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Pink - that's what I thought too! How DARE they put in a brown bridge to cover half my mouth. He told me temporaries only came in two colours but it was the whole assurance that my "real" ones would be any colour to match, and appropriately shaped....these were what they gave you to leave with. I have a horse tooth in the front too (the one that's fissured off and hanging there alone gapped and short)... and that was done by a DIFFERENT dentist! (My 3rd dentist in one year at that time). How can a dentist finish your mouth (which was a horrible experience, he laid me so far back I was flat and he kept getting tooth bits shot back into my throat and I kept gagging, and he thought I was nuts, that I was "the only one who ever complained" about being "too" far back, lying too far flat)...how can they do this, say, "Ok you're all done!" And really feel like they've done a good job, a job that is respectable? How do you let someone walk out of your office, charging them over a thousand dollars (which they want in full no billing) leaving them with multi-coloured brownish teeth next to white-ish teeth? How do they DO this?

I'm glad you're over your phobia, but boy oh boy I sure can relate to your concerns, because it sounds like we've both been through such a similar gamit! At least you have someone very supportive and proactive in your life. That can really help a lot.

Tenn - here are some cuts from the research, see if they help:

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The transmission of oral bacteria from one person to another via kissing is readily conceivable. The overwhelming number of bacteria and the readily-apparent saliva exchange during kissing allows for the conclusion that bacterial transmission is a reality. The question that begs to be answered is: "Is it significant?" In most instances the oral transmission of bacteria is not significant. However it is an important consideration when patients have a low resistance to gum disease (periodontitis).
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It has been shown that children are more likely to have aggressive gum disease bacteria if their parents also harbor these type of bacteria such as Actinobacillus Actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis (references #1, #2 and #3). In a study of 20 married couples, the spouses of the monitored patients who had gum disease had worse gum disease than those people whose spouses (in the study) who didn't have gum disease (reference #4). An additional study showed that spouses of patients with gum disease had significantly more deep gum disease "pockets" than the spouses of monitored patients who had no gum disease (reference #5).
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The rational for this is as follows. The ALT, Inc. GCF test usually shows maximum toxicity and presence of bacterial proteins in the GCF of non-vital teeth. However, some GCF toxicity assays have given results that indicate that some of the control sites also contained significant anaerobic bacteria and toxicity (especially in the molar regions). This surprised us since we did not expect to see such toxicity or bacterial proteins associated with the GCF of healthy looking teeth and gingiva. We therefore collected and analyzed the data from the control GCF samples and did a thorough review of the periodontal literature. We also consulted with some research periodontists concerning the results found with the control GCF samples.

What we learned is that virtually all teeth will harbor a resident population of subgingival anaerobic bacteria if a single infected site exists within the mouth. This is especially true of teeth with significant accumulations of subgingival plaque. Many of the late colonizers to subgingival plaque are many of the same oral pathogens associated with periodontal and endodontic infections
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These bacteria also produce volatile toxins such as hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan (see Bacterial Toxins) which spread rapidly throughout the mouth and produce a measurable level of toxicity detectable by the ALT, Inc. assay. This is especially true of the large molars toward the back of the mouth where air exchange is less, allowing volatile toxins to build up and anaerobic bacteria to flourish. Good dental hygiene prevents these bacteria from colonizing and setting up severe conditions, but they are there and constantly being reseeded by the major infected site, usually an non-vital tooth. The buccal region of incisors and bicuspids are more exposed to air which decreases growth of anaerobic bacteria and should represent the best area to get a "control GCF sample".

Initially, the company was naive in thinking that healthy looking gums meant a healthy tooth and a non-toxic GCF. Recent studies have shown that the presence of subgingival bacteria results in a low-grade inflammatory reaction at gingival sites without any outward clinical signs of infection. Consulting periodontist have told us, that when a patient has one or more sites of extreme focal infection in the mouth there is a rapid, widespread dissemination of bacteria and bacterial toxins throughout the oral cavity. In such circumstances, there is virtually NO GCF in that personís mouth which would not be expected to show significant levels of toxicity, even in the absence of outward clinical signs of infection. In other words, even GCF samples taken from a healthy control tooth in a person with a badly infected tooth or periodontal pocket may register a fairly high level of toxicity in the ALT, Inc. assay. This stands to reason since many bacterial toxins (i.e. hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan) are volatile and easily diffuse from one location to another within the oral cavity. In addition, the bacteria themselves readily spread from the site of focal infection to other sites in the mouth. The ability of oral bacteria and their toxins to spread from a site of focal infection, not only in the mouth, but also to other sites in the body is well documented in the scientific and medical literature. Any oral bacteria which can migrate throughout the whole body and cause a variety of systemic diseases, as numerous studies have shown (see 8062808, 8062808 in Diseases), has the ability to spread from the site of a focal infection to other teeth in the mouth, even healthy ones.

