Our Company Blog

Neglecting Gum Disease Treatment Can Put Your Health At Risk

Ignoring tooth decay and not visiting your dentist regularly can lead to major oral health problems, including severe gum disease, or periodontitis. If you have neglected your teeth and gums, you are not alone. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) claims that around three out of four adult Americans have some sort of gum disease. Whether they have the milder form of gingivitis or the more serious periodontitis, only three percent of these people receive treatment for their gum disease. As untreated gum disease can lead to chronic health problems like diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart disease, the importance of treating gingivitis and periodontitis cannot be stressed enough. However, 97% of people with gum disease fail to seek treatment. We at West Meade Dental are familiar with gum disease patients’ reluctance to follow through with a treatment plan, and we have learned from experience and research by the AAP that there are a few myths about the treatment of gum disease. We would like to share with you some of the most common misconceptions, according to the AAP.


Bleeding Gums Is Not a Big Deal.

On the contrary, one of the main signs of gum disease is red, swollen, and/or bleeding gums. If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you need to schedule an appointment with West Meade Dental to assess the health of your gums. If you do have a form of gum disease, we can begin treating it as soon as possible to prevent it from developing further.

I Do Not Have to Floss Every Day.

Along with brushing your teeth after every meal and before bedtime, flossing your teeth at least once a day can best prevent gum disease. According to a recent survey, only 13% of Americans regularly floss every day. If you want to avoid gum disease complications, flossing once a day is essential.

The Treatment Procedures Will Be Scary.

Many patients fear periodontal treatment because they think it will be painful and scary. However, we at West Meade Dental will do whatever we can to ensure your comfort at all times during your treatment.

If I Lose a Tooth Because of Gum Disease, I Can Never Replace It.

A leading cause of tooth loss in adults, gum disease left untreated leads to missing teeth. To correct this problem, West Meade Dental can replace these teeth with dental implants. A permanent way to replace teeth with a 98% success rate, dental implants can restore your smile and improve your speaking ability. The AAP found that approximately 70% of patients were extremely satisfied with their dental implants.

If you have noticed signs of gum disease, contact West Meade Dental to schedule an assessment appointment. The quicker we can begin treatment of your form of gum disease, the healthier your mouth (and the rest of your body) will be.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

All About Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Over the last 40 years, giant steps have been made in cosmetic dentistry technology. Ranging from whitening your teeth to replacing missing teeth with natural and realistic-looking bridges, dentures, and implants, the list of cosmetic dental procedures continues to grow. Enhancing your smile boosts your self-confidence greatly. West Meade Dental would like to share with you an overview of the different types of cosmetic dentistry with information from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).


Teeth Whitening

Most everyone’s teeth can endure a whitening procedure. In an external whitening procedure, teeth are bleached by direct contact with a commonly-used, safe whitening agent. This procedure takes place either in our office at West Meade Dental or your own home.


Considered to be a reliable tooth replacement method for years, dentures can have issues from resting directly on the teeth and gums, which can result in bone loss, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. With advancements being made in dentures over the years, there is a new and improved version of dentures now. Overdentures are a combination of traditional dentures and the newer dental implants.

Dental Implants

Replacing the roots of lost teeth, a dental implant is attached to a crown to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth. Dental implants help to maintain the bone structure of the adjacent teeth, which increases their lifespan. Considered to be a permanent procedure, dental implants are expected to last years and years. The best choice for replacing missing teeth, dental implants look so much like natural teeth that you will never be able to tell the difference.

Porcelain Veneers

Made from porcelain, veneers cover the front part of a tooth and leave the rest of the tooth as is. If your teeth are healthy, we recommend porcelain veneers to our patients who want to change the color or size of their teeth. We also recommend using veneers to fill in gaps and spaces between teeth. Some cosmetic dentists use veneers made from resin, but we prefer porcelain because it has excellent stain-resistant properties and it is thin yet very strong and durable.

Porcelain Bridges and Crowns

Another option for replacing missing teeth, porcelain bridges are designed to be natural in fit and appearance to restore your smile to its former beauty. Porcelain crowns can improve the appearance of your teeth and your smile, but unlike veneers, crowns surround the entire tooth in porcelain. Crowns are also thicker and most often used when a tooth has begun to decay.


Fillings have significantly improved over the years. Now we use high density composite resins or porcelain to replace tooth structure lost to decay. Less repair work is needed for these new fillings, both immediately and in the future. It is almost impossible to tell if someone has a filling because the materials are so natural in appearance.

