Posts for: June, 2015
Periodontal disease is one of the most concerning dental conditions that dentists treat because it can lead to a wide array of dental and general health issues. One common problem that patients with periodontitis have is bone loss—the bone tissue in the patient’s jaw degrades and becomes weakened by bad bacteria. If this process continues, the patient could experience tooth loss. The dentists at Anchorage Dental Arts, in Anchorage, AK, are very familiar with periodontal problems—learn how they treat bone loss caused by this dental disease.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease Periodontal disease (also called periodontitis or gum disease) is caused by bad bacterium that infects the gums. Dentists can often diagnose periodontitis fairly quickly because there are clear signs of this disease.
- Bleeding gums (especially when brushing)
- Receding gums
- Very bad breath that doesn’t go away with brushing
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Pain when chewing
- Loose or moveable teeth
Experts have determined that the bacterium that causes periodontitis is called NI1060.
Bone Loss Due to Periodontitis As periodontitis advances, the disease gets deeper and deeper beneath the gums. The NI1060 bacterium that causes gum disease triggers a normally healthy protein called Nod1 to turn against the body and attack the bone tissue. This is what puts a patient who has periodontal disease at risk of tooth loss.
Treatments for Bone Loss If you have any symptoms of periodontitis, it’s crucial to see your Anchorage AK dentist as soon as possible to start the process of healing your gums. Advances in periodontal dentistry have allowed many patients to regain good dental health and save their teeth—particularly surgery and bone grafting. Bone grafting is a procedure where the material is implanted during periodontal surgery to help the bone tissue regenerate. A thoroughly cleaning of bad bacteria is also a crucial element of this surgery.
Get Treatment Today If you want to save your teeth and restore your gums to good health, call Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC in Anchorage AK at 907-276-1712 today to start the treatment process. The first step is to have a dentist thoroughly evaluate your gum disease to determine the best course of treatment.
Have you noticed a clicking, popping, or grating sound when you open or close your jaw? As many as 36 million U.S. adults experience this phenomenon in one or both of the joints that connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull.
While the sounds may be disconcerting, there’s generally no cause for concern in the absence of other symptoms. They’re most likely caused by a harmless shift in the position of the disk inside each temporomandibular (jaw) joint, and it can diminish or disappear entirely over time. But, if you’re also experiencing persistent discomfort, severe pain, or limited function in your jaw (which can include getting it “stuck” in an opened or closed position), then you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder — part of a complex set of conditions affecting one or both jaw joints, muscles and/or other surrounding tissues. (You may have heard the condition called TMJ, which is actually the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint itself. Health care professionals prefer TMJD or TMD.)
Depending on the severity, TMD can interfere with your ability to speak, chew and even make facial expressions. The cause is unclear, but genes, gender, environment, stress and behavior are believed to play a role. It can also be symptomatic of a larger medical problem, such as fibromyalgia, which can produce pain all over the body.
Management Options for TMD
TMD traditionally was viewed as a bite problem (malocclusion) requiring mechanical correction — e.g., through orthodontic braces or surgery. But the current therapeutic model approaches TMD as an orthopedic problem (joint inflammation, muscle soreness, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk damage) and favors a sequence of conservative, reversible procedures — hot or cold compresses in the jaw area, soft foods, physical therapy/massage, medication, and/or a bite guard to decrease pressure on jaw joints from tooth clenching and grinding — prior to more aggressive, irreversible treatment alternatives.
If you would like more information about TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Seeking Relief from TMD” and “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”
A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”
How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.
The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.
If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.
If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.
If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”