Posted in gum disease, oral health

4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Have you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease. They’re all are treatable and it starts with an infection of bacteria under the gum line.

gingivitis_2The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. These pockets can have a depth up to 7 millimeters. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss impacting your total well-being. Depending on how quickly and destructive your case is determines if surgical or non-surgical treatment is the best option for you.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek Help

Common red flags of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. If not stopped quickly, serious damage to your gum and supporting bone will require much more aggressive treatment to save your teeth. Only professional treatment can help, so call today for a consultation (952) 920-9209.

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-9209

Posted in Frenectomy, Periodontal

Who Needs a Frenectomy?

Before the “who”, let’s start with the “what”— what’s a frenectomy? The short answer: a frenectomy is a minor dental procedure where excessive gum tissue is removed. Specifically gum tissue around the gum line. A frenectomy can be performed on one of two areas in the mouth: the lingual frenum or the labial frenum. Both are common and highly effective.

Lingual Frenectomy

The lingual frenum is beneath the tongue. Depending on growth, you’re likely just fine or may be a bit tongue tied. This is when the lingual frenum is tight enough to impede speech, and is really most common in children. In cases like these, having a lingual frenectomy will loosen your tongue to a greater range of motion allowing for clearer speaking. In some cases, it will also improve appetite if the excessive tissue was hindrance when eating.

Labial Frenectomy

The second type of frenectomy is on the labial frenum. It is much more visible as it’s the skin that’s attached to the middle of your upper gums. If there’s excess, it will pull your gums away from the bone. This often causes a gap between the two front teeth along with gum recession. If you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, you may be recommended to have a frenectomy to help close gaps in your smile zone. While denture patients may consider the procedure to have a more secure fit, as the frenum may rub against the prosthetic causing discomfort.

Am I A Candidate for a Frenectomy?Frenectomy - image

A frenectomy is a quick procedure that can take as little as 15-minutes to fix a life-long problem. As with any dental treatment, we can only be sure you’re a candidate based on your unique case. If you’re tongue tied, feel like your tongue has limited range of motion, getting ready for orthodontic treatment, or if you have dentures, call for a consultation.

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-9209

Posted in dental implants, Oral Surgery, Periodontal

Sinus Lift: what is it and do you need one?

A sinus lift is recommended when there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw or not enough room between sinuses for dental implants to be placed. The surgery adds necessary bone to the jaw and the sinuses on either side of your nose to build a stronger foundation in preparation for dental implants. The sinus membrane is lifted by a dental specialist (oral surgeon, endodontist or periodontist) to make room for the bone transplant.

Do I Need a Sinus Lift? Maybe…

shutterstock_133240190You may be a candidate for a sinus lift if you have bone loss due to periodontitis or resorption of bone after a prolonged period of having missing teeth (sunken jaw). It’s often necessary in these circumstances to augment the existing bone in the jaw in preparation for dental implants. The donor bone may come from your own body or other medically appropriate substitute. If the bone comes from your own body, it is most often taken from your hip or tibia. You will have x-rays taken to determine the anatomy of your jaw and sinuses, as well as a CT scan to accurately measure the height and width of your existing bone.

How’s a Sinus Lift Done?

The actual sinus lift procedure starts with your dental specialist creating an incision in the back of your mouth to reveal the bone, raising the sinus membrane up and away from your jaw. Then a small, circular shaped hole in the bone is opened. Granules of the bone graft are packed into this hole, and the tissue will then be closed with stitches.

Aftercare Instructions for Sinus Lift

don't sneezeAfter the procedure it is important to avoid blowing your nose or sneezing forcefully. These place you at risk for loosening the graft and stitches. You’ll have a saline wash to keep the inner lining of your nose wet, as well as an antimicrobial mouthwash that helps prevent infection at the incision site. Pain meds will be prescribed as will antibiotics. Be sure to complete the full round of antibiotics.

After a sinus lift, contact us if swelling or pain gets worse over time. Should bleeding not stop after two days or if the blood is bright red and continuous, your bone graft may have become dislodged, call us immediately. Also let us know if you develop a fever as this could be a sign of infection. The healing process generally takes between four to nine months. This allows the bone graft to mesh with your bone, and after it’s healed, you will be ready for your dental implants.

If you are interested in dental implants or have questions about the sinus lift procedure, call us today at (952) 920-92

 

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-9209

Posted in gum disease, oral health, Periodontal

Periodontics and Untreated Cavities in the US

shutterstock_14313997With the vast advancements in the dental field this last decade, it may be surprising to learn that untreated cavities stemming from gum disease are still a prevalent and persistent issue for many people in the United States. More than one in five Americans has untreated cavities and periodontitis, according to Dr. Bruce Dye, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “It appears that we haven’t been able to make any significant strides during the last decade to reduce untreated cavities” (Dye.) 

How do cavities relate to periodontal health?

shutterstock_125978177Bacterial plaque continually accumulates on your teeth at the gum line. The same bacterial acids that destroy tooth enamel can cause an infection of your gum tissue and the bone surrounding your teeth. When the plaque is not fully removed, it hardens in to tartar – giving the bacteria a place to thrive, in turn leading to cavities and gum disease that gradually breaks down tooth and bone.

Mother Daughter BrushingYou can reduce your odds of developing gum disease and cavities through engaging in healthy lifestyle choices. Practicing good dental hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing is essential.   Limiting sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks that feed the bacteria that lead to tooth decay and periodontitis is another controllable element in cavity and gum disease prevention.  Regular periodontal cleanings are also paramount. When problems are identified and treated early, it prevents the necessity for further costly and invasive procedures.  If you are experiencing sensitivity or pain, schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-92

Posted in gum disease, Uncategorized

Do You Have a Dental Disorder?

The range of possible dental disorders is wide and some are more easily recognized than others. It could be a bit perplexing to consider you may have a dental disorder without realizing it, but it’s actually more common than you might think. Some disorders have obvious symptoms that may have you running to our office. Others can be more subtle. Do you feel tired, easily irritable, or have difficulty focusing? Do you have facial soreness or pain? Surprisingly, these may be the result of a dental disorder. Our goal is to educate our patients on common and uncommon symptoms that may be a sign to visit our office and receive the required care to remedy these conditions.

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A dental disorder is a disruption of your body’s natural process relating to your oral health. Despite its origins, it is important to understand symptoms may be experienced elsewhere in the body. For this reason, many suffer from ailments they don’t consider relevant to tell their dentist. However, as we are a medical provider we encourage you to share things that may not seem related – you never know! Here are a few to keep on the lookout, so you can better identify signs should something be amiss.

Redness and swelling of the gums may indicate the presence of gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease. Left untreated, it can progress into full blown periodontitis that can threaten your smile and even cause tooth loss. Bleeding from the gums, tooth mobility, and soreness are all signs of periodontitis and should be checked.

Simple bad breath, or halitosis, is very common among adults and teens. While it usually isn’t cause for too much concern, we understand it can weigh on your self-esteem. We care about your health and happiness, and would love to work with you to address the root of the issue. Restoring healthy smiles is what we do; restoring confidence is a happy side effect.

Additionally, a dry mouth may not seem like a dire situation. However, if your mouth constantly feels dry it can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. Saliva plays an important role in ridding your mouth of bacteria, it also aids in digestion meaning it can evolve into issues that transcend the health of your smile.

Dentist Looking Glass Teeth

While scary to confront, oral growths are a condition that can emerge as serious. It is possible for oral growths to be completely benign and harmless, but in other cases they can be the beginning stages of cancer. For this reason it’s important a medical professional diagnose and treat the growths accordingly. Even if you are certain it’s harmless (for example, perhaps you suffered trauma to the face that injured your mouth), it’s still worth an appointment to ensure you’re not at an increased risk for infection or other potential issues.

We understand some conditions may seem complex. Rest assured we are here to work with you to find a solution to your unique needs. If you feel one or more of these conditions may apply to you or a family member, call our office to begin seeking relief today. We are here for you.­­

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-920

Posted in office news

Why A Hard/Soft Tissue Graft?

When it comes to the health and beauty of smiles, some patients may be candidates for tissue grafting procedures. This form of treatment is used to replace the hard or soft tissues of the mouth that have been damaged or similar. There are both medical and cosmetic motivations for a patient to receive a tissue grafting procedure. Our goal is to educate patients on the difference between hard and soft tissue grafts, as well as the reasons they may become necessary. If you find yourself in a position where you require a tissue graft, we will communicate with you each step of the way to ensure your comfort throughout the process.

