Posts for: June, 2021
Your teeth can take decades of daily biting and chewing and not miss a beat. But they do have a nemesis, dental disease, which can easily get the upper hand. As a result, millions of people lose teeth each year to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
But while both the living tissue that makes up teeth and gums are susceptible to bacterial attack, the non-living materials in a life-like dental implant are impervious to disease. That being the case, you would think your implants wouldn't need as much hygiene as your other teeth.
But they still do. True, implants in themselves aren't affected by infection, but the bone and other tissues that support them can become diseased. This often happens with advanced cases of gum disease.
There is, in fact, a particular form of gum infection associated with implants called peri-implantitis ("peri"—around; "it is"—inflammation), which occurs in the gums around an implant. Once it starts, peri-implantitis can advance at a rapid pace.
This is because implants don't have the gum attachment of real teeth, which can fight and slow the advance of a gum infection. Because an implant doesn't have this attachment, any infection around it continues virtually unimpeded. If the bone supporting an implant becomes infected, it can weaken to the point that the implant fails.
But this dire scenario can be avoided with continuing hygiene and maintenance of the gum tissues surrounding the implant. You should brush and floss every day around implants to remove dental plaque, the bacterial film most responsible for dental disease, just as you do with natural teeth.
It's also important to keep up regular dental visits for cleanings to remove lingering plaque and tartar (hardened plaque). Your dentist may also notice and clean away any residual cement from the restoration, which can also cause gum inflammation.
And, you should promptly see your dentist if you notice any telltale signs of a gum infection, such as swelling, redness or bleeding, especially around implants. The quicker we diagnose and treat a case of gum disease, particularly peri-implantitis, the less likely it will endanger your implant.
A root canal from your dentists in Lawrenceville, Buford, or Dacula, GA, can save your smile.
If you are experiencing dental pain, you may be wondering if you need a root canal. The truth is, root canal treatment can do amazing things for you and your smile. A root canal can eliminate your dental pain, and let you keep your tooth and your smile.
The dentists at the Center for Cosmetic and Sedation Dentistry offer a wide range of dental services, including root canal treatment to save your smile. They have convenient office locations in Lawrenceville, Buford, and Dacula, GA, to keep your smile healthy.
So, do you need a root canal? Your dentist can tell for sure, with the help of diagnostic tools like x-rays and thermal and vitality testing. There are a few factors that may indicate you do need a root canal.
You need to pay attention to:
- Sharp tooth pain when you bite down or chew
- Tooth pain that increases when you eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages
- Severe throbbing pain that never resolves or is increasing
- A red or white bump appearing on your gums next to a tooth root
- Drainage coming from the bump on your gums
Tooth pain is the main symptom of needing a root canal, but sometimes a tooth can be infected but you may not experience pain. All you may notice is a tooth growing darker or grayer than the teeth next to it.
When you need a root canal, it means that the inner area of your tooth, known as the pulp, has become damaged. The pulp contains the nerves and blood supply to your tooth. When the pulp is infected fluids, inflammation, and pressure build up inside your tooth, causing pain.
The pulp can become damaged due to:
- Severe, untreated tooth decay
- Trauma involving your teeth
- A sports injury or accident
A root canal works by removing the infected tissue inside your tooth and replacing it with an inert material. The tooth is then covered with a dental crown to protect it and strengthen it. Root canal therapy requires at least two appointments to complete, depending on the level of infection inside your tooth.
To find out more about how a root canal can help you and your smile, call the dentists at the Center for Cosmetic and Sedation Dentistry. You can reach them in Lawrenceville, GA, at (770) 995-1957, in Buford, GA, at (770) 932-8577, or in Dacula, GA, at (770) 277-0800.
Forty years have passed since the first reported case of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and it and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes it are still with us. About 1.2 million Americans are currently infected with HIV, with 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
The emergence of antiretroviral drugs, though, has made it possible for many with HIV to live normal lives. Even so, the virus can still have a profound effect on health, including the teeth and gums. Because of its effect on the immune system, HIV+ patients are at greater risk for a number of oral conditions, like a fungal infection called candidiasis ("thrush").
Another common problem is chronic dry mouth (xerostomia), caused by a lack of saliva production. Not only does this create an unpleasant mouth feel, but the absence of saliva also increases the risk for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
The latter can be a serious malady among HIV patients, particularly a severe form of gum disease known as Necrotizing Ulcerative Periodontitis (NUP). With NUP, the gums develop ulcerations and an unpleasant odor arising from dead gum tissue.
Besides plaque removal (a regular part of gum disease treatment), NUP may also require antibiotics, antibacterial mouthrinses and pain management. NUP may also be a sign that the immune system has taken a turn for the worse, which could indicate a transition to the AIDS disease. Dentists often refer patients with NUP to a primary care provider for further diagnosis and treatment.
Besides daily brushing and flossing, regular dental cleanings are a necessary part of a HIV+ patient's health maintenance. These visits are also important for monitoring dental health, which, as previously noted, could provide early signs that the infection may be entering a new disease stage.
It's also important for HIV+ patients to see their dentist at the first sign of inflamed, red or bleeding gums, mouth lesions or loose teeth. Early treatment, especially of emerging gum disease, can prevent more serious problems from developing later.
Living with HIV-AIDS isn't easy. But proper health management, including for the teeth and gums, can help make life as normal as possible.
If you would like more information on dental care and HIV-AIDS, 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 “HIV-AIDS & Oral Health.”