Have any questions about the cosmetic dentistry procedures offered by West Meade Dental? Contact us to schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation to get started on improving your smile.

All About Porcelain Veneers

Do you have relatively healthy teeth, but they are chipped or broken, have shifted or moved and made a space in your smile, or look dirty and yellowed? You may be a perfect candidate for porcelain veneers, which are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth. These veneers provide strength and resiliency just like natural tooth enamel, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) [http://www.aacd.com/index.php?module=cms&page=574]. At West Meade Dental, we can make your smile look better than it has ever looked with porcelain veneers. We would like to share with you more information from the AACD about this option.


What happens during a veneers consultation at West Meade Dental?

When you come in for your visit, Dr. Shelley A. Sigur will start with an analysis of your smile to see exactly what she will need to do to get the smile you want. She will also explain to you what the entire porcelain veneers process will be like for you. She can even show you a picture of what your new smile will look like with cosmetic imaging.

What is the typical porcelain veneers procedure like?

Before Dr. Sigur can apply the adhesive layer and the thin strips of porcelain to your tooth, a very small amount of your original tooth enamel has to be removed so your veneers will fit properly within your mouth. We also have to do this step to best restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth. The bond between the original tooth and porcelain veneer is crucial because this bond must be strong for correct veneer function. Dr. Sigur will then place light-sensitive resin between the original tooth and the layer of porcelain and then harden it with a special curing light.

What are the benefits of porcelain veneers?

This cosmetic dental treatment has several strong points, including the following:

— realistic appearance, feel, and function
Porcelain veneers are individually sculpted and custom-made to each individual tooth, and it is close to impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth. Even better, veneers are made of high-tech materials that resist coffee, tea, and cigarette smoke stains.

— minimal alteration to your natural teeth
In order for your veneers to properly fit, not much is needed to do to your original teeth besides the removal of a tiny bit of original teeth enamel. Your original teeth stay mostly intact in the veneers process as compared to a crown procedure.

— long-term white teeth
As previously mentioned, porcelain veneers are stain-resistant. Veneers can also whiten even the darkest stained teeth.

How do I maintain my porcelain veneers?

Very simply as you just treat them like your natural teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day is essential in keeping your veneers looking their best.

Interested in fixing your smile with porcelain veneers? Contact West Meade Dental to schedule a veneers consultation with us.

Wisdom Teeth Removal and Recovery

The third and final set of molars, most people get their wisdom teeth in their teens or early adulthood. Some lucky people are unaffected by their wisdom teeth because they grow in healthy and correctly aligned. However, most people experience problems with how their wisdom teeth are aligned and need them removed. At West Meade Dental, we specialize in wisdom teeth extraction. By examining X-rays of your mouth, we can tell whether or not your wisdom teeth will need to be removed. We recommend you have your wisdom teeth extracted as early as possible because the roots are not fully developed and the bone is not as dense in younger people. The older you are when you have these teeth removed, the longer the recovery and healing time will be. We would like to tell you more information on wisdom teeth removal and its recovery process.


Why would I need my wisdom teeth removed?

You need your wisdom teeth removed if you experience any of the following problems:

  • your jaw may be too small for your wisdom teeth, which could become impacted and unable to break through your gums
  • your wisdom teeth may only break halfway through your gums and cause a flap of gum tissue to grow over them
  • one or more of your wisdom teeth are coming in awkwardly, with the top of the tooth or teeth facing forward, backward, or to either side.

What does the wisdom teeth extraction process involve?

First we will give you a local anesthetic on the area where we will be removing the tooth to numb it. If we will be removing more than one tooth, we will give you a general anesthesia to prevent pain in your entire body and to put you to sleep through the procedure. To remove the wisdom tooth, our dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and remove any bone covering the tooth. Then the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone will be separated to remove the tooth. After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches, which will dissolve over time.

What is the recovery period like?

Generally, it only takes a few days to recover from wisdom teeth removal. Be sure to take your painkillers as directed, and try the following suggestions from WebMD:

  • Do not lie flat as this may prolong bleeding. Prop your head up with pillows.
  • Use an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for 15-20 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours. You can then use moist heat by laying a warm, damp washcloth on your cheek for the next few days.
  • Relax after your surgery. Do not attempt physical activity, which can increase bleeding.
  • Eat soft foods for the first several days, and begin adding solid foods as your healing progresses.
  • After the first day, rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth, but do so very carefully.

Have more questions about wisdom teeth and their removal? Contact West Meade Dental to ask our staff anything else you would like to know.

