Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Patient Referral Program (PRP)

Dear Friends,

Over the last 30 years our practice has grown exclusively from word of mouth referrals by our existing patients. For this we are most grateful.

In an effort to reward those special people who are kind enough to recommend our practice to their friends and family, we are launching our Referral Rewards Program.

The program is as follows:

A. Give one of our referral cards to a friend, co-worker or family member.
B. Once that person makes and completes their new patient appointment you will have the ability to choose one of the following rewards!
1.$25 gift certificate to Home Depot, Target, Olive Garden, or Borders.
2.$50 credit on your next visit
3.$100 off tooth whitening
C. In addition to receiving this initial “Thank You” benefit, your name then goes into “the pot” for a grand prize drawing that will take place once the practice reaches 12 referrals from all sources. If you refer 2, 3, or 4 people out of that 12, your name goes in “the pot” 2, 3 or 4 times. The winner has a choice of:
1.A mini laptop computer
2.A 3-day, 2-night stay at the famous Nemocolin Resort in PA.
D. Your referral includes only 1 member of a family.

Please know that anyone you refer to our office will be given our best professional care. Care that you know is really unsurpassed in the dental industry today.

We are very excited about this program and hope you will participate.

Warmest Regards,

Thomas J Fenlon DDS
Howard County Family Dentistry

To learn more about this or you have any questions please feel free to visit our website at www.howardcountydentist.com. Call us at (410)-442-2800 or email us at info@howardcountydentist.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How To Select a Good Dentist

10 Questions and Observations That Will Help You Choose a Dentist

Many situations can occur that may require us to find a new dentist such as moving, having a dentist retire, or needing special services our dentist can't provide. Although we all know that proper dental care is vital to good health, most of us don't know how to choose a good dentist. It can be difficult to know what questions to ask and what things to observe in the process of choosing a good dentist. You will want to know both how the dentist treats you as a person and how he treats your mouth. Following are some key questions to ask and observations to make in the process of making your choice.

Full article click here

To learn more about this or you have any questions please feel free to visit our website at www.howardcountydentist.com. Call us at (410)-442-2800 or email us at info@howardcountydentist.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Snoring May Impair Brain Function

Snoring May Impair Brain Function

It has been linked to learning impairment, stroke and premature death. Now UNSW research has found that snoring associated with sleep apnea may impair brain function more than previously thought.

Sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea experience similar changes in brain biochemistry as people who have had a severe stroke or who are dying, the research shows.

A study by UNSW Brain Sciences, published this month in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, is the first to analyze - in a second-by-second timeframe - what is happening in the brains of sufferers as they sleep. Previous studies have focused on recreating oxygen impairment in awake patients.

"It used to be thought that apnea snoring had absolutely no acute effects on brain function but this is plainly not true," said lead author of the study, New South Global Professor Caroline Rae.

Sleep apnea affects as many as one in four middle-aged men, with around three percent going on to experience a severe form of the condition characterized by extended pauses in breathing, repetitive asphyxia and sleep fragmentation.

Children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids are also affected, raising concerns of long-term cognitive damage.

Professor Rae and collaborators from Sydney University's Woolcock Institute used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study the brains of 13 men with severe, untreated, obstructive sleep apnea. They found that even a moderate degree of oxygen de-saturation during the patients' sleep had significant effects on the brain's bioenergetics status.

"The findings show that lack of oxygen while asleep may be far more detrimental than when awake, possibly because the normal compensatory mechanisms don't work as well when you are asleep," Professor Rae, who is based at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, said.

"This is happening in someone with sleep apnea acutely and continually when they are asleep. It's a completely different biochemical mechanism from anything we've seen before and is similar to what you see in somebody who has had a very severe stroke or is dying."

The findings suggested societal perceptions of snoring needed to change, Professor Rae said.

"People look at people snoring and think it's funny. That has to stop."

Professor Rae said it was still unclear why the body responded to oxygen depletion in this way. It could be a form of ischemic preconditioning at work, much like in heart attack sufferers whose initial attack makes them more protected from subsequent attacks.

"The brain could be basically resetting its bioenergetics to make itself more resistant to lack of oxygen," Professor Rae said. "It may be a compensatory mechanism to keep you alive, we just don't know, but even if it is it's not likely to be doing you much good."

