Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery

Periodontics: More than Just Gum Disease

periodontics-more-than-just-gum-diseaseIn today’s world, a beautiful smile translates to a more confident (and some say more successful) person. Whether you are talking about the business world or your social circle, the fact of the matter is that smiles simply look better now than they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

The fact that nearly half of patients spend $2,500 or more per year on cosmetic treatments in the dental office such as teeth whitening, veneers and orthodontics proves the significance of an attractive smile these days.

Did you know that as Periodontists, we can take your smile to the next level? Whether you were blessed to be born with perfect crowns or have paid substantial money to bring them up to par, we can further perfect your smile to make your investment really worth it with a cosmetic periodontal treatment. Whether you have a gummy smile (too much gum tissue covering your teeth) or the opposite, we can give you a smile boost that will ensure that you have the look you want for a happier and more confident you.

Benefits of Cosmetic Periodontal Work:

  • Affordable – you may be surprised to find that many of the cosmetic procedures we offer are actually cheaper than some of the general cosmetic work you have had done.
  • Permanent – Unlike the maintenance associated with veneers, whitening and braces (retainers for life, anyone?), periodontal procedures such as crown lengthening are permanent.
  • A Lifestyle Investment – A great smile gives you a competitive advantage in today’s world. Invest in your career and your personal life by making sure yours is bright, radiant, straight and well proportioned.

Is your smile just a little bit less than you’d like it to be? Give us a call at Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery Phone Number 281-394-9340 to set up your cosmetic consultation.

Missing Teeth: More than Just a Gap in Your Smile

missing-teeth-more-than-justWhile it is true that the most obvious effect of missing teeth is a gap in your smile, missing teeth can cause other problems that you might not be immediately aware of. For example, did you know that for every missing tooth you have you lose 10 percent of your chewing ability? Read on to get a better idea of how a missing tooth can affect your life.

Surrounding Teeth
A missing tooth usually means more stress for the remaining teeth. In addition to that, if you are missing a tooth on the lower jaw, the opposing tooth on the top can grow longer to fill the gap in a process known as superuption or extrusion. This could lead to teeth tilting and move out of place by drifting into the space that was left by your missing tooth – a disaster for your beautiful smile!

Digestive Health
If you are missing teeth, you can’t enjoy all of the foods that you are used to eating – bad for your health and bad for your mood! Say goodbye to caramel apples, saltwater taffy, crunchy carrots and even gum. And because the variety in your diet is reduced when a tooth is missing, digestive problems are unfortunate yet common.

Decay and Hygiene Problems
The shifting of your teeth may cause new hygiene issues as it may be difficult to brush and floss like you normally would. This leaves your mouth more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

Facial Aesthetics
People with more than one missing tooth may also have issues with a collapsed bite which causes a loss of vertical dimension. This could make your face appear shorter, as the distance between the tip of your nose and your chin would decrease.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore! Dental implants can help you avoid all of the problems listed above and let you live your life normally again. It’s never too late for a dental implant, give us a call at Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery Phone Number 281-394-9340 to find out about this life-changing procedure.

Yes. You still have to floss.

yes-you-still-have-to-floss-2

The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health.

Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed.

The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. You can prevent gum disease by maintaining a clean mouth over a long period of time. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology explained: “gum disease is a very slow disease”. In his interview with the AP he recommended long-term studies which he believes would clearly show the difference between people who floss and people who don’t.

Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study? What do you think?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to.

Aldredge also pointed out that most people floss incorrectly, using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

It’s a shame that studies on an important tool such as floss have yielded poor results, but it’s a bigger shame that the studies themselves were poorly designed. Oral hygiene is a long term process, and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the mean time, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today at 281-394-9340!

PeriodontalCharting

What Is Periodontal Charting?periodontalcharting

A Periodontal Chart is also referred to as a gum chart. It is a graphic chart dental professionals use for organizing the information about your gums. Periodontal charting is the best way to uncover the difference between patients that are periodontally healthy and those with periodontal disease.

