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Give Him Some "Elbow" Room: Dr. Levi's Recovery

March 14th, 2016

As you may already know, Dr. Levi broke his elbow (see cool x-ray below) in late 2015. I’m thrilled to announce that his recovery is going well and he will be back in the office soon.

elbow.jpg

Currently, he is in Europe lecturing, touring, and learning Spanish as a second language. He will resume his normal schedule of working most Fridays starting in May. Be sure to say “bienvenido de vuelta” (welcome home) next time you see him!

Safety First

March 3rd, 2016

Years ago, as I watched the fire engulf my building, I remember finding comfort in knowing I had done the “right” thing by backing up all of my data to tape. Bummer--turned out my tape drive was no longer manufactured. No problem! I was diligent and as a secondary precaution had backed up everything to the Cloud. But my Cloud backup would take 5 days to get back to me. Too long. Finally, I tracked down my discontinued tape drive on EBAY and overnight had all my data fully restored. Never again. That night, I vowed to be up and running within one hour should another disaster strike.

I was reminded of all this after watching a segment on Good Morning America about the latest threat, Ransomware. In the spirit of transparency, and because I never want you to worry about a thing when it comes to AIP, I’d like to let you know how serious I am about protecting your personal information.

After the fire, I invested in DDS Rescue (the “high-tech spare tire for my server”), a state of the art backup system that encrypts and stores our server information  on both coasts. It also allows me access to all of my programs and files remotely, and within 10 minutes of any emergency. I have run simulations. It works.

We also use SendInc Encryption, a program that secures messages containing personal medical information by ensuring that data remains encrypted from the time it leaves AIP’s computer through the time you or your dentist receives it. You already knew we utilize cutting-edge technology in the office, but our advanced practices also extend beyond our walls to ensure that your information is safe all the way from our inbox to yours. If you haven’t already, you may receive email from us and note the SendInc logo. It will require a one time name and password registration to open.

In other words, your information is 100% safe and 100% backed up 100% of the time, giving us all peace-of-mind.

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's Happening at 247 Pearl Street?

May 14th, 2015

My oldest graduated from Smith College, my youngest became an award winning gymnast, the Red Sox won the world series, AIP moved to a new space, Dr. Scott Gruwell joined the practice; these are just a handful of significant events that have happened since the night of the fire in 2011. You see, time is a funny thing. Despite the distance we’ve all gained thanks to the ever-dependable changing of the seasons, the night we lost 247 Pearl Street manages to remain as present in my mind as the coming of spring. Coming over the crest of that hill that I’d driven down almost every day for 27 years to see a once so familiar site aglow with red & blue lights, camera flashes, and of course, roaring flames, is an image that, it seems, will never begin to fade.

PEARL STREET APARTMENTS

As many of you know, I designed our current location not only to be comfortable, modern, and on the forefront of technology, but also to be completely removable in anticipation of returning to 247 Pearl. However, I have listened to your kind comments about the new office (the ease of access and parking, the bright and airy windowed rooms, my father’s paintings, etc.) and I have decided to make 1775 Williston Road the permanent home for Associates in Periodontics.

You may have noticed that construction has begun at 247 Pearl Street. The location that so many of us once called our second home will now be home to Burlington residents. A lovely building with 29 apartments (something the city needs, wants, and has had zoned for the site for years) will soon stand where our beloved building once did. The project is “locally sourced,” if you will, designed by Smith & Buckley (Hotel Vermont, Courtyard by Marriott, Dealer.com) and supervised by Redstone Corp.

AIP is proud to call 1775 Williston home today, and though it is bittersweet to bid farewell to our time at 247 Pearl, seeing new life rise from the ashes is nothing short of soothing. As always, we thank you in your support over the course of the past few years. With this announcement, we look towards our future, brightened not by flames, but instead by your shining smiles!

Brian

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

Introducing: Everseat

October 14th, 2014

If you know me at all, you know I'm a tech guy.  My family stopped checking to see if the packages at the door were for them years ago.  "Another gadget for Dad," I'd hear my daughters groan (with affection, of course).  I'm always trying to stay on the forefront of technology in my home, and think it's absolutely vital to do so in my practice, as well.

I want your experience with AIP to be easy, comfortable, and fun from beginning to end. Technology helps me achieve those goals, whether it be lasers, digital x-rays, or intra-oral photos taken with a wand.

