What You Can Do About Periodontal Disease | Dentist in Saratoga Springs

Nearly half of adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It ranges from mild inflammation to a type that causes bone damage and even tooth loss.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, and painful chewing.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

A major cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene habits. Your best defense is daily brushing and flossing plus regular professional exams and cleanings. Without vigilant prevention, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this biofilm is not regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus (tartar), which only a dental professional can remove.

When tartar continues to build, the risk of periodontal disease increases. Gums can become inflamed and begin to bleed from brushing, flossing, and eating certain foods. At this point, advanced treatment is the only way to prevent tooth loss.

Other factors that may contribute to periodontal disease include diabetes, smoking, and pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help ward off periodontal disease when combined with good oral hygiene.

Some prescriptions can aggravate gum inflammation. They include anti-seizure, immunosuppressant, and blood pressure medicines called calcium channel blockers. Our doctor can provide preventive measures to alleviate medication side-effects.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

There are four levels of periodontal disease, ranging from gingivitis to periodontitis. In the most severe stage, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets along the gumline. These spaces are difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt, expert treatment, periodontitis can destroy the jawbone, gums, and soft tissues.

Treat Gum Disease Early

Periodontal disease leads to more than tooth loss and jawbone thinning; research has linked it to several health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, arthritis, and even some forms of cancer.

Overall, the worse periodontal disease gets, the more intense the treatment. If you have symptoms of gum disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Our dentist can provide excellent care and refer you to a specialist if needed.

For more information on gum disease or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Why Flossing is Essential to Good Oral Hygiene | Saratoga Springs, NY Dentist

Saratoga Springs, NY Dentist

While we all know toothbrushing is critical to a healthy mouth, it is equally important to understand the benefits of daily flossing. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, only 30 percent of Americans floss daily, and 33 percent say they never do. This thinking needs to change. 

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

No matter how well you brush, the bristles can’t get between teeth. If you have ever brushed until every surface feels marble smooth and then notice flecks of food when you floss, you can see why removing debris between the teeth is so important. 

Why Flossing Works

Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. These conditions usually begin with a bacterial infection in the gingival tissue. If left untreated, it eventually destroys both the tissue and the underlying bone.  

Bacterial infection in gingival tissue causes the body to create an inflammatory response that contributes to gum disease. It can deepen the pockets between teeth and gums and eventually cause the gums and jawbone to recede. Without adequate support, teeth could eventually loosen and fall out. 

It is also important to remove plaque because it can harden into calculus (tartar), a substance that can only be removed by a dentist. Daily flossing is a simple way to ward off tartar and keep your teeth healthy.

Flossing Helps Overall Health

By maintaining proper oral health, you can help prevent other health problems. The American Dental Association and American Heart Association both acknowledge a link between cardiovascular problems and periodontal disease. Recent research published by the National Institutes of Health show people with gum disease have a 20 percent higher chance of developing heart disease. The most prominent theory is that gum disease causes inflammation elsewhere in the body and narrowing of the arteries.

Other studies suggest links between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer. Research also shows that people with diabetes, who are already at greater risk of infection and inflammation, develop gum disease at higher rates than non-diabetics. Those who manage their blood sugar successfully, however, lower their risk of gum problems.

Whether you use waxed, unwaxed, or tape types of dental floss, the most important point is that you use it at least once a day to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay. Contact our dental office to schedule your next appointment with our 12866 dentist and stay on top of your oral health at home. 

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

The Link Between Gum Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis | 12866 Dentist

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

Recent studies have linked periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both are inflammatory conditions that prompt the immune system to attack the body. Our team can teach you more about this connection and how you can protect your oral health if you have been diagnosed with RA. 

Saratoga Springs, NY Dentist

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful swelling of joints. Periodontal disease can cause swollen gums, infection and tooth loss. Both are the result of inflammation, which is the body’s natural means of destroying harmful bacteria and viruses. 

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that holds your teeth in their place. It is typically caused by poor oral health habits that permit a sticky film called plaque to build up and harden on teeth (known as calculus, or tartar). If this is not removed, infection sets in, ultimately resulting in loose and missing teeth. In this case, the body’s inflammatory response is warranted.

In RA, the body mistakenly activates the immune system against the body’s own joints. This is known as an autoimmune response. The link between arthritis and gum disease suggests that poor oral health may actually prompt the immune system to attack the joints. The scientific journal PLoS Pathogens reports that porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium that causes periodontal disease, can cause RA and make it more severe. 

While scientists continue to study the links between autoimmune conditions and periodontal disease, they also report positive findings: When RA patients successfully treat gum disease, joint swelling and pain diminish. 

