Jim Erpenbach DDS

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The Tale of the Tooth Fairy

No one ever sees her, but you know when she’s been there.

She only visits at night.

She searches under your pillow while you’re sleeping.

She wants your teeth.

Sounds a little scary? Don’t be afraid – We’re talking about the Tooth Fairy!

Most Americans are familiar with the tale of the sweet, tooth collecting sprite that visits at night, looking for teeth that have fallen out. She kindly leaves a few dollars under their pillow as payment, and then goes on about her merry way. It’s a popular story in the United States, and one that most children look forward to experiencing, but do you know how the Tooth Fairy got her start? Dr. Erpenbach gets a lot of questions about the Tooth Fairy when treating his littlest patients , but the real story of the Tooth Fairy may even surprise some adults.

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Potential Link: Study Connects Periodontal Disease to Liver Damage

 A study presented at the 2017 International Liver Congress in Amsterdam has linked severe cases of periodontitis to cirrhosis of the liver. The study was made up of 184 cirrhosis patients who were tracked for an average of one year to look for causes of cirrohosis, which leaves the liver permanently scarred. Patients in the study were given health assessments, include oral health exams.

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New Studies Show that Teeth Can Get A Boost from Grape Seed Extract

Dental researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry have identified a natural compound found in grape seed extract to be a potential way to strengthen teeth and give extra support to dental filling. The study examined the ability of this compound to strengthen dentin, the tissue that lies below the hard, outer, bone-like tooth enamel.

Researchers on the project sought to solve the common problem of filling or restoration failure. Dental fillings, whether made of mercury amalgam or composite materials, eventually begin to weaken and break down. Mercury amalgam fillings are estimated to last on average 12.8 years and composite resin fillings last on average 7.8 years.

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Bulk Restorations Fall Short

Bulk restorations are a popular way for dentists to treat cavities. Although they are popular with many dentists, they may actually not be the best method of treatment. Dr. Erpenbach does not use bulk restorations to treat cavities and uses biomimetic dental restorations instead.

Bulk restorations became popular because they allowed dentists to fill cavities faster. They require fewer steps that metal amalgam fillings, which means dentists were able to treat patients faster, ultimately giving them the ability to treat more patients during the day, too. Unlike metal amalgam fillings, there is no risk of exposure to poisonous mercury; a factor that makes them more popular with patients, Another benefit is that they are tooth-colored versus the telltale silver amalgam, which makes it less obvious that the patient has fillings.

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Researchers Find Rheumatoid Arthritis May Be Caused by Mouth Bacteria

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful joint condition suffered by 1.5 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control. The condition, also known as RA, is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system targets healthy synovial tissue located around the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can be triggered by illnesses or certain medical conditions, but researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found a link between RA and a particular type of bacteria found in the mouth. These new findings may lead to new treatments for patients suffering from RA, as well as methods of prevention.

These bacteria are known to cause periodontal infections but have also been found to cause RA. These bacteria confuse the body, which mistakes its own tissue as foreign invaders. This confusion prompts an immune system response in order to destroy these imagined foreign bodies by attacking the tissue of the synovium. The synovium, also known as the synovial membrane, is the soft tissue found in the joints that serve to cushion the joints as they move or glide.

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