South Park Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

Mouthwash the Multitasker

If you thought that the only benefit of mouthwash was minty smelling breath, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that there are far more benefits that come along with the use of mouthwash. When mouthwash is used as part of your oral hygiene routine you are able to reap the benefits all day long!

 

Periodontal Disease

  • MouthwashIt might be obvious but, mouthwash reduces your risk of periodontal disease by cutting down on the quality and quantity of dental plaque.

Cavities

  • Mouthwash can also lessen your risk of developing cavities if it has fluoride as an active ingredient. When fluoride is present in your mouthwash, be sure to use it as the final step in your oral care routine. Fluoride needs time to absorb without getting washed away by a drink or water with brushing. Let approximately 30 minutes pass before enjoying food or beverage.

Pregnancy

  • Perhaps the most surprising benefit of mouthwash is that it can aid in preventing pregnant women from going into early labor! Pregnant women who have periodontal disease run the risk of going into early labor because bacteria at the gum line is able to get into her bloodstream. This increases the body’s inflammatory markers which in turn can stimulate contractions.

Providing Comfort

  • Mouthwash can soothe canker sores by detoxing the area. The reduced amount of bacteria at the site results in a soothed feeling.

If you haven’t already adopted mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine, we suggest you do! Not only will your mouth feel and smell fresher, the added benefits are worth the small amount of effort. Ask us what kind we recommend for you at your next visit.

 

Laser Periodontal Treatment

 

What does it treat?

Laser treatment is an option available for treating gum disease. It is important to catch gum disease early before it creates havoc in your mouth. The best treatment is an ounce of prevention. Taking good care of your teeth, avoiding smoking, and regular check ups are a great place to start.

 

What is different about laser treatment?Laser-Perio

Normally gum and periodontal disease are treated with scaling and root planing. This is the process of removing plaque and tarter from teeth and roots to allow gums to grow back healthy.

 

With laser treatment, a precise laser removes infected tissue near the base of the tooth, where the periodontist might not otherwise be able to reach non-surgically. The periodontist can then remove plaque and smooth out the root to avoid future infection.

 

While laser treatment is still being observed and tested, it has shown to be efficient and effective, given that it is so precise and less invasive than surgery. It also does not require anesthetic. Laser periodontal treatment is proving to be a great option for people who need quick, effective gum treatment.

 

Do you have questions about laser periodontal treatment? Call our office today! We would be glad to talk you through it!

Order of Your Oral Hygiene Routine

You’re awake, congratulations! Now, you are standing in front of the bathroom mirror, you’ve been wanting to upgrade your oral hygiene routine but you’ve heard a lot of conflicting information. There are so many tools and what order should you do them in? We’re here to help! If you’ve ever wondered, “What comes first brushing or flossing?” Read on!

  • OralHygieneYou’ve probably heard us stress the importance of flossing at your appointments. Flossing is an incredibly important part of your mouth’s health. Flossing your teeth should take place one time per day. We recommend at night so that food does not rest in between your teeth while you sleep. Flossing before brushing is a lot like dusting before you vacuum. The particles will loosen with flossing and the brushing will sweep them away.
  • You may have guessed it: the second part of your oral hygiene regimen should be a 2-minute brushing. Dentists look at your mouth in terms of quadrants. Therefore, your mouth consists on four separate quadrants and to ensure proper use of your two minute brushing session, we recommend spending 30 seconds in each quadrant. This brushing routine should take place two times a day!
  • Brushing your teeth alone will not eliminate the majority of the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Cleaning your tongue is an easy addition to your routine and will benefit your mouth greatly. Take your toothbrush, apply a very small amount of toothpaste and brush your tongue in gentle, circular motions. You may opt for a tongue scraper instead, they can be purchased at most grocery stores.
  • The finishing touch for optimum oral health is mouthwash. Sip a small amount and swish for 30-40 seconds. Spit it out and you are done!

It may seem like a lengthy routine but it actually only totals about 4 minutes. If you value your oral health and want to spend less time in a dental chair, it will be worth your time, we promise!

