YouTube Twitter Facebook Facebook Blog

Our Blog

periodontist

Ask AIP: Incorporating Interdental Brushing Into Your Routine

September 25th, 2015

Last month, I extolled the benefits of interdental brushing. Since then, I've heard back from a number of you who've tried out this flossing alternative, both with rave reviews and with questions. For that reason, this edition of Ask AIP answers the most common question I've been receiving: How can I successfully incorporate interdental brushing into my routine? I know starting something new can be a challenge, and as always, I'm here to help.

The trick is to turn interdental brushing into a habit, much like brushing your teeth already is. I'm willing to bet you don't even think about brushing at this point; you sub-consciously allot the necessary time each morning and evening (that's right, I said morning and evening). So if you're struggling to integrate interdental brushing into your routine, here's some advice:

Use brushing your teeth as a cue! Say to yourself: "I will pick up my spiral brush before picking up my toothbrush every night.” One patient even hung a post-it note on the mirror as a reminder (thanks for the great suggestion, MW!). Integrating the behavior into your existing routine will positively affect the likelihood of it becoming habitual.

You can even start slowly by only using the interdental brush on the weekends and then start adding weekdays one by one. Keep this up and soon enough you'll have a new, healthy habit that we'll be sure to notice next time you come in for a visit.

We want to know how it’s going! Share your experience and thoughts in the comment section below and bring us any questions at your next appointment.

Brian

What Could Be More Effective Than Flossing? We’ll Tell You!

August 25th, 2015

In the American Academy of Periodontology's recent national survey, more than a third of Americans admitted they would rather sit in traffic or even clean a toilet before committing to flossing daily. In an ideal world, toilets would clean themselves, sitting bumper to bumper at the dreaded 5-Corners in Essex would be a thing of the past, and we could all maintain good oral hygiene without having to use floss.

While the first two are likely to remain pipe dreams for the foreseeable future, the 2014 XI European Workshop on Periodontology recently came to a surprising consensus on flossing that will change the way you clean between your teeth forever.

Leading researchers reviewed the literature and found that flossing is not the most effective prevention method when it comes to fighting periodontal diseases. In fact, the experts determined that there’s a new Periodontal Disease Prevention Sheriff in town: the interdental brush (also known as the proxy, spiral, or interproximal brush)!

Evidence shows that by using the correctly sized interdental brush, you’ll see greater plaque reduction and improved disease prevention than by using floss alone. As if that’s not motivation enough for you, interdental brushes are easier to use than their somewhat unwieldy counterpart! Coming in many shapes and sizes, this prevention method lets you say “so long!” to floss for any site that can fit an interdental brush instead.

Many of you have already integrated this highly effective tool into your oral health routines, and we here at AIP have already seen the stellar results. For those of you who haven’t given the interdental brush a try yet, be sure to ask me, the staff, Dr. Levi, or Dr. Gruwell about the benefits at your next appointment!

Brian

Ask AIP: A Chat with Dr. Gruwell

June 19th, 2015

We get it: sometimes, over the course of a procedure, you might not get the chance to ask all the questions you'd like to. While you may leave feeling confident about the answers you got about your periodontal concerns, you might still be wondering what Dr. Shuman's favorite color is! For that reason, we're excited to announce a new blog series called "Ask AIP." During the course of this series, we'll give you a topic on Facebook (in this case, the topic was our newest doctor, Scott Gruwell) and you can send us anything from minor musing to profound quandary related to the theme. We'll pick the most popular questions, and get you your answers in the next blog!

In this installment, we get to know Dr. Scott Gruwell a little bit better.

Tell us a little about your family and hobbies.

My family is the highlight of my life. My wife and I have been married for almost 19 years and our three kids (17, 14, 10) certainly keep us busy and out of trouble. My daughter is a competitive swimmer and high school championship water polo player. My boys love football, basketball, and soccer. We love a great board game and are really looking forward to trying out some of the great winter sporting activities that Vermont has to offer! Additionally, we love exploring new areas, taking road-trips together, and almost any outdoor activities. One of my life goals was to visit all 50 states and I recently checked my final box... Indiana!

You majored in humanities and minored in zoology at Brigham Young University. What made you decide to go into the field of dentistry and then specialize in periodontics?

In college, I loved art and ornithology, but switched majors several times, having no idea what I wanted to pursue professionally. My dad is an E.R. physician, so I decided to go to medical school.  After many long conversations with my dad, he talked me out of medicine and suggested I explore dentistry – a chance to combine both art and science into one job. In fact, I was part of a group of four guys all preparing for medical school. After really researching the careers, three of us decided to switch to dentistry.

