Something to Chew On
Acid Reflux/GERD and it's effect on your Oral Health

 Acid Reflux/GERD
 Over 10 percent of Americans experience the discomfort of heartburn every day. Heartburn, or acid indigestion, is a common symptom of chronic acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What is Acid Reflux and GERD?
Acid reflux takes place when muscles of the esophagus relax and allow stomach acids to flow upwards. These acids can cause irritation and inflammation, and negatively impact your oral health. Acid reflux can progress further and develop into GERD Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease  is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. GERD causes corrosion of the esophageal lining and an uncomfortable burning sensation associated with heartburn.
Signs and Symptoms
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation
  • Burning sensation in mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea, vomiting, belching
  • Chronic coughing
  • Erosion of tooth enamel
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chipping, discoloration of teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Cavities
  • Dry mouth
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
How Does GERD Affect Your Oral Health?
GERD can erode tooth enamel. Research shows tooth enamel begins to erode at a pH, or acid level, of 5.5. Your stomach acid with the pH of 2.0, can easily damage tooth enamel and cause increased tooth sensitivity, decay, discoloration, and chipping.
Treatments and Lifestyle Modifications
Though GERD is a chronic condition, its symptoms can be treated using medications and lifestyle modifications. You can reduce GERD symptoms by...
  • Avoiding trigger foods and beverages, including chocolate, spicy/greasy foods, tomato-based foods, alcohol, and coffee, citrus fruits and juices.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Refraining from eating several hours before bed, or lying down two to three hours after eating.
  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Avoiding tight clothing.
Protect Your Teeth Against Acid Reflux
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent acid reflux or GERD from damaging your teeth and causing decay. In addition to brushing twice a day, you can take the following steps to ensure GERD doesn't impact your oral health...
  • Visit your dentist regularly for tooth enamel evaluation.
  • Rinse your mouth with water following acid reflux episodes.
  • Do not brush your teeth for 60 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks.
  • Drink the proper amount of water through out the day, it is recommended for men to consume 13 cups of water per day and women to consume 9 cups per day.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste, we recommend CLINPRO, receive fluoride treatments to strengthen your teeth, and use a daily prescription strength fluoride product. Our office offers OMNI GEL.
  • Avoid over-the-counter antacids, especially at night, that have a high sugar content.
Speak to you dental provider, and physician if you believe you could be at risk of acid reflux or GERD. GERD can be incredibly damaging to your oral health,  however lifestyle modifications and proper dental treatment can help ensure your teeth remain safe and healthy.

Jaw Noises and Pain

Sensitive Teeth

Morning Headaches


Night Guards

The History of the Dental Chair

If you required a tooth extraction in the 1700s, it is quite likely that you wouldn't have had a stool to sit on during the process. Most  likely your dentist would have asked you to sit on the floor. He would have knelt behind you securing your head between his knees. This position provided easy access to your teeth and it kept your head still. This was prior to the invention of pain-killers, hence the reason for the hold down. Some dentists dealt with the squirmy patients and chose to set dental patients in a normal chair, without a head rest, while they were treated. Either experience used to be painful both for the patient and dentist.

In 1790, back and neck saver, Josiah Flagg, an American dentist, took a wooden chair and created a special head rest to improve the patient’s position, keeping the head in a fixed position while operating. He used a large Windsor style chair. He attached the head rest and an arm extension where he created space for dental equipment placement, and a place for patients to cling on to during tough procedures. The adjustments were revolutionary for that time and the actual design was used for a long time.

In 1832 the reclining chair was created. James Snell of London designed and created the first fully adjustable dental chair. The adjustment features were minor, but it helped innovate our current dental chair design, and by late 1800s, they were the most popular in the market.

In 1848, Milton Waldo Hanchett of Syracuse, NY patented the first modern dental chair. This chair included a headrest, a height-adjustable seat, and a back that could be tilted to put the patient and dentist at ease.

In 1867, Dr. James Beall Morrison, created the chair with foot pedals, and more movement. It had many new features such as footrest, ball-and socket joint beneath the chair, and vertical adjustment.

In 1877 Professor and dentist, Basil Manly Wilkerson introduced the first model of “The Wilkerson Chair”. This model featured an up-and-down trajectory. It was the world’s first pump-type hydraulic dental chair, and marketed at a “hefty” price of $175.

