Oral Cancer Awareness Month & CBCT 3D X-Rays: An Interview with Dr. Brunacini

Oral Cancer Awareness Month & CBCT 3D X-Rays: An Interview with Dr. Brunacini

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity for dental practices like Falmouth Dental Arts to raise awareness about the importance of oral cancer detection and prevention. When treated early, oral cancer has an estimated 80-90% survival rate. As your dental care partners, we believe strongly that we are an essential part of your healthcare team. As such, we’ve had a long-standing commitment to screening our patients for early signs of oral cancer. We are excited to announce that we now have a new state-of-the-art diagnostic tool to assist us in the oral cancer screening process – a CBCT 3D x-ray machine. 3D imaging allows us to better diagnose a range of dental issues, including oral cancer. Learn more from Dr. Brunacini, as he explains some of the advantages of CBCT 3D x-rays.

1) Why has FDA upgraded to 3D x-rays?

Dr. Brunacini: 3D x-ray or CBCT (cone beam computed tomography) technology allows us to better visualize all of the structures within the head, neck, and mouth so that we can better assess our patients’ oral health.

2) How are 3-D x-rays different from the traditional digital 2D x-rays?

Dr. Brunacini: For years, dentistry has been taking and reviewing x-rays in 2-D, which can sometimes make it difficult to determine a proper diagnosis. Without the 3rd dimension, it can be difficult to see an area of concern, such as a gum or tooth infection. Being able to take 3D images allows us to more thoroughly and completely diagnose our patients prior to performing any dental treatment, especially oral surgery.

3) Will 3D x-rays replace traditional 2D x-rays?

Dr. Brunacini: 3D imaging won’t replace our typical bitewing x-rays, which are used to locate areas of decay. Rather, 3D x-rays can be used as an additional tool when trying to diagnose an area of concern or when planning for dental implants. It can also be helpful for patients with a strong gag response, as 3D x-rays allow us to get the imaging we need without placing anything into their mouth, making the process much easier and more comfortable for them.

4) How can 3D x-rays be helpful in the early detection of oral cancer?

Dr. Brunacini: CBCT technology can be used as an additional screening tool in diagnosing oral cancer. It doesn’t eliminate the need for our other screening methods, such as a visual or physical exam or VELscope screening. VELscope is a non-invasive device that emits a safe blue light to detect abnormal cell growth that could be cancerous or precancerous. If we identify any areas that look suspicious through these methods, 3D imaging can be helpful in determining subsequent steps for the ideal treatment of a lesion. As we see many of our patients twice a year, we now have a wider range of diagnostic tools available to us to screen for oral cancer during routine hygiene appointments, including CBCT x-rays.

Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!

If you have any additional questions about the oral cancer screening process, CBCT 3D x-rays, or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 207.781.5900. We’re here to help!

We Love Our Patients…Let Us Count the Ways!

We Love Our Patients…Let Us Count the Ways!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Falmouth Dental Arts! “Tooth” be told, we love our patients and are committed to providing a patient-centered approach to your complete and compassionate care. Your comfort level is paramount to us and that’s why we strive to be on the cutting edge of dentistry, offering the latest in dental technology. Thanks to your valuable feedback, we will continue to offer the best services and amenities to make you feel as comfortable as possible with your dental care experience. Over the years we have heard from you, our patients, about some of the things you appreciate most about Falmouth Dental Arts. Read on for some of our favorite patient “love letters” below. 

 Tami G.

As always, everything exceeded expectations. The people, place, procedure, professionalism, and pleasantries can make a new crown without a frown. FDA patient for over 20 years.

 Timothy L.

Great staff, very knowledgeable, a wonderful experience and I learn something new every time I go in!

 Julia L.

Always friendly, always caring. The dentists and hygienists listen to you and make you feel heard. I’m one of those fearful of dentistry types and I’d go nowhere else.

 Cheryl H.

Absolutely superb care! Dr. Karagiorgos is highly skilled, compassionate, and a true dental health care partner. All the staff I’ve encountered are friendly, professional, and kind, and I’ve known some of them for decades. My daughter, a patient since she was a very young child, entrusts my grandson’s dental care to Dr. K and his staff. Falmouth Dental Arts is a truly exceptional practice.

