How To Prevent Gum Disease From Eventually Resulting In Tooth Loss!

 Gum Disease

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums, which is often caused by the bacteria in plaque – a sticky, bacteria-filled film that naturally forms on your teeth.

If plaque is not removed regularly by brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash and occasionally getting teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist, it can build up. This build-up can cause the bacteria to affect your gums, teeth and eventually, the gum tissue and even the bones that support the structure of your teeth. The last part is simply the worst because once it happens, your tooth will become loose and in time, will fall out or if not, will have to be removed by a dentist.

Missing teeth are just the worst. Aesthetically, they just don’t look good because an incomplete smile is just, well, incomplete. Health-wise, a missing tooth is just a start and the condition will inevitably grow worse.

As such, when it comes to missing teeth, prevention is always better.

Here are a few tips to help make sure that you prevent yourself from being one of the latest victims of any form of periodontal disease.

  1. Brush and Floss Regularly

You’ve heard of this before and you’ll probably hear of it again, but it’s all for a good reason – brushing and flossing regularly are simply two of the best things you can do to keep your teeth intact.

You can also rinse with mouthwash regularly to help prevent the growth of bacteria and plaque even more.

  1. Avoid Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

Both are usually the result of stress, so you may want to try learning ways to control and cope with stress better, such as relaxation techniques. Also, if you clench or gride your teeth while you sleep, you can try asking your dentist for a bite guard to help protect your teeth overnight.

  1. Live a healthy and positive lifestyle

On the topic of stress, it’s been proven that there’s a correlation between stress levels and the immune system. The more stressed you are, the weaker your immune system will be and a weak immune system won’t be able to fight bacteria effectively, making you more prone to plaque buildup and in turn, gum disease among others.

Living a more positive lifestyle by managing stress, getting the right amount of exercise and sleep, as well as following a healthy diet can slow down the onset of gum disease, or even prevent it.

  1. Stop Smoking

Not that you needed another reason to stop smoking, but in case you don’t know, smoking increases one’s risk for periodontal disease dramatically. Even worse is that smokers’ dental problems are much harder to treat because they respond to treatment differently than non-smokers.

So, put down the cigarette and take up a new hobby, preferably one that doesn’t involve putting harmful substances inside your body.

  1. Start Early

To the parents out there, it’s important that you know that your child’s long-term oral health depends on how and if you start them early.

Emphasizing dental care in kids can go a long way in preventing periodontal disease and making sure that they enjoy their full set of teeth for the rest of their live.

  1. Visit the Dentist Regularly

It’s often recommended to see the dentist twice a year. Though, if you’ve been found to be suffering from gum disease already, you may want to schedule dental appointments much more regularly.

Make sure that at least once a year your dentist gets to do a complete and thorough check-up of your mouth and teeth to check for not just signs of gum disease, but also oral cancer.

Follow these tips to the letter and you’ll find yourself boasting a healthy, complete set of pearly whites throughout your life!

If you have questions or would like to schedule a visit for more information regaruding gum disease, contact Dr. Andrew Weber DDS at 201-496-5603 today.

Gum Grafting vs Pinhole Surgical Technique

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Gum recession usually happens when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth starts to pull back, making the tooth appear longer and in worse cases, showing the root of the teeth. And, once that happens, gaps or so-called “pockets” start to form in between the teeth, which help promote the build-up of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. If left unchecked, both bone and tissue may start to become infected, which will eventually result in the loss of teeth.

Possible health issues aside, the psychological implications of gum recession are daunting. It can cause you to lose self-esteem. It may even make you want to never smile again, as you begin to see your unhealthy, long-toothed smile as ugly and unsightly.

Possible Treatment Options

Fortunately, dental medicine has two ways to solve gum recession – gum grafting and pinhole surgical technique.

  • Gum grafting – Of the two, gum grafting is considered the more traditional option and until quite recently, it was the only option. The process involves taking a smile from the roof of your mouth and stitching it up for healing. The more severe the infection, the more tissues will be removed, hence the more stitching is involved. The removed tissue is then placed in the area where the gums have receded and again, the area is stitched back together.

 

As you can see, the process involves a lot of stitching, which can cause soreness, discomfort and in many cases, scarring. The fear of being stitched so many times over is the likely the reason why those suffering from gum recession often refused to have their receding gums treated.

 

  • Pinhole surgical technique – This groundbreaking patented procedure, on the other hand, does not involve needs nor stitching. Rather, it requires only a single pinhole of entry placed at specifically chosen locations to help fix one’s smile. The procedure involves having the skin under the gums move the gum tissue to slowly fill in the affected areas, restoring the gum’s original look – all without stitches. The success rate is quite high and it’s possible to see results just after a single visit.