As far as the specialty of periodontics is concerned, I can honestly say that perio was the only specialty I decidedly ruled OUT before dental school. During my undergraduate studies, I completed a progressive 3-semester pre-dental learning track. I thoroughly researched all aspects of dentistry and observed in the offices of many general dentists and specialists. Periodontics was just not for me.  Fast forward 4 years in dental school and I loved it. To me, it represented the specialty that focused largely on the biology of dentistry while combining aesthetics with oral & systemic health and medicine on an extremely detailed platform. I love details!

You said one of the highlights of your Air Force career was leading a 9-person team into the Amazon jungle to provide humanitarian service. Could you share details about this adventure?

My adventure to Suriname was a once in a lifetime experience. I was the only staff dentist leading a dental resident, 3 dental assistants, and 4 pre-dental students into the Amazon jungle as part of a larger Air Force medical team. We saw patients in 3 different mobile dental clinics we set up in the local elementary schools at Brokopondo, Klaaskreek, and Brownsweg.  Our entire mission consisted of about 14 days in country, but due to the logistics of setting up, tearing down, and traveling between sites, we were only able to see patients for about 8.5 days.

During that time period, the resident and I completed over 700 extractions and 1600 dental procedures, taking only a single 10 minute break for lunch each day. During the day, we had toucans and sloths in the trees above us, patients who showed up with pet monkeys and parrots, and even a poison-dart frog hop across the waiting room one morning. The evenings were spent on the banks of the Suriname river watching the piranha attack our leftovers we tossed in the river.

Looking back, it was definitely a difficult experience to articulate. To say it was humbling is an understatement… literally hundreds of people in line when you arrive in the morning, passing armed guards in the hallways, using a translator for every interaction, and knowing that no matter how much work you accomplish, it will simply not be enough. All-in-all, the people were exceptionally kind and thankful. It was an honor and privilege to serve this population, many of whom had never had the opportunity to see a dentist in their lifetime. I can't wait until I have the chance to participate in another humanitarian mission trip.

Thanks to Dr. Gruwell for sharing, and we look forward to answering more of your questions in the next installment of Ask AIP!

What Patients are Saying About AIP

March 26th, 2015

If you've ever taken a minute to read our vision statement, you might know: your smiles and your words of kindness are our greatest rewards.

When long-time patient ES sent a surprise fruit basket, I didn't think I could be any more grateful (I'm a huge fruit fan!). After a letter expressing my thanks, however, this sweet surprise was followed by one of the most rewarding notes the practice has ever received. I was ecstatic that ES granted permission to share it with all of you.

"I really wanted to say thank you for the great care that you and your staff provide. There is, of course, first and foremost, professional knowledge and expertise. But beyond that, at your office, there is an element of caring for helping people feel comfortable during procedures that aren't known for comfort. :-) You know (I hope) that I have appreciated, since our first meeting, the way that you practice and care for patients. I also want to send a shout-out to Kim, who does such a nice job of taking care of us, whether on the phone when we're scheduling (or concerned about a dental problem), or greeting us when we come in.

I experience your practice as the best of both worlds: the most modern equipment and care combined with the "old-fashioned" practice of having a community of patients who you remember are people. I'm not sure I'm articulating this well, but thank you."

ES -- you articulated it beautifully. Thank you for your kind words that remind us why we do what we do!

Brian

Welcome Dr. Scott Gruwell!

February 16th, 2015

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Scott F. Gruwell, D.D.S., M.S. to Associates in Periodontics. As he joins us from Texas, we are extending a particularly warm welcome -- we’ll do all we can do help him adjust to our occasionally arctic climate!

He brings with him so much more than just his excitement to join us up North. His impressive history began at Brigham Young University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He went on to receive his dental degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School. There, he not only graduated magna cum laude, but earned both the Award for Excellence in Clinical Dentistry and the Award for Uncommon Dedication to the Field. After receiving his master’s degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and his Certificate of Training in Periodontics from the Wilford Hall Medical Center, he earned the prestigious title of Diplomate to the American Board of Periodontology. In layman’s terms: the Board recognized him as a periodontist who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialization.

His journey didn’t lead him to Vermont just yet. Dr. Gruwell served as an Active Duty member of the US Air Force for 10 years, during which time he lead a 9-person dental team into the Amazon jungle to provide humanitarian services to the people of Suriname, and was the only dental officer in the Air Force to be selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel an entire year early.

Nope, not just yet! He taught at his alma mater and served as both the Director of Clinical Periodontics and Postgraduate Periodontal Education for the Texas Air Force Postgraduate Dental School.

