Periodontal Scaling | San Antonio Periodontist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Periodontal disease is a scary term. Many people are told each year that they suffer from periodontal disease, but few fully understand what it means or what lies ahead. The root cause of periodontal disease is an infection in the bone below the teeth and gums, which is typically the result of a failure to brush and floss properly. The plaque and tartar that build up on teeth over time contribute significantly to periodontal disease: brushing, flossing, and regularly professional dental cleaning are very likely to prevent you from ever hearing the diagnosis of periodontal disease.

However, for some people, the advise to brush and floss regularly may be too late – if you’ve already been told you suffer from periodontal disease, you may be wondering “what’s next?”

The main contributor to periodontal disease is infection, and the main cause of that infection is the build up of plaque and tartar – that means the first step in treating periodontal disease is getting the plaque and tartar under control with a thorough cleaning. The removal of plaque and tartar with a thorough cleaning helps remove the source of bacteria, but the dentist or periodontist will likely also recommend periodontal scaling.

Periodontal scaling uses tools to scrape and clean the tooth below the gum line. Three types of tools are common – the oldest and simplest is a traditional metal scaler, which uses physical strength and leverage to dislodge plaque and calculus. Electric scalers are similar to physical scalers, but typically vibrate at a very high frequency, which not only helps remove plaque and calculus, but also creates tiny air bubbles that help fight bacteria. Finally, dental lasers can be used to remove plaque, with a side effect that the heat of the laser can help promote tissue healing.

Once the plaque, tartar, and calculus is removed, your dentist or periodontist will likely prescribe antibiotics to help fight the bacterial infection, and send you home to heal in peace and quiet. If you’re able to maintain proper oral hygiene going forward – with regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleaning – it’s likely that you will not need more invasive treatment to address the bone loss of periodontal disease. If you have questions about the process or prognosis, or if you believe you need periodontal treatment, please contact your dentist for an appointment.

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.

Gingivitis | San Antonio Periodontist

skd284147sdcMany people suffer from some form of gum disease, or gingivitis. It’s most common cause is straightforward: poor oral hygiene, and failing to brush and floss properly. Unlike periodontal disease, which impacts the bone within the gums, gingivitis is inflammation within the gum tissue itself. Gingivitis is often manifested by red, swollen gums that bleed easily.

While the cause of gingivitis is often oral hygiene deficiencies, there are many factors that can increase your risk of developing gingivitis, including:
– Smoking and chewing tobacco damage gum tissue and make it more difficult for damaged tissue to heal
– Crooked teeth allow more plaque and tartar to accumulate and are harder to keep clean
– Stress lowers your body’s immune response to the bacteria
– Mouth breathing allows your gums to dry out, causing inflammation and irritation

Besides red, swollen, bleeding gums, one of the other likely signs of gum disease is chronic bad breath. As the infection within the gums spreads, the bacteria releases an odor that is noticeable to others. Regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings can help remove that bacteria and address the bad breath.

Beyond traditional oral hygiene, there are a few other things you can do to treat and help prevent gum disease.
– Green tea contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation
– Hydrogen peroxide used as a mouthwash can kill bacteria in your mouth
– Warm saltwater rinses can both reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, but should not be used every day, as it can damage your teeth
– Baking soda neutralizes acid within your mouth that can contribute to gum disease

If you have, or believe you have, gum disease, be sure to attend your regular dentist appointments. Brush and floss regularly, as most gum disease is treatable with regular professional cleanings, brushing, and flossing. Treating it early, before the bacteria spread to the bone beneath the teeth, greatly improves your chance of recovery without tooth loss or surgery.

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.

What is Gum Disease? | San Antonio Periodontist

skd284147sdcWe have all heard of gum disease but many patients aren’t exactly familiar with what the disease actually consists of. So what is gum disease? Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.

So how does one ‘get’ gum disease? It is typically a symptom of poor dental hygiene. A plaque build up can cause the disease. Making regular visits to your dentist for cleaning all the more valuable, both to your wallet and your oral health.

Gum disease may progress without producing obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition can present some warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease.

The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures.

Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, you may still have some degree of gum disease. In some people, gum disease may affect only certain teeth, such as the molars. Only a dentist or a periodontist can recognize and determine the progression of gum disease(Source: WebMD).

If you notice any of the above symptoms make an appointment with Dr. Weber immediately.

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 atperiodontistsanantonio.com or excellentperiodontist.com.

Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation | San Antonio Periodontist

skd284147sdcGum recession is a significant problem for many patients – not only is it visually unpleasant, but the exposed root is subject to more rapid decay, weakening the tooth and jeopardizing long term tooth health. Traditional gum recession treatment involves using soft tissue from the roof of the mouth and grafting it into the gum line – a procedure that is time intensive and requires significant recovery.