Soft Tissue Graft

Soft tissue grafts are both medical and cosmetic procedures. Medically speaking, a soft tissue graft is very effective method to repair damage done by gum recession. Gum recession can be caused a variety of ways, but most often it is the result of inadequate dental hygiene practice. Gum recession is a gradual process, making it difficult for the patient to notice; however, when the roots of your teeth become more exposed, they become sensitive to extreme temperatures. The increased exposure also increases your likelihood of disease or infection. Left untreated, recession can lead to loose teeth or even permanent tooth loss. From a cosmetic point of view, some individuals desire a more even or full gum line to enhance the aesthetics of their smile.

In either case, the tissue grafting procedures remain consistent. The doctor will take soft tissue from elsewhere in the mouth, most commonly the palate, and then stitch it to the recipient site. There are several methods by which this can be achieved, and you will be able to talk with us about which is most suitable for your needs. When it comes to healing, your ability to drive after the procedure will depend on whether or not sedatives are administered. You will receive special instructions for your post-operative dental care, and must adhere to a specific diet in order to promote healing. The discomfort you feel post-operatively will depend on how much tissue was removed and how it was done. Fortunately, the gums heal relatively quickly and pain medications keep everything manageable.

Hard Tissue Graft

A hard tissue graft is commonly known as a bone graft. Although it can sound intimidating, a bone graft can offer you very beautiful and natural results if your smile has been damaged. Bone grafts are often recommended for those who have lost teeth and are seeking to restore their smile back to full form and function with dental implants. When a tooth is lost, it catalyzes a process of bone recession in the vacant space created. The longer a tooth replacement is not implemented, the more severe the recession. When a restorative dental implant is to be placed, it is vital that there is enough supporting bone for the artificial root. If there is not, that is when we first graft additional bone into the area.

The amount of bone grafted depends on the preexisting condition of the area; if the tooth is only recently lost, it may only be a minor amount. If it’s been allowed to deteriorate, it may require more attention. As with soft tissue grafting, the doctor will provide instructions to promote healthy healing after your procedure. With proper care and a watchful eye, you will be healed up in no time, and have an absolutely beautiful smile to show for it!

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-920

Posted in office news

Your Medicine Cabinet May Be Damaging Your Smile

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Connecting The Dots of Gum Disease

We all know the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, and the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone – but the chain of command for your oral health can be a little less clear.

Well, plaque is connected to your teeth and daily brushing is key to plaque removal. What’s connected to plaque that isn’t removed? That would be tartar. Plaque hardens and becomes tartar, which makes a permanent home out of your teeth and gums. Only a professional can remove tartar – brushing alone cannot. Untreated tartar can wreck havoc on your oral health, and it isn’t always plain to see. This is what we call gum disease, or periodontitis. Signs you can look for include: swelling and/or redness of the gums (healthy gums should be tight and pink), as well as easy bleeding while brushing or flossing. Left untreated, the problem will worsen as your gums recede, creating pockets for more build-up to nest inside. The chain continues: the build-up’s connected to the infection of gums, and the infection of the gums is connected to the destruction of the bone structure and then removal of your teeth.

Yikes, the periodontitis song isn’t half as fun as the original.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – but what if you’re still seeing signs of periodontitis and you take excellent preventative care of your teeth? The answer may be in your medicine cabinet.

Dental Dangers in your Medicine Cabinet

Yes indeed. Some medications are known to reduce natural saliva production, and saliva prevents plaque from accumulating. A few medicines can even cause abnormal gum tissue growth.

Saliva Reduction: Over 400 medications are known to affect saliva production. This list includes common medications like asthma inhalers and anti-anxiety medications. Nobody but your doctor or pharmacist can tell you which medications may have certain side effects, so always ask questions when receiving a new prescription.

Abnormal gum tissue growth: This type of gum disease is sometimes called “drug induced gingival enlargement” (DIGO), and can be contributed to by medications intended to help other conditions, like seizures. While these prescriptions may be incredibly important, work with your doctor to find one that agrees with your personal medical needs without causing gum disease.

You don’t have to live with painful, unhealthy teeth

If you take excellent care of your teeth and any of these symptoms or other dental discomfort applies to you: talk to your dentist, talk to your doctor, but don’t let your oral discomfort spiral out of control.

The jawbone should only be connected to a healthy smile.

 

Dr. Thomas Hoover, Dr. Neil Covin, and Dr. Satya Molleti
3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-920