A focus on preventive dentistry helps you maintain the highest standard of oral health while limiting dental expenditures. A partnership between you and our team pays dividends, protecting your smile now and well into the future.
At home, prevention may include brushing and flossing twice a day. But many strategies and oral health aids exist that may suit your situation even better. Often patients are surprised to learn that a particular toothpaste, rinse, or specialized toothpick will serve them best and make all the difference in their efforts. Our team can help customize solutions that enhance your daily efforts, often turning frustration into smiles at the healthy changes that occur.
Your diet plays a critical role in oral health as well. Acidic foods and drinks can accelerate deterioration of your teeth, and certain foods can enhance the health of your supporting jawbone and gums. Our team believes in bringing your efforts and ours into balance for optimum health.
And of course, regular dental exams and cleanings prove vital in preventing decay and gum disease as you keep daily habits consistent. Together, with a proactive approach, we can prevent minor issues from becoming major procedures.
At every hygiene visit, we examine all the tissues of your mouth including gums, cheeks, lips, tongue, and jaw. Many patients are surprised at the large amount of surface area that we examine during an oral exam. It is just as important to have regular soft tissue screenings as it is to have a professional dental cleaning.
Oral cancer can afflict anyone, although tobacco users put themselves at a significantly higher risk than non-users. Chewing tobacco has up to 3000 different chemicals, including the same compounds used in pesticides and embalming fluid. Cellular changes below the surface aren’t always detectable until they’ve advanced to a critical stage.
Early detection and treatment of oral cancer can significantly increase your chances of a quick and complete recovery. The American Cancer Society reports that about 7,000 deaths result from oral cancer out of 30,000 cases diagnosed annually. If we suspect any unusual changes in your mouth tissue, we may suggest a biopsy and microscopic analysis by a qualified lab.
Many other non-cancerous changes can occur in your mouth’s tissue, from oral warts to autoimmune lesions. Dr. Posner and Dr. Ali draw on their background in oral pathology to evaluate any abnormalities and determine if they should be monitored or removed.
We understand tobacco holds strong addictive powers over even the most health-conscious people. If you’re determined to quit, we want to support you in your efforts. Talk to your hygienist or Dr. Posner and Dr. Ali about the strategies and resources we have available so you can kick the habit.
Maintaining a healthy smile depends on what happens between your visits with us. Good home care habits can be established by anyone committed to carving out a few minutes each day. Like regular exercise, consistency is the key to building a healthy habit. Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing once a day are the standard for ideal home care.
With so many products on the market today, it can be confusing to sort it out alone. Your hygienist can help you narrow down the endless options and form a plan with the hygiene tools that fit you and your dental needs. Will an electric toothbrush help you keep your mouth cleaner between professional visits? Would a prescription toothpaste help reduce plaque based on your unique chemistry? There are many factors that fit into a plan to maximize the time and effort you put into keeping your smile healthy.
Some patients considered high-risk for dental problems benefit from even more individualized routines. Simple, inexpensive substitutions can transform the environment of your mouth and dramatically reduce disease activity. For example, Xylitol is a naturally-derived sweetener that can minimize cavities in children and adults when used in the right dosages.
While dental emergencies can strike anyone, anytime, our patients who commit to regular preventive care appointments usually experience fewer problems over time. Professional cleanings with a registered dental hygienist allow us to take a proactive approach to your dental health, addressing issues while they are small and potentially avoiding issues altogether. Despite your best efforts, deposits of mineralized plaque, known as tartar, adhere to areas of the teeth. These deposits create a nice home for millions of harmful bacteria. Left unchecked, they flood toxins into the gums resulting in devastating chronic problems, even resulting in the loss of teeth.
When tartar is removed at your professional hygiene appointment, it doesn’t have the opportunity to produce irreversible damage. We use professional instruments and prescription strength polishing paste that gently buffs away stain and plaque, leaving your teeth ultra-smooth and shiny. Since discoloration settles into the enamel of your teeth over time, this helps slow down yellowing while maintaining a glassy surface for better cleaning.
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, affects about 30% of the adult population, and it’s the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
Many denture cases begin because of this chronic condition. While not curable, with a dedicated professional hygiene regimen and consistent at-home care, it is controllable.
Gum disease can advance with few signs or symptoms in early stages. Many patients diagnosed with this condition experience no pain and are surprised by the quiet, yet swift damage that periodontal disease leaves in its wake.
In simple terms, consider the gums and bone around your teeth as the foundation of a house. Just like a house, the foundation must be sound regardless of the beauty of the home. When the foundation crumbles, the rest of it does too.