6 Reasons for Considering Dental Implants

6 Reasons-for-Considering-Dental-ImplantsLoss of permanent teeth is more common than you’d think. The average adult age 20-34 is missing 1 permanent tooth, the average adult age 35-49 is missing 3 permanent teeth, and the average adult over the age of 50 is missing 6 permanent teeth! There are a variety of different tooth replacement options, but we believe that dental implants offer the most success, with the best aesthetics and functionality. Take a look at just a few of the many benefits of dental implants!

  1. Long-lasting. Dental implants are designed to be the permanent solution for missing teeth. Dental bridges last 5-10 years and crowns last 10-15 years, but dental implants can last 20 years, even a lifetime with proper dental care, making them a cost-efficient alternative to other modes of tooth replacement.
  2. No cavities. Because they are made of titanium, dental implants are not subject to decay. They also don’t put stress on other teeth, which helps avoid tooth erosion.
  3. Like natural teeth. Dental implants are natural-looking and fully functional. Unlike dentures, which are bulky and removable, cause sores and require the application of adhesive, dental implants are comfortable, permanent fixtures that don’t interfere with eating or speaking. And, because pressure is applied to the jaw bone when you bite down on dental implants, chewing with dental implants doesn’t feel any different from chewing with your natural teeth.
  4. Preserve jaw bone. Without a tooth to support, the jaw bone begins to atrophy, and this bone degradation makes the replacement of missing teeth nearly impossible without the help of jaw regenerative procedures such as bone grafting.
  5. Appearance. Your teeth play an important role in supporting your facial structure. Missing teeth can cause your features to sag and your face to lose shape, which tends to have an aging effect. Replacing missing teeth works wonders for improving your appearance and helping you look younger.
  6. Tooth stability. When you’re missing a tooth, your surrounding teeth are no longer stabilized and they start to shift out of position. Dental implants secure teeth in place and, as a result, prevent severe problems such as periodontal disease and further tooth loss.

Schedule a consultation with us if you’re ready to transform your smile!

Understanding Bone Grafting

Understanding-Bone-GraftingTooth loss as a result of periodontal (gum) disease, facial trauma or tooth extractions can cause the jaw bone to atrophy, as it no longer has something to support. As if bone deterioration isn’t bad enough, tooth replacement requires a solid foundation, meaning that patients with jawbone degeneration aren’t candidates for dental implants. Fortunately, our state-of-the-art restorative techniques allow us to augment areas with inadequate bone structure so we can restore your smile! We have the answers to all your bone grafting questions below, so keep reading!

What is bone grafting?
During a bone grafting procedure, the jawbone is restored so it can support a dental implant. An incision is made in the gum and the bone graft material is transplanted into the jawbone. There are four types of bone grafts:

  1. Autogenous: bone grafts are harvested from other parts of your body, such as the chin or hip. They are the most effective because using your own living cells promotes natural bone growth.
  2. Allogenic: bone grafts are donor grafts collected from tissue banks.
  3. Xenogenic: bone grafts are harvested from other species, typically bovine donors.
  4. Synthetic: bone grafts are artificial bone material composed of calcium phosphates

When is bone grafting necessary?
Bone grafting procedures are routinely performed in preparation for dental implants. This is due to the fact that the implants are unable to anchor themselves into a stable foundation unless the jawbone is adequate.

How long after bone grafting can I get dental implants?
Minor bone grafting can be done the same day as dental implants, but major bone grafting requires downtime between procedures. Dental implants will be placed 4-9 months after your bone grafting procedure once the major bone grafts have had time to fuse with your natural jawbone. We will decide the best time to place your dental implants based on your recovery.

Give us a call if you think bone grafting can get you on track to replace missing teeth for natural, lasting, functional results!

8 Tips for Preventing Oral Cancer

Preventing-Oral-CancerWhile we cannot all necessarily prevent cancer from happening, with most cancers, including oral, head and neck cancers, there are things that you can do (or not do!) to reduce your risk.