The pinhole gum rejuvenation differs from traditional recession treatment in 3 important ways:

1) There are no grafts, no sutures, and no incision. While the procedure is surgical in nature, it is far less invasive.
2) The recovery time is far faster. In many cases, the patient can eat normally later in the same day, and resume normal activity the following day. Overall discomfort is noticeably less, as there are no uncomfortable sutures to irritate the mouth.
3) The procedure is faster, and that typically means it can be less expensive to perform, and still yields comparable results to the more involved surgical procedure.

While the pinhole gum rejuvenation technique is fairly new, it is a great solution for patients experiencing gum recession regardless of the cause, whether it’s periodontal disease, natural aging, or aggressive brushing. The simple, fast procedure can quickly address the recession, protecting the root of the tooth and giving the patient a nicer smile without an invasive surgery. Schedule an appointment today to see if you’re a candidate.

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

Gum Recession | San Antonio Periodontist

ThinkstockPhotos-185147513One of the most common dental problems is gum recession, yet it’s frequently ignored because it occurs slowly. Gum recession is the process of the gums pulling back from the tooth, exposing more of the tooth material than normal. Many patients first notice tooth sensitivity, or perhaps they notice a single tooth looks longer than the others. While gum recession is often painless, it should not be ignored.

There are a handful of causes of receding gums – the most frequent, by far, is periodontal disease – bacterial infection within the gums that damages tissue and bone. Some people are genetically predisposed to gum disease, and may experience gum recession regardless of how well they brush and floss their teeth.

Other frequent causes include aggressive tooth brushing, tobacco use, grinding your teeth, and crooked teeth / general tooth misalignment , which can cause excess force to be placed on the gums, which eventually causes recession.

Fortunately, receding gums can be treated in a variety of ways. Mild cases of periodontal disease can be treated with deep cleaning, where the plaque and tartar buildup is removed. In some cases, a periodontist may recommend pocket depth reduction, where the gum tissue will be folded back, cleaned, and then reattached to the tooth. In extreme cases, the periodontist may recommend the use of regenerative material (such as grafted tissue or regenerative membranes) to stimulate bone growth and ensure strong gums in the years ahead.

While the causes and solutions vary, the need for prompt dental attention is constant: if you notice gum recession, or even unusually sensitive teeth, contact your dentist today for a thorough exam.

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

Causes & Prevention of Periodontal Disease | San Antonio Periodontist

periodontal gum recessionIf your hands bled when you washed them, you would be concerned. Yet, many people think it’s normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss. In a 1999 study, researchers found that half of Americans over 30 had bleeding gums.

Swollen and bleeding gums are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria. If nothing is done, the infection can spread. It can destroy the structures that support your teeth in your jawbone. Eventually, your teeth can become so loose that they have to be extracted.

For many years scientists have been trying to figure out what causes periodontal disease. It is now well accepted that bacteria in dental plaque are the major villains. Researchers also are learning more about how an infection in your gums can affect your overall health.

In recent years, gum disease has been linked to other health problems. This is a new and exciting area of research. Many questions remain. Studies have produced varying answers about how much of a connection exists between gum disease and other medical problems. More research is needed.

Researchers are studying possible connections between gum disease and:

  • Atherosclerosis and heart disease — Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. It also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
  • Stroke — Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.
  • Premature births — A woman who has gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver her baby too early. The infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.
  • Diabetes — Diabetic patients with periodontal disease may have more trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetic patients with healthy gums.
  • Respiratory disease — Bacteria involved in gum disease may cause lung infections or worsen existing lung conditions. This is particularly important for elderly adults in institutions such as nursing homes. In this group, bacteria from the mouth may reach the lungs and may cause severe pneumonia.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth soon after you have brushed. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that inflame and damage the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, a sign of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease). Damage from periodontal disease also can cause teeth to become loose. This is a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease).

You can prevent periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly. Most people should see the dentist about once every six months. But if you already have gum disease you may need to visit more often.

Daily brushing and flossing, when done correctly, can help to remove most of the plaque from your teeth. Professional cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist will keep plaque under control in places that are harder for a toothbrush or floss to reach.

If oral hygiene slips or you skip dental visits, plaque builds up on the teeth. Eventually, it spreads below the gum line. The bacteria are protected there because your toothbrush can’t reach them. If plaque is not removed, the bacteria will continue to multiply. Your gum inflammation may get worse.

The buildup of plaque below the gum line causes the gums to become inflamed. As the gums swell, they detach from the tooth. This process forms a space, or “pocket,” between the tooth and gum. Bacteria can grow rapidly in the pockets. This encourages further plaque buildup.