As in all other aspects of dentistry, chair technology still to this day continues to advance. Chairs we use today are made of steel, plastic, and aluminum. They all involve electronic or hydraulic components. This provides quick and smooth movements. Each design takes into account the latest in ergonomics, hygiene and convenience of the dentist.

The next time you find yourself in a dental chair, lay back, relax, and remember that you're enjoying the finest dental chair experience that history has to offer! It is something that we as dental care providers are very thankful every single day we are in the office.

Chairs of the past...



Today's Luxurious Possibilities!


Sleep? What is that?


Sleep and its role in the quality of your life…


Have you ever thought about the value of sleep and the impact lack of sleep has on one’s life?  By definition, the word “sleep” means a period of rest for the body and mind, during which volition and consciousness are in abeyance and bodily functions are partially suspended; also described as a behavioral state, with characteristic immobile posture and diminished but readily reversible sensitivity to external stimuli.  Wow!  Sounds very complex doesn’t it?  Proper sleep is so vital to one’s health that without a proper sleep pattern one’s quality of life is diminished.  Regular amounts of sleep are vital to your health, happiness, social life and success.

Someone suffering from a sleep disorder may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

·         Snoring

·         Sleepier than expected during the day

·         Problems falling asleep easily

·         Has trouble staying asleep

·         Clenches and grinds teeth while asleep

·         Moves around a lot while sleeping

·         Sleepwalks or talks in sleep

·         Has frequent nightmares

·         Poor concentration

·         Behavioral problems in school

·         Memory problems

If you or anyone you know suffers from these symptoms it might be time to have a consultation with a sleep specialist.  The majority of people with sleep disturbances clench and grind their teeth in search of proper air.  Many times this habit known as “Bruxism” goes unnoticed.  It is very common for people to have anatomical constriction associated with breathing. As a result, the brain tells the teeth to grind together and move around in order to widen the space for air to pass through.


Some causes of constricted airway space include:

·         Large tonsils

·         Forward posturing of the neck

·         TMJ disorder

·         Whiplash/Neck trauma

·         Missing back teeth

·         Under developed mandible (lower jaw)

·         Overly large tongue

·         Narrow Maxilla (upper jaw)

·         Facial trauma


Most people I treat with TMJ disorders almost always present with sleep disorders as well. The body will do whatever it has to in order to breath in air. This normally includes clenching and grinding the teeth to find a path for air to pass through.  Sleeping on one’s side or tossing and turning while asleep. Posturing the neck and lower jaw forward are also common habits people have in order to open the airway space near the back of the throat.  Breathing through the mouth is also a very good sign that someone suffers from an airway constriction and a sleep disorder. 

A receded lower jaw (mandible) with a large overjet of the upper front teeth normally appears in people who have sleep disturbances and can usually be detected in very young children.  Treatment for sleep disorders can vary depending on the accuracy of the diagnosis.  Many people with sleep disorders benefit from orthotic sleep appliances that fit securely over the teeth.  Other methods of treatment may be beneficial as well depending on the results of a professional sleep study. A complete dental evaluation of how the teeth occlude together along with a TMJ examination will aid in a complete and proper diagnosis of most types of sleep disorders.

With today’s diagnostic imaging technology along with a thorough clinical evaluation many people are living life better than ever before simply by solving airway obstruction problems.  Pay close attention to the symptoms mentioned above and if you or your loved ones suffer from any form of sleep disturbance I recommend you seek a consultation and evaluation.  A well trained dentist who focuses on TMJ and airway space disorders is a great starting point! 


Yours for Better Health,

Dr. Christine R. Wenrick




Dangers of Oral Piercings

The Serious Risk of Oral Piercings 

Maybe you or your friends have considered, or already have, mouth jewelry. Though it may look stylish, it's our job as dental providers to alert you to the harmful effects of this trend.

There are some common risk of oral piercing that are important to consider before having one done, or continuing to wear one.

  • Since your month contains millions of bacteria, oral piercings may easily become infected.

  • Your tongue- the most popular piercing site in the mouth- could swell large enough to block your airway.

  • Piercings can cause uncontrollable bleeding and nerve damage.

  • You can choke on any studs, barbells, or hoops that come loose in your mouth.