The area between your gum and tooth is known as the “pocket”. Periodontal charting is simple and relatively painless, during the procedure you will hear your dentist or hygienist call out a series of numbers for each tooth. This is measuring, in millimeters, the cuff of your gum line and the point at which the gum actually attaches to your tooth.

Healthy gums have pockets that are usually 2-3mm, anything over 5mm means the bone that supports your tooth is being degraded by periodontal disease. Bleeding is also a sign of gingivitis and gum disease, as healthy gums do not tend to bleed.

Know Your Periodontal Measurements:

0-3mm without bleeding: Great! No problems and you’re doing great with your oral health!

1-3mm with bleeding: Signs of gingivitis. Improved at-home oral care as well as further professional cleanings are in order.

3-5mm with no bleeding:This means there is the potential for gum disease. A routine cleaning cannot go below 3mm, so further in-depth visits to the dentist will be needed.

3-5mm with bleeding: Early stages of gum disease, the beginnings of Periodontitis. This may require additional treatment, better home care and three to four visits to the dentist per year.

5-7mm with bleeding: This means soft and hard tissue damage, as well as bone loss. Definitive treatment is required, over several visits, greatly improved home care and many more hygiene visits to prevent tooth loss.

7mm and above with bleeding: It’s the advanced stage of periodontal disease so aggressive treatment is needed. Surgery will probably be needed to repair the bone loss. Periodontal maintenance is definitely required very frequently.

Periodontal charting is a very thorough process and can greatly improve your chances of keeping all your teeth! Is it time to see your Periodontist? Call Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery today on 281-394-9340 to discuss your options!

 

Oral Ecology

Oral Health Spotlight: Dental Visits

oral-ecologyVisiting your dentist is very important to your overall health. Even if you brush and floss regularly, you should still see your dental professional team for regular checkups and cleaning.

Your mouth is full of bacteria that forms “plaque”, if this is not removed it can harden into ”tartar” that cannot be removed by brushing alone. A visit to your dental hygienist or dentist is required to fully remove plaque. Good oral hygiene at home is very important but your dental professional can diagnose any underlying problems you may have missed. Your dental health professional can take x-rays as well as use a deep cleaning method called “scaling and root planing.” This procedure can result in less bleeding, swelling and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.

Tartar that isn’t removed can lead to gingivitis. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, the only stage that is reversible. If not treated, this can lead to periodontitis. Gingivitis, which comes from the buildup of plaque bacteria, is a very common oral disease. It causes bad breath, inflammation, and sometimes even bleeding of the gums. These side effects can lead to more serious issues such as tooth loss, swollen glands, or gum and jawbone infections.

Those with diabetes need to be extra cautious; Diabetic patients are more likely to get periodontal disease, which in turn can lead to an increase in blood sugar and other complications. Gum disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions.

It is possible to have gum disease and no warning signs. This is why regular check ups with your dentist as well as periodontal exams with your dental professional are very important.

Brush twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
It’s not worth risking your health! Call Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery on 281-394-9340 to book your routine check-up to stay happy and healthy!

If You MUST Eat Candy…

if-you-must-eat-candyWhen it comes to candy, kids tend to make choices that make most dentists cringe. In fact, the average trick-or-treater will consume three and a half pounds of candy on Halloween. Multiply that across 41 million trick-or-treaters, and you will understand why this can be such an important issue to tackle from a dental perspective.

Now, it might be unrealistic to tell you to keep the candy away from your kids when they’re looking up at you in those adorable homemade costumes. We get that, but you can make smarter choices that keep your child’s teeth healthy enough to make it through to your next visit to the dentist. Sorting through your child’s candy offers you the chance to weed out problem-causing candy and help them make better decisions. And don’t forget a good, solid brushing and flossing before bed, especially on Halloween!

What Candy to Avoid

Sticky and gummy candy tends to latch onto teeth making it harder to brush off, and allowing bad bacteria to feed on the sugar. When teeth are exposed to these sugars for long periods of time, cavities are formed. In addition to that, hard and chewy candies create the perfect circumstances for dental disasters such as dislodged fillings and create a greater potential for accidental chipping and injury.

If you’re stuck on chewy candy, sugar free gum is a better alternative. Gum containing Xylitol may help to combat the effects of bad bacteria and plaque (but it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing).