Of the two, the pinhole surgical technique is considered a much safer option. The whole procedure consists only of a pinhole and no transfer of tissue is required, drastically cutting down on recovery time. The results are also evident immediately, and any discomfort is usually gone within 24 to 48 hours.

Also, with gum grafting, the scarring is quite obvious and will take quite some time to get used to as it will appear as a thin white line across the gums. In contrast, the only evidence of the pinhole surgery technique is your smile being restored to its natural beauty.

Preventing Gum Recession

Of course, you wouldn’t have to go through all this trouble treating your receding gums if only you had just taken better care of your mouth.

Brushing twice a day and flossing should be a of your daily routine. Also, you should also make it a point to see your dentist or periodontist twice or thrice a year or as recommended by your preferred dental practitioner.

If you’re already suffering from gum recession, however, be sure to talk to your dentist about how best to correct the problem and discuss which of the two procedures are best suited for your particular case.

Possible Treatment Options For Advanced Periodontal Disease

periodontal disease

Periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, is the unfortunate outcome when gum disease is left untreated. It usually results in a very unhealthy gum line and eventually, loss of teeth. Though, as severe as that may sound, modern dental medicine has plenty of successful treatment options for those suffering from advanced periodontal disease.

The transition from gingivitis to periodontitis

Being a progressive disease, periodontitis is quite sneaky in its progression. Gingivitis, the first stage, occurs when you fail to thoroughly remove bacterial plaque from your teeth and is usually characterized by red, swollen and bleeding gums. It is, however, reversible through daily brushing and flossing, as well as frequent professional cleanings from your dental care expert.

The problem here is that most people tend to neglect the early signs of gingivitis, often dismissing it as nothing serious. As a result, gingivitis progresses and transitions into periodontitis, a far more serious dental condition.

In periodontitis, the toxins from the bacterial plaque build up affect your gum tissue and also your teeth’s supporting ligaments and bones. As the infection spreads, your tooth becomes loose and in worse cases, your teeth may have to be removed or treated surgically. The good news is that not all cases of periodontitis progress up to that point.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

The most common treatment for periodontitis is a conservative, nonsurgical approach called scaling and root planing (SRP).

This progress is done by scraping and then removing the plaque, as well as tartar off of your teeth’s surface by scaling. Then, any roughness on the roots are then smoothed away to make sure that bacteria won’t be able to gather so easily again.

SRP usually takes multiple visits and patients do have the option to have a local anesthetic used if they feel any discomfort.

After the treatment, the gums will be left to heal and reattach on their own to the now-healthy and clean surfaces of your teeth. You’ll be then called by a few weeks later by your dental care expert for evaluation and to check if further treatment is necessary.

Surgical Treatment Options

Should you require further treatment, your dental care expert may advise you any one of the following periodontal surgery options.

  • Pocket reduction procedure. If the gum tissue isn’t able to fit properly around the tooth and the deep pocket areas are hard to clean, flap surgery or periodontal pocket reduction may be required. Your dental care expert will have to fold back the gum tissue to remove any infection bacteria, as well as smooth out areas of damaged bone. This will then allow the gum tissue to now firmly reattach itself to the healthy bone.
  • Gum grafts. If the roots have become exposed as a result of gum recession, your dental care expert may take gum tissue from your palate or other sources to cover the roots. By covering the exposed roots, it will be protected from decay and the progress of bone loss, as well as gum recession is put to a halt.

 

  • Regenerative procedures. Surgical procedures, like bone grafting, promote the growth around the area where the bone has been destroyed by periodontal disease. In this type of treatment, bacteria are eliminated and then a synthetic or even natural bone in the affected area is placed. Tissue-stimulating proteins are also added to help promote bone and tissue growth.

Further Care and Maintenance

If you’ve already suffered from advanced periodontal disease, it’s imperative that you start improving your oral hygiene. This includes not only brushing and flossing, but also working together with your dental care expert to make a detailed periodontal treatment plan.

By doing this, as well as making the necessary lifestyle changes and improvements, you can prevent suffering from any further damage resulting from periodontal disease.

 

Receding Gums – What Is It and How Is It Treated?

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Receding gums, or gingival recession, is a dental condition where the roots of the teeth have become exposed. Because of this, the teeth are at a much greater risk of decay and if left untreated, will lead to loss of teeth. Also, exposed roots are more sensitive to hot and cold foods, as well as acids, making them very uncomfortable to live with.

