Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dentist as a Physician of the Mouth

A visit to the dentist can save your life.
Since most people that go to the dentist two times a year, we are able to see a patient much more often for screening than a physician. We can identify situations earlier which gives a better prognosis. Typically patients only go to a physician when they know they have a problem. This is later in the stage of a condition usually requiring more extensive care, higher cost, with poorer outcomes. We at Crystal Lake Dental Associates provide the highest level of screening available in a dental office in the area.

Medical Conditions that may be Discovered
There are several medical conditions that can be detected or suspected during a routine dental visit including:

High Blood Pressure
Low Blood Oxygen Levels
Abnormal Pulse Rates
Oral Cancer
Acid Reflux/GERD
TMJ Dysfunction
Sleep Apnea
Bruxismal Migraines
Oral Herpes
Infections Originating Elsewhere that have Spread to the Mouth.
Abscessed Teeth Causing Bone Infections
Tumors in Bone

Autoimmune Diseases
Diseases of Malnutrition

Through a combination of screening, health history and consultation with a patient, we can help uncover a problem and make recommendations to correct the situation. We may be able to treat the problem or we will refer for the proper care.

Dental conditions that are screened for
Dental conditions we screen for include:

Tooth Decay
Periodontal Disease
Excessive Tooth Wear or Fracture
TMJ Pain
Erosion of Enamel from Acid (GERD, Acid Reflux, Bulimia, Excessive use of Sugar/Acid Drinks and Food)
Abscessed Teeth Requiring Root Canal or Extraction
Impacted teeth (improper eruption)
Missing Teeth
Mobile Teeth
Gum Recession
Sores and Infections of the Soft Tissue, Tongue and Salivary Glands
Habits Causing Destruction of Teeth and Gums

Phillip C. Neal DDS

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FDA Issues Ruling on Mercury in Dental Amalgam

Here is a news article on the results.

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2009
Media Inquiries: Peper Long, 301-796-4671, mary.long@fda.hhs.govConsumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
FDA Issues Final Regulation on Dental Amalgam
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a final regulation classifying dental amalgam and its component parts – elemental mercury and a powder alloy—used in dental fillings. While elemental mercury has been associated with adverse health effects at high exposures, the levels released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients.
The regulation classifies dental amalgam into Class II (moderate risk). By classifying a device into Class II, the FDA can impose special controls (in addition to general controls such as good manufacturing practices that apply to all medical devices regardless of risk) to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.
The special controls that the FDA is imposing on dental amalgam are contained in a guidance document that contains, among other things, recommendations on performance testing, device composition, and labeling statements.
Specifically, the FDA recommended that the product labeling include:
A warning against the use of dental amalgam in patients with mercury allergy;
A warning that dental professionals use adequate ventilation when handling dental amalgam;
A statement discussing the scientific evidence on the benefits and risk of dental amalgam, including the risks of inhaled mercury vapor. The statement will help dentists and patients make informed decisions about the use of dental amalgam.
Dental amalgam is a “pre-amendment device,” which means that it was in use prior to May 28, 1976, when the FDA was given broad authority to regulate medical devices. That law required the FDA to issue regulations classifying pre-amendment devices according to their risk into class I, II, or III. Although the FDA previously had classified the two separate parts of amalgam – elemental mercury and the metal powder alloy – it had not issued a separate regulation classifying the combination of the two, dental amalgam. During this time, however, dental amalgam has been subject to all applicable provisions of the law.
Today’s regulation also reclassifies the mercury component of dental amalgam from Class I (low risk) to Class II (moderate risk).
Over the past six years, the FDA has taken several steps to assure that the classification of dental amalgam is supported by strong science.
In 2002, the agency issued a proposed rule to classify dental amalgam and identify any special controls necessary for its safe and effective use.
Due to a high number of comments on that rule, the agency held an advisory committee meeting in 2006, inviting dental and neurology experts to review existing scientific data on dental amalgam, especially with regard to its toxicity in pregnant women and children.
The agency drafted a review of recent and relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature on exposure to dental amalgam mercury. The advisory committee asked that the agency conduct an even deeper review of the scientific literature on this topic. In all, the agency considered some 200 scientific studies.On April 28, 2008, the FDA reopened the comment period on the 2002 proposed classification in order to elicit the most up-to-date comments and information related to classification of dental amalgam. Today’s rule reflects the years of agency review on this topic.

