The mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, with the mouth acting as the "window" to your whole body health. Here at Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, we treat chronic asymptomatic inflammation associated with gum infections. Periodontal disease (an infection of your gums) is a chronic disease that affects 80% of Americans over the age of 30. This disease is driven by pathogenic bacteria in your mouth that lives in the pockets surrounding your teeth, invading the gum tissue and bone. This invading bacteria gets into your blood stream during normal actions like chewing food or brushing your teeth. These harmful bacteria cause inflammation throughout your body, and severely increases your risk for comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, kidney disease, and autoimmune diseases. Periodontal bacteria invades the walls of your arteries, eventually resulting in a thickening of the artery wall, and if untreated leads to a 3x greater risk of dying from a stroke and a 2x greater risk of dying of a heart attack.
Periodontal disease is usually asymptomatic. Bleeding gums are insanely common, but never normal! Insulin resistance causes and is even worsened by periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is preventable and treatable! At Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, we have advanced technology and objective testing to discover and treat your risk factors for these systemic asymptomatic inflammatory diseases and work towards a path of lifetime prevention.
An oral cancer screening is precautionary. If an abnormality is found, we will refer you to a local specialist for more advanced testing. Keep in mind, screening results that need further investigation are not necessarily a cancer diagnosis. If cancer is diagnosed, early diagnosis reduces treatment-related health problems. That's why prevention and early detection are so important!
As noted by the American Cancer Society, top risk factors for oral cancer include:
An HPV diagnosis
Gender (2x as common in men than in women)
A screening for oral cancer is not only a physical exam, it's an opportunity for you to speak with us about any fears or concerns surrounding mouth cancer. It's completely normal to be nervous about the idea of oral cancer, but regularly participating in this quick screening will help put your mind at ease!
Comprehensive dental exams and cleanings are recommended at a minimum of every six months for all patients. These visits help identify tooth decay as well as any early signs of gum disease or oral cancer through assessments and diagnostic digital radiographs. Early detection of these conditions can help ensure effective treatment and prevention of permanent damage.
Professional cleanings help keep teeth clean and healthy through thorough exams provided by a licensed dental hygienist. A professional cleaning includes the removal of tartar and plaque above and slightly below the gum and disrupts the bacterial biofilm, which can build up and cause inflammation and disease if left untreated. The teeth are also polished during a cleaning, to remove stains and further buildup of plaque that may not be removed during tooth brushing. Dr. Barbara McClatchie’s office utilizes the newest technology with an ultrasonic scaler that reduces the bacterial load, thus reducing infection.
A traditional dental cleaning is designed to remove unsightly stains and low levels of bacteria from the tooth’s surface, above the gum line (on the crown of your teeth). However, a periodontal therapy appointment goes much further, when periodontal pockets with bleeding are present; cleaning out the plaque and bacteria from above and below the gum line, necessary to tackle periodontal disease infection. This is the bacteria that constantly proliferates and causes tooth decay, gum disease, and bone loss. Periodontal therapy is often performed with local or topical anesthetic to keep you comfortable.
Oral Cancer Screening
According to the National Cancer Institute, oral cancer screenings should occur before symptoms begin to show. An oral cancer screening is a precautionary activity that we perform at every regular hygiene appointment. Your dental hygienist will be looking for asymmetries, swellings, bumps, patches of color, ulcerations, or other abnormalities. They will be observing your face, neck, lips, jaw, cheeks, inside of your nose and oral cavity, all significant parts of screening for oral cancer.
Besides a visual exam, your dental professional will gently touch your face, mouth, and neck to feel for unusual nodules or masses. A tactile inspection helps to identify any hard lumps of tissue. While oral cancer symptoms can sometimes be painful, it is usually painless in its early stages. This makes it even more important to screen regularly at the dental office.
We often hear that brushing and flossing are the best ways to protect our teeth from decay; however, for many of us brushing and flossing alone do not provide enough preventative care to deter cavities and plaque. When deep ridges or grooves occur naturally in the teeth, we cannot expect simple brushing and flossing to be adequate. Dental sealants are most effective at protecting the most decay-susceptible areas of the teeth.
A dental sealant can be provided by Dr. Barbara McClatchie’s team in just one short visit, and can even be done during a scheduled cleaning or re-care appointment. During the procedure, a dental hygienist or qualified dental assistant will paint on a thin plastic coating to the teeth in need of extra protection. The sealant dries quickly, and you can resume normal activity following the appointment. The thin plastic coating keeps the underlying teeth safe, while preventing food and drink from penetrating the enamel. The protection with sealants can last up to ten years, and Dr. McClatchie will continue to check for any chips or wear at your regular dental appointments to ensure effective adherence.
