Find out more about how you can treat gum disease without needing surgery.
When you hear the diagnosis “gum disease” you may feel rather concerned or even baffled. How did you get gum disease? Will it ever go away? What are my treatment options? Before you drive yourself mad with questions turn to our Anchorage, AK dentists Dr. Robert Morehead, Dr. Max Swenson and Dr. Frank Cavaness to find out more about nonsurgical ways to treat your condition.
Scaling and Root Planing
This deep cleaning procedure is usually the preferred way to treat gum disease without surgery. Scaling and root planing is great for patients with mild to moderate forms of periodontal disease. While a deep cleaning might make you think about the routine cleanings you get from our Anchorage general dentist, these cleanings are a bit more detailed.
Diseased gums contain infected pockets that will continue to grow if left untreated. As the infected pockets get larger it pulls the gums away from the teeth (this is what causes permanent teeth to become loose). When we perform scaling and root planing, we not only clean away plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth but also the tooth roots. We will also smooth the roots to make it a less hospitable environment for bacteria to form.
For many patients battling gum disease, scaling and root planing is the best course of action. While some patients won’t need further treatment, many people will still require maintenance care to maintain good gum health. If scaling and root planing isn’t enough to tackle your gum disease, only then will we recommend getting surgery.
Don’t let gum disease have the final say when it comes to your oral health. Call Anchorage Dental Arts LLC in Anchorage, AK today to schedule your consultation. Nothing feels or looks better than healthy gums!
Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.
He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”
Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.
There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.
The Science Behind the Magic
There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.
The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.
How’s that for a disappearing act?!
If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
Considering all the intensive conditioning, practice and training they do, most people would expect elite athletes to be… well… healthy. And that’s generally true — except when it comes to their oral health. A major study of Olympic contenders in the 2012 London games showed that the oral health of athletes is far worse than that of the general population.
Or to put it more succinctly: “They have bodies of Adonis and a garbage mouth.”
That comment, from Dr. Paul Piccininni, a practicing dentist and member of the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission, sums up the study’s findings. In terms of the numbers, the report estimates that about one in five athletes fared worse in competition because of poor oral health, and almost half had not seen a dentist in the past year. It also found that 55 percent had cavities, 45 percent suffered from dental erosion (excessive tooth wear), and about 15 percent had moderate to severe periodontal (gum) disease.
Yet, according to Professor Ian Needleman of University College, London, lead author of the study, “Oral health could be an easy win for athletes, as the oral conditions that can affect performance are all easily preventable.”
Many of the factors that had a negative impact on the athletes are the same ones that can degrade your own oral health. A follow-up paper recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine identified several of these issues. One is a poor diet: The consumption of excessive carbohydrates and acidic foods and beverages (including sports drinks) can cause tooth decay and erosion of the protective enamel. Another is dehydration: Not drinking enough water can reduce the flow of healthy saliva, which can add to the damage caused by carbohydrates and acids. The effects of eating disorders (which are more commonly seen in certain sports, such as gymnastics) can also dramatically worsen an individual’s oral health.
Sound familiar? Maybe it’s because this brings up some issues that dentists have been talking about all along. While we don’t mean to nag, this study does point out that even world-class competitors have room for improvement with their oral hygiene. How about you? Whether you’re a triathlete in training, a weekend warrior or an armchair aficionado, good oral health can have a major effect on your well-being.
If you have additional questions about oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. For more information, see the Dear Doctor magazine article “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”
Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.
First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of allÂ Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.
What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.
Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.” Â If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.
Find out how this non-invasive treatment option could improve your gum health.
Has one of our Anchorage dentists Dr. Max Swenson, Dr. Robert Morehead or Dr. G. Frank Cavaness recently told you that you suffer from periodontal disease? While this diagnosis can be downright stressful and maybe even a bit confusing, know that we are here to treat and maintain your gum disease to improve your oral health.
Untreated gum disease can wreak havoc on your smile. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Before gum disease takes over your smile, find out the common conservative, yet effective ways to treat gum disease from your Anchorage dentist.
Scaling and Root Planing
This is often the most popular way to treat mild to moderate forms of gum disease. Simply put, this procedure provides a deep cleaning of the gums and tooth root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the deep infected pockets of the gums and to prevent future buildup of bacteria on the roots of the teeth.
Once scaling and root planing has been performed, many times patients won’t require another treatment to eliminate their gum disease. However, there are some instances in which your Anchorage general dentist may need to perform this deep cleaning more than once.
These custom-fitted trays are created based on impressions taken of your teeth. You’ll put prescription medication into the trays and wear them for several minutes each day. This at-home option allows those suffering from gum disease to reduce the amount of bacteria responsible for gum disease and prevent them from reproducing quickly. These tray systems are often used in conjunction with professional cleanings to effectively treat your gum disease.
You have options when it comes to treating your gum disease. Don’t just turn a blind eye to the problem. Gum disease is progressive and will only get worse. Turn to the gum disease expert at Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC to improve the health of your gums.
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