Poor Oral Health Can Affect Your Entire Body

Over the past decade, doctors and dentists have worked together to understand exactly what the connection is between oral health problems and the rest of the body. Research has proven significantly that gum disease has a serious effect on several diseases and other health concerns. Our dentist, Dr. Shelley A. Sigur, and her hygienists study these links between the mouth and the body and strongly believe poor oral health affects your whole body. We have experienced this connection with some of our patients, and we stress to all of our patients to always practice good dental habits to not only protect their mouths, but to also prevent further damage to their entire bodies. Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other health issues, and the reason is the inflammation and infection in the gums puts the entire body at risk for health problems. We would like to tell you more about the links between poor oral health and certain diseases.



The strongest connection between gum disease and the body, diabetes develops complications because inflammation that begins in the mouth weakens the body’s ability to control blood sugar, according to WebMD. Since diabetic people lack the hormone insulin, they have a difficult time converting sugar into energy. As inflammation from gum disease worsens diabetes, high blood sugar from diabetes creates a favorable environment for infection to thrive within the body, including in the mouth. Often, fortunately, managing one of these diseases helps control the other.


Around 91% of heart disease patients have gum disease, compared to 61% of people with no heart disease. Both conditions have the same risk factors, like smoking, eating poorly, and being overweight, but some medical experts believe inflammation in the mouth causes inflamed blood vessels. This raises blood pressure because less blood is able to flow between the heart and the rest of the body. Fatty plaque also adds a risk factor for a heart attack or a stroke because a piece of plaque could break off the wall of a blood vessel and travel to the heart or to the brain.


The link between these two conditions is controversial as it has not been well-established; however, bone loss is suffered as a result of both conditions. Medical researchers are working on proving a theory that inflammation from gum disease also weakens bones in other parts of the body. Studies have shown that women with osteoporosis have gum disease more often than women who do not.


As studying the mouth-body connection is fairly new, researchers are just beginning to look at more conditions affected by poor oral health. Because it increases the amount of bacteria in the lungs, gum disease worsens bronchial disorders like pneumonia and COPD. People with rheumatoid arthritis have reported a reduction in pain after being treated for gum disease. As medical and dental experts continue to study how gum disease affects the body, you can expect to see more health problems become linked to poor oral health.

Taking good care of your teeth and gums can improve the health of your entire body. Contact West Meade Dental to make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned and examined to promote overall health.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

No More Excuses to Not Floss Your Teeth

An essential part of good dental health, flossing your teeth every day removes plaque from areas between your teeth where your toothbrush is unable to reach. West Meade Dental recommends that you floss your teeth at least once a day, every day. However, many people make excuses for not flossing every day. Since not flossing can lead to serious oral health problems, people who make excuses may end up regretting the excuses they made. Web MD talked to some dentists about common excuses for not flossing, and we would like to share with you their answers to the excuses.


Food Never Gets Stuck in My Teeth.

The main purpose of flossing is to remove plaque, not food. Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms between your teeth and along your gum line. Flossing every day keeps plaque from causing cavities and gum disease.

I Don’t Know How to Floss.

Flossing correctly can be tricky and difficult, but it is essential to learn how to floss properly. The American Dental Association provides the following instructions:

  • Take 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest around the middle finger of the other hand.
  • Grasp the floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger, and guide it between your teeth in a rubbing motion.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, form a C with the floss to follow the shape of the tooth.
  • Hold the floss firmly against the tooth and gently move it up and down.
  • Repeat this process with the rest of your teeth.
  • Use fresh sections of floss as you go through your mouth

I Don’t Have the Time to Floss

Find the time of day that best works for you, and make it part of your routine. Store your floss by your toothbrush and toothpaste to remind you. Remember that you can floss anywhere, so be sure to carry a pack of floss with you.

It Hurts When I Floss.

When it hurts your gums to floss, that is a major sign of gum disease, which is even more reason to floss. If you keep up with brushing and flossing daily, the pain will begin to go away. If you continue to have pain after two weeks, come see us at West Meade Dental,

My Teeth Are Too Close Together.

You can try waxed or glide floss, which slides more easily between teeth. For those with recessed gums, varied gaps between teeth, or braces, try using a threader or a loop to find an easier way to get between teeth. If your floss shreds apart, you may have a cavity or a dental work issue, like a broken crown or a loose filling.

Want to learn more about flossing? Contact West Meade Dental to ask our expert staff any flossing questions you may have.

