All You Need to Know About Dental DecayDental decay is what happens when both dentine and enamel of your tooth softens because of the acids from all the sugary food and drink that you consume. This acid creates a cavity in the tooth which indicates tooth decay. A decaying tooth either needs to be filled or has to be extracted, depending on its condition.

This article will brief you about all the essential things that you need to know about dental decay. Reading this information will help you take better care of your teeth.

The Reason behind Decaying Teeth

When the sugar in foods and drinks you consume react with the bacteria in your mouth, it results in the creation of plaque. With time, the acid in food continues to thin the enamel, which makes teeth susceptible to decay. As it turns out, sugar in the food you eat is not the only thing which is harmful. Carbohydrate-rich foods are also responsible for reacting with plaque and forming acids.

What Signs Indicate Dental Decay?

There are no symptoms in the early stages of dental decay. However, if you regularly visit a dentist, your dentist might be able to spot a cavity in the early stages of tooth decay in an x-ray. Given that it’s easier to treat small cavities than the advanced ones, it’s important to visit your dentist periodically.

What Happens If Someone Has a Cavity?

If the cavity in your tooth reaches the dentine, it would make the tooth sensitive. Later, as the decay gets closer to the dental pulp, you will experience a toothache when you eat or drink something either hot or cold. The pain you’ll feel will only last for seconds. But if you let it persist, the pain would get severe and you’ll have to take painkillers. Without any further delay, you must visit your dentist and save your dying tooth or else you’ll end up developing a dental abscess.

When Should One Visit a Dentist

A toothache is a sign that indicates something is not right with your tooth. That’s when you should visit a dentist. Delaying the visit will only make the matters worse and you might end up losing a tooth that could’ve been saved if you had made a timely visit to a dentist.

What Treatment Will a Dentist Recommend?

Paying an early visit to a dentist can save your decaying tooth. If the decay hasn’t spread much, the dentist will remove the decay and fill the cavity. In case the decay has damaged the nerve, the dentist will have to perform a root canal. In the worst case scenario, if the tooth is beyond saving, the dentist will have no other option but to remove it.

The best way to avoid dental decay is to brush your teeth first thing in the morning and before going to sleep at night. Brush the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of your teeth. Flossing your teeth also helps prevent tooth decay because it cleans between your teeth and removes all the stuck remnants of food. If you want a proper regimen for maintaining oral hygiene in order to avoid dental decay, then contact us at 586-247-3500 or visit us at www.TheGentleDentist.com. We are always accepting NEW patients!

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Shelby Twp Dentist Gives Tips for Healthy Summer SmilesIn Michigan we are just weeks away from the end of the school year. And with summer just around the corner, there will be less routines such as evening homework, early bedtimes and hectic mornings rushing to the bus stop.

However, there is one routine you need to keep in place for your children this summer – oral hygiene.  Here are a few summer oral health tips to keep your kids’ developing teeth from any damage.

Keep Oral Hygiene Routines

As stated earlier, you must stay with your oral hygiene routine throughout the summer fun. Resist the temptation to skip brushing before a late bedtime.  Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is still important. But with all of the excitement of summer actives, don’t be surprised if you have to remind your children to brush and floss more than once.

Stick to Healthy Foods and Avoid Sugars

With the kids home all day and their friends coming and going, there certainly will be an increased amount of snacking.  But be sure to keep healthy options ready and available. Make it easy for the kids to reach for fruits and vegetables instead of candy and other sugary foods.

Also, limit sugary pops, lemonades, and other fruit juices. It is alright to enjoy these drinks once in awhile but try drink mainly water and milk.  Not to mention, water will ultimately keep the kids more hydrated than sugary beverages. If they do enjoy a soda once in awhile, immediately follow that drink with a glass of water to help wash the teeth and remove any sugary residue.

Make your Back-to-School Dental Visit Early

Parents often schedule checkups in August or September, right before school starts. Instead, schedule a check-up as soon as summer begins. This way, the kids will have a clean bill of dental health for summer.

Plus, you will beat the back-to-school rush and prevent your child from missing class due to dental visits.

