Dr. Nick Calcaterra Interviewed About Celiac Disease and Oral Health

dentist publication interviewed expert Dr. Nicholas CalcaterraDr. Nick Calcaterra was recently interviewed and quoted extensively in an article in the prominent dental trade journal, Dentist’s Money Digest.

DMD, as it is commonly referred to, is a dental publication read and embraced by tens of thousands of dental professionals across North America and beyond.

Dr. Calcaterra was sought out for the article for his expertise and research into the successful treatment of patients with celiac disease. He was the one of the first dentists in the United States to begin publicly offering a gluten free dental experience to those patients with either celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

wheat field with gluten which causes celiac

A field of wheat – gluten galore!

About Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is one of the most commonly seen gastrointestinal disorder and is believed to affect approximately 1 out of every 140 Americans. Individuals with this condition who consume gluten – a protein found in wheat – experience gastrointestinal pain and damage as well as many other systemic effects.

Unfortunately, gluten can be found in many commonly used dental products, thereby unknowingly exposing thousands of celiac patients to gluten every day.

Dr. Calcaterra on Celiac Disease and Oral Health

As already mentioned, Dr. Calcaterra was consulted for this article based upon his pioneering knowledge on providing dental treatment to patients with celiac disease.

Some of Dr. Calcaterra’s comments from the article include:

“If you’re getting a cleaning every six months, you’re going to be exposed to gluten every six months”

“Where we see gluten in dental products is primarily in the preventative products.”

For additional information on how we can offer a gluten free dental experience, see this page on gluten free dentistry and this one on gluten free fillings.

Are you a celiac or gluten intolerant patient who would like an appointment? Or do you wish to interview Dr. Calcaterra? Please call us (203) 799 – 2929 or visit this page.

Gluten Free Medications

gluten free dentist in New Haven Connecticut area

We can provide you with a gluten free dental visit

For those of you who have visited our site previously, you undoubtedly know we are one of the only dental offices in Connecticut which offers gluten free dentistry. From fillings to topical fluoride, we have it covered.

While we possess a very detailed knowledge of the prevalence of gluten in dental products, we are always looking for additional information to pass to our Celiac or Gluten Intolerance patients. For example, for a patient with celiac disease who has to pre-medicate with antibiotics prior to her dental visits, which antibiotic is gluten free? We’ve seen this scenario more than once!

Gluten Free Medications

As part of our research, we’ve come across a site dedicated to providing information on gluten free medications. This originated from an article on gluten free drugs in the Huffington Post.

As a dental office, we are very limited in what we prescribe on a regular basis. In general, we see:

amoxicillin antibiotic is a gluten free medication

Need to premedicate for dental visits? Most formulations of amoxicillin are gluten free.

  • The antibiotic Amoxicillin from some manufacturers have been certified as being gluten free.
  • The antibiotic Zithromax (commonly referred to as Z-Pak) is unlikely to contain gluten but has not been certified as gluten free.
  • The herpes cold sore medication Valacyclovir (marketed under the brand name Valtrex) is gluten free. However, the Valtrex brand name by GlaxoSmithKline is not.
  • The many pain relievers we prescribe after tooth extractionsMotrin, Vicodin, Percocet, and others are all gluten free.
  • The sedative medications Ativan and Halcion (lorazepam and triazolam) that we use for sedation dentistry are gluten free.

For our large family of patients with either celiac disease or gluten intolerance, if we have to give you a prescription for an oral related condition, we will do everything possible to make sure we prescribe a gluten free medication for you!

Legal disclaimer: Please note that the list above is based on our own research and is subject to change. Only the manufacturer can certify for sure if the medication contains gluten or not. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer and/or talk to your Pharmacist.

Gluten Free Dental Fillings

We are proud to say that we were the first dentist office in Connecticut to announce through social media our suite of gluten free dental services. Since doing that, we’ve had the privilege of treating dozens of patients with either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Some of you have driven over an hour to see us!

Dental office offering gluten free fillings

We guarantee a gluten free filling!

While most patients come in for just routine cleanings and exams, some of our celiac patients need actual dental treatment. These include fillings, crowns, dentures, and more. For these types of procedures, there are often times nearly ten different gluten free products we must use to ensure a safe visit.

We thought we would review the most common procedure, and that is a gluten free dental filling.

What goes into a gluten free dental filling?

Gone are the days of “drill and fill” dentistry. In 2015, with the use of tooth colored filling materials, there are many products required to complete a simple filling. So here goes:

  1. Topical Anesthetic – this is the flavored jelly used to numb inside the mouth before the injection. Most brands contain gluten. So we stock several gluten free flavors.
  2. Local Anesthetic – Fortunately, there is no gluten in traditional dental local anesthetic (at least based on our research).
  3. Pulp Cap – a pulp cap is a special material placed in especially deep fillings.
  4. Acid Etch – this material is used by dentists to clean and prepare the tooth surface prior to placing a filling.
  5. Bonding Agent – this material is used to create a bond between the tooth and filling.
  6. Composite Filling – this is the actual white material that goes into filling. Some brands contain gluten. Ours does not. In addition, we have never used any BPA-containing material (that is the subject of another blog post) in our office. Never.
  7. Polishing Paste – this is used to polish the filling to give it a smooth and lifelike appearance.

With the exception of local anesthetic, all of the above products can potentially contain gluten. So, if you have celiac disease and you need a filling, you could very easily be exposed six different times over the course of your visit!

before and after photo showing gluten free filling

This patient went from a broken silver amalgam to a certified gluten free filling!

Just the way many dental offices have been able to provide mercury free fillings, we are at the forefront of providing dental services free of gluten. If you would like to schedule a visit, call us at (203) 799 – 2929 or visit this page.

Gluten in Dental Retainers and Nightguards

Gluten free dentist office in greater New Haven, CT area for dental care for celiac disease patients

We can provide a gluten free dental visit!

As the first dentist office in Orange and one of the few in Connecticut publicly offering a gluten free dental experience, we stay on top of many of the issues facing individuals with either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten can sneak its way into your mouth from a variety of dental products – from topical fluoride to toothpaste to topical anesthesia. When this occurs in patients with celiac disease, it can cause serious side effects.

Gluten found in an Orthodontic Retainer

Colored Dental orthodontic retainer that may contain gluten

Does this contain gluten?

We recently learned of a case of a 9 year old female with celiac disease whose orthodontic retainer contained gluten. The complete details can be found in this paper published in a Pediatric Journal.

But to summarize, this young female was diagnosed with celiac disease through multiple tests. But despite the elimination of all dietary sources of this wheat protein, her disease continued. It was finally discovered that her orthodontic appliance contained gluten. On identification and subsequent elimination of this factor, her disease went into remission.

In general, dental appliances that are colored are more likely to contain gluten. This is a broad generalization though and exceptions likely exist.

Our Dental Appliances are Gluten Free

Letter certifying nightguards and sleep apnea as gluten free for celiacs

Letter from our lab certifying no gluten

We treat dozens of patients with celiac disease, and we are vigilant about what we put in their mouths. This includes nightguards (special appliances worn at night to prevent clenching or treat headaches from grinding) and sleep apnea appliances.

In working with our lab, they certified that their appliances are gluten free. They completely analyzed their fabrication process and the machines they use. Our lab also contacted their suppliers to ensure that they did not incorporate this wheat protein into the raw materials.

The end result is that we are able to offer our patients nightguards, sleep apnea appliances, and certain orthodontic retainers free from gluten.

If you have celiac disease and would like to become a patient in our office, call (203) 799 – 2929 or visit this page.