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Periodontal (gum) disease, which is also known as periodontal disease and periodontitis, is a progressive disease which if left untreated may result in tooth loss. Gum disease begins with the inflammation and irritation of the gingival tissues which surround and support the teeth. The cause of this inflammation is the toxins found in plaque which cause an ongoing bacterial infection.
The bacterial infection colonizes in the gingival tissue and deep pockets form between the teeth and the gums. If treated promptly by a periodontist, the effects of mild inflammation (known as gingivitis) are completely reversible. However, if the bacterial infection is allowed to progress, periodontal disease begins to destroy the gums and the underlying jawbone; promoting tooth loss. In some cases, the bacteria from this infection can travel to other areas of the body via the bloodstream.
There are genetic and environmental factors involved in the onset of gum disease, and in many cases the risk of developing periodontitis can be significantly lowered by taking preventative measures. Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:
Periodontists specialize in the treatment of gum disease and the placement of dental implants. A periodontist can perform effective cleaning procedures in deep pockets such as scaling and root planing, and also prescribe antibiotic and antifungal medications to treat infection and halt the progression of the disease.
In the case of tooth loss, the periodontist is able to perform tissue grafts to promote natural tissue regeneration, and insert dental implants if a tooth or several teeth are missing. Where gum recession causes a “toothy” looking smile, the periodontist can recontour the gingival tissue to create an even and aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Preventing periodontal disease is critical in preserving the natural dentition. Addressing the causes of gum disease and discussing them with your dentist will help prevent the onset, progression, and recurrence of periodontal disease. If you have any questions or concerns about the causes or treatments pertaining to gum disease, please ask your dentist.
It is well documented that people who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to developing infections than non-diabetes sufferers. It is not widely known that t periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes; particularly when the diabetes is not under proper control. Periodontal disease (often called periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive condition that often leads to tooth loss if treatment is not promptly sought. Periodontal disease begins with a bacterial infection in the gingival tissue which surrounds the teeth. As the bacteria colonize, the gum pockets become deeper, the gums recede as tissue is destroyed and the periodontitis eventually attacks the underlying bone tissue.
Experts suggest the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease can worsen both conditions if either condition is not properly controlled. Here are ways in which diabetes and periodontal disease are linked:
It is of paramount importance for people suffering from any type of diabetes to see the dentist at least twice yearly for checkups and professional cleanings. Studies have shown that simple non-surgical periodontal treatments can lower the HbA1c (hemoglobin molecule blood test) count by as much as 20% in a six month period.
The dentist will use medical history, family history and dental X-rays to assess the risk factors for periodontal disease and determine the exact condition of the gums, teeth and underlying jawbone. If necessary the dentist will work in conjunction with other doctors to ensure that both the diabetes and the gum disease are being managed and controlled as effectively as possible.
Non-surgical procedures performed by the dentist and dental hygienist include deep scaling, where calculus (tartar) will be removed from the teeth above and below the gumline, and root planing, where the root of the tooth is smoothed down to eliminate any remaining bacteria. Antibiotics may be applied to the gum pockets to promote healing. Before and after periodontal treatment, the dentist and hygienist will recommend proper home care and oral maintenance as well as prescribing prescription mouthwashes which serve to deter further bacteria colonization. If you have questions or concerns about diabetes or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.
Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home teeth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up maybe needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.Reasons for teeth whitening:
This type of teeth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays.
At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching. You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.
Bruxism refers to an oral parafunctional activity which occurs in most humans at some point in their lives. The grinding of the teeth and the clenching of the jaw are the two main characteristics of this condition, which can occur either during the day or at night.
Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders and causes most of its damage during sleeping hours. The clenching and grinding which accompanies bruxism is symptomatic of a malfunctioning chewing reflex, which is turned off in non-sufferers when sleeping. For sufferers, deep sleep or even naps, cause the reflex nerve control center in the brain to turn off, and the reflex pathways to become active.
Typically, the incisors and canines (front 6 upper and lower teeth) of opposing arches grind against each other laterally. This side to side action puts undue strain on the medial pterygoid muscles and the temporomandibular joints. Earache, depression, headaches, eating disorders and anxiety are amongst the most common symptoms of bruxism; which often accompanies chronic stress, Alzheimer’s disease and alcohol abuse.
Bruxism is frequently misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, because it is only one of several potential causes of tooth wear. Only a trained professional can tell the difference between bruxing wear and wear caused by overly aggressive brushing, acidic soft drinks and abrasive foods.
A BiteStrip® is an economical device used to diagnose bruxism at home. The device itself is a small electromyography which senses and monitors any activity in the jaw muscles during sleep. The frequency and severity of the condition can then be assessed and the best treatment plan can be formulated.
Here are some of the main reasons why bruxism should be promptly treated:
There is no single cure for bruxism, though a variety of helpful devices and tools are available. Here are some common ways in which bruxism is treated:
Other methods of treatment include relaxation exercises, stress management education and biofeedback mechanisms. When the bruxing is under control, there are a variety of dental procedures such as crowns, gum grafts and crown lengthening that can restore a pleasant aesthetic appearance to the smile. If you have questions or concerns about bruxism, please ask your dentist.
Soft tissue grafting is often necessary to combat gum recession. Periodontal disease, trauma, aging, over brushing, and poor tooth positioning are the leading causes of gum recession which can lead to tooth-root exposure in severe cases.
When the roots of the teeth become exposed, eating hot and cold foods can be uncomfortable, decay is more prevalent and the aesthetic appearance of the smile is altered. The main goal of soft tissue grafting is to either cover the exposed root or to thicken the existing gum tissue in order to halt further tissue loss. The three different types of common soft tissue grafts include:
Soft tissue grafting is an extremely versatile procedure that has many uses. Recent developments in dental technology have made soft tissue grafting more predictable and less intrusive. Here are some of the main benefits associated with soft tissue grafting treatment:
Initially, deep cleaning will be performed both above and below the gum line to clear the teeth and roots of calculus (tartar). The grafting procedure itself will generally be performed under local anesthetic, but this will depend on the size of the areas receiving grafts. A small incision will be made at the recipient site in order to create a small pocket. A split thickness incision is made in this pocket and the donor tissue is placed between the two sections of this area. The donor tissue strip is generally larger than the incision, so some excess will be apparent.
Platelet rich growth factors which stimulate natural tissue growth and promote good healing may be applied to the site before suturing. In addition, tissue-stimulating proteins may be added to encourage quicker tissue growth. Finally, the wound site will be sutured to prevent shifting, and surgical material will be placed to protect the sensitive area. Gum uniformity and substantial healing will take place in the first six weeks after the procedure.
If you have any questions about soft tissue grafting, please ask your dentist.
A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root which is attached to the jaw bone. Eventually, a replacement tooth or bridge will be firmly fixed to this root, restoring complete function to the tooth. The key to a successful and long-lasting implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone has been lost due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor to allow for new bone formation.
In the most common sinus augmentation technique, a tiny incision is made near the upper premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone. A small opening is cut into the bone and the membrane lining the sinus on the other side of the opening is gently pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone graft material and the incision is closed. The bone which is used for this procedure may be from your own body or from a cadaver. Sometimes the dentist might use synthetic materials which can also stimulate bone formation. The implants are placed after healing has occurred; this will depend on the individual case. Sinus augmentation has been shown to increase the success of dental implant procedures.
Periodontal disease is an extremely serious progressive condition which can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Periodontal disease occurs when a bacterial infection in the gum pockets causes the bone and gum tissue to recede away from the teeth. The quality and quantity of bone and gum tissue is greatly reduced as the gum pockets continue to deepen. Fortunately, prompt diagnosis combined with effective regenerative procedures can halt the progression of the disease and save the teeth. There are many regenerative dental procedures available to restore health to the gums, bone and teeth. The following are the most commonly used regenerative procedures.
Dental implants and other restorative procedures depend on the jawbone being sufficiently strong and thick. When periodontal disease has taken hold, the jawbone may have become too thin to successfully support an implant. Natural bone regeneration (or bone grafting) is one of the best ways to promote growth and thicken the jawbone.
Initially, bone grafting material is obtained from elsewhere on the body or from a bone bank. The gums are gently pulled back, and an opening is made in the jawbone where the grafting material will be packed in tightly. A membrane is used to maintain the shape of the new bone, and tissue stimulating proteins and a platelet-rich growth factor may be applied to promote faster healing. The surgical site will be sutured and packed with protective material. The bone will naturally regenerate and become strong enough to eventually support an implant.
Gum tissue regeneration is usually performed by way of gum grafting. When gum tissue has been lost as a result of periodontal disease, the smile may appear discolored, toothy or unpleasant. A gum graft aims to symmetrically contour the gum line, cover any exposed tooth roots and restore health to the gums. Initially, a small strip of tissue will be removed from the roof of the mouth and placed in the middle of a split-thickness incision at the recipient site. The surgical site will be covered with a protective membrane which promotes tissue regeneration, covered in platelet-rich growth factor and tissue stimulating proteins, and then sutured closed. The soft tissue surrounding the teeth will naturally regenerate, producing a healthy, smile.
The aim of pocket reduction surgery is to reduce the depth of the gum pockets and make it much harder for bacteria to invade the gum tissue. Initially, the gum tissue is pulled back from the teeth and the subgingival area is thoroughly cleansed under local anesthesia. Extensive scraping may be required to fully remove the plaque, debris and tartar from below the gum line. An antimicrobial agent may then be applied to the affected area to kill any remaining bacteria, and the surgical site will be sutured closed. Pocket reduction surgery is very effective for halting tissue loss and promoting the natural healing of the gums.