  1. Quit Smoking: After five years of quitting smoking, your risk of oral cancer is cut down to just half of that of a smoker.
  2. Limit Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use is the second largest risk factor for oral cancer. Limit drinks to one per day for women and two per day for men.
  3. HPV Vaccine: HPV is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer (the back of the mouth and throat). HPV is also responsible for a small number of oral cavity cancers (the mouth).
  4. Self-Exams: Be an advocate for your own health by regularly examining your mouth with a mirror and flashlight. Don’t forget to look under the tongue! Watch for unusual bumps, patches, different coloring, and report any to us that don’t heal within 14 days. Feel your lips, cheeks, throat and neck for unusual bumps and masses. There are a number of online guides for performing a thorough at home oral cancer self-exam.
  5. Have Regular Checkups: Oral health professionals such as dentists and oral surgeons are the second line of defense (after you) in terms of screening for oral cancers. Be sure to ask us any questions that come up during your exam.
  6. Eat Well: A healthy diet includes plentiful vegetables and fruits, is low in sugar and saturated fats, and includes lean sources of protein and whole grains. Incorporate new foods into your diet slowly for long lasting results.
  7. Exercise: Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day or more!
  8. Get Adequate Sleep and Minimize Stress: A lack of sleep and stress both contribute to inflammation which has long been recognized as a player in the cancer game.

Dental Implants: What’s All The Hype?

Dental Implants What's all the HypeThese days, we all know someone who has a dental implant, and you have probably heard us champion these teeth substitutes, as they become more and more the common cure for missing teeth!

But why?

We think that’s a valid question and it deserves a good answer!

Bone Loss
Any oral health professional will tell you that living with a missing tooth can have negative consequences that go well below the gum line. The problem doesn’t stop at the single tooth that goes missing. The jawbone also suffers. When there is not a tooth set in the jawbone offering regular stimulation, you lose bone mass in that area. That loss of jawbone contributes to a decline in facial aesthetics as the jaw shrinks away. The loss of jawbone also means that when you do have an implant later in life, you will likely require extensive bone grafting prior to the implant procedure. Traditional tooth “replacement” methods such as dentures and bridges do not solve the problem of bone loss.

In contrast, dental implants eliminate these problems and encourage a healthy, strong and adequate jaw by integrating with it (also known as: osseointegration). The implant then provides regular stimulation (as you chew food), and keeps the jawbone in proper health.

Lifestyle and Diet
Most people with dentures report that in addition to living in fear of their dentures falling out in social settings, they also must live with a restricted diet, unable to enjoy the foods that they previously ate. This same restricted diet goes for those with wobbly bridges and crowns as well. More often than not, those restricted foods are some of the healthiest ones, such as crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Dental implants look and feel nearly identical to your regular teeth, and are second only to your natural teeth when it comes to form and function. Dental implants allow you to eat and live freely with a healthy diet and without fear. In addition to that, dental implants have a 98% success rate and can often last you for a lifetime!

Don’t Forget Your Gums

Don't Forget about GumsWhen most people think about oral health, they consider their teeth and a sparkling smile. But your gums are an important part of your dental as well as overall health. Proper care of your gum tissue can prevent disease and help you keep those pearly whites for years to come! Here’s some information on proper care of gum tissue and facts about gum disease we think you should know.

Causes of Gum Disease

Just like your skin covers and protects your muscles and bones, your gums protect your teeth and the structures that hold them in place. When food particles and bacteria create plaque build up and invade the small areas between your teeth and gums, infections can form. Left untreated, these infections can penetrate gum tissue causing periodontal disease and may be painful, difficult to treat, and put your teeth at risk.

Three Stages of Gum Disease

-Gingivitis: this gum inflammation is the earliest form of gum disease. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this stage, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place are not yet affected.

-Periodontitis: at this stage, the supporting bone and fiber supporting your teeth are damaged. You may have pockets forming below the gum line that traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and home care can prevent further damage.

-Advanced Periodontitis – the final stage of gum disease. The fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which causes teeth to shift or even loosen. This can affect your bite and if aggressive treatment can’t save them, you may lose teeth.

Treatment

Early stages of gum disease can be reversed with proper brushing and cleaning to help keep plaque from building up. A professional cleaning is the only way to remove hardened plaque, or tarter, on teeth and below the gum line. If your condition is severe, root planing, a procedure to smooth irregularities on the roots of your teeth to reduce the potential for plaque build-up, may be performed.

