Posts for: December, 2017
Your mouth is a lot like the Wild West — home to millions of bacteria and other microbes, some of which are definitely not “the good guys.” But your teeth are well-protected from these hostile forces and their acidic waste products: with enamel shielding the visible part of your tooth, your gums protect the parts you can’t see.
As effective as they are, though, your gums aren’t invincible: their greatest threat is periodontal (gum) disease. This bacterial infection arises from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles accumulating on teeth due to inadequate brushing and flossing.
The infected tissues soon become inflamed (red and swollen), a natural defensive response from the immune system. The longer they’re inflamed, however, the more likely they’ll begin detaching from the teeth. The gums may eventually shrink back or recede from the teeth, often causing them to appear “longer” because more of the tooth is now exposed to view.
Gum recession doesn’t bode well for your teeth’s survival: the exposed tooth and underlying bone can become even more susceptible to infection and damage. In the end, you could lose your tooth and portions of the supporting bone.
Treatment depends on the severity of the gum recession. In mild to moderate cases, we may only need to perform the standard gum disease treatment of removing plaque and calculus from all gum and tooth surfaces (including below the gum line) with special instruments. This helps reduce the infection and allow the gums to heal and re-establish attachment with the tooth. In more advanced cases, though, the recession may be so extensive we’ll need to graft donor tissue to the area using one of a variety of surgical techniques.
Although the right treatment plan can help restore your gum health, there’s another approach that’s even better — preventing gum disease in the first place. You can reduce your disease risk by practicing daily brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist regularly or when you see symptoms like gum swelling or bleeding. Taking care of your gums won’t just save your smile — it might also save your teeth.
If you would like more information on diagnosing and treating 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 “Gum Recession.”
Are you wondering what exactly dental veneers can do for the appearance of your smile?
It’s almost the start of the New Year and, as you probably already know, most people start considering their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps this year you’ve decided it’s time to improve the look of your smile. If you’ve dreamed of having a smile that rivals that of Hollywood stars, then our York, PA, dentist Dr. Robert Hoffmaster is here to tell you how veneers could help.
As you might be able to tell, these thin porcelain restorations are designed to look just like natural tooth enamel and when they are adhered to the front surface of one or more teeth they can greatly alter the shape, length, texture and even color of your smile.
You name the cosmetic flaw and chances are good that dental veneers can hide them. From stains and chips to gaps between teeth and minor crowding, there are so many dental issues of differing severities that dental veneers can improve.
Want a whiter smile but have deep stains that don’t seem to respond to professional teeth whitening? Do your front teeth overlap one another? Are there unsightly pits in the enamel of your teeth? If so, you’ve come to the right place because our York, PA, cosmetic dentist can easily mask all of these issues and more with this simple porcelain restoration.
How do I get veneers?
The first thing you will have to do is undergo a thorough examination. During your exam, we will also run X-rays to make sure that your teeth are strong enough and that there is enough healthy enamel to support veneers. If your oral health is great then chances are good that you’ll be a great candidate for veneers.
The next step is to prep your teeth and take impressions of them. Tooth preparation is minimal with this treatment, which is just one of the many reasons so many people turn to veneers. Instead of reshaping or removing a lot of enamel from your teeth we only have to remove trace amounts to make room for your veneers. The process is painless.
Impressions will also be taken so that we can create restorations that offer an exact fit over your teeth. Once your veneers have been created, you’ll come in one last time so that we can bond them to your teeth.
This is your year to finally have the smile you’ve always wanted. Let’s find out if dental veneers are right for you. Call Hoffmaster Dental in York, PA, today to schedule a consultation with your dentist. We want to give you a smile you’ll be happy with for years to come.
We’ve come a long way since the early 1980s when we first identified the HIV virus. Although approximately 35 million people worldwide (including a million Americans) now have the virus, many are living relatively long and normal lives thanks to advanced antiretroviral drugs.
Still, HIV patients must remain vigilant about their health, especially their oral health. In fact, problems with the teeth, gums and other oral structures could be a sign the virus has or is moving into the full disease stage, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). That’s why you or a loved one with the virus should maintain regular dental checkups or see your dentist when you notice any oral abnormalities.
One of the most common conditions among HIV-positive patients is a fungal infection called candidiasis (or “thrush”). It may appear first as deep cracks at the corners of the mouth and then appear on the tongue and roof of the mouth as red lesions. The infection may also cause creamy, white patches that leave a reddened or bleeding surface when wiped.
HIV-positive patients may also suffer from reduced salivary flow. Because saliva helps neutralize excess mouth acid after we eat as well as limit bacterial growth, its absence significantly increases the risk of dental disease. One of the most prominent for HIV-positive patients is periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection normally caused by dental plaque.
While gum disease is prevalent among people in general, one particular form is of grave concern to HIV-positive patients. Necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis (NUP) is characterized by spontaneous gum bleeding, ulcerations and a foul odor. The disease itself can cause loosening and eventually loss of teeth, but it’s also notable as a sign of a patient’s deteriorating immune system. The patient should not only undergo dental treatment (including antibiotics), but also see their primary care physician for updates in treating and managing their overall symptoms.
Above all, HIV-positive patients must be extra diligent about oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing. Your dentist may also recommend other measures like saliva stimulators or chlorhexidine mouthrinses to reduce the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Together, you should be able to reduce the effects of HIV-induced teeth and gum problems for a healthier mouth and better quality of life.
If you would like more information on oral care for HIV-AIDS patients, 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 “HIV-AIDS & Oral Health.”