Posts for: March, 2017
If you suspect you have periodontal (gum) disease, it's important to get a correct diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you begin treatment the better the long-term outcome.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that's most often triggered by plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces. Plaque buildup most often occurs when a person doesn't practice effective oral hygiene: daily brushing and flossing and professional cleanings at least twice a year.
The most common type of gum disease, gingivitis, can begin within days of not brushing and flossing. It won't always show itself, but you can have symptoms like swollen, red or bleeding gums, as well as bad taste and breath. You could also develop painful abscesses, which are localized pockets of infection within the gums.
If we don't stop the disease it will eventually weaken the gum attachment to the teeth, bone loss will occur and form deep pockets of infection between the teeth and bone. There's only one way to stop it: remove the offending plaque from all tooth surfaces, particularly below the gum line.
We usually remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) manually with special hand instruments called scalers. If the plaque and calculus have extended deeper, we may need to perform another procedure called root planing in which we shave or “plane” the plaque and calculus (tartar) from the root surfaces.
In many cases of early gum disease, your family dentist can perform plaque removal. If, however, your gum disease is more extensive, they may refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in the treatment and care of gums. Periodontists are trained and experienced in treating a full range of gum infections with advanced techniques, including gum surgery.
You can also see a periodontist on your own for treatment or for a second opinion — you don't necessarily need a referral order. If you have a systemic disease like diabetes it's highly advisable you see a periodontist first if you suspect gum disease.
If you think you might have gum disease, don't wait: the longer you do the more advanced and destructive the disease can become. Getting an early start on treatment is the best way to keep the treatment simple and keep gum disease from causing major harm to your teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When to See a Periodontist.”
It is well known that your diet affects your general health, weight and even well-being. However, your diet also affects your smile. Putting good foods into your body ensures that it stays running properly. Learn about some tooth-healthy foods to keep your smile healthy and happy with Center for Cosmetic and Sedation Dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA.
Teeth-Healthy Foods for Your Smile
- Yogurt: Packed with probiotics, calcium and protein, yogurt is good for your gums and your teeth. Flavored yogurt is notoriously packed with sugar, so try to choose the plain variety.
- Cheese: Like yogurt, cheese and other dairy products are a great source of calcium, which helps strengthen your teeth’s enamel.
- Leafy Greens: Leafy greens like kale contain many vitamins and minerals which can benefit your teeth.
- Crunchy Vegetables: Crunchy veggies like apples and carrots are high in fiber and help promote saliva production in the mouth. Increased saliva helps wash away bacteria and food particles, helping avoid tooth decay.
- Water: Water contains no sugars, added flavors or calories, making it the ideal choice of beverage for your body and your teeth alike. Additionally, drinking a glass of water after other beverages like coffee or tea can help wash away the bacteria and acids from these drinks, helping decrease the chance of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Nuts: Nuts like almonds are low in sugar and high in vitamins and protein. A handful of nuts a day can help keep your body and smile healthy.
Healthy Teeth in Lawrenceville, GA
While your diet affects your smile, your dental hygiene routine keeps it in tip-top shape. Patients with an average risk of tooth decay or gum disease should schedule a dental appointment at least twice a year for a cleaning by their dental hygienist and examination by their dentist. Additionally, children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice daily for two minutes. They should also floss at least once daily and, if they choose, use a mouthwash after flossing. If you opt for mouthwash, do not rinse your mouth afterward to allow the mouthwash to settle on the teeth and do its job.
For more information on how your diet affects your smile, please contact your dentist at Center for Cosmetic and Sedation Dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA. Call (770) 995-1957 to schedule an examination or cleaning with your dentist today!
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”