Posts for: December, 2017

By James Pechloff, DDS
December 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: smoking  
QuittingSmokingcanImprovetheHealthofYourTeethandGums

While cigarette smoking has been linked with lung cancer and heart disease, it, can also contribute to dental disease. You can reduce these risks by doing one thing — quitting smoking.

But that’s easier said than done: forty-six percent of smokers try to quit every year, but only one in ten are successful long term. The difficulty is tied to tobacco’s active ingredient, nicotine, an addictive substance that triggers chemical and behavioral dependence. Nicotine “re-wires” the brain to feel pleasure when it encounters the chemical, and to feel bad when it’s deprived. Social, occupational or recreational activities can further reinforce the habit.

Many smokers try to quit through sheer willpower or “cold turkey.” Because of nicotine’s addictive properties, this rarely works — instead, you need a comprehensive strategy tailored to you.

You should begin first with trying to understand your individual smoking patterns: when do you smoke, how frequently, or during what activities? To help with this you can use a “wrap sheet”, a piece of paper you keep wrapped around your cigarette pack. Each time you take out a cigarette, you would record how you feel on the sheet. This also slows down the action of taking out a cigarette and lighting it, which can help you become less mechanical and more mindful of your habit.

You can also break your dependence by gradually introducing restrictions to your smoking: smoke only in certain locations or at certain times; substitute other stress-relieving activities like a walk or other physical exercise; or gradually reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. You can do the latter by setting a goal, say to smoke 20% fewer cigarettes each successive week; this will force you to increasingly make choices about when you smoke.

Finally, don’t try to go it alone. You can benefit greatly from professionals, including your dentist, to help you kick the habit through Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NTR) with prescription medication, counseling or smoking cessation support groups.

Quitting smoking isn’t so much stopping a behavior as it is “unlearning” one and establishing new, healthier ones. The first step, though, is accepting you need a change, one that will benefit your whole life.

If you would like more information on quitting smoking, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Strategies to Stop Smoking.”


By James Pechloff, DDS
December 19, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental imperfections come in all shapes and sizes. Although some types of damage are more conspicuous than others, even minor dental bondingcosmetic problems can negatively affect your smile, and confidence as a result. But getting a new and improved smile does not necessarily require investing in invasive, expensive or time consuming dental work. Dr. James Pechloff, a family dentist in Wauwatosa, WI, recommends dental bonding for minor cosmetic issues like stains and discolorations, chips, cracks, and gaps between teeth.

A New and Improved Smile with Dental Bonding in Wauwatosa, WI

Dental bonding can change the size, shape and color of a tooth to correct imperfections. Made of a mixture of plastic and glass known as composite resin, dental bonding can remake your smile in as little as an hour long dental appointment. Even with regular visits to the dentist and good oral hygiene practices, wear and tear from the normal aging process, and habits like grinding or clenching your teeth can eventually wear down tooth surface and enamel. Bonding is a quick, efficient and affordable option to make functional and cosmetic improvements to your teeth.

When to Consider Dental Bonding

The first step is to schedule an appointment with your dentist to evaluate your smile and determine the best cosmetic option for your teeth. The most common uses for dental bonding include:

  • Permanent stains and discolorations from medication or trauma, which are typically not treatable with surface teeth whitening treatments
  • Small or medium chips and cracks
  • Gaps and spacing between teeth (larger spaces and gaps due to bite and alignment problems may require orthodontic treatment)
  • Uneven or oddly shaped teeth

Find a Family Dentist in Wauwatosa, WI

Don't let minor imperfections like chips, cracks and discolorations ruin your smile. For more information about dental bonding, contact our office by calling (414) 475-5505 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pechloff today.


By James Pechloff, DDS
December 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   hiv  
LivingwithHIVincludesKeepingaCloseWatchonYourOralHealth

We’ve come a long way since the early 1980s when we first identified the HIV virus. Although approximately 35 million people worldwide (including a million Americans) now have the virus, many are living relatively long and normal lives thanks to advanced antiretroviral drugs.

Still, HIV patients must remain vigilant about their health, especially their oral health. ┬áIn fact, problems with the teeth, gums and other oral structures could be a sign the virus has or is moving into the full disease stage, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). That’s why you or a loved one with the virus should maintain regular dental checkups or see your dentist when you notice any oral abnormalities.

One of the most common conditions among HIV-positive patients is a fungal infection called candidiasis (or “thrush”). It may appear first as deep cracks at the corners of the mouth and then appear on the tongue and roof of the mouth as red lesions. The infection may also cause creamy, white patches that leave a reddened or bleeding surface when wiped.

HIV-positive patients may also suffer from reduced salivary flow. Because saliva helps neutralize excess mouth acid after we eat as well as limit bacterial growth, its absence significantly increases the risk of dental disease. One of the most prominent for HIV-positive patients is periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection normally caused by dental plaque.

While gum disease is prevalent among people in general, one particular form is of grave concern to HIV-positive patients. Necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis (NUP) is characterized by spontaneous gum bleeding, ulcerations and a foul odor. The disease itself can cause loosening and eventually loss of teeth, but it’s also notable as a sign of a patient’s deteriorating immune system. The patient should not only undergo dental treatment (including antibiotics), but also see their primary care physician for updates in treating and managing their overall symptoms.

Above all, HIV-positive patients must be extra diligent about oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing. Your dentist may also recommend other measures like saliva stimulators or chlorhexidine mouthrinses to reduce the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Together, you should be able to reduce the effects of HIV-induced teeth and gum problems for a healthier mouth and better quality of life.

If you would like more information on oral care for HIV-AIDS patients, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “HIV-AIDS & Oral Health.”