South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

High Quality H2O

Whether you’re drinking from a glass that is half-empty or half-full, drinking a glass of water is always beneficial to your health. Human beings are 60% water; so staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for the hydration of tissue, the distribution of nutrients, and the removal of waste from your body. Not only is drinking water beneficial to your overall health, but your dental health as well!

Here are four reasons why water is the best beverage for your teeth:

1. Water keeps your mouth clean.

High Quality H2OWater cleans your mouth with every sip! As your drink, water washes away leftover food and any residual cavity-causing bacteria. Water also reduces the pH of your mouth by diluting the acids produced by bacteria that live in your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, but drinking water throughout the day will help keep your smile healthy and cavity-free.

2. Water strengthens your teeth.

Drinking water with fluoride, aka “nature’s cavity fighter”, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight cavities. While almost all water contains naturally-occurring fluoride, the community water systems that serve most American households adjust the level, usually by adding fluoride to achieve the right amount to reduce tooth decay. Health organizations, like the American Dental Association (ADA), say this is one of the major reasons most people no longer need the dentures that were so common before widespread fluoridation, and studies have shown that it is why dental costs are lower and oral health problems have declined in fluoridated communities!

3. Drinking water fights dry mouth.

Saliva is the human mouth’s first defense against cavities. Saliva helps wash away residual food and coats your teeth in calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, you run the risk for tooth decay. When your mouth is feeling dry, drink a glass of water to quench your thirst, and strengthen your teeth!

4. Water is free of calories.

Drinking sugary beverages can create a cavity-prone environment within your mouth, and can lead to weight gain. Studies show that drinking water, eight 8-ounce glasses or 8×8, can help you lose weight.

If you have questions regarding water consumption or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to call South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at SouthPark Periodontics & Implant Dentistry Phone Number 704-366-2774 today!

Lasers for Healthy Gums!

The first laser was developed in 1960, based on concepts developed by Albert Einstein many decades before. Shortly after the arrival of the first laser, dental researchers began to investigate how lasers may be used to aid dentists in their work. By the mid 1990s, the first dental lasers were released.

Lasers in PeriodonticsLasers for Healthy Gums

For periodontal care, lasers are proving themselves to be less invasive tools for accomplishing (in most cases) the same mission: the cleaning of tissue and roots under the gums to avoid or treat gum disease. Traditionally, (and in some cases we still perform this method), we used hand tools to scrape calculus and plaque out of the gumline and around the tooth root. The advent of lasers, however, has allowed us to treat many of our patients in a less invasive way than what we have done in the past.

Lasers have several benefits over traditional root scaling and other periodontal surgeries:

  • Generally speaking, anesthesia isn’t required as the procedure is less painful, particularly when excising diseased gum tissue.
  • Healing time is usually shorter because of the less-invasive nature of the process.
  • Pain and bleeding is also less when lasers are used.
  • And, finally, lasers are very good at targeting diseased areas with precision, and therefore saving adjacent tissue from trauma.

Cost Considerations

The cost of the treatment is totally dependent on the extent of your gum therapy needs. However, it is worth pointing out that sometimes the laser procedures are less expensive than traditional periodontal surgery. This is due to the fact that fewer visits are required.

In short, if you’ve been told that you need to have extensive periodontal treatment and long-term care, you may benefit by starting with our laser process, right here in our office. Give us a call to find out if you are a good candidate for laser periodontal therapy!

 

Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

Dental implants are a safe and effective replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. The implant is placed in your jawbone and integrates with your natural bone. This implant then forms a stable, sturdy base for your new teeth.

What They Are
LearnTheLingoImplants Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.

Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.

Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.

Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.

Where They Go

Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.

Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.

What Happens To Them
Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium/zirconium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are usually made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.

Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today at South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry to discuss your options with an implant specialist!

Going Green: Dark Green Vegetables and Dental Health

Everyone is going green, but did you know that “going green” can also benefit your oral health? Your pH levels inside your body can greatly affect your overall health. Too much acid in your system can make various parts of your body inflamed. This may include your gum tissues. Gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are conditions of infection and inflammation. Aiming to consume a balanced diet with the goal of achieving an acidic-alkaline balance (balanced pH level) has been shown to reduce symptoms of many health conditions. One of the fastest and easiest ways to saturate your body with these nutrients is by consuming green fruits and vegetables. Some great green additions to your diet are spinach and green smoothies:

Go GreenSpinach & Dark Green Vegetables

Eating dark green veggies, like spinach, can have some great health benefits deeming it a “super food” among nutrition experts! The nutrients found in spinach are a powerful source of cancer-fighting properties, producing a substance that causes prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, and another compound that can prevent the formation of ovarian cancer cells. Spinach promotes cardiovascular health via properties that can lower blood pressure and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Evidence shows that juicing dark green vegetables like spinach can improve your dental health, preventing gum disease and cavities!