Regular dental exams, professional cleanings, and good oral hygiene practices at home are essential to detecting and strategically managing periodontitis.
Our mouths provide a home to millions of bacteria, both beneficial and harmful. Bacterial waste forms a sticky substance, plaque, which adheres to the teeth. Brushing and flossing help remove plaque before it mineralizes into tartar. Tartar becomes a colony for more bacteria releasing toxins into the gums.
Gums react to this bacterial invasion with an inflammatory response thanks to your immune system. Around the base of each tooth, there is a small collar of gum tissue that forms a small crevice or pocket. This warm, dark environment provides a perfect habitat for deeper tartar and bacteria to infiltrate.
Early inflammation results in bleeding gums, known as gingivitis. Bacteria left untreated and undisturbed successfully creates a chronic infection in the periodontal pocket. In many cases, the bone begins to deteriorate around the teeth. While gums may be slightly tender at this stage, there’s generally minimal discomfort as the bone begins to erode.
More than 50% of the bone around your teeth can disappear before any signs of looseness or pain appear. The bone around teeth never regenerates, so this loss becomes permanent and harder to control as the bacteria hides deeper into the gums. Untreated gum disease leads to abscesses and generalized tooth loss in many advanced cases.
There are several factors we take into account before we make a gum disease diagnosis. The small collar of gum, or pocket, around each tooth usually sits 2-3 millimeters deep, a space easily cleaned by floss or toothpicks.
Dr. Posner and Dr. Ali or our hygiene team can measure and chart multiple areas using a small measuring device called a periodontal probe. If these measurements are more than 3 millimeters and bleed upon probing then periodontal disease is present. Deeper readings indicate more advanced disease than shallower readings.
Dr. Posner and Dr. Ali will also evaluate the texture and shape of your gums, and any movement detectable in each tooth. It’s also vital to examine the levels, shape, and density of the bone around your teeth on digital x-rays. By collecting all of this data, a clear picture forms about your gum condition.
After establishing a diagnosis defining the severity of gum disease, we can develop a personalized treatment plan. In milder forms with little or no bone loss, one or two visits with our hygiene team may bring the condition under control. When you leave our office with a strategy for daily home care and an established schedule for maintenance, little additional treatment may be needed.
If the inflammation has advanced and measurable bone loss is evident, a proactive approach to stop further deterioration should be strongly considered. Often, we will suggest gentle numbing of your gums, and a more in-depth cleaning process sometimes called root planing or scaling. Over a few visits, a portion of your mouth at a time will be deep cleaned. The infected pocket around each tooth, including the mineralized tartar, must be carefully cleaned out with hand and ultrasonic instruments. Polishing the teeth to establish glassy surfaces that help repel stain and plaque accumulation usually finishes this initial therapy.
Dr. Posner and Dr. Ali may suggest a medicated rinse, an electric or ultrasonic toothbrush, and other specific strategies to help you with your homecare routine. Remember, gum disease can be controlled but not cured. Dedicated daily efforts must be consistent to control the disease.
Regular home care is critical to arrest the progression of gum disease. Within a few hours of cleaning, the bacteria begin to repopulate and adhere to the teeth. Plaque left undisturbed will start to harden and mineralize within 24 hours. Remember, deeper gum pockets require even more diligence to prevent the bacteria from undermining the foundation of your teeth.
Since gum pockets previously damaged by bacteria can be difficult to reach at home, a faithful maintenance schedule with us is essential. We can customize your plan to include two, three or four visits a year, depending on the severity of disease, its response to treatment, and the consistency of your home care.
If our combined efforts don’t slow or stop the progression of your gum disease, we will suggest referral to a specialist, known as a periodontist. With specialized training in many gum conditions, further treatment may be recommended.
Research continues to establish clear links between bacterial disease in your mouth and ailments in other parts of the body. Studies show a link between oral bacteria and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, even certain types of cancers. The relationship between a person’s oral health and their whole body health has never been more understood than it is today.
Bleeding gums provide a direct pathway into the bloodstream, a journey that oral bacteria can quickly take. If an open wound existed on your skin, infection would be a concern. Gum tissue that bleeds should be looked at no differently. This helps explain why researchers continue to identify oral bacteria deposits in various areas of our bodies.
Diabetes and other auto-immune disorders lower the body’s ability to fight infection, allowing uncontrolled gum disease to advance faster and with more destruction. Research also confirms that the inflammation in the mouth can aggravate diabetes, making it harder to control. This two-way relationship between two chronic conditions emphasizes the importance of optimal oral health.
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