Avoid Dental Emergencies

With summer comes pool time, bike rides, sports and other fun outdoor activities.  But sometimes this fun and excitement can also create a sudden dental emergency

First, be sure to enforce common safety rules. No running on slippery pool decks and wear a helmet when biking. For sports, you may want to invest in a mouthguard to prevent injuries.

Try to keep an emergency dental care kit at home and in your vehicle at all times. Items in this kit can include, gauze, a container with a lid (in case you need to preserve part of a broken tooth), and pain reliever.

Schedule Your Summer Checkup with a Shelby Twp. Dentist

Summer sun brings summer fun. But don’t forget to eat healthy and maintain oral hygiene.

If you are looking for a Shelby Twp. dentist to perform a summer checkup for you and your family, contact Dr. Antolak from The Gentle Dentist today at 586-247-3500. Or visit us at our website at thegentledentist.com to learn more about our Shelby Twp dental practice or to read additional dental hygiene tips.

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Benefits of Spring Cleaning for Your Teeth

While it may not seem like it when you step outside, the reality is that winter will soon come to an end and spring will be here before we know it. To help stay on top of things before the seasons change, it’s best to start planning all your spring activities around the house to make sure nothing gets left undone. While this may typically mean cleaning out the attic, basement, or getting your boat ready to launch (yay!), this could also mean some personal items that need to get done.

Benefits of Spring Cleaning for Your Teeth

If it’s been a while since you paid a visit to your dentist or you have a tooth bothering you, let the change in seasons give you the opportunity to get in and see your dentist! By getting your semi-annual dentist check up out of the way, you can get on to the more exciting parts of spring and even the beginning of summer! If you need a little bit more motivation to get into the dentist’s office this spring, here are just a few of the benefits to getting your spring dental cleaning done sooner rather than later!

  1. A Clean Mouth

This one may be a little bit obvious but a big benefit to heading to the dentist this spring will be a super clean mouth. Even though you may be doing a great job of brushing and flossing on a daily basis, only your dental professionals can really give you that professional cleaning that keeps your mouth looking and feeling as healthy as it can be.

  1. A Thorough Check Up

Even if you don’t feel any discomfort in your teeth or gums, it is best practice to have your dentist examine your oral health a few times a year. By taking a look around, your dentist and other dental professionals will be able to spot problems you may not necessarily feel, or see problems that could be prevented instead of treated down the road.

If you do feel some discomfort in your teeth or gums, getting in to see your dentist early in the spring will help to ensure any problems you do have won’t get any worse. By getting ahead of your oral health issues, you can avoid much more serious procedures down the road!

  1. Whiten Up Your Teeth

Aside from keeping your mouth healthy and identifying any issues, your dentist can also help you bring back your vibrant smile. Even the best in oral hygiene can leave some room for stains and discoloration due to drinking coffee, soda, or smoking. If you want to have a sparkling white smile for spring time, make your appointment now to get in and have your dentist professionally whiten your teeth!

These are just a few reasons to get in and see your dentist this spring. To learn more about general dentistry and to get in touch with the best Shelby Township dentist, schedule a dental appointment today!

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5 Signs It’s Time for a Dentist Visit

It can be easy to put off some of the things we don’t necessarily look forward to but know we have to do. While it may seem like a harmless thing when it comes to laundry and other household chores, when it comes to your health, nothing could be further from the truth. Putting off routine dental and health check-ups might seem like a small thing in the short term, but add up to a lot of unnecessary problems down the road that could have easily been avoided. Look for these signs that it may be time to visit the dentist for your routine check up and cleaning.

  1. Tooth Pain

Five Signs It's Time for a Dentist VisitA little bit of tooth sensitivity or pain can be normal, especially if you drink a lot of hot or cold liquids. More than just a little bit of tooth sensitivity can be a sign of underlying issues that you won’t want to ignore! If you are experiencing unusual tooth pain, make an appointment to visit the dentist as soon as possible because this could be the sign of a cavity or a more serious issue that could only get worse as time goes on!