  • Teeth may be chipped or cracked from contact with the jewelry, one study in a dental journal reported that 47% of people wearing barbell tongue jewelry for 4 or more years had a least one chipped tooth.

  • Bacteria breeding around your piercing can cause bad breath.

  • Transmission of diseases, Oral piercing is a potential risk factor for the transmission of herpes and hepatitis B and C.

  • Because of the wound created by the piercing, there's a chance that bacteria could enter the bloodstream and lead to the development of endocarditis-- and inflammation of the heart or its valves.

  • Difficulties in daily oral functions. Tongue piercing can result in difficulty chewing and swallowing food and speaking clearly. The jewelry stimulates and excessive production of saliva. Drooling is possible consequence of increased saliva production. 

  • Gum disease--People with oral piercings have a greater risk of gum disease than those with oral piercings.The jewelry can come into contact with gum tissue causing injury as well gum recession, which can leas to loose teeth and tooth loss
  • Tasting ability can also be altered

  • Allergic reaction can occur.

Also keep in mind that since your oral health is closely linked to your overall health, the effects of an oral piercing may have a greater impact than you realize. You are not only risking your oral health, but also the well-being of your entire body.

You have decided to move forward

If you have decided to go through with the oral piercing procedure despite all risks we have mentioned, consider the following tips when looking for an oral piercing studio.
  • Ask friends who have had their tongue, lips, or cheeks pierced -- and have suffered no ill consequences -- to recommend the name of the studio they visited.
  • Visit the studio. Does the studio have a clean appearance, especially the area where the piercing is done? Ask if they use hospital-grade autoclaves for sterilization and/or use disposable instruments. Does the staff use disposable gloves?
  • Ask to see the studio's health certificates.
  • Are all the needles, as well as the studs, hoops, and barbells, kept in sterilized packaging?
  • Are all staff members involved in the piercings vaccinated against hepatitis B? They should be.

If the staff is not friendly or willing to answer all of your questions, consider finding another piercing studio.

The healing process

A pierced tongue can take four to six weeks to heal. Pierced lips take between one and two months to heal. During this healing period, here's what you should do:

  • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hard and sticky foods.
  • Don't smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Brush after every meal and rinse with a mouthwash, such as Listerine.
  • Rinse your mouth frequently with warm salt water.
  • Eat soft foods. Consult with your dentist about taking  vitamins to promote faster healing.
  • Make an appointment with your dentist if you suspect a problem or have a concern. It is critical for dentists to check your teeth, gums, tongue, and soft tissues for early signs of any problems.

Waring Signs of needing medical attention

If you notice any of the following warning signs after getting an oral piercing, contact a healthcare professional right away:

  • Yellow or green discharge from the piercing site (Note: A whitish or clear discharge is normal)
  • Scarring or thickened tissue that builds up and darkens around the piercing site
  • Increased redness, pain and tenderness, or swelling at the piercing site
  • A pimple-like abscess on the piercing site
  • Bleeding or tearing after the initial healing of the piercing
  • A low-grade fever that is persistent in the days following piercing.

Oral Care for Babies

Children’s baby teeth need to be brushed

As soon as a child’s first tooth comes in, it should be brushed. But 63 percent of American parents didn’t begin brushing for their children at this time. Instead, they waited until there were a few or even a full set of teeth.

The first tooth – and all subsequent teeth – should be brushed gently with a soft, child-sized toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice a day until age 2. A small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used from ages 2 to 6. Even before children get the first tooth, the mouth and gums should be wiped with a soft, damp cloth or infant toothbrush after feedings.

Poorly established brushing habits have helped contribute to so many kids having cavities. These habits set a foundation for children as they get older. It’s important for parents to get their children in a routine as soon as the first tooth appears, so they don’t question the habit later on.

Children’s bottles and sippy cups at naptime and bedtime should be filled with water

Many parents don’t know that children shouldn't be put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, unless it contains water. But, 46 percent of parents with children under age 3 put their child down for a nap or bedtime with a bottle or sippy cup containing milk or juice at least once a week or more.

Fruit juice, and even plain milk, can be harmful to young kids’ oral health. Both beverages have many grams of sugar that, when left to bathe on teeth at naptime or overnight, can result in tooth decay.