Why Chocolate Rocks!

Choose chocolate instead. Why? Chocolate melts and disappears more quickly than other candies, lessening the chance for those sticky sugars to stay behind. It also has a lower acidity than most other options.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, dark chocolate is high in tannins, providing the antioxidants your mouth needs to stay healthy, while polyphenols and flavonoids found in chocolate help battle gum disease and tooth decay.

One last tip: Making sure your child eats a well-balanced meal before going door-to-door makes it harder to fill up on sweets before feeling full. Finally, make sure your children brush and floss before bedtime to keep the cavity creeps away! Oh, and set up your next teeth cleaning as soon as possible to ensure your teeth don’t suffer any casualties – call us at 281-394-9340.

Lasers for Healthy Gums!

The first laser was developed in 1960, based on concepts developed by Albert Einstein many decades before. Shortly after the arrival of the first laser, dental researchers began to investigate how lasers may be used to aid dentists in their work. By the mid 1990s, the first dental lasers were released.

Lasers in Periodontics

Lasers for Healthy GumsFor periodontal care, lasers are proving themselves to be less invasive tools for accomplishing (in most cases) the same mission: the cleaning of tissue and roots under the gums to avoid or treat gum disease. Traditionally, (and in some cases we still perform this method), we used hand tools to scrape calculus and plaque out of the gumline and around the tooth root. The advent of lasers, however, has allowed us to treat many of our patients in a less invasive way than what we have done in the past.

Lasers have several benefits over traditional root scaling and other periodontal surgeries:

  • Generally speaking, anesthesia isn’t required as the procedure is less painful, particularly when excising diseased gum tissue.
  • Healing time is usually shorter because of the less-invasive nature of the process.
  • Pain and bleeding is also less when lasers are used.
  • And, finally, lasers are very good at targeting diseased areas with precision, and therefore saving adjacent tissue from trauma.

Cost Considerations

The cost of the treatment is totally dependent on the extent of your gum therapy needs. However, it is worth pointing out that sometimes the laser procedures are less expensive than traditional periodontal surgery. This is due to the fact that fewer visits are required.

In short, if you’ve been told that you need to have extensive periodontal treatment and long-term care, you may benefit by starting with our laser process, right here in our office. Give us a call to find out if you are a good candidate for laser periodontal therapy!

 

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Wisdom Tooth Removal – Aftercare

Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed is a serious surgical procedure, and post-operative care is extremely important! Read on for instructions on how to care for your sore mouth, and how to minimize unnecessary pain and complications.

Immediately Following Surgery

Keep a firm, yet gentle, bite on the gauze packs that have been placed in your mouth to keep them in place. You can remove them after an hour if the bleeding is controlled. If the surgical area continues to bleed, place new gauze for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Wisdom Tooth Removal - AftercareBe careful!

Do not:
• Rinse vigorously
• Probe the area
• Smoke (hopefully you don’t!!)
• Participate in strenuous activities
You can:
• Brush gently (but not the area)
• Begin saltwater rinses 24 hours after surgery (mix 1 tbs of salt with 1 cup of water). Make sure to swish gently. These rinses should be done 2-3 times a day, especially after eating.

Enjoy some down-time!

Keep activity level to a minimum! Enjoy a day of couch or bed-rest, as being active could result in increased bleeding. Avoid exercise for 3-4 days, and when you do begin exercising again, keep in mind your caloric intake has been reduced so you may feel weaker.

Bleeding

As you’ve just had surgery, some bleeding will occur and it’s not uncommon to ooze blood for 24-48 hours after your procedure. REMEMBER-the blood you see is actually a little blood mixed with saliva, so don’t panic!
If excessive bleeding persists:
1. Try repositioning the packs. They may not be putting enough pressure on the site.
2. Sit upright and avoid physical activity.
3. Use an ice pack and bite on gauze for one hour.
4. You can also try biting on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes (the tannic acid in tea promotes blood clotting).
5. If bleeding persists, please call our office at 281-394-9340.

