According to a report by the U.S. surgeon general in 2016, e-cigarettes are the most popular tobacco product among American youth. In fact, the use of these alternatives to cigarettes grew by 900 percent among high school students in just four years between 2011 and 2015.
One study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that electronic cigarettes do as much damage to gum tissue as traditional cigarettes. The study was the first of its kind to look at the cellular and molecular levels of oral health and their relationship to the use of e-cigarettes.
When you reach the age where you start thinking about retirement, you may think about the relaxation and extra time for travel, spending time with family and pursuing favorite hobbies. One thing you're probably not thinking about is dental care -- and how a lifetime of dental care, likely with different dentists, may have left you with mismatched teeth and an imperfect bite.
Chuck Spaeth never thought that a busy travel schedule would be hard on his teeth. Now 76 and retired, he spent an exciting career as a flight mechanic and airline pilot. His journey included time in the military as well as working for the commercial airline, Alaska.
Chuck said in 1961 he became one of three people to enter Alaska’s first pilot training program. “We were paid to work on flights as mechanics and completed flying hours during down time until we had our pilot licenses,” he said.
“It’s awesome,” Chuck said when asked about flying a plane. “When the weather was good it was beautiful views and smooth sailing. And when the weather was bad it was challenging and intense. Either way, I loved it.”
Unfortunately, his demanding responsibilities didn’t always allow for great dental care. “I’m tough on my teeth,” Chuck said. On top of a busy travel schedule, he had a habit of grinding his teeth while he worked. They were worn down, cracking, discolored and putting him in visible distress.
Sandra never expected that something as small as a BB could cause such a problem decades later. It was only a childhood accident. While shooting a BB gun a BB she fired bounced off a tree and hit her on a front tooth. At 20, the tooth needed a root canal and crown, but now, almost 40 years later, Sandra’s damaged front tooth was falling out.
“My front top teeth had a large gap,” Sandra described how the problem looked and felt. “One was falling out due to bone loss. I’d always been self-conscious of my smile but losing a front tooth was terrifying.” It was embarrassing to talk and smile with anyone.
And, Sandra was not happy about this. “My own dentist never brought the fact up that I was losing my front tooth. ” When it became obvious, Sandra was really disappointed to hear that her dentist would only refer her out for an implant, which was the solution he suggested.
Sandra wanted to have her problem and her long-term care handled by a dentist who seemed to care. Her adult daughter-in-law had just completed Invisalign with Dr. Amy Norman and recommended Dr. Norman to her mother. “I was checking out a lot of dentists,” Sandra said. “And, Dr. Amy made a great first impression!”
“The first impression Dr. Norman made was that she was so professional and caring.” Sandra said. “I’d had a lot of dental issues in my life but she didn’t make me feel like I hadn’t taken good care of my teeth. From the moment I walked in the front door, I felt welcomed and safe. I have always had a fear of dentists, but Dr. Norman explained that pain should not be part of the dental experience and what they could do to make me more relaxed and pain free.”
They talked about implants but Dr. Norman also offered other solutions. Sandra felt that the best choice was a 5-tooth bridge and crowns. “Dr. Norman explained all the options and explained the procedures,” Sandra said. “She educated me with all the facts I needed to make a good choice for what would work best for me. A bridge allowed Dr. Norman to replace the lost front tooth without the use of a denture or dental implant. The false tooth would be held in place by being attached to the teeth next to it. These teeth would be crowned. I liked knowing the tooth would be permanent.”
Sandra loved everything about Dr. Norman’s practice and she felt comfortable moving forward with a procedure that would give her a confident smile.
“Now I have a beautiful smile and love sharing it with others,” Sandra said. “I no longer fear going to the dentist, but look forward to it. The procedure was painless and the results amazing. My teeth look totally natural, and I have never been happier.”
Sandra had found the dental care she needed all her life and was so happy with how she was approached and treated. “Dr. Norman is a wonderful dentist and an amazing, caring women. She is one of those people who come into your life and makes a lasting impression.