If you are among the 1.3 million Americans diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to keep up with your at-home oral care. This includes twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. The conundrum you may face is that arthritis can make accurate brushing and flossing difficult, and this compounds the problem. 

  • Talk to our dentist or an occupational therapist about using a toothbrush with a special handle 
  • Experiment with different kinds of floss until you find one that is easy to use 
  • Toothpaste that comes in a pump instead of a tube can be easier for arthritic hands to manage

If you have concerns about your gums and rheumatoid arthritis, our team is happy to help you better manage your oral health. Schedule your next appointment today with our Saratoga Springs, NY dentist.  

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

What’s Behind Natural Teeth Whitening Fads? | Dentist Near Me

Saratoga Springs, NY Dentist

It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles and blog posts claim that whitening can be cheap, easy, natural and, in some cases, unpleasant. 

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It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without advice from a dentist; however, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, look at the truth behind some of the most recent teeth whitening fads.

Fad 1: Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal in toothpaste may help remove surface stains on your teeth, but it is more abrasive than regular toothpaste and offers no tooth decay protection. A British Dental Journal study shows long-term use can abrade the enamel on your teeth and cause creator sensitivity.  

Fad 2: Fruits

Some celebrities have jumped on the fruit-paste bandwagon, prompting people to rub strawberries on their teeth to make them whiter. Others use pineapple, citrus peels and even swish with apple cider vinegar. 

However, science does not back up these claims. One recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (a known whitener) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 2: Hydrogen Peroxide

Many types of in-office and home teeth whitening contain hydrogen peroxide, it is a special formulation made just for teeth whitening. Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will not whiten your teeth, but it may irritate your gums and mouth. It can also be dangerous if it is accidentally swallowed.

 Fad 3: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling rose to fame during the coconut oil craze in the mid-2000s, but it is an ancient folk remedy. It involves swishing a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, or olive, in the mouth and drawing it between teeth for up to 20 minutes a day. The thought is that oil molecules will stick to the oil in membranes of mouth bacteria.  Evidence that this works is purely anecdotal. There is no scientific proof that oil pulling whitens teeth, but experts do not see harm in the practice. 

If you want safe, sure methods of achieving whiter, brighter teeth, our doctor can offer you recommendations best suited for your needs. For more information about teeth whitening, contact our dental office in 12866 office.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

How Do You Know When You Have Gum Disease? | Dentist in 12866

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

You may have periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, and not know it until it has progressed to its advanced stage. Prompt treatment is essential because the condition can only be reversed in its early stages. Still, because it shows few, if any, symptoms until it has progressed, many people wait too long to seek treatment. 

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It develops when the bacteria found in plaque buildup between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When periodontal disease is not treated promptly, it gets worse, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. 

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is broken down into four stages: gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. The longer it progresses, the more difficult it is to treat. 

Gum disease also impacts overall health. Research has found links between periodontal disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory conditions. Researchers are not sure whether gum disease contributes to other health problems or vice versa, but many studies have shown conclusive evidence that oral and bodily inflammation are related. 

How to Prevent Gum Disease

 To help prevent periodontal infection, it is essential to practice excellent oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day for two minutes each, flossing, swishing with mouthwash, and scheduling regular dental examinations. 

 While periodontal disease is common, it is tied to certain risk factors: age, genetics, stress, tobacco use, medications, obesity, teeth grinding (bruxism), and certain inflammatory diseases.

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:

 ●    Red, swollen, or tender gums

●    Bleeding gums from brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods

●    Loose or separating teeth

●    Pus between gums or teeth

●    Mouth pain or sores

●    Chronic bad breath

●    Gums receding or pulling away from teeth

●    Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures

Periodontal disease may start silently, but it can lead to great damage if it is left untreated. Once it has progressed, it can be treated but not fully cured. The best way to guard against it and protect your health is to visit your dentist for a periodontal screening. For more information about gum disease and to schedule your screening, contact our  12866 dental office today.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

The History of Dentistry and What’s Ahead | 12866 Dentist

Detail of an old Dentist’s Chair

What did ancient civilizations think about oral health? How did they treat dental problems? Read on and see how very far dentistry has come in terms of knowledge, safety and comfort. You will be glad you live in the present day. 

Dentistry in Ancient Times

Dentistry in its crudest form predates written language. Archaeologists have seen evidence of teeth being cleaned, scraped and even drilled and filled as far as 9,000 years ago. Tooth decay was somewhat rare before agricultural societies introduced sugar and grains (carbohydrates) into the diet. 

The ancient Sumerians, who lived 5,000 B.C.E. in what is now southern Iraq, blamed tooth decay on “tooth worms.” They thought some type of worm bore holes in teeth. The Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E., while Egyptians had actual doctors for teeth and practiced a type of orthodontics using animal intestine tension wires. 