The term “scaling” refers to the removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) from the supragingival region (above the gum line). This treatment is usually conducted in the course of a routine professional cleaning, and performed under local anesthetic. Root planing usually accompanies scaling and is performed in the subgingival region (below the gum line). Tartar and toxins are initially removed, and then the tooth root is smoothed down to promote good healing in the gum tissue. The planing of the tooth root provides a smooth area which prevents bacteria from recolonizing. If these procedures do not completely eradicate the infection, surgical measures may be required.
If you have any questions about regenerative procedures or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out. The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.
Prophylaxis is an excellent procedure to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease. Here are some of the benefits of prophylaxis:
Prophylaxis can either be performed in the course of a regular dental visit or, if necessary, under general anesthetic. The latter is particularly common where severe periodontal disease is suspected or has been diagnosed by the dentist. An endotracheal tube is sometimes placed in the throat to protect the lungs from harmful bacteria which will be removed from the mouth. Prophylaxis is generally performed in several stages:
Prophylaxis is recommended twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be performed every 3-4 months on periodontitis sufferers. Though gum disease cannot be completely reversed, prophylaxis is one of the tools the dentist can use to effectively halt its destructive progress. If you have questions or concerns about prophylaxis or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.
Pocket reduction surgery (also known as gingivectomy, osseous surgery and flap surgery) is a collective term for a series of several different surgeries aimed at gaining access to the roots of the teeth in order to remove bacteria and tartar (calculus). The human mouth contains dozens of different bacteria at any given time. The bacteria found in plaque (the sticky substance on teeth) produce acids that lead to demineralization of the tooth surface, and ultimately contribute to periodontal disease.
Periodontal infections cause a chronic inflammatory response in the body that literally destroys bone and gum tissues once they invade the subgingival area (below the gum line). Gum pockets form and deepen between the gums and teeth as the tissue continues to be destroyed.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which, if left untreated, causes massive bacteria colonization in gum pockets can eventually lead to teeth falling out. Pocket reduction surgery is an attempt to alleviate this destructive cycle, and reduce the depth of the bacteria-harboring pockets.
Pocket reduction surgery is a common periodontal procedure which has been proven effective at eliminating bacteria, reducing inflammation and saving teeth. The goals of pocket reduction surgery are:
Before recommending treatment or performing any procedure, the dentist will perform thorough visual and x-ray examinations in order to assess the condition of the teeth, gums and underlying bone. Pocket reduction surgery may be performed under local or general anesthetic depending on the preferences of the patient.
The gums will be gently pulled back from the teeth and bacteria and calculus (tartar) will be eliminated. Scaling and root planing will generally be required to fully remove the ossification (tartar) from the surface of the tooth root. If the root is not completely smooth, a planing procedure will be performed to ensure that when the gums do heal, they will not reattach to rough or uneven surfaces.
The final part of the surgery is usually the administration of an antimicrobial liquid to eliminate any remaining bacteria and promote healing. The gum is then sutured with tiny stitches that are left in place for 5-10 days.
Though the gums will be more sensitive immediately following the procedure, there will be a significant reduction in pocket depth and a vast improvement in the condition of the teeth and gums. If you have any questions about pocket reduction surgery or treatment for periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which leads to gum inflammation, the recession of bone and gum tissue, and tooth loss if left untreated. There are a variety of effective treatments and procedures available, including pocket irrigation, which can assist in treating the progression of the disease.
Pocket irrigation aims to cleanse plaque from the interdental (between teeth) and subgingival (under the gumline) regions of the mouth in order to prevent the colonization of harmful oral bacteria. This procedure is also used to deliver antibacterials to the subgingival areas.
Pocket irrigation, which is also known as oral irrigation, is a versatile dental treatment used for several different preventative purposes. Pocket irrigation may be performed as part of a professional dental cleaning, or at home with a specially modified oral irrigator. Here are the main ways in which pocket irrigation can be beneficial:
Pocket irrigation is generally performed in combination with other dental treatments; for example, as part of a professional dental cleaning or in combination with pocket reduction surgery. In the case of a pocket reduction surgery, the tartar and subgingival plaque will be removed with special scaling and root planing instruments. When the pockets are free of debris, an antimicrobial agent may be applied using an oral irrigator. This will help reduce harmful oral bacteria which still remain in the pockets.
During a deep cleaning procedure, a pocket irrigator may be used after scaling and root planing to cleanse the pockets. Again, an antimicrobial agent may be applied to help reduce subgingival oral bacteria. Pocket irrigation can be performed at home as part of the daily oral routine using a water jet or water pick. Flushing the interdental area with water is less harmful to soft tissue than dental floss, but should not be used as a substitute for professional dental cleaning. If you have any questions about pocket irrigation, cleaning your teeth, periodontal disease and treatment, please ask your dentist.
The objective of scaling & root planning is to remove etiologic agents which cause inflammation to the gingival (gum) tissue and surrounding bone. Common etiologic agents removed by this conventional periodontal therapy include dental plaque and tartar (calculus).
These non-surgical procedures which completely cleanse the periodontium, work very effectively for individuals suffering from gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) and moderate/severe periodontal disease.
Scaling and root planning can be used both as a preventative measure and as a stand-alone treatment. These procedures are performed as a preventative measure for a periodontitis sufferer. Here are some reasons why these dental procedures may be necessary:
Scaling and root planing treatments are only performed after a thorough examination of the mouth. The dentist will take X-rays, conduct visual examinations and make a diagnosis before recommending or beginning these procedures. Depending on the current condition of the gums, the amount of calculus (tartar) present, the depth of the pockets and the progression of the periodontitis, local anesthetic may be used.
Scaling – This procedure is usually performed with special dental instruments and may include an ultrasonic scaling tool. The scaling tool removes calculus and plaque from the surface of the crown and root surfaces. In many cases, the scaling tool includes an irrigation process that can also be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums that can help reduce oral bacteria.
Root Planing – This procedure is a specific treatment which serves to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed in order to promote good healing. Having clean, smooth root surfaces helps bacteria from easily colonizing in future.
Following these deep cleaning procedures, the gum pockets may be treated with antibiotics. This will soothe irritation and help the gum tissues to heal quickly. During the next appointment, the dentist or hygienist will thoroughly examine the gums again to see how well the pockets have healed. If the gum pockets still measure more than 3mm in depth, additional and more intensive treatments may be recommended. If you have any concerns or questions about scaling and root planing, or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.
According to research conducted by the American Cancer society, more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. More than 7,000 of these cases result in the death of the patient. The good news is that oral cancer can easily be diagnosed with an annual oral cancer exam, and effectively treated when caught in its earliest stages.
Oral cancer is a pathologic process which begins with an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable. This makes the oral cancer examinations performed by the dentist critically important. Oral cancers can be of varied histologic types such as teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma. The most common type of oral cancer is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma. This oral cancer type usually originates in lip and mouth tissues. There are many different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region in which oral cancers commonly occur, including:
It is important to note that around 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Your dentist can provide literature and education on making life changes and smoking cessation.
When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment is generally very effective. Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible. During the oral cancer exam, the dentist and dental hygienist will be scrutinizing the maxillofacial and oral regions carefully for signs of pathologic changes. The following signs will be investigated during a routine oral cancer exam:
The oral cancer examination is a completely painless process. During the visual part of the examination, the dentist will look for abnormality and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers which can highlight pathologic changes are also a wonderful tool for oral cancer checks. The laser can “look” below the surface for abnormal signs and lesions which would be invisible to the naked eye.
If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, the dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. In the event that the initial treatment plan is ineffective, a biopsy of the area will be performed. The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which will identify the precise stage and grade of the oral lesion.
Oral cancer is deemed to be present when the basement membrane of the epithelium has been broken. Malignant types of cancer can readily spread to other places in the oral and maxillofacial regions, posing additional secondary threats. Treatment methods vary according to the precise diagnosis, but may include excision, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
During bi-annual check-ups, the dentist and hygienist will thoroughly look for changes and lesions in the mouth, but a dedicated comprehensive oral cancer screening should be performed at least once each year. If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.
Gingival recession (receding gums) refers to the progressive loss of gum tissue, which can eventually result in tooth root exposure if left untreated. Gum recession is most common in adults over the age of 40, but the process can begin in the teenage years.
Gum recession can be difficult to self-diagnose in its earlier stages because the changes often occur asymptomatically and gradually. Regular dental check ups will help to prevent gum recession and assess risk factors. The following symptoms may be indicative of gum recession:
Gum recession is an incredibly widespread problem that dentists diagnose and treat on a daily basis. It is important to thoroughly examine the affected areas and make an accurate diagnosis of the actual underlying problem. Once the cause of the gum recession has been determined, surgical and non surgical procedures can be performed to halt the progress of the recession, and prevent it from occurring in the future. The most common causes of gingival recession are:
Every case of gum recession is slightly different, and therefore many treatments are available. The nature of the problem which caused the recession to begin with needs to be addressed first.
If overly aggressive brushing techniques are eroding the gums, a softer toothbrush and a gentler brushing technique should be used. If poor oral hygiene is a problem, prophylaxis (professional dental cleaning) may be recommended to rid the gum pockets of debris and bacteria. In the case of a severe calculus (tartar) build up, scaling and root planing will be performed to heal the gingival inflammation and clean the teeth.
Once the cause of the gingival recession has been addressed, surgery of a more cosmetic or restorative nature may be recommended. Gum tissue regeneration and gum grafting are two excellent ways to restore natural symmetry to the gums and make the smile look more aesthetically pleasing. If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatments, or gum recession, please ask your dentist.