  1. Loose Teeth

Having a loose tooth or several loose teeth is a sign you shouldn’t ignore. If one or more of your teeth have suddenly become loose, it could be a sign of much more serious issue so it would be best to get in to see your dentist to get things figured out.

  1. Bleeding Gums

Having your gums bleed when brushing or flossing isn’t typically indicative of a healthy mouth. While it can be normal if you notice a little bit of red after not flossing for a day or two, anything more than that should be brought to your dentist’s attention sooner rather than later. As gum issues gone untreated can lead to gum disease, make sure to get them figured out as soon as you can.

  1. Chipped Teeth

If you have a tooth that has recently become chipped, you can probably feel that you need to get in to see the dentist as soon as possible! The pain that can go along with a chipped tooth can be unbearable to some, but totally manageable to others. In either case, to get your smile looking as good as new, make an appointment to get your chipped tooth fixed!

  1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time

If you have a hard time remembering the last time you went in to see the dentist, that probably means it has been a little too long! To make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary happening and to get a long overdue professional cleaning, make your appointment today!

For the best full service dentistry in the Shelby Township area, make your appointment at www.thegentledentist.com today!

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What Toothpaste Should I Use?

Walking down the toothpaste aisle can be a little overwhelming. There are so many to choose from, and toothpastes really aren’t ‘one size fits all.’ One of the most common questions a dental professional receives on a daily basis is, “What toothpaste should I use?” The answer is it all depends on if the person has specific dental needs. One may find aide or relief in using a certain type of toothpaste for a certain need he or she may have. This article will not be promoting certain brands but will be exploring different classifications or kinds of toothpaste. Your local dentist can help you determine which kind will be best for you.

  • What toothpaste should I use?Anti-cavity toothpaste- Most toothpastes out there nowadays can be marketed as anti cavity because they contain fluoride. Fluoride is a natural-occurring mineral that helps to prevent or reduce tooth decay. It works topically by remineralizing or rebuilding any weakened areas in the tooth enamel, which can reverse any early signs of decay. To determine if a particular toothpaste contains fluoride, it would be listed under the active ingredient section on both the box and tube. It would typically be a compound named either sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate, and it would be listed as a percentage. Almost all patients benefit from using fluoride toothpaste due to the constant acid attack their teeth face from daily eating and drinking habits. Some people choose not to use fluoride due to health concerns, yet these people still need to be aware of the benefits of fluoride and the potential risk for tooth decay.
  • Whitening toothpaste- In today’s time, everyone seems to want whiter teeth. Toothpastes that market that they will whiten your teeth tend to have better sales. For a toothpaste to actually change the shade of teeth, it needs to contain a form of peroxide. If a toothpaste deems to have a whitening effect but does not contain peroxide, then it has special abrasives such as silica or baking soda in it that gently polish the teeth or it has chemicals that help to break down stains on the teeth. Whitening toothpastes usually are not miracle workers, and most people do not notice a huge change in their teeth color by using a whitening toothpaste. Having a professional whitening treatment in the dental office is the most effective, and then a whitening toothpaste will help to maintain that new whiter shade.
  • Sensitivity toothpaste- The most common toothpastes out there that are labeled as ‘sensitive’ contain the active ingredient ‘potassium nitrate.’ Other ingredients that are less effective are stannous fluoride or strontium chloride. These ingredients work by stopping the nerve from firing inside your tooth when a stimulus such as cold aggravates it. Sensitive toothpastes do take time to be effective (usually around 2 weeks), and consistent use will provide the most relief. Fluoride also can help with sensitivity because it blocks the pores in teeth. If the pores are open, stimuli such as temperature change or acidity are more likely to excite the nerve and send a painful response.
  • Anti-gingivitis toothpaste- Gingivitis is a fancy word to say inflammation of the gums, and according to the Center of Disease Control, it affects over half of the US population. Those with gingivitis will have swollen gums that bleed due to the presence of bacteria on the teeth and around the gums. The best way to prevent and reverse gingivitis is proper toothbrushing and flossing, however certain toothpastes may help that contain antibacterial agents such as stannous fluoride or triclosan. These agents either kill or inhibit the growth of harmful oral bacteria and help to fight plaque. These toothpastes may also contain tarter fighting ingredients to help prevent any hard buildup deposits on the teeth. Again, this type of toothpaste won’t be a cure, but can be an aide in helping reduce inflammation in the gums. Seeing a dentist regularly will help keep gingivitis at bay.