If you are concerned about Mercury fillings in your mouth, you should consult your dentist about having them removed.

Phillip C. Neal DDS

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Healthcare Reform, You might want to know.

I just recceived this email. Check it out and respond to your congressman at the bottom.

It does include abortion and euthanasia.

If you like the health care plan you might want to read this, especially if you are getting older. Of particular interest to me is #6, 9, 14.Remember your representatives WILL NOT read this before they sign on to it, just as they have for all the stimulus and bailouts that have worked so well.Vote out everyone who votes for something without reading it. > Subject: Truth About the New Healthcare Bill > > Please read and take action how you see fit. If you need any assistance contact me. (Kenneth is my son)> Cynthia > > > > > > Dear> > Friend,> > > > As you know, President> > Obama has been pushing his “Universal healthcare” plan.> > There have been a lot of people saying many different things> > about this new healthcare plan. Therefore, I felt the need> > to do what our congressmen and women have not done and read> > all of the healthcare plans out there. Let me tell you, as> > you can imagine, it was not easy reading. I wanted to be> > able to give you the facts to reply to those that want to> > know why we are not comfortable with the Government> > controlling our Healthcare and oppose the> > plan.> > First, let me state> > that I do believe that we need to make sure that every LEGAL> > American citizen has access to the best healthcare system in> > the world and that it is affordable for everyone.The> > discussion is not if Americans should have healthcare but> > who should be delivering and determining this> > care. Let me also state that, after reading the bills> > that are being considered, if the healthcare plan was a good> > plan, I would let you know that. That being said, the> > proposals set forth in the house (H.R. 3200)and in the senate are very bad> > for America for the following reasons: > > > > 1. We simply can not> > afford it. The Congressional Budget Office states that even> > with higher taxes on high income earners and penalties on> > employers who don't provide coverage, the plan will fall> > $239 billion short of covering its' cost of over $1> > trillion. That is their best case scenario without the bill> > being completely scored.> > > > > > 2. It will not cover> > everyone. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that> > over 17 million people would remain uninsured AFTER this> > plan is implemented.> > > > > > 3. You will not be able> > to shop for or obtain private insurance if you do not have> > private insurance prior to the bill being passed. This is> > somewhat clearly stated on pgs. 16 and 17 in section 102(a)(1)(A).> > > > > > 4. After a 5 year grace> > period, all private insurers that are still in business will> > be required to offer a “qualified health benefits” plan> > based on government standards. The problem is whether or not> > the “government standards” will exclude private> > insurers. This on page 17, section 102(b)(1)(A).> > > > > > 5. No new policies will> > be allowed to be written by a private insurer after the> > public option becomes law. Also page 17. > > > > 6. Every five years,> > the elderly will have to attend a mandatory “advanced care> > planning consultation” for an “explanation by the> > practitioner of the continuum of end of life services.”> > The consultation will be conducted more frequently if a> > significant change in health condition; including diagnosis> > of a chronic, progressive, life limiting disease, terminal> > diagnosis, life threatening injury or upon admission to a> > skilled nursing or long term care facility. In other words,> > if you are old, you will be consulted about what your> > options will be if you get sick, if healthcare would not be> > an option (see #7). This starts on page 425.> > > > > > 7. Page 501 of the bill> > starts a section that indicates that $1 billion will be> > spent on “comparative effectiveness research” which is> > how the government evaluates relative merits of various> > treatments. In other words, rationing. This is tantamount to> > the government determining whether or not you are worth> > getting a particular treatment depending on your prognosis> > or age. Sec. 1401 Part D> > > > 8. This plan would> > allow for government funded abortions. Since this bill would> > cover all procedures, abortion is included. There is no> > exception for abortion.> > > > > > 9. Members of congress> > and unions would be exempt from this plan and not have to be> > a part of the healthcare plan. Recently, John Fleming,> > introduced H.R. 615 that stated that members that vote> > in favor of a government run healthcare must enroll under> > the public option. No democrat would sign on. If it is not> > good enough for congress, it is not good enough for us! This> > is section 3116.> > > > > > 10. $500 billion will> > be cut from senior healthcare to help pay for this bill.> > This will weaken Medicare, an organization already in> > trouble due to insufficient funds. > > > > 11. Hospitals and> > private healthcare facilities will not be able to collect> > money from the government plan unless they are “public”> > facilities.> > > > > > 12. Businesses will be> > fined over 8% of an employee's salary if they do not> > provide healthcare insurance for their> > employees. Sec. 313.> > > > > > 13. Individuals that do> > not have health insurance will be fined an amount that will> > encourage them to purchase the government plan. Sec 401> > Part VIII Subpart A Sec.> > 59B.> > > > > > 14. All “people”,> > legal or not, will be covered under this plan and> > identification cards will be issued. These identification> > cards will not be based on social security> > numbers.> > > > > > These are some of the proven reasons> > why I could never support a bill like this. These are> > irrefutable facts, things that our present government does> > not want our citizens to be aware of, which is why they are> > trying to pass this bill as quickly as possible. The more we> > find out about the bill, the worse it gets. As I stated> > above, we need to reform our healthcare system, but this is> > not the way. In this case, doing nothing is better than> > passing this bill. It will hurt seniors, businesses and> > families.> > > > > > > >

