What ARE Migraines?


June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.

Laura, one of our assistants here at the office, used to suffer regularly from migraine attacks as did Tina’s (Front Desk) Mom. So, because we know what it’s like (first and secondhand) to have persistent, bad headaches, we thought we would highlight this issue.

Migraine is an inherited neurological disorder that is characterized by over excitability of specific areas of the brain. Although we do not clearly understand how a migraine brain is different or what happens in the brain to start a migraine, we know that individuals with migraine are more susceptible to the influence of transient factors, termed “triggers,” that raise the risk for having a migraine attack.

Migraine costs the United States more than $20 billion each year. Costs are attributed to direct medical expenses such as doctor visits and medications, and indirect expenses like missed work and lost productivity. But the burden doesn’t stop there. Those afflicted with migraine are more likely to have depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, other pain conditions and fatigue. People who have a history of experiencing an aura phase (migraine with changes in vision) have been shown to be at an increased risk for stroke and heart attack.

SO, how do you know if you have migraines? What makes them different form a regular headache? While “headache” might appear as a catch-all term for all sorts of head pain, migraine is distinct from headaches because of its duration, severity and accompanying symptoms. Patients often complain of being physically exhausted and drained from the dizziness, nausea, vomiting, skin sensitivity, the lights, the smell, the sounds and the inability to concentrate or think straight. So, if you have two or more of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to consult your primary care physician.

  • Headaches that are moderately or severely painful
  • Headache pain that gets worse with physical activity
  • A headache that is throbbing and is often worse on one side
  • A headache that causes you to miss school, work or other activities
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells during a headache
  • A long-lasting headache (4-48 hours if untreated)

A few fact and figures:

  • 36 million Americans suffer from migraines
  • Women are 3 times more likely than men to suffer from migraine
  • Depressions and anxiety are twice as common in people who have migraines
  • 14.8 million people in the US suffer migraine symptoms sever enough to require bed rest or cause impairment of normal daily activities.

Now, as much as we’d like to just skip the our visits to the dentist, these visits are essential for our health. Migraine sufferers, face unique challenges that require good dental hygiene and care. Frequent vomiting can erode tooth decay. Plus, many of our prescription medications can cause dry mouth, which can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. Some medicines even increase our risk of gum disease! Dental problems have been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, too. Because migraine sufferers already have an increased risk for heart problems, it just makes sense to keep those risk factors from stacking up too high.But dental visits can also be filled with potential triggers. If the lights, sounds, and smells don’t get you, then the procedures certainly will. Because the trigeminal nerve extends into the face and jaw, all that extra pressure, vibration, scraping, poking, and drilling certainly puts stress on our most vulnerable nerve bundle. Depending on individual sensitivity, even a simple cleaning can set off an attack.

For those of you who suffer from migraines, please tell us and we can make your appointment more comfortable for you.

  • Wear dark sunglasses or bring your eye mask along
  • Ask your dentist or hygienist to play your favorite kind of music, or if you prefer, bring your own personal music player and earbuds
  • Place a small pillow under your neck for support
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
  • Bring a jacket or sweater if the office is cold…or better yet, ask to use our soft blanket
  • Apply over the counter oral pain relief gel to your lips before you get started
  • Use a portable TENS unit on your neck and/or shoulders to help you stay relaxed
  • Apply Vicks under your nose or use one of our soft organic lip balms  to mask unpleasant smells
  • Practice deep breathing, relaxation and use your earbuds to listen to meditation recordings to help you remain calm
  • Ask for the first appointment of the day. We are always concerned with your comfort, but we are human too and early morning appointments are always less stressed and rushed than those at the end of the day

Check out these links for further information:

American Migraine Foundation -www.americanmigrainefoundation.org

Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients – http://www.headachemigraine.org

Breast Cancer Awareness

October - National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October, as many of you know, has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness month, by the American Cancer Society since 1985. Their aim was to promote the use of mammograms in early detection of breast cancer. Since then, many thousands of women’s lives have been saved. This year, the American Cancer Society report that since 1990, that death rates from breast cancer have dropped by 34%. This is good, however, not good enough! We STILL need to raise awareness every passing year.

To that end, this will be a short post. All we want to do is promote Tamara Gage’s participation in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, in Ann Arbor on Saturday, 26th October. http://makingstrides.acsevents.org

Tamara Gage - Patient of Dr David Schmidt, DDS.

Tamara Gage (on the right) – Patient of Dr David Schmidt, DDS.

Tamara is a patient of ours and is walking for Breast Cancer because;

          “……….I know that I will make a difference. I know that by raising funds and walking in my Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, I will help the American Cancer Society continue to save lives from breast cancer – and create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. How do they do it? Every day, the Society is helping people stay well by helping them take steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer or find it early, when it is easiest to treat; helping people get well with information, day-to-day help, and emotional support to guide them through every step of a breast cancer experience; by finding cures and promising new treatments through funding and conducting research; and by fighting back by working with lawmakers to help all women get access to screenings and care. 

          I believe that one day, breast cancer will never steal another year from anyone’s life – and we will live in a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. That’s why I’m walking. Not only is this my opportunity to join my community to fight back against breast cancer, but it is also a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease.”

I hope that all of you reading this will support us in our support of Tamara and scan the QR code or click the link to her sponsor page and sign up.

Tamara QR

http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer/MSABCCY13GL?px=17887878&pg=personal&fr_id=55714   (copy and paste to your browser if the link doesn’t work)

Thank you, let’s ALL work together to eradicate Breast Cancer.

Stride against Breast Cancer

Stride against Breast Cancer

Why you should love your dentist!!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 was “I LOVE MY DENTIST DAY!!!”



Do YOU love YOURS????

You should………..though unfortunately, many of us don’t. If anything, we fear them, which is really unfortunate as our dentists help us with the very thing that helps us get noticed….our smiles!!!!



Your dentist can help fix your smile for you and give you the confidence to go out and meet the world head on!!!

There are several reasons why you should love your dentist, and make regular trips to see him (or her);

A) During your check-up, your dentist will check for signs of oral cancer. He will also check for gum disease which is especially important to treat as it can affect your heart, blood sugar, memory and breathing. Effectively, your dentist can, in some cases, give you a very important heads up to other health conditions you may not know you have. (http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/gum-disease-can-cause-serious-illness)

B) Your dentist knows how to fix your teeth!! Among other things, he can take x-rays, look for cavities you can’t see and fill them. He can straighten crooked teeth. He can help you with bad breath and he and his team can clean and polish your teeth.

C) Your dentist cares about your teeth and will help you when you’re in pain. They will even see you out of hours if necessary and are usually (as is the case with Dr Schmidt) available by phone whenever you need them.

D) Your dentist prefers to see you on a regular basis though, so that he can help you avoid needing treatment. By having regular checkups he and his hygienist can spot minor ailments before they blow up into instances that need major work. In some cases your dentist can put sealants on teeth to avoid cavities. Your hygienist will help you by advising you how to care for your teeth at home between visits, reminding you to floss and brush regularly.

E) Modern dentists have new ways to treat you. They can do implants as well as crowns. Hygienists use sonic brushes to cleans your teeth, they can whiten your teeth so your smile is brilliantly welcoming. The dentist’s chair is now a place to relax with calming decor, music playing. If you’re still nervous, we can offer Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) to relax you. The modern dental office is a great place to get your teeth checked.

F) Your dentist will have had a long thorough education in order to be able to care for your oral health. His education will have included College, Dental School, Dental Admissions Testing, State Licensing, National Dental Board Exams, Continuing Education and in some instances further specialist training.

G) You get a free tooth brush, floss and toothpaste every time you have a check up!!

And lastly, you get a healthy mouth AND a wonderful, clean, bright smile!!!!

love dentist smile


What more could you ask for?


Will smoking affect my teeth?   The short answer is……..YES!!!

How badly will it affect them?

The Smokers Smile

The Smokers Smile

The Non-Smokers Smile

The Non-Smokers Smile

Well, which smile would you like to have?  The first one or the second one? It is very easy to see some of the detrimental effects of smoking on your teeth.

