Kucey Dental Group
In our practice, we hear many great questions about periodontal disease and gums in general. So, to help educate our patients better, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions for you here:
Q: Is periodontal disease contagious?
A: Yes and no. The disease, which is an inflammatory response to bacteria under the gums, itself is not contagious. However, that bacteria can be spread through saliva, which could in turn cause periodontal disease in another person. To be safe, don’t share utensils or toothbrushes in your house.
Q: Can children get periodontal disease?
A: No. Periodontal disease has only very rarely been found in children and adolescents. However, it’s never too soon to adopt good healthy gum habits! Teach your kids to brush twice and floss once every day.
Q: Do I need antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria?
A: Possibly. A number of factors go into our determination about whether a patient needs topical antibiotic treatment after a periodontal cleaning. If you do need it, it will be applied under the gums during treatment.
Q: Are diabetes and periodontal disease related?
A: Yes, periodontal disease is a common complication of diabetes, most likely because diabetes makes a person more prone to infection. New evidence also shows that good perio health may have a positive effect on blood sugar levels as well!
Q: What about heart disease?
A: This is less clear, however several studies have shown that gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease as well.
As always, we are here to help. If you have additional questions that don’t appear on this list, give us a call!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
May 6th, 2015 8:54 am
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The mouth harbors a diverse and plentiful and microbial community due to its hospitable environment. It is warm, nutrient-rich and maintains an ideal pH balance. This highly diverse microflora inhabits the various surfaces of the normal mouth- gums, teeth, tongue, and cheeks. What many people don’t realize is that most of the bacteria are beneficial organisms and live in harmony with each other and the human body.
The “Bad Guys” of Dental Bacteria
Interestingly, a new born baby’s mouth does not contain bacteria, but becomes colonized rapidly in the early stages of life. Nobody knows for sure how many different bacteria species there are. Estimates in the oral cavity alone vary between 500 to 650 different species. Only a few specific species are believed to cause dental caries, including Steptococcus mutans, considered the most important bacteria involved with tooth decay. However, the type of bacteria varies according to the progress of tooth destruction.
This harmful bacteria collects around the teeth and gums forming a sticky, creamy-colored mass called plaque. Some areas of the mouth collect plaque more commonly due to less salivary flow, such as grooves in molars and between teeth. The oral cavity actually contains the only known part of the human body that does not have a regulated system of shedding surfaces: the teeth. This allows plaque to adhere to the surface of teeth for long periods of time. At first, plaque is soft enough to come off easily with a toothbrush. However, it starts to harden within 48 hours. After about 10 days, the plaque becomes dental calculus, called tarter, and is now difficult to remove.
Villains Love Carbohydrates
Sugars from candy, soft drinks, and fruit juice can play a significant role in tooth decay. When sucrose (table sugar), the most common of sugars, coats the surface of the mouth, some intraoral bacteria interact with it. The result is lactic acid, which decreases the pH in the mouth. This demineralization allows for greater bacterial invasion deep into the tooth.
Carcinogenicity, or the extent to which tooth decay is likely, depends heavily on how long the sugar remains in the mouth. Surprisingly, it is not the amount of sugar ingested but the frequency of sugar ingestion that is the most important factor in tooth decay.
Oral hygiene is key to battling the bacteria “bad guys”. Brushing your teeth twice a day will reduce dental plaque and food particles collecting around your teeth. Additionally, it is imperative to floss daily to wipe all your enamel surfaces free of plaque to discourage bacterial growth. Good general oral-health habits can usually prevent enough bacterial growth to keep tooth decay from starting.
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Apr 22nd, 2015 9:51 am
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One of the most common questions we hear from patients when it comes to dental implants is “Why does it take three separate procedures?”
It helps to understand that within the entire dental implant process, there are not just three stages, there are also three important parts to the final product that replaces your tooth. First, there is the implant itself, which is the metal rod that we surgically implant into the bone. Next, there is the abutment, which connects the implant to the artificial tooth. And lastly, the crown (or prosthetic tooth) itself.