The latest tech is called Everseat.  It's a free smartphone app that allows you to book last minute appointments right through your phone.  Everseat stays up-to-date with our schedule so that you can too: you can see and be notified of our openings and request to reserve the time that works best for you. If nothing is available, you can request to be notified when one does open up via text.

Download it, and let me know what you think next time you come in!

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

Happy Labor Day!

September 1st, 2014

Well, it's Labor Day, which means the unofficial end to summer.  Before the kids head back to school, the temperatures start to cool down, and the leaf-peepers start arriving, I hope you'll take advantage of the oddly warm weather we've been having!  Get in the backyard and barbecue, head down to Lake Champlain, or just relish that day off with your family like I'm doing with my girls in the picture above!

No matter how you spend your time off, the AIP staff wishes you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend.  May the floss be with you.

Brian

Heart Disease and Oral Health

August 25th, 2014

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than 200 million Americans suffer from some degree of inflammation of the gums. Over the past decade, researchers have published studies that link the bacteria involved in periodontal disease to cardiovascular disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have connected oral infections to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and low birth weights.

Studies suggest bacteria that cause periodontal disease are also responsible for causing a thickening of the carotid arteries, which increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke. Further research is being conducted to understand the link between oral health and heart disease better.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Dr. Brian Shuman and our team at Associates in Periodontics hear this question all the time. Periodontal disease is an infection. Our mouths are filled with bacteria, and this bacteria forms plaque. If the plaque is not removed through brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings at the dentist, it hardens into tartar. If gingivitis (gum inflammation) is not treated early, it can advance to periodontitis. Bacteria get under the gum tissue and erode it as well as the bone that supports the teeth. The gums eventually pull away from the teeth, and infected pockets form.

Proving that periodontal gum disease is connected to heart disease has been difficult for researchers. However, there are two theories about to what might connect the processes.

  • Bacteria are released in the bloodstream through chewing and tooth brushing. The same species of bacteria that causes gum disease has been discovered in the plaque in arteries in the heart.
  • Inflammation in the mouth is a catalyst for inflammation throughout the rest of the body.

Practice good oral health habits

While the link between periodontitis and heart disease is not yet fully understood, you can prevent the possibility of health complications by practicing good oral health. It’s recommended that you brush and floss twice a day, as well as visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam. Oral health should not be taken for granted. By preventing oral diseases, you’re also minimizing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

To learn more about the connection between heart disease and oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brian Shuman, please give us a call at our convenient South Burlington or Barre, VT office! A clean mouth leads to a happy heart!

Treating Gum Disease with Antibiotics

August 18th, 2014

For those of our patients at Associates in Periodontics who suffer from periodontal (gum) disease, we proudly offer topical or oral antibiotics to help reduce or entirely eliminate disease-causing bacteria. It can also help fight the bacterial infection causing gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease that is characterized by reddening, swelling, and bleeding of the gums.

Dr. Brian Shuman may recommend systemic or topical antibiotics in conjuncture with scaling and root planing, as well as other procedures. These antibiotics include:

  • Tetracycline: The primary drugs used in the fight against bacteria, tetracycline includes antibacterial properties which help reduce inflammation and block collagenase, a protein which destroys the connective tissue and bone.
  • Azithromycin: This antibiotic is known to reduce bacterial growth associated with periodontitis, and is regularly used to reduce inflammation in those patients who are heavy smokers.
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl): This antibiotic may be prescribed to those patients suffering from severe periodontitis. Metronidazole works best when used in a combination with amoxicillin or tetracycline.
  • Ciprofloxacin: This antibiotic is used to specifically target A. actinomycetemcomitans, a slow-growing but harmful bacterium that contributes to gum disease.
  • Amoxicillin: Only intended to fight bacteria and bacterial infections, amoxicillin does not kill bacteria but prevents microbes from forming walls that surround them, which is how bacteria reproduces and survives.
  • Clindamycin: An antibiotic that works by stopping the development of bacteria, clindamycin is used to treat a variety of serious bacterial infections.

Most forms of gum disease can be treated without antibiotics, but the biggest advantage of using topical antibiotics to help treat the disease is that they are directed to their specific target areas, thus the entire body is not affected. The other advantages of topical antibiotics include reduced dosage and reduced side effects. Dr. Brian Shuman can discuss with you the advantages, as well as side effects, of each antibiotic during your visit.

