South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

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 South Park Periodontics 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 South Park Periodontics Phone Number (704) 366-2774 to learn more about gum health and overall oral care.

Laser Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal (gum) disease is no joke – it goes deeper than gum tissue, potentially causing tooth loss and jawbone deterioration. That’s why we want to make sure you get the care you need to regain natural, healthy gum tissue. We take full advantage of laser technology to give you the best results with the least discomfort. Keep reading to learn more about South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry’s revolutionary treatment methods!

Laser Periodontal TherapyThe goal

The goal of periodontal therapy is to stop gum disease at the root by tackling the source of infection. We target harmful bacteria that forms plaque and eventually calcifies to form tartar, or calculus, preventing it from irritating the gums. Our first priority is restoring your oral health, halting the progression of gum disease, but it is also our goal to reverse prior damage by reattaching infected gum tissue to the teeth.

Conventional treatment

Traditional periodontal therapy – known as “scaling and root planing” or “root debridement” – removes the bacteria that cause gum disease manually. This non-surgical procedure involves the use of hand-held ultrasonic instruments to eliminate plaque buildup that forms inflamed pockets between the teeth and gums.

Laser therapy

Laser periodontal therapy can be used independently or to supplement conventional periodontal treatment. We use the Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) method, which targets only infected gum tissue, for high quality results. Because it doesn’t require a scalpel or sutures, LANAP is less painful and less invasive than root debridement.

After removing the infected pockets, we expertly agitate healthy gum tissue to promote natural re-growth. Our treatment pairs with the body’s ability to regenerate gum tissue – the gums naturally reattach to the teeth and bone, making it harder for gum disease to come back once it’s been treated!

Benefits of laser therapy

  • Minimized post-operative pain, swelling and discomfort
  • Minimal bleeding
  • No incisions
  • No need for stitches
  • Shorter healing time
  • Cost efficient
  • Long-lasting results

Call us at South Park Periodontics Phone Number (704) 366-2774 to make an appointment to discuss your options for treating gum disease! We’re here to restore your oral health for the long run.

Dental Implants: FAQ

We know that people often have questions about implants, so we have put together this page to answer those common questions:

What is a dental implant?

Dental-Implant-FAQImplants are artificial teeth that function exactly like your natural teeth. We take a titanium screw, attach it to your jaw, allow the jaw to grow around the screw, and then fit the new tooth in right where the old one used to be. It will feel exactly like your old tooth used to when you had it. 

How quick is the procedure?

It depends on just how strong and healthy your jaw is. Your jaw may very well be ready to receive the new tooth quickly, but it may also take time to grow around the screw. If your jaw is weak, we can also transplant bone from other parts of your body first, via another procedure called “bone grafting”, to grow a fresh, strong base where the screw can be inserted. If that is the case, the whole process takes more time, but again, it depends on your case.

Does it hurt?

No. Medications and anesthesia are available to reduce or eliminate pain. You shouldn’t feel a thing.

Since it’s an artificial tooth, do I need to care for it as if it were alive?

You should clean and maintain your implant exactly like you do with your living teeth. Though the implant isn’t going to die, it can still allow bacteria to build up, like your other teeth do. Clean all of your teeth with care, and they should all stay healthy.

How long do they last?

If your implant is taken good care of, it should last a long, long time. Perhaps 40 years and sometimes even a lifetime!

What should I eat after the procedure?

Eat soft food. We will help you decide on a diet that works for you depending on the specifics of your case and treatment.

 

Have more questions? Call us! We would be glad to set up an evaluation.

Gum Disease – Locating a Silent Adversary

Gum disease is often a silent disease. It can progress painlessly and in the later stages of the disease, you still may not notice the subtle signs that point to serious problems. That means that gum disease can creep up on you from the shadows. Don’t allow this to happen! A simple check-up in our office can detect signs of gum disease, allowing us to help you develop a plan to stop it in its tracks. Halting the progression of this disease is very important. If it is allowed to progress, the procedures we must use to stop it become more invasive, leading to more expense and pain down the road.

