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Oral Cancer

5 Health Problems That Your Dentist Can Spot

A connection has already been established how one’s oral health affects his heart. And with mounting appreciation towards having a holistic view on overall health, it comes as no surprise that a dentist can detect existing or potential health problems when you go for dental checkups. For people who have regular oral examinations, their dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages. 5 Health Problems That Your Dentist Can Spot

Here are five health problems that your dentist can spot:

Heart disease

The food you eat that are bad for your teeth? More often than not, they are also bad for your heart. Foods high in sugar also have unhealthy ingredients like trans-fatty acids that are associated with increasing chances of having heart disease.

It's also possible for cavities themselves to threaten your heart, if the bacteria that produce them find their way into your cardiovascular system. Bacteria associated with tooth and gum disease may also be involved in stroke, diabetes, and respiratory problems—so brush and floss every day.

Studies have shown people with moderate or advanced gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to have cardiovascular disease (CVD) — including heart disease and stroke — than those with healthy gums (no gum disease, gingivitis or early periodontitis).


Again, it all comes down to what you eat. A dentist will notice if you consume too many sugary treats and drinks – it will show on your teeth! Continuous acid attacks on teeth enamel make one prone to develop cavities and aside from the possibility that oral hygiene is not that great, a person must have high exposure to fermentable carbohydrates. This type of diet makes one prone to developing obesity.

A dentist who knows your medical history may ask about your eating habits, but you should feel free to ask if what's happening to your teeth might be a sign of other problems.


Aside from developing obesity, you are also raising your risk for diabetes. A tell-tale sign is the smell of acetone on the breath. Patients might also suffer from recurrent multiple gum abscesses.

Long-term and continuous intake of food bad for your teeth leads to dental disease, and then, if not modified, leads to other health diseases. Remember, a healthy mouth is key to overall health!

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease and other oral health problems. Researchers think this is because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection and slows the healing process, which causes the gums to be among the tissues most impacted and creates a higher tendency for people with diabetes to lose more teeth.


Harmful lifestyle habits like smoking not only can produce tooth discoloration and periodontal destruction, it can lead to oral cancer. The carcinogens in tobacco products, alcohol and certain foods — as well as excessive exposure to the sun — increase the risk of developing oral cancer. During routine checkups, your dentist should screen for oral cancer and other cancers of the head and neck, including skin cancer, cancer of the jawbone and thyroid cancer. He or she can feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth.

Kidney Disease

When the kidneys do not function properly, they release by-products of incomplete protein breakdown. As a result, a patient with kidney disease may have bad breath and may also notice an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Other signs are dry mouth and a metallic taste. With dry mouth, the amount of saliva is reduced and its normal cleansing effect is diminished. This allows bacteria to increase, potentially leading to the development of gingivitis and gum disease.

Other conditions that can be detected by dentists:

  • Leukemia: Swollen and enlarged gums, bleeding gums and ulceration of the mouth are all early indicators.
  • Osteoporosis: The bones that hold the teeth can be spotted for signs of osteoporosis on a dental X-ray.
  • Hodgkin's Disease: A sometimes fatal disease of the lymphatic system. Swollen lymph nodes, a symptom, can be detected in the mouth.
  • Addison's Disease: Affects the adrenal glands resulting in weight loss, severe fatigue and lowered resistance to infection. It can be detected from changes in the pigmentation of the oral tissue and gums.
  • HIV: Indicators in the mouth include ulcers, enlarged tonsils, thrush infections, growths and severe gum disease.

Get checked

A dental checkup is more than just a cleaning. It can save your life!

Oral health is more than just about having clean teeth. While at your next oral hygiene appointment, the dental hygienist will review the integrity of your teeth and gums in order to help prevent or treat gingivitis, periodontal disease, or oral cancer. At Indianapolis Dentistry, your overall health is important to us because we practice whole body dentistry.

We care so much about preventive care that we have shaped our 5-year warranty program around keeping regular cleaning appointments. As long as you continue to keep your oral hygiene visits every 6-months you can be eligible for free replacement or repair of Dr. Reese’s dental work within the previous 5-years. And if you’ve already had dental treatment, existing patients can be grandfathered into this program.   Call 317-882-0228 to schedule your appointment today!

Dental Phobia?

Are you afraid of the dentist? You're not alone! It is estimated that nearly 35 million adults are anxious about visiting and dentist and consequently, postpone their appointment. Don't let anxiety get in the way of a healthy smile! Read our testimonials from our patients. One patient was "terrified of dental work", but said we "were comforting and never once made me feel bad." Another patient who was self-described as "a severe dental phobic" said, "Dr. Reese and his staff were very understanding, supportive and genuinely concerned about my dental experiences and health." We want all of our patients to feel that way so we compiled a list of some tips to make your dental experience more comfortable and minimize nervousness: 

1. Don't be uncomfortable telling Dr. Reese or our staff that you are nervous or anxious! It may also be a good idea to arrange a signal with the dental staff (such as raising your hand) to indicate when you are uncomfortable or need them to stop. That way you are in control of your visit!

2. Try to schedule your appointment during a time when you're not in a rush or under mental/physical strain.

3. Get a good night's sleep the day before you appointment.

4. Wear loose and comfortable clothes. - Tight clothes will restrict your movement and make you uncomfortable and agitated.

5. Ask for one of Indianapolis Dentistry's pre-programmed iPods to help you relax!

6. Call our office ahead of time and ask about our multiple sedation options. Sedation Dentistry will allow you to sleep/relax through your appointment and wake up refreshed with little to no memory of your appointment.

7. Ask about Laser Dentistry! Unlike needle and drill dentistry, our Waterlase MD™ laser can perform many traditional dental procedures with fewer shots, less anesthesia, and in many cases, without pain. Waterlase uses a unique combination of laser energy and water to provide gentler, more precise treatment that conserves healthy tooth structure, and minimizes pain and discomfort. In addition, procedures that once took several appointments to complete, such as multiple fillings, can now be finished in just one visit.

At Indianapolis Dentistry in Greenwood, IN (near downtown Indianapolis), our number one goal is to provide you with stress-free, quality dental care.

REMEMBER... There are major consequences to skipping dental visits! Avoiding dental visits means you are missing a chance to identify and treat dental problems well before they become major health issues. Diagnostic testing, oral cancer screening, x-rays, cleanings can all go a long way to ensuring your dental health through preventative care.

Stop postponing your health! Call Indianapolis Dentistry today at 317-882-0228 to schedule an appointment!

Insurance Benefits: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em

Make sure you use your dental benefits before the end of the your as most dental insurance plans run on a calendar year. Most insurers give you a certain amount of money each year, if you don't use it all, you lose it. This is called a "yearly maximum" and it is the most money that the dental insurance plan will pay for your dental treatment within one full year. This amount varies by insurance company, but the average is around $1,000 per year, per person. The yearly maximum usually renews every year (on January 1 if your plan is on a calendar year). If you have unused benefits, these will not rollover.

It's not just your yearly maximum that matters though, you need to consider your yearly deductible, which also starts again when your plan rolls over. The deductible is the amount of money that you pay out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. This fee varies based on your insurance plan.

If you have dental insurance, you should be using your benefits. Even if you don’t need any other dental services, you should always have your regular oral hygiene cleanings to help prevent and detect any early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, or other dental problems.

Don't delay important dental treatments as dental problems tend to worsen the longer they go untreated. Many patients need treatment that could have been avoided if they had come in earlier. By delaying dental treatment, you are risking more extensive dental treatment in the future. What may be a simple cavity now, could turn into a root canal later, for example.

If you have any questions about insurance, please do not hesitate to call 317-882-0228 and talk to one our staff. We are insurance friendly and would be happy to work with you to discuss what your insurance plan will cover.

What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer was once thought to be only a risk for people who heavily smoked or drank alcohol.  The truth is that oral cancer is growing at an aggressive rate and kills one person every hour of every day. The signs of symptoms of oral cancer can be hard to detect with the naked eye, and many cases are not diagnosed until they are well into the late stages of development.  Dr. Ted Reese offers a solution to this frightening problem.  He uses the Indentafi 3000 ultra technology to detect cancer cases that can't be seen by eye alone. Early detection can increase the rate of cure to nearly 90%.  The best part is that this test takes less than 3 minutes and is absolutely pain free!  You can call 317-882-0228 to schedule your appointment today! Oral Cancer — Risk Factors/Causes (in North America)

1. Tobacco & Alcohol — The most recognized and acknowledged is the use of tobacco (including smokeless) and alcohol.

2. Sexually Transmitted HPV-16 and -18 - Exposure to HPV-16 (human papilloma virus) is the fastest growing risk factor for oral cancer. This is the same virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers. The virus presents a fivefold increase in incidence under the age of 40, which means all patients over the age of 17 should be screened annually.

  • Why age 17? According to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in recommending the new HPV vaccine "Gardasil" for cervical cancer prevention... "We chose 11 and 12 years because most girls have not had sex at that age." It added: "By 15 years of age, about 25% of American young people have become sexually active. And by age 17, 50% have already done so." — The HPV Connection — some startling statistics: One of the most common virus groups in the world today - affecting the skin and mucosal areas of the body —is the human papilloma virus. More than 100 different types of HPV have been identified. Different types of HPV are known to infect different parts of the body. The most visible forms of the virus produce warts (papillomas)on the hands, arms, legs, and other areas of the skin. Most HPVs of this type are very common, harmless,noncancerous, and easily treatable. There are other forms of HPV which are sexually transmitted, and are a serious problem. The most common of these are; HPV-16, -18, -31, and -45. These cancer-associated types of HPVs cause growths that usually appear flat and are nearly invisible, as compared with genital warts caused by HPV-6 and-11. The FDA estimates that 70 percent of cervical cancers are associated with HPV-16 or -18. New studies have confirmed a significant link to oral cancer as well. In the oral environment, these manifest themselves primarily in the posterior regions, such as the base of the tongue, back of the throat (oropharynx), tonsils, and tonsillar pillars.It has now been established that the path which brings people to oral cancer contains at least two distinct etiologies; one through tobacco and alcohol and another via HPV, particularly version 16, though other versions of the virus might be implicated as the research unravels further. There are further delineations that seem to be apparent between the two. In general, it appears that HPV-positive tumors occur most frequently in a younger group of individuals than tobacco-related malignancies. They also occur more frequently in white males, and in nonsmokers. The HPV group is the fastest-growing segment of the oral cancer population.

3. History of Oral Cancer - Patients who survive a first encounter with the disease have a 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer; this increased risk can last for five to 10 years after the first occurrence.

4. Verrucous Leukoplakia — Approximately one-third become cancerous.

5. Erythroplackia — 91 percent show signs of dysplasia or malignancy.

6. Compromised Immune System — HIV