Tips on Teaching Your Kids Good Dental Habits

Teaching your kids healthy dental habits is an important part of parenting. You want to put your children on the right path to good oral health, and instilling daily dental habits is one of the best ways to do this. At West Meade Dental, we are often asked by parents for tips on how to teach their kids these essential habits as some parents find this task to be challenging. We would like to share some of these tips that we found from the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) to help you teach your kids good dental habits.


Do Not Make Brushing Your Teeth Seem Like a Chore.

The last thing you want to do is make your children feel like they are being forced to brush their teeth. A good way to get your children in the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day is to lead by example. Let your kids see you brush your teeth every morning and night, and get them to brush along with you. Until your kids reach the age of six or seven, they will need your assistance with brushing. You can make this even more fun for your kids by letting them help you brush your teeth as well.

Buy Fun Toothbrushes and Flavored Toothpaste.

Get your kids toothbrushes in their favorite colors or ones that feature their favorite cartoon characters. Present these brushes as a gift to create excitement for your children. Also, when buying kids’ toothpaste, bring your children to the store with you and allow them to pick out their favorite flavors. Always try to involve your kids in decision-making process when buying dental supplies.

Get Creative with a Song or a Story About Good Dental Habits.

Making these dental habits a fun thing to do is essential when teaching your kids these habits. If your kids like to sing, make up a song about brushing their teeth with them to sing whenever they brush. If they have a favorite song, let them listen to this song as they brush. You can even tell them they need to brush during the chorus of the song. Creating a story time during teeth brushing is another fun way to instill this habit. Try telling a story that incorporates mythical characters. For example, the knight can be the toothbrush who battles goblins (plaque) in the dragon’s cave, or your child’s mouth. If you do not feel that creative, you can always tell your kids their favorite stories as they are brushing their teeth as well.

Set Specific Times for Brushing Teeth.

Of course, you should have your kids brush your teeth in the morning and at night before going to bed, but you should also get them in the habit of brushing their teeth immediately after eating candy and other sugary foods and drinking sodas and other sugar-filled drinks.

If you would like to know more tips on teaching your kids healthy dental habits, contact West Meade Dental. Our staff is happy to help you with this important task.

How to Reduce Dental Anxiety

Are you afraid of going to the dentist? If so, you are not alone. Many people fear the dentist, and this fear can cause serious dental problems as neglecting to visit the dentist can lead to losing teeth, developing gum disease, and other issues. Reducing dental anxiety is something we at West Meade Dental promote to our patients who fear the dentist. Talking with our staff about your worries can take away some of the nervousness you may feel. As this is a common issue with many people, we would like to share some ways to reduce dental anxiety. We hope this information from Colgate about treatment options will alleviate your dental fears.



Sometimes all you need to reduce the anxiety you feel at the dentist is some sort of distraction during your exam or procedure. Listening to music through headphones and watching television are great ways to distract yourself during your dental appointment.


The biggest reason people fear the dentist is pain. Telling our staff about your issues with pain allows us to give you proper pain management during your visit. We have a wide variety of handling pain with different medicines and techniques so that you will never be in pain during your visit. These pain management tools include topical anesthetics, laser drills, electronic anesthesia, and nitrous oxide.


At West Meade Dental, our staff is very experienced with assisting patients in relaxing. We use several relaxation techniques including deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive relaxation. Our patients generally have success with one of these ways to relax and to reduce their dental fears, which makes their appointments go much smoother.


For some patients, sedation is a necessity during dental visits. Whether they have experienced a painful dental visit in the past or they simply fear the dentist, these patients need sedatives such as Valium to feel calm and relaxed during their appointments. Valium relaxes the central nervous system and can be necessary to reduce certain patients’ dental anxiety.


A technique that can create a state of relaxation, hypnosis is very similar to meditation. If you have serious dental fears, seeing a therapist to learn self-hypnosis methods can be extremely beneficial. If you have problems with being able to use these techniques yourself, some therapists will come with you to your dental visits to assist you with this method of relaxation until you can master these skills on your own.


Since dental anxiety is such a common issue, it is easy to find support groups in your community for those who suffer these anxieties. Of course, support groups will provide you with emotional support, but you generally will also learn coping skills as well as practical tips for reducing your dental fears. To find a dental anxiety support group, ask our staff to refer you to a group that will best help you conquer these fears.

Want to learn more about how to reduce dental anxiety? Contact West Meade Dental to speak with our staff about how we can relieve your fears.