Please take the time to contact> > your representatives at and

> > > > > > If you don't let them know your> > position then they will do what they want. > > > > I can't believe that they want> > to force Americans into a system. Financially you will not> > be able to say no. Please act quickly. > > > > > > > > Sincerely,> > > > > > > > Kenneth Hughes

I just thought you might be interested.

Phillip C. Neal DDS

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Snoring and Sleep Apnea a silent Killer?

Snoring can be harmful to family relationships. Bed partners and other family members can suffer from lack of good sleep due to snoring. It has been estimated that a snorer can hit 87 decibels (the same as a greyhound bus accelerating). I have heard snoring so loud that I do not know how the person snoring could stay asleep. Snoring can also be a symptom of Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is a silent killer that can lead to many other disorders including:
Heart Attack
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Clenching and tooth Grinding
TMJ pain
And more.

I believe that the side effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea may have killed my mother, though I can't prove it.
If you are a snorer, or if your bed partner tells you that you are a snorer, you should be checked out to see if you have Sleep Apnea.
If you wake up tired or you suffer from sleepiness, poor sleep, and multiple trips to the bathroom, you may have Sleep Apnea. The diagnosis of Sleep Apnea must be is made after testing and grading.
With treatment of Sleep Apnea, we can help you manage it and help improve your quality and length of life. Depending upon the severity of the problem, and your physical makeup, there are different options to treat or manage Sleep Apnea. There are devices that can be prescribed to improve your Sleep Apnea that must be fitted by a qualified doctor or dentist. The device must be tested and modified to make sure it is in the proper position and works properly. In some cases orthodontics/orthopedics or surgery are recommended to treat Sleep Apnea.
While the C-PAP machine is the gold standard for treating severe Sleep Apnea, it is not well tolerated. There are oral appliances that can treat various levels of Sleep Apnea either alone or in conjunction with a C-PAP set to a lower pressure level. These devices must be made by a qualified dentist and tested to insure they are providing adequate improvement. Dr Neal is trained to provide oral appliances for Sleep Apnea. Dr. Neal is also able to provide some of the testing needed to screen for Sleep Apnea. Dr. Neal uses sophisticated rhinometery and pharangometry to test the size and collapsibility of your airway. He also can use a take home testing device to monitor your sleep and help determine your risk level of Sleep Apnea. Dr. Neal will then make recommendations to insure you receive the highest level of care. If it is then determined that an oral appliance is a good option, Dr. Neal can fit you with an appropriate appliance.

Dr. Neal a is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine

To learn more about Snoring and Sleep Apnea, click here

Philip C. Neal DDS

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Play the match-up game chance to win Wii

We had a little fun a few days ago and the team went to Mario Tricoci for a spa treatment. We shot photos of the results. See if you can match up the face, hands and feet of the team members. If you live within 20 miles of Crystal Lake, you can submit your entry for a chance to win a Nintendo Wii system valued at 750 dollars. See the page for more details.



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Obama and Honduras, a missed opportunity

Honduras holds a special place in my heart. I have served there 4 times along with others to help people in a struggling 3rd world country entrenched in severe poverty.

