Why Most Americans Have Some Sort of Gum Disease

About eighty percent of all Americans have some sort of periodontal gum disease (source: American Dental Hygienists’ Association). Mostly seen in adults, the percentage of those with the disease increase as age increases. Here are a few interesting facts regarding Gum Disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • The condition is more common in men than women
  • 65.4% of people living below the poverty level have gum disease
  • 66.9% of people with less than a high school level education have gum disease
  • 64.2% of smokers have gum disease

It is also 100% preventable, so why do so many U.S. adults live with it? The sad truth is that the one of the primary reasons that people have gum disease is lack of motivation for home care. This is not the case for everyone; other reasons include genetics (hereditary), health related issues like diabetes, AIDS, or even hormonal changes such as pregnancy. Some reasons are self-inflicted. Smoking, stress, and poor oral hygiene are examples of these. While many hereditary or health causes cannot be prevented, the self-inflicted reasons can and should be reversed.

Gingivitis is the most common form of periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis are swollen, red gums that can bleed. If not treated, this can lead to periodontitis that includes bone loss and even loss of teeth. There are warning signs that can let you know if your gums are unhealthy. First and foremost, check the color. Healthy gums are generally a nice pink color. If your gums are red and or swollen, you are displaying a warning sign of gum disease. Other signs include bad breath, painful chewing, sensitive teeth, bleeding gums when you brush and/or floss, or gums pulling away from your teeth.

Treating Gum Disease

As established earlier, one of the primary reasons for gum disease is lack of oral hygiene care. This should not be the case, but sadly many do not take proper care of their teeth and gums. The good news is that in the early stages of periodontal disease, the condition is reversible and treatable. The best way to prevent or reverse gum disease are two simple solutions.

  • Brush AND Floss twice a day
  • Get cleanings at your local dentist twice a year (or more as recommended)

Pretty simple, right? If you practice these two simple steps, your dental health has a great chance of being the best it can be. If you have more questions about your dental health, or think that you might have periodontal disease, make sure to schedule a visit to talk with your dentist today.

The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

Patients in the Denver area can trust the team at University Dental Arts to offer the best dental care possible. This includes restorative dentistry procedures to improve health and wellness as well as cosmetic dentistry treatments to enhance smile aesthetics.

We also believe in preventative care and total wellness as a way of improving your smile. That’s why we’re always keen to help patients who are smokers. Smoking can have many negative effects on your smile, which we’d like to explore in more detail below.

Smoking Causes Bad Breath

One of the noticeable issues with smoking is that it causes you to have bad breath. Compared to the other problems we’re about to discuss, the bad breath is a minor issue, but already compelling on its own as a reason to quit.

Smoking Can Lead to Dental Stains and Discoloration

If you smoke regularly, it’s not uncommon for your teeth to become stained, particularly the front teeth. Many people who have smoked for years have smiles that are tinged with yellow or that are generally dingy or brown.

Smoking Makes Gum Disease More Likely

When people smoke, they increase their risk of gum disease. Infections and inflammation of the gums are more likely when any tobacco products are used, which means potential issues with bleeding gum, discolored gums, and gum recession. Left untreated, patients are more likely to suffer from advanced periodontitis due to smoking.

Smoking Can Make Tooth Decay Worse

In addition to affecting the gums, smoking has been shown to make plaque and tartar buildup worse in many patients. When more plaque and tartar is present, this offers oral bacteria an ideal means of attaching to a tooth’s surface and damaging the enamel and other layers of tooth structure.

Smoking Can Lead to an Increased Likelihood of Oral Cancer

One of the most significant issues with smoking is that it increases your likelihood of developing oral cancer. Smokers and people who use chewing tobacco are at significant oral cancer risk. The problems begin with sores, lesions, and pain, and if the oral cancer is not caught early, it can have a disastrous impact on your overall wellness.

Treatments for the Dental Problems Caused by Smoking

There are many different dental treatments out there that can help address the negative effects of smoking.

To improve the appearance of a smile that’s been yellowed by years of cigarette smoke, for instance, there is teeth whitening treatment, which bleaches discolored tooth structure.

