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Redheads’ and Pain Sensitivity

We found this article via CNN and wanted to share with all of you!

 

(CNN) — Despite two injections of anesthetic, Amy Anderson felt like her dentist was jamming rods into her tooth during a root canal. She writhed in pain as her infected tooth was hollowed with a drill, its nerve amputated, and then sealed.

Studies say redheads avoid dental care after having painful experiences and may require more anesthetics.

Studies say redheads avoid dental care after having painful experiences and may require more anesthetics.

“I knew this time something was wrong. I could feel my lips,” said the Syracuse, New York, resident, who told her dentist the drugs weren’t working.

Her doctor kept assuring her she had given her a proper dose and said: “I’m almost done.”

“I was hurting so bad, I was hitting myself in the stomach,” said Anderson, a redhead. “I almost wanted to hit her.”

Studies have indicated that redheads may be more sensitive to pain and may need more anesthetics to numb them.

New research published in this month’s Journal of American Dental Association found that painful experiences at the dentist might cause more anxiety for men and women with red hair, who were twice as likely to avoid dental care than people with dark hair.

“Redheads are sensitive to pain,” said Dr. Daniel Sessler, an Outcomes Research Department chair at The Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio, who is one of the authors.

“They require more generalized anesthesia, localized anesthesia. The conventional doses fail. They have bad experiences at the dentist and because of the bad experiences, they could avoid dental care.”

Sessler, an anesthesiologist, began studying redheads’ sensitivity to pain after hearing chatter from colleagues.

“The persistent rumor in the anesthesia community was that redheads were difficult to anesthetize,” Sessler said. “They didn’t go under, had a lot of pain, didn’t respond well to anesthesia. Urban legends usually don’t start studies, but it was such an intriguing observation.”

This led to two studies. In 2004, research showed that people with red hair need 20 percent more general anesthesia than blonds and brunettes.

A 2005 study indicated that redheads are more sensitive to thermal pain and are more resistant to the effects of local anesthesia.

Researchers believe variants of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene play a role. This MC1R gene produces melanin, which gives skin, hair and eyes their color.

While blond, brown and black-haired people produce melanin, those with red hair have a mutation of this receptor. It produces a different coloring called pheomelanin, which results in freckles, fair skin and ginger hair. About 5 percent of whites are estimated to have these characteristics.

While the relationship between MC1R and pain sensitivity is not entirely understood, researchers have found MC1R receptors in the brain and some of them are known to influence pain sensitivity.

Non-redheads can also carry a variant of the MC1R gene. In this dental study that had 144 participants, about a quarter of the non-redheads had variants of the MC1R gene. These people also experienced heightened anxiety and avoided dental care compared with others who did not have the variant.

There is no commercial test available for variations of the MC1R gene.

After Sessler and his colleagues published the first studies about redheads and pain susceptibility, he received nearly 100 e-mails from redheads around the country who complained of terrible experiences at the dentist’s office.

Dr. Catherine Binkley, an associate professor at the University of Louisville’s School of Dentistry, in Kentucky, also observed the same phenomenon in her 25 years of practice.

Her redheaded patients seemed “anxious and didn’t get numb. It’s a difficult experience for them,” said Binkley, one of the study’s authors.

But this doesn’t seem to affect all people with red hair.

“I have a [redheaded] hygienist that I have to numb up a lot more than normal, ” said Dr. Peter Vanstrom, an Atlanta, Georgia, dentist. “She’s very sensitive. I have another redheaded patient who is tough as nails, but his father is extremely difficult to numb.”

Binkley said the best tip for dentists is to “pay more attention, evaluate everyone for dental anxiety, and ask them about previous experiences.”

“If you know someone’s anxious, do different things,” she said. “Make sure they’re numb before you start working on them.”

Patients who’ve had bad experiences with pain should inform their dentists.

The next phase of research is to evaluate whether more anesthesia is needed for people with red hair and those with variants of the MCR1 gene for dental procedures.

The authors say an unpleasant incident — much like the one Anderson had this January — could cause patients to postpone dental care and exacerbate any problems they might have.

Anderson got a root canal because she dreaded the dentist after a bad experience of getting cavity fillings. Inevitably, Anderson has to return to her dentist to follow up on her root canal and this fills her with apprehension.

“I have wicked dread of the dentist,” she said. “I was up for two hours in the middle of the night because of the dentist.”

Bad breath sends spouse running!

Fennel-Seeds-For-Bad-Breath

Your morning breath sends your spouse running.
It’s not the sexiest thing in the world, but you may be snoring or sleeping with your mouth open. Those who do tend to have dry mouth, which typically lowers the flow of saliva in your mouth—and saliva is responsible for cleaning out food particles and protecting the teeth and gums from bacterial infection, says Alice Boghosian, spokesperson for the American Dental Association and practicing dentist in Chicago.

If you are concerned with morning breath and want to discuss options call our office now to schedule a visit !

