The link between Periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease

July 27, 2015

Periodontal disease affects more Americans each year. Some estimates suggest as much as 80% of the population of US adults are afflicted. Most people don’t consider periodontal (gum) disease to be a cause for grave concern because it’s treatable and it isn’t deadly. However, research has indicated that there may be a significant link between periodontal disease and numerous systemic or chronic illnesses. Dr. Chris Devlin and his State College, PA dental team recommend twice annual dental checkups and teeth cleanings to help prevent gum disease and its potential medical complications. If you’re suffering from gum disease or haven’t had a teeth cleaning and exam recently, call to schedule a checkup with us today.

ThinkstockPhotos-177119677Periodontal Disease and Systemic Illness

Periodontal disease generally begins as a mild irritation of gum tissue caused by bacterial growth below the gum line. This is frequently referred to as gingivitis and is easily treated with a thorough teeth cleaning from your dental hygienist. Left untreated or not properly cared for, gingivitis can develop into the more severe periodontitis. This form of gum disease can be quite painful, and is the leading cause of tooth loss in US adults. Periodontitis results when bacteria beneath the gums buildup creating pockets of plaque and tartar that separate the tooth from the gums. Over time, the fibers that connect the tooth to the gums and jawbone breakdown entirely. Indicators of periodontitis include redness or irritation, bleeding gums, loose feeling teeth, severe bad breath, and painful sores along gums. If you have any of these symptoms, call Dr. Devlin to schedule an appointment right away.

Periodontal disease can be unpleasant on its own, but recent studies have shown clear links between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease like strokes and arrhythmia. Additionally, periodontal disease has been linked to blood clots, liver disease, and is believed to adversely affect the insulin production and usage in patients with diabetes.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a cognitive disorder that affects a patient’s short term memory, concentration, and spatial orientation. AD affects an increasing number of US adults each year. Reports indicate the possibility of AD affecting more than 10 million people in the US before 2050. AD is a chronic inflammatory disease. Inflammation and infection in the body causes neurological synapses to work differently, and can lead to AD or other cognitive disorders.ThinkstockPhotos-181156970

Possible Bi-Directional Links

A recent study showed that a high percentage of patients with AD also had periodontal disease when compared to a comparable group of patients who did not suffer from AD. While a direct correlation has not as of yet been established, the findings are significant enough to prompt further research. Results indicate that the connection between AD and periodontal disease may be bi-directional much like the correlation between diabetes and gum disease. Diabetes results when the body is unable to utilize insulin properly, gum disease interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin when sugary plaque deposits enter the blood stream. Thus, as periodontal disease worsens, so do diabetic symptoms

AD and periodontal disease appear to have a similar relationship. Though it’s difficult to create a distinction between whether periodontal disease leads to AD or vice versa, it is easy to observe the cyclical relationship between the two. Patients who suffer from AD loose cognitive function as inflammation increases and causes more damage to brain tissues. When bacteria from the mouth travel to the brain via the blood stream, they can damage brain tissue leading to late-onset or periodic AD, or lead to inflammation which damages brain tissue and worsens AD. Further research has shown that as the body attempts to repair the chronic inflammation from AD, it is unable to repair the inflammation from periodontal disease or vice versa meaning that both worsen over time.

Call Your State College Dentist to Find Out More

Whether periodontal disease can be said to cause Alzheimer’s is still a matter for further discussion, but it is clear that inflammation and infection from periodontal disease makes it more difficult for our bodies to defend against the chronic inflammation caused by AD. A consistent, effective at-home dental care routine and twice annual dental examinations and cleanings are your first steps in preventing periodontal disease and avoiding its adverse effects on your body. Call Dr. Devlin to find out more about periodontal disease or schedule an appointment today. Our State College, PA office welcomes patients from surrounding areas including Centre Hall, Bellefonte, and Altoona.

Repair an Abscessed Tooth or Other Dental Emergency

June 22, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-494373419You’re having a relaxing morning, but you take the first drink of coffee and your tooth feels like you took a bite of a Popsicle. You brush it off and continue about your day. Then, you take a bite of toast, and realize chewing hurts too. Time for some aspirin. A few hours later, you notice your face is swollen, and you’re feeling feverish and sick. Maybe you’re coming down with the flu, but chances are that sensitive tooth is causing your sudden illness. An abscess tooth can feel like a minor irritation or tooth sensitivity to cold or heat, but they quickly lead to more severe symptoms as infection spreads. What now? You need a dentist. In State College, PA Dr. Chris Devlin is always here to help. Whether you have an abscess or loose a tooth, dental emergencies don’t need to ruin your day. Call Dr. Devlin to make your dental emergency a memory.