To address gum disease and recession, there are many different periodontal procedures that will address infection and also rebuild damaged soft tissue.

For tooth decay and tooth erosion, restorations can be used rebuild compromised tooth structure. Common restoration options include fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns.

As for oral cancer, dentists can screen for early signs of cancer so the problem can be treated as soon as possible. This is why regular dental visits are so crucial for ensuring total wellness.

Consult with Experts to Help You Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is easier said than done. If you need assistance with quitting, you can speak with your doctor or with our team. We can discuss various techniques for quitting and the various resources available to you to help you kick the habit for good.

Speak with Our Advanced Dental Care Team

For more information on enhancing the appearance of your smile, improving your dental health, and achieving greater overall wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at University Dental Arts looks forward to your visit and helping you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible.

Root Planing and Scaling: The Deep Cleaning Process

At University Dental Arts, we are committed to helping patients in the greater Denver area achieve excellent dental health and wellness. This includes the latest in advanced restorative dentistry to ennhance dental health. That said, the old standbys are still important when it comes to general dental wellness, which is why root planing and scaling is important for achieving excellent dental health results.

What is root planing and scaling?

Also known as deep cleaning, root planing and scaling is an important part of achieving good dental health and wellness. This process involves the removal of plaque and tartar deposits down at the gumline. By performing root planing and scaling, dentists are able to prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease, helping their patients be their healthiest and smile with confidence.

How does root planing and scaling differ from traditional dental cleanings?

While some people may assume that root planing and scaling is synonymous with a routine dental cleaning, that is not the case at all. In fact, they are quite different.

During a routine dental cleaning, the teeth are flossed, an electric toothbrush is used to polish the teeth thoroughly, and minimal scraping is involved.

By comparison, root planing and scaling gets deep down to the gumline to ensure that it is free from plaque and tartar, and it involves more precise and targeted scraping.

Ideal Candidates for Root Planing and Scaling

The best candidates for root planing and scaling are people who have significant build up of plaque and tartar along the gumline. They should have realistic expectations about the nature of treatment and what it entails, and also have a positive understanding of how the procedure helps prevent future dental health issues.

The Root Planing and Scaling Procedure

During root planing and scaling, local anesthetic is used in order to minimize pain and discomfort. Only one-quarter to one-half of the mouth is treated in a session in order to ensure reasonable treatment times. Breaking up treatment like this also reduces the inconvenience that patients face after treatment with regard to local anesthetic used on the mouth.

While root planing and scaling are often thought of as synonymous, there are actually two distinct actions. Root scaling is the removal of plaque and tartar, while root planing is smoothing out of root surfaces once infected or damaged tooth structure has been removed.

What to Expect After Root Planing and Scaling Treatment

After root planing and scaling treatment is completed, patients can expect temporary tooth sensitivity and tender gums. Avoiding foods and beverages that are hot or cold will prevent issues with tooth sensitivity, as will avoiding spicy foods. Patients should brush and floss at night as usual, though they should be extra-gentle.

Contact University Dental Arts

If you would like more information about root planing and scaling and how it can help you have a healthier and more beautiful smile, be sure to schedule a consultation at our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at University Dental Arts looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve optimal dental health and wellness.

Halting Halitosis: Bad Breath Causes and Treatments

There is nothing that can affect a person’s self-confidence more drastically than learning that he or she suffers from bad breath. Bad breath can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life, from professional relationships to romantic entanglements. Many people with chronic halitosis eventually just give up, hiding away in the privacy of their homes when they could be out and about enjoying life to its fullest.

Thankfully, advances in restorative dentistry allow for dentists to provide new leases on life to patients struggling with bad breath. At University Dental Arts in Denver, bad breath treatments can help patients regain their self-esteem and self-assurance, leading ultimately to an improved overall quality of life. Whether you suffer from bad breath, or you are living with someone who does, we can help.

The Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. In these cases, patients may be able to improve their breath significantly by improving their at-home oral hygiene regimens. For example, it is important that they brush their teeth and their tongues with fluoride toothpaste after every meal, and no less than twice a day. They should floss twice a day to remove food particles and bacteria from hard to reach places and use mouthwash after every brushing. Equally importantly, they should visit University Dental Arts twice a year for professional cleanings and oral screenings.