10 years ago, Honduras, which was struggling at the time, was hit by hurricane Mitch. This hurricane stayed for 6 days dumping rain. The mountainous country lost thousands of people. The entire downtown section of Tegucigalpa , the capitol, was under a lake of water. Honduras is still recovering from this disaster, and needs our help both as a nation, and individuals.

About two weeks ago, the country of Honduras exercised its constitutional law by escorting it’s president Zelaya out of the country. A new president was appointed to serve out the term of the “ex president”. The former president had in fact removed himself from office by his own act.

Let me explain. Honduras had enacted a new constitution 28 years ago in order to stabilize the country after all of the trouble in Central America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The new constitution had certain provisions in it to prevent a “dictatorship”. One of these was that a president could only hold office one time and for only 4 years. This provision could only be changed by congressional approval.This is a direct quite from the constitution: "No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years".

The former president had been planning to force a referendum allowing him to run for office again in consecutive terms. He did not have the backing of congress. The Supreme Court ruled that he could not do this either.

So this act is illegal in Honduras under its current constitution. Now the government was only fulfilling its role to follow the law of the constitution when they escorted mister Zelaya the former president out of the country.

Quote from the Gateway Pundit "The chief executive was detained shortly before voting was to begin on a constitutional referendum the president had insisted on holding even though the Supreme Court ruled it illegal and everyone from the military to Congress and members of his own party opposed it.

Imagine if our President Obama decided to ignore our constitutional 2 term limit and run for a third term by his onw decree. The other 2 branches of the government would immediately take action as they should.

The former president is a leftist and had become very close to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba. Naturally all of the Scialist countries were upset with the fact that the Honduran president would not fulfill his dream of becoming a socialist dictator.

for many years, up to the past 2 weeks, America has given a lot of aid to Honduras ,and has helped to stabilize the country. This former president along with Hugo Chavez, and Manual Noriega, recently have been very critical of America saying that it meddles in Central America and throws its weight around with little regard the real welfare of the countries.

President Obama and many other democratic world leaders had a chance to come along side of Honduras and support them in their democratic constitution. Instead he criticized the government of Honduras and told them to reinstate the “former president” against their constitutional law.

Now perhaps the leader of the most powerful nation in the world is more interested in being friends with Chavez and Castro and the likes of these leaders than he is in this tiny 3rd world country that is exercising the kind of democracy that we have.

Obama made a mistake, in my humble opinion, and has now further alienated a tiny democratic country.

This is a people who are in desperate need of democratic friends. They are getting hit from the right and the left. Chavez is cutting off oil supplies, while Obama has cut off aid.

Honduras is not perfect by any means. Just like America there is corruption and waste. There is corruption at every political and economic level. The aid we send does not always seem to get down to the people. That is one of the reasons I travel to Honduras every year to provide free dental care.

The United States has led the Organization of American States to unanimously suspend Honduras's membership pending determination of whether the action was a military coup. All aid is suspended also pending a determination. Quote by the Voice of America "The United States is withholding disbursement of most U.S. aid money for Honduras pending a formal determination by State Department lawyers that the events of June 28 constitute a military coup and require an aid cut-off under U.S. law".

I think it is time for the United States and President Obama to step up and support a country that is surrounded by turmoil, yet is trying to get it right.

Just my humble opinion

Phillip C. Neal DDS

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summertime is a great time for teens and young adults to have an evaluation for wisdom tooth removal. If a teenager or young adult has wisdom teeth that should be removed, they will not miss school during the summer break.

Why the name wisdom teeth?
Third molars are called wisdom teeth as they usually arrive when one begins to exhibit more rational adult behavior. They usually arrive between the ages of 17 and 22 years old.

What is the big deal with Wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth
are often cannot develop into useful teeth. The reason is that they do not fit onto the jaw of the average adult. As they begin to erupt, wisdom teeth bump into the second molar (called the twelve year molar). The wisdom tooth cannot slide into place and now becomes stuck (impacted).

Why not leave the impacted tooth alone?
An impacted wisdom tooth now becomes a problem for itself and the second molar. In time, pain and infection can result from this situation. The second molar can develop a cavity and gum disease at the site of the impaction.