“I’d tell anyone in my position to go to Dr. Norman for a consultation. If you are not happy with your dentist, reach out and get a second opinion.” Doing just that opened the door to Sandra finding Dr. Norman. “I’ve never meet a woman like her,” Sandra said. “ I get very emotional about the experience I had with her. “She is Awesome”
For years, Colette suffered with a vertigo that was extremely disturbing. Turning her head triggered the vertigo that proved to be a problem nearly all the time. “While driving, if I was sitting at a stop light, I’d look left and right before proceeding and that would make me dizzy,” said Colette.
The problem was familiar to Colette. She had watched her mother suffer with similar vertigo for 30 years. But Colette was determined to find a solution. “I tried doctors and physical therapy,” said Colette, “but the therapist had me turning my head so that it triggered the vertigo, so I had to stop. It wasn’t helping.”
One day, Colette was looking online and found Dr. Amy Norman. Although it didn’t sound like a dentist could help her at first, Colette read that vertigo was a possible symptom of TMJ disorder. And, Dr. Norman had experience helping patients with TMJ using in neuromuscular dentistry. She decided to give Dr. Norman a call.
“Dr. Norman’s team made me feel very comfortable,” said Colette. “They make sure you are comfortable and feel safe. It’s a very good experience. Everything is positive.” In this environment, Colette learned about how issues in her jaw joint, her jaw joint, were causing other symptoms including her vertigo.
Dr. Norman performed a neuromuscular evaluation that lead to a treatment plan. “I got some root canals and she build up my back molars to adjust my bite,” Colette said. Soon after, Colette saw an end to her vertigo symptoms.
For nearly ten years, Taushka visited all kinds of doctors trying to diagnose and treat the headaches, dizziness and sinus issues. She saw many doctors including Ear, Nose & Throat doctors, allergists, general practitioners and dentists but they all diagnosed her with sinus issues. They were all treating the symptoms and Taushka said “I always had prescriptions for antibiotics, and steroids but never a diagnosis for the real source of my problems.”
“They all told me I had really bad sinus infections,” she said. “But I knew it was more than that. It was too painful and it took its toll on me. When you are living life and you have headaches every day, you just want to stare out the window. You just want to make it through the day like anyone else in pain.”
It wasn’t until she started doing her own Internet research that she came across Dr. Amy Norman and her practice treating TMJ with Neuromuscular Dentistry. Taushka immediately knew from Dr. Norman‘s web site and from her first moments at Dr. Norman’s practice, that she was visiting someone who knew how to take away her pain.
Taushka’s first impression of Dr. Norman’s practice was “Wow! It was so much like a spa-like atmosphere. Very relaxed and nurturing. And, her (Dr. Norman’s) knowledge of dentistry is extreme! She is very knowledgeable and she cares!”
Visiting Dr. Norman for a consult with her husband, Taushka got a feel for how Dr. Norman and her Dream Team help patients through the process of treating their TMJ. “The facility was beautiful!” Taushka said. “In the consultation room, both Dr. Norman and Judy talked to me together. Dr. Norman went over the procedure and Judy was there to answer our financial questions. You go in wondering if it’s going to work and how are we going to pay for it, but they help you understand the hows and the whys.”
Victoria was in college at the age of 20 when she decided it was time to get serious about fixing her smile. But, her experience talking to dentists about getting a beautiful smile full of straight teeth was not going well. “I had a severe overbite that sometimes caused me pain,” Victoria said. “I also never smiled with my teeth. I tried to hide them as much as possible.”
The consultations she was having with dentists and orthodontists were not going well. “I wanted to use Invisalign,“ Victoria said. “I didn’t want to be the girl in college who had braces. But I wanted straight teeth!” In her consultations, the orthodontists dismissed the idea of Invisalign, telling her it would not work for her. “They all focused on what was wrong and how bad it was,” Victoria said. “Nobody was telling me what they could do for me. They all were telling me I need to pull some back teeth to get started and I knew that was not necessary.”
