Posts for: October, 2015
Have you ever heard the term "periodontist"? A periodontist is a specially trained dentist who treats gum disease in its various forms. While millions of adult Americans have some form of gum disease--from simple gingivitis to advanced periodontitis--a scant number actually know they have the condition and work to prevent and treat it.
The Williston Dental Team, comprised of a husband and wife pair, Drs. Gabriel Mannarino and Holly Halliday, teach their patients proper oral hygiene techniques and include careful gum assessment in routine dental exams and cleanings. They look for and treat signs of gum disease, limiting tooth loss and the systemic complications linked to periodontitis.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Periodontitis is basically an infection linked to oral bacteria which thrives in accumulated plaque and tartar between teeth and beneath the gum line. The American Academy of Periodontology cites the following symptoms as common to gum disease:
- red, swollen, pus-filled gums
- gum tenderness
- bad breath
- loose or drifting teeth
- gum recession
- bleeding when brushing and flossing
- a change in how teeth bite together
Complications of Periodontitis
Besides infection, inflammation is a major player in gum disease. This inflammation contributes to major systemic conditions, including:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- coronary artery disease
- heart attack
- Alzheimer's Disease
- pregnancy complications and low birth weight infants
What Can be Done?
Prevention is the best defense against gum disease, but when your Williston dentist discovers periodontitis, he or she has many tools to stop, treat and reverse this damaging process.
The most common treatment is manual or ultrasonic scaling and debriding of tooth and root surfaces to remove plaque, tartar, and other diseased debris. Your Williston periodontist eliminates infection with antibiotics instilled at the gum line.
For advanced cases, Dr. Halliday, a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, performs individualized gum surgeries which remove bacteria-filled gum pockets surrounding teeth or which graft gum tissue over diseased sites. Flap surgery to access and debride teeth and bone may be an option as well.
Are Your Gums Healthy?
As part of your semi-annual exam and hygienic cleaning at Williston Dental, Dr. Mannarino or Halliday will check for dental decay, proper alignment and bite, oral cancer and of course, gum disease. Gentle periodontal probing measures gum pockets to diagnose problems at their earliest stages.
Contact the Williston Dental Team for your routine check-up and cleaning. The health of your teeth and gums depend on it. Call (802) 878-0600 for an appointment.
Since the 1950s fluoride has played an important role in the fight against tooth decay as an additive to hygiene products and many public water supplies. But although a proven cavity fighter, some have questioned its safety over the years.
To date, though, the only substantiated health risk from fluoride use is a condition known as enamel fluorosis, which occurs when too much fluoride is ingested during early tooth development as the mineral embeds in the tooth structure. Fluorosis can cause changes in the enamel’s appearance, ranging from barely noticeable white streaking to darker visible staining and a pitted texture.
Fluorosis is primarily a cosmetic problem and not a serious health issue. The staining on otherwise sound teeth, however, is permanent and more severe cases may require extensive bleaching treatment to improve appearance. The best strategy is to prevent fluorosis by monitoring and limiting your child’s fluoride intake, until about age 9.
Tooth decay is a more serious condition than fluorosis so we’re not advocating you eliminate fluoride but that you keep your family’s intake within safe levels. The first step is to determine just how much that intake is now, particularly if you drink fluoridated water. If you have public water, you may be able to find its fluoridation level online at apps.nccd.cdc.gov or call the utility directly.
You should also be careful about the amount of toothpaste your child uses to brush their teeth. Children under two need only a trace (a “smear”) on the brush, and children between the ages of 2 and 6 a pea-sized amount. And, they should brush no more than twice a day.
Another possible concern is infant formula, especially mixable powder. While the formula itself doesn’t contain fluoride, water mixed with it may. If you live in an area with increased fluorosis risk, consider breast-feeding (breast milk has little fluoride), using ready-to-feed formula, or mixing powdered formula with bottled water labeled “de-ionized,” “purified,” “demineralized” or “distilled.”
We’ll be glad to help assess your family’s current fluoride intake and advise you on making adjustments to bring it into normal ranges. Taking in the right amount of fluoride assures you and your children receive the most benefit and protection from it, while avoiding future smile problems.
If you would like more information on managing your family’s fluoride intake, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Development and Infant Formula.”
A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.
“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”
That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.
Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:
- Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!
So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”