A gum graft (also known as a gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery), is a collective name for surgical periodontal procedures that aim to cover an exposed tooth root surface with grafted oral tissue. Exposed tooth roots are usually the result of gingival recession due to periodontal disease. There are other common causes, including overly aggressive brushing and trauma. Here are some of the most common types of gum grafting:
Gum grafting is a common periodontal procedure. Though the name might sound frightening, the procedure is commonly performed with excellent results. Here are some of the major benefits associated with gum grafting:
Once the need for gum grafting surgery has been determined, there are several treatments the dentist will want perform before gum grafting takes place. First, the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned supra and subgingivally to remove calculus (tartar) and bacteria. The dentist can also provide literature, advice and educational tools to increase the effectiveness of homecare and help reduce the susceptibility of periodontal disease in the future.
The gum grafting procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic. The exact procedure will depend much on whether tissue is coming from the patient’s palate or a tissue bank. Initially, small incisions will be made at the recipient site to create a small pocket to accommodate the graft. Then a split thickness incision is made and the connective tissue graft is inserted into the space between the two sections of tissue. The graft is usually slightly larger than the recession area, so some excess will be apparent.
Sutures are often placed to further stabilize the graft and to prevent any shifting from the designated site. Surgical material is used to protect the surgical area during the first week of healing. Uniformity and healing of the gums will be achieved in approximately six weeks. If you have any questions about gum grafting, please ask your dentist.
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the soft tissues of the mouth and the underlying jawbone which supports the teeth. A dentist must first graduate from an accredited dental school before undertaking an additional three years of study within a periodontology residency training program, in order to qualify as a periodontist.
The primary focus of this residency training is on both surgical and non surgical management of periodontal disease and the placement of dental implants.
The periodontist is mainly concerned with preventing the onset of gum disease (periodontal disease), diagnosing conditions affecting the gums and jawbone, and treating gingivitis, periodontitis and bone loss. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world.
The periodontist is able to treat mild, moderate and advanced gum disease by first addressing the bacterial infection at the root of the problem, providing periodontal treatment, then providing information and education on good oral hygiene and the effective cleaning of the teeth. The most common conditions treated by the periodontist are:
The periodontist is able to perform a wide range of treatments to halt the progression of gum disease, replace missing teeth and make the appearance of the smile more aesthetically pleasing. Here are some of the treatments commonly performed by the periodontist:
The periodontist is a highly skilled dental health professional who is able to diagnose and treat many commonly occurring soft tissue and bone problems in the oral cavity. Be sure to ask your periodontist if you have any questions or concerns.
The term “periodontics” refers to the dental specialty that pertains to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease that affects the gums and jawbone. The gum tissues serve to surround and support the teeth and the underlying jawbone anchors teeth firmly in place. Periodontists have completed several years of extra dental training and are concerned with maintaining the function, health and aesthetics of the jawbone and tissues.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which begins with mild gum inflammation called gingivitis. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world, and should be taken very seriously. Periodontal disease (often called gum disease) is typically signified by red, swollen, painful, or bleeding gums, but in some cases has no noticeable symptoms.
Periodontal disease generally begins when the bacteria living in plaque cause an infection in the surrounding tissues of the teeth, causing them to become irritated and painful. Eventually, this infection will; cause the jawbone to recede and the tooth to become loose. There are several reasons why periodontal treatment may be necessary:
In the case of mild/moderate periodontal problems, the focus of the periodontist will be on curing the underlying bacterial infection and then providing advice on the most appropriate home cleaning methods.
Sometimes a deep scaling is needed to remove the bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth and tissues. Where periodontal disease is advanced and the jawbone has regressed significantly, more intensive cleaning may be recommended and loose teeth that cannot be saved will be removed.
The periodontist is trained in all aspects of dental implant procedures, which can restore functionality to the mouth when teeth have been affected by periodontitis. Because periodontal disease is progressive, it is essential to remove the bacteria and calculus build up to halt the spread of the infection. Your dentist will be happy to advise you on effective cleaning methods and treatment options.
Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to erupt (surface) in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.
In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors. There are several types, or degrees, of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:
While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present, and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:
As with any dental procedure, your dentist will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic or digital x-rays will be taken in order for your dentist to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists, or the likelihood of any potential future problems. The x-rays can also expose additional risk factors, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment (typically in the mid-teen years) is recommended in order to identify potential problems and to improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth extractions. Only after a thorough examination can your dentist provide you with the best options for your particular case.
Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, generally performed under local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or general anesthesia by a specially trained dentist in an office surgery suite. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort.
Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness. The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for the dentist to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment will stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain, and the dizziness.
The grinding teeth symptom is particularly common and usually occurs at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth. It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.
TMJ could be a result of several different problems. Bad bite is the most common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage is also a possibility. Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patients bite, take x-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. The dentist can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the dentist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.
A better option is to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely, often called “realignment.” This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure, and it is one the dentist has performed with great success numerous times. As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath”. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body.
Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart breathing the process. People with sleep apnea will partially awake as they struggle to breathe, and this is often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awake during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder and it can remain undiagnosed.
There are two main types of this disorder; central sleep apnea which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles, and obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by the dentist.
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea can include severe early morning headaches, sleepiness in the daytime, and insomnia. Fortunately, the dentist is equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.
It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls towards the back of the throat which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.
The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts they make to obtain vital oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage. The patient must arouse from deep sleep to tense the tongue and remove the soft tissue from the airway.
Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night. Sleep apnea has been linked to a series of serious heart-related conditions, and should be investigated by the dentist at the earliest opportunity.
Initially, the dentist will want to conduct tests in order to investigate, diagnose, and pinpoint a suitable treatment. The dentist can offer many different treatment options which depend largely on the exact diagnosis and the health of the patient. The dentist may advise the patient to halt some habits that aggravate sleep apnea such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use.
Sleeping masks were traditionally used to keep the patient’s airways open while they slept, but nowadays there are some less intrusive options. Dental devices that gently tease the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage. These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.
A more permanent solution is to have surgery that sections the lower jaw and helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate and is simple for the dentist or oral surgeon to perform. The dentist needs to formally make a diagnosis of each individual case before recommending the best course of action.
Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is a by-product of blood that is exceptionally rich in platelets. PRP has long been used in hospitals to accelerate the body’s own healing process, but it is only fairly recently that advances in technology have allowed this same technique to be used in the dental office.
The blood platelets perform several essential functions in the body, including blood clot formation and the release of growth factors that help to heal wounds. These growth factors stimulate the stem cells to produce new host tissue as quickly as possible, which is why platelet rich plasma is so effective in the post-treatment healing process. There are several ways in which PRP can be used in clinical dentistry:
Platelet rich plasma application is now widely used to expedite the post-procedure healing process and is completely safe. Since the blood used will come from the patient’s own body, disease transmission is not a factor. Almost all patients report a much greater degree of comfort immediately after their procedure. There are also several more distinct advantages of PRP. In the majority of cases, the pathological changes experienced in the oral region are uncomfortable and disfiguring, but not life threatening. However, oral cancer is on the rise (especially among men) and the chances of survival are around 80% if an immediate diagnosis is made.
Oral cancer is a general term used when referring to any type of cancer affecting the tongue, jaw, and lower cheek area. Since it is impossible for the dentist to decisively diagnose a pathological disease without taking a biopsy sample of the affected area, seeking immediate treatment when changes are first noticed might be a life and death decision. For less serious problems, there are several options available, such as:
Lower Infection Risk – PRP is smeared thickly on the wound after the procedure by the dentist and actually seals the wound away from infectious agents, lowering the risk of problems.
The dentist will initially assess if your candidate for PRP treatment. Patients with blood clotting disorders will be unable to take advantage of this treatment. A small (about 2 oz) sample of your blood will be collected during a scheduled outpatient treatment. The blood will be placed into a centrifuge to separate the plasma from the red blood cells. A second centrifuge will be used to concentrate the platelets which contain the growth factor.
Immediately after suturing the wound, the dentist will apply the PRP to the surgical area in a high concentration. This will expedite your healing and decrease the amount of discomfort following the surgery. The dentist will provide aftercare instructions pertaining to the surgery and a prescription for pain medication as required.
If you have any questions about treatment with platelet rich plasma or would like to find out if you are a candidate and can benefit from this treatment, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
An oral exam is routinely performed by the dentist during the course of an initial comprehensive exam and regular check-ups. An oral cancer exam refers to the identification and management of diseases pertaining to the maxillofacial and oral regions.
The soft tissue of the mouth is normally lined with mucosa, which is special type of skin that should appear smooth in texture and pink in color. Any alteration of the color or texture of the mucosa may signal the beginning of a pathologic process. These changes may occur on the face, neck, and areas of the mouth (e.g., gums, tongue, lips, etc.). The most serious of these pathologic changes (which may or may not be painful) is oral cancer, but there are also many other common pathologic problems.
Geographic Tongue – Also known as Benign Migratory Glossitis or Erythema Migrans, is a condition where the tongue is missing papillae (small bumps) in different areas, and a map-like appearance can develop. This condition is usually seen as red well defined areas on or around the sides of the tongue. The red patches (which can look like an unsightly rash) may come and go from hours to months at a time and cause increased sensitivity to certain substances.
In the majority of cases, the pathological changes experienced in the oral region are uncomfortable and disfiguring, but not life threatening. However, oral cancer is on the rise (especially among men) and the chances of survival are around 80% if an immediate diagnosis is made.