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ALT, Inc. ask that you take control GCF samples ONLY from the buccal aspect of incisors and bicuspids, preferably the upper ones, since these are usually the least likely to be periodontally involved. As before, try to take the control as far away physically from the infected tooth or teeth as possible. As always, make sure the control tooth is free of any outward clinical signs of periodontal disease and gingivitis. Also, make sure the tooth is vital, nonendodontically treated and free of amalgam restorations, caps or crowns. In addition, always take the GCF samples BEFORE performing ANY type of dental procedures. We ask that you tell your patients to refrain from using any type of toothpaste, mouthwash or under the gum irrigant for at least 1 hour before the GCF samples are taken. We have found that these contain compounds which can interfere with the ALT, Inc. toxicity test. We feel that by following these simple guidelines, the control GCF sample will more accurately reflect the general level of background toxicity present in each individuals mouth and still provide us with a measure of all the external, environmental factors to which each and every tooth in the mouth has been exposed. As always, ONE control GCF sample will be analyzed from each patient free of charge

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(and the biggest of all to follow)

Questions and Answers
about Gum Disease Transmission
1. Why is there a concern about transmitting gum disease bacteria?
Studies have shown that bacteria that are associated with more aggressive gum disease can be transmitted between parents and children (the "vertical route") and between spouses or spousal equivalents (the "horizontal route").

2. What should my concern be regarding transmitting gum disease bacteria to my children?
The transmission of bacteria to children does occur through the parents' saliva and can get into gum disease "pockets". If the parent has aggressive gum disease, the bacteria are important, as are also any "risk factors" which predispose toward gum disease. Some strains of periodontal bacteria may be aggressive, but if the patient has a good resistance to gum disease, there is less of a chance of gum disease developing. If both parents have gum disease, then they should be more concerned about resistance as a "risk factor" in the oral health of their children.

3. Will transmitting bacteria between adults mean that kissing becomes a "risk factor" in the development of gum disease?
When kissing occurs, this is the primary means by which saliva, and its bacterial contents would be transmitted. However, "risk factors" relate more toward issues which involve a person's resistance to gum disease. How frequently a person is exposed to infectious saliva, and their susceptibility to gum disease affect the posssibility of mouth-to-mouth transmission of periodontal bacteria. If a person has less aggressive gum disease, there may be a concern as to whether the more aggressive bacteria from one person will cause the less aggressive problem to become more aggressive.

4. What is aggressive gum disease?
Aggressive gum disease is clinically a subjective term that describes the severity and rate of destruction of the gum disease. All gum disease does not progress at the same rate of destruction. When we are determining the aggressiveness of a patient's gum disease, the age of the patient is important, in addition to:
A. The depth of gum "pockets"
B. The amount of bone loss
C. Tooth mobility or looseness of the teeth

D. Family history of gum disease
E. Risk factors

5. What are "risk factors"?
Risk factors are those considerations which alter or affect a patient's resistance to disease. With regard to gum disease, some lack of resistance is genetically transmitted, while some risk factors may be acquired. An example of a genetically-transmitted risk factor is that, in some patients, there are gum disease problems where white blood cells (your first line of defense against infections) don't respond as rapidly as normal to gum disease bacteria.

An example of an acquired "risk factor" is cigarette smoking. Cigarette smokers have a greater tendency towards gum disease than people who don't smoke. There are studies emerging that associate stress with lowered gum disease resistance. The risk factors that affect an adult or child are all considerations regarding the impact of transmitting periodontal bacteria from person to person.

6. My parents lost their teeth. Does that mean that I and my children will lose our teeth?
No! Not all genetically-transmitted resistance problems are passed to every child. Additionally, some risk factors can be controlled, as long as you monitor the gum health of all of the members of your family. Periodontal therapies have also expanded to provide more diverse and predictable therapies than were available to preceding generations.

