Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sports Injuries Article in "The Nation" with Buffalo Sabres Dentist, Dr. Dave Croglio

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Voters in Wichita, Kansas, Reject Fluoridated Water

The first paragraph is directed towards my fellow dentists.  Pssst... Hey you guys... who wants to relocate with me to Wichita?  There is going to be a surge in dental decay for the folks there in the upcoming years.  The misinformed citizens of this city have allowed fringe activists promoting myths and pseudo-science, to influence them to vote against public water fluoridation.  As we know, without fluoride in the water supply, the people will miss out on the easiest, most cost-effective method to ingest the proper amount of fluoride to strengthen their teeth!!!  There are going to be a ton of decayed teeth requiring restorative work!  Talk about a potential gold-mine!  

Ahem.  Pardon my facetiousness.

This is a link to the original story published by The Wichita Eagle.  

Now, I'm all for personal liberties, and I'm generally against government intervention in our lives, so I can appreciate the citizens of Wichita telling the government to stick-it!  Was it the right decision though?  I would answer with a resounding: no.

As reported in the article, the groups against water fluoridation in Kansas include:  Fluoride Free Kansas, Wichitans Opposed to Fluoridation and the Kansas Republican Assembly.  Their claims include fluoride having 'potential side-effects,' such as 'fluorosis-related staining of teeth, cancer, thyroid disease and reduced intelligence.'  They are also concerned that the fluoride added to the water is acquired in a dangerous, unregulated, artificial means.  In addition, (similar to fictional satirical character General Jack D. Ripper of the movie Dr. Strangelove), they claim that fluoridation is 'mass medication' forcing people to ingest a chemical against their will.  For their sake, I hope they're using non-fluoridated water to mix and drink their kool-aid!

Passionate local politician Mark Gietzen, who is against water fluoridation had this to say to 'The Wichita Eagle,' "There’s no proof that fluoride does any good. It certainly does less good than xylitol gum... -the- most outlandish unproven thing the fluoride people come up with is a 40 percent reduction in cavities."

This gentleman is not impressed with a proven [yes, proven (article one, article two)] 40% reduction in cavities???  Cavities that would cost the person hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to treat over the course of their life?  A 40% reduction in cavities in exchange for adding 0.7 parts per million fluoride to the public water (increasing your water bill from 15-91 cents per month).  Would he be more impressed with a reduction of cavities of 75%?  99%?  I doubt it. The underlying issue here for this politician isn't the health ramifications, and it's not the cost of the process either; it's the government involvement removing his freedom of choice that has him so upset.  Again, I can understand a healthy suspicion of government involvement; however with overwhelming evidence-based, peer-reviewed scientific research proving the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation, your fears can be assuaged. 

That's right, I, a dentist, am telling you that having fluoride in the water will prevent you from having to see me as regularly to treat dental decay!  You would think that dentists would rally with the ‘anti-fluoride’ crowd to encourage more decay in citizens to drum up business!  However, as dentists, we are first and foremost medical providers, practicing preventive medicine.  Therefore, we are very much in favor of water fluoridation to protect the health of our patients’ teeth and the public at large.

Unfortunately for the people of Wichita, the scientific & medical community was railroaded by the loud (ie. ignorant) fringe-sector of anti-fluoride zealots.  Hearing that a dangerous chemical (fatal if consumed in concentrations 10,000-20,000 times the amount in an 8oz glass of fluoridated water, so the word ‘dangerous’ may be slightly misleading) can be added by our untrustworthy government into our water supply would certainly make any law-abiding citizen fearful.  Fear is a powerful emotion that can easily influence an otherwise rational person to behave irrationally, in this case, ignoring scientifically backed facts, to vote the wrong way.

The American Dental Association developed a fantastic pdf publication in 2005 entitled Fluoridation Facts, that is meant to answer questions community members may have when considering fluoridation for their water.  The publication even states at the beginning that “A number of these questions are based on myths and misconceptions advanced by a small faction opposed to water fluoridation. The answers to the questions that appear in FluoridationFacts are based on generally accepted, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence. They are offered to assist policy makers and the general public in making informed decisions.  The answers are supported by thousands of credible scientific articles, including the more than 350 references within the document. It is hoped that decision-makers will make sound choices based on this body of generally accepted, peer-reviewed science.”

I hope the citizens of Wichita who voted against water fluoridation will read this publication, if for no other reason than to educate themselves on science-based facts on water fluoridation, instead of the nonsense presented by the loud and aggressive fringe activists.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dental Horror Stories in time for Halloween

One thing that I have learned in my short career as a dentist, is that many patients have 'dental stories,' to share.  Often they are not first-person stories (in other words, they usually begin with 'my friend told me that when he went to the dentist....').  The stories range from ranting-complaints to outrageous fairy-tales, but they can often be very entertaining!

