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You Can Do It! Giving Up Smoking for Better Dental Health

You Can Do It! Giving Up Smoking for Better Dental Health

Help with Smoking Cessation

As dental professionals, at Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, we believe we should actively work to help our patients giving up smoking. One of the techniques we use is called “the 5 A’s” (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange). Dr. Jamie J. Alexander believes patients can succeed at smoking cessation, even when there is no insurance reimbursement and when patients are addicted to nicotine. He believes patients can do it. He not only urges them; he takes time and personal interest to help them do it.

Why Giving up Smoking Helps with Dental Health

We know that habitual smokers are more likely to get gum disease and more likely to develop the plaque buildup that contributes to gum disease. By the time many of these patients start to have symptoms, their disease is advanced and often less responsive to treatment. Carcinogens and gases associated with tobacco smoke have negative effects on systemic health and make it more difficult for the body to heal and organs to function. They contribute to inflammatory diseases of all kinds, with lung disease and cardiovascular disease being among the most well-known to the public. Between 1964 and 2004, more than 12 million Americans died prematurely from smoking, and another 25 million U.S. smokers alive today will most likely die of a smoking-related illness. It accounts for about one-third of all cancer deaths.

Assistance with Giving up Smoking

Although some smokers can quit without help, many individuals need assistance. Extensive research has shown that treatments for tobacco addiction do work. Nicotine replacement treatments (NRTs) include nicotine gum and the transdermal nicotine patch. These were the first pharmacological treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for smoking cessation therapy and are now available over the counter. Dr. Alexander’s patients have had success with a combination of behavioral support and NRT treatment to relieve withdrawal symptoms. NRTs use low levels of nicotine and have little abuse potential since they do not produce the pleasurable effects of tobacco products.

Over-the-counter (OTC) FDA-approved Nicorette gum, lozenges, and nasal spray work for many to relieve cravings. The OTC Nicoderm transdermal patches are well known, and there are now some generic brands offered by the chain pharmacies. Studies indicate all the NRT products are equally effective.

Although the primary focus of pharmacological treatments for tobacco addiction has been nicotine replacement, other treatments are also available. For example, the antidepressant bupropion was approved by the FDA in 1997 to help people quit smoking and is marketed as Zyban. Varenicline tartrate (Chantix) is a medication that recently received FDA approval for smoking cessation. This medication, which acts at the sites in the brain affected by nicotine, may help people quit by easing withdrawal symptoms and blocking the effects of nicotine if people resume smoking. If NRTs have not worked for you, Dr. Alexander might recommend that you consult with your primary physician and recovery therapist about prescription medication that could help.

Behavioral therapy and emotional support play an important role in giving up smoking. As a patient, through supportive conversations, we can help you recognize high-risk smoking situations and develop alternative coping strategies for managing stress. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a national toll-free number, 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), to serve as a single access point for smokers seeking information and assistance in quitting. Callers to the number are routed to their State’s smoking cessation quit line or, in States that have not established quit lines, to one maintained by the National Cancer Institute. A new HHS Web site (www.smokefree.gov) offers online advice and downloadable information to make cessation easier.

When you come to the office of Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, for your oral health care, you will receive the encouragement and support you need to stop smoking. If you are an individual in drug or alcohol addiction recovery, we know smoking cessation may be more difficult for you. No one understands this better than Dr. Jamie Alexander, Boynton Beach, Florida’s Recovery Dentist.

Recovering A Meth Drug User's Teeth

A Drug User’s Teeth: Recovering Your Smile from Meth Use

Thanks to today’s dentistry and the compassionate care of dentists like Dr. Jamie Alexander, in Boynton Beach, FL, individuals in methamphetamine recovery affected by drug user’s teeth decay can restore their oral health and smiles.