In 500 B.C.E., Greek philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth. 

Treating Teeth in the 1600s-1700s

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a time of great dental innovation. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first English language dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog teeth for transplants. He also references wisdom teeth.

In the 1700s, Frenchman Pierre Fauchard became a subject matter expert with his book, The Surgeon Dentist. For the first time, it described dentistry as a separate, modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being a cause of tooth decay, orthodontics used to straighten teeth, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light. 

1800s – the Progressive Age of Dentistry

The 19th century saw many inventions and discovered that advanced dental science closer to the modern era. In 1816, Auguste Taveau of France developed the first amalgam dental fillings made from silver coins and mercury. In 1840s America, Horace Wells showed how nitrous oxide could sedate patients while William T.G. Morton developed the use of ether as an anesthesia.

Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctor of dental surgery degree and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented. 

Dental Advancements of the 20th Century

The scientific development of the 1900s gave rise to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. The invention of electricity led to electric drills. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill caries, and the anesthetic Novocaine was introduced into US dental offices.

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described a method of tooth bonding to repair cracked tooth enamel. Years later, the first fully reclining dental chair was introduced to put patients and dentists at ease. In 1997, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system. 

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold?

Gene therapy, including a technology called CRISPR, may one day make it possible to switch off the function of bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay. Researchers at Harvard are studying stem cell-laden fillings that could regrow tooth dentin. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise. 

Schedule your visit to our Saratoga Springs, NY dentist office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

5 Things People Don’t Understand About Dental Health | Saratoga Springs Dentist

5 Things People Don't Understand About Dental Health

Do you have misconceptions about oral health? Many people do. Knowing the facts can help improve your dental hygiene for life, leading to a healthier and more beautiful smile. Here are five things people don’t understand about dental health. See if your eyes are opened. 

Misconception #1 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or decay between the teeth.  Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side. Proper brushing, more regular cleanings, and cosmetic dentistry (such as tooth whitening and veneers) are possible solutions you can explore with our dentist. 

Misconception #2 – Children are more prone to tooth decay

Tooth decay (cavities, or caries, in dental parlance) can develop at any age. People assume children are more prone to decay because of poor brushing and flossing habits. While that may be true, caries form in all people the same way: when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. 

Misconception #3 – My teeth are fine if they don’t hurt

Tooth decay typically doesn’t cause pain until it becomes very severe. Once it gets to a critical stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous mouth disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. That is why it is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our dentist can diagnose problems even at the earliest stages when there is no discomfort.

Misconception #4 – Tooth decay is only caused by sweets

Do you love sugary food and drinks? So do the bacteria that live in your mouth! They consume it and produce acid. This acid works to dissolve tooth enamel, which can result in decay. However, it’s important to know that this is not only true of sugar; it applies to anything containing starch or carbohydrates. Food such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta have the same effect on your teeth. The solution: Brush and floss after meals and snacks, or rinse well with water if you can’t brush.

Misconception #5 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to inefficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such cases, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continue to brush and floss.

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception.  It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits.  If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our dentist in Saratoga Springs office and make an appointment

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Saratoga Springs Dentist | How to Prevent Dry Sockets

Dentist in Saratoga Springs

Dry socket is a temporary but painful complication of tooth extraction. It not only causes intense pain; it stalls the healing process. Fortunately, it is rare, temporary, and usually preventable. Here are the causes of dry socket as well as tips to prevent this condition after oral surgery and ensure a quick and comfortable recovery.

What is Dry Socket?

When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the space left behind. This clot helps to block the underlying bone, gum tissue, and nerves from bacterial infection or food debris. The clot is meant to stay in place while the extraction site heals. In a few cases the clot may not form correctly or it becomes dislodged. This leaves the wound exposed, a condition called alveolar osteitis, or dry socket.

The most common sign of dry socket is a deep, throbbing pain from within the extraction area. Sometimes the trapped food or infection creates an unpleasant odor, causing bad breath and a bad  taste in the mouth. If this happens, call our office right away.

What Causes Dry Socket? 

Developing dry socket is rare, but certain factors can put you at increased risk. Poor oral hygiene, sucking motions, oral contraceptives, and gum infection around the extraction site are all risk factors. One of the top culprits is smoking. Studies show that 12 percent of people who smoke after a tooth extraction will develop this condition, compared with only 4 percent of nonsmokers. 

Why? The inhaling action can break the blood clot loose. It is also believed that the chemicals in tobacco products can delay healing. To prevent dry socket, avoid smoking a few weeks before and after the procedure. Our Saratoga Springs dentist can help advise you on smoking cessation steps. 