7. Should the gum disease bacterial transmission potential affect how I act with my children?
You should not change how you respond and interact with your children. You should continue to be a warm, loving, hugging and kissing parent. Society and its children need more hugging and kissing parents. However, if either or both parents have significant gum disease, it is important to:
A. Have your gum disease treated and eliminated.
B. Have your children monitored for gum disease and gum disease resistance.

** Note: It is not likely that young children will have gum disease, but as they grow to be adults, they should be made aware of the need for gum disease monitoring with a periodontist.

8. If my spouse and I both have gum disease, and only one of us gets periodontal therapy to eliminate the disease, does the untreated spouse represent a "disease threat" to the other?
Yes, there is reason for concern with this issue, if the treated spouse is healthy. Even though aggressive bacteria had been present in their mouth, new bacterial infection from their spouse's saliva is a possibility.

9. If gum disease is associated with heart disease and premature births and low birth weights, what is the significance of untreated gum disease?
As emerging research is showing, there appear to be significant relationships between periodontitis and our general health. Even when we account for known heart disease risk factors (family history, cholesterol, weight, stress, etc.) there still appears to be a gum disease-heart disease association. Mothers-to-be who have gum disease also appear to be at risk for low birth weight or premature births, even when other risk factors are taken into consideration.

>>>>>There you go, let me know if you need more and I'll be happy to help out. You know, I still have these windows open in my browser because it's so thorough, and so scary, keeping them up are daily, constant reminders of how dangerous this can get if we do not DO something or take care of it.

AND it reminds me -- think of your dental visits, PINKCAT TOO -- and think to yourself: DID ANY DENTIST YOU EVER SAW EXPLAIN ANY OF THIS TO YOU, EVER???

I know that is a lot to read, so breeze through what you want or print it, but it's unbelievable reading. I am sorry it's so lengthy, but to think it's really several pages MORE than this. It's worth the reading!
I'm dreading having "dead teeth" pulled, to be honest,... I'm petrified. I also don't understand what they'd do to me, how they'd fix me. I keep thinking about how I hate my smile and how it looks (or does not look). Then I hate the pain that I am in every day. Then I hate the way I complain to my poor and Loving Husband almost every day about it (as if he can wave a magic wand and cure me). Then I feel guilty and afraid, and I worry about his health and transmitting gum disease to him. Then I feel sad and hurt and angry that our sex life is affected, as is my social life, my work abilities (because it's difficult to enunciate and I "speak" for a living), and I feel guilty because I can't enjoy a regular dinner with my Husband or co-workers or friends. I'm embarassed to lose my teeth (caps have fallen out in front of clients, as has my partial flipper). This has been eating away at my self-esteem and it seems as if despite "dealing" with dental problems for over a decade and a half, that most of this happened within the past 3 years.

I can't help but compare myself to my Husband who has perfect teeth, perfect health, is not on any medications, and is totally self-sufficient. Then I think of how much I've "lost" of myself since we've been married, and how my degenerated health threatens our potential future.

I'm so tired of all the prescriptions, of always having "special needs" to attend to, of not being able to afford it, of the hurt it gives my Husband to feel like he isn't providing enough for me because our insurance barely covers 1 or 2 of my dental visits. It is all accumulated by, as I indicated, the very obvious and sudden spiral downward of my health that I associate with my dental work.

My physician is awesome, he is totally incredible, and HE does understand the whole-person connection (which is why he's my doctor and I'll drive 3 hours for an office visit, and 3 hours back).

As for what my other health ailments are, I'll share with you. Some of my ailments began after a car accident in which I got a spinal injury, broke bones in my face, needed several surgeries, ended up not being able to work, lost/broke several front teeth (my car was totalled as the firewall landed in my lap and the windshield went through my face -- the scarring being something I've been looking into treating except add in the expense and the fact that "cell damage" has caused me to break out in cold sores so it's scaring me away from the more conventional "scar revision" treatments such as dermabrasion).

This is where I'm guessing a lot of this began.

Spinal injury and other face/mouth/neck injuries also begat chronic pain and lack of movement (which also caused me to gain 60 pounds, which I did lose and have kept off, but it made an impact), was prescribed medications that caused and contributed to chronic dry mouth (which begat this battle with more severe issues of tooth decay). Running out of medical benefits and money also meant that I put my health care on hold because I had to, and that also begat this downward momentum.