Parents should only fill bottles or sippy cups with water, except at meal and snack times. And anytime children are given sugary beverages or snacks, teeth should be either rinsed with water or brushed afterward.

Some other important habits for healthy smiles:

  • Once any two teeth are touching, parents should floss, or help the child floss, once a day.
  • Children should first visit the dentist within six months of getting the first tooth – and no later than the first birthday.
  • Parents should eliminate saliva-transferring behaviors – such as sharing utensils and toothbrushes and cleaning a pacifier with their mouths – which are all activities that can pass harmful bacteria to a child.

Queen Victoria and Dental Hygiene

In the 19th century England's reigning monarch was grooming her teeth with a set of personal oral hygiene instruments. During the Victorian period they were very hygiene-oriented. Men carried toothpicks and women carried chatelaines (decorative hooks) with toothpicks on them. If you had the money you had your own set of scalers to take to the dentist with you.” With their mother-of-pearl handles and gilded crown ornamentation, Victoria's instruments were truly fit for a queen!

Gum Disease

Clenching and Grinding

Tempromandibular Joint Disorders

Written by: Dr. Christine R. Wenrick

Do you suffer from jaw pain?  Headaches?  Maybe even neck pain and ringing in your ears? 


The link between these symptoms and The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is almost always a given.  Too many people suffer with TMJ Disorders and don’t even know it. 


The TMJ is a major joint in the body and probably the most used.  This joint allows us to nourish our bodies threw the process of chewing.  Without this joint’s proper function the ability to chew healthy food is significantly diminished.


The TMJ is located just in front of our ear canals.  It functions like a hinge connecting the upper jaw to the lower jaw.  These joints are flexible and should always move freely without pain, noises, or locking.


Unfortunately, the TMJ’s are often traumatized at an early age by macro-trauma.  Falling on our chin as a toddler can disrupt the normal growth of this joint causing dysfunction later in life.  Car accidents, sports injuries, whiplash, concussions, and neck problems can disrupt the normal function and anatomy of these joints. 


If you suffer from any of these symptoms you may have a TMJ disorder:

·         Pain or soreness in the face

·         Limitations with opening the mouth

·         A bite shift

·         Headaches, earaches, neck and shoulder pain

·         Clenching and grinding of teeth

·         Jaws that get “stuck” or “locked” open or closed

·         Clicking, popping, or grating noises when opening, closing, or eating

·         Difficulty chewing

·         Ringing in the ears


Many TMJ disorders occur at a much younger age than when these symptoms actually start to surface.  Most disruption in the jaw joint involves the disc becoming dislocation, or herniated.  The TMJ Disc is a soft, cushion permanently attached to the jaw joint bones themselves.  Any of the previously mentioned traumas can cause this disc to detach itself from the TMJ leaving potentially permanent side effects.  Symptoms related to disc detachment normally happen visually in the bite.  This visual change is only something that a trained dentist can actual see.  There are tell-tale signs in tooth on tooth contact that a trained TMJ dentist will look for and educate the patient. 


Poor sleep, sleep apnea, snoring, and tired tight facial jaw muscles are other signs of a TMJ Disorder.  The more detailed a patient is with their history of trauma and symptoms, the better a trained TMJ Dentist can diagnose and treat TMJ Disorders. 


Pain medication, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs should only be used on a temporary basis while diagnosing and treating this disorder.  The ultimate goal is to restore the TMJ structures to the healthiest position possible.  Treating structures appropriately from a detailed diagnostic perspective is key. Image based diagnostic criteria via MRI’s and CT Scans becomes the standard of care while making accurate diagnoses and treatment choices for the TM Joint. 


The key to treating structural TMJ problems is as always, early detection.  Normally, an acute TMJ disorder treated as early as possible can have very good treatment results for the patient.  Left untreated, most conditions will turn chronic and lead to many different locations of pain and even arthritic changes in the joint’s bone structure.  When visiting one’s dentist, if any of the above symptoms are present always ask he or she for a referral to a dentist trained in the treatment of TMJ or associated disorders.





The Benefits of Dental Sealants

According to the CDC, almost 70 percent of American's are affected by dental decay by the age of 19. Left untreated tooth decay or cavities can result in pain, infection and tooth loss.

