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

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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

Posted in office news

5 Reasons to See a Periodontist

Most of us are well-versed with our trips to the general dentist and why regular cleanings are an important part of health care. However, teeth and all of their relating components are complicated systems requiring the help of several specialists – no matter the issue, there is a doctor that can help you! The doctor may be your general dentist, but it could also be a specialty doctor that has extensive training on a specific aspect of your oral health. In this way, you can be confident you are always taken care of and your smile can keep on shining.

We are a periodontics practice, focusing on your periodontal health. This includes your gums and related surgical procedures. We can also replace missing teeth and perform cosmetic procedures to keep you feeling confident. When it comes to trips to our office, here are five common reasons we might see you here:

  1. Implant Placement
  2. Periodontitis Treatment
  3. Gum Lifts & Crown Lengthening
  4. Bone Grafting & Regeneration
  5. Ridge Regeneration

Implant Placement

Implant procedures are one of our primary specializations – having a missing tooth can damage a person’s confidence, but did you know it can also affect the health of their mouth? When your smile has a vacant space, gum tissue and the surrounding teeth will compete to fill it. The damage it can cause is highly preventable, so if you have a missing tooth you should let us know. It is both a cosmetic and medical procedure that we are happy to work through with you.

Periodontitis Treatment

The development of periodontitis (gum disease) is a highly treatable condition that it is important to address. The early stage, known as gingivitis, is entirely reversible with proper care and help from your general dentist. However, once the condition advances, you may need our help to restore harmony to your smile. If left untreated, extensive damage occurs that may even result in the loss of teeth – don’t let that happen, give us a call.

Gum Lifts & Crown Lengthening

Your gums play an important role in the health and aesthetics of your smile! Gum tissue can recede and require corrective treatments, or exist in excess resulting in dissatisfaction with your gummy smile. Gum recession is attributed to several things, including periodontitis or insufficient home care. Fortunately, we can remedy both conditions in our office by either grafting or lifting – don’t let your gums dictate your confidence in your smile.

Bone Grafting & Regeneration

There are a variety of situations that require a bone grafting procedure for when there is not sufficient bone remaining in the mouth, most commonly: extraction site graft, past injury, severe caries, or periodontal disease. Bone regeneration is a procedure used to prevent gum scar tissue from invading a vacant space in order to best reshape or rebuild the jaw. The use of these procedures can greatly enhance the outcome of restorative procedures, such as dental implants.

Ridge Regeneration

Ridge regeneration is a helpful procedure when it comes to the successful placement of implants or dentures. When a tooth is lost, it’s nearly impossible for the surrounding gum tissue to remain unaffected; instances like this require remedial steps to ensure the success of restorative treatments. By using ridge regeneration, we reinforce the integrity of your jawbone and achieve beautiful results with natural looking dental implants.

 

We are here to help you feel confident about the health of your smile. If you believe any of these procedures could benefit you, or if you have any other concerns about your oral health – contact our office and let us help.

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 office news

What Types of Sedation Dentistry Are There?

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Pros and Cons of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry, or ‘sleep dentistry’, is the use of sedatives to ensure the patient has a relaxed and calm experience during dental procedures at our [CITY] dentist office. We understand dental anxiety is a common and natural reaction. We want you to know that you are taken care of so you can feel excited about improving your smile. You have several different options to consider, and each offers their own unique pros and cons.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is a very common sedative, as it only requires the patient to take a simple pill. Depending on the prescribed dosage it may be taken the night before, or as soon as an hour before the procedure. Many patients prefer oral sedatives because no needles are involved, and they prove very effective while also remaining very affordable.
You should consider that you will need a friend or family member to drive you to and from your appointment, and you should not operate a vehicle or other heavy machinery until the effectives wear off – it’s important to follow the medication’s guidelines. Oral sedatives are most commonly used for a light to moderate form of sedation.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, most commonly referred to as ‘laughing gas’, is another simple and non-invasive form of sedation. It is is administered via inhalation through a mask placed over the nose. A major benefit to nitrous oxide is the effects only last as long as the gas is flowing, so you are safe to drive immediately following your procedure. However, it is considered a light form of sedation and may not be sufficient for some patients.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

IV sedation is another common method which offers the doctor the ability to adjust the level of sedation as-needed throughout the procedure. This form of sedation requires the use of a needle, which some patients find uncomfortable. On the other hand, it provides a deeper form of sedation which can greatly reduce dental anxiety and increase comfort during treatment. It would still be necessary to make driving accommodations.