Do I Have an Abscessed Tooth?

An abscess is an infection in the root or the gums near the root of your tooth. Generally, caused by tooth decay or gum disease, these infections can progress quickly. An abscessed tooth can be extremely painful. Patients often say they feel a stabbing pain each time they bite something, take a drink, and even swallowing or breathing air over the tooth can cause severe pain. As the root of the tooth is worn away by infection, the infection reaches the pulp (middle) of the tooth. This is usually what causes the pain. The abscess can kill the pulp. When this happens, the pain associated with the abscess often subsides. However, the infection will continue to spread. If you think you may have an abscess, have it examined immediately.

Treatment Methods

Because an abscess affects the root of the tooth, root canal therapy is often necessary to remove the infection. Additionally, infection to the gum tissue may have to be drained, and antibiotics are usually prescribed to fight the infection. Once the tooth is free from infection, Dr. Devlin will work to restore your tooth to its natural look and feel. Because an abscess is an infection, the longer it is left untreated you are at risk for serious health effects related to infection, and the further the infection spreads the more difficult it is to treat. Don’t hesitate to call us as if you fear you may have an abscess. We will try to see you right away, and begin treatment to remove the infection before it can spread.

Other Emergencies

Dental emergencies are often not life threatening, but that doesn’t make it any easier to keep calm. However, Dr. Devlin is here to help you no matter what your emergency, his years of experience in restorative dentistry means he is capable of returning your teeth to their natural strength and beauty after almost any accident, and his numerous relationships with local dental surgeons will ensure that any serious trauma will be repaired by a skilled professional you can trust.

If you experience any trauma related dental emergencies, a few tips can help you stay calm, and keep you healthy and safe until we can get your smile back in place. For a lost tooth or soft tissue damage, you want to make sure that your wound is cleaned and that the blood flow is reduced or stopped. Don’t use any toothpaste, mouthwash or other dental hygiene product to clean your cut. Start with just warm water. Once you have cleaned the affected area, you’ll need a cool, sterile compress to stop the bleeding and reduce swelling. Wrapping a small ice cube in a cool, damp cloth and holding it to the wound is extremely affective in slowing blood flow.

Once you have cleaned the area and stopped blood flow, assess the damage. Injuries to the mouth and face are frequently much less serious than they initially appear because any injury to the head will bleed heavily. If you have lost or chipped a tooth or you believe you need stitches or other repair, you will need to come in to see us as soon as possible. Even if you determine that the injury was not severe, it is still a good idea to come in for an examination to make sure there is no unseen damage.

Don’t Panic – Call Dr. Devlin

If you think you have an abscess tooth or have any other dental emergency, we are here to help. Don’t panic. Call Dr. Devlin for an emergency examination. As your family dentist, we’re here to help your whole family in State College, PA and surrounding communities including Centre Hall, Bellefonte, and Altoona.

How to Choose the Right Family Dentist in State College, PA

January 11, 2015

chooserightdentistChoosing the perfect family dentist in State College, PA may seem like a daunting task. After all, it can be difficult to narrow down your list when you aren’t sure which dentist offers the services you and your children need. At the office of Chris J. Devlin, we understand that you have a multitude of choices when it comes to family dentistry in 16801 and the surrounding areas. That’s why we’d like to take this opportunity to provide you with a clear and concise description of precisely what we offer. Our goal is to make the process of choosing the right dentist for your family as easy and as convenient as possible.

A Family Dentist State College Patients Trust

For more than 25 years, Dr. Devlin has served as the premier dental provider for families in State College and its nearby communities. Families return to us year after year for a number of reasons, chief of which are our genuine commitment to exceptional service and our friendly, welcoming atmosphere. You should never feel as if you are rushed in and out of a dental office; our entire purpose is to treat you well from the moment you walk through our doors. From routine cleanings and cosmetic dentistry solutions to in-depth restorative care and full-mouth reconstruction, you’ll find everything the members of your family need to enjoy healthy, happy smiles for life. Our general family dentistry services include:

  • Comprehensive exams, including digital x-rays
  • Invigorating cleanings from our friendly hygienists
  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Periodontal therapy
  • Nightguards for bruxism
  • TMJ disorder treatment
  • Customized oral appliances for sleep apnea
  • Children’s dentistry
  • Sedation dentistry

As your State College family dentist, Dr. Devlin offers everything you and your loved ones need to achieve and maintain beautiful smiles and optimal oral health now and in the years to come.

