Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Smoke, and YOU WILL Lose Your Teeth

We all know that smoking is bad for us. Most of us are not aware of what happens in the mouth. The goal of this week's blog is to shed some light on the subject.

There are many reasons why people lose their teeth. Obvious reasons include poor hygiene, poor nutrition, bad habits and trauma. SMOKING is one major reason why people lose teeth.

Odds are that if you smoke, you will lose your teeth at an early age. Now, this can be the result of an oral cancer or from bone loss (periodontitis).

Oral cancers tend to be quite aggressive. The five year survival rate of someone that is diagnosed with an oral cancer is approximately 50%. In other words, 50% of people diagnosed with an oral cancer will be dead in five years. So, if you are fortunate enough to survive, you may have part of the affected jaw resected (surgically removed). Obviously, if you lose part of your jaw, you will also lose some of your teeth.

Smokers tend to have a significantly higher incidence of advanced periodontitis. Smokers lose their teeth when they have advanced stages of periodontitis. This is a condition where the jaw bone and gums are chronically infected. The net result is the loss of the gums and bone. Even if the teeth are in good shape, if there is inadequate bone and gums to hold the teeth in place, the teeth will inevitably be lost.

If you smoke and want to keep your teeth, you need to ask yourself what you value more. Do you value the pleasure you get from smoking more? Do you value the pleasure of having your teeth for cosmetics and function (the ability to chew and eat) more?

I know it isn't easy, but if you value cosmetics and function, YOU MUST find a way to quit smoking.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Top 5 Reasons People Avoid The Dentist

Approximately only 20% of the population will visit the dentist on a regular basis. Does this mean that the other 80% don't care about their teeth? Not necessarily. 

Here are the top 5 reasons (in no particular order) people avoid dentists.

1. Time

Many of us have busy lives. However, during a period of six months, we should all be able to find an hour in our busy schedules. There is simply no excuse.

2. Money

No matter who you are, we all have money problems. Even rich people have money problems. 

I know getting your teeth fixed can often be expensive. The cheapest it's ever going to be is when problems are addressed in the earliest stages. There are many affordable financial options available to help you keep the beautiful smile you deserve.

I often use  an analogy when addressing this concern. Either change your oil, or wait and change your engine, or wait and change your car, or wait and don't drive. Most people understand the message when I put it this way.

3. Trust

Some people want to hear that they are perfectly healthy and don't require any treatment. When a dentist recommends treatment, they may not believe what they are told.

I often take pictures that the patient can view themselves. This way, I don't have to convince them if there is a problem. They pretty much see their problems without having to say a word.

They will make their own decisions on what to do about it. I make recommendations as if they were a family member. However, what they do about it is completely up to them.

4. Sense of Urgency

I agree with the statement "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". However, most patients don't know what they don't know. 

The problem is that most of us never really look inside our mouths and don't really know what condition it's in. In many cases, there is a lack of pain, so we predictably never act on any issues that may be present.

Again, I take pictures to demonstrate the condition of each of my patients mouths.

5. Fear

This is perhaps the most common reason people avoid the dentist. Many people are extremely fearful of getting their mouths treated.

Fortunately, we have made significant improvements in the delivery of dental care. There are many options to allay any fear. We can sedate with medications, we use much improved anesthetic techniques, and we simply reassure the patient that they will be completely comfortable. I often say silly things. I'll frequently say "you don't have to be tough, you just have to be numb". 

Dentistry today truly can be a pleasant experience. Yes! Truly!

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit