Medication and Heart Disease

Certain kinds of medications can have an adverse effect on your teeth.

Long ago, children exposed to tetracycline developed tooth problems, including discoloration, later in life. The medication fell out of use, however, and is not an issue today.

The best precaution is to ask your family physician if any medications he or she has prescribed can have a detrimental effect on your teeth or other oral structures.

A condition called dry mouth is commonly associated with certain medications, including antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants and pain killers. People with medical conditions, such as an eating disorder or diabetes, are often plagued by dry mouth. Other causes are related to aging (including rheumatoid arthritis), and compromised immune systems. Garlic and tobacco use are other known culprits.

Dry mouth occurs when saliva production drops. Saliva is one of your body's natural defenses against plaque because it acts to rinse your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials.

Some of the less alarming results of dry mouth include bad breath. But dry mouth can lead to more serious problems, including burning tongue syndrome, a painful condition caused by lack of moisture on the tongue.

If dry mouth isn't readily apparent, you may experience other conditions that dry mouth can cause, including an overly sensitive tongue, chronic thirst or even difficulty in speaking.

Heart Disease

Poor dental hygiene can cause a host of problems outside your mouth—including your heart.

Medical research has uncovered a definitive link between heart disease and certain kinds of oral infections such as periodontal disease. Some have even suggested that gum disease may be as dangerous as or more dangerous than other factors such as tobacco use.

A condition called chronic periodontitis, or persistent gum disease, has been linked to cardiovascular problems by medical researchers.

In short, infections and harmful bacteria in your mouth can spread through the bloodstream to your liver, which produces harmful proteins that can lead to systemic cardiac problems. That’s why it’s critical to practice good oral hygiene to keep infections at bay—this includes a daily regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis

In some cases, patients with compromised immune systems or who fear an infection from a dental procedure may take antibiotics before visiting the dentist.

It is possible for bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream during a dental procedure in which tissues are cut or bleeding occurs. A healthy immune system will normally fight such bacteria before they result in an infection.

However, certain cardiovascular conditions in patients with weakened hearts could be at risk for an infection or heart muscle inflammation (bacterial endocarditis) resulting from a dental procedure.

Patients with heart conditions (including weakened heart valves) are strongly advised to inform our office before undergoing any dental procedure. The proper antibiotic will prevent any unnecessary complications.

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Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30 am-2:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-2:00 pm

Saturday:

By Appointment Only

Sunday:

