It may surprise you to know that our wonderful Dr. Brunacini loves to learn about teeth! Not just as a dentist, but also as an anthropologist… Dr. Brunacini is fascinated by the field of Dental Anthropology. We had to get to the root of the matter, so we’re kicking off Part 1 of an interview series with Professor Brunacini to learn more about the history of our teeth and Dental Anthropology.
What is Dental Anthropology?
Dr. Bruncaini: Dental anthropology is a branch of physical anthropology that focuses on the development, evolution, and variability of teeth and related orofacial structures. In other words, it’s about the history of teeth in humans. What more could a dentist ask for in a field of study?
What interests you about this field?
Dr. Brunacini: A lot! By learning about how structures in the mouth form, we can learn how we are related to other animals. We can also learn about the history of different cultures throughout time. For example, we can learn about the foods they ate or how healthy they were overall.
What is something that surprised or fascinated you in your research?
Dr. Brunacini: I had no idea how long basic dentistry has been around. There is a record of beeswax dental fillings from 6500 years ago! It is incredible to witness the drive of humans to innovate and try to improve their well being by using their environment. This is something we still do today.
Where can people learn more?
Dr. Brunacini: People who are interested in learning more can visit The Dental Anthropology Association website. It’s a great resource. Or patients can feel free to ask me more at their next appointment!
Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!
We’ll continue this exploration and delve a little deeper into this interesting topic in the coming months. If you have a question about dental anthropology or need to schedule your next appointment please give us a call at 207.781.5900.
Leigha – Our New Dental Hygienist
October is National Dental Hygiene Month and we are lucky to have an amazing team of dental hygienists at Falmouth Dental Arts: Diann, Kelly, Jean, Erin, Alex, and our newest addition Leigha!
From a patient perspective, this incredible group of compassionate and knowledgeable healthcare professionals are the people you interact with most: they perform your routine check-ups and cleanings, and help your teeth get squeaky clean for the dentist’s review. They also love to educate patients so you are empowered to make the best choices for your unique dental needs.
So, what does it take to be a dental hygienist? What are some of the tricks-of-the-trade? To celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month, we asked Ashley from our team of phenomenal hygienists to share a little more about what they do.
1.What sort of school and training is required to be a dental hygienist?
Ashley: Dental hygienists must attend accredited dental school or university majoring in Dental Hygiene. The majority of current programs take four years to complete, with graduates receiving a bachelor’s degree. Upon receiving their degree, hygienists are eligible to take a series of board exams in order to become licensed and to work in a dental office.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
Ashley: One of the best parts of being a dental hygienist is building connections and relationships with our patients. Learning about our patients not only makes our appointments fun and engaging but also helps us make recommendations that work with their lifestyle. We love our patients!
3. What is something most people don’t know about being a hygienist?
Ashley: Choosing a career in Dental Hygiene is a commitment to life-long learning. Technologies and care philosophies are always evolving which means we as providers are constantly engaging in education and professional development to ensure we are providing “crest of the wave” care. In fact, we are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education every two years as part maintaining an active license in the state of Maine.
4. What is your favorite dental product?
Ashley: The electric toothbrush. It is more effective at removing plaque than a manual toothbrush and stimulates the gum tissue in order to promote gum health. It enhances the homecare routine especially for those with dexterity issues and braces.
5. What is your #1 dental tip for patients?
Ashley: Simple, FLOSS. Flossing daily can prevent a myriad of dental and overall health issues. Who knew a piece of string could have such an impact on overall health?!
7. What is the best part of being a hygienist at Falmouth Dental Arts?
Ashley: Collectively, one of the most rewarding elements of being a hygienist at Falmouth Dental Arts is our whole-body approach to dental care. We recognize the impact of oral health on overall health and collaborate with our patients to create an individualized care plan. This approach is empowering and motivating for both us as hygienists and for the patient. As a result, treatment success is increased. It’s very rewarding!
Thank you, Ashley!
And thank you to all of our outstanding dental hygienists — Diann, Kelly, Jean, Erin, Alex, and Leigha! If you have more questions for our team about your oral health care, or need to schedule your next appointment, give our office a call at 207.781.5900.
Have dental sealants recently been recommended to you or your child? Have you always wondered what dental sealants are, and how they are beneficial to teeth? Falmouth Dental Arts wants to answer all of your tooth-related questions so that you can feel confident and informed when you visit our office! Dr. Karagiorgos took some time to answer basic questions about dental sealants and explain the sealant process.