Spine situation currently: I've lost over 2 inches in height from degenerated disks, I have spondylolysthesis, loss of spinal lordosis, herniated disks, spinal stenosis, sciatica,... disks are compressed in my low back as well as low neck. I'm on a number of medications for this trying desperately to avoid surgery. I have chronic ear infections, swollen sinuses (especially on one side where visual swelling can be seen), the right side of my face was paralyzed but mostly recovered (although I get dry eyes, have difficulty moving the right eye and eyebrow, and my "blink rates" differ so I do not always blink each eye together, one sometimes has a delay). My ear canals are chronically swollen, my hearing is affected, and externally they're often red and hot.

Either from my neck, and/or because of some of this dental stuff, I get nerve pains in my jaw, throat and neck, my arms and hands will go numb if I raise them above my heart (driving, typing, etc). If I retain water (through meds or diet) it puts severe pressure on my nerves causing more pain.

I have (this is icky) chronic nasal leakage (and it is not "post nasal" either!) on the right side where the damage occured and I must be weary of the spontaneous uhm,...drip! (sigh)

Because I lost most of my back teeth, I cannot enunciate well, I slur my speech sometimes, and my jaw bite is "shortened," (so I look like the apple lady, or I'm well on my way to it!) Know what I mean though, about my bite being shortened? So it creates deep grooves and crevices in the corner of my mouth, and I drool. These areas have become scarred and while mostly stay healed, they open up and break open whenever I try to open my mouth wide, get dental work, have a dental dam on, etc. Sometimes they get infected (fungal as well as bacterial), and/or I'll get cold sores (stress related as well as occuring if there's any dermal distress such as abrasions, or strong toothpaste).

I am on some medications currently (not just after the accident) that contribute to dry mouth, this makes for an aggressive sense of thurst, which contributes to my drinking on average over 200 ounces of water a day (my doc had me try Detrol L/A for the frequent urination, but side effect of that was, ta-DA, dry mouth!)... I just deal with it by making lots of trips to the loo.

I have GERD and am on meds for this as well as an altered diet. This, as I have read, also has a very strong impact on gum disease and dental decay.

I have some permanent nerve damage in my leg. I have arthritic changes in my spine and hips. I have bursitis in my left shoulder, and cartiledge damage and loss in my right knee.

I'm in the process of getting checked out for mitral valve prolapse as well.

I have eczema and psoriasis, (both "nerve" related).

This may be a bit hard to believe but really that's a partial list, but if you add generalized anxiety and occasional insomnia into the mix along with teeth grinding, headaches, nasal stuffiness, constipation, and the periodic sense of feeling overwhelmed with stress (oh yes, and add hair loss into the mix on a head which has baby fine hair to begin with, which I'm still trying to contend with and treat,...ie: accept)... well, you begin to get the picture.

And it's also frustrating because I am AVID believer in pursuing things like natural health care, and try to encorporate health(ier) eating, exercise, natural healing treatments like chiropractic, accupuncture, supplements, etc., -- and in fact, I make my living at it. It's my job to help people live healthier lifestyles, naturally, - so it's my responsibility to reflect and model the image of health and fitness. My belief in this lifestyle is so strong that I am in a field I love passionately and support, -- but at which I make 1/6th the salary I have been accustomed to for 20 years.

So professionally speaking, I'm responsible for not only teaching healthy living but LOOKING the part. Sort of hard to do when you're falling apart and your teeth are falling out, eh? This, therefore, has had a very devastating affect on me personally. I know that sounds like a strong term, and I don't mean to over-use it or apply it inappropriately (my Husband and I reitterate pretty regularly that no matter what, things could be worse, and we try to be thankful we have what we have!) Sometimes I just feel ill-equipped to handle my teeth and all those other things too.

I just want to have a smile without dentures and without being worried about poisoning myself.

I tend to have a very "sensitive" constitution and have had reactions to things as "simple" as various dyes or medications, certain spices or foods, ("nerves" don't help)... so I therefore believe with all my heart that either because I believe it so much, and/or because of my history, that my dental work has contributed to some of my health problems, and I concern myself with nerve damage and bone infection.

Okay so this amounts to a pretty lengthy book! My goodness. But if this doesn't begin to reflect how one part of our life can affect other parts of our life, then I don't know what does!!





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