Periodontal Disease: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

Bonney Lake Periodontal Disease

It is estimated that 35.7 million Americans are living with a bacterial infection of the gums known as periodontal disease. This infection attacks the tissue that keeps your teeth attached to your gums.

On average, more than 500 species of bacteria live in your mouth.2 Some of these bacteria are beneficial, while others under the right conditions can cause disease. Living a healthy lifestyle helps you keep the harmful bacteria under control. Not taking care of your overall health and your teeth and gums can cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, which may lead to serious health problems beyond the mouth, in addition to the threat of losing your teeth.

35.7 million Americans are living with a bacterial infection of the gums known as periodontal disease

Factors that predispose people to gum disease include bad oral hygiene and genetics. In fact, research has proved that up to 30% of the population may be genetically predisposed to gum disease.3

Periodontitis, a severe form of periodontal disease, is caused by plaque that develops just below the gum line, in the area called the sulcus or periodontal pocket, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. The mildest form of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis and is triggered by bacterial plaque that forms at the gum line.




What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that supports your teeth. It attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down.


WARNING SIGNS

  • Pain in the mouth
  • Gums bleed when brushing
  • Spaces develop between teeth
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Receding gums (exposing the bottom of your teeth)
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Sores develop

RISK FACTORS
  • Tobacco use
  • Systemic diseases
  • Use of certain types of medicine
  • Bridges that no longer fit
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that have become defective
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral cancer

If you're showing warning signs, see your Bonney Lake dentist. Mild gum disease may be controlled by routine professional teeth cleanings and more diligent home care. Gingivitis and early periodontitis can be kept under control by your dental team.

Scaling and root planing also may be a step your dentist or hygienist takes to control early to moderate periodontitis. Scaling removes hard and soft deposits of calculus from the crown of the tooth. Root planing smooths away calculus deposits that collect on the root surfaces beneath the gums.1

Local, needle-free methods are available to keep you comfortable during this process. Your dental professional may also choose to perform this treatment one area of your mouth at a time over a series of office visits.

For advanced gum diseases, surgical treatments using local anesthetics may be performed. To reduce the size of gingival pockets, a periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease causing bacteria. He or she may also reshape the bone and gum, add bone grafts if necessary, and then stitch the tissue back into place.

Diastemas and the Treatment Options

Diastemas

What is a Diastema and How do I Treat It?

A diastema is an area of extra space between two or more teeth. The two front teeth of the upper jaw area is where diastema is most frequently seen. Many children experience diastema as primary teeth fall out, though in most cases these spaces close when the permanent teeth erupt.

Diastemas may also be caused by a tooth size discrepancy, missing teeth or an oversized labial frenum, the tissue that extends from the inside of the lip to the gum tissue where the upper two front teeth are located. Secondary reasons involve oral alignment issues such as an overjet or protrusion of the teeth.1


What are My Treatment Options?

Once your dentist or dental specialist has determined the reason for your diastema, a treatment plan will be discussed. Options may include:

  • Keep the diastema.

  • Orthodontic treatment to move the teeth and close the diastema.

  • Use porcelain veneers, very thin pieces of porcelain bonded to the outside of the teeth.

  • Crown and bridge work or replacement of teeth with implants (adults only).

If you have an oversized labial frenum, you may be referred to a periodontist for an oral consultation and surgical procedure called a frenectomy. This procedure involves cutting the frenum and then repositioning to allow for more flexibility. If the frenectomy is conducted on a child, the space may close by itself. If it is a teenager or adult, the space may need to be closed with braces. A consultation with your dentist is essential to determine which option is the right option to treatment for you.

If you're having diastemas and looking for a treatment option, please contact our Bonney Lake dentist today!

The Important Reasons for Mouth Guards

Mouth Guards

A mouth guard is a soft plastic or laminate device used in sports to prevent oral injuries to the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. The American Dental Association projects that one third of all dental injuries are sports related. The use of a mouth guard can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year.

The types of dental injuries that can occur without the use of a mouth guard are chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth, fractured jaws, and concussions. Any athlete may be at risk for oral injury and any injury can be prevented with the use of a mouth guard.

Mouth guards are mandatory in collision sports such as football, hockey and boxing where the risk of injury is likely. Children and adults involved in incidental contact sports like basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling, soccer and volleyball may consider wearing a mouth guard to prevent injuries to the mouth.

A study of high school athletes found that seventy-five percent of injuries occurred when mouth guards were not worn and forty percent occurred during baseball and basketball. Nine percent of all athletes suffered some type of oral injury while another three percent reported a loss of consciousness. Fifty-six percent of all concussions were suffered when mouth guards were not worn. Trauma related to sports is more prevalent than previously reported.