1. What are sealants?
Dr. Karagiorgos: Sealants are a dental material which fills in deep grooves in a tooth’s surface to minimize the opportunity for cavities to develop.
2. Why should patients consider getting sealants?
Dr. Karagiorgos: The surfaces of the teeth toward the backs of our mouths have special surfaces with lots of small grooves, called pits and fissures. Pits and fissures help us grip food while we break it down when we chew. The size and depth of pits and fissures are different for everybody. However, deeper grooves often trap food particles and can promote the presence of bacterial film. This puts people with deep grooves at particular risk for cavities.
As part of a comprehensive oral health approach, filling these deeper surfaces with a dental material such as sealants can help prevent cavities.
3. At what age do patients need sealants?
Dr. Karagiorgos: Because the likelihood of developing decay is highest for newly-erupted premolars and molars, children and teenagers are the ideal candidates for sealants. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars would also benefit from sealants.
While some children would benefit from sealants on their baby teeth, parents should seriously consider sealants for children on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. This typically starts around age six. The sooner the sealants can be applied to teeth, the sooner they can start protecting cavity-prone molars.
4. What is the process of applying sealants?
Dr. Karagiorgos: Applying sealants is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes for the dentist or hygienist to seal each tooth. Here are the five steps:
- First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned.
- After cleaning, each tooth is dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
- The dentist or hygienist will put a gel on the chewing surface of the teeth which will roughen up the tooth’s enamel, helping the sealant bond to the teeth.
- The teeth are rinsed and dried.
- The dentist or hygienist paints the sealant onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden faster.
5. Does it hurt to get sealants?
Dr. Karagiorgos: No, not at all. Because all of the work is above the gum-line on the chewing surface of the teeth, patients don’t need to be numbed. This makes the sealant process fast, easy, and pain-free.
6. Is it fun to apply sealants?
Dr. Karagiorgos: Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we promote great oral health habits for patients of all ages. Our goal is to make coming to the dentist feel like you’re visiting a friend, while having a little dentistry done on the side! From routine check-ups to sealant application, we love our jobs and hope that our patients feel cared for when they’re here. We look forward to making your visit to the dentist as easy, painless, convenient–and of course as fun–as it can be. If you have any questions, or to schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900
Images courtesy of Children’s Dental Funzone
We love helping our patients achieve the smile of their dreams! Many dental issues can be corrected through cosmetic dentistry and the first step for any cosmetic procedure is a simple consultation with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They are here to discuss your dental health goals and help you find the right fit for your needs. A question we often get from patients is if they should replace old metal crowns and bridges with porcelain. There are many advantages to replacing your old crowns, but the reason to replace them isn’t one-size-fits-all. To learn more about porcelain restoration and who could benefit from this procedure, we spoke with Dr. Brunacini.
1. What is porcelain restoration?
Dr. Brunacini: Porcelain is the material that is used to give crowns and veneers the esthetic properties–color, luster, and a tactile sense. Porcelain restoration provides you with the translucency and shine of your natural teeth—you’d never be able to tell there was a need for a crown—and the texture of the polished porcelain is very similar to that of enamel. It is a restoration that needs to be fabricated in a lab, and requires taking an impression to send to the lab. We are now doing crowns that are metal-free. By doing so, we can create highly esthetic AND very strong restorations with minimal risk of chipping or breaking. It is a great option for patients!
2. Why would I need to replace a metal crown or bridge?
Dr. Brunacini: There can be numerous reasons for patients to need to replace their metal crowns. The most obvious one is when a new area of decay develops under an existing crown or bridge. This is one reason we do regular x-rays; they are very important to discover any changes underneath crowns before they become loose or problematic.
Also, for some patients, they find it unsightly to have metal show, so replacing a metal crown with a porcelain crown is a good solution for their needs. For many years, dentists placed crowns with a metal substructure and porcelain overlayed on top of the porcelain. Over time, the porcelain can chip, which may lead to poor esthetics or difficulty cleaning the crown. The only way to fix this situation is to replace it with a new crown.
If you have questions or concerns about your metal crowns, schedule a consultation with me or Dr. Karagiorgos. We are here to help you achieve your dental goals!