Sealants are a highly effective option to help prevent the on set of decay. Dental sealants have been proven safe and cost-efficient. The dental procedure is painless, and when preformed correctly can be one of the best preventive actions taken for a child's dental health. Even healthcare forces are seeing the benefits of dental sealants, and providing school-based programs to children in need of dental hygiene instruction and prevention.

Sealants are a thin plastic coating applied to the tiny grooves on the chewing surface of molars. Most tooth decay in children occurs here. Sealants protect the tooth surface from decay and from keeping bacteria, and food out of the tiny grooves of the teeth.

Studies show that children are the best candidates for dental sealants. Parents should consider sealants as a preventive measure in their child's oral health. The majority of cavities occur in the pits and grooves of a child's newly erupted teeth. Food particles and bacteria are not easily cleaned out of these areas.

Dental sealants act as a protective barrier to seal space between the tooth surface and bacteria or food particles, that would other wise cause a cavity in an unsealed tooth. Combined with brushing twice and day, using fluoride, a healthy diet and visiting the dentist twice a year properly applied dental sealants are 100 percent effective in preventing cavities.

Remember that dental sealants protect the tooth surface, not the gums. A dental sealant will not protect against gingivitis, periodontal disease, oral cancer or other common dental conditions.

Placing sealants is a simple and painless procedure. The dentist will clean and dry the surface of the tooth before placing the sealant. During the placement of sealants the dentist will ensure that surface of the tooth remains dry and free of bacteria. An acidic solution is applied to the tooth to create a rough surface that increases the surface area for a better hold of the sealant being placed. A thin layer of liquid plastic material is painted into the pits and grooves of the tooth. After the plastic is applied, a blue light is shone on the material for a few seconds to cure and set the plastic. After the plastic is cured the plastic becomes a hard, thin layer protecting the surface of the tooth.

Sealants do wear naturally. Despite the heavy pressures from chewing they have the potential to remain very effective for seven years or more if properly cared for.

Our Electric Toothbrush Demo

Bad Breath?

Many people wanting to slim down are jumping on the low-carbohydrate diet trend in an attempt to lose weight. However, as dieters shed pounds, many are saying goodbye to carbs and hello to halitosis. 


Low-carb diets work by limiting the amount of carbohydrates ingested, which allows the body to burn stored fat instead of carbohydrates. When the body burns fat as fuel, chemicals called ketones are produced. These ketones are released in the breath and urine and may result in halitosis. Ketones aren't the only bad breath culprit for this diet. The types of foods ingested also play a role.


"Most cases of bad breath originate from the breakdown of food particles that produce sulfur compounds, and from bacteria on the gums and tongue," says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Bruce DeGinder, DDS, MAGD. " High-protein foods can produce more sulfur compounds, especially overnight on the surface of the tongue when saliva production is diminished."


Tips to combat halitosis:


1. Drink water to wash away germs


Drinking plenty of water can help dilute the concentration of ketones, but that isn't the only benefit. Drinking water throughout the day can help cleanse teeth of excess bacteria and food debris. Bad breath can sometimes be caused by food particles caught in the teeth, and drinking water will help rinse away odor-causing particles.


2. Chew sugarless gum with xylitol


Chewing sugarless gum after meals can help keep bad breath away. Saliva production increases during chewing and this can help neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth. Chewing parsley can have the same effect because it also increases saliva production.


Sugar-free gum with xylitol can also help prevent cavities. Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in plants and fruits, and research shows it inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the oral bacteria that cause cavities.


3. Keep a toothbrush handy and brush after all meals


Brushing and flossing at least twice a day can help keep your mouth healthy and prevent odors. An AGD survey found that 75 percent of people eat at the office but less than 15 percent of them brush their teeth after eating. Cleaning the tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper after meals can also help alleviate odors.

 4. Ask your dentist about prescription mouth rinse and tooth paste for and extra kick to combat bad breath. Our office keeps Breath RX products in stock.

If halitosis continues, a general dentist or doctor can help determine the source of the odor. Halitosis can sometimes have more serious causes. "Ketone breath is also used to describe a fruity smell on the breath that can be an indication that a person may have diabetes," says Dr. DeGinder. "This can originate when the body is breaking down fat particles because there is not sufficient glucose present as fuel for energy."