During the course of a regular check up, the dentist will thoroughly inspect the soft tissue of the mouth and take serious note of any changes. If there are cell changes present, the dentist will take a biopsy of the affected area and send it away to be analyzed by laboratory specialists. When definitive results are obtained, the dentist can decide on the best course of treatment.
An oral cancer screening is usually performed during a comprehensive or recall (check-up) exam. Screening is painless and only takes a few minutes. The dentist or hygienist will use a laser light to assess the soft tissue for cell changes that might be indicative of oral cancer. If such cell changes are present, a small biopsy will be taken and sent to a laboratory for review. If the biopsy indicates that oral cancer is present, an excision (removal) will generally be performed.
If you are experiencing any pain or symptoms that cause you concern, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Bone grafting is often closely associated with dental restorations such as bridge work and dental implants. In the majority of cases, the success of a restoration procedure can hinge on the height, depth, and width of the jawbone at the implant site. When the jawbone has receded or sustained significant damage, the implant(s) cannot be supported on this unstable foundation and bone grafting is usually recommended for the ensuing restoration.
There are several major factors that affect jaw bone volume. An Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon can diagnose and treat a wide variety conditions. The following are just some of the many conditions, treatments and procedures oral and maxillofacial surgeon deal with on a daily basis:
Bone grafting is a highly successful procedure in most cases. It is also a preferable alternative to having missing teeth, diseased teeth, or tooth deformities. Bone grafting can increase the height or width of the jawbone and fill in voids and defects in the bone. There are essentially two basic ways in which bone grafting can positively impact the health and stability of the teeth:
Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the affected area in order to assess the general condition of the teeth and gums. If periodontal disease is present or the adjacent teeth are in poor condition, these factors will be fully addressed before the bone grafting procedure can begin. The dentist will also recommend panoramic x-rays in order to assess the precise depth and width of the existing bone. On occasion, a CAT scan may be recommended to determine the bone condition. Depending on these results, the dentist may also anesthetize the area and explore into the gum in order to determine what kind and how much bone is required.
There are several types of bone grafts. Your dentist will determine the best type for your particular condition.
The bone grafting procedure can often take several months to complete. Bone is typically harvested from your own body (or on rare occasions obtained from a “bone bank”) and added to the affected site. This bone will fuse with the existing bone and the migration of cells will cause firm adhesion and cell growth. Supplementing the jaw with bone will result in greater bone mass to help support and anchor the implant(s).
During the surgery, the dentist will numb the grafting and extraction sites using local anesthetic. A small incision will be made to prepare the site for the new bone and it will be anchored into place. On occasion, a synthetic membrane may be used to cover the new bone. This membrane prevents soft tissue and bacterial invasions, and encourages new bone growth. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be provided with comprehensive instructions for your post-operative care. The dentist will prescribe medications to help manage infection, discomfort and swelling.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are specialists with advanced training and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of various head and neck conditions and injuries. After four years of dental school, an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon completes four to six years of additional formal training in treating the craniomaxillofacial complex. This specialty is one of 9 dental specialties recognized internationally and by the American Dental Association (ADA).
An Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon can diagnose and treat a wide variety conditions. The following are just some of the many conditions, treatments and procedures oral and maxillofacial surgeon deal with on a daily basis:
Whether your dentist refers you to our office, you have pain or symptoms causing you concern, or you simply have questions you would like answered, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment. We are here to answer your questions and provide the treatment you deserve!
Invisalign invisibly straightens your teeth with a series of custom-molded aligners. Forget everything you’ve heard about teeth straightening. Because now there’s breakthrough technology that lets you get the smile you always wanted without bands, brackets or wires.
By using a series of clear removable aligners, Invisalign straightens your teeth right before your eyes. Change them about every 2 weeks, your teeth will move—little by little, week by week—until they have moved to the final position your orthodontist or dentist has prescribed. Comfortable to wear, our aligners are also removable so you can eat, drink, brush, and floss as usual.
A typical Invisalign case takes about a year from start to finish. You’ll see your doctor every month or two to see how you’re progressing. Every few visits you’ll be given additional aligners to continue your treatment. Commonly, the number of aligners worn during treatment is between 18 and 30, but treatment time and number of aligners will vary from case to case.
Invisalign is an invisible solution. So you won’t draw undue attention to your mouth while in treatment. In fact, virtually no one will know you’re wearing them unless you tell. Comfortable to wear, our aligners are also removable so you can eat, drink, brush, and floss as usual.
Invisalign can be used to treat the vast majority of common problems for adults and teens. Whether your smile needs minor improvements or more extensive adjustments, Invisalign can certainly help. It’s successful in treating overly crowded or widely spaced teeth. It can also relieve more complex issues, including overbites, underbites and even crossbites. In fact, an Invisalign Certified Orthodontist or Dentist can use Invisalign clear aligners in all or part of just about any treatment plan.
Invisalign is clear and practically invisible, so nothing gets in the way of your new smile. No wonder Invisalign is the choice of over half a million people.
The following are the most commonly used terms in orthodontics. If you have any questions about orthodontics or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office.
When braces are finally removed, the “retention” phase begins for most individuals. The objective of this phase is to ensure the teeth do not regress back to their previous position. A retainer will be used to maintain the improved position of the teeth. A retainer is a fixed or removable dental appliance which has been custom-made by the orthodontist to fit the teeth. Retainers are generally made from transparent plastic and thin wires to optimize the comfort of the patient.
Retainers are worn for varying amounts of time, depending on the type of orthodontic treatment and the age of the patient. Perseverance and commitment are required to make this final stage of treatment successful. If the retainer is not worn as directed by the orthodontist, treatment can fail or take much longer than anticipated.
There are a variety of retainers available; each one geared towards treating a different kind of dental problem. The orthodontist will make a retainer recommendation depending on the nature of the original diagnosis and the orthodontic treatment plan. The following are some of the most common types of retainers:
There are a few basic things to consider for proper use and maintenance of your retainer.
If you have any questions or concerns about retainers, please contact our office.
One of the most commonly asked questions about dental braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort. The honest answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious. In most cases, there may be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which may last for a few days.
There are two common types of fixed dental braces used to realign the teeth: Ceramic fixed braces and metal fixed braces. Both types of fixed appliances include brackets which are affixed to each individual tooth, and an archwire the orthodontist fits into the bracket slot to gently move the teeth into proper alignment. Elastic or wire ties will be applied to hold the wire in place. Some orthodontists may use self-ligating brackets which do not require a rubber or wire tie to secure the wire.
Fixed dental braces are used to treat a wide variety of malocclusions, including overbite, underbite, crossbite and overcrowding. If the orthodontist has determined that the malocclusion has been caused by overcrowding, it is possible that teeth may need to be extracted to increase the amount of available space to properly align the teeth.
Here is an overview of what you can expect when getting braces:
If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office.
Orthodontic braces were historically associated with teenagers. Today, an increasing number of adults are choosing to wear braces to straighten their teeth and correct malocclusions (bad bites). In fact, it is now estimated that almost one third of all current orthodontic patients are adults.
Orthodontic braces are predictable, versatile and incredibly successful at realigning the teeth. Braces work in the same way regardless of the age of the patient, but the treatment time is greatly reduced in patients who are still experiencing jaw growth and have not been affected by gum disease. In short, an adult can experience the same beautiful end results as a teenager, but treatment often takes longer.
Can adults benefit from orthodontic braces?
Absolutely! Crooked or misaligned teeth look unsightly, which in many cases leads to poor self esteem and a lack of self confidence. Aside from poor aesthetics, improperly aligned teeth can also cause difficulties biting, chewing and articulating clearly. Generally speaking, orthodontists agree that straight teeth tend to be healthier teeth. Straight teeth offer a multitude of health and dental benefits including:
Fortunately, orthodontic braces have been adapted and modified to make them more convenient for adults. There are now a wide range of fixed and removable orthodontic devices available, depending on the precise classification of the malocclusion.
The most common types of malocclusion are underbite (lower teeth protrude further than upper teeth), overbite (upper teeth protrude further than lower teeth) and overcrowding, where there is insufficient space on the arches to accommodate the full complement of adult teeth. Prior to recommending specific orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will recommend treatment of any pre-existing dental conditions such as gum disease, excess plaque and tooth decay. Orthodontic braces can greatly exacerbate any or all of these conditions.
The following are some of the most popular orthodontic braces:
If you have any questions about orthodontic braces, please contact our office.
Many children are ambivalent about getting braces. On the one hand, they like the idea of perfect teeth, but on the other hand they are nervous about whether the braces will cause pain and discomfort. The good news is that the placement of orthodontic braces is not at all painful, and the end result will be a beautiful straight smile.
Although patients of any age can benefit from orthodontic braces, they tend to work much quicker on pre-teens and teenagers since they are still experiencing jaw growth. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should first see an orthodontist around the age of seven years-old. An orthodontic examination may be beneficial before age seven if facial or oral irregularities are noted.
Poorly aligned teeth often cause problems speaking, biting and chewing. Most irregularities are genetic or occur as a result of developmental issues. Conversely, some irregularities are acquired or greatly exacerbated by certain habits and behaviors such as:
The orthodontist initially conducts a visual examination of the child’s teeth. This will be accompanied by panoramic x-rays, study models (bite impressions) and computer generated images of the head and neck. These preliminary assessments are sometimes known as the “planning phase” because they aid the orthodontist in making a diagnosis and planning the most effective treatment.