General Anesthesia

This is the deepest form of sedation. General anesthesia is for patients who do not want to experience any part of the procedure, and renders them unconscious. This is not a good option for patients who do not have severe anxieties as it can only be administered by an anesthesiologist or other certified surgeon, which often drives the cost of the overall procedure up significantly.  However, for some it is the only way they feel comfortable with dental work, and it’s always better to ensure you are receiving the treatment you need. As this is the heaviest form of sedation, you will need someone to drive you home following the procedure.

Please keep in mind we do not recommend sedation dentistry for any specific procedures – only individual patients and their unique needs. There is no procedure that does or does not require a sedative; it completely depends on your comfort level. If you have an upcoming treatment and would like to discuss how sedation dentistry could benefit you, please let us know. We will work with you to ensure your procedure is an anxiety-free experience!

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 office news

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

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Sedation dentistry is a common practice to help patients with dental anxiety receive the care they need. It is not necessary for any particular procedure, and depends only on the need of the individual. In fact, some patients really dislike the use of sedatives and may never opt to include them in their dental treatments.

If you think sedation dentistry may be beneficial to you, here are a few points worth considering!

Types of Sedation

There is no ‘silver bullet’ sedation treatment, and there are actually many different options. Once we take into account the procedure and your individual levels of anxiety, we can then discuss the most effective choice that fits your specific needs. When it comes to selecting a form of sedation, consider the following factors:

 

  • As far as their effects go, the different forms of sedation range from: light, moderate, deep, and unconscious. Light sedation will keep you awake and alert, with mild relaxing qualities; this could be described as “taking the edge off”, and is a good choice for those with minimal anxiety. With moderate sedation you still remain conscious, though you may not remember as much about it; you will still be able to communicate, but will likely slur your words or feel groggy. Deep sedation renders you semi- or fully unconscious and you will not regain lucidity until the sedative wears off or is reversed by the doctor, recovery also may take longer.
  • Some sedatives will inhibit your ability to drive for as long as they remain in your system. Counter-intuitively, light sedation does not mean it wears off sooner and heavy does not mean its effects last longer. It is fully possible to take a light sedative that prevents you from driving for several hours, or experience a deeper sedation that is ended immediately. Please consider whether or not you will want to find a ride to and/or from our office.
  • Sedatives are administered differently, and some patients are uncomfortable with certain methods. Oral sedatives would not be a good choice for patients who dislike taking pills, and IV sedatives would not be a good choice for patients who are afraid of needles. Each process is a little different and should be considered carefully based on your preferences and comfort.
  • The cost of sedatives can vary significantly as well – oral sedatives may be a relatively inexpensive option, while general anesthesia can be costly as it is only administered by a specialist who monitors you throughout the procedure. If cost is a concern, please let us know and we can discuss payment methods.

 

Sedation dentistry is a fantastic option for those who may otherwise fear receiving the treatment they need. If you think you may be a candidate please talk to us! It is always best to ensure you are in good health and have access to quality medical care. Don’t let dental anxiety negatively impact your health. Our trained staff is here to answer your questions, and find the best option to keep you smiling.

Keep an eye out for our topic next month, as we will discuss the specific methods of sedation dentistry, as well as their pros and cons!

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, office news, Uncategorized

A History of Gum Disease

 

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Gum Disease is a condition that is not new to many of us; whether it’s gingivitis, or the later stages of advanced periodontitis, most people have experienced words of caution from their dentist and plans for either prevention or halting progression. Periodontal disease is related to bacteria and plaque/tartar buildup in the mouth, and none of these are recent developments. So if our ancestors did suffer from gum disease – how was it resolved prior to modern medicine? There are some geographical variations to be considered when you note that populations spread around the globe had no means (or motivation) to spread their medical discoveries with one another. We will use the examples of ancient Egypt and Japan to explore just a few ways periodontal disease was found and treated before modern medical discoveries.

