Targeting Tobacco Use

December 1st, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

You are probably aware of the devastating effects that smoking and tobacco use can have on your heart, lungs, and other organs. However, you might not be familiar with the whole other “mouthful” of problems caused by tobacco use. For example, tobacco use is a significant risk factor in the development and progression of periodontal disease, which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. The sooner you take aim at your tobacco use and quit, the closer you will be to healthy teeth and gums! Tobacco users are more likely to have calculus, dental plaque that hardens on your teeth and can only be removed during professional cleanings. If this calculus is not removed and it remains below the gum line, the bacteria in the calculus will infect the gums causing redness and swelling, otherwise known as inflammation. This inflammation damages the tissues that support the teeth, including the bone. When this happens, the gums can separate from the teeth, forming pockets. 

Tobacco users often have deeper pockets than people who do not use tobacco. These pockets can then fill with more bacteria, which leads to more inflammation. If the infected pockets are left untreated, the gums may shrink away from the teeth, making teeth appear longer and possibly causing them to become loose and fall out. 

The detection of  periodontal disease is often more difficult in tobacco users. This is because the nicotine and other chemicals found in tobacco products can hide the symptoms commonly associated with periodontal disease, such as bleeding gums. Since the detection of periodontal disease in tobacco users can be difficult, necessary treatment is sometimes delayed. 

 Treating periodontal disease in tobacco users can be a difficult task, but not an impossible one. Smoking and tobacco use reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gingival tissues, weakening the body’s defense mechanisms. This can slow down the healing process and make periodontal treatment results less predictable. For example, dental implants that are placed in a tobacco user’s mouth fail more often than they would in a patient who does not use tobacco. Additionally, the actual treatment of periodontal disease can vary widely depending on how far the disease has progressed. If caught in the early stages, simple nonsurgical periodontal therapy may be used. 

Because the treatment of periodontal diseases can be more difficult in tobacco users, your periodontist will urge you to quit your tobacco use. Quitting seems to gradually erase the harmful effects of tobacco use on periodontal health. One study showed that 11 years after quitting, a former smoker’s likelihood of developing periodontal diseases was not much different from one who had never smoked. And with the increasing amount of research indicating that periodontal health may be related to overall health, reducing your risk of periodontal disease is more important than ever. Start taking aim at quitting your tobacco use today and move one step closer to a lifetime of periodontal health and happy smiles!

All About Dental Implants

December 1st, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. If you still have questions after reading this information, have a conversation with your periodontist. What procedures may have to be completed before placing my implant? 

A procedure called “socket preservation” is sometimes needed to preserve bone and minimize bone loss adjacent to a tooth that has been removed. One common technique is to fill the socket with bone or bone substitute and allow the bone to heal for approximately four to twelve months before implant placement. 

Ridge modification” may be needed if you don’t have enough bone to support an implant. This bone loss could be caused by periodontal disease, wearing dentures, injury, or trauma. During this procedure, bone or bone substitute is added where needed to ensure a proper foundation for implants. Your bone usually needs four to twelve months of healing time before placing implants. 

Sinus augmentation” may be needed to place implants in the upper back jaw, where your bone is very close to your sinus. In this procedure, the sinus floor is raised so there is more room for new bone to grow to provide a proper foundation for implants. After four to twelve months of healing time, you will be ready to have your implants placed. All of these procedures have been shown to greatly increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come. 

What are the advantages of an implant over a bridge or denture? 

A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options, including:

• Maintain the integrity of your remaining teeth. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. The other common treatment for the loss of a single tooth, a tooth-supported fixed bridge, requires that the adjacent teeth be ground down to support the cemented bridge. When replacing multiple teeth, bridges and partial dentures rely on support from adjacent teeth, while implant supported bridges do not.

 • Maintain bone health. Because a dental implant will replace your tooth root, your jawbone is better preserved. Implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep your bone healthy and intact. With a bridge or denture, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth starts to deteriorate.

 • Long-term benefits. In the long term, implants are esthetic, functional, and comfortable. On the other hand, gums and bone can recede around a bridge or denture which leaves a visible defect, deteriorated bone from bridges and dentures can lead to a collapsed and unattractive smile, and cement holding bridges in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that are anchoring the bridge. Finally, removable dentures can move around in your mouth, reducing your ability to eat certain foods.

