Dr. Meena's Blog

Just completed a wonderful 2-day seminar of Full Arch Reconstruction in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am posing with Dr. James Downs who is an outstanding instructor. 

Here are some 'Before' and Áfter' pictures of a patient on whom Dr. Downs performed the Full Arch Reconstruction in the seminar at Utah. As the pictures show, today's modern dentistry can work wonders for the esthetics which in turn boosts the patient's confidence. Unbelievable transformation!

By Dr. Meena
September 04, 2012
Category: MassHealth


A great article on the nationwide Medicaid cuts in dental coverage for adults in the New York Times. One piece of good news - starting in January, Massachusetts Medicaid will pay for fillings — but only for those in the front of the mouth.  "The dental benefits issue came to the forefront recently here in Massachusetts, a state known for generous Medicaid benefits. Under budgetary pressures, the state stopped paying private Medicaid providers for fillings, root canals, crowns and dentures in July 2010. But it recently decided to restore part of that coverage. Starting in January, Massachusetts Medicaid will pay for fillings — but only for those in the front of the mouth. The reasoning was that healthy front teeth were more important for getting and keeping jobs."

Another sobering piece of statistics: "Pew Center estimated that preventable dental problems were the primary diagnosis in 830,590 emergency room visits in 2009 — up 16 percent from 2006.“It’s penny-wise and pound-foolish,” said Shelly Gehshan, the director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign. “Rather than an $80 extraction or a $300 filling, states are spending much more on emergency room visits that can’t fix the problem.”

In the final analysis, I concur with Dr. Michael Wasserman, the president-elect of the Massachusetts Dental Society, who said that he was disappointed Massachusetts did not restore full coverage but that even a partial restoration was extraordinary in these fiscal times.

By Dr.Meena
July 10, 2012
Category: Periodontal
Tags: gum disease   wisdom teeth  

My husband recently suffered from pericoronitis. Pericoronitis is a dental disorder in which the gum tissue around the molar teeth becomes swollen and infected. This disorder usually occurs as a result of wisdom teeth.

What Causes Pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis usually develops when the wisdom teeth only partially erupt (break through the gum). This allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection. In cases of pericoronitis, food or plaque (a bacterial film that remains on teeth after eating) may get caught underneath a flap of gum around the tooth. If it remains there, it can irritate the gum and lead to pericoronitis. If the pericoronitis is severe, the swelling and infection may extend beyond the jaw to the cheeks and neck.

What Are the Symptoms of Pericoronitis?

Symptoms of pericoronitis include:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Swelling in the gum tissue (caused by an accumulation of fluid)
  • A "bad taste" in the mouth (caused by pus leaking from the gums)
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

How Is Pericoronitis Treated?

If the pericoronitis is limited to the tooth (for example, if the pain and swelling has not spread), treat it by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. You should also make sure that the gum flap has no food trapped under it.

If your tooth, jaw, and cheek are swollen and painful, see your dentist right away. He or she can treat the infection with antibiotics (usually penicillin, unless you are allergic). You can also take pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. The dentist may also prescribe a pain medication.

If the pain and inflammation are severe, or if the pericoronitis recurs, oral surgery to have the gum flap or wisdom tooth removed may be necessary. Your dentist can make the appropriate referral to the oral and maxillofacial surgeon. A low-level laser can be used to reduce pain and inflammation associated with pericoronitis.

I just heard that I was accepted to the Mass Dental Society 2012-2014 Leadership Institute. The MDS Leadership Institute is designed to empower participating dentists with the necessary tools and training to become effective leaders in organized dentistry in their community. Am really looking forward to the program!

The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) is happy to offer members the Leadership Institute Program as a means to cultivate future leaders and broaden our volunteer base with leaders who can propel the MDS into the future.

Participating dentists will acquire important leadership skills that will prepare them to:

  • Think outside of the box on programs and activities
  • Run effective meetings
  • Motivate and inspire others to participate
  • Understand and articulate to others the major legislative issues impacting the dental profession


By Dr. Meena
April 13, 2012
Category: Oral Cancer
Tags: gum disease  

If your teeth could talk - the mouth offers clues to disorders and diseases and dentists could play a larger role in patient care.

The eyes may be the window to the soul, but the mouth provides an even better view of the body as a whole. Some of the earliest signs of diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, immune disorders, hormone imbalances and drug issues show up in the gums, teeth and tongue - sometimes long before a patient knows anything is wrong. There's also growing evidence that oral health problems, particularly gum disease, can harm a patient's general health as well, raising the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pneumonia and pregnancy complications.

    Such findings are fueling a push for dentists to play a greater role in patients' overall health. It's an opportunity to tell a patient, 'You know, I am concerned. I think you really need to see a primary care provider,' so you are moving in the direction of better health. Some of the most distinctive problems come from uncontrolled diabetes. The gum tissue has a glistening shiny look where it meets the teeth. It bleeds easily and pulls away from the bone. An estimated six million Americans have diabetes but don't know it - and several studies suggest that dentists could help alert them. It's not just that the same lifestyle habits contribute to both gum disease and high blood sugar; the two conditions exacerbate each other. Inflammation from infected gums makes it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar level, and high blood sugar accelerates tooth decay and gum disease, creating more inflammation.

    There is also growing evidence that the link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular problems is not a coincidence either. Inflammation in the gums raises C-reactive protein, thought to be a culprit in heart disease. Oral bacteria has been found in the plaques that block arteries. Bacteria from the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and cause problems, elsewhere, which is why people contemplatng elective surgery are advised to have any needed dental work performed first.

    Many medications, from antidepressants to chemotherapy drugs can cause dry mouth, which can cause cavities to skyrocket, since saliva typically acts as a protective coating for teeth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that dentists offer HIV testing, because some of the first symptoms appear in the mouth., including fungal infections and lesions. Dentists can do the HIV test with a simple mouth swab and get test results in 20 minutes.

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