Posts for: February, 2016
If you ever get out of the habit of daily brushing and flossing, you’re setting yourself up for dental disease. Neglecting oral hygiene allows bacterial plaque to build up on tooth surfaces, which can give rise to aggressive gum infections known collectively as periodontal (gum) disease.
Gum disease may first manifest itself as gingivitis, an inflammation of the outer gum tissues around teeth. Resuming hygiene habits could help reduce the infection if it’s detected early enough. If the infection has spread deeper below the gum line, though, brushing and flossing won’t be able to reach and remove the offending plaque — you’ll need our help with that.
The objective of any such treatment is the same as your daily brushing and flossing — remove plaque as well as hardened deposits (calculus) that cause disease. The most basic technique is called scaling in which we use specialized hand instruments (scalers) or ultrasonic equipment to loosen and remove the plaque and calculus from all tooth and gum surfaces.
For deeper plaque, we may need to use a technique called root planing. As its name implies, we use equipment similar to scalers to shave or “plane” plaque, calculus, bacteria or other toxins from the roots that have become ingrained in their surfaces.
These procedures are often carried out with local anesthesia to ensure patient comfort and allow us to be as meticulous as possible with plaque and calculus removal. It’s imperative that we remove as much plaque and calculus as possible, and which often involves more than one session. This is because as the gum tissues become less inflamed it allows us to access more plaque-infested areas during subsequent sessions.
Hopefully, these techniques will arrest the infection and restore good health to gum tissues. It’s then important for you to recommit and follow through on a renewed daily hygiene regimen to reduce the chances of re-infection that could lead to more serious problems and potential tooth loss.
If you would like more information on treating periodontal (gum) disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Planing.”
Putting off seeing the dentist is a common practice for many people. However, did you know that regular dental examinations and cleanings are crucial to your oral health? From catching conditions early to preventing them from happening in the first place, there are many great reasons to visit your dentist twice a year.
The main reason dentists recommend visits twice a year is to prevent conditions like cavities and gum disease from moving forward from their early stages. Other reasons to see your dentist include:
- Plaque and tartar buildup: Plaque is a layer of bacteria which forms on your teeth. If allowed to remain on the teeth, the soft plaque hardens into decay-causing tartar. While plaque can be removed from your teeth by flossing regularly, tartar cannot. Even those most devoted to flossing might sometimes miss a hard-to-reach spot, allowing tartar buildup. Your dentist removes this buildup during a dental cleaning.
- Clean teeth: Not only are clean and healthy teeth important for your oral and general health, they keep your confidence high and instances of tooth pain low. A dental cleaning prevents tooth decay and gum disease by removing decay-causing factors from the equation completely. The polishing portion of your cleaning keeps your teeth shiny and beautiful.
- Gum disease prevention: Gum diseases like gingivitis leads to a more severe and harder-to-treat condition called periodontitis. If left untreated, gingivitis and periodontitis lead to severe decay and even tooth loss. These conditions also cause painful, bleeding and swollen gums which are very uncomfortable for the sufferer. While flossing regularly prevents these diseases from forming, untreated gum disease requires a periodontal treatment like root planing and scaling to reverse it.
- Cavity and decay treatment: Small cavities are much easier to treat than cavities which have progressed into the later stages of decay. Visiting your dentist regularly is the difference between a simple dental filling and the need for more aggressive treatment, like root canal therapy or even tooth extraction.
If you have broken or cracked teeth, tooth pain, bleeding or swollen gums or a swollen pocket on your gum tissue, you should see your dentist immediately for treatment. For more information on dental conditions and scheduling your appointment, please contact Dr. Michael Bowser, DMD at Bowser Dental Arts in York, PA. Call 717-846-9428 to speak with an associate about your next appointment today!
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”