What Happens in Your Mouth Doesn’t Necessarily Stay in Your Mouth

December 1st, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

Research has shown that there may be an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among others. Scientists believe that inflammation may be the cause behind the link between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions. Inflammation, the body’s reaction to fight off infection, guard against injury, or shield against irritation, initially intends to have a protective effect. Untreated chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to the destruction of affected tissues, which can lead to more serious health conditions.

If you think or know you have one of the inflammatory conditions listed below, it is important to talk with both your physician and a dental health professional, such as a periodontist, to help reduce your risk of further disease progression. Dental professionals and medical professionals will often work together to manage their patients living with, or at risk for, the following diseases:

Cardiovascular Disease.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading killers of men and women each year. Research has shown that inflammation is a major risk factor for developing CVD, and that people with periodontal disease may have an increased risk for CVD. Though more research is needed to better understand the connection between periodontal disease and CVD, don’t be surprised if your periodontist asks you about your heart health or if your cardiologist or physician asks you about your periodontal health.


Periodontal disease can be a complication of diabetes. Researchers have found that people with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. However, the risk isn’t just one way; people with periodontal disease may find it more difficult to control their blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk for diabetic complications. If you are living with diabetes, it is crucial that you pay close attention to your periodontal health.

Pregnancy Complications

Studies have shown that women with periodontal disease may be at an increased risk of pregnancy complications, such as delivering a preterm or low birth weight baby. More research is needed to determine the exact relationship, but expectant mothers should consider having a periodontal evaluation to ensure that their periodontal health is at its best. Respiratory Diseases Research has suggested that bacteria found in the mouth can be drawn into the respiratory tract and cause an inflammatory response in the lungs, commonly known as pneumonia. In addition, periodontal disease may also worsen existing chronic lung conditions. Anyone with lung or respiratory problems should consider a complete oral health examination to determine if gum disease is present. Since periodontal disease has been shown to have a connection with other chronic diseases, you should try to keep your teeth and gums healthy. First, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss your teeth at least once each day. Additionally, you should receive a comprehensive periodontal exam each year from your general dentist or your periodontist. Doing so can help ensure that your periodontal health is at its best, which can help keep your entire body healthy.

Respiratory Diseases

Research has suggested that bacteria found in the mouth can be drawn into the respiratory tract and cause an inflammatory response in the lungs, commonly known as pneumonia. In addition, periodontal disease may also worsen existing chronic lung conditions. Anyone with lung or respiratory problems should consider a complete oral health examination to determine if gum disease is present. Since periodontal disease has been shown to have a connection with other chronic diseases, you should try to keep your teeth and gums healthy. First, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss your teeth at least once each day. Additionally, you should receive a comprehensive periodontal exam each year from your general dentist or your periodontist. Doing so can help ensure that your periodontal health is at its best, which can help keep your entire body healthy.

Dental Fear and Anxiety

November 5th, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

Dental fear refers to the fear of dentistry and of receiving dental care. It may also be called dental phobia. It is estimated that 75% of American adults experience some degree of dental fear from mild to severe. Approximately, 5 to 10 percent of Americans experience such severe levels of dental phobia that they avoid dental treatment at all costs. Many of these people will only seek dental care when they have a dental emergency such as a toothache or dental abscess. Women report more dental fears than men and younger people report being more dentally fearful than older people.

Direct experience is the most common way people develop dental fear. Most people say that their dental fear began after a traumatic, difficult, and / or painful dental experience. Dentists who are considered “impersonal”, “uncaring”, “uninterested”, or “cold” were found to cause high fear in patients even in the absences of painful experiences.

Dental fear may develop as people hear about others “traumatic” experiences or negative views of dentists (vicarious learning). The negative portrayal of dentistry in the media and cartoons may also contribute to the development of dental fears.

Lack of control can also cause dental fear for example a dentists’ failure to stop when the patient was experiencing pain. Treatment for dental fear involves a combination of behavioral as well as pharmacological techniques. Positive reinforcement, the use of non-threatening language, and tell- show-do techniques work very well. Removal of certain environmental aspects such as smells and the use of music and television help alleviate anxiety.

IV sedation, tranquilizers, and sleeping medications all helps the patient relax. Please also read our sedation dentistry blog on this website.

Recent research has focused on the role of online communities in helping people confront their anxiety or phobias and successfully receive dental care.

This information was taken from Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia.

Why would I need Sedation Dentistry?