Often toothpastes can fall under more than one of these categories for a multifactorial approach. It is important to consult your dentist or dental hygienist in order to determine your dental needs and to find a toothpaste that is best for you. Toothpaste alone will not solve dental issues you may be facing. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist at least twice a year are also critical components in having good dental health. 

Also, it is that time of the year again. Candy time! Please mark your calendar for November 1st from 4-7 for the 12th Annual Gentle Dentist Candy Buy Back. Put your candy to good use. The candy will be going to a good cause and will be donated to children in Haiti, The Power Company in Pontiac, and Gifts for All God’s Children. The ‘buy back’ is geared towards young children as an incentive to get rid of some of their Halloween candy. The children receive one dollar for every pound they bring in. Donations will also be accepted and appreciated. The children who are parting with their candy can be reminded that their sweets will be going to those who are less fortunate who do not get to eat candy on a regular basis. The event will be held at the dental office in Shelby Township. For more details, visit the website www.thegentledentist.com or call us at 586-247-3500. We would love to hear from you!

By: Jessica Wendt, RDH

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Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush Shelby Township Dental OfficePhilips Sonicare electric toothbrush Available at Shelby Twp Dental Office

Hi. This is Dr. Antolak from TheGentleDentist.com. Our dental office is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.

A product that I just wanted to share with you and think the value of it goes beyond is the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush. I know there’s so many other electric toothbrush products. You walk up and down the pharmacy aisle and all you notice are dental products that take up an entire row. And it’s pretty overwhelming when trying to make decisions on the best dental products to use are. You know, there’s toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss. Of course all these are good things to have. But, the one thing that really stands out and I really want to focus on is the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush.

Philips Sonicare is the #1 dentist recommended brand. Learn how to get whiter, healthier teeth for life.

What makes the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush different is that you don’t have to push really hard. When brushing your teeth real damage can occur when people brush to hard. They go back and forth and try to scrub. That can actually, over time can wear away the bone and gum tissue and even the teeth. Over time the soft brissels that can happen with regular tooth brushing. It can lead to recession around the teeth and that can also lead to sensitivity. That happens because there’s no protective layer for the for the tooth structure.

So the one benefit of the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush is that it you just have to hold it in place and let it vibrate. You can probably hear that. But it actually makes very, very small vibrations, without having to put a lot of pressure and do the work. It almost gets in there and just does this. And so what it will do is it will significantly decrease the amount of plaque that’s on your teeth.

I was excited, the other day when I had my teeth cleaned and our hygienist said there’s no staining on your teeth, because I love coffee. I probably drink 2-3 cups a day minimum. And black. And I like it strong.

She said, you have like no stain on your teeth, and that’s really good because I think that’s one of the first few times heard that and it was after I switched to Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush.  It’s done a great job.

We sell the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush here in our Shelby Twp dental office, probably more competitively than you can buy it at the retail store. But either way you get it, it’s going to be a good product for you and it’s just something’ I strongly recommend.

Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush Available at Shelby Twp Dental Office

So this is Dr. Antolak. If you’d like more information on the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, our office website is thegentledentist.com. And our telephone number at our Shelby Twp dental office is 586-247-3500. Thank you.

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Xylitol Candy, Ice Chips at The Gentle Dentist – Shelby Twp

Hi, this is Dr. Antolak from thegentledentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan in Macomb County.  Our phone number is (586)247-3500.

You know, we all pretty much like sweets. That’s just the way that our bodies are. We like sugar and sweets. The problem is that, sweets, what do they do? They cause cavities, they cause can cause obesity if you really consume too much with little activity.  They’re not good obviously for diabetics. Diabetics need to control the blood sugar.

