Posts for: April, 2016
Signs and symptoms you may have gum disease
Do your gums bleed when you brush? Are you afraid you might have gum disease? You’re not alone because many people in the United States have some form of gum disease. Your dentists at Endodontics & Periodontics Associates of Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay, Florida want you to know all about how to prevent and treat gum disease.
Gum disease is actually a mild form of periodontal disease. Gum disease, also called gingivitis, is characterized by bleeding and swollen gums. You can get gum disease by not adequately brushing and flossing to remove plaque on the surface of your teeth. Plaque contains all kinds of bacteria and if it is allowed to remain undisturbed, it will produce toxins that cause gum inflammation and disease.
Your dentists at Endodontics & Periodontics Associates of Tampa Bay want you to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of gum disease, such as:
- Swollen or red gums
- Painful or bleeding gums
- Pain when you are chewing
- Chronic bad breath
- Receding gums
If gum disease goes untreated, and you don’t brush and floss as you should, plaque and its toxins continue to damage your mouth by destroying the bone supporting your teeth. Once you start to lose bone around your teeth, you now have periodontal disease. You can lose your teeth from periodontal disease!
Periodontal disease shows all the same signs as gum disease, plus a few more. Your dentists at Endodontics & Periodontics Associates of Tampa Bay want you to watch out for:
- Teeth that are becoming loose
- Teeth that are sensitive
- Teeth that seem to be moving or shifting out of position
If you think you might have gum disease, the first thing you should do is make sure you are adequately removing the plaque from your teeth by brushing after meals and flossing daily. The second thing you should do is make an appointment with your dentists at Endodontics & Periodontics Associates of Tampa Bay for a complete dental examination, x-rays, and a professional cleaning.
There are several effective procedures to treat gum and periodontal disease, but don’t waste a minute to get treatment. The longer gum disease goes untreated, the closer you are to losing bone and potentially, your teeth! Call your dentists at Endodontics & Periodontics Associates of Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay, Florida and get help for gum disease today!
Waiting is part of life for a teenager: waiting to get a driver’s license, to graduate high school or to leave home and stretch their wings. A teenager with lost teeth may also need to wait until they’re older to obtain dental implants.
The reason arises from the differences in how implants and natural teeth attach to the jaw. Although natural teeth may seem rigidly set in the bone, they’re actually held in place by an elastic tissue between them and the bone known as the periodontal ligament. Tiny filaments that attach to the teeth on one side and the bone on the other hold the teeth in place, but also allow the teeth to move gradually in response to mouth changes.
A titanium implant post doesn’t have this relationship with the periodontal ligament — it’s attached directly to the jaw bone. Over time the bone, which has a special affinity with titanium, grows and adheres to it to form a durable bond without an attachment to the periodontal ligament. Because of this the implant can’t move like a natural tooth.
This is extremely important for implant placement because the jaws in particular won’t fully develop in most people until their late teens or early twenties: the upper jaw in particular will tend to grow out and down. Natural teeth accommodate to these changes, but the implant can’t — it will appear to retreat into the jaw. The gum tissues surrounding the implant also won’t conform to the continuing growth and may appear receded.
The best approach is to choose a temporary replacement option until the jaws and other facial bone structures have finished growing. One example is a bonded bridge in which we use a bonding agent to attach a bridge of artificial teeth to teeth on either side of a missing tooth — bonding won’t permanently alter them as with a traditional bridge. Once the jaws have finished growing, we can remove the bonded bridge and install the more permanent implant.
Ask any teenager: waiting can be hard. But with dental implants, waiting until the right time will help ensure the attractive result is a permanent one.
If you would like more information on dental restorations and teenagers, 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 “Teenagers & Dental Implants.”
Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.
“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:
- Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
- Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
- Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.
Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”