Posted in gum disease, Periodontal, oral health

Deep Cleaning: What it means to you.

You’re a good person – you pay your taxes, pick up litter, and make it to the dentist every 6 months. Now you’re being told you may need a deep cleaning…but don’t you clean your teeth every day? And isn’t a deep cleaning what the dentist always does? Not quite, although we know it can sometimes feel that way.

A regular dental cleaning is what you are accustomed to receiving every 6 months. The intention of this visit to the dentist is to maintain your healthy gums and give your teeth a little extra attention when it comes to matters of plaque and tartar, which can be difficult to remove fully with a toothbrush and floss alone. The odds are that if you are brushing and flossing every day, and taking any other steps recommended by your doctor, a regular dental cleaning is a perfect addition to your regular care that will keep your smile happy and healthy.

Deep cleaning, a necessity?

A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is what becomes necessary when the health of your teeth and gums become jeopardized by gum disease (or ‘periodontitis’).  To put it in perspective, your gums are supposed to have tight and healthy seals around your teeth to protect them and keep them firmly in place. A standard part of your regular cleaning is your doctor using a diagnostic tool called a ‘periodontal probe’ to ensure this is the case; the probe is used to measure the depth of the space between your gums and teeth. Typically 1-3mm is considered normal, and there should be very little or no bleeding at all. Upwards of 4mm is a sign that you are developing ‘pockets’, which are a space between the teeth and gums that become prime breeding ground for bacteria and tartar buildup. Plaque that is not brushed and flossed away left on the teeth for more than 24 hours can become tartar, which only your dentist can remove. Left unattended, these pockets can deepen and compromise the tooth and the surrounding bone structure. If the dentist uses the probe and measures 4mm or more, and/or there are significant bleeding and signs of inflammation, then a deep cleaning will be scheduled to help you get your smile back on track.

Deep cleaning is not a scary process.

Oftentimes, your dentist will break the cleaning into two separate visits to most effectively treat your mouth, this is especially important if your entire mouth needs attention so that you’ll be numbed in only smaller sections of your mouth each time, making for a completely comfortable process and quick recovery. The most common forms of treatment are ‘scaling’ and ‘root planing’. The process of scaling involves using a professional tool to remove plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth and the pocket area that has been created between your teeth and gums. A scaling instrument, on the other hand, removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the root of your teeth, which is below the gum line and not visible. These tools are the only thing that can remove built-up plaque, as even floss cannot reach far into deepened pockets. The good news is they do a wonderful job of cleaning up any tartar that has built up beneath the visible surface.

Periodontitis is a progressive disease, and left unattended can turn into a much more serious problem. Fortunately, the treatment is typically straightforward and as long as you follow the doctor’s aftercare instructions, the bacteria should be reduced to manageable levels and your gums should return to normal and lose any signs of redness. If you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your teeth, have red and/or puffy gums, or are experiencing bleeding during normal brushing and flossing – call us. The sooner periodontitis is identified the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for you if you have any concerns about your oral health just remember that a professional evaluation is never harmful and may offer you some great information.

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

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Posted in gum disease, Periodontal, Uncategorized

3 Ways Oral Health Influences Your Body: Heart Disease, Diabetes, Pregnancy

Happy 2018! New Year’s resolutions are not as popular as they once were, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your everyday life. Now is always the right time!  Did you know oral health affects your overall health?  It’s important to brush and floss daily along with dental check-ups every 6 months. Poor oral habits can lead to gum disease because your mouth is swarming with bacteria. And gum disease is linked to heart diseases, diabetes, and pregnancy. Oral health is connected to your total health.

Heart Disease                                                     

QuoteAre you wondering how your oral health relates to your heart? Everyday brushing and flossing manages the bacteria levels in your mouth.  Without daily cleaning, bacteria is free to flow into your bloodstream and can travel to your arteries.  Arteries are blood vessels that distribute oxygen from your heart to your body. This can lead to atherosclerosis where plaque builds up on the inner layers of your arteries. This can cause clots that can block blood flow through your body.  Increasing the likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Source: American Heart Association

Diabetes

Did you know you are 3 to 4 times more likely to have gum disease after being diagnosed with diabetes?  Diabetes affects how your body processes sugar and leaving you at a higher risk for gum disease. It can also make your blood sugar level constantly increase. Meaning your body has a harder time fighting the bacteria attacking your gums. People receiving gum disease treatment along with antibiotics showed improvements with their blood sugar levels. Be sure to keep us updated on your health history and medication lists.

Source: American Diabetes Association

 Pregnancy

Pregnancy is no excuse to slack on your oral care. Hormone levels are uncontrollable it can cause your gums to bleed, swell, and absorb food. This leads to pregnancy gingivitis.  Another thing to look out for is pregnancy tumors. While harmless, they start to appear during your second trimester between your teeth. If you begin to feel pain or irritation your dentist can have them removed. Most of the time they disappear after your child is born.

