Posts for: April, 2017
If you suspect you have periodontal (gum) disease, it's important to get a correct diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you begin treatment the better the long-term outcome.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that's most often triggered by plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces. Plaque buildup most often occurs when a person doesn't practice effective oral hygiene: daily brushing and flossing and professional cleanings at least twice a year.
The most common type of gum disease, gingivitis, can begin within days of not brushing and flossing. It won't always show itself, but you can have symptoms like swollen, red or bleeding gums, as well as bad taste and breath. You could also develop painful abscesses, which are localized pockets of infection within the gums.
If we don't stop the disease it will eventually weaken the gum attachment to the teeth, bone loss will occur and form deep pockets of infection between the teeth and bone. There's only one way to stop it: remove the offending plaque from all tooth surfaces, particularly below the gum line.
We usually remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) manually with special hand instruments called scalers. If the plaque and calculus have extended deeper, we may need to perform another procedure called root planing in which we shave or “plane” the plaque and calculus (tartar) from the root surfaces.
In many cases of early gum disease, your family dentist can perform plaque removal. If, however, your gum disease is more extensive, they may refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in the treatment and care of gums. Periodontists are trained and experienced in treating a full range of gum infections with advanced techniques, including gum surgery.
You can also see a periodontist on your own for treatment or for a second opinion — you don't necessarily need a referral order. If you have a systemic disease like diabetes it's highly advisable you see a periodontist first if you suspect gum disease.
If you think you might have gum disease, don't wait: the longer you do the more advanced and destructive the disease can become. Getting an early start on treatment is the best way to keep the treatment simple and keep gum disease from causing major harm to your teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on the diagnosis and treatment of 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 “When to See a Periodontist.”
Your daily oral hygiene routine is an important part of your overall dental and general health and crucial in keeping your teeth healthy and free of tooth decay and gum disease. Developing good oral hygiene habits to strengthen this daily routine will only benefit you and your teeth. Find out if you are keeping good oral hygiene habits with Corporate Center Dental Care in Lexington, KY.
Good Oral Hygiene Habits to Benefit Your Smile
- Technique: Brushing your teeth properly can help you get your teeth clean the first time without leaving residual bacteria or food particles. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride-containing toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. Look for the American Dental Association’s seal to ensure you are buying quality products. Use gentle, back-and-forth and circular strokes to clean the front and back of every tooth.
- Flossing: Use dental floss to clean between each tooth at least once a day. Be sure to gently slide the floss between the teeth and reach all the way underneath the gumline to extract any plaque and bacteria which could have built up underneath. Do not forget to floss the back side of your last molar.
- Regular Examinations: Dental examinations every six months will help your dentist find and treat problems early to provide you with the best dental care possible. If left untreated, simple dental issues like cavities or gum disease which require simple solutions can evolve into complex conditions requiring invasive treatments.
- Routine Cleanings: Cleanings performed by a dental hygienist remove any plaque and tartar build up on your teeth. While you can remove plaque at home with regular brushing and flossing, once that plaque hardens into tartar, a professional cleaning is the only way to clear it from your teeth. Cleanings occur during your regular dental examinations every six months.
- Tooth-Healthy Diet: Eating calcium-rich foods and avoiding known decay-causers like sugary drinks and candies can help keep your teeth healthy. Additionally, crunchy vegetables and fruits and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help keep your mouth in tip-top shape.
For more information on good oral hygiene habits or regular dental examinations and cleanings with your dentist, please contact Dr. Anthony Feck, Dr. Maxie Combs and Dr. Carol Wilson at Corporate Center Dental Care in Lexington, KY. Call (859) 223-4644 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”