Victoria knew what she wanted. On the Invisalign web site, she noticed the closest Invisalign dentist was Dr. Norman. And, what a difference she found with Dr. Norman’s approach. “Dr. Norman is really friendly and seemed genuinely interested in my life goals and my goals for my smile. We were on the same page about what I wanted to happen with my smile and she did a really great job working with my teeth.” And, Dr. Norman told her how Invisalign could work for Victoria. ”When Dr. Norman said we didn’t have to pull any teeth, I was like… lets do it!”
The Invisalign process took about a year but Victoria was amazed to see results almost right away. “There was an almost immediate change,” Victoria said. “In the first few aligners (which took a few months), I noticed my teeth straightening. I especially noticed that my eye teeth were perfectly straight in around four or so months.”
Through the process, Dr. Norman kept Victoria’s goals in mind. Victoria told her that she wanted to have an engaging smile that would not hold her back making friends, relationship and networking connections as she was in college and soon entering the work force. “Dr. Norman made suggestions to add to the process. Made my smile even more appealing,” Victoria said. “She took the time to get to know me and that made a huge difference.”
Cynthia was interested in cosmetic dentistry. After a lifetime of crooked teeth, she was beginning to experience issues with her gums caused by her crooked teeth. And, then one of her grandchildren asked her a question that made her think.
“One of my grandchildren asked me why my teeth were so dirty,” Cynthia recalled. “My teeth just have a yellow cast naturally so they looked dirty to a child.” So Cynthia started looking around for a cosmetic dentist.
“I wanted straighter, whiter, stronger teeth,” she said. “I thought first braces, then veneers.” So Cynthia sought out a cosmetic dentist. She never gave any thought to the fact that the persistent head, neck and shoulder pain she experienced all her life could be treated successfully treated by a dentist who could also fix her smile.
“I just loved Dr. Norman and her Team,” Cynthia said. “She really explained things well to me.” Dr. Norman did a full examination on Cynthia, uncovering the TMJ disorder that was causing Cynthia’s chronic pain. “After the consult, I knew they would be my Dream Team because they didn’t just want to slap on braces and whiten my teeth. They helped me have a healthier set of teeth and alleviate my issues of clenching and headaches.”
“I thought the daily headaches in the morning were just life as usual for me” Cynthia said. For decades she lived with an undiagnosed problem called bruxism, the grinding and clenching of teeth when one sleeps. “I didn’t know any different,” Cynthia said. “I can remember my sister waking me up when we were kids because I was making noise in my sleep grinding my teeth. Until I met Dr. Norman, I just lived with bruxism for decades.”
For a 13-year old boy, Sam endured a lifetime’s worth of migraine headaches. The problem started in the second grade. For years, debilitating headaches affected all aspects of his life. Often the migraines would start on Mondays and it wasn’t unusual for Sam to spend afternoons trying to rest at home on the couch rather than out playing or having fun with his friends.
“About 3-4 days a month, Sam would come home early from school,” said his mother. “It forced him to miss sport practices and social activities. It was really hard on him.”
Sam’s parents started what would be a long journey to find the right kind of doctor to help their son. They began with a respected neurologist but after some diagnostics, they did not like what they heard. “We thought his answer was to put Sam on drugs. We knew that was not the right answer, him living his life on medications. We were determined to get to the root answer.”
They tried doctors. They tried naturopaths thinking it might be Sam’s diet. And, then they began trying chiropractors. And that is where they found an important clue that eventually led them to Dr. Amy Norman.
Sam found some relief after visiting a chiropractor but the migraines persisted. “After seeing a chiropractor we found with a specialized adjustment, Sam’s headaches became more and more focused and centered around his jaw,” explained his mother. “That’s how we realized his bite and jaw alignment were involved. That’s when we started looking for dentists and found Dr. Norman on the Internet.”