Pain

Unfortunately, some pain is to be expected after surgery. Try not to let the anesthetic wear off before taking your prescribed pain medication. Drs. Bachoura, Michael, Bader or Price will have discussed a plan to manage your pain, make sure you follow these instructions.

Diet

Eat nourishing food that takes little effort.
Avoid:
• Extremely hot foods
• Straws (for the first few days)
• Chewing (until tongue sensation has returned)
• Smaller foods that can become stuck in the socket area
• Skipping meals—while eating may seem like a lot of work, you need your nourishment to be able to heal and feel better!

Day 2 and 3 Following Surgery

Swelling

Swelling is a completely normal occurrence. Keep in mind, swelling will usually be at it’s worst in the 2-3 days after surgery. You can minimize swelling by applying a cold compress (covered with a towel) firmly to the cheek next to the surgical area. Apply the pack with 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off for the first 24-48 hours. Also make sure to take the medication prescribed by Drs. Bachoura, Michael, Bader or Price. This helps with pain and swelling.

Keeping your mouth clean

Keeping your mouth clean is very important! Continue saltwater rinses as often as you’d like, but at least 2-3 times a day. Begin your normal oral hygiene (remember to brush softly and don’t do anything that hurts)!

Healing

Everyone heals differently, but your timeline should look similar to this:
1. Day 1-2 will be the most uncomfortable and you will experience some swelling.
2. Day 3 you should be more comfortable and while still swollen, you should be able to begin a more substantial diet.
3. Day 4 and on you should see a gradual and steady improvement.

Other Normal Things

• Discoloration. Bruising is a normal post-operative occurrence you may notice 2-3 days after surgery.
• Stiff jaw muscles. You may find it difficult to open your mouth wide in the days following your surgery. This is normal and usually resolves itself within a week after surgery. Stretching these muscles may help to speed up recovery.
Since no two mouths are alike, do not take advice from friends (even well-intended advice could cause a healing set-back). The advice given to you from Drs. Bachoura, Michael, Bader or Price and the Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery team are tailored to fit your needs. Please call us at 281-394-9340 if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. Happy healing!

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Oral Cancer and Hepatitis C

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) recently found that individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus are two to five times more likely to develop head and neck cancers. The JNCI study found that the risk for hepatitis C patients of developing head and neck cancers more than doubled for oral cavity and oropharynx cancers, and increased nearly five times for larynx cancers. As well, patients that are hepatitis C virus-positive were also more likely to test positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).

Oral Cancer and Hepatitis CThe question remains, how does hepatitis C virus increase oral cancer risk?

The JNCI research found that patients infected with the hepatitis C virus had a higher odd ratio of having cancer of the oral cavity, oropharynx, or larynx than those without hepatitis C virus infection. Enhanced replication of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal tissues may in fact contribute to chronic inflammation, ultimately prompting cancer development. Human papillomavirus is known to suppress local immune response, which may accelerate the production of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal cells. The JNCI notes that human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus may play a “synergistic role” in the development of oropharyngeal cancers by stimulating loss or destruction of tumor suppressor proteins p53 and retinoblastoma protein.

The JNCI notes that one of the study’s limitations is that it didn’t include individuals with hepatitis C virus who didn’t have oral cancer. All and all, it is important to take away from The Journal of the National Cancer Institute’s study that it is important to educate Hepatology (study of liver, gallbladder and pancreas health) and infectious disease specialists. These doctors who treat patients with hepatitis C virus need to understand that the hepatitis C virus not only drastically affect liver health, but it’s also a systemic infection that can drastically affect oral health.

Your oral health is important to us. If you suspect that your oral health is at risk, give Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery a call today and schedule an oral cancer screening!

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Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

Dental implants are a safe and effective replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. The implant is placed in your jawbone and integrates with your natural bone. This implant then forms a stable, sturdy base for your new teeth.

LearnTheLingoImplantsWhat They Are

  • Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.
  • Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.
  • Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

  • Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.
  • Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.

Where They Go

  • Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.
  • Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.

What Happens To Them

  • Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium/zirconium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are usually made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.
  • Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today at Katy Periodontology & Oral Surgery to discuss your options with an implant specialist!

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