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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.

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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

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.

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DIABETES

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.

HEART DISEASE

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.

OSTEOPOROSIS

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.

OTHER CONDITIONS

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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

The Damage Smoking Can Do

We don’t need to tell you that smoking is bad for your health. But since we help current and former smokers deal with the damage smoking causes to their teeth on a daily basis at West Meade Dental, we figure it’s worth talking about some of the specific dental problems that come along with cigarettes.

Smoking can damage your beautiful smile and cause serious health problems.

Smoking can damage your beautiful smile and cause serious health problems.

How Smoking Affects Dental Health

The Nicotine and tar in cigarettes each take their toll on teeth. Tar contributes considerably to the yellow and brown staining many smokers complain about. Nicotine brings along far more serious issues too.

Nicotine directly affects the blood vessels in your mouth, minimizing the blood flow to your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. That does two particularly bad things: It limits your body’s ability to fight infection there, and hides the response to infection, so you’re potentially unaware of the problem until it gets more serious. Nicotine also affects your saliva, minimizing its ability to dull acids that come from the foods we eat. Add that all up, and you have the recipe for serious tooth trouble.

Let’s Talk About Gum (Or Periodontal) Disease

You’ve likely heard the term “gum disease” plenty of times through the years, from your dentist or in mouthwash and toothpaste commercials. But here are some specifics about gum disease (or periodontal disease) that are well worth knowing about, particularly if you’re a smoker.

– If you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, it means that you have an infection in your gum tissue and/or the bones supporting your teeth. And like any infection, if it isn’t dealt with, it’ll spread and get worse.

– Symptoms can include persistent bad breath, red and swollen gums, receding or bleeding gums, even loose or lost teeth.

– In its milder form (Gingivitus), the infection is more confined to the tissue in your gums, and since sufferers usually don’t experience pain, it’s common that it goes unchecked and untreated. With more serious periodontal disease, or Periodontitis, the bone that holds your teeth can be affected, leading to tooth loss.

– You’re more likely to have periodontal disease if you smoke. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a little over eight percent of adults ages 20 to 64 surveyed were periodontal disease sufferers. If you’re looking at current smokers, the percentage is almost twice as high.

What West Meade Dental Can Do To Help

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your dental health. If you’re dealing with damage brought on by smoking, there are some things West Meade Dental can do to help you.

Professional Cleaning
During a cleaning, we can remove plaque and tartar buildup to limit the likelihood of gum separation and gum disease.

Teeth Whitening and Porcelain Veneers
Tooth yellowing or discoloration from smoking doesn’t have to be permanent. In a lot of cases, we can whiten your smile considerably and make you feel more comfortable and more confident with our professional teeth whitening services. More significantly stained teeth that are still relatively healthy could benefit from porcelain veneers, which attach to the front of your teeth to bring a bright new appearance.

Other Cosmetic Dentistry
If you’ve lost teeth due to gum disease or other issues, West Meade Dental can bring your smile back. We specialize in porcelain crowns and bridges, implants and full or partial dentures, and we can tell you what approach will work best for your needs.

If you have any questions about the effects of smoking on dental health, don’t hesitate to call West Meade Dental – we’re always glad to help.

Beware of Gum Disease

What You Need to Know About Gum Disease

Are you having trouble eating properly because you’re tooth hurts? Have you experienced brushing your teeth for the fifth consecutive time already but still your breath smells bad? It’s time you learn why this is happening and how you can prevent this from worsening.

Periodontal or gum disease is the inflammation of the soft tissue and the loss of fragile bones surrounding your teeth and gums. The usual symptoms of gum disease is bad breath and bleeding due to sensitive gums .This is caused by the accumulation of bacteria found in “plaque”; a clear sticky substance produced by the mouth. The bacteria feed on the food you put in your mouth thus producing harmful toxins. These toxins irritate your gums making them bleed every time you brush.

If your gums are swollen or bleeding, it is time to schedule a visit with your dentist. This is a symptom of gingivitis, which can develop into gum disease.