3. I’ve heard porcelain crowns can cause more wear and tear on my other teeth. Is this true?
Dr. Brunacini: With newer types of porcelain, there is less concern with wearing down opposing teeth. Of course, it is very important to finely adjust the bite on crowns to be sure they function well with the other teeth. This is why when we fit a porcelain crown, we sculpt and shape the porcelain to fit perfectly with your existing bite.
4. Are there any special care instructions for porcelain crowns and bridges?
Dr. Brunacini: There really isn’t much “special” care needed. For patients who grind their teeth, a night-guard may be indicated to protect the porcelain from chipping. However, most patients can simply stay on top of their regular home care, such as brushing twice daily and flossing daily. This should be sufficient enough to maintain porcelain crowns for many years!
Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!
Whether your reason is cosmetic, physical, or a bit of both, our team of caring dental professionals is here to help you find the right path toward a better smile. If you have more questions about porcelain restoration or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos, call our office at 207.781.5900 today.
National Dentist Day was March 6 and was established as a way to show appreciation and thanks for dentists. We have two of the best dentists to thank: Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos! As a way to honor these two, we thought we’d ask them some questions about their path to dentistry and what they love about the work they do. Let’s learn more about FDA’s Dynamic Duo!
1. Why did you go in to dentistry?
Dr. Brian Brunacini: I enjoy the variety and problem-solving in dentistry. There are always new things to learn and I’ve enjoyed keeping up with the advancements in digital dentistry to improve the accuracy of diagnoses and quality of care.
Dr. Karagiorgos: After graduating with a degree in civil/structural engineering, I worked in the field but I disliked my job. I was 27 and I knew I didn’t want to do that as a lifelong career. Around that time, I went through a health scare that made me decide to pursue a career that would be meaningful and satisfying to me. I thought more about what a cousin had once suggested: dentistry. So I went back to school to take all the prerequisites to go to dental school, and meanwhile I worked for the Tufts’ Oral Surgery department as a Dental Assistant, where I assisted in surgical procedures such as extraction, implant placement, and even cosmetic surgery. This experience solidified my desire to pursue dentistry. I really enjoyed the surgical aspect of dentistry and considered specializing but the great thing about general dentistry is that you’re able to do a little bit of everything.
2. What is rewarding about your work?
Dr. Brian Brunacini: I love getting to know our patients and working together by sharing what I see and can potentially do for them. I really enjoy empowering patients to be more involved in their healthcare decisions so that they can improve their health.
Dr. Karagiorgos: Every day is about finding the best dental solution for each individual patient while keeping each patient’s special circumstances and aesthetic vision in mind, as well as the financial aspects involved to create the best possible treatment plan for every individual. There’s also an aspect of artistic expression to what we do: it’s making a filling look like a tooth. In a way, dentistry is a very satisfying form of artistic expression on a small scale.
3. What is unique about working at FDA?
Dr. Brian Brunacini: We practice progressive dentistry that allows us to provide excellent holistic care for the whole patient while using crest-of-the-wave technology. We also have a laid-back atmosphere at the office which creates a comfortable, inviting place for patients. That coupled with an amazing team–from receptionist to hygienist to assistant to dentist–who all work together to help patients makes this an ideal practice where we build lasting relationships with our patients.
Dr. Karagiorgos: The patients and staff here make my job feel like it’s not even work. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a team like this. And we meet patients from all walks of life, so it’s great to talk to everyone and get to know them.
4. What is your favorite dental care tip?
Dr. Brian Brunacini: Mine comes down to diet. Everyone knows how important it is to eat well for their overall health, but it also is important for healthy teeth and gums. There is strong correlation between a decrease in sugar/carbohydrate consumption and a decline in tooth decay rates. It’s not just about limiting overall sugar consumption–it’s also important to pay attention to how often during the day you eat or drink sugar. For example, sipping on an iced coffee with sugar all day is worse than drinking it in one sitting.
Dr. Karagiorgos: Floss, floss, floss!!! Flossing can remove plaque and food debris particles in places where toothbrush bristles cannot easily reach, like under the gum line and especially between your teeth. Plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which daily flossing can help prevent!
Thank you Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos! We appreciate the thoughtful care you both bring to the practice everyday.
Whether you’ve been coming to FDA for years or are a new patient, we hope you learned something about our wonderful dentists. If you have a question for them or need to schedule a visit, give us a call today at 207.781.5900. We are here to give you the best oral health care possible!