The good thing is that modern dentistry has found ways to not only treat receding gums, but also to prevent and treat it.

The Key to Minimizing Recession

The best way to prevent or, at the very least, minimize recession is to keep your gums as healthy as they can be. This is can done by brushing two to three times every day, flossing at least once and having your teeth professionally cleaned by dentists twice or thrice a year.

However, it’s not always that simple. Genetics plays a huge part in making certain people more susceptible to recession, despite practicing good oral hygiene. The same goes for those with misaligned teeth, or those who grind their teeth often. Also, even brushing too hard near the gum line can cause the gums to recede.

Treating Gum Recession

The first step in treating gum recession is to identify what factors are contributing to it, so that it can be eliminated, or if not possible, minimized.

Crooked teeth, for example, can be straightened via braces, while smokers can try to quit and also, improve on their oral hygiene methods.

Of course, dentists will likely have to intervene so that the appearance of your gums can be restored, or even enhanced, which they do through the following treatments:

  • Deep cleaning. Different from regular cleaning, deep cleaning requires the use of special tools to help dentists remove all the plaque and tartar buildup on the roots. Doing so helps curb the main causes of recession in places where the gums have already received slight damage. This is a procedure also known as root planing.

 

  • Gum grafting. This is a process that involves the use of a patient’s own healthy gum tissue to replace the already missing gum tissue. Though, there are cases where a gum grafting material is used instead. Patients requiring this type of procedure are often referred to periodontists, professionals who are dental specialists in this particular area of dental medicine.

 

  • In extreme cases of gum recession where the bone itself has been destroyed, periodontists can give their patients the option to undergo a surgical procedure where a regenerative material is placed in the area of the lost bone. The said material will help to regenerate both the bone and tissue that were destroyed.

Gum recession doesn’t happen overnight. It will happen over a long period of time, often a few months and sometimes, even many years. This makes it especially hard to notice early on where symptoms such as pain and sensitivity still have not shown. But, this is also why it’s recommended to have your teeth checked often by a dentist, so any signs of gum recession are spotted and treated early on before they can do any extensive amounts of damage.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information regarding gum recession, contact Dr. Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 today or visit our website at www.periodontistsanantonio.com.

Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease | San Antonio Periodontist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669The human mouth is filled plaque – bacteria combines with mucus and food debris to form a sticky, yellow bacteria-rich film that sticks to teeth, gums, and your tongue. Over time, the bacteria from that plaque hardens into tartar, and becomes stuck to teeth and typically must be removed by a dentist, hygienist, or periodontist in a professional setting. The bacteria from that plaque can also spread beneath the gums, where the colonies multiply and transform into periodontal disease, where the bacterial infection can lead to bleeding gums, soreness, tooth loss, and even bone loss.

The primary cause of periodontal disease is insufficient oral hygiene – patients who don’t brush or floss enough, or don’t have professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar. However, periodontal disease has other risk factors, that can make certain patients more prone to periodontal disease, even with oral hygiene habits that would typically be adequate for many patients.

Some of these risk factors include:

– Diabetes. Patients with diabetes tend to be more prone to bacterial infection, including periodontal disease.
– Smoking. Smoking can damage gum tissue, causing the tissue to be less attached to teeth, providing more opportunity for bacteria to build within the gum tissue, leading to an increased risk of periodontal disease.
– Medications. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medication can cause a reduction in saliva (dry mouth), which makes the mouth vulnerable to gum disease.
– Hormonal changes and genetic susceptibility. Certain patients, notably women, will have more sensitive gums than the average population, and will be more prone to periodontal disease as a result.
– Other illnesses and diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, can negatively impact the body’s ability to fight infection, causing patients to be more prone to periodontal disease.

If you are at an increased risk for periodontal disease, it’s even more important that you follow proper oral hygiene procedures, and have regular checkups by a dentist or periodontist who can ensure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information on gum health, call  at Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 or visit our website at periodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.

Systemic Health Risks of Periodontal Disease | San Antonio Periodontist

477787597Many patients consider periodontal disease to be a dental problem – insufficient brushing, flossing, and professional cleaning allows bacterial colonies to become established beneath the gums, causing inflammation, bleeding gums, pain, and eventually tooth loss. However, the risks of periodontal disease extend far beyond simple tooth loss – left untreated, periodontal disease can be a systemic problem, impacting the patient’s entire body.

Periodontal disease and diabetes are often related – it’s long been understood that patients with diabetes are more prone to infection, and therefore it was no surprise that they would be more prone to periodontal disease. However, recent research suggests that the relationship may be bidirectional – patients with periodontal disease may be more likely to have diabetic complications. Severe periodontal disease can cause periods of increased blood sugar; diabetic patients attempting to manage their blood sugar may find it difficult to do so while impacted by periodontal disease.