In many cases, the orthodontist will recommend “fixed” orthodontic braces for a child. Fixed braces cannot be lost, forgotten or removed at will, which means that treatment is completed more quickly. Removable appliances may also be utilized, which are less intrusive, and are generally used to treat various types of defects. Here is a brief overview of some of the main types of orthodontic appliances used for children:
If you have questions about braces for children, please contact our office.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment often go beyond the obvious physical changes of an improved bite and straighter teeth; it’s also a great way to improve a person’s overall self-image. While having beautiful straight teeth is important, even more important is the need to alleviate any potential health problems associated with the teeth or jaw. Crooked teeth or jaw problems may contribute to improper cleaning of teeth, leading to tooth decay and, possibly, gum disease or total tooth loss. Orthodontic problems that go untreated can lead to chewing and digestion difficulties, speech impairments, and abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. Over time, excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth can affect the jaw joints leading to problems such as headaches or face and neck pain.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children get an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. Though orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, timely treatment ensures maximum dental health.
With all of the recent advancements in orthodontics, wearing braces has never been easier. State-of-the-art appliances and treatments are now available, from traditional metal braces, to clear and tooth colored brackets, to NASA type wires that are heat activated and require fewer adjustments! Some patients may even be candidates for treatment with Invisalign, a revolutionary way to straighten teeth using clear, retainer type aligners that require no braces or wires! If treatment is necessary, we will thoroughly discuss which treatment option is best suited for you!
Orthodontic treatment involves three phases:
1. Planning Phase – Your first couple of visits may include the following:
2. Active Phase – Active treatment involves visiting your orthodontist on a regular basis for adjustments and following specific treatment requirements to ensure successful treatment.
3. Retention Phase – When treatment is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed and a new appliance is made. Usually these retainers are removable and will maintain the changes made to your teeth if worn continuously until the teeth and bone are stabilized in their new positions.
Treatment and retention times vary depending on each individual case. Your orthodontist will ensure you have a successful treatment for a beautiful smile that can last a lifetime. Orthodontics can not only help straighten your teeth, giving you an appealing smile, but can greatly contribute to the health of your jaw, teeth and sometimes your overall health.
Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that is concerned with diagnosing, treating and preventing malocclusions (bad bites) and other irregularities in the jaw region and face. Orthodontists are specially trained to correct these problems and to restore health, functionality and a beautiful aesthetic appearance to the smile. Though orthodontics was originally aimed at treating children and teenagers, almost one third of orthodontic patients are now adults. A person of any age can be successfully treated by an orthodontist.
A malocclusion (improper bite) can affect anyone at any age, and can significantly impact the individual’s clarity of speech, chewing ability and facial symmetry. In addition, a severe malocclusion can also contribute to several serious dental and physical conditions such as digestive difficulties, TMJ, periodontal disease and severe tooth decay. It is important to seek orthodontic treatment early to avoid expensive restorative procedures in the future.
Orthodontics can treat a wide range of dental problems and in most cases, completely realign the teeth. Orthodontists may work alone, or in combination with a maxillofacial surgeon. The typical irregularities requiring orthodontic treatment are as follows:
Orthodontic dentistry offers techniques which will realign the teeth and revitalize the smile. There are several treatments the orthodontist may use, depending on the results of panoramic x-rays, study models (bite impressions) and a thorough visual examination. Fixed dental braces can be used to expediently correct even the most severe case of misalignment. These braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets which are affixed to each tooth and an archwire which is used to gradually move the teeth through the duration of the treatment.
Removable appliances include headgear (which consists of a metal wire device attached to customized braces), retainers, Invisalign® aligners (which are almost invisible to the naked eye), palate expanders and tooth movers. Faceguards are generally used to correct developmental delays in both the upper and lower jaw, and palate expanders are used to combat overcrowding. Whatever the dental irregularity or the age of the individual, orthodontic appliances can properly realign the teeth and create a beautiful smile. If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatments or how they can benefit you, please contact our office.
A malocclusion is an incorrect relationship between the maxilla (upper arch) and the mandible (lower arch), or a general misalignment of the teeth. Malocclusions are so common that most individuals experience one, to some degree. The poor alignment of the teeth is thought to be a result of genetic factors combined with poor oral habits, or other factors in the early years.
Moderate malocclusion commonly requires treatment by an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment of malocclusions and other facial irregularities. The following are three main classifications of malocclusion:
A severe malocclusion may lead to skeletal disharmony of the lower face. In a more extreme case, the orthodontist may work in combination with a maxillofacial dentist to reconstruct the jaw. It is never too late to seek treatment for a malocclusion. Children and adults alike have completed orthodontic realignment procedures and have been delighted with the resulting even, straight smile. Here are some of the main reasons to seek orthodontic treatment for a malocclusion:
A malocclusion is usually treated with dental braces. The orthodontist takes panoramic x-rays, conducts visual examinations and bite impressions of the whole mouth before deciding on the best course of treatment. If a malocclusion is obviously caused by overcrowding, the orthodontist may decide an extraction is the only way to create enough space for the realignment. However, in the case of an underbite, crossbite or overbite, there are several different orthodontic appliances available, such as:
If you have any questions about malocclusions, please contact our office.
Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties. The word “orthodontics” is derived from the Greek words orthos, meaning proper or straight and odons meaning teeth. Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area. Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.
There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech and a more pleasant smile. Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven. The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved.
Orthodontics is a versatile branch of dentistry that can be used alone, or in combination with maxillofacial or cosmetic dentistry.
Here are some of the common conditions treated with orthodontics:
Orthodontics is a technologically advanced field which offers many sophisticated solutions to malocclusions and other cosmetic problems. The orthodontist will generally perform a visual examination, panoramic x-rays and study models (bite impressions) in order to assess the exact nature of the discrepancy. When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available. Here is an overview of some of the most common treatments:
If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontics, please contact your Walnut Creek dentist, Dr. Darvishzadeh’s office.
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of jaw, face and bite irregularities (malocclusions*). Orthodontic treatment is provided by an oral health care provider known as an Orthodontist, who has typically completed two to three years of additional training beyond dental school.
Recent years have brought about many changes within the dental industry, specifically with regards to orthodontic treatment and care. Now more than ever patients are experiencing fewer incidences of cavities and missing teeth due to the heightened awareness of fluoride use and preventative dentistry. This increasing awareness on the health and look of a patient’s smile has fueled the desire for many to seek out orthodontia not only as a medical necessity, but for cosmetic reasons as well.
Whether it’s traditional braces or custom made removable appliances, orthodontics can help you have the healthy, straight, beautiful smile you’ve been waiting for!
When all teeth are missing or in such condition that they need to be replaced, a fixed bridge anchored to dental implants is the best permanent solution. Before dental implants, there were no fixed solution available for people who lost all their teeth. Today, it is possible to replace a full jaw with dental implants and a fixed bridge that results in a permanent, stable and high aesthetic solution.
The treatment procedure and number of visits is largely dependent on the specific conditions. But all in all, 8-10 visits should be enough to have a fixed bridge installed. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated.
The course of treatment described here is one of several options available. Consult your dentist to find out what the best solution is for you, given your specific condition.
An alternative to a fixed bridge is a removable over-denture, which is anchored on implants. The old fashioned denture has many disadvantages and should be avoided if possible.
Removable, implant anchored over-denture: A removable full denture that is connected to either a ball or bar attachment, which in turn is anchored on two or more implants in the front part of the jaw. The implants help keep the denture in place and provide better function and comfort. Cost is usually the reason why this solution is chosen over a fixed bridge although the end result can’t be compared.
Removable full denture: A denture that is loosely placed on top of the gum to cover the lost teeth. This alternative has no real advantages except for its low price and easy installation. The disadvantages are many: discomfort in eating, poor aesthetics, affected speech, and sore gums from denture movement. Moreover, a full denture placed in the upper jaw severely reduces the sense of taste.
When both the tooth and root are damaged, the best permanent replacement is a dental implant in conjunction with a ceramic crown. This solution both looks and functions just like a natural tooth. In this case, a so-called one-piece implant is used. This means that all components are installed as a single unit, resulting in immediately full functioning teeth, shorter treatment time and minimized pain.
This procedure normally includes four visits to the dentist. You should expect to be able to work the day after having the implant installed.
Tooth-supported fixed bridge: A traditional bridge involves grinding down adjacent teeth to support the bridge. It is a stable solution with good aesthetics and function that is fairly easy to install. However, this alternative has two main disadvantages: continuous bone resorption in the edentulous area, and sacrificing healthy teeth on behalf of the bridge.
Removable partial denture: This is not a permanent alternative to a lost tooth. It is unstable and loosely attached, which affects both function and comfort. A removable partial denture is made of plastic a material that can’t create the same aesthetic result as a ceramic crown. The benefits are few but do exist, adjacent teeth aren’t affected. It is easily and quickly installed and relatively cheap.
Resin-bonded bridge: This alternative has some clear advantages: it is quickly installed, functions well and, since it is made of ceramic, it gives a high aesthetic result. Moreover, natural healthy teeth aren’t affected. But it is not very permanent. The resin-bonded bridge will eventually come off probably after just a couple of years and will then have to be reinstalled.
In this case, when replacing three teeth in the far back of the mouth, a fixed bridge anchored to dental implants is the only fixed alternative. Traditional dentures can’t offer the same stability or function. Having dental implants replacing your lost back teeth will give you new, unparalleled strength and stability that allows you to eat what you want. It will also preserve your jawbone and facial appearance.
After the initial examination, you can expect 4-5 additional visits until the final fixed bridge is permanently attached. It is normal to experience some minor bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissue afterwards. Any discomfort is usually treated with an ordinary painkiller. You should expect to be able to work the next day
Removable partial denture : This alternative is often perceived as uncomfortable and a bit complicated to use. Function can’t be compared to that of a bridge. This denture is made of plastic and metal, which affects its look. It is quite expensive to fabricate due to its many parts. However, the installation process is simple, and natural teeth are spared.