The fact that the process has three physical components alone doesn’t tell the whole story though. Here, we explain why the most commonly employed dental implant method is split up into three separate procedures.
Step One: Placing the Implant
The first stage of the dental implant process is to bury the implant in the jaw bone via a surgical procedure. The dental implant replaces the tooth root, and requires healing time. During this healing time, osseointegration (the integration of the bone with the implant itself) occurs. The bone cells actually attach to the implant rod, filling in the spaces to secure the implant in place for permanent residency. The healing time usually takes from 3-6 months.
Step Two: Placing the Abutment
The abutment is a post that connects the implant to the prosthetic tooth. Essentially, the abutment is a bridge that spans through the gum line so that the implant itself remains buried. As with the implant, the abutment has a healing period of its own. The gum around the abutment must heal and form a cuff or collar around it before the crown can be placed.
Step Three: The Prosthetic Tooth
Once the implant site and abutment have successfully integrated, the prosthetic tooth is fabricated and installed.
If you have any questions about the dental implant process, give us a call!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Apr 8th, 2015 8:06 am
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The Intriguing Connection Between Arthritis and Gum Disease
It seems that evidence mounts daily identifying a link between your oral health and the health of the rest of your body. In this blog article we will explore the specific connection between your gum health and Arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease affecting about 1.5 million \ Americans that causes chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body. The result is often debilitating pain, reduced flexibility and, in some cases, erosion of the surrounding bone.
Periodontal disease refers to advanced bacterial infection of the gums. It generally follows gingivitis that is left untreated for an extended period of time. If allowed to continue without professional treatment, severe gum disease can lead to dramatic recession of the gums, tooth loss and damage to the bones of the jaw.
The Inflammation Connection
The exact nature of the link between these two diseases is still being researched. Scientists originally pointed to bacteria as the leading factor; however, more recent research shows that inflammation is might likely responsible for the association. What is clear at this point, is that the connection does exist and treatment for periodontal disease is strongly recommended for patients with RA.
Preventing Periodontal Disease and Its Affects on RA
Due to the connection between diseases, proper oral hygiene has become a key component in treatment plans for arthritis sufferers. It is believed that reducing inflammation in the gums can help decrease their joint pain and fatigue related to RA. Unfortunately, oral health habits can be exceedingly difficult for arthritic joints in their hands. The American Dental Association has offered these recommendations for their hygiene routines:
- Try an electric toothbrush. A quality electric brush with a large handle allows for a better grip and can clean teeth and gums effectively, without as much hand motion.
- Consider floss holders. If traditional flossing methods are difficult, RA patients are encouraged to try angled floss holders. These plastic devices are affordable and easy-to-find.
- Protect yourself with mouthwash. An RA patient generally needs extra oral protection than a healthy patient. A fluoridated mouthwash, used 2-3 times per day, can help keep bacteria at bay.
- Avoid smoking. Besides putting themselves at risk of host of other medical conditions, smokers are much more likely to develop gum disease.
If you are patient suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or for advice regarding your oral health routines.
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Mar 25th, 2015 8:43 am
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When most of us think of invisible braces such as Invisalign®, we naturally assume that their sole purpose is to enhance the aesthetic value of one’s smile.
And to a certain extent that assumption is true. For most people with braces of any type, the primary goal of straightening their teeth is improving their look. But did you know that there are actually added health benefits to having a straighter smile as well?
Here, we outline just a few reasons, outside of the obvious aesthetic benefits, that invisible braces can help you:
- Periodontal Health: Overcrowded teeth can result in swollen, red, irritated gums. More often than not, these symptoms are the result of periodontal disease. Braces help to straighten and evenly space teeth to allow for enhanced gum health.
- Better Cleaning Access: Because the clear teeth aligners are removable, you can do a better job of brushing and flossing your teeth, just as you would without braces. By contrast, traditional metal braces limit access to the surfaces and in-between areas of teeth, making it difficult to maintain a good brushing and flossing routine.
