Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease and is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain free, many patients do not know they have it. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental cleanings), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis – This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
- Periodontitis – If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or need to be removed by a dentist.
Certain Factors Can Increase a Patient’s Risk of Developing Periodontal Disease
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco
- Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Old fillings
While It Is Possible to Have Periodontal Disease and Not Know It, You May Notice Some Symptoms
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Treating Gum Disease4>
Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical non-surgical treatments include at-home periodontal trays and scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). Treatments for advanced gum disease include periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery.
Preventing Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting it. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain, as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to temporomandibular disorder, or TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include
- Pain in the jaw area.
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears.
- Frequent headaches or neck aches.
- Clicking or popping sounds when the jaw moves.
- Swelling on the sides of the face.
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area.
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth.
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth.
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment plan just for you.
There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe or even to prevent it from occurring:
- Relax your face. Remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart.”
- Avoid grinding your teeth.
- Avoid constant gum chewing.
- Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder. Either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear.
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth.
- Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand.
- Practice good posture: Keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared.
Dermal Fillers: Create a Beautiful, Young-looking Frame around Your Smile!
Dermal fillers are an increasingly popular means to help reverse the changes associated with aging. Because the goal is to return the sensitive layer of skin below the epidermis (the dermis) to its original youthful state, dermal fillers can give a more natural appearance than surgical face lifts. Dermal fillers can be used to reduce or eliminate wrinkles, raise scar depressions, enhance lips, and replace soft-tissue volume loss.
As our skin ages, the dermis gradually loses its major constituents: collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Collagen acts as the major support protein for our skin. Elastin allows our skin to stay firm and resist wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid helps to trap water and add volume and shape to our skin.
Dermal fillers are substances that are injected just below the surface of the skin to fill in lines, wrinkles, and scars. Unlike face lifts that stretch the skin, fillers add volume for a more natural, youthful appearance. Fillers can also increase the fullness of the lips and lessen the downward slant of their corners. The most common areas treated are the smile lines around the nose and mouth, fine lines above the mouth, frown lines between the eyes, and acne scars.
Why See a Dentist About Dermal Fillers?
Your dentist has undergone extensive clinical training in the administration of injectable facial rejuvenation treatments and can discuss ALL of your facial/aesthetic concerns, including your smile and teeth.
Are Dermal Fillers Safe?
Dermal fillers approved by the FDA are minimally invasive and generally very safe. Side effects are uncommon, but it is important to contact your doctor to discuss any allergies or interactions.
How Long Do Dermal Fillers Last?
The effect of dermal fillers typically lasts from 6 to 12 months, at which point the procedure needs to be repeated. The procedures take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Caries with CariFree™
Cavities, the demineralized areas or the holes that form in teeth, can result from a bacterial infection called dental caries. This infection takes place when the normal healthy bacteria in the mouth are replaced by acid-producing bacteria. This shift in bacteria is primarily caused by two things:
- A prolonged acidic environment in the mouth from lack of saliva or a sugary/acidic diet that favors acid-producing bacteria.
- Transmission. The caries infection is contagious! You can be infected by someone through exchange of saliva.
CarieFree – Treating the Cause of Cavities
Drilling and filling has been the traditional method of treating cavities, but it does not treat the infection, just the symptoms. Brushing and flossing has been the traditional method of prevention, but it does not change the pH (acidity) of the oral environment or treat the infection once it exists. These acids are responsible for eating away at tooth enamel and causing demineralization and eventual cavities.
Promoting Long-term Health
CarieFree offers products which will kill the caries infection while supporting the regrowth of healthy, non-acid-producing strains of bacteria.
CariFree products are all alkaline in nature and contain no abrasives, so they are safe to use for a lifetime. All products contain therapeutic levels of fluoride and xylitol, which work to fight decay and are pH+ neutralizing to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria.
An Affordable, Effective Non-surgical Treatment for Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is a condition that, if left untreated, can cause serious damage to your teeth, gums, and overall health. Because it develops slowly and painlessly, many people are not even aware they have the condition until it reaches an advanced stage.
A chronic bacterial infection, periodontal disease erodes gum tissue until it can no longer support the teeth and bones in the mouth. In addition to decay and tooth loss, recent studies suggest that the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body and contribute to problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and premature birth.
Periodontal Therapy with Endoscopy (PTE) Can Stop Periodontal Disease in Its Tracks
Fortunately, severe periodontal disease can be stopped and even reversed, with an innovative non-surgical procedure known as PTE – Periodontal Therapy with Endoscopy. Using a perioscope, we illuminate and magnify bacterial deposits below the gum line, then remove them using precision instruments with pinpoint accuracy.
When PTE is used in conjunction with regenerative protein therapy, gums will heal and tissue will begin to grow back. With proper oral hygiene and maintenance, recurring periodontal disease can be permanently prevented.
PTE is a great, non-surgical alternative to traditional surgical treatments because it is
- Effective: The procedure allows us to see and completely remove plaque and calculus from tooth structures, so it can’t do any more damage.
- Fast: Compared to gum surgery, there is very little recovery time associated with PTE, and no direct follow-up appointments are required. Your PTE treatment can be completed in one visit (1 to 4 hours, depending on the severity of your case).
- Comfortable: The tiny, diamond-tipped instruments used in PTE are designed to remove calculus without disturbing soft tissue, so discomfort is minimal.
PTE helps preserves the look of a healthy smile. And with regular preventive care, the risks to your oral and physical health can be eliminated.
If you feel you’re a good candidate for PTE, ask us about it at your next exam. A comprehensive consultation is typically required to decide whether PTE is the right solution for you.
When the jaw is misaligned, both the hard and soft tissues are affected, and many physiological problems can result, such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain, clicking or popping in the jaw, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). In a number of cases, these symptoms can actually be attributed to TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome), also referred to as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). A neuromuscular dentist may be able to help you if you are suffering from any of these symptoms and help you regain ideal dental function.
Benefits of Neuromuscular Dentistry
Neuromuscular dentistry places the jaw into its optimal position, relieving the symptoms associated with TMJ/TMD. While traditional dentistry evaluates primarily the teeth, bones, and gums, neuromuscular dentistry works with the hard and soft tissues, muscles, and nerves.
If the jaw is not properly aligned, neuromuscular dentistry may help to address the precise cause of the problem, whether it’s jaw joint, muscle, or tooth position. Treatment plans developed by neuromuscular dentists are designed to correct bite abnormalities by allowing the jaws to function at their optimal positions for the long term.
- First, your dentist will determine the optimal position of your jaw by measuring the relaxed position of your head and neck muscles, and then reposition your jaw to achieve those exact measurements.
- Malocclusion can be relatively easy to correct. Treatment options include adjusting the bite, orthotics, orthodontics, or restoring the teeth to their correct positions.
- Adjustments to a person’s bite can be accomplished using an oral appliance, such as a splint or mouth guard, until the bite has been permanently stabilized. Orthodontic work may also be required to ensure proper alignment, in addition to dental restorations such as crowns or tooth recontouring.