Sometimes the stories share a theme.  Common themes include 1) the dentist stepping on the patient's chest as leverage to pull out a tooth, 2) the dentist drilling maliciously with no offer of anesthetic, 3) the dentist drilling/pulling the wrong tooth, 4) the patient waited a long time in the waiting room.  Obviously the severity of the stories ranges greatly!

In the spirit of Halloween, I would love to hear your dental horror stories!  Please share in the comments!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dog Kisses

Dogs are a human's best friend... They love us (especially if we sneak them the occasional table scrap), but should you let your dog kiss your face?  Many folks are grossed-out by this action, but dog-lovers often allow it without thinking twice.

According to a study in the Archives of Oral Biology, "several periodontopathic species could be transmitted between humans and their companion dogs," as over 70% of the dogs that participated in the study, had periodontopathic microbes in their saliva.  Obviously, more studies need to be conducted to investigate the transmission rate of these germs from canine to human, and whether periodontal disease in humans can ever be traced back to their pet dogs!

This is Poppy, my fiancée's dog, and although Poppy is very lovable, I'm going to think twice the next time she tries to give me a kiss.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sugar InfoGraphic

What a fantastic graphic displaying our obsession with sugar!  If we can break our habit with the sweet-stuff, we'd all be healthier (our bodies and teeth would certainly thank us!).  All credit to the creator of this graphic (found here).  Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Buffalo Bills - Mouth-Guards

Recently, I had a terrific opportunity to assist the dentist of the Buffalo Bills, Dr. Greg Hudecki, by providing dental exams to the players on the team.  As a life-long fan of the Buffalo Bills football team, getting the chance to meet the players and participate in their organization was not only an honor for me, but a ton of fun as well!

The Bills play at 'Ralph Wilson Stadium,' in Orchard Park, New York (a suburb of the city of Buffalo).  It was here in the early morning (7:15am) that I met the other dental providers in a huddle to discuss the upcoming day's events.

We provided dental exams on most of the 80+ players that were scheduled for the day, and made mouth-impressions on any players needing a mouth-guard for the upcoming season.

One of my favorite players, running back Corey McIntyre, has a unique approach to intimidating his opponents.  Corey wear a custom mouth-guard from Unbreakable MouthPieces.  Take a look at the cool vampire teeth on his guard!  When Corey has his helmet on, you can really see how terrifying he must look to the other team. Here's a photo of me with Corey wearing his scary mouth-guard!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Misleading Article

I received a junk email today that piqued my interest as the subject was "Do You Really Need That Filling?"  Hmm, I thought, as I opened the email and clicked the link.  Needless to say, I will be attempting to unsubscribe from this junk through as soon as possible!  I find the article written by Leah Zerbe on the Rodale website to be grossly misleading.  From the title of the article "Do You Really Need That Filling?" right down through the text, there are vague generalizations and weasel words running rampant! 

First of all, the title suggests it will discuss whether or not a filling is needed on a tooth, when in actuality; the article focuses primarily on the supposed 'dangers' of filling materials.

The only two parts of the article with any substance are 1) referring to a study published in the well-regarded journal Pediatrics, that suggests kids with white composite fillings "were more likely to suffer from social stress, anxiety, depression, and trouble forming relationships" than kids with silver amalgam fillings.  And 2) the quote from Jeffrey Stansbury DVM (professor of craniofacial biology at the school of Dental Medicine at the University of Colorado), who states, "There is no reason to be overly alarmed by this report. For about 20 years, there have been periodic heightened levels of concern raised regarding BPA in our diets and environment.  However, it should be noted that earlier this year, the FDA declined a petition to ban BPA-related coatings used in food packaging." 

Ta-Da!  With those two parts out of the way, that should be it to this article (after concluding with "Get a second opinion with another dentist to see if you really need that filling").  But... Nope!  Instead, it is filled with paragraphs condemning silver amalgam fillings, and advocating holistic methods of 'some dentists,' to treat dental caries (tooth decay). 

The first sentence of the article:  "We've known for some time now that silver amalgam fillings containing the neurotoxin mercury are harmful."  That's very interesting Rodale!  No doubt you have peer-reviewed scientific data to back up this claim?  Oh you don't?  Of course you don't, because it does not exist.

Near the end of the article there are more weasel words:  "Some dentists practice more holistic methods and conduct testing to see how each individual responds to the different chemicals used in dental procedures, and then uses materials that appear to be most benign to a particular individual."  Oh 'some dentists' you say.  Of course there is no follow-up to this seemingly profound, more beneficent treatment option, or the name of even one dentist who prescribes by this treatment method. 

