Do you have gum disease? Did you know gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and has also been associated with heart disease, low birth weight, diabetes and other health problems? According to the Center for Disease Control, 50% of US adults have some form of gum disease (periodontal disease). Major risk factors for periodontal disease include a generic predisposition, smoking, lack of routine home care, diet, certain systemic diseases, and various medications.
Early inflammation of the gums is called gingivitis. The signs and symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, bleeding gums and bad breath. Gingivitis is most often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Plaque accumulates around your teeth and can become mineralized, forming tartar (calculus). With the removal of calculus and improvement in oral hygiene, gingivitis is reversible. However, gingivitis, if left untreated, can advance to chronic periodontitis, a more serious infection. Plaque and associated bacteria penetrate deeper and eventually destroy bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place.
How are periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease connected? The first evidence linking periodontitis to heart disease was in a 1989 study conducted in Finland. Patients who had experienced heart attacks often had advanced periodontal disease. Several studies since 1989 have shown patients with periodontal disease have an increased risk for heart attack or stroke. Research suggests that inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with gum disease enter a person’s blood stream and cause thickening of the blood vessel walls, typically seen in heart disease.
Treating gum disease and its associated inflammation is not only important to your teeth, it may help in managing other diseases and chronic inflammatory conditions.
What can I do to keep my gums and body healthy? It is important to practice proper oral hygiene, visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and teeth cleanings to remove plaque and tartar deposits.
Dental Implants are among the most successful procedures in dentistry. Studies have shown a five year success rate of 95%. With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
A single tooth dental implant is made up of 3 components. There’s a titanium screw that fuses to the jaw bone, an abutment (post) on top and a crown which is fitted onto the abutment. A single dental implant offers many advantages when replacing a tooth.
Before the invention of dental implants, a fixed bridge was used to replace a missing tooth. The disadvantages of a fixed bridge include: 1. necessary reduction of the adjacent teeth 2. it is less natural and life-like, 3. root canals are often required for the adjacent teeth being crowned and 4. it is not uncommon for decay to form under the crowns, leading to an early demise.
Regain your ability to eat anything and smile with confidence. Call our office at 561-2330 for a consultation.
What causes bad breath?
Typically bad breath originates around your teeth and on your tongue. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth, decaying food particles and bad oral hygiene. The bacteria and decaying debris produce an unpleasant odor (think sulfur smell). Dry mouth (xerostomia), stress, smoking, snoring, sinus problems and other medical conditions can all worsen the problem. Saliva helps by washing away odor-causing bacteria and food particles. When you sleep, saliva glands slow down causing the dreaded “morning breath”.
How can I control bad breath?
Good oral hygiene and cleaning visits with the hygienist are No. 1. More advanced periodontal conditions often require root planing with anesthesia. I find regularly cleaning your tongue with a specialized tongue scraper is extremely helpful. It is necessary to clean between teeth with floss or specially designed brushes, such as “Soft Pics”. In addition, drink plenty of H2O and try chewing sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol. This will help inhibit bacteria and stimulate saliva production. Yes, watching your diet can help. Avoid spicy foods, garlic, onions and coffee. These foods and drink linger for up to 12 hours.
It’s Halloween time again and are you ready? Is your smile scary and spooky? Maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a cosmetic dentistry makeover. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
BLEACHING is a simple smile enhancement procedure. This is quite affordable and extremely effective if done professionally.
DENTAL BONDING is also an excellent cost-effective solution for broken, chipped and poorly shaped teeth. Tremendous material improvements have been made over the past 20 years. Composite bonding materials can be sculpted and bonded to your teeth. This procedure holds up quite well over the years.
PORCELAIN VENEERS provide the most ideal smile transformation. Thin porcelain shells are fabricated by skilled dental technicians as per our specifications (shape and color). These veneers are then tried in and, if acceptable, bonded to the teeth — resulting in a gorgeous smile. It is important to work with an extremely experienced dentist to obtain a beautiful, life-like result and not just white, fake-looking teeth.
Root caries (decay) occurs on the area of the tooth where recession has occurred and roots are exposed. Unlike the crown of the tooth that is covered by enamel, roots are made of dentin which can decay easier. This type of decay becomes more common with age.
Like all decay, the fundamental cause is bacteria. Bacteria sticks to the root and forms a sticky film called plaque. Plaque produces acid that demineralizes (softens) the tooth. A major contributing factor increasing the incidence of decay is a change in the amount and quality of one’s saliva. Saliva can be considered the bloodstream of the mouth. Saliva bathes the teeth in minerals and keeps your teeth hard.
Many medications, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and some diseases can cause salivary glands to produce less saliva. This very common condition called “Xerostomia” is more prevalent as we age.
If identified early a filling may be all that is necessary. However, if the damage is more extreme, a crown or possibly a root canal may be required. Unfortunately at times, so much damage has been done, a tooth must be removed.