Green Smoothies

Green smoothie can keep your gums, jawbone, and teeth healthier and stronger! The best part about drinking green smoothies is the taste. If you can get over the color, you will find how delicious a green smoothie can be. Spinach, cucumber, kale, lettuce, and zucchini can be blended with fruit to create a low-calorie, nutrient dense meal replacement that boosts your oral health. A great addition to your green smoothie is yogurt. Yogurt has been shown to strengthen teeth and prevent bad breath, as well as add a creamy consistency to your nutrient-dense smoothie.

If you have questions regarding your dental health, give South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry a call at SouthPark Periodontics & Implant Dentistry Phone Number 704-366-2774 today!

10 Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease can be serious business if left untreated. The good news is, with regular maintenance and good oral hygiene, you can avoid and even reverse the early stages of gum disease. We’ve put together some tips for you that will help you prevent gum disease.

Maintaining a Clean Mouth

10 Tips Prevent Gum DiseaseBrushing your gums, as well as your teeth after every meal is the best way to take care of your teeth. Remove those food particles without being too hard on your enamel. We can show you the best method at your next appointment.

Dental floss can reach those spaces in your mouth that a tooth brush just can’t get to. Get in between your teeth with floss before you brush, so that any food you pull out can be picked up by your tooth brush.

While you shouldn’t rely on mouthwash alone, certain mouthwash products are great for killing bacteria. Consult our office for suggestions as some products are better than others.

Practice Good Overall Health

Keeping a balanced diet keeps your whole body healthy. Staying away from eating too much sugar is a great place to start. Making sure you get all the nutrients you need helps your body fight bacteria, including those that can cause gum disease.

If you are a smoker, quit! Smoking is not just awful for your lungs, smoking leads to tooth decay, tooth loss and poor gum health. Smoking leads to the creation of pockets in your gums, where bacteria collect and form tartar. It also degrades the tissues that hold your teeth in place.

Talk to Your Doctor about your Medications

It may be worth talking with your doctor about the side effects of any medication you may be on. Some drugs lead to bacteria build up in the mouth, or affect the flow of saliva that keeps that bacteria from settling.

Hormones can also play a role in oral health. If you are experiencing hormonal changes, you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, and promoting the development of gum disease.

Stress

Stress affects your body’s ability to fight infection. Evaluating the stress in your life and what you can do to manage it is a great idea to promote your general health.

Appointments

Regular oral health visits are the best way to pin down gum disease. The professionals at our office are trained to notice the kinds of things you may not see in your mouth.

You may not have considered that your crooked teeth put you at risk for gum disease. Having straight teeth means eliminating certain pockets where gum disease can develop. Braces are a great way to do this.

Contact our office today to set up your next appointment!

Rubber Tipping: A Guide to Gum Health

Brushing and flossing are important aspects of our daily dental routine, but they’re only two parts of the oral health equation. Good oral hygiene goes beyond a simple teeth cleaning. While gum health is often overlooked, a quick trip to the drugstore is all it takes to find the right tools for keeping gums healthy! If you want to avoid the risk of gum disease, it’s time to introduce rubber tipping to your routine.

Rubber Tipping A Guide to Gum HealthWhat is rubber tipping?

Rubber tipping is a technique that strengthens the gums with the use of a handheld dental instrument called a rubber tip gum stimulator. You simply apply pressure to the gums to help prevent gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

How do you use a gum stimulator?

  1. Brush and floss your teeth first to remove as much food debris as possible.
  2. Run the rubber tip of the gum stimulator under hot water to soften it for gentler use.
  3. Gently massage the gum line with the rubber tip. You can also run the stimulator between your teeth to remove any remaining food debris.

Why should I use a gum stimulator?

Gum stimulators are time-efficient, multipurpose instruments that improve overall oral health. They primarily stimulate the gum tissue to strengthen it against infection, but they also help with cavity prevention by assisting food and plaque removal.

How does rubber tipping affect jawbone health?

Jawbone loss is a serious concern that is linked to poor gum tissue health. Tooth loss is a primary symptom of gum disease, and it has a devastating impact on the jaw. With missing teeth, the jawbone no longer has something to support, and it begins to deteriorate from underuse. Jawbone loss drastically worsens jaw function and facial structure overtime.

Because gum stimulators are crucial in preventing gum disease, they also eliminate the need for procedures such as bone grafting, which promotes bone regeneration after the jaw has atrophied.

If you have any concerns about your gum health, consider adding rubber tipping to your dental care repertoire!

Periodontal Disease and Pulpitis: The Link

Gum disease and pulpal infections are both unpleasant on their own, but did you know that they are linked? Many people don’t realize that one condition often leads to another, and that makes oral care even more important! We have all sorts of information about the connection between gum disease and pulpitis, so read on!

Periodontal Disease and Pulpitis The LinkWhat is periodontal disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is the infection of the gum tissue, and is a more severe version of gingivitis. Plaque buildup hardens and forms tartar, or calculus, a substance that irritates the gums and can only be removed with the assistance of dental instruments. As gum disease progresses, tooth loss and jawbone deterioration is common.

What is pulpitis?

Pulpitis is the infection of the tooth’s pulp, which is made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. Pulpal infection is typically caused by cavities that penetrate the enamel. It can also be caused by trauma that cuts off blood flow to the pulp tissue.