Recovery Dentist, Jamie J. Alexander, has advanced education in addiction recovery support, and, experience in restoring whole mouths devastated by the enamel erosion and rampant tooth decay associated with meth usage. Before oral health stabilization and improvement can begin of a drug user’s teeth, the patient must be in recovery and no longer using methamphetamine. Once in recovery, a comprehensive diagnostic workup and careful treatment planning will lead to step-by-step treatment of decayed teeth and infected gums. This treatment will allow the body, as well as the mouth to heal—and during the process, the aesthetics of the smile will be restored, and in many cases, cosmetically enhanced more than the pre-addiction appearance.

The goals of a drug user’s teeth recovery are to achieve optimal oral health that supports systemic health, optimal chewing function so you can comfortably eat the full range of nutritious foods, and a confident, attractive smile.

Understanding Damage of a Meth Drug User’s Teeth

Numerous factors contribute to the extensive enamel erosion, rampant tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss characteristic of “meth mouth.”

  1. Methamphetamine is highly acidic.
  2. Methamphetamine also reduces saliva production, which buffers acid in the mouth.
  3. Users overlook normal oral hygiene during highs that last for 12 hours.
  4. Users crave sugar and typically have a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary drinks. This is an optimal environment for feeding bacteria to create more acid in the mouth and erode your teeth’s protective enamel.
  5. Chronic acid irritation and its associated inflammation often result in advanced gum disease and damage to the periodontal bone tissue surrounding tooth roots.
  6. Loose and painful teeth make eating nutritional foods difficult. Poor nutrition makes it difficult for the body to fight infection in the mouth and throughout the entire body.

Why You Must Be in Recovery Before Your Smile Can Be Restored

Unless you are not using, you will be unable to eliminate the chronic corrosive in your mouth, you will be unable to maintain a regular twice a day (or more) oral hygiene regimen, you will be highly unlikely to improve the nutrition your body needs for healing, and you will be highly likely to not comply with dental appointments. There is also another consideration. Local anesthetic used to numb the mouth during dental procedures that are uncomfortable will complicate your health risks and can interfere with your recovery. But, once you are following the path of sobriety, your body is healing, and your mental acuity returns, we can begin with the transitional care that will solve the immediate grave problems in your mouth and move you along towards the full smile recovery that will change your life.

Smile Recovery from Meth Mouth Will Change Your Life

Imagine having a mouth that doesn’t hurt…teeth that are stable when you chew…and a confident smile you are proud to show. Going out into the larger community to carry on a sober life becomes easier when you are not embarrassed by your mouth. For most patients, each improvement in their smile motivates them to continue sobriety and move forward with a healthy life.

Eliminating gum disease will go hand in hand with removing dental decay. Teeth can be restored with composite bonding and crowns. Missing teeth can be replaced with traditional crown and bridge treatment or a denture, depending on how many are lost on an arch. And, then, of course, implant therapy provides the highest standard care by filling in gaps with prosthetic teeth that feel, function, and appear completely natural. Cosmetic veneers may even be an option for some teeth. Treatment is unique to each patient and will depend a lot on your health history and the extent of the damage to the teeth and gums.

Dr. Jamie Alexander, the Recovery Dentist, located in Boynton Beach, FL, takes pride in rehabilitating whole mouths of those in meth recovery. Plus, he has a passion for helping his recovery patients stay in recovery. The kindness and genuine caring concern his entire dental team gives their patients create a lasting bond of hope and strength to pursue total health and a fuller life.

A complimentary initial consultation will give you the opportunity to sit privately with Dr. Alexander, share your story and burdens, talk about your oral health objectives, and get to know each other. In this warm environment, surrounded by love and understanding of your experience, you will learn, in more detail, how your oral health and smile rehabilitation can be achieved. You will be invited to have an exploratory examination of your mouth, and the choice to have this is yours. In recovery, you are in control of your life.