Other studies have shown connections between periodontal disease and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, the inflammation caused by periodontal disease may contribute to long-term heart problems, and patients already suffering from heart problems may be placed at increased risk if they develop periodontal disease. Notably, patients at risk for conditions like endocarditis may find their dentist or cardiologist recommend antibiotic treatment prior to dental work to ensure that bacteria from beneath the gums does not impact the heart.

Diabetes and heart disease are not the only health risks associated with periodontal disease. Studies suggest that patients with periodontal disease are significantly more likely to develop kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers, and that the bacteria associated with periodontal disease can be aspirated into the lungs and cause pneumonia. Fortunately, periodontal disease can often be prevented with proper oral hygiene (including brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and regular professional cleaning), and treated by periodontists with procedures such as scaling and planing.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information on gum health, call  at Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 or visit our website at periodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.

Gum Recession & The Chao Pinhole Technique | San Antonio Periodontist

skd284147sdcGum recession is the process by which gum tissue begins to pull away from teeth, withdrawing from its normal position and exposing tooth material that wouldn’t ordinarily be exposed in most patients.

In early stages of gum recession, the patient may not even realize that a problem exists. They may notice minor sensitivity to hot or cold along the base of their teeth as the exposed roots make contact with liquids. As the gums recede, pockets are formed between the teeth and the gum line, exposing the tooth root to air and allowing food debris and bacteria to accumulate. As the recession worsens, the pocket grows, increasing the amount of debris trapped and the exposure of the tooth root until the aesthetic of the smile is compromised and the health of the tooth root is jeopardized.

The primary causes of gum recession lies in periodontal disease (bacteria within the gums), aggressive tooth brushing that damages the gum tissue, insufficient oral hygiene, or simple genetic predisposition. The end result, however, is typically the same – as the tooth roots become exposed, they become far more prone to decay, which puts the health of the tooth in jeopardy. Further, the pockets between the teeth and gums grow, becoming visually unappealing.

The Chao Pinhole technique is a viable procedure for treating receding gums for a wide variety of patients, causes, and conditions. Rather than using surgical grafts of tissue from elsewhere in the mouth, the Chao Pinhole technique uses special instruments to adjust the position of the gum tissue from within the gum through a tiny, needle sized hole. Collagen strips are added to stabilize the gum tissue, and the pinhole typically heals within a day, making the procedure minimally invasive and generally low risk compared to the surgical graft options.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information on gum health, call  at Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 or visit our website at periodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.

Periodontal Home Remedies | San Antonio Periodontist

skd284147sdcPeriodontal disease is one of the most common problems Americans face – as many as half of American adults have some level of periodontal disease, and that percentage increases at higher ages. Periodontal disease can take many forms – from mild gingivitis, with symptoms like red inflamed gums, to severe periodontal disease – where pus from infections can push teeth from their socket.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do at home to help prevent – and even treat – periodontal disease. First and foremost – you should brush at least twice a day (ideally after each meal), and floss at least once a day. Periodontal disease typically starts with plaque and tartar on the teeth – brushing and flossing helps remove that plaque before it can harden into tartar.

In addition to brushing and flossing, have regular professional dental cleanings. Most dentists recommend professional cleanings every 6 months, but talk to your dentist about their preferred schedule. Professional cleanings can not only clean plaque better than brushing or flossing, but will remove the hardened, calcified tartar that simple brushing will not be able to remove. Removing the tartar is crucial to separating the bacteria from the surface of the teeth and gums – by physically removing the protective barrier, future brushing will be more likely to prevent periodontal disease from gaining a foothold beneath your gums.

In addition to flossing and professional cleaning, help combat plaque and tartar with supplemental cleaning. For example, use a mouthwash that’s designed to combat plaque, and use dental picks or dental sticks to help remove food material and debris between your teeth. Consider using an electric toothbrush – the vibration of electric toothbrushes may be more effective at displacing plaque and tartar than a manual toothbrush.

Finally, controlling bacteria in the mouth can be done with a few home remedies. Saltwater rinses (2 teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water, swirled in your mouth for up to 60 seconds) and hydrogen peroxide (food grade, equal parts 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water, swirled in your mouth for a few seconds and then spit out) can help combat bacteria in your mouth, and sugar free gum with Xylitol has antibacterial properties as well as encourages the production of saliva to help wash food particles from your mouth.

