Category: General Dentistry

What is Periodontal Gum Disease?

Have you got swollen or bleeding gums? if so you may have periodontal disease. The earlier this is detected and treated, the better. If periodontal gum disease is left undetected and untreated, perio can cause tooth and bone loss and has been linked to other illnesses. This includes heart disease and stroke in addition to premature and underweight babies.

Thankfully, gum disease can be stopped quickly and efficiently. Treatment can remove infected gum tissue and the bacteria which has caused the infection. Did you know that treating perio is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health and you family oral health.

The American Dental Association (ADA) says that more than 80% of adults have or will experience some form of gum disease. Gum disease, or “periodontal disease”, is a bacterial infection in the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. 

The first stage is called “gingivitis” and is categorised by gum tissue that is red, puffy or inflammed, and bleeds easily when touched with a toothbrush, floss or dental instruments.

The second, third, and fourth stages are initial, moderate, and advanced “periodontal disease”.  These stages differ from gingivitis as the infection has destroyed the bone supporting the teeth, which will result in tooth loss. Treatment is more involved at these stages, usually consisting of a special cleaning with anesthesia and can also require gum surgery.

A thorough dental examination is recommended for the diagnosis of tooth and gum infection is recommended prior to joint replacement. Periodontal disease is very common as an oral infection of the adult population with over 80% being affected). The infection slowly progresses over time and often results in advanced stage in seniors.

As there is no particular discomfort until total loss of bony support to the teeth, many adults are unaware that they have this infection until having an examination. It is important to note that the bacteria from this bone destroying infection, especially in the more advanced cases, has been attributed to possible infection of joint replacements.

People who are considering joint replacements who have not had a dental exam in over 12 months should consider a thorough dental evaluation of their teeth and gums prior to joint replacement surgery.

If a patient has a perio infection, treating gum infections and any abscess can take from 2 – weeks to 2 months before the patient is suitable for surgery.

The infection can continue for years without pain and undetected detection unless an exam is carried out. Visual oral examinations may not necessarily pick up periodontal disease until it is advanced. In order to detect the infection early, pockets between teeth and gums need to be examined. Early detection is vital. Look out for: bleeding gums, redness, swollen gums, bad breath, receding gums and mobility of teeth.

Don’t delay! contact your practice today. Don’t risk perio infection. Your smile and oral health are too important for that. Contact your practice today and ensure you and your family attend regular exams and treatments.

Dental Care FAQ For Parents

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
This is an excellent habit to start early. Your baby’s teeth must be cleaned as they erupt – come through. You can use a small baby toothbrush. If your dentist or health care provider suggests, you can use a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste. Tooth brushing is best carried out by parents in the preschool years. By the time they are 8 years old, children are usually able to brush their teeth effectively. You should to check your child’s teeth regularly for any chalky white or brown spots which could be the beginning of tooth decay.

How should I deal with teething?
Sore gums from teething often occur for a few days at a time between six months to age three. Babies often get relief from a clean teething ring, cold spoon, cold or frozen wet washcloth or toothbrush.  Chilled teething rings or rubbing a clean finger on the sore gum area often helps, too.

When should I take my child to the dentist?
“First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a dentist when their first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age.  An early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future – it’s all about habits and confidence. There is no need to go through avoidable tooth decay and gum disease. Start good habits early and maintain for the best possible results.

What dental problems can children have?
Dental problems can start very early.  A big concern is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD), and this is totally preventable. This be caused by long periods of exposing baby teeth to liquids that contain sugar including formula, milk, breast milk, and juice.

A baby who has a habit of sleeping with a baby bottle filled with any sugary liquid is at risk of getting BBTD. Frequent snacking on sweet or sticky foods can also cause decay. It’s best to stick to a routine for meals and snacks and brushing, and not to feed to sleep.

The earlier your first dental visit to your dentist, the better chance of preventing dental problems, and your child will get used to going to the dentist, and collecting their sticker!  Children with healthy teeth can chew food well, speak clearly and share precious smiles.  Start your child on a lifetime of good dental habits now!

How can I prevent tooth decay?
Taking your baby off of the breast or bottle when they fall asleep can prevent baby tooth decay.  You should hold your baby while bottle feeding.  Always take a bottle filled with milk or juice away from the sleeping child. If your child requires a bottle at bedtime provide a bottle filled with water. Instead of a bottle, try comforting your child with a pacifier or a favorite toy or blanket.

What about fluoride?
Check with your health care provider to make ensure your child is getting the right amount of fluoride.  Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft toothbrush twice per day.

Do I need to do anything about thumb or finger sucking?
Thumb sucking is very common for infants and most actually stop by the age of two. Continued (beyond age 5 or 6 years) thumb sucking can cause crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. Your dentist can suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb-sucking habit.

