Posts for category: Uncategorized

Recently, an article came out in the news stating that there is no compelling evidence that flossing works.  I have been asked about this by many of my patients. I would like to share my opinion on this.

 

The American Academy of Periodontology recommends daily flossing as part of one’s oral hygiene routine.  The accumulation of plaque beneath the gum line may cause an inflammatory reaction which leads to gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease.  If left untreated, periodontal disease can worsen, leading to tooth loss.  Flossing allows for the removal of bacteria and debris from areas of the mouth where brushing alone cannot reach.

 

Because the development of periodontal disease is slow in nature, studies that examine the effects of daily flossing are best conducted over a number of years and among a large population.  Much of the current evidence does not utilize a large sample size or examine gum health over a significant amount of time.  Additionally, many of the existing studies do not measure markers of periodontal health, such as inflammation. 

 

Just because we do not have “high quality” evidence that flossing works, does not mean that it is of no benefit.  We also do not have “high quality” evidence that jumping out of an airplane without a parachute would lead to death, but common sense would tell us otherwise, correct?  The same thing goes with flossing.  Common sense tells us that when we floss and remove that chunk of food from between our molars, this is of a benefit, is it not? 

 

So keep flossing daily.  It is both low risk and low cost.  What have you got to lose (other than your teeth)??

 

ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS ALWAYS THE ANSWER?

What a strange question coming from someone who does dental implants for a living.  In the past, dentistry had denture mills.  What were the denture mills?  They were large offices where people could go to have their teeth removed and dentures made all in the same day.  Some denture practices such as that still exist today.  They are a necessary adjunct for those people who have no options to save their teeth. 

 

We have many patients who come into our office every year stating that they want all their teeth out.  And I can’t tell you how many times we come up with solutions that are more comfortable and less costly than the full extraction route.

 

Fast forward to today.  Now there are dental implant centers that do only one thing----take your teeth out and put in implant supported teeth.  They are the new denture mills.  The ads look nice, and frankly, that service is a great service for someone who needs it.  I provide this service as well, and the patients who do need it are very happy.

 

But if you go to a denture mill, you are likely to be given one choice---dentures.  And when you go to a dental implant center, you are also likely to get only one choice---dental implants.  And that’s a shame.  Because if your teeth can be predictably saved, that is often a better and more predictable long term option than dental implants.  And as good as the advertising is, dental implants have problems, too.  They have to be maintained and cleaned just like teeth need to be cleaned.  And dental implants can fail as well.

 

What is the patient who is frustrated by his or her teeth to do?  It is finding a dentist you can talk to, that can assess all of your needs, and that can give you the pros and cons of every option.  A periodontist will give you that assessment.  Then you have a clear choice of what can be done.

 

So from one who is known for dental implants, don’t assume that dental implants are the only answer.  Find a good periodontist, look at all the options, and then come to the conclusion that is right for you.  

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is caused by the inflammatory reaction to bacteria under the gums.  This means that, technically, periodontal disease may not be contagious.  However, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can spread throughout the saliva.  If a spouse or other family member has periodontal disease, it is best to avoid contact with his/her saliva.  There should be no sharing of eating utensils or drinking after one another.  If your spouse has warning signs of periodontal disease, it is best that the see a periodontist for an evaluation. This may help to protect the oral health of the entire family. 

Several studies have shown an association between gum disease and heart disease.  Research shows that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease.  However, a cause and effect relationship has not yet been established.  Both gum disease and heart disease are inflammatory conditions.  Untreated gum disease can increase inflammation throughout the body.  This systemic inflammation may increase the risk for development of heart disease.  More research is needed to confirm this and is currently ongoing.

By contactus
January 17, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a silent disease, meaning that symptoms usually do not arise until the condition is very advanced.  Some warning signs of gum disease include the following:

Red, swollen gums

Bleeding gums

Gums that are receding or pulling back from the teeth

Pus between the gums and teeth

Loose teeth

Bad breath

If you have any of these symptoms, see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation.