Posts for: January, 2018
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
Would you like to close the gap in your smile for good? Would you like to enjoy a natural appearance and great oral function? Then, you may be a candidate for dental implants, the best tooth replacements available today. Dr. Edgar Acuña places dental implants in Winter Park area patients who have good oral and systemic health and sufficient jaw bone density to support these amazing restorations. You could have a perfect smile again at Acuña Dentistry.
Dental implants are like real teeth
How is this possible? A single dental implant has three parts:
- A titanium screw or cylinder which the doctor inserts into the jaw during an in-office oral surgery
- A metal alloy post or abutment which extends above the gums
- A realistic porcelain crown which tops off the implant
After Dr. Acuña places the titanium implant, this amazing device and the jaw bone bond together through something known as osseointegration. This process takes several weeks to months, but the wait is well worth it because osseointegration provides solid anchorage for the rest of the tooth replacement.
Additionally, it strengthens the jaw bone each time the patient bites and chews with it, creating superior function and stability. Typically, conventional tooth replacements, such as dentures and bridgework, just rest on the gums. Over time, gum tissue and bone recede, changing facial appearance and the ability to bite, chew, and speak. Patients who have dental implants--either single ones or multiples which support prosthetics such as full dentures--say they cannot tell their implants from their natural teeth.
Caring for dental implants in Winter Park
While the dental implant process takes more time and more money than other tooth replacement options, the investment pays big dividends. Once integrated, implants likely last a lifetime--40 to 50 years, states the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness. Rarely do they fail or need replacement.
Also, dental implants are easy to care for by:
- Brushing twice a day and flossing daily to keep implant sites clean
- Wearing a mouth guard if you grind your teeth
- Drinking plenty of water
- Stopping smoking
This last item is so important. Cigarette and smokeless tobacco contain toxins which degrade the gums and bone around the implant. In fact, the heat in cigarette smoke actually burns soft oral tissues, setting them up for an infection called peri-implantitis. It's similar to advanced gum disease and may necessitate implant removal. So if you smoke, see your physician about a tobacco cessation program.
If you'd like to close your smile gap for good, contact Acuña Dentistry in Winter Park, FL, today to arrange a dental implant consultation. Get your questions answered, and start smiling just like other implant patients. Call (407) 647-6261 to speak with a friendly team member.
Periodontal (gum) disease causes more than simple gum swelling—this bacterial infection can harm and destroy your teeth’s supporting structures, including the bone. Its aggressiveness sometimes requires equally aggressive treatment.
Gum disease usually begins with dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth and gum surfaces. Without proper oral hygiene plaque builds up with large populations of bacteria that can trigger an infection.
The growth of this disease is often “silent,” meaning it may initially show no symptoms. If it does, it will normally be reddened, swollen and/or bleeding gums, and sometimes pain. A loose tooth is often a late sign the disease has severely damaged the gum ligaments and supporting bone, making tooth loss a distinct possibility.
If you’re diagnosed with gum disease, there is one primary treatment strategy—remove all detected plaque and calculus (tartar) from tooth and gum surfaces. This can take several sessions because as the gums begin responding to treatment and are less inflamed, more plaque and calculus may be discovered.
Plaque removal can involve various techniques depending on the depth of the infection within the gums. For surfaces above or just below the gum line, we often use a technique called scaling: manually removing plaque and calculus with specialized instruments called scalers. If the infection has progressed well below the gum line we may also use root planing, a technique for “shaving” plaque from root surfaces.
Once infection reaches these deeper levels it’s often difficult to access. Getting to it may require a surgical procedure known as flap surgery. We make incisions in the gums to form what looks like the flap of an envelope. By retracting this “flap” we can then access the root area of the tooth. After thoroughly cleansing the area of infection, we can do regenerative procedures to regain lost attachment. Then we suture the flap of gum tissue back into place.
Whatever its stage of development, it’s important to begin treatment of gum disease as soon as it’s detected. The earlier we can arrest its spread, the less likely we’ll need to employ these more invasive procedures. If you see any signs of gum disease as mentioned before, contact us as soon as possible for a full examination.
If you would like more information on preventing 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 “Treating Difficult Areas of Periodontal Disease.”