Dental Tips Blog


Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy Programs

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious condition that can cost you your smile. Unfortunately when most people find out that they have gum disease, they are turned off by their dentist suggesting periodontal procedures to treat the condition when in the past all that was ever needed was a routine cleaning. Unfortunately, periodontal disease does require more than just a preventive cleaning if the active disease is going to be eliminated.

During non-surgical periodontal therapy, the diseased areas of your mouth will be treated with a more extensive cleaning that addresses even the smallest amount of buildup on hard-to-reach root surfaces. Without removing this buildup, the gum tissue continues to detach from the tooth, until so much bone is lost that the tooth falls out. During the deep cleaning, the root surface is cleaned and smoothed so that the area is eliminated of bacteria and new deposits will have a harder time developing on the tooth. The hygienist will typically use a gentle ultrasonic scaler to remove a bulk of the deposits, with some hand scaling taking place as well. It is fairly common for some patients to request local anesthesia for the procedure, but it can also be completed without it, or just with nitrous oxide gas.

Putting perio therapy off will only allow the disease condition to become more extensive. It is easier to treat and reverse the condition in its earlier stages than it is when it is severe. Early perio therapy is the only option for non-surgical treatment that will strengthen your smile and give you the clean environment that you need to improve your gum health.

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental



Depression, Anxiety and Tooth Loss

Posted in Gum Disease

Apparently, there is a connection between depression and other mental illnesses and poor oral health.  However, researchers of a new study out of West Virginia University just aren’t sure what exactly it is.

Dr. Constance Wiener led the study, which examined records from a larger survey of more than 450,000 respondents by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments.  The WVU study focused on 76,292 participants who were eligible based on their age – over 19 years old – and those who experienced tooth loss and those with complete records regarding their mental health.

Results showed 13.4 percent reported anxiety 16.7 percent, depression; and 5.7 percent had lost all their teeth.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research.

Dr. Weiner told the group that the study shows more tooth loss among those who are depressed or anxious than those who aren’t. But, she said, it is not certain if those mental health conditions result from losing one’s teeth or if the depression leads to health loss.

Weiner reportedly said it is possible that people who are depressed or anxious pay less attention to their oral health and lose their teeth due to caries or periodontal disease. She said more research is needed to prove anything conclusively.

Weiner told the group the research does indicate a need to educate people about this possible side effect of mental illness, and to encourage them to seek dental care from a professional.

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental



What is a Tongue Scraper?

Posted in Bad Breath

Tongue scrapers are small, flexible plastic devices that are used to help clean bacteria off of the tongue. The rough surface of the tongue harbors nearly 90% of all odor-causing bacteria in the entire mouth. Toothbrushes remove a small portion of this odorous bacteria, but the tiny papilla on the tongue make it difficult to remove all of it. Instead, the firm plastic scraper is used to remove a visible large amount of bacteria that will have you convinced that you’ll need to use it a few times each day.

To use a tongue scraper, place it at the back of the tongue and use moderate pressure as you pull it forward toward the front of the mouth. After one swipe, have a look to see just how much bacteria has been removed! Rinse the scraper off, and repeat these steps 2 or 3 more times.

Your mouth will feel much fresher after using a tongue scraper. The oral hygiene device can be used for a long period of time as long as it is cleaned regularly. Many different shapes, styles, and textures are available over the counter or at your dental office.

Removing bacteria from the tongue will only do so much. Other odorous bacteria hide under the gumlines, especially in patients with active gum disease. See your hygienist for routine cleanings twice each year. If you have periodontal disease, a deep cleaning may be needed to fully remove all of the plaque biofilm from your mouth. Allergies and sinus drainage can also contribute to bad breath. Ask your dentist or hygienist about fresh breath options that would work best for you.

