Posts for: February, 2019
If you're over 30 your chances for developing periodontal (gum) disease are better than half. And it's not a minor matter—untreated gum disease can lead not only to tooth loss, but to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions.
Fortunately, we have effective ways to treat gum disease, even in advanced stages. But the best approach by far in avoiding a devastating outcome for your teeth is to prevent gum disease from developing in the first place.
It helps first to know how gum disease begins. The most common cause is dental plaque, a thin biofilm of food particles on tooth surfaces that harbors the bacteria that triggers the disease. If you keep your teeth clean of built-up plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings, you'll minimize the growth of disease-causing bacteria.
If you don't practice effective oral hygiene, however, within a few days you could develop an initial infection called gingivitis. This form affects the outermost layers of the gums and triggers a defensive response from the body known as inflammation. Ordinarily, inflammation helps protect surrounding tissues from infection spread, but it can damage your gums if it becomes chronic. Your weakened gums may begin to detach from the teeth, forming voids filled with inflammation known as periodontal pockets. Eventually, the infection can spread to the supporting bone and lead to tooth loss.
In addition to a dedicated oral hygiene and dental care program, you should also be on the lookout for early signs of gingivitis. Infected gums can become red, swollen and tender to the touch. You may notice they bleed easily while brushing and flossing, or a foul taste or breath that won't go away even after brushing. And if some of your teeth feel loose or don't seem to bite together as they used to, this is a sign of advanced gum disease that deserves your dentist's immediate attention.
Practicing preventive hygiene is the best way to stop gum disease before it starts. But if gum disease does happen, catching it early can be a game-changer, both for your teeth and your smile.
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 “How Gum Disease Gets Started.”
Bad teeth? Dental crowns can give your damaged teeth a second chance. There are many advantages to crowns, which makes choosing a dentist who offers them a fabulous idea. Led by Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Leo Kharin, and Dr. Jessica Ristuccia, Great Meadows Dental Group (located in Bedford, MA) offers a complete range of dental services—keep reading to find out how crowns improve damaged or decayed teeth.
1. Restore broken teeth. Fracturing a tooth is a common phenomenon. Although enamel is incredibly strong, its strength has limits. A fall or biting on something hard can cause a tooth to break. A dental crown acts as a strong covering for a tooth that has been damaged. If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, a dental crown can cover it and restore its shape, strength, and appearance.
2. Protect teeth from damage. Dental crowns and protect your weakened or damaged teeth from further damage. Crowns are known for their extraordinary strength and durability. They're tough like natural tooth structure and able to withstand wear and tear. If your tooth is fractured, see your dental provider as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could be damaged further.
3. Restore decayed teeth. Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel. Causes of tooth decay include bad oral hygiene, drinking sugary drinks, and frequent snacking. Dental crowns are used to fix teeth that are badly decayed. Any decay is removed and the crown is placed over the tooth strengthening it and restoring functionality.
4. Strengthen your teeth. With dental crowns, you can have a smile that's strong and beautiful. Porcelain-fused-to-metal and all-ceramic crowns are very strong and can produce pleasing aesthetics.
5. Fix badly shaped teeth. When you have bad teeth, it can make you feel embarrassed about your smile. Crowns are used to repair badly shaped or crooked teeth. Crowns can straighten your misshapen or crooked teeth without the hassle of dental braces. Dental crowns are effective in covering up dental flaws.
6. Restore oral function. It's difficult to chew food when you have fractured teeth. Dental crowns will improve your ability to chew food. Dental crowns restore the structure of your broken teeth so you can eat in comfort and with confidence. With dental crowns, you will be able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
If you need dental crowns, why wait? Start your journey today! Call Great Meadows Dental Group at 781-275-7707 right now to schedule a dental appointment in Bedford, MA. Remember, healthy smiles are happy smiles!
We've known for decades that fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and lowers the risk for decay. And while adding it to toothpaste and drinking water are the more common ways for getting it into the body, an increasingly popular way—especially for children—is to apply fluoride directly to the teeth.
But is topical fluoride really worth the effort and expense? And, are there any side effects to treating teeth this way?
As to the first question, researchers have performed numerous studies measuring fluoride's effectiveness for preventing tooth decay. The Cochrane Oral Health Research Group recently reviewed studies on topical fluoride applications involving nearly 10,000 children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 15. The combined average for all the studies showed a 28% reduction in decayed teeth for patients who received topical fluoride compared to those who didn't.
This was especially true for children at high risk for decay: directly applying fluoride gels, foams or varnishes to teeth reduces that risk substantially. But there are also side effects to this application. Fluoride in general has only one known safety concern, a condition known as fluorosis. Too much fluoride over time can cause heavy discoloration of the teeth. This does not affect the health of the teeth, but it can look unattractive and require cosmetic treatment to reduce its effect.
There's little to no risk for fluorosis with the controlled treatments offered by dentists; the fluoride solution remains on the teeth no more than a few minutes. But there is a possible side effect during treatment due to the relatively high dose of fluoride used. If the patient accidentally swallows some of the solution, the concentration of fluoride can cause stomach upset, vomiting or headaches.
Dentists minimize the chances for this by usually using the more difficult to swallow varnish form of topical fluoride on younger patients, and using trays or other barrier devices to isolate the fluoride solution from the rest of the mouth. Under professional supervision, it's rare for an accidental ingestion to occur.
The risks for these side effects are quite low, and the benefits of topical fluoride for reducing the chances for decay can more than outweigh them. Fluoride applications are one of many ways we can protect your child's current and future dental health.
If you would like more information on decay prevention techniques like topical fluoride, 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 “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”