Know the Early Signs of Gum Disease

Because advanced gum disease is irreversible, prevention is key. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact us for an evaluation:

-Red, puffy or swollen gums

-Bleeding while brushing or flossing

-Receding gums that make your teeth look longer

-Gums that have separated or pulled away from teeth, creating a pocket

-Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

-Pus coming from gums

-Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

Although gum disease is most common in adults, it can occur at any age. It is important to teach your children that good brushing and flossing routines will protect their teeth as well as their gums. Gums are a barrier that help prevent inflammation that may also be a factor in other diseases. In fact, gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and pre-mature births. So don’t forget your gums when taking care of your health!

Dieting and Dental Health

Dieting-and-Dental-HealthGiving up processed foods and artificial sugars is a great way to improve our overall health, but sometimes our “healthy” habits can actually deprive us of vital nutrients. Internal health is an important factor when it comes to oral hygiene, and cutting meat, dairy products or sugars out of your diet could lead to serious conditions such as gum disease if you don’t find the right substitutes. Keep reading for a list of nutrients you might be missing and some tips for balancing your diet with your oral health!

Zinc in saliva and enamel prevents the buildup of bacteria, which eventually turns to tartar or calculus. It is essential to preventing cavities and even gum disease (periodontitis). If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, zinc deficiency may be to blame, as it causes a buildup of bacteria in the mouth.

  • Zinc-rich foods: Seafood, lean meats, dairy products
  • Alternatives: chickpeas, cashews, almonds

Gum swelling or bleeding may be a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, which is an essential part of the connective tissue in the gums surrounding the teeth.

  • Vitamin C-rich foods: citrus fruits
  • Alternatives: Bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes

A lack of calcium weakens the gums, and people who don’t eat animal and dairy products may be increasing their risk of periodontal disease. Calcium prevents bone degeneration, keeping the jaw strong and healthy so bacteria doesn’t destroy the bone that supports the teeth.

  • Calcium-rich foods: dairy products
  • Alternatives: chickpeas, broccoli, collard greens, oranges

Vitamin D works with calcium to promote strong bones. It increases calcium absorption, preventing tooth loss and jaw bone degeneration.

  • Vitamin D-rich foods: Fatty fish, egg yolk
  • Alternatives: mushrooms, tofu, dairy alternatives (i.e. soy milk)

If you notice a burning sensation in your mouth, specifically on your tongue, or frequent canker sores you may be suffering from iron deficiency. Iron deficiency leads to reduced red blood cells and decreased oxygen flow.

  • Iron-rich foods: Red meat, poultry, seafood
  • Alternatives: dried fruits, beans, dark leafy greens

Finding a solution to your symptoms may be as simple as picking up a few extra ingredients at your local supermarket! Adding some of these nutrient rich foods to your diet can help you get back on track with your oral health and wow us next time you visit our office!

 

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

It’s estimated that 125 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you are one of them, you may be considering dental implants for tooth replacement. We think it’s important for you to know what factors make a person a good candidate for such a procedure. Here are a few things to consider.

Most People Are Good Candidates. Dental implants can replace one, several, or all of your teeth. They can be used in place of bridges or dentures. Good candidates have healthy gums and are old enough so that their jawbone has stopped growing. You should also have enough bone to support and anchor the implants. Even if you have lost bone in your jaw, however, you may still be a good candidate for implants. In fact, dental implants mayAre You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants be recommended to prevent further bone loss. In these situations, bone can actually be rebuilt with grafting procedures as part of the implant process.

Evaluation. Successful implantation starts with a thorough evaluation of your jaw, teeth, mouth and overall health. You will receive a mouth X-ray and possibly a Computed Tomography (CT) scan. This will help us identify areas of bone loss and carefully see the shape of your sinuses and nerve location to make accurate assessments for your treatment. We will also do a thorough medical evaluation, as your overall health and history plays a big role in how well your implant will heal and fuse to the bone.

People At Risk of Poor Outcomes. Uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled gum disease are all risk factors that can adversely affect your outcome. You may still be a good candidate with one of these diseases, but we’ll want to thoroughly assess your situation and work with you and your doctor to increase your overall health and functioning. People who take certain medications, such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system may not be suitable candidates, either. And people with certain habits, such as people who severely grind or clench their teeth may put too much pressure on the implants, causing long term damage.

Overall, dental implants have a very high rate of success and patients tell us how happy they are with the outcome. If you are considering implants, we can complete a careful examination to determine what options are best suited for you. Call us today to make that appointment!

 

 

 

 

 

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