a roll-over in January.  That means any benefits that are unused in 2015 will be LOST FOREVER!  New maximums and new deductibles go into effect as well.  So…the moral of the story is if you are overdue for your professional cleaning or have been putting off dental treatment, now is the time!

Your overall health and wellness are very important to us.  If you are unsure about your dental needs or the status of your benefits please call us, we are happy to help!

xenia ohio dentist

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So Why Are They Called “Wisdom Teeth”? Xenia Dentist

by Lee Anne Austria on June 1, 2015 , Comments Off on So Why Are They Called “Wisdom Teeth”? Xenia Dentist

wisdom-teethThird molars have been referred to as “teeth of wisdom” since the Seventeenth century and simply “wisdom teeth” since the Nineteenth century.  The third molars generally appear much later than other teeth, usually between the ages of 17 and 25 when a person reaches adulthood.  It is generally thought among linguists that they are called wisdom teeth because they appear so late, at an age when a person matures into adulthood and is “wiser” than when other teeth have erupted.

Lately, science has added some credence to the idea that the third molar does indeed erupt when a person is “wiser”.  Recent research has shown the brain continues to grow and develop right on through adolescence:  in fact, most researchers believe the brain does not reach full maturity until the age of 25.  Perhaps, then, our ancestors weren’t so far off the mark – that the eruption of “wisdom teeth” is a sign that the carefree days of childhood have given way to the responsibilities of adulthood!

(Reprinted from http://www.deardoctor.com/dentistry/blog/why-are-they-called-wisdom-teeth)

Click here to gain more wisdom about how we can serve all of your dental needs!


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by Lee Anne Austria on May 4, 2015 , Comments Off on YEAH YEAH YEAH, DON’T EAT SUGAR: ADVICE FROM YOUR FAMILY DENTIST

pinterest4Wait a second, there’s more to it than just sugar.  Plaque is a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria and other materials that cover all the surfaces of your teeth.  When sugar or starches come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating.  Repeated attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth leading to tooth decay.  Plaque also produces toxins that attack the gum and bones supporting the teeth.  Learn the difference between different foods and help protect your entire mouth from the bad stuff!

Click here to learn more about Brilliant Smiles and the services we provide!

(Reprinted in part from gobuydental.com)

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by Lee Anne Austria on April 2, 2015 , Comments Off on THE INFO ON IMPLANTS

implantinfoFor many people, a dental implant is a great solution to replace missing teeth.  A dental implant takes the place of a tooth’s root.  A crown or bridge can then be secured to the implant providing a functional and esthetic solution.  Click here to learn more about the benefits of dental implants and be sure to check out our Pinterest page for more fun infographics!

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Oral Health IS Health-Visit Your Dentist!

by Lee Anne Austria on March 17, 2015 , Comments Off on Oral Health IS Health-Visit Your Dentist!

pinterest2We cannot emphasize it enough!  Poor dental hygiene and gum disease are much more common than you might think and both can pose serious consequences to your overall health.  Make regular visits to your dentist and hygienist.  Click here to be taken to our Pinterest page where you can view this infographic and learn more!

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by Lee Anne Austria on March 3, 2015 , Comments Off on IS IT TIME TO TOSS THAT TOOTHBRUSH?

cleantoothbrushAs you reach for your toothbrush each morning, you may not realize what’s hanging out on its bristles.  “Toothbrushes can become contaminated with oral microbial organisms whenever they are placed in the mouth.” says Sharon Cooper, PhD.  Viruses and bacteria from an infected person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush surface, and continue to cause illness, says Cooper, a clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.  Even normal, healthy microorganisms can cause infections, especially if they enter your gum tissue due to an injury, a break, or an oral ulcer, she adds.  Toothbrushes don’t have to be sold in sterile packaging, so they may have bacteria right out of the box, says the American Dental Association’s official statement on toothbrush care.


You may not give much thought to cleaning your toothbrush, since you’re wetting it every day to scrub your teeth.  However, it’s important – and easy – to do.

WASH IT – Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris.  If you have a systemic illness or immune disorder, you want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher, Cooper says.  Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.

TRY DEEP CLEANING – There are many types of toothbrush sanitizers on the market, Cooper says.  Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.

STORE IT PROPERLY – After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it.  Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out.  Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed.  The lack of air can foster bacteria.

WHEN TO CALL IT QUITS – How long should you keep a toothbrush to prevent the ick from building up?  Here are a few useful tips:

Know when to let go – Replace your toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, or when it shows signs of wear.  “Frayed bristles will not clean the teeth and gums adequately,” Cooper says.

Toss toothbrushes after illness – Throw away a brush you or anyone in your home used while sick.

Yes, that means ALL toothbrushes – Treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one.  Chuck the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear, Cooper says.

No sharing – Tempted to lend a toothbrush to a family member?  Don’t.  Toothbrush sharing can transfer saliva and bacteria – even the kind that cause tooth decay.  “Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease – one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush,” Cooper says.


Sharon Cooper, PhD, RDH< MS, MEd, clinical associate professor, University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, FL.

American Dental Association

The Maryland Children’s Oral Health Institute

Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on March 3, 2014

Copyright 2010 WebMD, LLC.  All rights reserved.

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