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental



3 Signs You Might Have Gingivitis

Posted in Periodontics

Gingivitis is a condition that affects 9 out of 10 adults, and the severity of the condition can range from anything from mild gum irritation to severe forms that turn into destructive periodontal disease (which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.) Identifying symptoms of gingivitis early on helps treatment to become more progressive so that the condition can be treated. Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible, so finding vthe signs of the condition are important. Here are 3 signs that you might be experiencing gingivitis:

Gums that bleed when you brush or floss.

Improper brushing or irregular flossing means that bacteria continue to exist in areas just under the gumline, contributing to gingivitis and allowing long-term infection. Removing it on an irregular basis cleans these bacteria away, but also results in bleeding due to the loss of attached tissue. Healthy gum tissue should not ever bleed, so re-vamping your brushing and flossing routines on a daily basis should reverse bleeding within 2 weeks on average. 

Swollen, tender gums.

Inflammation due to infection will cause the gums to appear swollen along the gumlines, or between the teeth. This swollen tissue will also be tender when you brush or floss until the condition is reversed. 

Gums that are red (or any color other than the rest of your oral tissues.)

Typically, infected gum tissue turns bright pink or red, when healthy tissue is coral in color. On occasion, more severe gum infections may cause gums to even be bluish or purple. The only exception is gum tissue that is dark due to skin pigmentation.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Virginia Kirkland, North Point Periodontics



What Can I Do To Prevent Periodontal Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease, which is caused by the growth of bacteria found in plaque. Plaque is a bio-film that is found in the mouth and over time can build up on a person’s teeth and eventually cause inflammation of the gums, as the bio-film grows. The inflammation can cause a number of dental issues, including the gums and bone structure of the person’s jaw to deteriorate, which can lead to the loss of teeth.

The key to preventing periodontal disease is to take steps to eliminate the way that plague builds up in your mouth, before it ever does! This is done in several ways, including regular dental checkups and teeth cleaning every six months. However the most effective way to prevent periodontal disease is proper at home dental care.

Proper dental care includes brushing your teeth and tongue after meals, flossing of the teeth at least once a day and the use of a plaque reducing mouthwash. In addition, you should be aware that certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking and diet, as well as a person’s health, age and genetics can also impact a person’s chances of being susceptible to periodontal disease. A yearly exam by a dentist specializing in periodontal care is also recommended, especially if the patient has a high risk of developing periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease in a vast majority of cases is completely preventable by proper at home dental care and regular dental exams and cleanings!

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental



Periodic Periodontal Exams

Posted in Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, which is a disease that destroys the gums and results in bone loss, affects approximately 80% of all Americans.  While the disease is painless, it impacts a person’s overall health and leads to a number of diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as a number of issues impacting the babes being carried by pregnant women.

In addition, when left untreated, the bone loss can ultimately lead to the loss of teeth.  Periodontal disease is treatable, provided it is detected early and treated effectively.  In addition to being treatable, it is also avoidable, mainly thru good oral hygiene and regular dental exams by both a dentist and a periodontal dentist.   As a result, it is recommended that dental patients, as a part of their semi-annual dental checkup, alternate these checkups with their regular dentist and a qualified periodontal dentist.

During the exam, the doctor will check for signs of gum disease, oral cancer and other oral health problems.  A removal of plaque and calculus will also be performed, as this is often a cause for periodontal disease.  During the initial exam, the doctor will collect data related to bone levels, pocket depths, bleeding points, and overall gum health.  In addition to providing a “base line” for future visits, the initial data will assist the doctor in providing the patient with the appropriate diagnosis, treatment plan and a prognosis.  Available treatments include surgical, non surgical and laser treatment.

The key to preventing periodontal disease is regular visits to a qualified and experienced periodontal dentist, as well as care by a patient’s regular dentist and proper oral hygiene!

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental



When Food Causes Gum Infections

Posted in Gum Disease

You brush and you floss religiously, so why is it that you just had an area of your gums flaring up? It may possibly be due to food wedging itself under your gumlines, causing a tissue reaction. Even if you clean very thoroughly, some types of foods are known to cause this type of problem, especially popcorn! For instance, the thin popcorn hull just slips into your gum pocket while you’re chewing, and even floss can’t grab it as you slide it up and down around your tooth. The result? A localized, swollen area of gum tissue that appears red and irritated. In someone with good hygiene, this is especially noticeable and can cause minor discomfort.