We all know that smoking is bad for our health, so it shouldn’t surprise us either that smoking (cigarettes, cigars or pipe) and chewing tobacco is also bad for us.

Never mind that socially these days, smoking in public is more or less unacceptable here in the US with many States now having prohibited smoking in public spaces, we now have a more thorough understanding of the way smoking affects not just our own bodies but those of the people around us.

Dental health impacts of smoking and using tobacco products include:

  • stained teeth and tongue
  • increase of plaque and tartar on the teeth
  • bad breath
  • your sense of taste and smell may be dulled
  • healing after tooth extraction or other surgery may be slower
  • gum disease
  • oral cancer

Note that, this list is not ALL that can happen, it is just a list of some of the things that can happen if you are a smoker or user of tobacco. Admittedly, there are other reasons you may suffer from some of these symptoms, but smoking will, at the very least, exaggerate them.

Smoking leads to gum disease because it interferes with the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. It actually interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells and leads to smokers being more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease.

Whether you smoke  pipe, cigar or cigarettes you can have tooth and bone loss at a similar rate. Even if you don’t inhale and incur the additional medical health issues of the lungs, you still are at risk for oral and throat cancers and other consequences such as stained teeth, bad breath and gum disease.

Unfortunately, trying to go the smokeless route is not any better as smokeless tobacco products, including snuff and chewing tobacco, contain at least 28 chemicals that have been show in studies to increase the risk of oral and throat cancer. surprisingly, chewing tobacco contains  a higher levels of nicotine that cigarettes and a can of snuff delivers more nicotine than over 60 cigarettes!!! As well as the harmful chemicals in the smokeless products, there may also be added sugar for taste which as we all already know contributes to tooth decay and the formation of cavities.

So – now that you have even more information on WHY you should quit, your questions might now be….HOW do I quit?

Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

There are many programs out there to help people who want to quit and who just can’t sumon up the will power to do it by themselves. Firstly, don’t be disappointed if you’re not successful at quitting by yourself. Tobacco products contain many addictive elements, so making it harder to withdraw easily from the habit.

Here in Michigan you can call the above number or go online at Michigan.Gov to find information on smoking cessation program, contact them at;  http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_2955_2973_53244—,00.html

Good luck!!!!

I’m pregnant!!!!! How will this affect my teeth???

I'm Pregnant!!

I’m Pregnant!!

I’m pregnant!!! Now what??? How will this affect my dental health?

The best advice a dentist could give you, is (when you are planning to get pregnant) to have a check-up and make sure that all, if any, dental problems are taken care of before you become pregnant.

Let your dentist know that you are trying to get pregnant, and of course, let him know as soon as you are pregnant as this will  affect the treatment that he or the hygienist would normally schedule for you.

Generally, dental treatments would be suspended as a precautionary measure during the first trimester as this is a critical time for your baby’s development, and it is best to avoid any possible exposure to treatment that could in any way affect your baby’s growth. However, routine care can be carried out from the second trimester – though elective or major work should be deferred until after the baby is born if at all possible.

Remember to have regular check ups while pregnant

Remember to have regular check ups while pregnant

You will need to let you dentist know of any other updates in your medical records as well as any new medications or pre-natal vitamins your doctor has prescribed. Your dentist may have to alter some of your planned dental treatment as certain drugs can affect the development of the baby.

Pregnancy Vitamins - it is also important to eat healthily while pregnant.

Pregnancy Vitamins – it is also important to eat healthily while pregnant.

X-rays should be avoided if at all possible during pregnancy, though don’t be worried if for some reason you need to have one. Today’s technological advances make x-rays much safer, and your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby.



During your pregnancy, hormones and the many changes going on in your body will have an effect on your dental hygiene regime.  Studies have shown that many pregnant women may develop pregnancy gingivitis. This is when dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, inflamed and bleeding gums. So, as there is growing evidence that gum disease could, in some rare cases, result in an underweight, premature baby, it is extremely important to take extra special care of your dental health and let your dentist know if you notice any of these symptoms.