- Healthy Diet: Invisible braces are removable, which means that there are no restrictions to what you eat. This allows you to continue your healthy eating habits just as if you didn’t have braces at all. With traditional metal wires and braces, however, some people fall into the trap of eating only soft foods and thus miss out on much-needed nutrients.
- Overall Health: Because oral infections are thought to be related to other health issues in the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, keeping your teeth properly spaced and straightened is an important first step toward better health throughout your body.
Allow us to enhance your smile both aesthetically and from an oral health standpoint as well with invisible braces!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Mar 11th, 2015 8:09 am
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Can My Dental Implants Get Cavities? And other common questions…
In my practice, I hear dozens of questions every day about dental implants from concerned (or simply curious) patients. Every one of those questions is a good question and I always try to provide an equally good answer. To help you better understand an upcoming dental implant procedure, we’ve compiled a top-five list of the most common questions about dental implants that we field in our office every day:
- Can dental implants get cavities?
No. Because the implant-restored crown is an artificial (not natural) material, it cannot grow cavities, phew! However, you still need to have regular gum care and cleanings around the implant site just like you would for a natural tooth.
- Can implants slip or fall out like dentures?
No. The artificial tooth (crown) is attached to the permanent titanium post that is set in the jaw. They will not slip around or fall out like you may have experienced with dentures.
- Can I sleep with my dental implants in?
Yes! They are practically “permanent”, unlike dentures. You do not need to remove and soak them overnight.
- Aren’t dental implants more expensive than bridges and dentures?
It depends. If you are talking about just a few teeth, implants may be cheaper over time than bridges because they last longer. However, if you need a whole row of teeth replaced, dentures may be a less expensive option for you. Each case is unique, however, so be sure to call us for a proper consultation. We are here to help you understand your costs and benefits so that you can make an informed decision.
- How long will my dental implants last?
If implanted and cared for properly, dental implants can last for many decades or possibly even a lifetime. Some implants have been in patients for over forty years!
Don’t see your question on our list? Contact us today for quick answers!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Feb 25th, 2015 3:41 pm
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Can My Dental Implants Get Cavities?
Whether it was during a consultation in our office or perhaps while you were doing your own research online, you have probably come across the term “dental implant” at some point. A dental implant is a great way, often the best way, to replace a missing tooth.
So how do you decide if a dental implant is the right path for you, or if a more traditional tooth replacement method such as dentures or bridges is the best way to go?
We have been asked this question many times, and have compiled a comprehensive breakdown of the benefits that implants offer over their conventional counterparts. We hope that this guide will help make the decision process easier for you.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures and Bridges: Things to Consider
- Longevity: Dental implants offer a long-term solution (often lasting a lifetime) to missing teeth, while dentures and bridges require replacement every 5 to 10 years. Not only does this mean less hassle, it also means that implants may be more affordable over time.
- Quality of Life:
- Simply put, dental implants look, feel and function more like natural teeth than do dentures and bridges.
- With a dental implant, our patients can hardly notice the difference when biting into hard objects. They also look more natural.
- In addition to that, dental implants are fixed – they are not going to fall out while you are talking or smiling, and you don’t have to put them away each night when you go to sleep. They remain in your mouth, anchored to your jawbone at all times.
- Bone Stability and Health: Just like muscles, bones also need a “workout” in order to maintain their mass and health. So when a tooth is missing from the jawline, the bone underneath the old tooth site becomes atrophied and shrinks. Dentures and bridges do nothing to help this deterioration. However, dental implants actually screw into the bone and integrate with it, actually encouraging new bone growth.
- Overall Health: Because implants allow for a normal range of food choices in the diet (a benefit not afforded by dentures), they encourage you to continue your healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life!
Do you still have questions? As always, we are here to answer any questions you have. Give us a call for more information!
Elena Hernandez-Kucey on
Feb 11th, 2015 8:00 am
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Dental Implants vs Dentures and Bridges
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Jan 21st, 2015 12:12 pm
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