A couple of years ago, Pam, my office manager was watching  “Shark Tank”.  On “Shark Tank”, they had a candy made out of xylitol called Ice Chips. I can show you some.

There’s a number of different flavors. Margarita, berry mix, strawberry daiquiri, eggnog, lemon, peppermint and, and a number of different other flavors and they taste great. The key is that xylitol is a sugar substitute. It’s natural. It actually is harvested from the Birch tree bark.

On the other hand, sugar is a carbohydrate. The bacteria in the mouth uses this carbohydrate as a food source. When sugar is used by the bacteria it will form an acid, lactic acid as it’s by-product of the metabolism.

In other words, when you have some pop,  let’s say,  or have some candy, your acidic level increases or your pH drops, same thing.

The sugar substitute xylitol works really well because, you can taste it. It’s tasty. But what it does, it ends up starving off the bacteria that form these cavities. And it’s great, because its glycemic index is very low, because it’s not a sugar. Therefore, diabetics can use it pretty regularly and  it can rehydrate and re-moisten the mouth, which helps with that and it tastes really good.

You have to take basically 6 pieces per day and suck on them throughout the day. It actually has a functional use and can actually starve all the bacteria in order to reduce the cavities and help diabetics maintain their insulin levels more uniformly.  So we find that Ice Chips are very popular in our dental office. We have a number of people who come in and purchase this product.

There aren’t a whole lot of distributors of it. So, if you’d like to come in, they’re $5 a tin like this. And that tin can last you a long time. It contains 50 grams. That’s enough to get you through about 2 weeks of time.

Be careful, you don’t want to use too much because it can cause constipation if you have consumed way too much of it, but that’s it. That’s the biggest problem with it.

So, here’s an alternative for diabetics to have something that’s sweet, and also, for seniors who get constant cavities from dry mouth and don’t have the abilities to fight off or to neutralize the effects of the bacteria when they eat sugar.

Xylitol Candy, Ice Chips at The Gentle Dentist – Shelby Twp

If you’re a diabetic or if you have a dry mouth and if you want to change what’s going on in your mouth give us a call at 586-247-3500.

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Shelby Township Hygienist Explains Fluoride Varnish

Fluoride varnish is a type of topical fluoride treatment that is used in many dental practices today.  It is used to desensitize root surfaces, remineralize tooth surfaces and prevent decay.  Its adherent nature and ease of application makes it a great option to use even on a difficult patient such as an uncooperative child or someone with a strong gag reflex. It sets up quickly after it is applied with a small brush and reacts with the saliva.

The teeth need to be free of heavy plaque by brushing the teeth but not necessarily after a professional prophylaxis. Even wiping the teeth with a piece of gauze will suffice if teeth are not heavily coated with plaque. The small amount of fluoride, which is typically a sodium fluoride in a fast drying resin is applied with a brush and will remain in contact for several hours. The longer it is in contact with the teeth the better the results. We ask that you not brush for the remaining of the day for this reason and resume regular teeth brushing and flossing the following day.  We even ask that you eat a softer diet for the remainder of the day following the application to aid in the retention of  the varnish.

Fluoride varnish is a great alternative to other fluoride treatments where gel or foam is placed into foam trays and sits on the teeth for 1-4 minutes. A small child may swallow this form of fluoride and the gagger who can’t handle the bulky trays.  It also comes in many flavors to be appealing to the patient.

Shelby Township Hygienist Explains Fluoride Varnish

Contact The Gentle Dentist for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Shelby Township Hygienist Explains Fluoride Varnish


Hi my name is Jessica and I work here at Dr. Antolaks office, The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Township. I work as a part time dental hygienist on Saturdays, Tuesday evenings, and Wednesday evenings.  I graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2010 and I decided I wanted to go into the dental field in high school- it was when I got my wisdom teeth removed. It wasn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life, but that’s the reason why because I was scared to death and when I went there, I had a lady that was very nice to me and she made everything  just go by very smoothly and made me less scared.

And that’s why I wanted to go into this. I wanted to be someone that made people less scared when they came to the dentist. I decided okay, I’ll go to dental hygiene school and now I love it.