To learn more, or to schedule your next visit at Associates in Periodontics, please give us a call today at our convenient South Burlington or Barre, VT office!

What is biofilm?

August 11th, 2014

Biofilm, the protective housing for bacteria, is a hot topic in the medical and dental fields. Routinely taking an antibiotic for a bacterial infection has become more complicated because of biofilm. Bacterial infections may become resistant to antibiotics in part because the biofilm allows for communication among the bacteria, allowing the infection to be sustained.

You’re probably wondering, Dr. Brian Shuman , what does this have to do with teeth? Since we’re dental professionals, we can tell you why it’s important and what you should know! There is biofilm in your mouth; healthy biofilm and diseased biofilm. Both are made of the same general compounds, but when combined with certain amino acids and cellular chemicals, the diseased biofilm conquers and destroys.

Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease or pyorrhea, is a biofilm disease. If you are undergoing treatment for gum disease and you do not continue with the treatment plan the disease will progress and/or spread due to the biofilm.

There are several ways to treat diseased biofilm. But remember, antibiotics cannot touch the bacterial infection if the biofilm is established.

When your exam is complete, the Ultrasonic or Piezo Scaler should be used. This method of spraying water disturbs the biofilm and provides an opportunity to treat the infection causing bacteria.

Remember, we all need healthy biofilm. Just as your skin protects your body, biofilm housing good bacteria protects your body. The bacteria in the biofilm replicate every twenty minutes. If your body has healthy bacteria, low levels of hydrogen peroxide are produced by the biofilm, preventing harmful bacteria from residing. Harmful bacteria do not like oxygen.

At your exam, we will take measurements around your teeth checking for “pockets”. The higher the number, the deeper the pocket giving more room for harmful bacteria where there is no oxygen. Ask what your numbers are and be involved in restoring your healthy biofilm.

The Connection Between Your Mouth and Your Heart

August 4th, 2014

At Associates in Periodontics, we know your dental health is closely connected to your overall health. We also know that the mouth can oftentimes be the first place to show signs of other bodily health issues.

Studies have shown possible links between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease, and researchers have found that people with gum disease have an elevated risk of suffering from a stroke or developing coronary artery disease. Believe it or not, an estimated 70 to 80 percent of North American adults currently have some form of gum disease.

Gum disease, which affects the tissues that surround and support the teeth, is an infection caused by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque that forms on the teeth, mainly along the gum line. In its early stages, called gingivitis, gum disease can be treated by Dr. Brian Shuman and often reversed.

To help keep your mouth and heart healthy, we’ve provided following tips to help prevent problems before they arise:

  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Make sure you brush gently beneath the gum line around each tooth.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Have a dental checkup and cleaning twice a year, or as recommended.
  • Eat a healthy diet. This includes avoiding foods with a high concentration of sugars or starches and consuming more fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid tobacco and copious levels of alcohol. If you smoke, quit. And remember, heavy drinking dramatically increases the risk of developing mouth and throat cancer.

Don’t put off your next visit to Associates in Periodontics any longer! If it has been a while since your last visit to our South Burlington or Barre, VT office, please give us a call!

Women’s Medications and Dry Mouth

July 28th, 2014

Women using medication to treat a variety of medical conditions are often unaware of the potential side effects. One common side effect of medications such as blood pressure medication, birth control pills, antidepressants, and cancer treatments is dry mouth. The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia.

Xerostomia can lead to undesirable effects in the oral cavity including periodontal disease and a high rate of decay. Many women who have not had a cavity in years will return for their routine exam and suddenly be plagued with a multitude of cavities around crowns and at the gum line, or have active periodontal disease. The only thing that the patient may have changed in the past six months is starting a new medication.

Saliva washes away bacteria and cleans the oral cavity, and when saliva flow is diminished harmful bacteria can flourish in the mouth leading to decay and gum disease. Many medications can reduce the flow of saliva without the patient realizing the side effect. Birth control pills can also lead to a higher risk of inflammation and bleeding gums. Patients undergoing cancer treatments, especially radiation to the head and neck region, are at a greatly heightened risk of oral complications due to the possibility of damage to the saliva glands.

There are many over the counter saliva substitutes and products to temporarily increase saliva production and help manage xerostomia. One great option for a woman with severe dry mouth or high decay rate is home fluoride treatments. These work in a number of ways, including custom fluoride trays that are worn for a short period of time daily at home, a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste, or an over the counter fluoride rinse. If you have more questions on fluoride treatments, make sure to ask Dr. Brian Shuman at your next visit to our office.