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As Untreated Gum Disease Progresses, Its Dangers Increase

Even though gum disease is both easily preventable and reversible, it quickly progresses when left untreated. As the disease worsens, so do its dangers on your health. Not only is your mouth affected by gum disease, but the rest of your body is at risk. Research has proven that serious health conditions, such as heart disease and certain cancers, are associated with different types and stages of gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). At West Meade Dental, we look for signs of gum disease during every regular checkup and cleaning. When discovered in its early stages, gum disease can be successfully treated to stop it from worsening its health risks and dangers. Our staff will create a treatment plan for you that considers the type, stage, and severity of gum disease found during your checkup. We would like to tell you more about how this disease develops and its dangers progress when left untreated.


The Development of Gum Disease

Gingivitis, the earliest and mildest stage of gum disease, is not painful. However, as plaque builds up on the gums, they become inflamed, swollen, and bleed easily when you brush your teeth. Discovering the presence of gingivitis is one of the many reasons why visiting your dentist on a regular basis is so important. With proper treatment and healthy dental hygiene, gingivitis can be reversed before it worsens. If this condition is left untreated, it will most likely develop into periodontitis, or gum disease.

The Progression of Periodontitis

Untreated gingivitis can quickly advance into serious gum disease as plaque continues to spread and grow under the gum line. The bacteria in plaque produces toxins which further inflame and infect gum tissue. One of the biggest dangers of gum disease is the effect of these toxins on your body’s immune system. Although your body will attempt to fight the toxins, your immune system eventually becomes overwhelmed by the chronic inflammation caused by these toxins. The bones and tissues surrounding the gums begin to break down and separate from the teeth. Pockets between the gums and teeth are formed, and these pockets easily become infected and deepen if left untreated. Infected pockets cause more destruction of bones and tissues, and this leads to the danger of losing teeth.

Serious Repercussions of Periodontitis

Losing teeth is not the only danger of gum disease. The toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque enter your bloodstream and have been linked to serious health problems including strokes and heart disease. Additionally, diabetes is not only a risk factor of the advancement of periodontitis, but this illness can be worsened by the toxins associated with gum disease.

If you have noticed your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, contact West Meade Dental as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a dental exam. The earlier gum disease is found and treated, the less likely you will experience the dangers of periodontitis.

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The Importance of Detecting and Correcting Cavities

No one wants to hear he or she has a cavity during a routine visit to the dentist. However, detecting and correcting cavities early on can save your teeth from pain, infection, and more decay. This is why regular dental visits are so important. Of course, you can look for signs and symptoms of tooth decay and cavities at home, but you do need to turn to a professional dentist to correctly diagnose and fill the cavity to prevent further tooth deterioration. We at West Meade Dental would like to tell you more about cavities so you can understand the importance of finding and treating cavities.



Cavities begin their lives as tooth decay. According to WebMD, tooth decay is caused by sugary and starchy food residue remaining on the teeth after you eat. Common food culprits include: soda, fruits, cake, candy, cereals, and even breads and milk. If you don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating these kinds of carbohydrates, your likelihood of developing tooth decay goes up greatly, which leads to plaque. Plaque causes the holes in your teeth, otherwise known as cavities.


Of course not! Anyone who eats sugary and starchy foods on a regular basis is at risk for developing a cavity, no matter his or her age. Older adults can even develop cavities around old fillings, due to the lack of technology present when they received their fillings.


If you experience soreness in a tooth, especially after eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold, or if you notice a hole or discoloration on a tooth, you may have a cavity. However, in the early stages of a cavity, there usually are not any signs or symptoms at all. A reason why you should never miss a regular dental exam, only your dentist can conclusively diagnose a cavity. Your dentist will check each tooth by probing for soft tissue, a sure sign of a cavity. X-rays give the best diagnosis of a cavity as they show cavities not visible to the eye, which means they have been found in the early stages.


If left untreated, a cavity will go on to cause pain and further damage to the tooth. You may even have to undergo a root canal to treat a painful, untreated cavity. Early detection of cavities helps to better preserve your teeth.


The cavity treatment depends on the extent of the damage to your tooth, which is another reason early cavity detection is essential for good oral health. If caught early enough so there is not extensive damage to the tooth, the dentist removes the decayed part of the tooth by drilling it away and then replaces the area with a filling. Fillings today are made with safe materials such as gold, porcelain, silver alloy, and composite resin. If your tooth has suffered more damage, you may need a crown, along with a root canal if the decay has caused the pulp or nerve of the tooth to die. New developments are occurring in cavity treatment everyday. Further stressing the importance of detecting cavities early, tooth decay can even now be stopped or reversed if the cavity is found soon enough.

Do you have any questions about the early detection and correction of cavities? Contact West Meade Dental to get those questions answered as well as to schedule your next dental visit.

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