Friday, March 28, 2014

Chairside Medical Screenings

Screening for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the dental office could save the health care system up to 102.6 million each year, according to ADA health policy resources center.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.8% of the US population has undiagnosed hypertension, 2.7 percent has undiagnosed diabetes and 8.2% has undiagnosed high cholesterol. Leaving conditions undiagnosed and untreated typically leads to more expensive procedures down the road.  If dentists can help catch some of these predisposing  and chronic conditions earlier, we are helping  the individual patient as well as the over all health care system... 

Based on a Gallup survey, chronic diseases cost  the country 153 billion annually in lost productivity.

As many as 27 million visit the dentist but not a physician  in a given year.  This presents  an opportunity for dentists to be part of an integrated health care team working to combat chronic illnesses and improve oral and overall health.

For more information on the mouth- body connection, visit

"My three decades of dental experience has reaffirmed that 'The Mouth is the Mirror to the Body'" says Dr. Cherukuri, from her Chino, California dental practice. Chronic and  some terminal conditions have been diagnosed in our office through dental exams resulting in timely intervention and lives saved.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What are Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders (TMJ)?

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called "TMJ," are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement. Some estimates suggest that TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans; the conditions appear to be more common in women than men.
Causes and Symptoms
Trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint plays a role in some TMJ disorders but in most cases, the exact cause of the condition is not clear. A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint is the most common symptom; others include jaw muscle stiffness; limited movement or locking of the jaw; painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth; and a change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.
For most people, discomfort from TMJ disorders will eventually go away with little or no treatment. Some, however, develop significant, long-term problems. Simple steps that may help ease symptoms temporarily include eating soft foods, applying ice packs, and avoiding extreme jaw movements like wide yawning and gum chewing. Short term use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medicines and learning techniques to reduce stress may also provide relief. Even if symptoms become significant and persistent, most people still do not need aggressive types of treatment. 

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Dental Emergencies

Dental accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.
Here are some tips for common dental emergencies:
  • For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, in milk, then; get to your dentist’s office right away. 
  • For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.
  • If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
  • For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
  • For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.
When you have a dental emergency, it’s important to visit the dentist as soon as possible.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep the mouth wet.  Dry mouth can happen to anyone occasionally—for example, when nervous or stressed.  However, when dry mouth persists, it can make chewing, eating, swallowing and even talking difficult.  Dry mouth also increases the risk for tooth decay because saliva helps keep harmful germs that cause cavities and other oral infections in check.

Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands that make saliva don't work properly.  Many over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Sjogren's syndrome, can reduce saliva formation. .  Other causes of dry mouth include certain cancer treatments and damage to the glands' nerve system.  It's important to see your dentist or physician to find out why your mouth is dry.

Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, your health care provider can recommend appropriate treatment. There are also self-care steps you can take to help ease dry mouth, such as drinking plenty of water, chewing sugarless gum, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol.  Good oral care at home and regular dental check-ups will help keep your mouth healthy.

“Frequent use of moistening rinses along with topical fluoride applications and increasing dental recare visits are preventative measures that greatly enhance oral health” says Dr. Cherukuri from her Chino, California  dentalpractice