A denture is a removable dental appliance replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile. There are two types of dentures – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.
A Complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. During this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made. Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years, but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.
The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture. Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.
It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new dentures. You will be given care instructions for your new dentures. Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections. Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist). While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed. At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile. Reasons for crowns:
A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.
At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate. You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.
It’s great news that the incidence of tooth decay has significantly diminished over the years due to the use of fluorides and an increase in patient awareness. However, teeth are still susceptible to decay, infection, and breakage and sometimes need to be restored back to health. Through improved techniques and modern technology, we are now able to offer more options for restoring a tooth back to its normal shape, appearance and function.
Should your teeth ever require a restorative treatment, you can rest assured knowing we will always discuss with you the available options, and recommend what we believe to be the most comfortable and least invasive treatment. Providing you with excellent care is our number one priority when creating your beautiful smile. Reasons for restorative dentistry:
The term “periodontal”means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition which affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth; also the jawbone itself when in its most advanced stages.
Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If left untreated, it can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.
When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line. When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue. There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue. Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease. Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease:
There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the periodontist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended. Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:
It only takes twenty four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar)! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line. In addition to your periodontal cleaning and evaluation, your appointment will usually include:
Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control!
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment. Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!
If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planning). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.
If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Your dentist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).
Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination. This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up. A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper. Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:
Periodontal disease (also called periodontitis and gum disease) has been linked to respiratory disease through recent research studies. Researchers have concluded that periodontal disease can worsen conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may actually play a causal role in the contraction of pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition which generally begins with a bacterial infection. The bacteria found in plaque begin to colonize in gingival tissue, causing an inflammatory response in which the body destroys both gum and bone tissue. The sufferer may notice the teeth “lengthening” as the gums recede while the disease progresses. If left untreated, erosion of the bone tissue brings about a less stable base for the teeth, meaning loose, shifting or complete tooth loss.
There are a number of different respiratory diseases linked to periodontal disease. Pneumonia, COPD, and bronchitis are among the most common. Generally, bacterial respiratory infections occur due to the inhalation of fine droplets from the mouth into the lungs. COPD is a leading cause of death and should be taken very seriously.
The fact that respiratory disease and periodontal disease are linked may seem far-fetched, but there is plenty of evidence to support it. Here are some of the reasons for the link between periodontal disease and respiratory disease:
When respiratory disease and periodontal disease are both diagnosed in one individual, it is important for the dentist and doctor to function as a team to control both conditions. There are many non-surgical and surgical options available, depending on the specific condition of the teeth, gums and jaw.
The dentist is able to assess the extent of the inflammation and tissue loss and can treat the bacterial infection easily. Scaling procedures cleanse the pockets of debris and root planing smoothes the tooth root to eliminate any remaining bacteria. The dentist generally places antibiotics into the pockets after cleaning to promote good healing and reduce the risk of the infection returning.
Whichever treatment is deemed the most suitable, the benefits of controlling periodontal disease are two-fold. Firstly, any discomfort in the oral region will be reduced and the gums will be much healthier. Secondly, the frequent, unpleasant respiratory infections associated with COPD and other common respiratory problems will reduce in number. If you have questions or concerns about respiratory disease or periodontal disease, please ask your dentist.
Researchers have shown that periodontal disease in expectant mothers actually exposes their unborn child to many different risks; particularly if they also happen to be diabetes sufferers. Periodontal disease generally begins with a bacterial infection in the gum (gingival) tissue, which progressively destroys the tissue and the underlying bone. If left untreated, the bacterial infection causes an inflammatory reaction in the body, which can significantly deepen the gum pockets (space between the teeth and gums) and forces the gum and jawbone to recede. Eventually, the progressive nature of periodontal disease causes the teeth to become loose and unstable, and eventually fall out.
Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes which increase the risk of the expectant mother to develop gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontal disease. These oral problems have been linked in many research studies to preeclampsia, low birth weight of the baby and premature birth. Expectant women should seek immediate treatment for periodontal disease in order to reduce the risk of pre-natal and post-natal complications.
There are many different reasons why periodontal disease may affect the health of the mother and her unborn child:
There are many safe, non surgical treatment options available for pregnant women. It is of paramount importance to halt the progress of periodontal disease in order to increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery. Initially, the dentist will assess the exact condition of the gums and jawbone in order to make a precise diagnosis. Scaling and root planing are two common non-surgical procedures used to rid the tooth-root surfaces of calculus (tartar) and remove the bacterial toxins from the gum pockets.
The advantages to the pregnant woman are plentiful. The risks of pregnancy complications caused by periodontal disease are reduced by as much as 50%, and these treatments will alleviate many unpleasant and harmful effects associated with gingivitis and periodontal infection.
Dentists can provide dental education and recommendations to the pregnant women on effective home care which can reduce risks that may affect her and/or her child’s health. Risks of periodontal disease can be vastly reduced by proper home care, smoking cessation, dietary changes and the ingestion of supplementary vitamins. If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its affect on pregnancy, please ask your dentist.
Periodontal disease is characterized by a progressive loss of supportive gingival tissue in the gums and jawbone. It is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world. Periodontal disease occurs when toxins found in oral plaque inflame and irritate the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, bacteria colonies initially cause the systematic destruction of gum tissue, and then proceed to destroy the underlying bone tissue.
Osteoporosis is a common metabolic bone disease which frequently occurs in postmenopausal women, and occurs less frequently in men. Osteoporosis is characterized by bone fragility, low bone mass and a decrease in bone mineral density. Many studies have explored and identified a connection between periodontal disease and osteoporosis. A study conducted at the University of New York at Buffalo in 1995 concluded that post-menopausal women who suffered from osteoporosis were 86% more likely to also develop periodontal disease.
Though studies are still being conducted in order to further assess the extent of the relationship between osteoporosis and periodontal disease, the researchers have thus far made the following connections:
Osteoporosis and periodontal disease are much less dangerous if they are diagnosed in the early stages. Once a diagnosis has been made, the dentist will generally work with the patient’s doctor to ensure that both diseases are effectively controlled. Here are some methods commonly used to diagnose and treat the diseases:
If you have any questions about periodontal disease and its connection with osteoporosis, please ask your dentist.
Periodontal disease, heart disease and stroke may seem to be unlikely bedfellows, but researchers have found that gum disease sufferers are nearly twice as likely to also suffer from coronary heart disease. In addition, research studies have discovered that oral infection is indeed a risk factor for stroke. People diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were more likely to also be experiencing some degree of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition in which the gingival tissue surrounding the teeth is infected by the colonization of bacteria. Bacteria found in plaque colonize first above, then below the g gumline causing the tissue to pull away from the teeth. If periodontal disease is left untreated, deep pockets form between the gums and the teeth and the tissue of the underlying jawbone is also destroyed. The destruction of bone tissue causes the teeth to shift, wobble or completely detach from the bone.
Coronary heart disease occurs when the walls of the coronary arteries become progressively thicker due to the buildup of fatty proteins. The heart then suffers from a lack of oxygen and must labor significantly harder to pump blood to the rest of the body. Coronary heart disease sufferers sometimes experience blood clots which obstruct normal blood flow and reduce the amount of vital nutrients and oxygen the heart needs to function properly. This phenomenon often leads to heart attacks.
There is little doubt that the presence of periodontal disease can exacerbate existing heart conditions. The periodontist and cardiologist generally work as a team in order to treat individuals experiencing both conditions. There are several theories which may explain the link between heart disease, stroke and periodontal disease, which include the following:
Since periodontal disease appears to be a risk factor for both heart attack and stroke, it is extremely important to seek immediate treatment. Initially, the periodontist will conduct thorough examinations to assess the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. X-rays can be helpful in determining whether bone loss is prevalent in the upper and lower jaw.
The dentist is able to conduct deep cleaning treatments such as scaling and root planing to remove hardened calculus (tartar) deposits from the gum pockets. An antibiotic may be prescribed to ensure that the bacterium is completely destroyed and the periodontal infection does not spread. In most cases, periodontal disease can be prevented with regular cleanings and proper home care. If you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its relation to heart disease and stroke, please ask your dentist.
Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss amongst adults in the developed world. Periodontal disease occurs when the toxins found in plaque begin to irritate or inflame the gingiva (gum tissue). The resulting bacterial infection often known as gingivitis, can eventually lead to the destruction of the gum tissue and underlying bone. If periodontal disease is not treated, it can also lead to loose teeth or tooth loss.
There are many common types of periodontal disease including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases. Each of these types of periodontal disease has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to halt subsequent bone and tissue loss.
It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any signs or symptoms such as pain. This is why regular dental checkups are exceptionally important. Described below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, the advice of a general dentist or periodontist should be sought as soon as possible:
It is of paramount importance to halt the progression of periodontal disease before it causes further damage to the gum tissues and jawbone. The dentist will initially assess the whole mouth in order to ascertain the progress of the disease. When a diagnosis has been made, the dentist may treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics in conjunction with nonsurgical or surgical treatment or both. In the case of moderate periodontal disease, the pockets (under the gum line) of the teeth will be completely cleared of debris using a procedure called scaling and root planing. The pockets may be filled with antibiotics to promote good healing and kill any bacteria that remain. Severe periodontitis can be treated in several different ways, such as:
Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive disease which affects the supporting and surrounding tissue of the gums, and also the underlying jawbone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in loose, unstable teeth, and even tooth loss. Periodontal disease is in fact the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the developed world and should not be taken lightly.
Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft or gingival tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacterium embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The response of the body is to destroy the infected tissue, which is why the gums appear to recede. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and, if no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.
There are many different varieties of periodontal disease, and many ways in which these variations manifest themselves. All require immediate treatment by a periodontist to halt the progression and save the gum tissue and bone. Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease along with the treatments typically performed to correct them:
Gingivitis is the mildest and most common form of periodontitis. It is caused by the toxins in plaque and leads to periodontal disease. People at increased risk of developing gingivitis include pregnant women, women taking birth control pills, people with uncontrolled diabetes, steroid users and people who control seizures and blood pressure using medication.
Treatment: Gingivitis is easily reversible using a solid combination of home care and professional cleaning. The dentist may perform root planing and deep scaling procedures to cleanse the pockets of debris. A combination of antibiotics and medicated mouthwashes may be used to kill any remaining bacteria and promote the good healing of the pockets.
Chronic periodontal disease is the most common form of the disease, and occurs much more frequently in people over 45. Chronic periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation below the gum line and the progressive destruction of the gingival and bone tissue. It may appear that the teeth are gradually growing in length, but in actuality the gums are gradually recessing.
Treatment: Unfortunately unlike gingivitis, chronic periodontal disease cannot be completely cured because the supportive tissue cannot be rebuilt. However, the dentist can halt the progression of the disease using scaling and root planing procedures in combination with antimicrobial treatments. If necessary, the periodontist can perform surgical treatments such as pocket reduction surgery and also tissue grafts to strengthen the bone and improve the aesthetic appearance of the oral cavity.
Aggressive periodontal disease is characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment, the rapid loss of bone tissue and familial aggregation. The disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis but the progression is much faster. Smokers and those with a family history of this disease are at an increased risk of developing aggressive periodontitis.
Treatment: The treatments for aggressive periodontal disease are the same as those for chronic periodontal disease, but aggressive periodontal disease sufferers are far more likely to require a surgical intervention. This form of the disease is harder to halt and treat, but the dentist will perform scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and in some cases laser procedures in an attempt to save valuable tissue and bone.
Periodontal disease can be a symptom of a disease or condition affecting the rest of the body. Depending on the underlying condition, the disease can behave like aggressive periodontal disease, working quickly to destroy tissue. Heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease are the most common co-factors, though there are many others. Even in cases where little plaque coats the teeth, many medical conditions intensify and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease.
Treatment: Initially, the medical condition which caused the onset of periodontal disease must be controlled. The dentist will halt the progression of the disease using the same treatments used for controlling aggressive and chronic periodontal disease.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
This form of the disease rapidly worsens and is more prevalent among people who suffer from HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress or choose to smoke. Tissue death (necrosis) frequently affects the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues and alveolar bone.
Treatment: Necrotizing periodontal disease is extremely rare. Because it may be associated with HIV or another serious medical condition, it is likely the dentist will consult with a physician before commencing treatment. Scaling, root planing, antibiotic pills, medicated mouth wash and fungicidal medicines are generally used to treat this form of the disease. If you have any question or concerns about the different types of periodontal disease and treatments, please ask your dentist.
The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
This type of tooth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays. At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.
If a tooth is damaged or of poor quality, a new ceramic crown is probably the best solution. Installation is fast. The end result is fantastic. The all-ceramic Procera crown has many advantages over traditional crowns. Besides its high esthetic qualities, the function and longevity of the crown is excellent as well. Benefits of a new Procera crown:
In the best case, the new crown is installed in two dentist visits in one week’s time. The inconvenience and after-effects will be minimal. View treatment procedure:
Porcelain fused to metal
Simply put, a new all-ceramic Procera crown is aesthetically superior to any other type of crown. You just can’t get the same finish and natural, living look with a traditional metal core crown. However, the latter is an established and well-known solution. This is probably why it is still commonly used, even though function, installation and price are normally equal to that of a ceramic crown.
Veneers are very thin pieces of durable, tooth shaped porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.
Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile. They can often be alternatives to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many dental conditions. As with most dental restorations, veneers are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile. Reasons for porcelain veneers:
Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process, with little or no anesthesia required during the procedure. The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer. A mold or impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and the dentist.
On the second visit the teeth will be cleansed with special liquids to achieve a durable bond. Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer and a special light beam is used to harden and set the bond. You will receive care instructions for veneers. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.
A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth. There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear. Reasons for a fixed bridge:
Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.
At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time. You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.
A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling. There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile. Reasons for composite fillings:
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling. You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances. Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist – a specialist of the gums and supporting bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear. Reasons for dental implants:
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months. X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
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An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain onlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown. Porcelain onlays are made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.
Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration. As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile. Reasons for onlay restorations:
An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration. While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory.
At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable. You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new onlay.
An inlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain inlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth. A porcelain inlay is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.
Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays. As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile. Reasons for inlay restorations:
An inlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration. While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made by a dental laboratory.
At your second appointment your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable. You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay.
In the past decade there has been a dramatic interest in cosmetic dentistry. We all realize that having a healthy, bright, beautiful smile enhances our appearance and allows us to smile with confidence. Thanks to the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, we are able to improve our teeth and smiles with quick, painless and surprisingly affordable treatments. Cosmetic dental treatments can:
When treating patients, the goal of the dentist is to get a beautiful healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. In achieving this goal, your own personal care plays a big role. Homecare starts with eating a healthy and balanced diet, reducing sugary snacks and using dental aids correctly to help control plaque and bacteria that lead to dental disease.
With an ADA approved soft bristle toothbrush and paste, your teeth should be brushed twice daily, especially when before going to bed at night.
It is recommended that you use an electric toothbrush because of the ease of use and effectiveness of removing plaque. Simple place the bristles on the teeth and allow the brush to do its work.
The best way to keep the area between your teeth and below the gum line clean is by flossing daily. Not only does flossing help clean these areas, but also disrupts plaque colonies building up, which prevents damage to the teeth, bone and gums.
If you have difficulty holding floss, floss holders are recommended.
After brushing, it’s important to rinse your mouth, and after meals if you are unable to brush. It is important to get advice on mouth rinses from dentists and hygienists on their appropriateness for you if they are over-the-counter varieties. And finally, use dental aids along with these guidelines that are recommended by your dental hygienist and dentist. These include:
These all play an important role in good dental home care.
The latest technology used to take dental x-rays is digital radiography (digital x-rays). An electric sensor (instead of an x-ray film) is used in this technique that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This helps the dentist or hygienist detect problems easier because the image can be instantly viewed and enlarged. Radiation is reduced 80-90% by digital x-rays compared to the low exposure of the standard dental x-rays.
These powerful diagnostic tools that will provide valuable and essential information are highly important during a dental examination. Dental abnormalities are detected accurately and safely by dentists and hygienists which creates an accurate treatment plan. Problem areas may go undetected without x-rays. The following may be revealed by dental x-rays:
You will save valuable time and money as well as unnecessary discomfort by detecting and treating dental problems in the early stages.
We all get natural exposure to radiation from our environment. A significantly lower level of radiation is emitted by digital x-rays compared to the standard traditional dental x-rays. The benefit digital x-rays pose is that they are not only better for health and safety of the patient, but they are also more comfortable, reducing the amount of time it takes to be in the dental office. There is also no need to develop x-rays since the digital image is taken electronically, eliminating the disposal of harmful chemicals and waste into the environment.
Dentists will still take necessary precautions to ensure the patient’s exposure to radiation is limited, even though digital x-rays are considered very safe. Therefore, the precaution includes only taking the x-ray when necessary and using lead apron shields to protect the body from harm.
Each individual is different, and depending on their needs, x-rays will be performed accordingly.
The dentist and hygienist will decide n the frequency of an x-ray based on the review of:
For new patients, a full mouth series of x-rays is recommended, which will be sufficient and good for 3-5 years. During check-up or recall visits, Bite-Wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are recommended once or twice a year to detect dental issues.
At your initial dental appointment, a comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist. Your dentist or hygienist will include the following at regular check-up exams:
X-ray examinations (radiographs): These are important to detect tumours, decay, bone loss and cysts. X-rays also aid in determining root positions and tooth positions
Gum Disease Evaluations: Check signs of periodontal disease by checking gums and bone around the teeth
Oral Cancer Screening: Check for any signs of oral cancer by examining the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues and gum
Tooth Decay Examination: Special instruments will be used to check all tooth surfaces for decay
Existing restoration examinations: Current crowns, fillings, etc…
Dental Prophylaxis (Professional dental cleanings) is performed by dental hygienists. This cleaning appointment will include a dental examination and the following:
Calculus (tartar) removal: Calculus is plaque that has been hardened and left of the tooth for quite some time, and eventually attached itself to the tooth surface. Calculus can be removed by special dental instruments and forms above and below the gum line.
Plaque Removal: Plaque is an almost invisible sticky film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing group of food debris, saliva and live bacteria. This bacteria produces toxins and tend to inflame the gums. This is normally the beginning phase of periodontal disease.
Teeth Polishing: This removed stains and plaque that is not otherwise removed by tooth brushing and scaling.
Sealants are very thin plastic coatings that are applied to the surfaces of the molars, premolars and any pits and fissures (deep grooves) of the teeth. More than 75% of dental decay starts with deep grooves within the teeth. Teeth such as these are very difficult to clean and are likely to decay. Sealants will seal deep grooves with the aim of protecting them, which will create a smooth and easy to clean surface. Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need regular dental checkups to check on wear and chipping.