How are periodontal disease and pulpitis related?

The apical foramen is the opening at the apex, or tip, of the tooth root. Nerves and blood vessels pass through this hole and connect the pulp inside the tooth to the gum tissue. Because the pulp and the gum are so closely linked, periodontal disease can progress into pulpitis and vice versa.

What are my treatment options?

Periodontal Treatment

Scaling and root planing, also known as root debridement therapy, is a traditional gum disease treatment. Root debridement uses ultrasonic dental instruments to remove the tartar that causes gum disease. Unlike standard dental cleanings, which only remove surface plaque, root debridement therapy targets the tartar below the gum line in the pockets that form between the teeth and gums.

Laser periodontal therapy is a more advanced gum disease treatment. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that targets only the diseased gum and promotes natural healing, agitating the gum tissue so it reattaches itself to the jawbone. It provides faster results with less downtime, bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.

Endodontic Treatment

Root canal therapy (RCT) is the best treatment for pulpitis. It removes the diseased pulp from the root canals, and then uses a crown to stabilize the tooth. Extraction is an option for diseased teeth that root canal therapy can’t save.

One thing leads to another: a single dental issue could compromise your overall oral health. That’s why South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry offers state-of-the-art treatment options to keep all aspects of your oral hygiene on track. Give us a call at SouthPark Periodontics & Implant Dentistry Phone Number 704-366-2774 to find out more about our treatment methods!

On the Lookout for Oral Cancer

Oral cancer screenings are performed regularly at dental exams, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention to your dental hygiene between appointments. Taking matters into your own hands is the best way to maintain your oral health. Not sure how to screen for oral cancer? We’ll show you!

On the Lookout for Oral CancerWhat is oral pathology?
This branch of dentistry involves the evaluation and treatment of diseases of the mouth. The most dangerous, but not always the most obvious, of these diseases is oral cancer.

What should I look for?
Keep an eye out for these oral cancer symptoms during your self-screenings:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Lumps on the tongue or lining of the mouth
  • Mouth sores that won’t heal
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Chronic throat soreness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Mouth numbness

How do I perform an oral cancer self-exam?

  1. When performing your oral cancer self-screening, be sure to check all areas of the mouth, including the roof, floor, tongue, lips, cheeks and the back of your throat.
  2. Examine your face in the mirror for abnormal asymmetry and irregularities.
  3. Feel your neck and the back of your head with your fingers to look for any bumps or changes in texture.
  4. Examine your throat by placing your fingers around your thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) and swallowing.

How often should I perform a self-exam?
Self-exams should be performed at least once a month. Changes to your oral health can occur rapidly, so it’s important to stay on top of things. Treatment is most effective when symptoms are detected early.

Get Checked, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Being that we are entering April, now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 48,330 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and an estimated 9,570 people will die from oral cancer in 2016. In the spirit of April’s Oral Cancer Awareness, we urge you to receive regular oral cancer examinations. Remember—early detection saves lives!

Get CheckedAre you at risk?
The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.

Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
• Smoking and using tobacco products have been a known long-term historic causes of oral cancer.
• Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
• The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms?
The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:
• Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
• The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
• Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas.
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
• A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth.
• Dramatic weight loss.
• Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
• Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.

Don’t wait any longer. In the spirit of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, be proactive about your oral health, and get checked today!

5 Facts About Gums

It’s trivia time! We’ve got some lesser-known facts about gums and oral care for you. Test your knowledge of gum health with these five facts!

5 Facts About GumsFact #1
Gum disease is caused by excessive plaque formation. We all develop plaque buildup, even with good brushing and flossing habits. This is why regular dental checkups are so important! Dental cleanings every six months clear away plaque that unavoidably starts to build up under the gum line and harden to form tartar, or calculus.
Fact #2
Gums should not bleed when you brush or floss. Many people think this is normal, but it is actually a sign of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Although you may not want to floss if your gums are bleeding, flossing is actually the best way to treat the cause of infection and stop the progression of gum disease.
Fact #3
Excessive brushing can cause your gums to recede. For the most effective tooth brushing that won’t damage gum tissue or enamel, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and move the bristles in gentle circular motions. Avoid brushing teeth with abrasive substances.
Fact #4
Gum disease affects more than just your gums. Infected gum tissue can cause more serious problems such as tooth loss and jawbone deterioration. As bacterial growth destroys gum tissue, the gums begin to recede. This causes teeth to lose their anchor in the gum and fall out. If missing teeth are not replaced, the jawbone atrophies from underuse because it doesn’t have teeth to support.
Fact #5
Bad breath isn’t just caused by the food you eat – it can also be an indicator of your gum health. Food residue between teeth leads to bacterial growth, which in turn can cause bad breath. In the early stages of gum disease, bacteria begin to grow between the teeth and the gums, forming infected pockets that contribute to your breath.

Keep these facts in mind when you perform your daily dental care routine – they’re game changers! Give us a call at SouthPark Periodontics & Implant Dentistry Phone Number 704-366-2774 to learn more about gum health and overall oral care.