Even if a complete smile makeover is out of your financial reach right now, you need basic dental care. If you are a Florida resident within driving distance of Boynton Beach, you have an opportunity that Meth Recovery patients nationwide do not have. And, that is being in the care of a Recovery Dentist who will create a comprehensive plan for restoring your mouth and help you achieve this in phases you can afford. He will help you have the most conservative treatment options that will restore health. Are you dreaming of a beautiful smile, comfortable mouth, and total health recovery for a career and full social life? You don’t have to live with a drug user’s teeth once in recovery! Give Recovery Dentist Dr. Jamie J. Alexander a call today – 561-732-8877.

 

Dental Implant Options After Experiencing Dentures

Dental Implant Options After Having Dentures

Implant Treatment After Dentures

“One of the most wonderful advances in dentistry,” says Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., of Recovery Dentistry in Boynton Beach, FL, “is the ability to replace missing teeth with a stable prosthesis that provides stability, strong function, and natural appearance.”

Due to today’s materials and methods, patients who have worn a partial denture and undergone jawbone resorption can have a multi-unit implant prosthesis to replace multiple teeth. If a bone graft is needed to develop bone tissue prior to implant treatment, a successful treatment plan can be developed to help you achieve this.

If you have worn a complete overdenture, over time, changes in jawbone tissue result in uncomfortable denture fit, instability, and perhaps, poor appearance. One option is to seek treatment with a realigned or new denture that is custom fit to the current shape of your jaw bone and overlying gum tissue. But, you may prefer upgrading your denture to a more stable denture supported by dental implant options.

Dental Implant Options to Consider

  • Upgrade Option 1: A snap on removable denture is supported on 4 to 5 mini implants, depending on the size of your arch.

  • Upgrade Option 2: A fixed hybrid overdenture is retained on as few as 4 implants. This treatment has implants optimally placed and angled to make maximum use of available bone tissue.

Even if you have been wearing a full overdenture for a long time and experienced significant bone resorption, these two types of implant treatment are usually possible. The first step is a consultation with Dr. Alexander to learn more and discover what is most appropriate for you.

Healthy Balance for Extend Abstinence and Dental Benefits

Keeping a Healthy Balance to Extend Abstinence

An eight-year study of 1,162 addicts published in 2007 indicates that abstinence really does predict long-term recovery. Some takeaways from this research are:

  • For those who achieve a year of sobriety, less than half will relapse.
  • If you can make it to 5 years of sobriety, your chance of relapse is less than 15 percent.

This is a good reason to have hope. The study also reported that Only about a third of people who are abstinent less than a year will remain abstinent. Getting to that one year mark is more than a point of pride, it is an extended period of abstinence that is beneficial to the body, mind and emotional system.

The Fear of Relapsing

The one year mark is also a time when those in recovery fear relapse. They have heard countless stories of others who have relapsed just as they approach, reach or pass one year of abstinence.

Fear of relapse causes stress in the body’s emotional system that can grow into high anxiety and lead to negative thoughts. The “I think I can” determination of “The Little Engine Who Could” waivers. The extreme of high anxiety can put the recovering addict at high risk of relapse, just as can the overconfidence some feel upon reaching a whole year.

Balanced Lifestyle to Gain Life and Dental Benefits

Maintaining balance is very important. If you find your thoughts are becoming more negative, or on the other hand, overly confident, this is a good time to reach out to your counselors and support groups and share these feelings.

As a health-oriented dentist with formal advanced education in addiction and recovery, I hope my recovery patients and other readers of this article trust my advice. This advice is echoed in recovery counseling blogs throughout the Web.

Maintaining a positive attitude and control over anxiety is supported by a balanced brain chemistry and healthy body, including dental benefits. These are dependent on:

  • balanced nutrition (Eat healthy meals and snacks on a regular schedule.)
  • regular physical exercise (At least, get up and walk throughout the day.)
  • regular nights of sleep (Go to bed on a regular schedule, early enough to get 8 hours of sleep.)
  • interacting socially with others (Hopefully, you have cause to laugh often among others who support your efforts to remain abstinent.)
  • feelings of self-worth (Having work to do that has value to others, no matter what you do, can help make this happen.)
  • avoiding stress triggers (Through recovery counseling, you have come to recognize the environments and situations that trigger high stress and the desire to relapse. Sometimes, you just need to walk away, find healthy shelter and rest.)
  • positive self-talk (When feelings of depression become frequent or chronic, they can be difficult to stop. Learn to recognize you have a lot of control over negative thoughts and nip them in the bud. Be honest with yourself, and get perspective from someone you trust.)

