Pregnant? Hormonal Changes Increase Potential For Gingivitis
Posted on Feb 27, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Women who are pregnant should take extra measures to maintain a healthy mouth, for their own health as well as that of their unborn babies. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and premature birth. One study showed that pregnant women with gum disease were 4 – 7 times more likely to deliver prematurely (before week 37) and underweight babies than mothers with healthy gums. Mothers with the most severe periodontal (gum) disease delivered most prematurely, at 32 weeks.
Blame varying hormonal levels. During pregnancy, hormonal changes increase the risk for gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontal disease. This is the cause for approximately 40% of women developing gingivitis during pregnancy, referred to as pregnancy gingivitis.
An increased level of progesterone in pregnancy makes oral bacterial growth easier, which forms gingivitis. Progesterone also makes gum tissues more sensitive to plaque. For those who have significant gum disease prior to pregnancy, being pregnant can make the condition worse.
Gum inflammation typically appears between the second and eighth month of pregnancy. Signs of pregnancy gingivitis range from gums that are red rather than a healthy pink. Gums will often bleed when brushing teeth and be swollen and tender in spots.
The goal is to prevent pregnancy gingivitis before it occurs. Be committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home, which includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily and swishing with an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Be sure to keep your 6-month cleanings and exams. These will remove any plaque buildup that has occurred between visits.
If you are seeing signs of gingivitis or gum disease (pregnant or not), call us at (828) 274-9440 for an examination. Once your gums are restored to a healthy state, maintaining a healthy mouth can be a simple part of your daily routine.
Just What Is A Periodontist?
Posted on Feb 26, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
When I meet people out of my office, they often inquire about my profession. When I say I am a Periodontist, it’s pretty typical to get a “and that is…?” tip of the head. I’m happy to explain.
A Periodontist is a dental specialist who receives three years’ additional training after dental school, focusing on the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, including placement of dental implants. They are team players with general dentists and other specialists in restoring your mouth to a healthy state.
Your smile has no future without a solid foundation of gum tissue and bone structure on which a Periodontist has made his or her specialty. We are often the ‘behind the scenes’ doctors who resolve gum problems or place implants so you can return to your general dentist for ongoing care.
Hopefully, you’ll never need a Periodontist. However, if you do, we’ll know how to restore your mouth’s foundation to a healthy state. It’s what we do!
Dental Implants – Risks Are Minimal, But Exist For Some
Posted on Feb 24, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Although the success rate for dental implants is very high, about 95%, dental implants can fail. Knowing what contributes to implant failure before you have implants placed can help you enjoy a successful treatment outcome.
Some health and lifestyle issues can complicate the body’s ability to enable implants to integrate with your jaw bone and heal successfully. Those who smoke, have uncontrolled diabetes or other health problems tend to have lower success rates.
Incorrect placement of implants can also contribute to implant failure, which occurs when the implant perforates the sinus cavity or nerve running through the lower jaw.
Dental implant recipients should also be prepared for more-frequent dental visits for thorough cleanings, often four times a year versus twice a year. This helps to minimize bacteria at the implant sites, which can lead to infection.
Overall, dental implants are safe, successful for the majority and recreate the natural look, feel and function of the teeth you once had. Along with your commitment, having your implants placed by a Doctor who is specifically-trained and highly-experienced in all types of implants can greatly reduce your risk for failure.
To learn what type of implant will work best for your needs and goals, call (828) 274-9440 to schedule a consultation. I’ll answer your questions and make recommendations so you can decide what’s right for you.
Bacteria In Gums Should Be Taken Seriously
Posted on Feb 23, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
There is a commercial on television for a nail fungus treatment. To illustrate its presence, the fungus is portrayed by a nasty-looking cartoon character. The ‘creature’ is representative of living cells that decompose nutrients. Although it is a viewer-friendly way to think of nail fungus, fungi are actually ugly and destructive.
As a Periodontist, I wish there was a similar illustration for oral bacteria. In my specialty, I see just how devastating bacterial accumulation in gum tissues can be. However, the American population is still widely unaware of the destructive effect this can have on one’s overall health and well-being, not to mention their smile.
When an individual cuts himself, he will wash the cut and bandage it. This prevents bacteria from creating an infection that can become serious, even deadly. Yet, when a person’s gums are bleeding from a simple act as brushing teeth, this warning sign of gum disease is often ignored, even thought of as normal.
Think of bacteria as living creatures in your mouth – because they are! Bacteria are micro-organisms that feed on your tissues. They reproduce in your mouth and even create waste! Oral bacteria destroy gum tissues and attack supporting bone. Untreated gum disease will result in eventual tooth loss.
Yet, the damage of gum disease bacteria doesn’t stop with your smile. Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased tissue. Once bloodborne, the bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions in the body. Research has linked gum disease bacteria to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies and even impotency.
If you see blood in the sink while brushing, it’s anything but normal. Remember that this symptom represents an enormous colony of ugly little creatures who’ve claimed your mouth as their home. Then, vow to react. Ridding yourself of oral bacteria can be done comfortably and affordably with early treatment.
Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange a thorough examination. Your smile will thank you and you’ll be safe-guarding your overall health as well.