Research indicates gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke; the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease, cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels. Oral bacteria is a possible connection since bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream through the gums, oral bacteria stick to fatty plaques in the bloodstream (directly contributing to blockages), and oral bacteria trigger an inflammatory response, causing the blood vessels to swell, reducing blood flow, and increasing the risk of clots.
Over 50% of adults in the U.S. have some degree of gum disease, but did you know the impact goes far beyond your mouth?
The health risks of gum disease go far beyond the loss of teeth. There is a connection between gum disease and a number of serious medical conditions.
Gum disease begins when a film called plaque accumulates on the teeth and calcium from saliva hardens the plaque—this calcified plaque is called tartar or calculus. Certain types of germs that live in this plaque and calculus damage gum tissue. Your body tries to fight this infection with an inflammatory attack, sending white blood cells to the area to destroy the bacteria. This inflammation causes the tissue to bleed easily when you brush or floss. This stage of the condition is called gingivitis. If the infection and inflammation persist, the result is a chronic inflammatory condition where the gums, ligament and bone around the teeth are destroyed—often with no symptoms. This stage is called periodontitis.
Well known risk factors for periodontitis include genetics, stress, avoiding the dentist, not brushing or flossing, and some medical conditions. Smokers are significantly more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. It’s not just about your teeth anymore — gum disease has been linked to numerous health problems, with new studies emerging all the time linking oral and overall health.
Research indicates gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. People with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. Those diagnosed with acute ischemic stroke (brain injury caused by a blocked blood vessel) are more likely to have gum disease. The presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease, cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.
If you have gum disease plus one risk factor of heart disease, have an annual medical exam to check your heart health.
LPD kills bacteria and disrupts biofilm to reduce inflammation. When isolated pocketing is present, LPD decreases pocket depths without curettage. Ideal for patients with gingivitis.Benefits:
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or biostimulation can be used for many applications within dentistry, in particular to reduce the pain associated with orthodontics or temporomandibular disorder (TMJ).Benefits:
Aphthous ulcers are painful, yet generally disappear without treatment in 10-14 days. Ulcers aren’t infectious and tend to recur less with age. The cause is not known, but related factors include injury, changes in hormone levels, lack of iron, food allergies, stress, and certain medications.Benefits:
Herpetic lesions can occur in three different forms: recurrent small blisters on the lips, a generalized oral infection, or small ulcers on the palatal mucosa. The most common form is small blisters on the lips, which can be treated with low level laser therapy. Outbreaks may be triggered by sunlight, physical trauma, stress, and other irritants. Lesions will usually resolve in 10-14 days, but may be painful.Benefits:
Dental sensitivity affects more than 40% of adults worldwide, and more than 40 million people in the United States.  Exposed dental tubules are believed to be the predominate cause, with sensitivity to heat and cold the most common complaint. Laser therapy can help close tubules and reduces sensitivity.
 Prevalence of dentine hypersensitivity in a general dental population. Irwin CR, P. Ir Dent Assoc. 1997; 43(1):7-9.
Most people brush their teeth routinely. The value of this simple procedure is well known and accepted. Tooth brushing removes dental plaque – the slimy substance that accumulates on tooth surfaces and causes tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Plaque contains millions of bacteria, but did you know your tongue is the home for far more organisms than those that reside in the dental plaque on your teeth?Here are some little-known facts:
Decide if you need to clean your tongue. Stick it out. Is it pink? If so, cleaning is probably not necessary. Is it grey, orange, brown, or even black? You need to clean it. Brushing the tongue removes some of the organisms, but there is a better, easier, and more effective tongue cleaning procedure. Use the tongue cleaner we will suggest. Place it as far back on the tongue as you can tolerate. Place about one pound of force and pull the tongue cleaner forward. Repeat the procedure until no more debris is present. One or two cleanings per day is normal, especially before bedtime. You will be on your way to a cleaner mouth, less dental disease, and better breath.
As a group, dentists and physicians, as well as global health organizations favor use of fluoride in all of the following methods. Fluoride for reduction of dental decay has had more legitimate worldwide research than any other health related subject. Nevertheless, there are some groups that oppose fluoride use for various political and alleged health reasons.
The decision to use fluoride for your and your family is up to you. For almost all dentists and physicians, “anti-fluoride” arguments make no sense at all.
Over the past many years, numerous materials and techniques have been developed to seal the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of teeth. Sealants are necessary because some teeth have defective occlusal surfaces when they erupt into the mouth, and food debris and microorganisms penetrate into the grooves on the teeth during eating. Patients cannot clean these areas effectively, and dental decay (caries) occurs frequently.Do All Teeth Need to Be Sealed?
Usually only the back (posterior) teeth require sealing. It is difficult to tell which teeth require sealing because incomplete fusion of the teeth often leaves a microscopic entry from the enamel outside the tooth into the softer dentin inside. Therefore, we suggest that all suspect permanent posterior teeth and selected anterior teeth be sealed as closely to their eruption time as possible.Will All Decay Be Prevented?
Sealants placed as close to the eruption time of the teeth as possible prevent the majority of decay on the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of the teeth. However, flossing, brushing, and routine fluoride therapy are required to prevent decay on the other surfaces of the teeth. In the presence of poor oral hygiene, decay may begin between the teeth, since sealants cannot be placed on these surfaces.Cost
The cost for sealing a tooth with plastic is about one-fourth to one-third the cost of filling (restoring) the tooth in the event of decay. Sealants do not require anesthetic or cutting away tooth structure.How Long Do Sealants Last?
Studies show that properly placed sealants last many years. However, occasional resealing may be required.
The PerioLase MPV-7 is the only dental laser specifically designed for better periodontal health. The unique wavelength targets the bacteria that causes gum disease for minimally invasive, highly effective, quick and painless treatment.
Diagnodent® scans teeth for hidden decay, often detecting cavities long before they can be seen by the naked eye. When we catch a cavity early, a smaller filling can usually be placed and preserve more of your natural tooth.
Oral cancer is not something you hear about on a routine basis. Oral cancer has been related to smoking, chewing tobacco, irritation of oral soft tissue, various foods, alcohol and many other potential causes. However, contrary to popular knowledge, oral cancer has a slightly higher death rate than the more well-known cancer, melanoma. There are over 40,000 new cases of oral cancer each year in the U.S.
When oral cancer is treated, often the result is disfiguring to the face. Oral cancer is often fatal.
While there are several methods to determine if you may have oral cancer, our office uses the most cutting edge technology recognized by the World Health Organization for early detection of oral cancer, while it is still easy to treat. The VELscope Vx helps us identify oral disease early with blue light that stimulates natural fluorescence in the soft tissues of the mouth, showing disease not visible to the naked eye under ordinary light. One of the most important tasks of this VELscope Vx screening is to help locate areas that might, if not treated, progress to oral cancer.
Please ask us about oral cancer screening today.