And here I am at Doctor Antolak’s office and this is the favorite dentist I’ve ever been to. Even when I was younger, I jumped around from dentist to dentist and then finally, I came here and found a dental home. Now, I like Doctor Antolak’s office because it’s a Christian office and he truly cares about all of his patients and so I feel really comfortable here and I know all the patients do as well. So, please come visit us at Doctor Antolak’s office and maybe I’ll see you and I’ll clean your teeth. Thank you.

Dental Hygiene Discussed by Dentist in Shelby Township, Michigan

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At The Gentle Dentist located in Shelby Twp. Michigan near Sterling Heights and Clinton Township we are a general dental practice who are concerned about your entire family’s oral health.

Because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month there are some things that need to be addressed when it comes to the care of your child’s teeth.  I know that getting your child motivated to brushing their teeth is a huge challenge for all parents.  I have an 8 and a 9 year old and am just recently experiencing this task as being easier.  The young years can be the most difficult as it involves so much of the parent’s involvement and time.  The important thing is to keep at it and show them how to brush their teeth by example.  If you know the proper technique and set the example then it will eventually become easier.

Good dental habits are critically important to set for your children for a lifetime of health. Since there is a direct relationship between oral health and total body health I wanted to write this article for parents who struggle with getting your kids to brush their teeth even though they don’t want to.  To do this I have interviewed my 8 year old son, Matthew and Grace our 9 year old daughter:

Question:  What is a good way to motivate you to brush your teeth?

Matthew:  Not wanting to get more cavities because they hurt.  It makes my mouth feel better and cleaner.

Grace: Because it gets the food out of my braces and the tooth paste tastes good.  IT also gets the slime off of my teeth.

Question:  When is the best time for you to brush your teeth?

Matthew:  Before school when I get up so I don’t have stinky breath and at night.  It is hard for me to do this when I am tired though.

Grace: Before school after eating breakfast, after school and before bed time.

The following are the basics of tooth brushing for you and your child:

Place a toothbrush beside your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush teeth in an elliptical motion. Brush the outside of the teeth, inside the teeth, your tongue, the chewing surfaces and between teeth. It is important to brush the teeth for 2 minutes each setting.  The use of electric tooth brushes such as the oral B or the Sonicare are the best. Our kids use the child Sonicare which is more effective in removing plaque and and has a notification when the 2 minutes are up. This way your child will brush long enough.

Fluoride: The use of fluoridated toothpaste  is important to remineralize the surfaces of the teeth.  Bacteria from the mouth forms plaque, the sticky substance that form on teeth. This plaque when it comes into contact with the sugars from food and sweets make an acid.  This acid over time will dissolve the enamel and for a cavity.  It is important that proper nutrition and proper eating habits are incorporated into your lifestyle.

Parents should pay attention to the amount of fluoride their child receives. Too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration, and too little fluoride can cause teeth to be more susceptible to cavities. Bottled waters need to be on the list of items that parents must check before giving to their child. Some bottled waters have little or no fluoride at all.

It is best to  contact your dentist for more specific information on your child’s oral care.  Remember to visit your dentist every 6 months for his/her advice on oral care.  If you don’t have a dentist for your family and are in the Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, or Macomb Twp. area then give us a call at 586.247.3500 or email Nikki@thegentledentist.com for an appointment.

At The Gentle Dentist we provide General, Cosmetic and General dentistry for the entire family.  Call today to become part of our growing family of dental patients.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation Close to 36,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

It is obvious that it is a serious problem and one that can be treated more successfully if it is treated at an early enough stage.  Early diagnosis is critical in the success but these cancers aren’t painful in the early stages.  When they get symptomatic when the patient can notice them they have usually metastasised to the neck or lymph nodes.  Your semiannual trip to the dentist is therefore critical since we do an oral cancer exam each time you are examined by Dr. Antolak. 

Oral cancers are mostly found at the side and under the tongue.  They usually appear as a red or white patch which is usually asymptomatic.  If there is any sign of this a brush biopsy or biopsy can be taken which will determine if there is pathology.