In ancient Egypt, as an example, modern researchers have a lot of material they can analyze, due to their burial practices that aimed to preserve their remains. Chronic periodontal disease, as it happens, was similarly pervasive in ancient times as we find it today; however, the causes were both similar and different. While gum disease is ultimately caused by the same bacteria and buildup, in ancient Egypt the culprit for was likely nutritional deficiencies caused by periods of famine and drought, which are less prevalent today, though certainly not absent (Forshaw). Evidence suggests their medical knowledge to treat the ensuing diseases was limited, and primarily limited to topical preparations or mouthwash applied to the diseased tissues for short-term relief, rather than long-term treatment. It also appears treatment was targeted toward reducing tooth mobility, rather than addressing the root of the issue.

Turning our attention to another part of the world, there can be significant evidence found from remains in Japan, from a period cited as around 14,500 BC to 12,000 BC. In these ancient peoples there is a significant presence of bone resorption found in older individuals, indicating the presence of periodontal disease. However in this time period (nearly 16,000 years ago!) ‘older individuals’ could refer to some no older than the age of 15. More interestingly yet, 15 year olds could show the same signs of periodontal advancement that we would not see for 20-30 more years in modern populations; it is suggested that this is due to aging faster as a consequence of the physical stresses of their time that we are not accustomed to today (Fujita). Many times, these diseases went untreated due to the infeasibility of extractions or other corrective measures.

There are few conclusions to be drawn from this information, but it certainly is interesting to learn the ways we compare and differ to our predecessors! It is, however, safe to say that a great number of variables play into the prevalence rates of periodontal disease, as well as how that disease is treated. We can also safely acknowledge that we are fortunate to live in a world where we not only understand the causes and stages of gum disease, as well as how to provide efficient treatment to minimize damage and pain. Certainly a few things to think about the next time we are considering skipping the floss (:

Forshaw, R.J. “Dental Health and Disease in Ancient Egypt.” Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 25 Apr. 2009. Web.

Hisashi Fujita (2012). Periodontal Diseases in Anthropology, Periodontal Diseases – A Clinician’s Guide, Dr. Jane Manakil (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-818-2, InTech. Web.

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 office news

APRIL: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Early Detection Saves Lives

 Oral cancer is nothing to take lightly.  Causing one death every hour, there will be approximately 45,750 new cases diagnosed this year alone.  It also tends to strike men twice as likely as women.

Contributing factors of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (3+ drinks per day)
  • Over exposure to UV light
  • HPV Virus (sexually transmitted)

  7% of diagnosed oral cancer cases that have no identified cause

Smokers are 3 times more likely to develop oral cancer.  Cigars and pipes pose a higher risk than standard cigarettes.

This is how to reduce your risk of oral cancer:

  • Brush & floss regularly
  • Do not use tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Limit sun exposure and always use SPF sunscreen
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutritional supplements ( Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Zinc, Fish oil)
  • Oral cancer screening at your bi-annual dentist exam and cleaning

Cancer Fighting

The way you prepare your meals can play a role as well.  Rather than frying food, give steaming or baking a try!  Bonus: these techniques are also more figure friendly!

Cancer fighting foods:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green Teas
  • Tomatoes

84% of oral cancer cases can be detected early by your dentist

Dental check-ups are vital to oral cancer detection.  Yes, you should be going in for dental check-ups twice a year anyways; however, request you get regularly scheduled oral cancer screenings as well! Oral Cancer - spot

Oral Cancer Signs to Check at Home:

  • Check the entirety of your mouth
  • All the way inside of your cheeks
  • Underside and top of your tongue
  • Roof of your mouth
  • Lymph nodes

You’re looking for discoloration, lumps, asymmetrical swelling or any other abnormalities that you happen to see.  Even if you aren’t too sure about it, it never hurts to give us a call, ask questions and come in to have it checked out.

Get involved.  Help raise awareness.  Spread the word.  Get tested!

Dr. Neil Covin and Dr. Satya Molleti

3401 Wooddale Avenue South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: (952) 920-9209