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 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

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 dental implants

Implant Retained Dentures

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Even if you may not be in the market for dentures, most people are at least familiar with the concept. Traditionally, they are worn over the gums and held in place by an adhesive. However, with the evolution of medical technology, dental implant posts are now placed into the jawbone and used as anchors. Dentures are then securely fixed to the posts, which provide structural integrity to the tooth and aid in the preservation of the jawbone.

Dental Implant Procedure for Dentures

There are a few separate steps to getting your retained dentures properly fitted and ready for action. After the initial consultation, your first procedure will involve placing the actual dental implants that will support the denture. This is done by making incisions into the gum and placing the implant posts securely into your jawbone. After a waiting period, a healing cap may then be placed on the head of each implant, which helps guide the gum tissue to heal properly. The cap is later replaced with regular abutments to hold the dentures in place. Finally, an impression is taken to create your perfect-fit dentures that will sit on your new implant structures. We then ensure the dentures fit comfortably and securely and make any necessary adjustments. Voila!

The Pros and Cons of Retained Dentures

One major factor for patients who choose to use retained dentures is their increased stability. Another benefit is the internal support they offer the jaw; without the implanted roots, jawbones degrade over time causing the structure of the face to sink, which affects your appearance and makes it difficult to secure traditional dentures. They also offer the freedom to eat many foods that would otherwise be impossible to enjoy, chewy foods in particular.

However, that is not to say they are drawback free. First and foremost, although it is a minor procedure, there is an invasive aspect not required with the use of traditional dentures. Additionally, the time it can take to place the implants and allow them to heal is more than some patients feel comfortable with.

Implant Supported Dentures or Traditional Dentures?

Ultimately it is great to have several options when it comes to revitalizing your smile. If you have traditional dentures or think you may be a candidate, ask us about retained dentures. We can give you all the information you need and develop a treatment plan for your individual case!

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