While there’s no substitute for professional dental visits, taking good care of your mouth at home will help keep periodontal disease at bay. If you see red, inflamed, or bleeding gums, skip the home treatment and visit a professional – it’s best to treat periodontal disease before it becomes a serious problem.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information on gum health, call  at Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 or visit our website at periodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.

Periodontal Abscess | San Antonio Periodontist

periodontal gum recessionHuman mouths are full of bacteria. Those bacterial colonies cause a number of problems, from tooth decay to periodontal disease, and often is a painless, nearly symptom-free state until it advances to a point where potentially permanent damage has been done. One exception to the symptom-free rule is the periodontal abscess.

Periodontal abscesses are collections of pus within the gums resulting from a bacterial infection, typically periodontal disease. These infections are unpleasant – the pus creates pressure, which causes tenderness. Often originating near or beneath a tooth, a periodontal abscess can cause sharp pain upon biting, and the inflammation can make a tooth feel raised or out of place. At some point, the pressure of the pus within the tissue may become too much, and the tissue may tear, releasing the pus into the mouth, causing a bad taste. These symptoms are indication of a problem – fortunately, the problem can often be treated before it causes irreparable damage.

Treating a periodontal abscess is straightforward. The initial treatment will involve treating the infection and discomfort caused by the pus, and determining if the nearby tooth can be salvaged or if it needs to be removed. A patient’s first abscess, treated immediately upon discovery, is likely to save the tooth, presuming the tooth is otherwise healthy. If the tooth is unhealthy, the tooth may be removed, allowing the pus to drain. If the tooth is not being removed, the pus may be drained via manual expression through an existing opening, or surgically with an incision. Once the pus is removed, the infection itself is treated, often with antibiotics such as amoxicillin. The underlying cause of the infection is often treated at a later date – through periodontal techniques such as periodontal scaling – to remove the plaque and tartar that contributes to the bacterial infection.

While periodontal abscesses are certainly not fun, they’re easily treated, and may help patients realize they have serious problems before teeth are irreparably damaged. If you’re feeling sharp pain in your gums, if you’ve seen or felt a bubble of pus beneath the skin, or if you’ve tasted the bitter discharge as a pus pocket burst, don’t procrastinate – talk to a dentist or periodontist quickly, so the infection can be treated and your teeth can be saved.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information on gum health, call  at Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 or visit our website at periodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.

Periodontal Scaling | San Antonio Periodontist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Periodontal disease is a common problem for many Americans. Characterized by bacterial infections below the gum-line, periodontal disease starts as a minor irritation and inflammation, but can grow to be severe, causing bone loss and eventual tooth loss. Mild and moderate forms of periodontal disease are often known as gingivitis, and gingivitis is typically treated by your dentist or periodontist with a combination of proper oral hygiene and a technique known as periodontal scaling.

Periodontal scaling is a common and conservative treatment for mild forms of periodontal disease. Plaque – a sticky, bacteria filled substance – typically sticks to teeth, and when it hardens, becomes tartar. While proper brushing and flossing would help minimize the buildup of plaque and tartar, once it becomes established below the gum-line, the calcified tartar will be difficult for a patient to remove alone.

In periodontal scaling procedures, the periodontist will use tools to work below the gum-line, feeling for plaque and tartar on the teeth below the visible surface. Using a combination of tools, the periodontist will physically remove the calcified tartar from teeth – depending on the amount of tartar, the periodontist may use ultrasonic / vibrating tools, or dull metal instruments that will physically separate the tartar from the teeth. At the same time, they’ll use irrigation to wash the plaque and tartar from below the gums, physically removing the bacteria from the area.

At the end of the procedure, the patient will be left with less bacteria beneath the gums, and a smoother tooth surface that’s better able to resist bacteria/plaque buildup in the future. As the gums recover, they will be less tender, less inflamed, and less likely to harbor bacteria in the future.

Periodontal scaling isn’t necessarily pleasant – it’s a deep cleaning for serious problems, but it’s far less invasive than more serious procedures for advanced periodontal disease. If your dentist or periodontist recommends scaling, it’s likely the case that you have mild to moderate periodontal disease, and they’re recommending a conservative treatment before the condition worsens and risks tooth loss.

If you believe you may be suffering from periodontal disease, if you have sore, red, irritated, or bleeding gums, talk to your dentist about the cause. While routine cleanings can often help remove plaque and tartar, if your dentist sees signs of periodontal disease, they may a treatment such as periodontal scaling to help minimize the risk of tooth loss in the future.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a visit for more information on gum health, call  at Andrew Weber DDS at 210-496-5603 or visit our website at periodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.