I will conclude by saying that articles like this are dangerous, as they offer unsubstantiated/unwarranted biased advice, in order to push products, politics, or a certain way of life.  I remind my readers to consider the recommendations/guidelines of the American Dental Association, and if they are weary about treatment proposed by one dentist, to have a second opinion with another dentist!  If you do choose to read articles such as this one on Rodale, I suggest you take their "Medical Advice Notice" to heart.  Notably, the part where it says:  "The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gross negligence

Here's a shocking article I read this afternoon, about an oral surgeon who would reuse needles on multiple patients (allegedly over several days)!  If the allegations proposed in this article turn out to be true, this dentist will be in a world of trouble with the law, and innumerable lawsuits from past patients. 

Obviously what this guy did goes against everything we as dental providers learn in our 'infection control' training.  All needles used in my dental practice are called 'single-use' needles (in other words, one patient, one visit, and then they are discarded in the 'sharps container' to be properly disposed).

Friday, May 4, 2012

Beastie Boy Dies of Parotid Cancer

It was announced today that rapper Adam Yauch, aka MCA, of the Beastie Boys, has passed away.

He had been diagnosed with cancer in 2009. The Beastie Boys were a terrific group, and I remember listening fondly to their "Hello Nasty" album throughout my senior year of high school.

What struck me as surprising was that he was diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland. When the news originally came out, the media described this type of tumor as 'very treatable.' However, a closer inspection reveals that the aggressiveness of this type of cancer varies greatly from case to case.

In January 2011, Yauch announced that he was 'healthy, strong and hopeful,' but by early spring 2012, he was unable to attend the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction of his band.

The parotid gland is one of the major salivary glands of the mouth (#1 in the photo) and is found in your cheeks near your back molars on both sides.

As Dr. Christopher Chang describes, cancer of the salivary glands is rare, however the parotid is the one most commonly affected. The only symptom someone with this tumor may experience is the feeling of a 'lump' in their cheeks. It most likely doesn't cause pain or discomfort (however if it does, this suggests the mass may be a malignant cancer).

Benign examples of parotid gland tumors include pleomorphic adenoma or warthin's tumor. These should be removed to avoid any facial disfigurement caused by their growth (also they may turn cancerous as years go by). Malignant version of tumors include mucoepidermoid carcinoma, acinic cell carcinoma, and skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma.

One difficulty with surgery involving the parotid gland, is one of the branches of the facial nerve passes right through this gland, and if damaged, this can lead to facial paralysis.

Let your dentist or medical doctor know if you feel any lumps in your cheeks, so that you can be properly evaluated.

Rest in peace Adam!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Teeth Dreams

Spring is upon us, and just in time for the good weather, I contracted a terrible cold! Since I needed quality sleep despite the coughing, I took some NyQuil for a few nights in a row. Would you know, I had a couple of terrifying dreams, and they involved teeth! These dreams were terribly realistic!

In the first dream, I chipped my front teeth, and was scrambling to rebond the pieces in place. In reality, if you chip your front teeth, the most common practice dentist your dentist will follow, is to place a sedative-liner if necessary, and then to place a beautiful tooth-colored composite restoration. In severe cases, these teeth may require endodontic treatment (root canals), or if there are fractures to the root structure, they may need to be pulled! Still, in my chaotic dream, I was trying the more radical (but up and coming!) approach of bonding the pieces back in place! Thankfully when I woke up, my teeth were all in place, safe and sound.

The second night I had a similar dream, except in this dream, a dentist was trying to place dental implants in my upper jaw-bone. Apparently the pieces I bonded in place the night before, must not have held up! This dream was very frustrating for me, because the implants were being drilled haphazardly, and I was not satisfied with the end result when he tried to insert the implant-retained denture. In reality, there is a lot of planning involved in placing and restoring dental implants, to insure an excellent long-term result. Waking up, I was once again happy to find my teeth all in place.

Chatting with some friends (Jordan at WTF Dream) and coworkers, I was surprised to find that dreams involving teeth are commonplace! I did a little bit of reading online and here are some interesting theories about the 'meaning' of these dreams.

According to,

1) Dreams about teeth reflect your anxiety about your appearance and how others perceive you. Apparently menopausal women often have dreams involving teeth.
2) These dreams may be 'rooted' in a fear of being embarrassed or making a fool of yourself.
3) In Greek culture, a dream about teeth indicates a family member is sick or close to death

According to,

1) Pulling teeth can suggest someone encouraging you to do something you don't want to do.
2) Broken teeth may suggest there is something in your life that is fragile/broken that needs repairing.

Of course, maybe the most obvious answer is that I need to go and get a dental check-up! Regardless, I'm happy my alarm saved me from the Sandman's crazy dreams.

Anyone else experience dreams like these?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Floss the teeth you want to keep!

A dentist inspires Nick Crocker to start the useful habit of flossing. In this video, the speaker discusses his difficulty in establishing this daily habit. How are habits developed (why are healthy habits so difficult to begin)? Enjoy!

Nick Crocker - Floss the Teeth You Want To Keep from Steven Dean on Vimeo.