The most important thing you can do is keep your teeth cleaned every day. If your gums are receded, cleaning will be more difficult and time consuming. If you are taking medication, there is a good chance your saliva flow is becoming compromised (you may not notice this because it happens gradually). It is important to visit the office so root caries can be found early and preventative steps implemented. Customized fluoride, supplementations, oral hygiene aids and diet all need to be discussed during your visit. For further recommendations, visit the Xerostomia page on our website.
Oral conscious sedation has been an extremely positive experience for many of our patients. I would like to share a recent example.
A middle-aged woman “Kathy” (fictitious name) presented to our office with a dental history of poor experiences. Her care was mostly just emergency-based and “nothing” was ever “finished”. Her immediate concerns were several broken teeth and bleeding gums. Most of these broken teeth had root canals but she had never returned for crowns since the pain was gone.
Kathy informed us she was subject to panic attacks and appeared to have a hard time sitting in the chair. A complete oral exam, including medical history review, full Xrays and photos was completed. It was determined that several teeth were hopeless and required extraction. Several other teeth could be saved with crowns and the missing teeth could be replaced with implants. Her periodontal situation required 4 quadrants of root planning and scaling.
The risks and benefits of different treatments were discussed with Kathy and a customized treatment plan was formulated. She really wanted all the treatment done in as few visits as possible. With the help of sedation a treatment that normally would take 10 visits would be performed over 2 3-hour visits.
Kathy’s treatment went extremely well and at follow-up, she brought us all little gifts and let us know that everything exceeded her expectations. “I don’t remember much of the visits and I’m so happy everything got fixed over so few visits.”
The grinding of one’s teeth is called bruxism and happens as we sleep. You might have symptoms such as jaw pain and headaches, or no symptoms at all. This patient had no pain but was unhappy with how his teeth looked. He was convinced he never ground his teeth. Well, teeth don’t lie and this is an example of severe wear/bruxism. Happening over a period of years, he was left with worn, chipped teeth and a distorted smile.
The first step toward his new smile was to fit him with a mouthguard to protect his teeth while he slept. I did not want to fabricate porcelain crowns and watch them fracture also. After approximately one month of wearing the mouthguard, a compliance check was performed. The patient told me “you know, I might grind my teeth at night”. When we checked, we could see lines on the plastic mouthguard. I reminded him that after we fixed his teeth, he would have to be faithful and wear his mouthguard every night. This would prevent breakage of his new porcelain crowns. Porcelain is actually a glass and is prone to breakage, just like teeth.
By fabricating two porcelain crowns and contouring his lower anterior teeth, this patient was given the smile he wanted. His old worn teeth were given new life.
Now there is a new invention that has been helping us give more comfortable injections. Called the “DentalVibe”, it works by sending soothing vibrations into the oral tissue as the injection is given. The vibrations overload the brain with more stimulus than it can handle, thus overshadowing the injection. Our patients who have experienced the DentalVibe have really appreciated it.
Don’t forget a topical anesthetic is still applied first and given time to penetrate. The topical anesthetic we use is specially formulated for us and consists of 3 different anesthetics. I find this formulated topical significantly more effective than the standard commercially available benzocaine.
There are two major costs of dental implant treatment. The first is the implant itself and the second is the restoration (tooth or teeth). If your dentist is going to replace a missing tooth utilizing a dental implant, they will usually refer you to an oral surgeon or a periodontist to have the implant placed. The placement of the implant is one fee and you return to your dentist to have the restoration, which is a second fee. True dental implantologists, who provide both parts of the process to our patients, can charge much less for the same procedure.
Does insurance cover implants? This depends on your insurance plan. Some will pay for dental implants and others will not. Sometimes they will not pay for the implant placement but pay for the crown or bridge restoration that is attached.
While dental implants may be costly, they are often the most reliable and economic long-term solution. The single tooth replacement fee is approximately $3,000. For complicated cases, several solutions often exist with different costs, advantages and disadvantages. Each situation is unique and requires careful evaluation and discussion. After this evaluation, different options and their associated fees need to be discussed. We do our best to give a fixed, all-inclusive fee.
Are payment plans available to help pay for dental implants? YES! Our office provides assistance to make implant procedures more affordable and fit most budgets. We work with CARE CREDIT which offers NO INTEREST financing options if paid within 12 months.
Please contact us for complete solutions at one location.
Serving the Orange County NY area including:
New Windsor NY • Newburgh NY • Cornwall NY • Blooming Grove NY • Washingtonville NY • Middletown NY
Monroe NY • Montgomery NY • Wappingers Falls NY • Highland Falls NY • Campbell Hall NY • Goshen NY
John F. Carpenter, D.M.D., M.A.G.D.
272 Quassaick Avenue • New Windsor, NY 12553
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