Other common causes of bad breath include:

  • Periodontal disease, especially periodontitis, the most advanced form of the disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Dentures that are not adequately cleaned
  • Cigarettes and cigars
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Certain diseases, including diabetes, liver disease, and bronchitis
  • Certain medications
  • Poor diet
  • Dehydration and chronic dry mouth
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Conventional metal braces and other dental appliances that can get in the way of basic oral hygiene

Some of these causes can be addressed through changes in lifestyle: give up smoking, drink more water, and eat healthier. Other causes, however, require more aggressive treatment.

Bad Breath Treatments

Before the most effective course of treatment for bad breath can be determined, Dr. David Redford must first evaluate your mouth and speak with you about your lifestyle and medical history. This diagnostic stage is essential to resolving your halitosis in both the short and the long term.

During your initial appointment, you will also receive a thorough cleaning of your mouth and be educated on the various ways you can improve your breath. As noted above, your treatment plan may entail significant lifestyle changes on your part, depending on the circumstances of your case. The more willing you are to make these changes, the more effective your treatment will be.

If Dr. Redford determines that your bad breath is rooted in an underlying oral health issue such as gum disease or tooth decay, we will devise a treatment plan to correct these problems. Your individualized dental plan may involve multiple treatments, including root canal and periodontal therapy, dental crowns, and medication, all of which will result in a healthier mouth and fresher breath.

Learn More about Bad Breath Causes and Treatments

To learn more about bad breath causes and treatments, please contact University Dental Arts today.

Protect Your Teeth from Gum Recession

Gum recession is a gradual process that often goes unnoticed, and, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and other oral health problems. Fortunately, teeth damaged by gum recession can be repaired with restorative dentistry treatments. Whether or not you undergo restorative dentistry treatments, it is important to treat and prevent gum recession. The following overview will help you understand how gum recession occurs and how it is treated.

The Causes of Gum Recession

Gum recession is a condition in which the gums pull away from the teeth. Gum recession develops gradually and can go unnoticed for years. The earliest signs of gum recession include increased tooth sensitivity or the teeth may look longer than usual. Gum recession can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • Gum disease: Gum disease is the leading cause of gum recession. Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by plaque and tartar buildup at and below the gum line. The collection of plaque and tartar can cause pockets to form between the gums and teeth, pulling the gums away from the teeth.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Insufficiently brushing and flossing the teeth leads to gum disease and plaque buildup, the leading cause of gum recession.
  • Aggressive brushing: Aggressive tooth brushing, including applying too much pressure or using a hard bristled brush, can wear down the gums and tooth enamel.
  • Tobacco use: Tobacco use increases plaque, which leads to gum disease and gum recession.

Treating Gum Recession

Gum recession is treated with gum tissue grafts to restore the gum line and prevent further damage. There are different gum graft procedures. The type of gum tissue graft used depends on the needs of the patient. The different types of gum tissue graft surgeries are as follows:

  • Pedicle graft: The pedicle graft method uses gum tissue from around the tooth where the gum tissue is receding. A pedicle, or flap, is cut from the surrounding gum tissue and pulled to cover the exposed tooth and stitched into place to restore the gum line.
  • Free gingival graft: With a free gingival graft, tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and attached to the gum line.
  • Connective-tissue graft: Connective-tissue grafts use a small piece of the inner connective subepithelial tissue from the roof of the mouth. A small amount of this tissue is removed and stitched to the gums, repairing the gum line.

Recovering from Gum Surgery

Recovering from gum graft surgery generally takes one to two weeks, or longer depending on the type of graft and extent of treatment. After gum graft treatment, you will be given care instructions which typically advise eating soft foods to prevent gum irritation and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash. It is generally not recommended to brush or floss the grafted area during the healing process, which is why an antiseptic mouthwash should be used.

Schedule a Consultation

Don’t let gum recession go untreated! To learn more about your gum recession treatment options, schedule a consultation with University Dental Arts.