The benefits of many of the medications on the market outweigh the risks associated with xerostomia, however, with regular exams you can manage the risk and prevent many oral consequences of medications.

Is there a correlation between my dental and cardiovascular health?

July 21st, 2014

YES!  Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care. Cardiovascular disease remains American’s leading killer, claiming more lives than the rest of major causes of death, according to our friends at the American Heart Association. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

Studies suggest that people with gum disease are believed to have an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. Since most patients are not regularly visiting a heart specialist, their regular visits to our South Burlington or Barre, VT office can help detect early warning signs of heart issues, prevent gum disease, or at the very least catch it at its early stage. We’d also like you to know your numbers: blood pressure (less than 120/80), cholesterol (less than 200) and BMI (less than 25).

There are many benefits to visiting Associates in Periodontics in addition to maintaining your dental health. If it has been a while since your last visit, please give us a call!

Proper Brushing Techniques

July 14th, 2014

Brushing your teeth properly removes the food particles and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. However, you do not want to scrub your teeth or gums heavily. A heavy hand can lead to tooth and gum erosion, as Dr. Brian Shuman and our staff see all too often.

You should also use a soft bristle toothbrush to avoid damaging the surface of your teeth. Make sure the head of the brush fits in your mouth, because if it is too large you will not be able to reach all tooth surfaces. Follow these steps to ensure you are brushing properly.

  1. Use a small amount of toothpaste on your brush. The recommendation is a pea-sized amount or thin strip on the bristles.
  2. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the surface of your teeth, angling towards your gums. Use a circular motion on all exterior tooth surfaces, and avoid back-and-forth “scrub” brushing.
  3. Once you have cleaned the outer surfaces, hold the brush vertically and clean the inner teeth surfaces — the side of your teeth that face your tongue. Do not forget the inner surfaces of your front teeth.
  4. Finally, finish by cleaning all the chewing surfaces of your teeth. You need to maintain a gentle touch, but make sure you get into the full depth of your molars. The entire process should take about two minutes.

Dr. Brian Shuman and our staff recommend changing your toothbrush every three to four months for best results. Do not forget to clean your tongue, which helps remove excess bacteria from your mouth. Special brushes are available just for cleaning your tongue, and they are easy to use.

Proper care of your teeth also requires flossing on a regular basis. Flossing can be performed before or after you brush. Following up with a quality mouthwash will provide you with even more protection. Do not be afraid to ask the Associates in Periodontics team for tips on proper brushing and flossing.

Tell us about your summer!

July 7th, 2014

The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for Dr. Brian Shuman and our team to ask our patients about their summer!

Whether you visited our nation’s capital, went on a camping trip, or just stayed in South Burlington or Barre, VT and relaxed, we want to know how you’re all spending your summer! Please feel free to share your summer plans and experiences with us below or on our Facebook page as summer rolls on!

Happy Fourth of July!

June 30th, 2014

The AIP team and I wish you a happy Independence Day!

This holiday holds some of the fondest memories for me.  I remember the first Fourth we went up to our camp on Lake Carmi.  After a full day of swimming, grilling, and board games, we took a hint from the locals took the boat out into the middle of the lake.  We were expecting a pleasant, small-lake-in-a-small-town firework show, and were instead met with one of the most extravagant spectacles we'd ever witnessed.  Not only did the town of Franklin put on a show to rival New York or Boston, but also the entire perimeter of the lake was lined with people shooting fireworks from their yards.  It was a 360 degree firework spectacular that the Shuman family holds as the gold standard of firework shows, to this day.

What are your favorite Independence Day memories?

Brian

Periodontal Disease in Adolescents

June 23rd, 2014

Dr. Brian Shuman and our team at Associates in Periodontics know that periodontal disease isn't something exclusive to adults. It can affect adolescents as well. Gingivitis, which is a milder form of periodontitis, is a form of periodontal disease, and a warning that more serious problems may arise. Untreated gingivitis can develop into full-blown periodontitis.

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) explains that research proves that younger people may develop more severe forms of gingivitis. Gingivitis is linked to periodontal disease. Children and adolescents who have type 1 diabetes or immune deficiencies are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease.

There are three types of periodontal diseases Dr. Brian Shuman and our team see in children and adolescents.

