Monday, September 28, 2015

Periodontics Treatment FAQs

PeriodonticsWhen you visit us for periodontics, we can provide you with the care you need to ensure your gums stay in excellent health. If you have already suffered from gum disease or even gum recession, we can assist with that, as well. Many people think of teeth when they think of the dentist, and while this is accurate, we also treat gums. Your gums are critical to your oral health, and if you experience gum disease, it can progress to the point where you begin to lose teeth. In fact, when we see signs of tooth loss, gum disease is the first thing we look for. To ensure you do not have it, visit our dental office for an examination and teeth cleaning. In the meantime, here are some facts you should know about periodontal treatment.

First, how do I know if I have gum disease?

The best way to find out is to visit a dentist. However, if you are looking to self-diagnose, we recommend you pay attention to how your gums look and feel. If they are sore, red, swollen, bleeding, or painful, you could have gum disease. You may notice that your gums have these symptoms when you smile or when you brush your teeth. Some people even notice blood when they spit after brushing. If this happens occasionally, it may not be a cause for concern, but if it is happening regularly, you should certainly give us a call.

What causes gum disease?

As a provider of periodontics care, we warn patients that they need to brush their teeth and floss throughout the day. Many people skip flossing, but this can lead to gum disease because it allows plaque to build up along the gum line and eventually become trapped underneath it. When plaque and tartar form on the portion of the tooth that is under the gums, it will irritate them and cause gum disease. Another cause is restricted blood flow, which is why pregnant women and diabetics tend to experience gum disease more frequently than others.

How do you treat periodontal disease?

If we can catch it early, we can start by performing a deep cleaning. There are several ways to do so, and depending on the amount of cleaning required, you may need to visit us for more than one appointment. Our goal is to remove the plaque and tartar from underneath the gums to eliminate the irritant. This is done with a deep cleaning and is the preferable treatment option. However, if the gums have started to recede or pull away from the tooth structure, this will not be enough. Once gum recession has taken place, you will be in danger of your tooth becoming loose or even falling out. This is because more of the tooth structure and roots will be exposed to bacteria, and as the plaque is created, the acid secreted from it can attack the tooth and lead to bone loss. This is what ends up leading to loose teeth and tooth loss. To prevent this, your gums must be treated. In this case, you may need a gum graft. This is where tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth or from a tissue donor and sutured to your gums so they can be secured back around your teeth. This sort of periodontics treatment can help your gums to return to good health.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Role of Antibiotics in Pediatric Dentistry and Our Dentist Office

Pediatric DentistryWith pediatric dentistry, perhaps more than any other form of dentistry, we are always looking for the easiest and fastest way to relieve the discomfort of patients that visit our dentist office. This is especially true because, with pediatric dentistry, we are dealing with children who do not understand their discomfort and want it gone quickly. In a sense, the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 was a blessing for the entire profession. Antibiotics have given modern medicine the opportunity to take away most infections very quickly and effectively. This was a huge leap that allowed us to take on even the most stubborn bacterial infections and cure them, which led to other advancements and the ability to treat even more difficult problems. Naturally, as with any great discovery, there are cautions as well. At our practice, we believe in a more holistic form of treating our patients, which means that while antibiotics are on the table, they are not the option we jump to quickly. In fact, the question we often ask is not what antibiotic to use, but rather, if we actually need to use an antibiotic at all. In this regard, we prefer a much more measured and scientific approach to prescribing treatment. There are reasons for our caution.

As a dentist, we have watched the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry has issued a caution about antibiotics. Their overuse by the medical profession as a whole has literally given rise to strains of bacteria that are completely resistant to antibiotics, and this is not something a pediatric dentist wants to risk. So you will find that there are always alternatives we want to explore before going to an antibiotic treatment. With this approach for when we do prescribe them, the antibiotics are highly targeted and usually extremely effective. Being involved in pediatric dentistry, we completely understand a parent's desire to go quickly to antibiotics as a treatment. The results often speak for themselves. If your child has an infection that is causing them discomfort, giving them a fever, or even has swelling at the site of the infection, it is understandable that you would want to do whatever is necessary to eliminate this, and with an antibiotic, many parents will see an almost instantaneous result.

On the other hand, pediatric dentistry knows it is not the antibiotics that kill the bacterial infection. When your child is infected with foreign microorganisms, their immune system goes to war with these invaders. The antibiotics merely provide a way for the body to have balance, giving it a much-needed opportunity to recoup. Once this happens, your body will quickly and effectively neutralize the infection and kill whatever microorganisms are causing the problem. In addition, your child's body will learn what makes this infection tick, so should any similar infection ever appear, their body can very quickly create the solution for it. At the end of day, it is the body that is an ace infection fighter, so our job as a dentist is to provide it with whatever tools it need to fight this, or any infection effectively, even if not in the form of antibiotics.