Other causes of dry socket include drinking with straws, and brushing or rinsing the extraction area vigorously during the healing process. Follow your post-treatment instructions and contact our office if you have questions.

Treatment of Dry Socket

If you develop a dry socket, we can offer quick, effective treatment. Our Saratoga Springs dental team will flush the extraction site to remove any debris and pack it with gauze or other dressing. We may prescribe medication to help reduce discomfort. It is important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your timely recovery.

Remember that dry socket is rare, temporary, and treatable. Our experienced dental team will guide you throughout your recovery. For more information on post-extraction care, contact our Saratoga Springs dental office.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
Url: https://my518dentist.com/
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Welcoming Dr. Juracka

Dear Current and Future Patients of Smiles for Life Dental Care,

I am so thankful for the opportunity to purchase Smiles for Life Dental Care from Dr. Mark A. Johnson.  I have been practicing dentistry in Pennsylvania since my graduation from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine in 2016.  

My wife Diana and I have two girls, Amelia who is 9 and Carolyn who is 5, and our two-year-old English Lab Vader.  Our family really enjoys the outdoors, hiking, gardening, cooking, and traveling.

I grew up in Saratoga Springs, graduating Saratoga Springs Senior High School in 2001.  Upon graduation I joined the United States Navy serving two deployments as an Air Traffic Controller from 2001 to 2005.

I always had the dream to be a Dentist and in 2009 I took the leap of faith, leaving behind a solid career in finance.  I will forever be proud of my choice to go back to school.

Saratoga Springs has a very special place in my heart.  As you know, there is nothing like walking down Broadway on a beautiful day, hiking in Saratoga Spa State Park, or seeing a concert at S.P.A.C.

Familiar Faces Farrah and Vera will continue at Smiles for Life Dental Care.  They are fantastic team members who are helping make this transition smooth and comfortable for all of us.  

Thank you for letting me introduce myself to you, trusting me to be your dentist, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

 Appreciatively Yours,
Joseph Juracka, DMD

Farewell from Dr. Johnson

March 4th, 2021

Dear Wonderful Patients of Smiles for Life Dental Care,

I have been blessed to be your dentist over these years. Some of you have been patients since my first year in practice – over 32 years ago!  I cannot thank you enough for entrusting me to care for you and your smiles.  I am grateful for every moment spent with you. In life’s journey, you sometimes must give up something you love to realize your dreams. Later this year, Angie and I will cast off to sail and live about the world on our sailboat Side Two.  This fall, follow us at https://sailsidetwo.wordpress.com. As part of our legacy of caring, we plan to provide free dental services on remote islands of the world using our sailboat as a mobile dental clinic. For us, the voice of the sea speaks to our souls and we are thrilled to return once again while we are young enough to sail the high seas. 

For some time, I have been looking for a kind dentist that shares our same passion for excellence and exceptional patient care. I could not seriously consider making any change until I found someone to whom I could confidently entrust the dental care of my patients to.

I am pleased and fortunate to announce that Dr. Joseph Juracka will be taking over as your dentist at Smiles for Life Dental Care.  After comprehensive training, his wife Diana will be inheriting the office manager position from Angie. They are a terrific couple, and we know you will love them!  

Dr. Juracka is a Saratoga Springs native and is returning home to rejoin his family, friends and to serve the community he dearly loves. After graduating from Saratoga Springs High School in 2001, he joined the U.S. Navy and served his country from 2001 to 2005.  Thereafter, he was a stockbroker at Vanguard from 2005 to 2012.   Deciding to fulfill his dream of being a dentist, Dr. Juracka attended the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine from 2012-2016.  Upon graduation, he joined a large group practice in Pennsylvania. He is skilled and very capable in all phases of dentistry, and truly loves what he does.  Diana is a Pennsylvania native but has fallen in love with Saratoga over the years. They are excited to move to Saratoga Springs with their two daughters, Amelia (9), Carolyn (5), and Vader, their black Lab.

Long-term team members Farrah and Vera will continue at Smiles for Life Dental Care, familiar faces that know you and your preferences.  They are excited about the prospect of working with Dr. Juracka. All your records will remain in the office and I will continue to be available to Dr. Juracka to answer any questions he might have about you. We are grateful for the privilege of caring for you and we know we leave you in good hands with Dr. Joseph Juracka and his wife Diana.

Thanks in advance for your support.  With sincere thanks, 
Marc A. Johnson D.D.S. (Dishwasher, Dentist, Sailor), Angie Johnson (Captain)
Joseph Juracka, D.M.D. and Diana Juracka