Chronic gingivitis

Parents may suspect that their adolescent has chronic gingivitis if he or she shows or complains of symptoms such as redness, swelling, or bleeding gums. Early treatment may prevent gingivitis from developing into a more severe form of periodontal disease.

Aggressive and/or chronic periodontitis

Once called adult periodontitis, the term chronic replaces “adult” because periodontitis can occur in people in their early teenage years, and progress throughout their teens. Chronic and aggressive periodontitis primarily affects incisors and first molars. One of its distinguishing characteristics is bone loss. Curiously, patients who suffer from this form of the disease have minimal dental plaque on examination.

Generalized aggressive and chronic periodontal disease

This form of periodontal disease has many of the same characteristics of the chronic and aggressive form, but this more severe type of the disease affects the entire mouth. Symptoms include major plaque and calculus accumulation, and inflamed gums.

In both forms of more severe periodontal disease, the overall gum structure may change. The severity of these changes may alter gum strength enough to loosen teeth, or even worse, cause them to fall out.

The success of any treatment is largely contingent on early diagnosis. Dr. Brian Shuman should conduct a thorough periodontal exam as part of an adolescent’s twice-yearly complete dental examinations.

The mouth is full of bacteria. Some of it is necessary for food digestion. Diseases are more likely to develop if bacteria travel to open places in the mouth, such as exposed gum pockets or cavities. Proper dental hygiene is essential for a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth offers greater protection against painful dental diseases.

Be sure every member of your family has a complete dental exam and cleaning twice a year, and contact Dr. Brian Shuman when you or your young kids or adolescents complain of pain, sensitivity, or other oral problems. Early detection at our South Burlington or Barre, VT office leads to treatment of oral problems and prevents them from turning into serious periodontal disease and potentially irreversible problems.

Good Dental Hygiene Impacts Overall General Health

June 16th, 2014

There are many ways in which your oral health has an impact on your overall general health. There are naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth. Some of those bacteria, including strep and staph, are harmful, while other bacteria are essential for the balance of intestinal flora. The healthier your mouth is, the less likely it is the harmful bacteria will travel to other parts of your body to infect it and make you sick. There is much more to good dental hygiene than brushing and flossing.

Historical Methods of Maintaining Oral Health

Ancient civilizations relied on natural remedies for maintaining oral health. Around 250 AD, the Kemetic Egyptians used myrrh and other herbs as antiseptics for treating infected gums. Two centuries later, the Nubians, who lived in the Nile River valley, drank beer to ease the pain of infected teeth. That probably sounds crazy, but their beer was effective because they used grains that were contaminated with the same bacteria that produce the antibiotic tetracycline.

Today's Biggest Dental Hygiene Challenge

In the past, tooth decay was more of an issue because there was no routine dental care, and problems that are routinely treated today went untreated. Thanks to fluoridated water, and toothpastes containing fluoride, tooth decay is far less problematic than it was a century or more ago. Gum disease has replaced tooth decay as the most serious dental problem facing people today. According to the American Dental Association, a staggering 80 percent of Americans over age 65 suffer from some form of periodontal disease.

Ironically, if that infection attacked any other part of your body, especially in a place where it was clearly visible, you would head to your doctor for treatment immediately. People tend to ignore gum tenderness and bleeding. When the tenderness and bleeding aren't treated, the inflammation can turn into periodontitis. The longer you allow the inflammation to go untreated, the greater the likelihood that it will affect other body parts. Make sure to visit Dr. Brian Shuman at Associates in Periodontics regularly to be proactive about dental health!

Researchers are now discovering that untreated inflammation in the mouth acts as a driving force for multiple chronic illnesses, including clogged arteries, heart attacks, arthritis, and even cancer. That inflammation is one of many hypotheses that may explain how chronic infections can trigger systemic diseases, and even intensify existing ones. Bacterial overgrowth in the inflamed gum tissue can enter the bloodstream through the food you eat, and from daily brushing.

Caring for your mouth at home is just as important as visiting our office for exams!

June is National Smile Month: Show off your smile!

June 2nd, 2014

The community health awareness group Oral Health America has reported that 82 percent of adults are unaware of the role that infectious bacteria can play in tooth decay or cavities, and almost three out of five children aged 12 to 19 have tooth decay. Since June is National Smile Month, all of us at Associates in Periodontics thought we’d remind you about the importance of good oral hygiene visits between office visits.