October 11th, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

Dental Sedation consists of as little as a Halcion sleeping pill taken just before the dental visit to IV sedation using narcotics, analgesics, antihistamines, and tranquilizers.  Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is used extensively in dentistry for its calming and amnesic effects. For many procedures this is all that is needed. Smoking patients are much harder to sedate because of the controlling effects of nicotine on the nervous system. The response to drugs given as well as local anesthetics is intense due to the difficulty of neurological depolarization. A good combination of all of the above methodologies of sedation helps the dental experience become more pleasant.

Anxiety Free, Little Memory, Relaxed Dentistry

If there was a way that you could have your treatment accomplished in minimal visits, with little pain and memory of the experience, would this be more encouraging?

Did you know that 30%- 50% of Americans suffer from dental-phobia and avoid much needed treatment?

Here at Adairsville Periodontics and Implant Dentistry you do not have to fear your treatment. We will listen to your fears and make sure that we use all available means to keep you comfortable. Sedation Dentistry is a safe, effective, and pleasant addition to dentistry.

My dentist told me that I have signs of periodontal disease and that I should see a periodontist for a consultation. How can I find a periodontist in my area?

September 1st, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

When you are diagnosed with symptoms of periodontal disease, seeing a periodontist for a consultation is a great first step. First, you can ask your dentist for a referral. Your dentist most likely has a periodontist that he or she has worked with in the past, and may even be familiar with the types of services that a particular periodontist specializes in. Our office has worked with almost all of the general dentists in the surrounding areas.

You may want to ask friends or family members about their experiences with their periodontists. They will be able to provide feedback and offer advice as well!

Feel free to come by our office and look over our patient reviews in our waiting room.

My periodontist says he is “Board Certified”. What does that mean?

September 1st, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

All periodontists must complete an additional two to three years of specialized training in periodontics following dental school. However, some periodontists opt to take the board-certification examination, which is offered by the American Board of Periodontology once per year. Board certification in periodontology denotes someone who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialty, including demonstrating a comprehensive mastery of all phases of periodontal disease and treatment and in the placement of dental implants. Recertification is required every six years.

Gum Disease Risk Quiz

September 1st, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

Are you at risk for periodontal disease?

Find out in this quick quiz. Just click on this link and you will be asked a few questions about your dental health.

Gum Recession

August 16th, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

Most adult patients have some gum recession caused by the following:

  • Tooth position
  • Tooth brushing
  • Inadequate amount of attached gingiva (gum)
  • Muscle pull on this attached gum tissue.

If not treated, this condition can lead to more recession with bone loss on the tongue or cheek/ lip surface of the tooth. Fortunately, there are periodontal soft tissue grafting procedures which can replace the narrow attached gingiva with a wide zone of gum tissue. The esthetic loss of tissue covering the tooth results in sensitive, exposed roots which are more susceptible to decay. The connective tissue graft is used to cover the roots and restore the healthy gingival tissue to its former esthetic level.  Early evaluation of recession is best for successful treatment.

The corrective surgery consists of removing some gingiva or connective tissue from the palate and placing a small graft on the tooth surface. When the patient has a high frenum (muscle) attachment between lower front teeth, a soft tissue gingival graft is placed to augment the zone of gum tissue and prevent the muscle attachment from creeping back. Soft tissue grafting has both esthetic and physiological benefits and is commonly done on periodontal and orthodontics patients.

Gum Disease

August 4th, 2010 by adairsvilleperio

Gum Disease may be a contributing factor to other systemic inflammatory disorders such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease and even certain forms of cancer. The chronic inflammation with periodontal (gum) disease can lead to dysfunction of the infected tissues and the result is more severe health complications.

According to Leroy B Alford DDS, MS, periodontal disease is a classic example of an inflammatory disorder. “For many years, dental professionals believed that gum disease was solely the result of a bacterial infection caused by a build-up of plaque between the teeth and under the gums. While plaque accumulation is still a factor in the development and progression of gum disease, researchers now suspect that the more severe symptoms, namely swollen, bleeding gums; recession around the gum line, and loss of the bone that holds the teeth in place, may be caused by the chronic inflammatory response to the bacterial infection, rather than the bacteria itself.”

Gum Disease sufferers are at a higher rest for other disease, making it more critical than ever to maintain periodontal health. Dr Alford recommends comprehensive daily oral care, brushing and flossing and routine visits to the dentist to avoid gum disease.

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