Issue #20

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OCTOBER 2012 Newsletter

Exciting new gum disease research
In recent years, gum disease has been at the top of the health news often. It seems that nearly every day there is a new study further establishing the link between gum disease, and a frightening array of health conditions. We are pleased to announce some good news on the front of gum disease.

The latest study released was not about the risks of untreated disease, but about preventing those risks. A scientist at the University of Louisville has discovered a way of blocking signals by an enzyme known as GSK3b. This enzyme plays a key role in the inflammation that is associated with gum disease, and a variety of other systemic conditions.

While blocking the action of this enzyme will not prevent infection, it may prevent the devastating effects of the infection, including bone loss. This exciting discovery may also provide future treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and diabetes.

We will be watching closely as the testing of this enzyme-inhibitor continues. Perhaps in the near future we will be able to stop the damages of periodontal disease, even before the infection is completely removed. Read more

"Thinking Outside the Palate" - September 29, 2012
Dr. Arellano completed a course that updated his skills and knowledge about conservative and enhanced gum grafting techniques. By using processed acellular dermal matrix products and synthetic biologic growth factors where appropriate, the treatment of gum recession is more comfortable, and the healing is much faster.

The course was given by the nationally known speaker, Dr. Steve Wallace, DDS, MHS, a periodontist in North Carolina who presented clinical techniques and hands-on skills backed by evidence-based research.
                   Before                                             After

Giving Back After 28 Years
Although it's been a few weeks now since returning from Jamaica, it's an experience that I will never forget. As a volunteer participant in the world's largest humanitarian dental outreach project, Great Shape! Inc. - 1000 Smiles, I both served my profession and the community.

This was UCSF School of Dentistry's first humanitarian mission to Jamaica, and I was selected as one of 6 supervising volunteer dentists to accompany their team of twenty-three 3rd and 4th year dental students. With only 1 dentist for every 100,000 people in rural Jamaica (San Francisco has about 1 dentist for every 800 people), our team treated over 800 of the indigent and underserved in Jamaica by providing cleanings, fillings, and tooth extractions over the course of 5 days. We also screened for and found patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure so that the appropriate referral could be made to their physicians, and we visited elementary schools to provide oral hygiene instruction to children.

We served 3 communities in Ocho Rios, Jamaica where their churches or community centers were converted to makeshift dental clinics. Each community had their own personality, but what were common to all were the long lines of people waiting many hours in the hot and humid weather, the limited availability of modern dental equipment, and the lack of air conditioning. We dealt with power outages and long hours with little breaks to be able to see as many people as we could. Jamaica's heat and humidity did take its toll on 2 dental students who experienced heat exhaustion.

For me, the most rewarding moments of the trip were to experience the appreciation shown by both the dental students and Jamaicans alike. It was gratifying to see the dental students' eyes light up from a new learning experience, to watch them become more proficient in just 5 days, and to experience their joys of accomplishment. For me to be able to pass on a bit of knowledge, skill, and experience to these dental students had sparked the desire to teach and mentor again. As a 1984 alumnus of UCSF dental school, UCSF just might be seeing more of me again in the future as a clinical instructor.

I was caught off-guard by the different ways the Jamaicans showed their appreciation for our service. From the sincere Thank You's, smiles, hugs, gifts, and tears of joy from the individual patients and community leaders, to the ceremonies, celebrations, prayers, and fiestas with home cooked Jamaican food from the communities that we served, we all felt that we had changed the lives of the people that we literally touched for the better.

I want to thank the generosity of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation for their generous donations of dental supplies and oral hygiene kits, and the Sandals Foundation for their generous support of lodging, meals, and meeting rooms for our dental team. And thanks to Jenny Neglerio and Du Nguyen, Xi Psi Phi dental fraternity members, for their hard work in organizing this project.
Leo Arellano, DDS (Click here to view more photos)
Yosemite's First Snow of the Season
Again I'd like to share my passion for hiking and the beauty of nature. October's rain in the bay area brought the Sierra's first snow of the season. It offered a rare opportunity to hike up Yosemite's 2nd highest peak, Mt. Dana at elevation 13,061 feet, and experience hiking conditions new to us. The trail started at just under elevation 10,000 feet and rose over 3,000 vertical feet in under 3 miles. The trail conditions turned out to be more difficult than expected, so our planned viewing of the sunrise from the summit was missed. Still, the weather conditions were perfect and the views along the trail and from the summit were spectacular. Leo (Click here to view more photos)
Smile Makeover of the Month
Severe gum recession exposing sensitive, decay prone root treated with gum graft.
Before After
See more Smile Makeovers by Dr. Leo Arellano by clicking Here


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Leo Arellano, DDS  |  3030 Geary Blvd.  |  San Francisco  |  CA 94118
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