Rapid and aggressive treatment is important including surgery to remove the involved area, radiation and chemo therapies.  Radiation and chemotherapy kills off fast replicating cells.  Cancer cells, saliva producing cells, hair follicles, and any other fast growing cells are killed off by the chemotherapy.  Radiation therapy has an even more focused kill so if the saliva glands are in the path of radiation there is a significant reduction in the saliva.  Since saliva provides moisture and natural protection against gum disease and cavities the mouth is prone to more decay.  In addition the bone is prone to infection because the bone cells have a reduced capacity of healing. 

It is critical to seek dental care immediately to remove and fill any teeth that could have problems after the cancer treatment is started.  Dentures will have to be remade or relined to improve the fit.  A poorly fitting denture can create ulcers in the mouth which will be difficult to heal after radiation therapy is completed.

 One of my recent cancer-surviving patients told me that there was not been enough emphasis on the long term effects of radiation treatment on the teeth after the cancer treatment is done.  She wanted it to be known to others how fast dental decay can occur once the saliva glands are irradiated.

If you have questions or need to know what your next step should be please email Dr. Antolak at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com or call (586)247-3500.

Please remember our Candy Buy Back which takes place on November 2.  We will be paying children $1.00 per pound of candy they turn in.  The candy will be distributed to children in Haiti, Detroit and to the Men and Women in uniform  serving our country overseas.

Do you have bad breath, bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, loose teeth or history of tooth loss?  If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you may have periodontal disease. Gum disease is very common. Unfortunately most people don’t even know that they have periodontal (gum) disease.  It isn’t until it is too late when their teeth start getting loose that they want to do something about it and many times it is too late and they have to have their teeth removed or need extensive treatment.  In fact, with recent research linking the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and low birth weight babies with periodontal disease and bleeding gums it is critical to have your mouth assessed for this infective disease. The bacteria in the gums leach out in the blood stream requiring the body’s immune system to constantly fight off these invaders.

This constant and chronic immune response is not a good thing because it causes chronic inflammation. Over the past 3-4 years research has been showing that chronic systemic inflammatory diseases such as periodontal disease can increase the level of a substance called c-Reactive protein. The liver releases this substance in response to systemic inflammation.  As the level of c-reactive protein increases so does the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and diabetes according to multiple clinical studies. In fact, testing for C-reactive protein in a blood test may be an effective early warning test for asymptomatic, or presymptomatic heart disease.

Listed are chronic systemic diseases that can increase the c-Reactive protein levels in the blood.

  • acne allergies and sensitivities
  • Alzheimer’ss disease
  • arthritis/rheumatoid arthritis
  • asthma
  • atherosclerosis
  • bronchitis
  • cancer
  • carditis
  • celiac disease
  • chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • cirrhosis
  • colitis
  • dementia
  • dermatitis
  • diabetes
  • edema
  • emphysema
  • eczema
  • fibromyalgia
  • gastroenteritis
  • gingivitis
  • heart disease
  • hepatitis
  • high blood pressure
  • interstitial cystitis
  • myositis
  • nephritis
  • obesity
  • osteopenia
  • osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • periodontal disease
  • polyarteritis
  • polychondritis
  • psoriasis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • scleroderma
  • sinusitis
  • spastic colon
  • syndrome X
  • systemic candidiasis
  • tendonitis
  • UTI
  • vaginitis

We find that the c-reactive protein levels can significantly fall once the periodontal disease is treated which in effect can reduce their risk for heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and low weight preterm babies. In addition to the treatment in our office, we work to boost the body/s immune system by using anti-oxidants. For smokers, we highly suggest to them that they become part of a smoking cessation program. If you are in a high risk category and don’t know your status of periodontal disease then have it evaluated.  The c-reactive protein levels are evaluated by blood tests and since this is important indicator your periodontal status should also be tested.  This is to protect you and your heart.  If you don’t have a dentist you can contact our office at (586) 247-3500.  Our Dental Office is located in Shelby Township, Michigan — Southeast Michigan in Macomb County.
About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.

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