How do we know if Wisdom teeth should be removed?

We recommend removal of wisdom teeth when it looks as though there is insufficient room for them to erupt into place. We can see often these wisdom teeth lurking in the area of the second molar on routine bitewing x-rays. When we detect wisdom teeth we will order a special x-ray to see how many wisdom teeth are present. We also want to determine the position, size and, shape of the wisdom tooth and it's roots.

At what point do you know when to remove wisdom teeth?
Wisdom tooth removal is easily accomplished when the roots of these teeth are 2/3 formed. The reason we take wisdom teeth about at this time is because the alveolar bone surrounding the tooth and the roots are still pliable making removal simpler. Younger patients heal fast and there are less complications from their removal.

What is the procedure?
Removal can be done with local anesthetic, or a combination of local anesthetic, oral premedication, laughing gas (nitrous oxide) or IV sedation. Depending on the location and shape of the tooth the doctor will chose the best method to remove it.

Who removes wisdom teeth?
Your local dentist has training in wisdom tooth removal. He or she may even have additional training in medications and complex wisdom tooth removal. Your dentist may also refer you to an oral surgeon.

Remember, summer is an ideal time for wisdom tooth removal.

Schedule a wisdom tooth evaluation today.

Phillip C. Neal DDS

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett

Remembering Farrah's Smile

I remember when Farrah Fawcett first became popular in the 70's. She had three beautiful features that were remarkable. Her hair was billowing full and beautiful. In her swimsuit and other poses, her body was ideal. Her smile was sensational.

Farrah's Swimsuit poster
For many young men and boys, Farrah Fawcett's swimsuit poster was treasured. Her smile was not the primary reason for her popularity in that poster. I remember one of my classmates had the swimsuit poster hanging in his cubicle in the senior dental clinic. I had the pleasure of seeing Farrah smiling back at me every day that year.

Farrah Fawcett, The poster girl for cosmetic dentistry
Prior to this time cosmetic dentistry did not exist. We did not have the materials or the mindset for cosmetic dentistry. We had essentially no cosmetic filling materials, and tooth whitening was unknown. Bonding and veneers had yet to be invented. Orthodontics consisted of lining up the teeth only with little attention to the esthetic look of the face. We had porcelain, but the colors were not ideal. Single tooth implants did not exist and gum disease meant disfiguring gum surgery.

Farrah Fawcett had a smile that changed how many dentists thought about smiles
People have long been interested in looking like their favorite models and entertainment idols. Women and men shopped for clothing these stars wore. Women would take magazine pictures to the hair stylist and say make me look like this. All types of cosmetic surgery techniques were being used to look better. I remember my girlfriend getting a "nose job" to enhance her looks. The demand for cosmetic enhancement had reached dentistry now.

Farrah Fawcett’s impact on Orthodontics
Farrah had this wide smile and her teeth were like a string of endless pearls. Dentistry took notice and we wondered if we could duplicate this type of smile for our patients. We could certainly make the teeth straight, but could we help people have a wide full smile and eliminate the caved in look of the face after traditional “extraction orthodontics”.

Orthodontists and general dentists can align crowded teeth by two methods or a combination of them. The first method is by removing tooth structure through extraction of teeth, or thinning the width of the teeth. The second is to expand the radius of the arch by pushing the teeth out to a larger arch form. In most crowded tooth cases it was thought better to extract teeth. It worked quite well and most orthodontists and general dentists became enamored with the “extraction orthodontic” method. In fact there was a saying, “4 on the floor buys a new Porsche”.

Thanks to Farrah Fawcett, orthodontics had an additional goal and a face to illustrate it. Orthodontists and general dentists started looking closer at the face to help determine the best cosmetic result for the patient. The expansion of the arch technique coupled with a little thinning if absolutely necessary gave a better cosmetic result to the face in many crowded tooth cases.

At Crystal Lake Dental Associates, we offer Invisalign and Rapid Clear Braces. Both of these services are aimed at the late teen to adult patient desiring smile enhancement. We offer a many other cosmetic services as well. To see all of our cosmetic services, click here.

Thank you for all that you have done and who you were. Rest in peace, you will be missed.

Phillip C. Neal DDS

About Me

My photo
Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.