Posts for: February, 2016

By Today's Dental
February 23, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  

Are your gums sore, irritated or inflamed? Do they bleed when you brush or floss? If so, you may be suffering from gum disease. Healthygum disease gums are vital to a healthy mouth. However, with studies showing about 75% of American adults have gum disease. Luckily, gum disease is a treatable and reversible condition with help from your dentists Dr. Tiberiu Oancea and Dr. Jeromy Thornton at Today’s Dental in Houston, TX.

What is gum disease? 
Your gums protect the teeth’s roots and bone from bacteria and infection. However, sometimes bacteria that live on the teeth infect the gums, causing gum disease. In its earliest stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis occurs when the bone and soft tissues of the mouth and gums become infected and damaged. Aside from bleeding and irritated gums, periodontitis causes the gums to recede and expose the teeth’s roots. It also causes bone and tooth loss.

How is gum disease treated? 
The earlier gum disease is caught, the more manageable it is. This makes your twice yearly dental examinations and cleanings one of the best preventative measures you can take against gum disease. Dentists treat gingivitis by removing the plaque buildup from the teeth using a procedure called scaling. Scaling is a deep cleaning procedure which reaches all the way up the tooth’s root to remove plaque and bacteria. Advanced cases of periodontitis, however, may need more aggressive treatment in the form of flap surgery from your Houston dentist.

What is flap surgery? 
During flap surgery, your doctor separates the gums from the teeth and folds the tissue up to clean underneath them. Moving the tissue completely out of the way gives your periodontist full access to the teeth’s roots and the bones which support them. Your periodontist might contour the bone to eliminate abnormalities or deformities. With the decay and inflamed tissue gone, the gums are replaced and stitched up.

Most patients have some discomfort after surgery. Your dentist may prescribe pain medication though many people only need over-the-counter medications. Special mouthwashes or rinses help keep bacteria and plaque off the teeth after surgery. Keeping the mouth as clean as possible while healing is a crucial post-operative measure.

For more information on gum disease and flap surgery, please contact Dr. Tiberiu Oancea and Dr. Jeromy L. Thornton at Today’s Dental in Houston, TX. Call (281) 580-0770 to schedule your appointment today!

By Today's Dental
February 20, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!

If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.

If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?

As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.

And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!

If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?

By Today's Dental
February 05, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   oral hygiene  

Your smile may look healthy, but something quite unhealthy may be going on behind it. Unbeknownst to you, periodontal (gum) disease could even now be damaging tissues and bone that could lead to tooth loss. Caused by plaque, a thin film of food remnant and bacteria built up on the teeth due to poor oral hygiene, gum disease can aggressively spread deep into gum tissues without you even realizing it.

If you pay close attention to your gums, however, it’s still possible to pick up signs of the disease, even during its early “silent” stage. As the infection progresses, the signs will become more frequent — and consequential.

Here are 4 signs of gum disease you should definitely keep on your radar.

Bleeding. Unless you’re doing it too hard, healthy gums won’t normally bleed when you’re brushing or flossing. If they do bleed with just light to moderate pressure, it’s a sign the tissues have been inflamed and weakened by the infection.

Inflammation and redness. If you notice your gums seem swollen or reddened, it could mean they’re inflamed. Inflammation is the body’s response for fighting infection — however, if the inflammation becomes chronic it can actually damage the tissue it’s trying to protect.

Abscesses. These are localized areas in the gums where the infection has become isolated. They’ll typically be more swollen than surrounding gum tissues and are often filled with pus. They can also be sensitive to the touch and painful. Any sore spot like this that lasts for more than a few days should be examined.

Loose or moving teeth. Teeth that can move in the socket or appear to have shifted their position are signs of an advanced stage of gum disease. It’s an indication the gum and bone tissue that hold teeth in place have been weakened and are losing their attachment. Without immediate treatment, it’s just a matter of time before the teeth are lost altogether.

If you notice any of these signs, you should see us as soon as possible for a complete exam. The sooner we’re able to diagnose gum disease and begin treatment, the less likely it will permanently harm your teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When to See a Periodontist.”