Recent research has revealed that there is a link between cardiovascular (“cardio” – heart; “vascular” – blood vessel) disease (CVD) and periodontal (gum) disease. The link is Inflammation. This is why it is important to learn more about this important relationship so that you can take proactive steps to improving your health and life.
What causes periodontal disease?
Simply put, irregular and ineffective brushing and flossing are the root causes of periodontal disease. Over time and when bacterial biofilms (dental plaque) are left unchecked, they lead to the emergence of a small set of highly pathogenic (“patho” – disease; “genic” – causing) organisms that are consistently associated with periodontitis (“peri” – gum; “odont” – tooth; “itis” – inflammation) or gum disease.
Is periodontal disease common or am I one of the few who have it?
It is a quite common disease, with mild to moderate forms of it impacting 30 to 50% of US adults. More severe cases affect 5 to 15%. One of the reasons these numbers are so high is because periodontal disease is a silent, painless disease that often occurs without any symptoms.
So how does my gum disease link to potential heart disease?
Inflammation is a characteristic of chronic disease. People with moderate to severe periodontitis have increased levels of systemic (general body) inflammation. If left untreated, the same bacterial strains that are commonly found in periodontal pockets surrounding diseased teeth have been found in blood vessel plaques of people with CVD.
This all sounds bad...is there any good news?
Yes! Research has revealed that if periodontal disease is treated, inflammation and infection can be reduced. This also reduces the risk for heart attacks and strokes, both of which are common results of CVD. All it may take is a thorough exam for gum disease and thorough dental cleaning. During your exam, we can also make sure you are brushing and flossing properly so that you are effectively removing bacterial biofilm. But if you have severe periodontal disease, you may need deeper cleanings and more advanced treatment to save your teeth and your heart.
To learn more on this subject, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Link Between Heart & Gum Diseases.” You can also contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
If you've ever looked through a magazine and viewed the perfectly aligned white smiles of celebrities and models, you may be already familiar with the look of porcelain veneers. To achieve a picture-perfect smile, many Hollywood stars choose porcelain veneers (thin-layers of porcelain) that are bonded to the front of teeth allowing for the alteration of tooth position, shape, size and color. By fixing imperfections, as well as whitening them, veneers offer celebrities a perfect smile that, when maintained properly, can last for several decades.
Evaluation: If porcelain veneers sound appealing, our office can help you decide if you're a good candidate for them. We will ensure you have sufficient tooth structure, that your teeth are in more or less a normal position, and that symmetrical gum contours are present, allowing for proper “framing” of the teeth, necessary for a beautiful smile.
The Process: Once it's been determined that you're a good candidate for veneers, our office will begin a smile analysis using computer imaging to digitally replicate your smile and then fabricate a mock-up smile made of tooth-colored wax. We will work with you to determine the right color and shade for your veneers. You can choose the brightest, whitest “Hollywood smile” or opt for a more natural color and enhanced look.
Next Steps: After your initial appointment, it typically takes the laboratory one week to fabricate your porcelain veneers. The insertion of your veneers can be done with or without a local anesthetic. We will place the veneers on your teeth with a light-sensitive resin, which sets with the use of a white light, effectively bonding them to your teeth. While you may initially experience some tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, this will disappear after a few days. Maintaining your perfect smile requires simple brushing and flossing techniques and routine check ups.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any questions you may have regarding porcelain veneers. Read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smile Design, Enhanced by Porcelain Veneers.”
One question we are most often asked by parents of athletes or those who participate in physical sports is, “Do mouthguards really work?” And when we respond, “yes,” a common follow-up question is, “Is there any scientific evidence to support this claim?” Based on this scenario, we feel it is important to provide you with some interesting and evidence-based facts on this topic.
The first reported use of mouthguards was in the sport of boxing. And because participants and bystanders in the 1920s quickly witnessed their effectiveness even back then, the trend's popularity grew to the point that boxing became the first professional sport to require them. However, other sports soon started following this lead — especially those high-contact sports. The American Dental Association (ADA) started mandating the use of mouthguards for football in 1962 and the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) currently requires mouthguards for football, ice hockey, lacrosse and field hockey. The ADA has since expanded their recommendations to now include 29 different sports and exercise activities. So now that you know more about the professional organizations pushing the use of mouthguards, let's get back to the second question, “What's the evidence?”
There have been numerous studies over the years regarding the properties of mouthguards, and more specifically their shock absorbing capabilities. Other studies have been based upon their protective abilities due to their stiffness, hardness and strength. This research has enabled us to vastly improve upon the effectiveness of mouthguards. For example, years ago latex rubber was a popular material used to create mouthguards. However, today we use products such as ethylene vinyl acetate or polyurethane because they are far superior in durability and flexibility. And impact studies have shown that the chances of fracturing teeth is dramatically reduced when wearing one of these mouthguards...especially when compared to individuals wearing no mouthguard at all. In fact, research has revealed that by not wearing a mouthguard during physical sports or exercise, individuals are 60 times more likely to experience an injury to the mouth and/or teeth.
To learn more about the importance of protective mouthguards, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about mouthguards.
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