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Dr. Sun's Occasional Newsletter

We and our families wish you and your family peace of mind at the close of this year of unprecedented economic upheavals.

As always our wish is for you and yours to be;
  1. free from harm
  2. mentally at peace
  3. physically at ease
  4. have an innate sense of well being
Now to answer the one question that all of you should be asking….

"What is chronic inflammation and why should I be concerned?" Inflammation is your immune systems' normal response to infection or injury. Immune cells congregate at the site so they can over-whelm and dispose of infectious organisms or debris from injury. Then healing takes place. The inflammation that we are concerned with is a low grade, chronic, systemic type. It has been associated with everything from heart disease and diabetes, to Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and cancer. Nobody really knows whether inflammation is a cause of disease or the result of it.

In heart disease, chronic inflammation occurs when blood vessels absorb excess cholesterol from the blood, resulting in possible damage to the vessel walls. In trying to heal this damage, inflammatory cells come into the vessel walls. Among other things, they release many chemicals that may cause further damage. All of this is likely worsened by such factors as smoking and high blood pressure. Inflammation may contribute to the rupturing of plaque, which in turn triggers a blood clot resulting in a heart attack or stroke. How does this all get started? Chronic bacterial infections (such as from chronic gum disease) may trigger the inflammatory process, but so may other coronary risk factors; obesity, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, smoking and so on. It seems the phrase I come across repeatedly is "chronic infection" and its implication on impacting the health of the endothelial (inner) linings of blood vessels. There is a quick test for inflammation, since it can prompt the liver to produce a protein in the blood known as C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Elevated levels of CRP often accompany or signal an increase of heart attack and stroke. People who have already had a heart attack should find helpful the hs-CRP (high sensitivity CRP) test. High levels of hs-CRP indicate a risk of recurrence.

With regards to the link of inflammation from gum disease to cancer, the June 2008 issue of Lancet Oncology reports of a study of 48,375 men with a median follow up of 17.7 years; indicating people who have significant periodontal disease having a higher overall risk (14%) of developing cancer.

On the arthritis front, the June 2008 issue of Journal of Periodontology reports that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have eight times greater likelihood of having significant periodontal (gum) disease compared with control subjects.*

On the clinical front of dentistry; we have adopted the evidence-based laser technology of Diagnodent. It diagnoses cavity presence by reading the degree of fluorescence emanating from cavity-causing bacteria and bacteria byproducts. We think this will become the next standard-of-care in all dental offices. Having said that, our final diagnosis is still based on an amalgamation of visual detection (with dental explorers), X-ray evidence, and Diagnodent readings. Each year out of the myriad of new dental technologies I select only the ones that I think has true worth in improving the lives of our patients. This year the items meriting attention are:
  1. 1. Diagnodent. An evidence-based laser device to identify dental caries (decay) missed by dental x-rays. Vist www.kavousa.com
  2. 2. Mini and micro implants. A great solution to one of the impasse of implant dentistry; the immediate stabilization of floating dentures (partials and complete). On the same day, FDA approved resolution can be accomplished for your denture retention headaches. Visit www.imtec.com We are the only dental office accredited in this zip code for 3M Imtec mini implants. 3M micro implants can also be utilized to speed up orthodontic movements with implant-enhanced anchorage.
We are now certified as an Advanced Invisalign Provider and on track to becoming an Invisalign Teen provider.

On the personal front…..

Virginia married her long time love, Isaiah in November. The dream wedding was in Las Vegas! We wish her all the happiness in the world.

Rechilda, gave birth to her second daughter, Natalia in August. She is becoming quite maternal!

Mary welcomed a new daughter into her family when her son married in July. Sharzad is interested in becoming a dentist, but I'm doing all I can to talk her out of it! Ha!

Veronica is graciously accepting all the challenges that come her way. It will get easier, Veronica.

Azita's brother, a dentist in Santa Rosa, is undergoing back surgery.

Joanne just returned from a trip to Europe and was confounded by the rapidity of the meltdown of our financial market. Her last overseas trip was during 9/11/01. Maybe she should just stay home.

Two kids and husband keep Michelle busy. Her parents have been friends/patients for 20+ years. She misses them dearly when they aren't visiting from Seattle.

As for myself: Yvonne, my wife, is undergoing surgery/chemotherapy for breast cancer. Thanks to all the offers of help/well wishes/ cards/ phone support. A special thanks goes to Gloria and Alan & Nancy.

"Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us"

Wishing you and yours a holiday filled with friendship and the sounds of laughter,

Dr. Sun and Staff

P.S. All future newsletters will be posted on our website. However, we are happy to mail copies to all requests.
Jensen C. Sun, DDS
1300 Meridian Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125
Phone: 408-264-9203   Fax: 408-264-4676