Dental sealants can be an effective preventative solution for patients of all ages. Dental sealants are often recommended for children when they are most cavity-prone: between the ages of six and fourteen. Protecting children’s teeth, specifically the molars and premolars, with sealants can support a lifetime of dental health. Dental sealants are also an effective choice for adults with significant grooves or ridges in their teeth. Despite practicing good oral hygiene, people with these kinds of teeth are far more susceptible to decay and damage. Keeping up with dental sealants is the best way to ensure adults keep their natural teeth for as long as possible. If you think you or your child may be a strong candidate for dental sealants, contact us today. We can make an appointment for the application or include it with your next scheduled cleaning appointment.
Endodontic Disease Treatment (root canal lesion)
Endodontic disease is an infection of the pulp (root) of your tooth, often resulting in a periapical abscess. This infection is usually caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease, a cracked tooth, or trauma. These issues can let bacteria enter the pulp of your tooth (the soft tissue of a tooth containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues). When this builds up at the root tip, it forms a pus-filled pocket called an abscess. At Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, Dr. Barbara McClatchie utilizes 3D Cone Beam technology, which has been shown to be 21% more effective on average at finding dental infections than average radiography. These infections can often be asymptomatic, so it is very important we identify if this is an issue, as it harbors dangerous bacteria that has been shown can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
With any diagnosis of periodontal disease, it is important to find the root cause and the strains of bacteria that are in your mouth. As we know, there are many high-risk bacteria that can increase your risk and even cause cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, cancer, and more. And did you know? 50% of unexpected heart attacks and strokes are triggered by oral bacteria that live in your mouth. Through this objective testing, we can evaluate and develop a personalized treatment plan.
Sleep Apnea Screenings
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common chronic disorder that disrupts breathing during sleep. More than 25 million adults in the United States are believed to have moderate to severe sleep apnea. While about 75% of severe cases are undiagnosed, it is the most undiagnosed medical condition. Patients with OSA temporarily stop or decrease their breathing (apnea or hypoxia respectively) repeatedly during sleep. This cessation or decrease in breathing is the result of repetitive partial or complete obstruction of the airway, causing the oxygen level in your bloodstream to drop, which adds stress on your entire body and puts you at risk for many systemic health issues. These breathing disruptions can awaken or prevent deep, restful sleep, leaving you at greater risk to developing other major underlying health issues such as: high blood pressure, diabetes, hormonal disorders, depression, stroke, asthma, acid reflux, weight gain, heart failure, and car accidents. At Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, your hygiene team will start the screening process by asking you a series of questions, to see if you might be at risk.
TMJ / Occlusal Guards
Loss of several teeth, or even undue wear, can seriously affect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the sophisticated unit that hinges your lower jaw to eat and talk, among other functions. A marvel of muscle, bone, and engineering, the temporomandibular joint is the engine that drives all dental function, yet few people know of its importance. Unusual tooth wear and eventual tooth loss can alter the physics of the TM joint which, in turn, ages your appearance, modifies your speech, affects your ability to chew, and degrades your bite (the relationship between your upper and lower teeth). A symmetrical bite, one where all of your upper teeth mesh and interact correctly with your lower teeth, is critical to good dental health. A healthy bite ensures that jaw pressure is equally distributed across your entire mouth. If pressure is not equally distributed, and one side is carrying more that it should, this can seriously affect your eating ability and appearance.
Complete health dentistry is the combination of oral health and medical health, to ensure that your whole health is optimized through proactive, holistic dental care. "It now appears that every inflammatory disease is hugely affected by oral inflammation, the No. 1 source of inflammation in humans. Inflammation kills," as stated by Dr. Dan Sindelar, a founding member of The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health. With periodontal disease affecting 80% of Americans over the age of 30, Dr. Barbara McClatchie is here to help you on your journey to optimal oral and whole body health in Columbus, Ohio.
Here is a closer look at some key differences between conventional healthcare and what we offer.
We utilize saliva testing, one of the few objective tests available in dentistry, to test for high-risk oral bacteria that is associated with heart disease, cancers, Alzheimer's, and other medical conditions. Also used for dental clearance by cardiologists for open heart surgeries and orthopedics surgeons prior to joint replacements. This simple 30 second, non-invasive test could save your life!
With every patient, we discuss your individual oral health risk factors for for these systemic diseases and develop a personalized, proactive, holistic heath care plan.
With focus on prevention and elimination of disease, we work with you to achieve optimal oral and systemic health.
We are the first medical center in the United States with an accredited dentist and cardiologist practicing The BaleDoneen Method of testing and care under one roof.
A very important part of oral systemic health care is nutritional counseling. Good nutrition supports healing and prevention of inflammation and disease. We provide advice about diet and oral systemic health to all patients at Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus.
"If you give the body what it needs, it will heal itself." - Lora Hooper, RDH