If your gums are swollen or bleeding, it is time to schedule a visit with your dentist. This is a symptom of gingivitis, which can develop into gum disease.

This “plaque” can harden, if not properly cleaned by a dentist. This can then transform itself to become tartar or calculus which can worsen the irritation and slowly pull your teeth away from each other. If left unattended, this can cause gingivitis which is characterized by swollen gums and massive bleeding. This is milder compared to periodontitis where your teeth might eventually get loose and need immediate removal.

Aside from the main cause of gum disease which is “plaque”, other factors can cause this as well. If you think that smoking can only affect your lungs, you’re wrong. It can also affect your mouth as well. The hazardous chemicals it has can cause your gums to swell.

Poor nutrition and stress can also put you at risk. Because you’re not getting the right amount of nutrition in your body, it makes it hard for your immune system to fight the infection in your gums.

Medications also affect your susceptibility to this disease. Drugs like antidepressants, oral contraceptives and over the counter prescriptions can affect your oral health. This reduces the production of saliva in your mouth which serves as protection to your gum line. Your mouth then becomes vulnerable to infection. Some medicines cause abnormal growth of gum tissue thus making it harder to keep them clean.

There are some, despite all the necessary precautions made, who are genetically susceptible to the disease. This is a matter of a long line of ancestors with the same problem. This can still be prevented by thorough check-ups and regular cleaning from your dentist.

Legacy Hill Dentistry provides the best of health care services in dentistry with their state of the art equipment and tools. They are composed of a team of excellent dental hygienists that can clean and fix the damages of gum disease; making sure it can never happen again. They have been serving the people of Smyrna, Tennessee since 1995 and have since become the choice of many satisfied customers. You are sure to leave with a pearly white smile on your face.

Daily Care for Teeth

Everyday Habits for Healthy Teeth

No one likes having problems with their teeth. Whether it is aesthetics or something more serious there are a litany of problems that can affect your teeth. For most people these problems are only a concern once they happen but taking the proper preventative steps can keep you from every having to deal with them at all. With peoples’ busy schedules getting busier all the time sometimes basic oral hygiene can fall by the wayside. As people fall asleep at their computers at night or wake up late for work proper brushing techniques are being discarded like the floss they should be using! This is however no excuse and for many people this lack of attention to their pearly whites will lead to preventable problems in the future. For some they may simply have forgotten the brushing basics but have no fear.

Yes. You should be brushing. And flossing. These two simple activities can save you a lot of money and pain later on.

Yes. You should be brushing. And flossing. These two simple activities can save you a lot of money and pain later on.

Here is a refresher:

The first thing to know about any job is that you must have the proper equipment to get it done. It is prudent to replace your brush every 3 – 4 months (sooner if the bristles are frayed). This will make sure that the brush is getting to all the spots it is designed to get to. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day (morning and evening) however if you only brush once it should be at night before you go to sleep. Otherwise your teeth will stew in whatever you have eaten that day all night. It’s not a pretty picture but it is the truth!

When you brush it is important to get to every tooth. Move the brush in small circles on every surface of every tooth. This is especially important near the gumline where plaque can buildup. Once this is done for every tooth rinse your mouth and move on to flossing. When flossing it is important that you have enough floss to get the job done. 18 inches of floss is the standard recommendation. Make sure to floss in between every set of teeth. This also includes the back molars on both sides even though there is not a tooth on the other side. This will help eliminate food particles that may have gotten stuck in between your teeth. It is best to rinse your mouth with water after this to get any floating particles that may be lef

Once you have brushed and flossed you may think you are done but there is one other step that many people do not do. Rinse your mouth out with mouthwash. This not only serves to freshen your breath but also will help dis-infect your mouth. An alcohol based mouthwash will help clear the bacteria away from any cuts or sores in your mouth as well which can help prevent disease (not only of the mouth but other diseases and infections as well).

It may seem simple but these steps go a long way in promoting a healthy mouth and a pretty smile. If you ever need any extra motivation get online and look up gum disease and some of the other problems (and solutions) an unhealthy mouth must face. I promise you’ll be furiously brushing in no time!