Some areas are prone to food packing because of tooth decay, bone loss, or active periodontal disease. With your dentist or hygienist’s help, you can help manage these areas better and keep gum tissue healthy, and tighter around the tooth. Specialized cleaning devices like water flossers, or proxa-brushes may be able to remove food debris that you can’t get using traditional toothbrushing or flossing. Water flossing is becoming a favorite oral care appliance among oral health providers, as it is capable of easily flushing debris out of areas that aren’t accessible with floss.

When wedged food or bacteria are efficiently removed, your swelling will reduce over the next few days, or up to 2 weeks. Adding essential oils or a warm salt-water rinse to your oral care routine can help with the swelling as well. However, if symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, it’s important that you see your dentist to make sure there are no other types of complications with the tooth.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers



What is Gingivitis?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease also known as periodontal disease. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are inflamed gums and bleeding while brushing. Most people will have a mild form of gingivitis at some point in their lives. While gingivitis is typically mild, it is always a good idea to have it treated because in can progress into serious gum disease.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), gingivitis always starts with a build up of plaque. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth and is made up mostly of bacteria. When plaque is not properly removed by flossing and brushing, its build up will lead to tartar and gingivitis. Because gingivitis affects the gums, it is especially important to have it treated. Healthy gums keep teeth anchored into position securely, and when gums are compromised your entire mouth becomes compromised.

Your dentist can help treat gingivitis through a thorough cleaning to remove all traces of plaque and tartar. While your gums may be sensitive to the cleaning, it is generally not a difficult process. There are also mouthwashes available by prescription from your dentist that have been proven effective to clear away bacteria from the mouth.

While your dentist can help you recover from gingivitis, what you do at home is much more important in keeping gingivitis at bay. By correctly flossing and brushing your teeth you are doing your part to prevent gingivitis. Flossing removes the plaque from your teeth, while brushing brushes away bacteria and polishes your teeth. Together, you and your dentist can become partners to promoting a healthy mouth free of gingivitis.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Virginia Kirkland, North Point Periodontics



Are Your Teeth Going to Last a Lifetime?

Posted in Gum Disease

Have you ever wondered if your teeth were really designed to last a lifetime?  The fast and simple answer is ‘yes, they are’, but lasting a lifetime requires a bit of work on your part.  Read this article to see if you are at risk for losing your teeth early!

One of the most common reasons adults lose teeth is trauma.  Our teeth do a great job of chewing food.  Our teeth are not designed to open packages, tear string, chew on pencils or pens, tearing off price tags on a piece of clothing or even chewing ice.  Use your teeth wisely;  they appreciate it when you do!  If you do experience a traumatic event to your mouth, see your dentist immediately.  Keep the misplaced tooth moist until you can see the dentist, if possible.

Another common risk factor for early tooth loss is gum or periodontal disease.  To prevent gum disease, brush twice a day, floss at least once, eat a well-balanced diet, and quit smoking.  See your dentist and dental hygienist at least twice a year for check-ups and cleanings, and keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy.  A healthy mouth has healthy teeth that last a lifetime.

While this sounds simple, a healthy diet cannot be emphasized enough.  What you feed your body shows up everywhere, including in your mouth.  Avoid sugary drinks, and brush or chew a piece of sugar-free gum after meals.  Drink plenty of water, eat a well-balanced diet, and have good intake of calcium and Vitamin D.  Your plate should be colorful, and you should have servings of fruits and vegetables at each meal.  Eating well keeps all of you healthy, including your teeth!

With just a few simple habits, your teeth can and will last a lifetime.  Start today to make sure that this happens, and do not forget to ask your dentist for additional tips on how to keep your teeth healthy for the rest of your life.

Posted on the behalf of North Point Periodontics


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