 J. Kernis

Thanks to my friends who recommended Falmouth Dental Arts. I am new to Maine and am pleased with my first visit to their practice. The hygienist was thorough and gentle. I appreciated that Dr. Brunacini, while also thorough in the dental exam, was practical and modest in his treatment recommendation. The office was simple, clean, comfortable, quiet, and all personnel were pleasant. I am delighted to find a dental practice that feels friendly, extremely competent, knowledgeable, and dedicated to helping me maintain my dental health without pushing me into expensive treatment plans.

Thank you, patients, we feel the love! We are so grateful for our wonderful family of patients and want to provide you with the best oral care possible! To show you how much we care on Valentine’s Day (and every day), we pledge to continue to: 

  • Design a dental plan with you that fits your needs and budget. 
  • Make sure that you feel comfortable physically and emotionally while you are in our care. 
  • Offer a range of treatments to help you attain your dental health goals. 
  • Provide the least invasive products and procedures.
  • Build a partnership with you as we plan for your care.  

Keep spreading the love to your teeth and gums by keeping up with your daily oral health routine and hygiene appointments! If you need to schedule an appointment, or have some feedback to share with us, please give us a call at 207.781.5900.


Need a Resolution? Kick these 5 Bad Habits that Hurt Your Teeth!

Did you remember to brush your teeth when you went to bed after ringing in the New Year at midnight? Your team at Falmouth Dental Arts hopes you did, and we wish our family of patients a year filled with healthy mouths. Are you still looking for a 2020 resolution, but feel like adding a whole new good habit is a little too ambitious? Why not try quitting a bad habit instead? 

We’ve compiled a list of 5 Bad Habits that hurt your teeth. Quit one–kick them all!–and look forward to your best dental year yet! 

1. Biting your nails: We’ve all done it once or twice, but when biting your nails becomes a habit, it has bad side effects for your nails and your entire mouth. Biting your nails can chip your teeth and ultimately impact your jaw. Continually protruding your jaw and biting with pressure gradually changes the natural alignment of your bite, resulting in jaw dysfunction.

Kick It! Try painting a bitter-tasting polish (available in clear varieties as well, for those who would prefer a more subtle tone) on your nails.

2. Brushing too hard/Overbrushing: We all know that brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, is a terrific tooth habit! However, brushing with a stiff-bristled brush, applying a lot of force, or brushing for longer than two minutes can all hurt your teeth and gums. Overbrushing in any form can damage your tooth enamel and erode your gums.

Kick It!  Look for a soft-bristled brush with the ADA Seal of Approval, and be sure to use a gentle hand when brushing. Don’t think of “scrubbing” your teeth–think of “massaging” them. So much nicer!


3. Grinding your teeth/Clenching your jaw: Life can be stressful. Sometimes that stress makes us slouch at our desk or hunch our shoulders, but sometimes stress seeps into our dental posture as well. Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw can cause cracking or chipping of your teeth, not to mention muscle and joint pain from sustained pressure. 

Kick it! Try some relaxation techniques throughout the day, especially before bed. Grinding your teeth when you’re sleeping is the most difficult to address because you’re unconscious! If you are particularly prone to grinding your teeth in your sleep, you may need to invest in a mouth guard to wear while you sleep. 

4. Using your teeth as tools: Just like biting your nails, we’ve all attempted to use our teeth as scissors or an extra hand. However, your teeth are made for eating and for smiling–not for opening bottles or removing tags. When you use your teeth as tools, you run the risk of cracking or chipping your teeth, puncturing your gums, or even choking.

Kick it! Go get a pair of scissors, find your bottle opener, and make two trips! It may seem like more work at first, but your teeth will be happier. 

5. Chewing ice: This one may seem a little specific, but consider this: your tooth enamel is a type of crystal, as is ice. When you push two crystals against each other, one eventually breaks. In this particular scenario, it is typically the ice which cracks and crumbles–but that’s not a guarantee! Sometimes, teeth or dental appliances break first, leading to a costly visit to the dentist.

Kick it! Use a straw to sip icy beverages, or remove the ice before you start drinking.

Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we are committed to providing top-notch tooth love for our patients in the office. However, we want to support you and your teeth at all times! If you have any questions about these bad habits, or want some more ideas on how to build good dental habits, please ask at your next appointment. To schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900.         