To learn more about this or you have any questions please feel free to visit our website at www.howardcountydentist.com. Call us at(410)-442-2800 or email us at info@howardcountydentist.com

Monday, June 8, 2009

Studies Show that People with Sleep Apnea have a High Risk of Death

A study in the August 1 issue of the journal Sleep shows that people with severe sleep apnea have a much higher mortality risk than people without sleep apnea, and this risk increases when sleep apnea is untreated. Results show that people who have severe sleep apnea, which involves frequent breathing pauses during sleep, have three times the risk of dying due to any cause compared with people who do not have sleep apnea. This risk is represented by an adjusted hazard ratio of 3.2 after controlling for age, sex and body mass index. When 126 participants who reported regular use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy were removed from the statistical analysis, the hazard ratio for all-cause mortality related to severe sleep apnea rose to 4.3.

"We found that both men and women with sleep apnea in the general population - not patients - mostly undiagnosed and untreated, had poorer survival compared with persons without sleep apnea, given equa! l BMI, a ge and sex," said principal investigator and lead author Terry Young, PhD, professor of epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

According to Young, most previous studies of sleep apnea and mortality have involved patients referred for a clinical sleep diagnostic evaluation; the mortality risk for sleep apnea in the general population has not been previously reported.

The study was an 18-year follow-up of 1,522 participants in the ongoing Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, which was established in 1988 and involved a random sample of men and women from the community who were between the ages of 30 and 60 when the study began. After spending one night at the University of Wisconsin General Clinical Research Center for assessment by polysomnography, participants were categorized by apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which is the average number of breathing pauses (apneas) and reductions (hypopneas) per hour of sleep. Sixty-three individuals (about four percent) had severe sleep apnea at baseline with an AHI of 30 or more and a range of 30 to 97 apneas and hypopneas per hour. About 76 percent of the study group (1,157 individuals) had no sleep apnea with an AHI of less than five.

For the follow-up study, state and national death records were reviewed up to 3/1/08, to identify participants who had died and to note the causes of death listed on the death certificates. Eighty deaths were recorded, including 37 deaths attributed to cancer and 25 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

About 19 percent of participants with severe sleep apnea died (12 deaths), compared with about four percent of participants with no sleep apnea (46 deaths). Although participants with mild sleep apnea (AHI of five to 14) or moderate sleep apnea (AHI of 15 to 29) had a mortality risk that was 50 percent greater than those with no sleep apnea, the results did not achieve statistical significance.

Hazard ratios for all-cause mortality remained high after further adjustments! for oth er factors such as smoking, alcohol use, sleep duration and total cholesterol. Severe sleep apnea was associated with increased mortality whether or not participants experienced daytime sleepiness.

About 42 percent of deaths in people with severe sleep apnea (5 of 12 deaths) were attributed to cardiovascular disease or stroke, compared with 26 percent of deaths in people with no sleep apnea (12 of 46 deaths). When the 126 participants who reported regular CPAP use were removed from the analysis, the hazard ratio for cardiovascular mortality soared from 2.9 to 5.2 for people with severe sleep apnea. The results suggest that regular CPAP use may protect sleep apnea patients against cardiovascular death.

"I was surprised by how much the risks increased when we excluded people who reported treatment with CPAP," Young said. "Our findings suggest - but cannot prove - that people diagnosed with sleep apnea should be treated, and if CPAP is the prescribed treatment, regular use may prevent premature death."

Statistical adjustments show that high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes may play a role in the association between sleep apnea and mortality, but the specific mechanisms by which sleep apnea contributes to mortality remain unclear.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe. It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.

The most common treatment for OSA is CPAP therapy, which provides a steady stream of air through a mask that is worn during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open to prevent pauses in breathing and restore normal oxygen levels.

To learn more about this or you have any questions please feel free to visit our website at www.howardcountydentist.com. Call us at(410)-442-2800 or email us at info@howardcountydentist.com

Friday, May 15, 2009

Got Bloody Gums?

OK, this isn’t as fun and sexy to talk about as cosmetic dentistry but it’s time to sound the alarm on one of the most common diseases around. It’s GUM DISEASE folks and 75% of Americans have some stage of it.

Sadly, most people think that it’s normal when gums bleed. Well it’s not! If you washed your hands and they started to bleed, wouldn’t you get a little worried? Of course you would, yet most people don’t get worried about bleeding gums because no one is telling them it is serious gum disease that could be deadly! Well I am moved to start broadcasting this message far and wide and I’m also ready to do some serious intellectual battling with anyone that tells you something different.