As seen in Redbook magazine!

Freedom Day USA HUGE Success!

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On Thursday, September 10, 2015 businesses across the United States joined Freedom Day USA, a national Thank You Movement for the members of our military along with Veterans.  Each business donated services in the form of free services, goods, discounts, and various other offers.  Locally, Kathleen Mullaney DDS of Alexandria, partnered with Freedom Day USA to provide free cleanings, x-rays, exams, oral cancer screenings, fillings and extractions to those that serve our country.

FreedomDay-17

Dr. Kathleen Mullaney and her team welcomed many of our nation’s veterans and active duty service members to her practice to provide free dental services. Dr. Kevin Brewer, an oral surgeon from Alexandria Oral Surgery volunteered his services as well. Participants were asked to schedule an appointment in advance and “we were even able to offer walk-in appointments throughout the day into the late afternoon due to our great team support”, says Dr. Mullaney.

 

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Alexandria Mayor William Euille dropped by in the afternoon to meet some of the Veterans and give his thanks to Dr. Mullaney and the team for this event. Breakfast and lunch were generously provided by local businesses in Alexandria. Goody bags donated from dental companies and other businesses were given to each patient before they left. Those that came to the practice were elated and very pleased with the services provided – some even decided to make Dr. Mullaney their new dentist! Of the practice’s success on Freedom Day, owner Dr. Mullaney said, “This has been a dream of mine for a very long time. I’m so happy that we made it come true to give back to our deserving service members.”   Dr. Mullaney and team are committed to making Freedom Day USA an annual tradition in her dental office!

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Freedom Day USA-Free Dental Care For Veterans

We are so thrilled to be offering free dental care to our most in need Veterans as part of Freedom Day USA 2015, Thursday, September 10th from 8am – 5pm.  Our office will be giving our Veterans the following services free-

* Cleanings

*Exams

*Xrays

*Fillings

*Extractions

Please call TODAY to make an appointment, sorry, we will not be able to accept walk-ins the day of.  All we need is proof of military service via a valid military ID or DD214 papers.  If you have additional questions please just give us a call!!Print

It’s almost back to school time!

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Seems like school just ended for the summer, but the back to school bell will be ringing very soon- here are a few things you can do to help keep your kids’ teeth healthy for when they go back to school! • Plan healthy lunches. Things that are good for teeth include high-calcium dairy products such as milk or cheese; strawberries, which can actually help whiten teeth; high-fiber foods like spinach or beans; and for daily drinks, water. • Re-stock dental supplies. It’s never a bad time to check to make sure you’re all stocked up on dental supplies. It may even be worth it to leave a bit of floss in your kids’ lunches each day, so they can clean their teeth while they’re at school. • Set up a rewards program. If your kids have fallen into bad habits during summer, help refocus them by setting up a rewards program. For instance, brushing their teeth can be worth 15 minutes of video-game time and flossing can be another 15. (This can work well for parents, too, with a little self-discipline.) For now, enjoy the rest of the summer!

Whoops, I got off track….

Busy Woman

The kids summer camps, your nephew’s wedding, the roof that was leaking…it happens to us all at one point and time, too many things going on and we skip dental visits.  Now is the perfect time to get back on track with your dental visits!

People who stay on track with their cleanings are more likely to have less work that needs to be done and small cavities are detected before they get too large.

What happens when you miss cleanings?

Tartar develops at the gumline of your teeth and builds up until it is professionally cleaned.

Usually everyone should be seen every 3 to 6 months depending on how many restorations they have or how fast they build tartar.

If either are a concern, then you are more than likely a candidate for a 3 month cleaning.

What do you do in the mean time to keep teeth clean?

The best toothbrush on the market right now is a Sonicare toothbrush.  This electric toothbrush rotates in ways that a manual toothbrush can not and gets under the gums at angles that we usually can not.  We carry Sonicare in our office and we would love to show you how great it is at your next visit!

Flossing is extremely important in between cleanings as well.

So yes, we all get busy, but it’s never too late to get back on track!  Call us now to schedule your next cleaning!

A few habits that can help save your smile!

Smile SaversSmile-Saving Habits

You can’t always avoid enamel-eroding foods, so use these tips to minimize acid wear:

  1. Avoid snacking in between meals to minimize acid attacks.
  2. Don’t swish or hold acidic beverages in your mouth. Sip them through a straw to reduce the amount of time the acids come into contact with your teeth.
  3. Rinse your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum after meals to help neutralize acid attacks.
  4. Consume high-calcium milk or cheese before or with meals to help reharden enamel. Eating foods high in iron, such as liver or broccoli, may help as well.
  5. If you do consume acidic foods or beverages, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. This gives softened enamel a chance to reharden, so it’s less prone to damage.
  6. Brush with fluoride toothpaste to help fortify enamel.
  7. See your dentist for regular checkups and scheduled cleanings to help prevent tooth decay.