Trust is what I hope to achieve with all my dental patients. If you are in recovery, you can reach out to me to talk. Of course, as your dentist, I can help restore your self-esteem and overall health by restoring your oral health and smile. But, the listening ear and caring perspective I can give may be what you need more, at any one moment, to reduce your stress, rebalance your brain chemistry, and make it to your next abstinence goal. If you want to talk about more than dental benefits and oral health, I’ll listen and more. As my patient, we are in a relationship that goes beyond treatment of gums and teeth. I want to know you better and for you to know me better. Just reach out.

Wishing you a long life of abstinence,

Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., your Boynton Beach Recovery Dentist

 

Dr. Alexander talking recovery dentistry on My Recovery Radio

Dr. Alexander & Recovery Dentistry on the Radio!

In case you missed it….

Heard About the Power of Good Breath & a Nice Smile?

A nice smile, good breath, and the confidence to be close changes lives. Those in recovery have a safe place to come for oral health recovery in the Palm Beach County area

Many have found improved employment and started dating again after improving their oral health and smile at Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, Dentistry for Those in Recovery. But, the power of a nice smile goes beyond this by naturally improving your brain chemistry. When you smile and laugh, your serotonin and endorphin levels increase. Laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release.

Recently Dr. Jamie Alexander was on MyRecoveryRadio.com sharing why he pioneered the field of recovery dentistry and the powerful social impact a healthy mouth has on the person in recovery as well as those around them. You can listen to the podcast here, with his segment beginning 10 minutes into the recording.

Listen to Dr. Alexander’s Story in His Own Words

Dr. Jamie Alexander, founder of Recovery Dentistry in Boynton Beach, FL, was recently a guest on MyRecoveryRadio.com, telling his personal story in his own words (click here to listen to the podcast) Dr. Alexander is a man that has a love and passion for those in recovery. His entire office, located in Boynton Beach, has been affected by addiction in one way of another. In his interview, Dr. Alexander explains how he got into this field, his love for the sick and suffering, and why a nice smile can help launch your recovery.

Ask Dr. Alexander a Question about Recovery Dentistry

Dr. Alexander Recovery DentistryThose in recovery, who desire improved oral health and a beautiful smile, have many questions. Dr. Jamie Alexander, the Recovery Dentist, invites you to email your question to drj@boyntonbeachdentist.com. Your question will receive a personal response and may be the topic of a future blog. If you have a question but need a more immediate response, you can call Dr. Alexander’s office at (561) 732-8877 to set up a consultation.

Nicotine Addiction | Recovery Dentistry

Nicotine Addiction in Recovery

The Myths and Facts about Nicotine Addiction

By Jamie J. Alexander, DDS,

Many of my dental patients in drug or alcohol recovery are addicted to nicotine. Their habit gets in the way of whole body wellness, and exacerbates oral health problems.

Unfortunately, smoking and other forms of nicotine use can be difficult to stop. Because quitting puts the body through nicotine withdrawal and leaves behind emotional and social attachment, quitting can be a prolonged process and relapse is common. Society’s and the Sober Community’s acceptance of smoking as a “lesser evil” doesn’t help the nicotine addict to quit.

Many of those around you may not think you have to quit and are smoking next to you on work breaks and after recovery meetings. But, you do know the health risks, so isn’t it time you loved yourself enough to challenge yourself to quit?