The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that inflammation like you find in gum disease causes the liver to produce C - reactive protein which is a better indicator of future heart attack and stroke than cholesterol. Think of all the fuss we’ve heard about cholesterol over the years and now imagine a heightened concern that actually causes people to return to the dentist. It now should be standard protocol for physicians to send their stroke and heart risk patients straight to the dentist to get their gum disease under control as their first line of defense.

And there’s more. Did you know that dentists play a role in identifying the 5 million Americans with undiagnosed diabetes? This is because diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease and that can cause their mortality rate to rise by a factor of 7.5. Patients that don’t respond to our best efforts to get their hygiene under control may have undiagnosed diabetes. Patient with diabetes must keep their gum health pristine to increase their chances of survival.

And there’s still more! University of Southern California researchers have reported that gum disease inflammation can quadruple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and that treating the inflammation could help stave off the disease.
Still more. The Journal of Periodontology (oral gums and bone) showed that pregnant women with high levels of bacteria in their mouth are at high risk for delivering preterm low-weight babies. Doctors believe that the bacterium from the mouth travels to the uterus and interferes with the pregnancy.

And finally…we have always known that gum infections of the mouth can spread to other parts of the body like the heart and even the brain! The news about gum disease and its connection to our overall health continues to come up again and again in research and medicine. It’s time to get deadly serious about the disease that most of the planet still does not take seriously.

Here’s the good news! In our office we have the systems and technology to get gum disease under control 98% of the time without specialist surgery.

To learn more about this or you have any questions please feel free to visit our website at www.howardcountydentist.com. Call us at(410)-442-2800 or email us at info@howardcountydentist.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Launch of SmileTalk

Howard County Family Dentistry and Dr. Fenlon are please to announce the launch of SmileTalk, our quarterly newsletter! This is the first edition of many that will allow our office to stay in touch with you regarding recent health news, new happenings in our office, and other fun stuff. Unlike other health newsletters, we want SmileTalk to be informative yet fun for our patients.

Things to expect from SmileTalk:
· Regular updates concerning our office, staff and operation
· Pertinent information regarding the dental health of your family
· Recent updates on personal wellness
· A good joke or two
· And maybe a secret family recipe!

Please feel free to contact our office at (410) 442-2800 or visit our website at www.howardcountydentist.com. Thanks, and we hope you enjoy!

Smiles For Life

Dr. Fenlon and Howard County Family Dentistry are proud to announce that we have teamed up with the Smiles for Life Foundation for the third year. Howard County Family Dentistry and Dr. Fenlon will donate our time to provide a superior professional teeth whitening service at a 50% discounted rate this and every March through June. This allows you to donate your entire $200 fee directly to the Smiles for life Foundation. Through Smiles for Life, Howard County Family dentistry is able to designate 50% of your contribution directly to Ellicott City MD’s Linwood Center, Inc a school for children with autism. The other 50% goes to the Garth Brooks Teammates for kid’s foundation which has successfully raised 74 million dollars over the last ten years, 100% of which has gone directly to the children. This has allowed our patients the opportunity to “Brighten your smile and help a child smile for life.”

For more information on how to “Send a Friend” this information please visit www.howardcountydentist.com!

Healthy Alternatives this Easter

With Easter fast approaching it will not be long until our children are waking up to those brightly-colored baskets filled with goodies. We all know the risks to our teeth when we consume sugary treats.

Dr. Fenlon wants to give the Easter Bunny some ideas on ways to supplement the usual candy treats with other healthy items. Here is a list of Dr. Fenlon approved healthy alternatives to Easter candy:

Art supplies, markers, crayons, paints
Hair Clips & Brushes
Easter-based books or movies
Mini board games & jump ropes
Family video games
Easter-based books or movies
Bubbles & chalk
Journals & pens
Fun tooth brushes & tooth paste
Jewelry & nail polish
Movie tickets
I-Tunes gift cards

Also, here are some helpful tips to remember after watching your children enjoy their Easter goodies:

1. Monitor that your children are brushing three times a day.
2. You could have your children use an age-appropriate fluoridated mouthwash.
3. Have extra disposable dental flossers around. You’d be amazed at what kids do when they’re bored.
4. Avoid or limit candy such as caramels, jelly beans, and taffy. These particular candies are extra sticky, making it hard for saliva to wash away the sugar.

Give your kids sugar-free gum or candy with XYLITOL to chew. Not only does sugar-free gum help prevent cavities; it also helps neutralize the effects of sugar from the candy. Therefore, it combats the bacteria in plaque that causes cavities.

For more information on oral health visit www.www.webmd.com/oral-health