A Reason to Smile: Falmouth’s Two Premier Dental Practices Merging

There are going to be lots of happy, healthy smiles in Falmouth because two premier dental practices, Falmouth Dental Arts and A Perfect Smile, are merging!  The practices will continue to offer superb dental care under the name Falmouth Dental Arts led by Dr. Brian Brunacini and Dr. Antonios Karagiorgos.

Since Dr. Glen Knock founded the practice in 1974, Falmouth Dental Arts has been on the cutting edge of dentistry and the cutting edge of how to treat people. From oral sedation to Integrative Dentistry to incorporating the latest digital advancements, Falmouth Dental Arts is committed to providing the best oral health care possible.  Continuing on the tradition of Dr. Knock, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos see beyond patient’s smiles; they see and treat the whole person. A Perfect Smile and the late Dr. Robert Nelson were also aligned with this approach, and both practices have always prioritized patient comfort and holistic oral health care. By merging these two excellent practices, they unite under a 40-year-old brand and have an opportunity to help even more people in this community and spread a broader message of good oral health.

With excellent patient care having always been at the core of both practices, patients can relax while they receive the best oral care possible from a team of knowledgeable and experienced dental professionals.  Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos and the expanded Falmouth Dental Arts team are here to serve you and your families. They are now available for smile consultations, exams, and dental emergencies and are happy to answer any questions.  Their goal is to develop a partnership with each patient—a partnership that not only provides the highest quality dental care, but also a connection to compassionate and knowledgeable healthcare professionals.

Falmouth Dental Arts will be closed January 28-February 1 to make the move to their new location at 168 US Route 1, in the home of A Perfect Smile. They will re-open on February 4 in A Perfect Smile’s offices at 168 US Route 1.  For any patient questions or to schedule an appointment, please call Falmouth Dental Arts at 207.781.5900.

Dental Care During Pregnancy

Moms-to-be out there can agree – pregnancy is an exciting time of life! It is a time when you become more mindful of your health – for your sake and your baby’s. While it is evident that your body needs to be well cared for during this time, we like to remind moms that it’s also important to stay on top of your dental health as well. Here are a few important dental health facts and practices to keep in mind when you’re expecting.

Changes to Oral Health During Pregnancy

To start, many people may not be aware but oral health changes during pregnancy, primarily due to an upsurge in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can affect gum tissues’ reactions to plaque. In fact, this is so common among expecting mothers that it is referred to as ‘pregnancy gingivitis.’ Because of this change, it is important that you stick to your normal dental care regimen: flossing well each day and brushing (with an electric toothbrush) at least twice per day and after eating when and if you are able.

Related to pregnancy gingivitis, expecting patients could also develop pregnancy tumors, which are non-cancerous growths on swollen and irritated gums. Usually these disappear on their own. However, if they get in the way of chewing or carrying out your normal oral hygiene rituals, let us know and we can discuss what to do.

Maintaining Your Dental Care Regimen

While there are challenges to oral health during pregnancy, those challenges can be met easily as long as you take care of your teeth. We recommend coming in for a cleaning as soon as you know you are pregnant, so that we can build a plan and complete any important or outstanding work within the first trimester. We will also plan to have another cleaning in your second trimester to keep plaque in check.

And while it may seem trivial, please provide us with all the medications and vitamins you are taking throughout your pregnancy – we might need to adjust our treatments based on that information.

If you discover you are getting morning sickness in connection to brushing, try switching to a bland-flavored toothpaste throughout your pregnancy – we are happy to recommend some brands to you! We also recommend rinsing your mouth with water and anti-plaque and fluoride mouthwashes if you have frequent bouts of vomiting.

Good nutrition is also important throughout your pregnancy. While your obstetrician will advise you on these matters, we also recommend plenty of vitamins C and B12, to help support strong oral health. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet will also put your baby on an early track to good oral health – dairy items like cheese and yogurt provide critical minerals to support the development of your baby’s bones, teeth, and gums. And as always, we recommend keeping sugary cravings in check to keep tooth decay at bay.


Do you have more questions about dental care during pregnancy? If so, we encourage you to ask! We’d love to help you during this time. Call us to schedule your appointment today!