Healthy tooth enamel means healthy teeth. And enamel damage is irreversible. So take the time to protect those pearly whites.

Source: www.realage.com

Oil Pulling

oil pulling

 

The ADA has not endorsed oil pulling as an effective means of oral hygiene- please read the information below directly from the ADA-

The Practice of Oil Pulling

In recent months, various news agencies,1 social media sites and blogs have reported about the practice of “oil pulling” (swishing oil in the mouth) and its potential benefits on oral and general health. Websites that support natural therapies are also fanning hope—and strong emotions—about oil pulling procedures, with proponents claiming it enhances oral health, whitens teeth, and improves overall health and well-being. This Science in the News provides a brief overview on the practice, health claims associated with oil pulling, and information on the lack of science to support use of this technique for any oral or general health benefit.

Based on the lack of currently available evidence, oil pulling is not recommended as a supplementary oral hygiene practice, and certainly not as a replacement for standard, time-tested oral health behaviors and modalities. The ADA recommends that patients follow a standard oral hygiene regimen that includes twice-daily toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner, using ADA-Accepted products.  Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between teeth help prevent cavities and keep gums healthy.

If individuals need more help to reduce gingivitis, they can add an ADA-Accepted mouthrinse shown to reduce plaque and gingivitis to their oral hygiene regimen.  Several Listerine antiseptic mouthrinses carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance because they have been shown, through laboratory and clinical studies, to help reduce plaque and gingivitis.  Listerine contains four essential oils (thymol, eucalyptol, methyl salicylate and menthol) as its antiplaque and antigingivitis active ingredient combination.  Unlike the oils used in oil puling, these essential oils are present in small amounts in an aqueous solution that is intended to be swished for 30 seconds, twice a day.  The ADA Seal on over-the-counter oral care products is your assurance that those products have been evaluated by an independent group of experts, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, and that the product does what it claims to do.

As background, oil pulling is an ancient, traditional folk remedy that has been practiced for centuries in India and southern Asia as a holistic Ayurvedic technique.2  The practice of oil pulling involves placing a tablespoon of an edible oil (e.g., sesame, olive, sunflower, coconut) inside the mouth, and swishing or “pulling” the oil through the teeth and oral cavity for anywhere from 1-5 minutes to up to 20 minutes or longer.

Overall, as is true for many folk remedies, oil pulling therapy has insufficient peer-reviewed scientific studies to support its use for oral conditions. One study3 that compared oil pulling to the use of a chlorhexidine rinse found chlorhexidine to be much more effective in reducing S. mutans levels in plaque and saliva. However, the same study did not look at whether the S. mutans reduction provided the clinical benefit of reducing cavities.

Current reports on the potential health benefits of oil pulling have clear limitations.  Existing studies are unreliable for a number of reasons, including the misinterpretation of results due to small sample size, confounders, absence of negative controls, lack of demographic information , and lack of blinding. To date, scientific studies have not provided the necessary clinical evidence to demonstrate that oil pulling reduces the incidence of dental caries, whitens teeth or improves oral health and well-being.

Recent articles in the media recommending oil pulling procedures generally have not described potential adverse health effects, but case reports of lipoid pneumonia4 associated with oil pulling or mineral oil aspiration5 have appeared in the literature.  In addition, cases of diarrhea or upset stomach have been reported.

Various over-the-counter products and oral health practices may promise therapeutic effects when used, but only through rigorous scientific analysis can the dental profession be assured of a product or therapy’s effectiveness and safety.  As emphasized in the ADA policy statement on unconventional dentistry,[t]he provision of dental care should be based on sound scientific principles and demonstrated clinical safety and effectiveness.

 

And the winner is…..

We were so excited to present Betty S. with her fabulous gift for referring her family and friends to our practice  Betty will get dinner at the Inn at Little Washington as well as a nights stay at The Middleton Inn.

As always we appreciate your referrals of family and friends as we grow our practice.  We love sharing our passion for great service and continued dental health for all!  Be on the look out for our next program starting in June…you won’t want to miss it!

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An Ounce of Prevention

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A recent article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about putting things off, and in our case, dental care.  It is true, dental problems never get better, only worse and more costly.  Are you feeling something is not quite right?  Call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mullaney

“The last time I saw my dentist, he told me that if I came in sooner that cavity wouldn’t have turned into a root canal,” says Susan Nilon. She has plenty of valid excuses for neglecting to take time out for routine appointments; after all, she’s running a radio station, hosting a daily two-hour program, all while raising a teenager and volunteering for a range of local organizations. But she admits she’d save money if she took the time to take care of things like regular dental check-ups. “It’s the small little things that don’t seem to be a big thing that turn into a big problem,” she observes.

Whether it is regular dental check-ups, health screenings or tests, waiting can not only cost you a fortune in medical bills later, it can even be life-threatening.