If left untreated, periodontal disease may destroy the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone, the structures that support your teeth.

Another reason to remove plaque promptly is that over time it becomes hardened or calcified and turns into calculus. This is commonly called tartar. Even more plaque attaches to calculus because it’s a rougher surface than tooth enamel. It’s also rougher than cementum, a layer that covers the tooth root. Calculus and plaque build up in layers.

Using a tartar-control toothpaste may help slow the build-up of calculus around your teeth. It can’t affect the tartar that already has formed below the gum line, however.

Risks and Prevention

The bacteria in plaque are the main cause of periodontal disease. But several other factors also can contribute. They include other diseases, medicines and oral habits. These factors can increase your risk of gum disease or make it worse once the infection has set in.

  • Genes — Some people are more likely than others to get periodontal disease because of their genes. But your genes do not make gum disease inevitable. Even people who are highly prone to periodontal disease can prevent or control the disease with good oral care.
  • Smoking and tobacco use — Smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease. The longer you smoke, and the more you smoke, the higher the risk. If you have periodontal disease, smoking makes it more severe. Smoking is a major reason that some cases of periodontal disease are resistant to treatment. Smokers tend to collect more tartar on their teeth. They often develop deeper periodontal pockets once they have gum disease. They also are likely to lose more bone as the disease gets worse. Unlike many other factors that affect the health of your gums, the decision to smoke or not is under your control. Quitting smoking can play a major role in bringing periodontal disease under control.
  • Misaligned or crowded teeth, braces or bridgework — Anything that makes it more difficult to brush or floss your teeth is likely to enhance plaque and tartar formation. The more plaque and tartar you have, the greater your chance of developing gum disease. Dentists and periodontists can show you the best ways to clean your teeth, even if they are hard to clean. For example, you can use special tools and ways of threading floss to clean around bridgework or slide under braces. If overcrowded or crooked teeth are a problem, your dentist might recommend orthodontics. This could straighten out your smile and give you a better chance of preventing disease.
  • Grinding, gritting or clenching of teeth — These habits won’t cause periodontal disease. However, they can lead to more severe disease if your gums are already inflamed. These habits exert excess force on the teeth. This pressure appears to speed up the breakdown of the periodontal ligament and bone. In many cases, people can learn to stop this habit simply by recognizing when it is happening and then relaxing. If these efforts don’t work, your dentist or periodontist can create a custom guard appliance to help reduce the pressure of clenching or grinding on the teeth. This device is sometimes called an occlusal guard, night guard, mouth guard or bite guard.
  • Stress — Stress can make periodontal disease worse and harder to treat. Stress weakens your body’s immune system. This makes it harder for your body to fight off infection, including periodontal disease.
  • Fluctuating hormones — Whenever hormone levels go up and down in the body, changes can occur in the mouth. Puberty and pregnancy can temporarily increase the risk and severity of gum disease. So can menopause.
  • Medicines — Several types of medicines can cause dry mouth. Examples include certain drugs for depression and high blood pressure. If you don’t have enough saliva, plaque is more likely to form. This may lead to tooth decay (cavities). Other medicines may cause the gums to enlarge.
  • Diseases — People with certain diseases have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. For example, people with diabetes are more likely to get periodontitis than people without diabetes. Their gum disease is also likely to be more severe. Other diseases that increase periodontal disease risk include inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV infection. Having one of these diseases can make the control of your periodontal disease more difficult. But a good periodontist or dentist who is aware of these problems can give you guidance on how to maintain your periodontal health.
  • Poor nutrition — Nutrition is important for overall good health, including a working immune system and healthy gums and mouth. Severe vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) can cause bleeding gums(Source: Colgate).

 

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

 

What Causes Gum Recession? | Periodontist San Antonio

periodontal smallGum recession is when the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth’s root. When gum recession occurs, “pockets,” or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged, and may ultimately result in tooth loss.

Gum recession is a common dental problem. Most people don’t know they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, or you may notice a tooth looks longer than normal. Typically, a notch can be felt near the gum line.

Gum recession is not something you want to ignore. If you think your gums are receding, make an appointment with your dentist. There are treatments that can repair the gum and prevent further damage.

There are a number of reasons that your gums may be receding. Gum recession typically occurs when gingival tissues creeps down your tooth, exposing the root which makes your tooth looks taller. If your gums have started to recede a thin layer of dentin is exposed, making teeth prone to sensitivity, staining and tooth decay. Some of the most common factors in gum recession include:

Periodontal Disease- More commonly known as gum disease, is bacterial infection that destroys gum tissue and the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession and can also results in tooth loss.