What Patients Need To Know About Sedation Dentistry

Do you know anyone who has had sedation dentistry? if you do chances are you will have heard great reviews. The procedure works full stop, and patients can virtually sleep right through their dental treatment. Sedation dentistry is completely safe and you will have little or no recollection of the treatment. You won’t remember any feelings, sights, sounds or smell or noises from your treatment appointment.

Once you have taken the prescribed sedation medication, you will sleep for 2 – 6 hours. The duration of your sleep will depend on your treatment and dosage. Complex or invasive dental treatments that would normally be scheduled over multiple appointments can be combined into a single appointment. Have you tried local anaesthetics before and found them to be ineffective at numbing the required treatment area? if you have experienced this and felt there was no solution, you will be happy to find that sedation dentistry is the solution as there is no need for numbing. The method also safely reduces the fatigue of extended, complex or invasive dental treatment which need multiple lengthy appointments.
 
Patients often wonder if they will feel any pain – the answer is no, no pain or discomfort or feeling will be felt at all. During sedation, patients are not unconscious, but they are in a deeply relaxed state and responsive. Patients are fully monitored throughout their treatment, in addition to before and after treatment. Patients are never left alone.
 
Depending on the treatment and duration, you will be sleeping or snoozing for between 2 – 6 hours. You will need to take the sedation medication at your dental clinic, or alternatively the medication can be taken at home and someone will need to accompany you to your appointment. You will not be able to travel alone or drive under any circumstances. You will need someone to take you home after your appointment also.

Candidates for sedation dentistry include people who are fearful of dental appointments or dental clinics, this includes any nervousness or anxiety or worry. Patients may also have had a bad dental experience previously, or may simply have difficultly in getting numb following the administration of a local anaesthetic.

Alternatively do you have a strong gag reflex? as this can also make patients nervous about appointments. Having very sensitive gums or teeth, complex dental problems and limited time for dental care can also be reasons to consider sedation dentistry.

If you fear needles, or find surgery rooms scary with the noises, sights, smells and taste associated with dental care then you may also be a candidate for sedation dentistry and you should discuss your concerns with your dentist so that you can be briefed on all the benefits.

Your first step is to make an appointment to discuss your concerns and treatment. At your appointment your dentist will explain your treatment plan and the best way to carry this out, considering all of your personal requirements. Your dental coordinator will be able to book a longer appointment if required, so that you can discuss all considerations.

Is Sedation Dentistry Suitable For Everyone?

Do you hide your smile, put up with pain, or avoid going to the dentist? safe and effective oral sedation techniques now mean that you can have dental treatments done quickly and experience little or no discomfort, even with invasive treatments.

Do you worry about going to the dentist? if so, sedation dentistry could be the answer you’ve been waiting for. For many anxious patients, this is a huge relief. It’s important to bear in mind that the need for a dental treatment will never go away. For example, tooth decay or gum disease does not go away on it’s own, the problem will get worse and spread to other teeth, meaning that a tooth or multiple teeth may have to be extracted. Treatment can quickly become more invasive, complex, painful and expensive. At the same time this will have a negative effect on the appearance of your smile and your confidence and self esteem.

Once you have tried and benefited from sedation dentistry you won’t worry about going to the dentist any more. Your dentist will sedate you sufficiently so that you are unaware of the treatment, as if in a light sleep. You will wake up and have little or no memory of your treatment at all. Because patients are in complete comfort, not anxious or nervous, years or dental treatments can be performed in a single visit, or a couple of visits if required. The reason nervous patients sometimes need several treatments is for the exact reasons stated above, dental problems do not go away of their own accord, even with an excellent home dental care routine.

As you will be totally completely comfortable, your dentist can carry out any and all necessary dental treatments. Crowns and dentures can be replaced, gum health can be restored, tooth whitening, bonding and a whole range of restorative and cosmetic treatments can be carried out.

The benefits are unsurpassed, imagine having the confidence to smile without hiding your smile or your teeth, and the freedom to enjoy all your favourite meals. This is why sedation dentistry changes lives for people who are fearful of dental treatments, and even setting foot inside a dental clinic.

You would be given a small pill, which is taken one hour before your dental treatment. You will then be accompanied to the dental office, or you will take your pill in the dental office and wait for your treatment appointment in the reception area. By this time, you will be very drowsy. You will then be taken to the comfort room, where you will also be monitored. You will then be taken into the treatment room after which you will gradually come round and can relax after your treatment.

To find out more about sedation dentistry, you can contact your dental practice and ask about treatment. You can explain that you feel nervous or anxious and would like to discuss sedation dentistry. Do not put off going to the dentist – you can benefit from sedation dentistry to improve your oral health and smile today.