Recently, I came across an online article I’d like to share. It’s title is “Recovery from Nicotine Addiction: Myths vs. Facts.” Read the article and remember:

  1. It’s never too late to quit. The body can heal. The sooner you stop the less damage your body will have to recover from.
  2. You can’t lapse and have “just one” cigarette. If you do, you will refuel your nicotine cravings.
  3. Relapse never happens without warning. Once you get rid of the physical addiction, it’s emotional attachment that keeps you thinking about using again. Get rid of counterproductive thoughts and feelings as fast as they occur.
  4. The more days that pass since your last cigarette, the stronger you will become.
  5. You deserve improved health—you are worth it.
Understanding chemical dependency and oral health | Recovery Dentist

Understanding Chemical Dependency and Oral Health

Chemical dependency is highly correlated with extended periods of poor nutrition, lapses in oral hygiene, infrequent dental care, and increased incidence of dental cavities, gum disease, and untreated cracked, broken and infected teeth. In addition to the pain, impaired health, limited chewing function, and fear common to patients returning to the dentist after dental deterioration has occurred, it is very common for these dependency affected patients to be socially embarrassed about the appearance of their smile and highly tentative about being judged by clinicians.

Compassionate, well-informed dentists who are knowledgeable about these special patients can help restore their quality of life and health.

In addition to being observant for medical emergencies that may arise due to the patient’s health and drug reactions, there are numerous considerations that go into treating these patients.

Chemical Dependency & Diet:

Diets high in sugar or acids can lead to a significant increase in cavities. Generally speaking, those that are “still using” are not typically concerned with consuming healthy food selections. Pre-prepared foods, fast foods, and starchy or sugary snacks are tough on our oral health. Most notably, sodas, sports drinks, as well as alcoholic beverages, are the perfect storm of sugars and acids.

Alcohol, as well as many abused prescription and illegal substances, act as diuretics. Diuretics act as dehydrating substances for the body, and can cause there to be a change in the amount and content of saliva. Saliva has many protective enzymes and lubricating substances within it to naturally protect the mouth.

The patient should be counseled about diet, oral hygiene, and dehydrating properties of abusive substances, and provided access to oral hygiene products that aid in the remineralization of tooth enamel.

Chemical Dependency & Dental Hygiene:

Prior to taking steps toward sobriety, many of the finer details of proper self-care can lapse. One of the daily routines that are often forgotten is regular and adequate brushing and dental flossing. Improper oral hygiene can lead to the accumulation of food particles and debris. This build up over time can cause cavities as well as gingivitis (inflammation and infection of the gums).

In addition to resumption of regular home care that includes brushing and flossing, the patient will need to resume regular visits to the dentist for professional teeth cleaning, with special attention to restoring the health of the periodontal tissue (gums).

The patient will need a comprehensive examination by the dentist to determine a complete picture of the patient’s oral health circumstances and what dental treatments will be required before the patient is out of the disease elimination phase and into the preventive management phase, where home care efforts like flossing, brushing and rinsing have the desired effect of keeping the mouth healthy.

Visits to the Dentist:

Let’s be real; going to the dentist does not top the list of favorite places to be. Even when one is sober, it is easy for regular Boynton Beach dentist visit to fall off the to-do list. It is not a stretch, then, to assume that preventive dental visits may not happen for those unstable in their sobriety.

It is in routine preventative dental visits where we help our patients maintain proper dental health and diagnose potential dental problems. These can begin after the patient’s emergency dental needs have been met and the patient has received treatments to stop active disease such as tooth decay and gum disease. For patients recovering from dental neglect, this sometimes takes a period of months to a year of frequent visits. Once preventative care begins, the patient may only need twice yearly teeth cleanings and examination by the dentist.

Often, smaller preventable dental problems lead to bigger, more involved and painful issues. Recovering addicts who have had lapses in oral hygiene and dental visits are very conscious of their oral health circumstances, embarrassed about the extent to which problems have grown, and at the same time very desirous of achieving a healthy mouth and confident smile. The informed, caring dental team can ease the tentative patient into a comfortable frame of mind for pursuing her or his oral health and cosmetic objectives.

For information about Dr. Jamie J. Alexander and his private practice specializing in dental care for those affected by chemical dependency, please give us a call at (561) 732-8877