Gum-Disease-SilentGive us a call if you notice any of these gum disease indicators or if it has been a while since you had your gums examined:

Bleeding gums during/after tooth brushing or flossing. Unless you’re brushing extremely hard (bad for your enamel) you shouldn’t be bleeding from your gums. We can help you determine if the blood that you notice in the sink is connected to gum disease.

Red, swollen, or tender gums. Changes in the appearance of gum tissue or sensitive gums are also common symptoms of gum disease. Some patients may even have receding gums.

Persistent bad breath. Your bad breath may not just be because of the coffee you had this morning. Bad flossing habits can lead to plaque collecting in the area between teeth making them especially prone to gum inflammation. Another symptom similar to this is a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away.

Loose or shifting teeth. Some people with periodontal disease may experience movement or migration of their teeth. The rate of movement will depend on the particular type of gum disease you have. This can make major changes to the way your teeth fit together and your smile overall. Help us to catch this symptom early!

Depending on the type of gum disease, some of the available treatment options include:

  • Removal of plaque and calculus through scaling.
  • Surgery in order to stop or minimize the progression.

If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about the disease. Call us today!

What Type of Floss Should I Use?

We know we don’t have to tell you this—but flossing at least once a day is key to healthy gums and teeth! And while studies have shown it doesn’t really matter what kind of floss you use (as long as you do it!), people are more likely to use floss that’s easy for them to use. We’ve broken down the different types of floss, so you can decide which is best for you!

Waxed and Unwaxed

What Type of Floss Should I UseWaxed floss will glide easier, but there isn’t really any other difference between waxed and unwaxed floss. If your teeth are close together, try one of these.

Ultra Floss

Ultra floss is a thicker floss that can be stretched to fit between tight spaces between your teeth; this is a good option if the closeness of your teeth varies.

Tape

Dental tape is a relatively new addition to the floss family. This fatter floss option is made from plastic and has a bit more stretch. If you have wide spaces between your teeth or have sensitive gums, try this ribbon-like floss.

Flossing picks

If you find yourself on the go—or if you hate the feeling of floss wrapped around your fingers—try disposable picks that have handles to make flossing a little easier!

Oral Irrigators

Recent trials are inconclusive on whether using a water flosser is as effective as traditional floss, but studies agree that using an oral irrigator is better than not flossing at all!

So which one is the best? Any one you’ll actually use! Don’t hesitate to ask us for different types of floss at your next cleaning to see what works best for you!

Dental Implants- What to Expect

 

Placing a dental implant is a process that is different for each patient. The healing process and the steps required all depend on what’s going on in your mouth. The only way to know exactly what to expect is to consult with us at our office, but we’d be happy to give you an overview here:

Dental-Implant-FAQCan I go back to work right away?

You may have read that it can take months to completely heal from a dental implant procedure. This is true, but a little misleading. Many patients are able to return to work the next day, but the mouth takes time to truly be ‘good as new’. It all depends on your specific procedure. We recommend that you plan to rest for a day. Keep in mind that your body will heal faster if you avoid exhausting yourself. If you take good care of yourself, you should be back to work very quickly.

How can I care for myself while I heal?

After the surgery, you will need to go easy on your mouth. Just like after any oral surgery, we recommend eating only soft foods for at least two weeks. You may be given antibiotics and instructions to rinse with salt water. Keeping your mouth clean is important to prevent infection. Avoid smoking.

About Bone Grafting

It may be the case that your bone is not strong enough to support the implant. In this case, bone grafting may be necessary. During this routine procedure, we take bone from a stronger part of your jaw or another part of your body, implant it into the jaw and are thus able to encourage your body to begin growing strong, new bone in its place. If you only need a small amount of bone, it may be possible to do the procedure during the same appointment as your implant surgery. However, it may be the case that you need to wait for bone growth to occur prior to us placing the implant. Every case is different.

 

Let us properly inform you on what you personally can expect! Schedule an appointment today!