Closed

Patient Reviews

  • "Pleasant and professional.
    Dr Shukla and staff provide excellent dental and dental hygiene services. Have been coming to this office for over 25 years. Recommended to all."
    Keith K.
  • "Excellent dentist.
    I had a great experience at Great Smiles, my tooth was filled with no problems and the staff is wonderful."
    Linda F.
  • "Everyone in Dr. Sukla’s office received me with cheerful and friendly attitude. Though it was my first visit, I felt very much at home with her great staff. Dr. Sukla had also talked to me with politeness and did a very good job in attending to my dental requirements."
    S K.
  • "Gentle lady! Friendly and knowlegeable! A fun visit -- you can believe me."
    Florence D.
  • "Dr Shukla, Donna, Diane, Joy and Priscilla are terrific. Professional, knowledgeable, thorough, clean, on time, and very friendly. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m actually at the dentist. There can’t be a better dental office anywhere."
    Jim F.
  • "Super friendly staff & very professional.
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    Marcie M.
  • "Always good.
    Dr. Shukla’s staff always provide warm, caring & professional service!"
    Keith P.
  • "Great experience.
    Very grateful a appointment was arranged immediately as I was in pain, even though I was a new patient. The office and appointment rooms clean and comfortable. I was very impressed with the kind professional attention given and how Quickly my problem was addressed. Great experience! I have been searching for a good dentist in the area and am happy to have found one."
    Shirley W.
  • "High quality, professional dental care.
    Doctor Shukla is a great, highly skilled and very thorough dentist. A few months ago Dr Shukla placed a new crown on a tooth (recommended by Dr Swingle) , which went extremely well. Also it is always a pleasure to have the teeth cleaned by Donna, a very professional and friendly dental hygienist."
    Elizabeth S.
  • "High quality of service, professional.
    Dr Shukla provided excellent service and comfort during the procedure."
    Gary F.
  • "High quality service.
    Dr Shukla and staff are very friendly and personable. I’ve had several tooth emergencies and Dr Shukla and staff have helped me out even on their off days. Dr Shukla is very focused on patient satisfaction. I would definitely recommend Great Smiles to anyone in need of a dentist."
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  • "Professional and friendly.
    Dr Shukla and her team are very caring and accommodating. I actually look forward to my dental appointments!"
    Peter G.
  • "Dental Work.
    Doctor is very patient and caring. I would highly recommend!"
    Donna W.
  • "Always high quality care.
    I have gone to this practice for years and have come to know the staff well. They are all great! Dr. Shukla provides excellent examinations and kind, careful treatment. Donna is a wonderful hygienist; not only does she do expert teeth cleaning, but she answers all questions thoroughly. She clearly takes pride in her profession and is up to date on current standards of care. I highly recommend 'Great Smiles.'"
    Julie D.
  • "Great service by wonderful people.
    The entire staff are welcoming and thoughtful. Dr Shutla is a great dentist who I highly recommend."
    Russ G.
  • "Dental work? No big deal.
    Dr. Shukla & her staff are always friendly, helpful, calming & efficient, making dental visits easy & stress-free."
    Pat G.
  • "Very professional. Dr. AND STAFF are excellent."
    Patti S.
  • "Excellent dentist and staff
    Our family has been going to this office for at least 25 years. The staff there are more than wonderful. When Dr. Swingle retired we were hoping the new dentist would be good so we could continue our relationships there. Well, we are delighted with Dr. Shukla’s care! Always thorough, gentle, very competent and just personally lovely. Office immaculately clean too. Some nice added amenities like beverages and TVs which frankly are pleasant but not necessary when the professional services (from cleanings to crowns) are first rate!"
    Liz F.
  • "Great group!
    Very friendly, efficient and professional!"
    Stan K K.
  • "Very professional and friendly.
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    John B.
  • "Professional and friendly... It's like visiting family!
    Always enjoy seeing the folks at Great Smiles... Always on top of things, efficient and effective!!!"
    Peter G.
  • "High Quality Service.
    Awesome office....Very Professional staff... Dentist and staff intently listens to your concerns... Very happy!!"
    Laura D.
  • "Crown prep.
    Dr . Shukla is an excellent doctor . Very caring and gentle during the procedure for my crown ....dental hygienist Priscilla was very good and easy to work with ."
    Bob F.
  • "I love the warm and caring personality of Dr Shukla. This warmth is carried over to her staff who are both professional and caring."
    Florence D.
  • "I love the warm and caring personality of Dr Shukla. This warmth is carried over to her staff who are both professional and caring."
    Florence D.
  • "Professional and friendly"
    Karen F.
  • "Always a pleasure."
    Teri B.
  • "Always great care, timely, efficient and very kind staff"
    Richard S.
  • "High quality service.
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    L P.
  • "I just went for my 6 month cleaning and checkup . It’s always a great experience ( the best you could have at a dentist!!) the whole office staff are so friendly and yet professional. Dr. Shukla is very thorough, gentle , professional and nice !! Couldn’t be better :) I highly recommend them!"
    Joanne C.
  • "Professional & friendly service.
    When you open the door to Great Smiles you are greeted with a smile. The staff does everything to make you feel relaxed and at ease. Very professional on all fronts and answer questions with just the right amount of information. I would definitely recommend Great Smiles."
    Trisha Y.
  • "The best.
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    Gloria L.
  • "High quality dentistry.
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  • "High quality very professional friendly service.
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    Shirley W.
  • "Very friendly and professional staff.
    Been going here for over 20 years.... Always great service and always on schedule with minimal wait times... All staff is super friendly and professional... HIGHLY recommend for anyone looking for a dentist in the Westfield area!"
    Marcie M.
  • "Because you should want to go to your dentist
    Another good visit to Dr Shukla at Great Smiles. Always a pleasure checking in to the office and the waiting room is now equipped with cold drinks and Nespresso coffee maker, although I actually didn't have to wait. Came in for teeth cleaning with Donna, followed by a dental exam. Dr Shukla is thorough, gentle and caring, clearly taking a long-term view toward maintaining heathy teeth and gums. Many thanks, see you in six months!"
    Malcolm W.
  • "Dr. Shukla is the best!!!
    I have been a patient of Dr. Shukla for several years. I called the office with a dental issue this afternoon and saw her within an hour. Dr. Shukla is empathetic and reassuring, and she always takes the time to answer any questions you may have. I am very happy with this dental practice and highly recommend Dr. Shukla!"
    Jackie B.
  • "Dr. Shukla and all support staff at Great Smiles are highly competent, caring and efficient! My family of 6 has been receiving wonderful dental care from them for years."
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  • "Careful, thorough, and proficient.
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  • "Wonderful dentist and staff !
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