Posts for: November, 2021
Dental implants have revolutionized restorative dentistry. Not only are they the top choice for individual tooth replacement, implants also improve upon traditional dental work.
Dental bridges are a case in point. A few well-placed implants can support a fixed bridge instead of natural teeth, as with a traditional bridge. Furthermore, a fixed, implant-supported bridge can replace all the teeth on a jaw.
But although convenient, we can't simply install an implant-supported bridge and forget about it. We must also protect it from what might seem at first an unlikely threat—periodontal (gum) disease.
Although the bridge materials themselves are impervious to infection, the natural tissues that underly the implants—the gums and bone—are not. An infection plaguing the gums around an implant can eventually reach the bone, weakening it to the point that it can no longer support the imbedded implants. As the implants fail, so does the bridge.
To guard against this, patients must regularly remove any buildup of plaque, a thin biofilm that feeds disease-causing bacteria, adhering to the implant surfaces in the space between the bridge and the gums. To do this, you'll need to floss—but not in the traditional way. You'll need some form of tool to accomplish the job.
One such tool is a floss threader. Similar to a large needle, the threader has an eye opening at one end through which you insert a section of floss. You then gently pass the threader between the bridge and the gums toward the tongue.
Once through, you release the floss from the threader, and holding each end, you work the floss along the implant surfaces within reach. You then repeat the threading process for other sections until you've flossed around all the implants.
You might also use a water flosser, a device that directs a spray of water between the bridge and gums. The pressure from the spray loosens and flushes away any plaque around the implants.
Whatever the method, it's important to use it every day to reduce the threat of gum disease. You should also see your dentist regularly for further cleanings and checkups. Keeping your implants clean helps ensure gum disease won't ruin your fixed bridge—or your attractive smile.
If you would like more information on keeping your dental work clean, 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 “Oral Hygiene for Fixed Bridgework.”
Dr. Edwin Yee, your Pensacola, FL, dentist, provides comprehensive dental care for patients to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and preserve their oral health. Gum disease, or gingivitis, is a common reason to seek out dental care. Keep reading about the warning signs of gingivitis and come see us for a routine cleaning to help prevent gum disease.
Warning Signs of Gingivitis
Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar build up on the surfaces of the teeth. The bacteria irritates the gums and they become red, inflamed, and start to pull away from the teeth. It's important to see your dentist as soon as you notice symptoms. When you leave gingivitis untreated it progresses to periodontitis. This stage of gum disease starts to damage the jaw bone and can lead to tooth loss!
When you notice your gums bleeding easily as you brush and floss, this is a sure sign of gum disease. Some other warning signs include:
- Swollen gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
See your Pensacola, FL, dentist as soon as you notice any of these symptoms to get treatment before your gum disease progresses.
Treating gum disease
When you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. This removes all plaque and tartar from your teeth and sculpts the teeth near the root so your gums can grow back in around them. Depending on your case, your dentist may recommend laser therapy instead, which targets diseased gum tissue to allow your gums to grow back healthy.
If you have gingivitis your Pensacola, FL, dentist Dr. Edwin Yee can help you with treatment before it progresses to periodontitis and compromises your jaw bone. Call us as soon as you notice symptoms for an appointment at (850) 479-3355.
Cosmetic dentistry is a powerful way for Pensacola, FL, residents to manage serious oral health issues. But which procedure is correct for you? If you're not sure, the offices of Dr. Edwin Yee can help you better understand the following high-quality cosmetic dental procedures.
Whitening is explicitly designed for stains or imperfections in your teeth' appearance. Your dental professional starts by carefully removing and cleaning any plaque or tartar buildup throughout your mouth. Then, a whitening agent is applied to the teeth periodically to help naturally improve your smile. We suggest this option to those with minimal dental damage who want a shinier smile in Pensacola, FL. Regular coffee drinkers or smokers need this procedure quite regularly.
This procedure occurs when you have mild to moderate decay on your tooth, and a regular filling won't provide the support that you need. Instead, they are made out of composite porcelain or ceramic material and carefully attached to the tooth to provide extra support for its enamel. Also known as inlays and onlays, we suggest this option for people who have minor issues with a few teeth that they want to manage with cosmetic dentistry quickly. It should last several years after installation.
When traditional caps or crowns don't work for you, a dental veneer is a great alternative. This common type of cosmetic dentistry uses medical-grade ceramic to seal your enamel and keep your teeth strong. This option is perfect for people with minor surface damage who want to make their teeth look as strong as possible. That's because the ceramic material looks very close to your normal tooth. In this way, you can create a smile that you'll love.
This process utilizes a colored composite material to recreate the overall shape and structure of a damaged tooth. Your dentist carefully removes any decay on the surface and then applies this material to shape it to the look and feel of your normal tooth. We suggest this option for people who don't have a lot of money or no dental insurance because it is relatively inexpensive and can restore your oral health. And you'll improve your overall appearance, too.
Implantation is a great alternative when you lose one or more teeth and aren't quite ready for dentures. They can last for a very long time, look very close to your normal tooth, and resist oral decay very well. They are also implanted directly into your jaw to stabilize its bone structure and minimize worsening corrosion. We suggest this option for those who want a very healthy tooth replacement option for their cosmetic dentistry.
Make an Appointment Today
If you feel like these cosmetic dentistry options are right for you, please get in touch with the offices of Dr. Edwin Yee to learn more. We can help Pensacola, FL, residents get the high-quality dental care necessary to keep their smiles strong. So call us at (850) 479-3355 today to learn more about your options.
Until recently, the standard treatment for tooth decay remained essentially the same for nearly a century: Remove any decayed structure, then prepare and fill the cavity. But that singular protocol has begun to change recently.
Although "drilling and filling" saves teeth, it doesn't fully address the causes of decay. In response, dentists have broadened their approach to the disease—the focus now is on an individual patient's particular set of risk factors for decay and how to reduce those.
At the heart of this new approach is a better understanding of oral bacteria, the true cause of decay. Bacteria produce acid, which can erode tooth enamel and create a gateway into the tooth for decay to advance. We therefore want to lower those risk factors that may lead to bacterial growth and elevated acidity.
One of our major objectives in this newer approach is to reduce plaque, a thin film of food particles used by bacteria for food and habitation. Removing plaque, principally through better oral hygiene, in turn reduces decay-causing bacteria.
Plaque isn't the only mechanism for bacterial growth and acidity. Appliances like dentures or retainers accumulate bacteria if not regularly cleaned. Reduced saliva flow, often due to certain medications or smoking, limits this fluid's ability to buffer acid and acid reflux or acidic beverages like sodas, sports or energy drinks can disrupt the mouth's normal pH and increase the risk for enamel erosion.
Our aim, then, is to develop a long-term strategy based on the patient's individual set of oral disease risk factors. To determine those, we'll need to examine their medical history (including family), current health status and lifestyle habits. From there, we can create a specific plan targeting the identified risk factors for decay.
Some of the elements of such a strategy might include:
- Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental cleanings;
- Fluoride dental products or treatments to strengthen enamel;
- Changes in diet and excess snacking, and ceasing from any tobacco use;
- Cleaning and maintaining appliances, as well as monitoring past dental work.
Improving the mouth environment by limiting the presence of oral bacteria and acid can reduce the occurrence of tooth decay and the extent of treatment that might be needed. It's a more nuanced approach that can improve dental health.
If you would like more information on tooth decay prevention and treatment, 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 “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”