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

Do I Need An Orthodontist?

Identifying When a Dentist or Orthodontist is Needed

When do you need a dentist, orthodontist, or other dental professional? The answer depends on the condition and how long it has been present. In general, adults and children should visit a dentist once every six months for a complete oral examination and teeth cleaning procedure. If a dentist finds issues such as cavities or the beginning stages of gum disease, a follow-up visit may be required. Crooked or crowded teeth are among the issues that may indicate the need to visit an orthodontist. Their specialty is the strategic shifting of teeth.

During a general examination, the dentist inspects the gums, teeth, and tongue and may probe certain areas to test for sensitivity or cavities. Teeth are then scaled to remove plaque and tartar buildup before cleaning each tooth with a special instrument and dental paste. If fluoride treatment is recommended, it is applied to clean teeth and the mouth is rinsed. Periodically, the dentist may take X-rays of the teeth and mouth. Current condition and medical and dental history determine the frequency of X-rays.

Dental Check-up - Nashville TN - West Meade Dental

Dental Check-up – Nashville TN – West Meade Dental

Dental X-rays are used to visualize tooth and oral tissue diseases that an examination cannot identify. Dentists use X-rays to help located and treat dental issues at early stages, potentially saving pain, money, and even lives. For children, these X-rays help identify decay, determine whether the mouth has enough space to accommodate incoming teeth, and assess whether primary tooth loss is occurring fast enough to allow the proper emergence of permanent teeth.

An X-ray can verify wisdom tooth development in older children and whether these teeth will be able to emerge through gums. With adults, X-rays are used to reveal areas of decay that are not visible during an oral exam, particularly decay between teeth. An X-ray can identify changes in the root canal or bone due to infection and point out bone loss due to gum disease. Dentists often use X-rays to assist with preparation of dentures, implants, braces, and other procedures.

Most symptoms or issues that pertain to the teeth, gums, and mouth are not emergencies. However, immediate attention is recommended in certain situations. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, visit a dentist immediately because it may be possible to re-implant the tooth. A dental visit should also be scheduled if a tooth is chipped or broken. Retain the piece that broke off and store it in a cool, moist cloth. Treatment will be based on the extent of the chip or break.

If a tooth is knocked out of its correct position or becomes misaligned, use light pressure to try to push it back into place. Bite down on the tooth to maintain the correct position and see a dentist immediately. Treatment may involve splinting the tooth to help it heal. Trauma to the mouth area may also result in lacerations or cuts on the tongue, cheeks, or gums. Apply direct pressure to control bleeding and seek immediate dental or medical attention.

Non-traumatic tooth issues include tooth pain or a toothache resulting from a dental abscess or cavity in or around a tooth. If the gum around the affected tooth swells significantly, fluid drains from the area, or the pain is severe, have a dentist evaluate the situation. Redness or swelling of gums is not usually an urgent situation but since it may indicate infection or gum disease, schedule a dental appointment as soon as is convenient.

Orthodontic treatment is designed to straighten teeth so they sit well with teeth on the opposite jaw. With a good bite, it becomes easier to speak, bite, and chew. There are several signs that it is time to vista an orthodontist:

 

  • Losing baby teeth earlier or later than is normal
  • Sucking fingers
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Teeth that are blocked-out, crowded, or misplaced
  • Teeth that protrude
  • Teeth that do not meet or that meet abnormally
  • Clenching or grinding teeth
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Recessed, protruding, or shifting jaw
  • Jaw that makes sounds
  • Inability to close lips comfortably
  • Biting the roof of the mouth or biting the cheek
  • Facial features disproportionate with the remainder of the face
  • Facial imbalance

 

Dental treatment helps patients maintain clean and healthy mouths. Orthodontic care is part of comprehensive dental treatment for some patients. It ensures a healthy bite, which is important at any age. Knowing when it is time to visit a dentist or orthodontist and receiving the proper treatment can help teeth last for a lifetime.

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