To keep your family’s smiles healthy and beautiful for years to come, be sure to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day to clean between your teeth
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks

Brian

Brian Shuman DMD

Memorial Day

May 26th, 2014

Memorial Day is not only a federal holiday in the United States, but it is a day of observance and remembrance of those who died in service. Originally known as Decoration Day, this solemn day has been marked on calendars since the end of the American Civil War as a day to commemorate both the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died in the war.

Marking the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths, or other tokens has been practiced throughout history, but it wasn't until the mark of the end of the Civil War that a special day was decided upon as the one to spend in remembrance. By 1890, every state in the country was observing Decoration Day. It wasn't until 1967 when the name formally changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, in order to encompass all fallen American soldiers in all wars and conflicts. In June of 1968, Congress moved the official date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend.

Today, while there is certainly an air of remembrance on Memorial Day, it has become more a day of spending time with family, friends, and other loved ones. This day is also heralded as the start of summer, with many schools finishing for the year around this time. Our team at Associates in Periodontics remembers it as a day to take solace and remembered those lost.

Traditional observances of Memorial Day are still held, and they often involve raising the American Flag then lowering it to a half-staff position until noon, and then raising it once again to its full height afterwards. The flag is lowered to remember those who've lost their lives while in service to their country, and then it is raised to signify our willingness to not let their sacrifice be in vain.

From community parades, backyard cook-outs, and fireworks to formal ceremonies, Memorial Day is commemorated in many different ways. No matter how you choose to spend this day, take a moment to remember those who've lost their lives in an effort to preserve our freedom.

Brian

Brian Shuman DMD

Can children be at risk for developing periodontal disease?

May 12th, 2014

At Associates in Periodontics we hear this question a lot. While many people believe periodontal disease is an adult problem, studies have indicated that gum disease is prevalent among kids and adolescents.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease in which only your child’s gums are affected. Characterized by swollen and red gums that bleed easily, gingivitis causes an inflammation of the gums, and is the first stage and mildest form of periodontal disease. The good news is that gingivitis is often reversible. Treatment for gingivitis includes having your child come in for a professional teeth cleaning. It also includes daily brushing, which will help eliminate plaque from the surfaces of your child’s teeth. Your child should also get in the habit of flossing daily to remove plaque and food particles wedged in the crevices between his or her teeth.

Periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease that can not only damage your child’s gum tissue, but also destroy the underlying bone which supports the teeth. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. In some cases, the bacteria from the ensuing infection may also be distributed to other areas of the body via the bloodstream.

Having persistent at-home oral care regimen is a critical step in your child’s fight against periodontal disease. But sometimes brushing and flossing are simply not enough. Having your child’s teeth cleaned twice a year, or as recommended, is crucial.

Early diagnosis of gingivitis and periodontitis is the key to a healthy mouth. If you are concerned your child is suffering from gum disease, talk to your dentist or give us a call at our South Burlington or Barre, office.

Brian

Brian Shuman DMD

Spring is finally here! Tips for a bright, white smile!

May 5th, 2014

Everyone likes a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and I have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful. Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! Strive for 2 minutes of brushing in the morning and at night. My preference is an electric brush with a timer built in.

A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit.

And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

Brian

Brian Shuman DMD

Make Every Day Earth Day

April 21st, 2014

Earth Day began in 1970 as an event to raise awareness of our environment. What began as a single day in April is now recognized around the world to bring attention and education to global environmental issues. Conserving our natural resources, reducing water and air pollution, and developing green technologies are all ways in which we can improve the environment around us.

Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse

One of the easiest ways to participate in Earth Day is by simply reducing the amount of refuse that ends up in landfills. Vermont utilizes recycling programs for paper, plastic, and metal refuse. By keeping recyclable items out of landfills, we reduce the need for new disposal space and the amount of energy needed for burning refuse. Recycling products also helps conserve the resources that are used in making new products.

You can save money by reducing your consumption of many everyday products. Single disposable water bottles can be recycled but they are costly. By using filtered faucet water and washable water bottles, you can conserve your financial resources. Disposable paper towels can also be wasteful. Consider reusable cleaning rags for the majority of your chores.

Reusing items saves both the environment and your finances. A large number of products can be re-purposed to create a new item. Old furniture can be remade into a new piece. Old clothing can be used for craft items. If you are not able to find ways to reuse your old items, donate them to a charity. The new Goodwill store on Shelburne rd. South Burlington is very generous about accepting items.

