Posts for: May, 2017
Your gums not only help hold your teeth securely in place, they also help protect them. They're also part of your smile — when healthy and proportionally sized, they provide a beautiful frame for your teeth.
But if they become weakened by periodontal (gum) disease, they can detach and begin to shrink back or recede from the teeth. Not only will your smile be less attractive, but you could eventually lose teeth and some of the underlying bone.
Treating gum recession begins with treating the gum disease that caused it. The primary goal is to remove the source of the disease, a thin film of food particles and bacteria called dental plaque, from all tooth and gum surfaces. This may take several sessions, but eventually the infected gums should begin showing signs of health.
If the recession has been severe, however, we may have to assist their healing by grafting donor tissue to the recession site. Not only does this provide cover for exposed tooth surfaces, it also provides a “scaffold” for new tissue growth to build upon.
There are two basic surgical approaches to gum tissue grafting. One is called free gingival grafting in which we first completely remove a thin layer of surface skin from the mouth palate or a similar site with tissue similar to the gums. We then attach the removed skin to the recession site where it and the donor site will usually heal in a predictable manner.
The other approach is called connective tissue grafting and is often necessary when there's extensive root exposure. The tissue is usually taken from below the surface of the patient's own palate and then attached to the recession site where it's covered by the surrounding adjacent tissue. Called a pedicle or flap, this covering of tissue provides a blood supply that will continue to nourish the graft.
Both of these techniques, but especially the latter, require extensive training and micro-surgical experience. The end result is nothing less than stunning — the tissues further rejuvenate and re-attach to the teeth. The teeth regain their protection and health — and you'll regain your beautiful smile.
If you would like more information on treating gum recession, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”
Suffering from sleep apnea? Find out how your dentist could help you.
Sleep apnea is a pretty serious condition. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even realize that their restless sleep and daytime exhaustion could be due to this sleep disorder. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and you are weighing your treatment options, it may be a good time to sit down with our Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix, AZ, dentists, Dr. Shawn Monahan and Dr. Scott Sutton, and talk about how they can help you.
Those who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be able to benefit from a visit to their Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix general dentist. While you should certainly have a sleep doctor to turn to for care, also know that we may be able to provide an effective alternative treatment for managing your sleep disorder.
How can a dentist help?
Our dentists specialize in providing oral appliance therapy, a small device that is designed to fit over your upper and lower teeth to either prevent the tongue from obstructing airways or to reposition the jaw to also keep airways open. This device only has to be worn while you sleep and each device is custom-fitted to your mouth.
When you come into our office, we will go through an extensive consultation to determine if this is the best approach for handling your sleep apnea. We will even work with your sleep doctors to help determine your candidacy. Oral appliance therapy isn’t right for everyone and you may still need to use your CPAP treatment on top of wearing this oral appliance in order to get the best results; however, sometimes those with more mild-to-moderate sleep apnea may only require this simple oral device to get the sound sleep they’ve been looking for.
What are the benefits of oral appliance therapy?
You may already be able to imagine the many advantages to getting oral appliance therapy over CPAP. While CPAP treatment will still remain the number one way to keep your sleep apnea symptoms under control, oral appliance therapy may be a great option for so many people dealing with this potentially dangerous sleep disorder. Some of the benefits you’ll enjoy include:
- A comfortable, easy fit
- No need for bulky equipment
- A quiet way to treat your symptoms (sometimes CPAP equipment can wake patients up at night)
- A treatment that’s easy to travel with
- A device that is simple to care for and maintain
Sleep apnea doesn’t have to take over your sleep schedule. Get the restful sleep you deserve. Call Waterfront Dentistry in Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix, AZ, today to schedule a consultation. Let us know that you are interested in oral appliance therapy.
When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?
For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.
Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.
Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:
- It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
- A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
- Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
- Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!
Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!