SWINE FLU! Not feeling well? Stay in!

The WHO recenlty raised the alert from a phase 4 to a phase 5! Officials are saying that it is important to stay away from public transportation, school and even the workplace when feeling ill. Read Below for more!

WHAT is Swine Flu

Swine Influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs.  People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen.  Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond a few people.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human.  However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.  Symptoms for swine flu include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing.  Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

WHERE is it happening

The World Health Organization (WHO) is coordinating the global response to human cases of H1N1.  In its fifth update as of 18:00 GMT, April 29, 9 countries have officially reported 148 cases swine influenza A/H1N1 infection.  Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection, including 7 deaths.  The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths: Canada (13), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (5), Austria (1), Germany (3), Israel (2) and Spain (4). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of April 30 at 10:30 am ET, the United States has 109 confirmed cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) with one death.  The more recent illnesses and the reported death suggest that a pattern of more severe illness associated with this virus may be emerging in the US.

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO’s Director-General raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5.  In her statement on April 29, she stated that all countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans.  At this stage, effective and essential measures include heightened surveillance, early detection and treatment of cases and INFECTION CONTROL in all health facilities. This change to a higher phase of alert is a signal to governments, to ministries of health and other ministries, to the pharmaceutical indistry and the business community that certain actions should now be undertaken with increased urgency, and at an accelerated pace. At this point, WHO recommended NOT to restrict international travel.  It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention.

Although not an official governmental source, Google Maps has an interesting video map showing the swine flu current and future evolution.  Please note the color key.

HOW does it spread

Spread of swine flu is thought to be happening the same way that seasonal flu spreads; mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza.  Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.  Swine flu viruses are NOT spread by food.  You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick.  Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.  Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air.  Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

HOW can we prevent it

CDC recommends that affected states with at least one laboratory-confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection consider activating community mitigation interventions for affected communities.

For those states WITHOUT laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 virus, use these everyday steps to protect your health:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Germs spread this way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.


Source: Global Dental Safety Organization


I am so honored to be one of three dentists for the Blackhawks. It’s amazing!

How we do it is we divide the games between us – there needs to be a doctor at each game to treat the Blackhawks and the visiting team. I like to arrive early to be sure everybody’s in good shape to begin with; and I stick around a little afterwards as well before heading home.

Those pucks travel at 90 mph, and we see trauma quite often. But usually it’s some minor repairs for broken teeth –  but it does have the potential to shatter the teeth entirely.

Right now it’s a particularly interesting tome to watch the Blackhawks with the Stanley Cup right around the corner!! Of course that does mean things get a little rowdier… I know at our office, we are all rooting for them!

Be sure to read more in the Glancer Magazine in May!

It Should be easier

lavacca-blogAt the office today when I was finished working on a patient I began to find out about how she found us. It’s been a couple of visits so far. She’s getting a whole new set of teeth. Her story is incredible actually because she had been to visit 2 or 3 different dentists and already spent $15000+ on her teeth.

Well, how could her teeth get to be so bad? Not her fault… She is a cancer survivor. She suffered from cervical cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. The radiation and such just caused her bones to weaken and her teeth just started falling out and breaking.

When I expressed my dismay she told me that she knew of at least three others that are experiencing similar stress. She said it was embarrassing and painful and ultimately affected her ability to work and feel good.

Currently she’s wearing her second set of temps and her real teeth will be going in soon. Already there is a marked difference in facial support. And she was in the office telling everyone how happy she is to finally feel good. It was a proud moment. She has a beautiful face and a great personality and deserves to feel good.

After spending all that money and trying dentist after dentist, I’m sure she was intimidated – It should be easier to find us!

So let’s get the word out!

If you’re reading this article and know of someone in a similar situation, or if this sounds like you, come in for a visit. It never hurts to just make an appointment and just find out what your options are.

Like my new patient says, you use your car every day, but you use your teeth all day! It’s worth it!

Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis


Welcome to Dr. LaVacca’s blog! Dr. LaVacca and his staff will make every effort to answer your questions and provide you with the latest information about oral health care.

Did you know, for example, that osteonecrosis has been found in a subset of patients receiving bisphosphonate therapy?

So, unless you experience this already or are another dentist… you’re probably wondering, What does that mean and who does this really affect.

Let me begin by saying that bisphosphonates are a class of agent that is used to treat osteoporosis.

Bisphosphonates currently available in the US according to Compendium, March 2008, are Alendronate (Fosamax®), Risendronate (Actonel®), Ibanadronate (Boniva®), Pamidronate (Aredia®), and Zoledronatic acid (Zometa®).

Benefits of bisphosphonate therapy include slowing the remodeling process and increasing bone mineral density which reduces the risk of fracture in women with osteopenia and osteoporosis.

It is only a small subset of patients that have emerged showing complications, but these complications are serious. As matter of fact in 2005 the US Food and Drug Administration issued a broad drug class warning on this complication that became known as BRONJ (Bisphosphonate related osteonecrosis of the jaws).

According to Merk & Co. (2008), incidence is only .7 cases per 100,000 person-years of exposure. And there is some evidence that it is the patients receiving the more potent IV bisphosphonate therapy may have higher risk.

So ..How can anyone tell if they suffer from BRONJ? Well, if you are currently or previously being treated with a bisphosphonate, if you have exposed, necrotic bone in the maxillofacial region that has persisted or have no history of radiation therapy in the jaws and have bony areas exposed in the maxillofacial area, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Bisphosphonates are deposited preferentially in bones with high rate of bone remodelling(the lifelong process where bone is removed from the body and new bone is added). The maxilla and mandible have high turn over rates which is why there may be higher levels of bisphosphonates within the jaws. There have been no other complications to date outside the craniofacial skeleton.

Most cases of osteonecrosis occur at the regions of extractions, but not all. Some patients have had no history of trauma. Patients with a history of inflammatory dental disease such as  periodontal and dental abscesses are seven times at risk.

Just another reason for maintaining good oral health!

If you or anyone you know suffer from BRONJ or have any questions about BRONJ, please do not hesitate to contact our office!