Baby Teeth – If child is cavity prone, or if the teeth have deep grooves
Children and Teenagers – Anytime during the cavity prone years of 6-16 or as soon as the six year molars (first permanent back teeth) appear
Adults – Surfaces of the tooth without decay but have depressions and deep grooves.
The process of applying the sealant only takes a couple of minutes per tooth, and is done so by your dental hygienist or dentist.
Teeth that are due to be sealed are cleaned thoroughly and surrounded by cotton to keep the area dry. To help the sealant bond to the teeth, a special solution is applied to the surface of the enamel. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. To cover the deep grooves and depressions, the sealant material is painted carefully onto the enamel surface. The material will either harden automatically or require a special curing light depending on the sealant used. Good care at home, a balanced diet and regular dental visits will help in the life of your new sealants.
Although having regular check-ups at your local Walnut Creek Dentist and Walnut Creek Hygienist is important to maintain excellent oral hygiene and diagnosing any issues, they are not a 100% fool proof solution. To avoid future dental problems, thorough oral homecare procedures should be performed on a daily basis.
The leading cause of tooth loss in the developed World is Periodontal disease (Also known as gum disease and periodontitis), and more often than not, it could have been avoided. Self-cleaning on a daily basis along with professional cleaning bi-annually can eradicate a high percentage of bacteria and plaque that can cause disease. An additional benefit is that you will pose a lovely sparkling white smile.
The supermarkets now boast a wide variety of oral hygiene aids, and sometimes it becomes difficult to decide what ones provide the most benefit for your dental hygiene. Here are some common oral hygiene aids for home:
Dental Floss: This comes in many varieties and flavors, as is the most common sub-gingival (below the gum) and inter-dental cleaner. It consists of nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons, and used to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Care must be taken when flossing, because rash flossing can cause bleeding and tissue damage. Floss should be used twice daily after brushing.
Inter-Dental Cleaners: Inter-dental brushes in addition to dental floss is recommended by many periodontists and hygienists. They come is various types and sizes, and are gentle on the gums and effective in cleaning the contours of the teeth in between the gums.
Mouth Rinses: Two types of mouth rinses are available: Cosmetic rinses that are sold over the counter and halt bad breath temporarily, and therapeutic rinses which may require prescription, depending on your circumstance. Due to studies showing the ineffectiveness of and minimal results against plaque, most dentists are skeptical at their benefits. However, Therapeutic rinses which are regulated by the FDA contain active ingredients that fight cavities, plaque and bad breath. Rinses should be used after brushing.
Oral Irrigators: These have been made to clear debris from below the gum line, just like Water jets and Waterpiks. Water will be sprayed continually into the pockets of the gum to remove food particles and harmful bacteria. These should not be used in replacement of brushing and flossing, although effective in lowering the risk of gum disease. To remove deeper debris, professional cleaning should be made bi-annually.
Rubber Tip Stimulators: These tools are excellent at removing plaque around the gum line and stimulating the flow of blood to the gums. The stimulator should be traced gently along the inner and outer gum line at least once daily. Plaque on the tip can be rinsed off by water. Store in a cool dry place, and remove the tip once it starts to show signs of wear and tear.
Tongue Cleaners: These have been made to keep the tongue clean by removing build up of fungi, food debris and bacteria on the surface of the tongue. The bacteria and fungi that build up on the tongue have been related to halitosis and other diseases such as stroke, respiratory disease, heart disease and diabetes. Tongue cleaners are shaped in accordance of the contours of the tongue, and can be made out of wood, plastic or metal. Tongue cleaning should be done prior to brushing to avoid ingestion of bacteria and fungi.
Toothbrushes: There are a wide range of great toothbrushes available. Due to the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes over manual toothbrushes, dentists generally recommend the electric option. Food particles and plaque will be easily dislodged around the gums and teeth by the vibratory and rotational motion of the electric toothbrush. Although the same results are obtained by a manual toothbrush, more effort is needed. Every three months, manual toothbrushes should be replaced because the bristles wear out and become ineffective over time. Soft bristle versions are far less damaging to the gum tissue than the medium and hard bristle versions. To allow proper cleaning to all teeth, an appropriate sized ADA approved toothbrush should be chosen. Ideally, teeth should be brushed after each meal, or minimally twice daily.
Please ask your Walnut Creek dentist, Dr. Darvish or dental hygienist if you have questions regarding oral hygiene aids.
The most effective agent available to prevent tooth decay is fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral available in water supplies and food with varying amounts. Many health and professional organizations support the benefit of fluoride, which have been well known for over 50 years.
There are two ways in which fluoride works, which are Topical Fluoride and Systemic Fluoride.
Once teeth have erupted, topical fluoride will strengthen teeth by seeping into the outer surface of the enamel of the teeth, which will make the teeth more resistant to decay. Topical fluoride is gained by fluoride containing products such as:
It is recommended by dentists and hygienists that children have professional application of fluoride twice a year during check-ups.
This not only strengthens teeth that have erupted, but also under the gums. A source of systemic fluoride is within most foods and our supplies of water. A dentist can also prescribe as a supplement in gel or drop form. This form has been recommended for infants and tablet for best suited for children who are into their teen years. At the same time, it’s vital to check up on the amount of fluoride children ingest. Fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) is a condition that can occur if too much fluoride has been comsumed.
Even though we obtain fluoride through food and water, in most cases, this is not enough to prevent tooth decay. Home professional fluoride treatments may be recommended by your dentist of dental hygienist for the list of reasons below:
Tooth decay will not be prevented by fluoride alone! It is a combination of brushing twice daily, flossing daily, reducing sugary snacks, eating a healthy balanced diet and making regular visits to your Walnut Creek dentist, Dr. Darvishzadeh.
A key importance to oral health and hygiene is brushing and flossing. Although professional cleaning provided semi-annually by your Walnut Creek dentist, Dr. Darvishzadeh will remove debris, tartar, and plaque, it is equally valuable maintaining your teeth cleaning regularly at home. To prevent serious disease, improve the health of your mouth and have a sparkling smile, proper brushing and flossing is imperative.
Here are some of the reasons why it is essential to brush and floss properly:
Prevention of tooth decay: One of the leading causes of tooth loss is tooth decay, and often the treatment requires complex dental procedures. When acid within the plaque erodes the natural enamel of the teeth, tooth decay occurs. By following proper hygiene methods at home, this can be prevented.
Prevention of periodontal disease: Periodontal disease is a very serious progressive condition that can lead to jawbone recession, gum recession and tooth loss. Toxins found within the plaque can lead to periodontal disease. This can also lead to serious health problems to other parts of the body. A good way to steer clear of periodontal disease, is to remove tartar and plaque from the surface of the tooth by using a toothbrush and dental floss between the teeth.
Prevention of Halitosis: Old particles of food on or between the teeth can cause halitosis or bad breath. Regular brushing or flossing of the teeth can remove these particles, leaving you with a mouth that is healthy and fresh.
Prevention of staining: Various factors can cause the yellowing or staining of the teeth, such as tea, coffee or smoking. The more regularly brushing and flossing techniques remove the staining from the teeth, the less likely it will be that the stains will become permanent.
How to Brush Properly
Ideally, brushing of the teeth should be done twice a day; in the morning and at night before bed. The best toothbrush will be no more than 3 months old, soft round-end bristles and small in size. To access all parts of the mouth, the head of the brush should be small, and to avoid damage to the gum tissue, the bristles should be soft. Electric toothbrushes have been given a seal of approval by the American Dental Association (ADA), claiming that the oscillating and rotating head of electric toothbrushes are more effective than standard toothbrushes. Follow the steps below for a proper guide to brushing:
A great method to remove plaque from the inter-dental regions (between the teeth) is by flossing. Preventing periodontal disease and limiting the gum pockets depth is achieved by flossing. Flossing should be performed on a daily basis, because brushing alone cannot reach the inter-dental regions. Choose floss that is pleasant to use, the flavor and type is relatively unimportant. Follow the steps below for a proper guide to flossing:
An essential tool is the dental radiograph (X-Ray). They are preventative and diagnostic tools that provide important information that is not visible during a normal dental examination by your dentist.
To complete a thorough and accurate dental treatment plan, dentists and hygienists use this information to detect hidden dental abnormalities. Areas with problems could go unnoticed without the aid of an x-ray.
Dental x-rays can reveal the following:
You can save your teeth, avoid unnecessary pain, time and money by having dental issues detected at an early stage.
Every one of us is exposed to natural radiation in the environment. A dental x-ray will expose you to the same amount of radiation that you come into contact with in a single day.
Only a low level of radiation is exposed by dental x-rays, and they have been considered as safe. Necessary precautions are taken by the dentist to limit the radiation exposure to the patient. The precautions include:
Modern fast film that reduces the exposure time of each x-ray
Lead apron shields that protect your body
Depending on how many times an x-ray should be performed, each individual is different depending on their personal dental health requirements. The dentist and hygienist will decide n the frequency of an x-ray based on the review of:
When embarking on a prevention program, it is a cooperative effort from everyone, including the patient, the Walnut Creek Dentist, Dr. Darvishzadeh and his staff. The aim is to prevent the onset, progress and recurrence of dental conditions and diseases by preserving the natural dentition and supporting structures. With a good balanced diet and oral hygiene, preventing dental disease begins at home. This then continues at the dental surgery by your dentist and hygienist to promote, restore and maintain oral health. Prevention will include:
The secret to a confident, beautiful and healthy smile is prevention of oral disease. Prevention will also avoid expensive and serious dental problems. Your hygienists in Walnut Creek are well trained to serve our patients. Contact us today at Walnut Creek Dental to schedule your free consultation!