Reserve Your Family Dentistry Appointment Today

Whether you are looking to improve the appearance of your smile with cosmetic dentistry solutions or you simply need a trusted dentist to provide routine checkups and cleanings, we are always here to help. Contact us today to schedule your next visit, and experience for yourself the amazing difference our dedication and cutting-edge technology can make in your smile. Our state-of-the-art dental practice in State College, PA is privileged to serve the complete dental needs of families from throughout the surrounding areas, including Altoona, Bellefonte, Centre Hall, and beyond.

State College Dentist Tips: Healthier Halloween Choices

October 11, 2014

87351429Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season every year. While children may be excited, this can be a scary time for parents who have to battle their kids to restrict the loads of sugary treats that pile up in the house this time each year. You should know that there are ways to make this a fun and healthy time of year for the entire family. You can start by making sure your family is up-to-date with their dental check-ups. You can make a pre-holiday appointment with Dr. Devlin today. Dr. Devlin proudly serves patients throughout State College, PA including nearby Altoona, Centre Hall and Bellefonte.

State College Dentist: 5 Healthy Halloween Tips

You can try out the following healthy alternatives to better protect your family’s dental health this year:

  1. Eat Dinner Before Trick Or Treating– If you fill up on a healthy meal you are less likely to go overboard with the sugary treats later.
  2. Relax the Restrictions Sometimes– It’s ok to allow some treats now and then so that children don’t get the impression that sugary treats are precious, which might make them want them even more.
  3. Limit Leftovers– If you still have a lot of leftover candy after Halloween, portion out one or two treats at a time and always in combination with a healthy snack or meal. Try donating the rest of the candy to a local charity.
  4. Try Non Food Treats– Don’t be afraid to branch out and stick up on the non-food treats that children love like low stick necklaces, spider rings, stickers, decorative pencils, stamps, notepads, erasers, balloons, play tattoos or game cards.
  5. Get Creative– There are many sweet and savory snacks that taste great but are also nutritious like popcorn trail mix and fruits like kiwis, apple slices, mango slices, cherries and blueberries.

State College Dentist Holiday Appointments

Remember that healthy teeth and gums require not only good oral hygiene habits and regular dental check-ups but also choosing healthy and nutritious snacks over the sugar filled foods that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Make this holiday season healthier than any before by making an appointment to see Dr. Devlin today. Dr. Devlin proudly serves families throughout State College, PA including nearby Altoona, Centre Hall and Bellefonte.

The Importance of Periodontal Therapy: What You Need to Know About Gum Disease

June 9, 2014

shutterstock_84577195When most people think of gum disease, the first thing that typically comes to mind is redness along the gum line and bleeding when the teeth are brushed or flossed. While these are two very common symptoms of periodontal disease, there are even more serious complications associated with this condition. At Chris J. Devlin, DMD, PC in State College, PA, Dr. Devlin and his team offer a comprehensive array of general and preventive dentistry services to keep our patients wholly healthy, including laser periodontal therapy.

Gum Disease and the Mouth-Body Link

When an individual suffers from gum disease, the bacteria that thrive within the oral cavity can spread throughout the rest of the body, wreaking havoc on other tissues and organs over time. Though there may not be any symptoms of a larger infection at first, these complications can be incredibly serious. Research has proven the existence of a link between untreated gum disease and systemic health problems, including:

  • Respiratory illnesses, including an increased risk for pulmonary hypertension
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Complications in diabetic patients
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Dementia in older age
  • Low birth weight in babies born to mothers with gum disease

Fortunately, treating gum disease in its earliest stages may help to reduce your risk of developing these and other conditions. Dr. Devlin offers laser periodontal therapy to combat gum disease in its varying stages. Because a laser actually helps to stimulate healing as it treats infected gum tissue, recovery time is shortened considerably. Patients report feeling more comfortable during their healing period, and they are able to return to a normal diet more quickly than is the case with traditional scalpel and suture gum disease surgery.

Healthy Smile, Healthy You

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from gum disease, contact our office in State College, PA. We also serve patients from throughout the surrounding areas, including Altoona, Bellefonte, Centre Hall, and beyond. We look forward to helping you achieve your healthiest, most beautiful smile yet.