During all this time, he has been honored with numerous awards and commendations, including the the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award for Academic Excellence, the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the Dental Educator of the Year award for the entire Air Force Medical Service, to name only a few. Learn more here.

Now, the next exciting chapter beings as he joins Associates in Periodontics. He, his wife, and three children (who he boasts are “much better looking than he is”) are excited to be living in Vermont and grateful to have relocated here on a permanent basis. As avid lovers of the outdoors, they are all excited to explore all the state has to offer.

You can visit him at both our South Burlington and Barre offices starting March 24th.

Welcome Scott, Tara, Riley, Spencer, and Eddie!

Brian

Want to Give Back Even More this Holiday Season? You can with our Holiday Sonicare Sale!

December 10th, 2014

It’s that time of year again! Snow on the ground, Christmas trees in the living room, menorahs on the dining room table, Sonicare EasyClean electric toothbrushes on sale at Associates in Periodontics… wait, what? I’m excited to add to the list of holiday traditions by announcing our annual Sonicare sale! We have them for $60.75 (plux tax), which is about $30 off of retail price at Best Buy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and other major retailers.

Sonicare uses unrivaled Sonic technology to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It makes 31,000 brush strokes per minute, compared with a manual toothbrush, which moves at around 300 brush strokes per minute. That means two minutes spent brushing with a Sonicare is equivalent to about a month spent using a manual toothbrush. It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out your time! Studies have even shown that Sonicare removes significantly more plaque than a manual brush, and that using a Sonicare can improve gum health in as short as two weeks.

If you’re not convinced: this is the toothbrush I use and I recommend – it’s straightforward and gets the job done right.

Not only is it a great deal, a great gift for the holidays, and a great way to maintain your oral health in the coming year, but it is also a great way to give back to our community. For each Sonicare sold, I will personally donate $5 to the Vermont Foodbank. I can’t wait to let you all know what the contribution ends up being.

Stop by the front desk at your next appointment to pick one up, or just swing by either of our offices (1775 Willston Road, South Burlington or 248 South Main Street, Barre) to take advantage of the offer. You can also email me at keepyourteeth@hotmail.com to reserve one (or two!) if you can’t make it in right away.

The offer is good through January 1st, 2015. Spread the word, tell your friends, and let’s make our donation an impressive one!

May the floss be with you this holiday season!

Brian

Should You be Worried About Microbeads in your Toothpaste?

November 15th, 2014

Remember a few years ago when plastic beads became all the rage in personal care? Suddenly they were everywhere: your face wash, your body scrub, and your toothpaste (yes, that’s where I come in). Though we haven’t completely bucked the trend, people have started worrying that maybe, just possibly, having a plastic that isn’t biodegradable in your toothpaste isn’t such a good idea, including patients!

When Jane emailed me asking, “Should I throw away my Crest Pro-Health toothpaste? If so, what toothpaste do you recommend?” I thought she might not be the only one out there wondering. Let’s explore this.

Let’s start with the plastic: polyethylene. It’s really an anomaly – simultaneously the most common plastic in the world, and the most contested. Containers, bottles, and grocery bags – all of these are made out of the same stuff as those little blue pebbles in your toothpaste. We’re up in arms about landfills overflowing with polyethylene bottles, and are absolutely adamant about bringing reusable bags to the grocery store; so yes, maybe we should be making a fuss about this plastic that lives forever when it comes to our toothpaste.

The fact that we are constantly finding these little blue plastic beads stuck in our patients’ gum lines, paired with the fact that these little blue plastic beads don’t break down, isn’t a great combination when we’re considering your oral health. Just like anything else that gets stuck in your gums, the beads become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can lead to all kinds of reasons you might come to me in pain: gingivitis, infection, or even severe periodontal disease. While I love seeing you, I don’t want to see you go through that.

Crest has claimed that the beads are there for decorative purposes only. They serve literally no purpose besides looking pretty, and putting your oral health at risk. Luckily, Crest plans to phase the beads out of their toothpastes by 2016. Until then, I urge you to toss your toothpaste if it contains polyethylene beads, and make the switch.

Not sure if your toothpaste is putting you at risk? Check out this website for a list of toothpastes we know contain polyethylene, and also for a great article on the subject.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Brian

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2014

Happy Halloween from AIP!

I’ll never forget the year that my daughter Alexx  told me she no longer wanted me dressing up as a dalmation for Halloween, but rather that it was about time that I start dressing as Darth Vader.  An avid Star Wars fan who always let his daughters decide his Halloween costume, I was ecstatic!

This year, with one daughter off in Boston, and one at the age where bringing her dad trick-or-treating simply is embarrassing and isn’t going to happen, I’ll be happily handing out candy with my lovely wife.