Other things you can do to improve the environment

Everyone, young or old, can find ways to participate in improving the environment. Some ideas include:

  • Planting trees
  • Picking up litter
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Walking, bicycling, or carpooling to work or school
  • Disposing of hazardous waste properly
  • Using rain barrels to conserve water for plants

Earth Day is designed to appreciate and celebrate the health of the earth. Keeping the earth healthy is important, but keeping your mouth healthy is important, too. Healthy teeth and gums contribute to your overall health and well-being, so remember to call our team at Associates in Periodontics with any questions.  Have a happy and healthy Earth Day.

Brian

Brian Shuman, DMD

Happy Holidays

December 16th, 2013

With the changes in weather and holiday lights on every corner we're looking forward to celebrating the season this year. As families begin planning their winter feasts and students prepare to return home for the Christmas break, the team from Associates in Periodontics wanted to wish our patients a very happy holiday!

Our patients leave the kindest reviews

November 18th, 2013

At Associates in Periodontics we are so proud of the feedback we receive from our patients including this recent testimonial from Kathleen:

Having the need for periodontal work, I asked my dentist to whom he would go. His recommendation was Associates in Periodontics. Although 1 3/4 hours away, I made the appointment and am I ever glad I did. I was welcomed as if family, treated with respect, and I experienced skillful and outstanding care. The entire staff is professional, caring and genuinely happy! I cannot recommend Dr. Shuman and staff highly enough!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 4th, 2013


Associates in Periodontics are wearing these bracelets in October to show support of all our friends, family and co-workers who have (or have had) this battle.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of screening and the early detection of breast cancer. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point during her life. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women.

The good news? Many women can survive breast cancer if it's found and treated early. A mammogram - the screening test for breast cancer - can help find breast cancer early. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families and individuals to get involved.

Dr. Brian Shuman Receives United Way Award for His Volunteer Efforts

October 2nd, 2013

On September 4, at a ceremony held at the Sheraton Hotel, Dr. Brian Shuman was recognized with a Building Block Award by the United Way for his work and efforts on behalf of the Vermont Special Olympics. Dr. Shuman and Dr. Nevin Zablotsky Co-Chair the dental screening program for Vermont Special Olympics athletes. Their idea to “bump it up a notch” was to expand the screening program to include students from Harvard, Boston University and Tufts University Dental Schools, VTC Hygiene School and Essex Tech Assisting School. As a result, over 50 new volunteers were involved in the health screening this year.

In addition Dr. Shuman developed and implemented a new program that awards a “Healthy Athlete” gold medal for competitors who complete the dental screening event. As a result, 170 (65%) of the athletes received a dental screening and a “Healthy Athlete” Medal. Dr. Shuman says “It is our goal that 100% of the athletes participate in all of the available health screenings as part of the Special Olympic Athlete Status Training they each receive. It was a pleasure to see so many athletes availing themselves of the services offered by the expanded dental teams.”

These Vermont innovations are now being evaluated by the National Special Olympics Organization for implementation into all USA and international competitions. “That is more than we had expected this soon. It is nice to see Vermont leading the way.”

To “Move On” or Not To “Move On.” That Is the Question

May 24th, 2013

By Brian D. Shuman, DMD

For the past 1 ¾ years, I have been planning to rebuild our office at 247 Pearl Street, Burlington. For a variety of reasons that dream has now ended. The 247 site is zoned for high-density residential use and the permit exception to rebuild a dental facility was valid for 1 year after the fire. Once the building insurance claim was taken to arbitration, any chance of building before expiration of the permit deadline was lost.

The arbitration took much longer than anticipated and during that delay, the tenants of the old 247, including AIP, became quite comfortable in their temporary spaces. The idea of applying for new permits, redesigning a building, undergoing a 1 year construction period, dealing with moving again, and the day-to-day stress a large construction project always brings, just became less and less palatable. (Pardon the pun.)

Honestly, based on your positive feedback about our new facility, the ease of parking, convenience and comfort, it became more difficult to justify a move. Add to that the emotional roller coaster we have been on for my family and my staff, and it was clear that now is the time to put it all behind us and “move on.” Or, in this case, not to “move on” but, rather, to stay put in our new facility at 1775 Williston Road.

Thank you all for your unending and unconditional support. We hope that you are also pleased with the decision to stay at 1775 and, as always, would appreciate your sending thoughts and comments to Vermontperio@aol.com.

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