A common side effect of pregnancy is morning sickness which can be alarming for your teeth. The acid from your stomach can lead to tooth decay. We recommended gargling with baking soda and water after an episode of morning sickness before brushing your teeth. Dental appointments and procedures are encouraged during pregnancy to help prevent gum disease. It is optimal to have dental work done during your second trimester because the developments of your fetal organs are complete and the risks of side effects are lower.  Once you are in the third trimester it may be harder for you to lay on your back for a long period of time.

Source: American Pregnancy Association

ToothpasteLiving a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming but remember to make small strides daily. Here are five healthy habits for a happy life.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily
  • Floss once a day
  • Preventive health care screening, at least once every six months
  • Smile and Laugh
  • Physical Activity
  • Adequate sleep

 

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

4 Tasty Foods to Avoid with Gum Disease

Gum Disease can be painful at any stage. If you have Stage 2 or Stage 3 periodontitis dietary changes will be bittersweet. You may already be finding yourself naturally gravitating to softer foods in effort to avoid discomfort. It’s important to mention foods themselves don’t really contribute to gum disease, but are troublesome for the exposed root surfaces from a dental caries (cavity) perspective. Here are a few surprises that could aggravate your condition.

  1. Pickles and Relish

PicklingWhile not typically considered something to avoid for oral health, vinegar is the prime suspect here.  As you may know, it’s highly acidic, and acid is notorious for quickly wearing down tooth enamel. So, it’s important to keep this in mind when eating anything pickled while your tooth roots are exposed.

  1. Peanut Butter

You either love it or hate it. You may even be particular in how you eat it, straight from the jar or only in a sandwich… Have you ever tried it with pickles? This easy to digest, childhood staple can be a healthy snack when opting for the “no added sugar” variety. While it may take some getting used to, it’s the sugar that helps peanut butter better stick to your teeth and tooth roots.

  1. Dried Fruit

Dried FruitLoaded with sugar, the stickiness in dried fruit may or may not be something you’re still able to enjoy. Even in small doses, there’s a high chance of this sweet treat getting stuck deep in your teeth and gums. Once lodged, it feeds the bacteria and can further dental erosion.

  1. Crackers

There’s crackers for every occasion, and this appetizer favorite is not typically associated with dental problems. However, consuming an abundant amount of refined carbohydrates is a known cause of inflammation. Avoid exacerbating your situation by limiting carbs.

Having a perio treatment plan with a dedicated hygiene routine will keep your smile on a healthy track. Periodontitis is treatable. Avoiding sticky, sugary and pickled foods is best for patients suffering from gum disease. If you have any questions about what dietary changes are necessary for your oral health, speak with your periodontist directly. We have the best understanding of your unique situation.

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

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 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.

shutterstock_115032628-VECTOR

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 gum disease

Keep Calm and Floss On

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On August 2nd, this New York Times article was published and caused quite a bit of controversy in both the dental community and with the general public. While it is not conclusive in its findings, the overarching claim is that flossing may not be as beneficial as once thought. As dental professionals, we take very seriously the responsibility we have ensuring our patients receive the best possible education and care regarding the health of their smiles. For this reason, we feel compelled to express our disagreement with the suggestion that flossing may be overrated, and why that’s a harmful position to propagate.

Let’s first look at the article, which uses a lot of language such as:

  • “…flossing may be
  • “…most of the current evidence fell short…”
  • “That flossing has the same benefit is a hunch that has never been proved.”
  • “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known asgingivitis.”

There is a stark difference between something ‘not having been proved’ and something being ‘disproved’. Please know that there is no evidence remotely close to suggesting the latter. In fact whether the evidence is “mediocre” or not, the only evidence the article does mention (quoted above) is in favor of flossing. A lack of ability to prove something is not cause to discourage an entire population from participating in a highly beneficial component of their health care. This is particularly true because evidence is acquired by conducting large-scale studies, which are extremely costly. It would hardly be economical to spend the research funding to prove something we already have no doubt offers a variety of benefit for your oral and overall health.

We do not agree with the article’s brash call to action, or more accurately, call to inaction, and we fear how this may increase the number of people inflicted with preventable damage to their smile. Looking again at the line “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.” Gingivitis is the first stage in periodontal disease – the very condition flossing aims to combat. To reduce gingivitis is to reduce your chances of progressing into advanced gum disease, a condition more than half of Americans already suffer from (CDC).

It is unfortunate the scale of damage this article has the potential to incite; too many readers will take this “lack of evidence” as being evidence to the contrary, and feel it gives them permission to neglect a very essential part of their oral health care.

We can only do our best to keep our patients like you educated and on the path to a lifelong happy and healthy smile – a path that certainly includes consistent flossing.

CDC: “Periodontal Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2015. Web.

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