Gum disease is caused by inflammation of your gums due to the bacteria in your mouth. It can arrive without pain and without apparent symptoms—at least not until it has gotten so severe that you may lose the tooth or teeth involved.
Gum disease is also called periodontal disease. It starts as gingivitis which is inflamed gums without any loss of bone surrounding the tooth. If the gingivitis is present for a while, the toxins produced by the bacteria cause the bone to recede down the root of your tooth or teeth and may create pockets that can trap food and more bacteria.
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Pain in mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating
- Gums that are shrinking or pulling away from your teeth
- Persistent bad breath
As mentioned earlier no treatment can mean loss of teeth, loss of supporting jawbone and ligaments that will affect your appearance, speech, and eating.
What causes gum disease? It can be hereditary but it can also be transmitted through kissing, blowing on food, sharing food or utensils. This is particularly true for parents who taste baby food and then use the same spoon to feed the baby.
You are more likely to develop gum disease in adolescence, during pregnancy, in mid-life, and if you are diabetic or have other inflammatory diseases. Stress also seems to be a factor in developing gum disease and people who consume more sweets and sodas (at least 5 times a week) have a higher risk of gum disease.
If you think you have gum disease, talk to your dental professional to find out what treatment is right for you. You can learn more about gum disease at this link: Periodontal (Gum) Disease
*Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare profesionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children in her dental office.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
One of the best and most successful tooth replacement choices available is the dental implant. No other restorative method is as similar in both form and function to a real tooth as an implant; and with a success rate of 95-plus percent after ten years, it’s one of the most durable.
But there can be extenuating circumstances that make obtaining an implant difficult or sometimes impossible. One possible problematic situation is the systemic disease diabetes.
Diabetes is a hormonal condition in which the body is unable to sufficiently regulate the amount of glucose (a basic sugar that provides energy to the body’s cells) within the blood stream. Normally, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin to reduce excess glucose. But diabetes interferes with this insulin production: if you have Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas has stopped producing insulin altogether; if you have the more common Type 2, the body doesn’t produce adequate insulin or it doesn’t respond sufficiently to the insulin produced.
Over time diabetes can affect other areas of health, especially wound healing. Because the condition gradually causes blood vessels to narrow and stiffen, the normal inflammatory response to disease or trauma can become prolonged. This in turn slows the rate of wound healing.
Slow wound healing can have a bearing on the recovery period just after implant surgery, especially the necessary integration process that takes place between the bone and the titanium metal implant that provides its signature strength. If that process is impeded by slow wound healing caused by diabetes, the risk increases dramatically for implant failure.
That’s the worst case scenario if you have diabetes, but only if your condition is out of control. If, however, you have your blood sugar levels well regulated through medication, diet and exercise, then your chances for implant success could easily be on par with someone without diabetes.
So if you’re diabetic and are considering dental implants for missing teeth, it’s important to discuss the possibility of obtaining them with both your dentist and the physician caring for your diabetes. With your overall healthcare team working together, there’s no reason why diabetes should stop you from enjoying this premiere restoration for missing teeth.
If you would like more information on obtaining dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants & Diabetes.”
Acid reflux or GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease) occurs when acidic stomach fluids back up into your throat and mouth. It often leaves behind a bitter taste and a burning sensation.
Why is this important to your dentist? Long-term (chronic) exposure to gastric acid can result in erosion of your tooth enamel. Erosion can cause your teeth to become sensitive. It may also create grooves or notches in the sides of your teeth, or wear down your teeth. Your teeth may also look more yellow because the darker dentin color shows through the thinner enamel.
Treatment for acid reflux or GERD may require help from your physician, medications, and/or lifestyle changes. Normally, we would like the acid reflux to be controlled before starting to restore your teeth. Dental fillings are less affected by the acids than your dental enamel is, so often the tooth will wear away around the filling, leaving it looking like the filling has lifted out of your tooth!
If you think you might have acid reflux or GERD, check with your physician who can order tests to check for it.
Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare practioners.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Well-fitting dentures take time to create, so although dentures can be made in a day, you may be trading off time spent for a good fit. A good fit often means you’ll get better use out of them.
An exam by a dentist followed by accurate impressions is key to a good fit. (Sometimes we need customized trays to get a good, accurate impression).
Most offices use a dental laboratory to help make the dentures. Since the dental lab doesn’t see you (the patient), they need to know how your jaws relate to each other. So your next step will be a bite registration with wax rims. (Note: The wax rims do not fit as well as the final product.) The dental lab then sets up the denture teeth in wax so we can show them to you and make sure they both fit and look good. (Again, the wax base may not hold quite as well as the final product will.) If you’ve been counting, you’ll see that this is a minimum of 4 appointments which will be spaced a week or two apart.
Sometimes your own mouth shape (or dental anatomy) makes fit a challenge. Your jawbone shrinks over time when there are no teeth, leaving a shorter height and flatter surface to support your denture. In these cases, dental implants to help hold the denture in place might be the answer. Dental implants keep bone from shrinking as well as providing an attachment for denture.Dental Implants FAQs, Fixed Dentures in the Dear Doctor Video library can tell you more about this option.
Your gag reflex can be a contraindication to wearing dentures. Upper dentures need to use the roof of your mouth as surface area for a good seal. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, a denture may trigger it. Having dental implants to help secure your denture may mean you can have less material on the roof of your mouth.
Dentures that don’t fit well or aren’t cleaned properly are more at risk for fungal infection (also known as Candida or Thrush).
Some tips for caring for your dentures:
- Remove your dentures for at least 6 hours each day (most people do this while sleeping). Your mouth loses healing potential as you age and it can’t compensate for the trauma that dentures cause. It needs the “rest” of not having dentures in.
- Don’t let your dentures dry out. Soak them in water or another fluid designed for soaking dentures when you are not wearing them.
- Clean your dentures with a toothbrush and a liquid soap once each day. Clean them over a sink partially filled with water or a thick, folded towel to cushion them if they fall.
- Stimulate your gums with a soft toothbrush once a day for at least 2 min. don’t forget the tongue and the roof of your mouth.
- Replace your dentures about every 5 years. They suffer wear and tear. Dentures that don’t fit well can cause your bone to resorb at a quicker rate.
- Visit your dentist for a checkup at least once a year. Denture wearers are more susceptible to fungal infections.
Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare provider.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office in Lorain, Ohio.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
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