Morning sickness

Morning sickness

If you are one of the unfortunate expectant Moms who suffer from morning sickness, remember to be especially vigilant in brushing/rinsing your teeth after vomiting to make sure that all the digestive fluids are removed from the surface of your teeth. There are also brands of bland tasting toothpaste that should help, if the flavor of regular toothpaste is keeping you from brushing your teeth.

American Dental Association (ADA)

American Dental Association (ADA)

The American Dental Association (ADA) has the following suggestions for dental work while pregnant:

  • The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that pregnant women eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth thoroughly with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss daily
  • Have preventive exams and cleanings during your pregnancy
  • Let your dentist know you are pregnant
  • Postpone non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or until after delivery, if possible
  • Elective procedures should be postponed until after the delivery
  • Maintain healthy circulation by keeping your legs uncrossed while you sit in the dentist’s chair
  • Take a pillow to help keep you and the baby more comfortable
  • Bring headphones and some favorite music to make the appointment more relaxing

All in all, it is very important to take good care of your overall health while pregnant of course. Just remember to make sure you pay special attention to your teeth.

We wish all of you pregnant ladies all the best. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we’d be happy to answer them for you.


Oral Piercing

Be VERY VERY sure you want to go ahead and do this.

Not as safe as you think…..

Piercing, like tattooing, is just one of today’s popular forms of ―body art and self-expression. Piercing may seem daring, cool and totally safe because some celebrities use piercing to flaunt their particular style or attitude. But piercing the tongue, lips, cheeks or uvula (the tiny tissue that hangs at the back of the throat) is not as safe as some would have you believe. That’s because the mouth’s moist environment—home to huge amounts of breeding bacteria—is an ideal place for infection.

An oral piercing can interfere with speech, chewing or swallowing. That may seem like a mere inconvenience until you consider that it may also cause:

–  Excessive drooling (something you won’t see in hip fashion magazines!)
–  Infection, pain and swelling
–  Chipped or cracked teeth
–  Injuries to the gums
–  Damage to fillings
–  Increased saliva flow
–  Hypersensitivity to metals
–  Scar tissue
–  Nerve damage

These harmful effects can happen during the piercing, soon after, or even long after the procedure. 
An infection can quickly become life threatening if it’s not treated promptly. For example, oral piercing carries a potential risk of endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves or tissues. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the piercing site in the mouth and travel to the heart, where it can colonize on heart abnormalities. This is a risk for people with heart conditions and, in the worst of cases, results in death. 
After a piercing the tongue may swell. There have been reports of swelling serious enough to block the airway. And it’s very possible to puncture a nerve during a tongue piercing. If this happens, you may experience a ―numb tongue—nerve damage that is sometimes temporary, but can be permanent. The injured nerve may affect your sense of taste, or how you move your mouth. And damage to the tongue’s blood vessels can cause serious blood loss. 
In addition, piercing jewelry can sometimes cause allergic responses to the pierced site. The jewelry can even get in the way of dental care by blocking x-rays.

Don’t pierce on a whim. The piercing will be an added responsibility to your life, requiring constant attention and upkeep. Talk to your dentist for more information.

caffeine’s benefits for Parkinson’s Disease

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new, small study found people with Parkinson’s disease who took caffeine pills saw slight but noticeable improvements in movement problems related to the condition.

For the new study, Postuma and his colleagues randomly assigned 61 people with Parkinson’s and in their mid-60s, on average, to six weeks of caffeine pills or identical drug-free placebo pills.

Participants in the caffeine group took 100 milligrams when they woke up and again after lunch for the first three weeks, then were bumped up to 200 milligrams twice a day for the rest of the study.

In comparison, a cup of brewed coffee typically has about 100 milligrams of caffeine and a 12-ounce soda has between 30 and 50 milligrams.

After the study period, people taking caffeine didn’t report a clear improvement in sleepiness. But that group did improve on an overall scale of Parkinson’s symptoms, including on measures of muscle rigidity and other movement problems.

The average decrease was about five points on the disease rating scale, according to findings published Wednesday in Neurology. Postuma said a typical patient who’s had Parkinson’s for a few years would have a score of 30 to 40.