Child or adult, a mouth guard is essential for all athletes. For more information about the right mouth guard for you, consult your dental professional.

For any further questions or concerns, contact our dentist in Bonney Lake today.

What Is Fluorosis?

Fluorosis

Your permanent teeth form under your gums in the jawbone during early childhood. Except for your wisdom teeth, the crowns (the part you see in the mouth) of all of the permanent teeth fully form by the time you are about 8 years old. If you consume too much fluoride as a young child, the extra fluoride can disrupt the formation of the enamel (outer part) of your permanent teeth and lead to fluorosis, which varies from minor discoloration to surface irregularities of the teeth. The extra fluoride does not affect other parts of the tooth. Once your teeth have erupted into your mouth, they are not susceptible to fluorosis.

Fluorosis is a cosmetic condition, not a disease. Often, it is so mild that only a dental professional can detect it. Most cases of fluorosis result from young children taking fluoride supplements or swallowing fluoride toothpaste when the water they drink is already fluoridated.


Symptoms

Teeth affected by mild fluorosis may show no visible changes or changes visible only to a dental professional. Mild to moderate fluorosis is characterized by white lines, streaks or spots. In more severe fluorosis, the teeth can become pitted and have brown, gray or black spots, and the enamel can be misshapen.


Diagnosis

Your dentist and dental hygienist will ask if your child received fluoride supplements, used fluoride toothpaste or drank fluoridated water in previous years. They also will ask about past and present medical conditions or disabilities that may affect your child's teeth. Your dentist will examine your child's teeth and gums and take X-rays to make sure there are no other defects in the teeth.

Other conditions may look like fluorosis. Developmental defects and craniofacial problems can cause disruptions in the enamel or dentin of the teeth. In addition, infants or young children who have high fevers or experience trauma (such as a fall that injures a tooth) may have discolored teeth. Young children can get cavities in their primary teeth, so any tooth discoloration should be checked at the dental office.


Expected Duration

The spots and stains left by fluorosis are permanent and may darken over time.


Prevention

If you have a child under 6, put only a small smear or pea-sized amount of toothpaste on his or her toothbrush and encourage him or her to spit rather than swallow after brushing. Avoid toothpastes with flavors that may encourage swallowing. Keep all fluoride-containing products (toothpastes, mouthwashes, etc.) out of the reach of young children.

The addition of fluoride to drinking water is one of the great preventive disease programs of the 20th century. Children should take fluoride supplements only if the water they drink does not contain enough fluoride. If your child is taking fluoride supplements now, check the amount of fluoride in your water. If you are on a public water supply, call your supplier to ask about the fluoridation level. You can also have your dentist check a sample of your water. Then discuss with your dentist whether your child needs fluoride supplements.

Some foods and beverages contain fluoride. For example, many fruit juices and soft drinks contain fluoride at levels similar to fluoridated water. Some bottled waters now have added fluoride. Young children should drink limited amounts of these beverages.


Treatment

Many cases of fluorosis are minor enough not to need treatment or the fluorosis may occur only on the back teeth, where it can't be seen. More serious cases and cases involving the front teeth can be treated by removing the surface-stained areas through tooth whitening or other procedures. Severe cases of fluorosis can be covered with restorations, such as bonding, crowns or veneers.


When Should I Contact My Dentist?

If you notice white streaks or spots on your child's teeth or notice that one or more teeth are discolored, contact your Bonney Lake dentist today!

What you should know about dry mouth

Dry Mouth

Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while — if they are nervous, upset or under stress.

But if you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems.

Dry mouth can

  • Cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking

  • Increase your chance of developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth

  • Be a sign of certain diseases and conditions

  • Be caused by certain medications or medical treatments


Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. So if you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician — there are things you can do to get relief.

What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet.

Symptoms Include:

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth

  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking

  • A burning feeling in the mouth

  • A dry feeling in the throat

  • Cracked lips

  • A dry, tough tongue

  • Mouth sores

  • An infection in the mouth


What Can be Done About Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. If you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician. He or she can try to determine what is causing your dry mouth.

  • If your dry mouth is caused by medicine, your physician might change your medicine or adjust the dosage

  • If your salivary glands are not working right but can still produce some saliva, your physician or dentist might give you a medicine that helps the glands work better

  • Your physician or dentist might suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet

What can I do?

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often

  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth

  • Sip water or a sugarless drink during meals. This will make chewing and swallowing easier. It may also improve the taste of food

  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow; citrus, cinnamon or mint-flavored candies are good choices

  • Don't use tobacco or alcohol. They dry out the mouth

  • Be aware that spicy or salty foods may cause pain in a dry mouth

  • Use a humidifier at night

For more information regarding dry mouth, please contact our Bonney Lake dental office today!

Lost Filling or Crown

Lost Filling of Crown

Fillings, which are materials used to fill cavities in the teeth, and crowns, which slip over and cover the tops of damaged teeth, sometimes loosen and fall out. This is rarely an emergency, but it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to pressure, air or hot and cold temperatures. In some cases, a filling or crown may come loose because decay has developed underneath it. The decay can cause the tooth to change shape and as a result, the crown of filling no longer fits the tooth properly.


What You Can Do

You may be eating, or biting on something hard when you discover that a filling or a crown has become lose or fallen out. You may feel the lost filling or crown in your mouth.

If it's a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you can. You don't want to wait too long because the tooth will be weak and could be damaged more if it is not protected by the crown. Also, when a crown is missing for a long time, your teeth may move. If this happens your crown may no longer fit.

If the tooth is sensitive and you can't get to your dentist right away, here's what you can do:

If you can reach the sensitive area, apply a little clove oil with a cotton swab. It works well to dull tooth pain. You can buy clove oil in pharmacies and also in the spice aisle of many supermarkets. If you have the crown, you may be able to slip it back over the tooth. Before you do that, it's important to clean the inside of the crown as best you can. To hold it in place temporarily, coat the inner surface of the crown with tooth "cement," which you can buy in the dental section of your pharmacy. There are several temporary cements available. Some need to be mixed; others come ready to use. You also can use denture adhesive or even petroleum jelly if nothing else is available. These aren't permanent solutions, but they will help to hold the crown in place until you can see your dentist. You should not use any household glues to hold the crown in place. These products are not safe to put in your mouth and can damage the tooth and crown.

If you've lost the filling or crown, you can use over-the-counter dental cement to cover the tooth surface. This will help to protect and seal the area until you're able to see your dentist, and can make you more comfortable.


What Our Dentist Will Do

If the tooth is structurally sound and the crown still fits properly, your dentist will clean the area and then replace the crown.

If the tooth has been affected by decay, your dentist will need to prepare the tooth again by removing the decay and then making a new filling or crown to replace the old one.

Contact our Bonney Lake dental office of Light Dental Studios today if you lost your fillings or crowns.

TMJ Disorder Treatment

TMJ disorders

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), located just in front of the lower part of the ear, allows the lower jaw to move. The TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint, just like the hip or shoulder. When the mouth opens wide, the ball (called the condyle) comes out of the socket and moves forward, going back into place when the mouth closes. TMJ becomes dislocated when the condyle moves too far and gets stuck in front of a bony prominence called the articular eminence. The condyle can't move back into place. This happens most often when the ligaments that normally keep the condyle in place are somewhat loose, allowing the condyle to move beyond the articular eminence. The surrounding muscles often go into spasm and hold the condyle in the dislocated position.


Symptoms

The jaw locks in an open position and you cannot close your mouth. The condition can cause significant discomfort until the joint returns to the proper position.


Diagnosis

The dentist bases the diagnosis on the position of the jaw and the person's inability to close his or her mouth.


Expected Duration

The problem remains until the joint is moved back into place. However, the area can be tender for a few days.


Prevention

TMJ dislocation can continue to happen in people with loose TMJ ligaments. To keep this from happening too often, dentists recommend that people limit the range of motion of their jaws, for example by placing their fist under their chin when they yawn to keep from opening their mouths too widely. Conservative surgical treatments can help to prevent the problem from returning. Some people have their jaws are wired shut for a period of time, which causes the ligaments to become less flexible and restricts their movement. In certain cases, surgery may be necessary. One procedure, called an eminectomy, removes the articular eminence so the ball of the joint no longer gets stuck in front of it. Another procedure involves injecting medications into the TMJ ligaments to tighten them.


Treatment

The muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint need to relax so that the condyle can return to its normal position. Many people can have their dislocated jaw corrected without local anesthetics or muscled relaxants. However, some people need an injection of local anesthesia in the jaw joint, followed by a muscle relaxant to relax the spasms. The muscle relaxant is given intravenously (into a vein in the arm). Rarely, someone may need a general anesthetic in the operating room to have the dislocation corrected. In this case, it may be necessary to wire the jaws shut or use elastics between the top and bottom teeth to limit the movement of the jaw.

To move the condyle back into the correct position, a doctor or dentist will pull the lower jaw downward and tip the chin upward to free the condyle . The doctor or dentist then guides the ball back into the socket. After the joint is relocated, a soft or liquid diet is recommended for several days to minimize jaw movement and stress. People should avoid foods that are hard to chew, such as tough meats, carrots, hard candies or ice cubes, and be careful not to open their mouths too widely.


When to Call our Office

A TMJ dislocation requires an immediate visit to the doctor or hospital emergency room to have the joint put back in place. You may be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for treatment.