Now, as your periodontist, it would be downright irresponsible of me to leave out the importance of brushing and flossing during this time of year.  Chewy treats and hard candy can be particularly damaging, as they stick to your teeth longer, and are more difficult for your teeth to break down.  If you’re concerned about the health of  your children’s (or your own!) teeth this Halloween, but laying off the candy isn’t in the cards (my favorite is Three Musketeers and caramels), just be sure to brush really well after finishing the sweet treats. Check out www.trickytreats.org to see what Delta Dental has to say about keeping your kids’ teeth safe from cavities during this sugar-heavy time of year.

Whether you’re looking goofy, looking like a “force” to be reckoned with, or handing out candy this year, I hope this Halloween results in lasting memories.

May the floss be with you.

Brian

Dr. Shuman Receives Distinguished Service Award

September 26th, 2014

Harkening back to his days as an athlete, Dr. Shuman took to the stage with a group of cheering fans (his staff, family, friends, and colleagues) to accept the most prestigious award granted by the Vermont State Dental Society: the Distinguished Service Award.  The award was “in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to the field of dentistry.  His volunteer positions on the Vermont State Dental Society Continuing Education Committee and the Annual Meeting Committee, as well as his co-chiefing of the Special Olympics Special Smiles program exemplify his exemplary commitment to the dental profession and oral health of Vermonters.”

Dr. Shuman was grateful and humble in a characteristically humorous acceptance speech.  Though his attempt to downplay the achievement was valiant, Vaughn Collins (Executive Director of the Vermont State Dental Society) took to the mic as Dr. Shuman tried to leave the stage, "I just want to say, he’s unbelievable.  I mean, he’s a committee of one for the [Continuing Education] Committee and he’s been on the Annual Meeting Committee forever.  He just does a tremendous amount of work for us, and we couldn’t do what we do without him.”

"You never expect anything like this," Dr. Shuman said in a quiet moment after the ceremony, "you do these things simply to do them, because it's what you believe is right.  You never expect to be honored."  Clearly still reveling in the surprise of being rewarded for how he has chosen to live his life, Dr. Shuman seemed (perhaps for the first time) speechless.

Congratulations, Dr. Shuman!

- The AIP Team

Tell Associates in Periodontics what's on your mind!

July 8th, 2011

Week after week, Dr. Shuman, Dr. Levi, Dr. Halliday and Dr. Kolesar blog about important topics pertinent to periodontal treatment and your well-being, including dental implants and sleep apnea oral appliances. Today, we thought we’d step back and ask you, our loyal patients and readers: what’s on your mind? What would you like to know about the field of Periodontics? What would you like us to focus on our blog in the coming months? Let us know by posting here or on our Facebook fan page!

So… take it away and we’ll try to answer any questions you may have!

Meet Our Doctors

July 20th, 2010

Dr. Paul Levi received his DMD from the Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1966. He received his Specialty training in Periodontics from Tufts in 1971. After graduating, he opened his private practice limited to periodontics — Associates in Periodontics.

For the past six years he has been on the Board of the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, and presently is the president of the Foundation. In addition he is a board examiner for the American Board of Periodontology. He presently teaches two to three days a week at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and lectures at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He practices periodontics in Burlington, Vermont two days a week.

Dr. Brian Shuman graduated in 1978 from Haverford College where he was a biology major, participated in varsity soccer, baseball and tennis and was awarded the College Varsity Cup as a senior. He was also a member of the 1978 U.S Maccabiah Olympic Soccer team.

He graduated the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1982 and completed his periodontal training at The University of Pennsylvania School of Periodontology in 1985, where he was class president. He joined Paul Levi, Jr., DMD in 1985.

Dr. Shuman teaches at the Dental Residency Program, Hygiene School and Dental Assisting program. He also serves as Vice President of the Vermont Periodontal Society, Chairman of The Vermont State Dental Society Board of Continuing Education, Chairman of the Vermont Tech School of Dental Hygiene Advisory Board and Chairman of The Northeast Delta Dental Corporate Governance Committee

Upon graduation from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry in 2002, Dr. Holly Halliday practiced general dentistry in Michigan and Ontario for two years. In 2007, she graduated as chief resident from the University of Detroit Mercy Periodontics Program and was published in the journal General Dentistry the same year. Dr. Halliday is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology.

Dr. Matthew Kolesar graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine and from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s School of Periodontology. Dr. Kolesar, a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, most recently practiced in Washington, D.C. He is a contributing author to the Illustrated Handbook of Clinical Dentistry, was a clinical instructor of head and neck anatomy at Harvard Medical School, and has been published in the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Implants.

Back to Top