Aggressive Tooth Brushing- Not many know this, but breathing your teeth to hard or the wrong way can also cause gums your to recede. Brushing to aggressively the wrong way can cause the enamel to wear as well as cause the sensitive gum tissues to recede.

Genes- In some cases people whose parents had chronic gum recession can be more susceptible to receding gums. Studies have even shown that 30% of the population may be subject to gum disease, no matter how well you keep care of your teeth.

Tobacco Use- Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause significant gum recession as well as gum disease. Smoking tobacco causes the gum tissues to lose blood supplies, allowing for infection. Chewing tobacco physically irritates the tissue due to the materials, this ongoing irritation can result in gum recession in the area where the tobacco if help or moved around.

Lack of Dental Care- Not keeping up with a normal dental routine can cause several problems. Receding gums can be a result of untreated cavities, postponed cleanings, and persistent gum problems.

Piercings of the Tongue or Lip- Constant irritation of the gums from a lip or tongue piecing can cause for the gum to recede. You may not feel the piercing is uncomfortable, but repetitive rubbing against the soft tissues will result in tissue damage.

Misaligned Teeth- When teeth are not aligned evenly it can cause too much force on your gums and bones. Usually, it’s only the few crooked teeth that are susceptible to gum recession. Crooked teeth can also get more plaque buildup they’re more difficult to clean, which can cause gingivitis.

There are a few ways to approach the treatment of receding gums, surgical and nonsurgical; each one depends on your individual case. Mild gum recession can be treated with a deep cleaning of the affected areas. As for the more extreme cases, gum surgery may be required.

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

What is Periodontal Disease? | Periodontist San Antonio

close up smile red lipstickPeriodontitis, also generally called gum disease or periodontal disease, begins with bacterial growth in your mouth and may end — if not properly treated — with tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth(Source: webmd.com).

Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Changes in the fit of partial dentures

There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease. Things such as:

  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol use
  • Poor oral hygiene

Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, you may still have some degree of gum disease. In some people, gum disease may affect only certain teeth, such as the molars. Only a dentist or a periodontist can recognize and determine the progression of gum disease.

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires a daily hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and after meals, flossing, using mouthwash and maintaining a healthy diet. Also, visit your dentist for routine cleanings and checkups. Prevention is the key to oral success!

Call Andrew Weber, DDS for an appointment today at 210-496-5603. Visit our websites to learn more at www.periodontistsanantonio.com and www.excellentperiodontist.com.

Periodontal Abscesses

494183909For many patients, periodontal disease can worsen over time because in its early stages it is typically painless and hidden. Indeed, early stages of periodontal disease are often completely symptomless. However, as periodontal disease advances, more and more symptoms become apparent as the periodontal tissues become impacted.

One of the possible problems that may arise due to periodontal disease is a periodontal abscess, and unlike early stages of periodontal disease, abscesses make their presence known. A periodontal abscess is a collection of pus within the periodontal tissue. The pus is typically due to severe infections, often originating within a nearby decaying tooth. The pus builds up into a pocket within the gum, causing pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of a periodontal abscess typically include sudden onset pain, which is worse when biting. The pain is typically deep and throbbing, and the affected tooth may be mobile. When the pus pocket forms, there will be pressure and a raised bubble of tissue, and often the pocket will break, the pus will discharge into the mouth, and the patient will notice a bad taste.

An experienced Periodontist should be consulted if a patient is found to have a periodontal abscess. Initial treatment will involve pain and infection management, followed by measures to treat the cause of the infection, and a determination of how much of the tooth can be saved. In some cases, a root canal may be necessary; in others, the tooth may be removed entirely. In any situation where a dental abscess is observed, the patient should seek professional assistance to regain proper dental health and work towards building long term behaviors to maintain healthy gums and teeth for life.

Call Andrew Weber, DDS for an appointment today at 210-496-5603. Visit our websites to learn more at www.periodontistsanantonio.com and www.excellentperiodontist.com.

What is the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease?

477787597Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed. Gingivitis is not the same thing as periodontitis, although sometimes a person may be affected by both. Gum disease is mostly caused by improper oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums.

But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease(Source: medicinenet.com)

While gingivitis is inflammation of the gums around the teeth, periodontal disease occurs when the bone below the gums gets inflamed or infected.

Gingivitis starts as food debris mixes with saliva and bacteria-forming plaque that sticks on the surfaces of teeth. If dental plaque and tartar aren’t removed by brushing with toothpaste and flossing, it can become mineralized and form tartar, or calculus. Tartar is very hard and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning.

Both dental plaque and tartar are filled with harmful bacteria, and if they aren’t removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the underlying bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.

Call Andrew Weber, DDS for an appointment today at 210-496-5603. Visit our websites to learn more at www.periodontistsanantonio.com and www.excellentperiodontist.com.