Posts for: May, 2015
Periodontal (gum) disease can cause a number of devastating effects that could eventually lead to tooth loss. However, you may be more prone to a particular effect depending on the individual characteristics of your gums.
There are two basic types of gum tissues or “periodontal biotypes” that we inherit from our parents: thick or thin. These can often be identified by sight — thinner gum tissues present a more pronounced arch around the teeth and appear more scalloped; thicker tissues present a flatter arch appearance. While there are size variations within each biotype, one or the other tends to predominate within certain populations: those of European or African descent typically possess the thick biotype, while Asians tend to possess the thin biotype.
In relation to gum disease, those with thin gum tissues are more prone to gum recession. The diseased tissues pull up and away (recede) from a tooth, eventually exposing the tooth’s root surface. Receding gums thus cause higher sensitivity to temperature changes or pressure, and can accelerate tooth decay. It’s also unattractive as the normal pink triangles of gum tissue between teeth (papillae) may be lost, leaving only a dark spot between the teeth or making the more yellow-colored root surface visible.
While thicker gum tissues are more resilient to gum recession, they’re more prone to the development of periodontal pockets. In this case, the slight gap between teeth and gums grows longer as the infected tissues pull away from the teeth as the underlying bone tissue is lost. The resulting void becomes deeper and more prone to infection and will ultimately result in further bone loss and decreased survivability for the tooth.
Either of these conditions will require extensive treatment beyond basic plaque control. Severe gum recession, for example, may require grafting techniques to cover exposed teeth and encourage new tissue growth. Periodontal pockets, in turn, must be accessed and cleaned of infection: the deeper the pocket the more invasive the treatment, including surgery.
Regardless of what type of gum tissue you have, it’s important for you to take steps to lower your risk of gum disease. First and foremost, practice effective daily hygiene with brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque, the main cause of gum disease. You should also visit us at least twice a year (or more, if you’ve developed gum disease) for those all important cleanings and checkups.
If you would like more information on hereditary factors for gum disease, 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 “Genetics & Gum Tissue Types.”
Discover the reasons why you should be seeing your Charlotte family dentist more often.
Has it been a while since you’ve seen your Charlotte family dentists Drs. Susan Hockaday and Jim Baucom? You might even be wondering why you need to come in every six months for cleanings when you can just as easily brush you teeth at home. Find out the importance of routine dental care and why you shouldn’t skip it.
Checking for decay: Did you know that about 92 percent of adults between the ages of 20 to 64 years old have had cavities? While this percentage is startlingly high, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, cavities are completely preventable with the proper care. While brushing twice a day and flossing daily will certainly get you on the right track to a cavity-free smile, you still need to see your Charlotte family dentists at Hockaday & Baucom, DDS, every six months for a more thorough cleaning and to pinpoint decay before they become full-blown cavities.
Detecting gum disease: It is predicted that about half of the population has some form of gum disease. If left untreated, this chronic condition can cause tooth and bone loss. The best way to prevent gum disease from happening to you is to see your Charlotte dentist for regular cleanings. Even if you are a great brusher, it’s still common to miss spots every once in a while; however, if plaque isn’t removed it can quickly turn to tartar, which your toothbrush just can’t remove. The only way to get rid of tartar is by coming in for your biannual cleanings. What happens if you leave tartar on your teeth? This problem will eventually lead to the beginning stages of gum disease.
Discovering other issues: Beside the common dental ailments like cavities and gum disease that befall many people, there are some less common problems that your Charlotte family dentists Drs. Hockaday and Baucom can still detect through a routine exam. For example, we can look for signs of oral cancer, infection or jaw problems. With an increase in the prevalence of oral cancer, it’s now as important as even to see us routinely for your dental exam.
Needless to say, it’s vitally important that you see your Charlotte family dentist routinely for dental care. No matter how well you care for your teeth at home, you still need to come see us every six months. You don’t know what could be lurking in that seemingly healthy smile. Schedule your next appointment today at Hockaday & Baucom by calling (704) 553-2348.
As the youngest person ever to host Entertainment Tonight, Maria Menounos, an independent filmmaker, actress, and co-host of daily entertainment news program Extra, has made a huge splash in the world of entertainment journalism. However, she is also an avid ambassador for the American Diabetes Association, a cause that is very dear to her heart because her father is a diabetic.
Her father's illness taught Menounos and her family about the importance of maintaining good general and dental health. This included a diet packed with fruits and vegetables, many of which they raised themselves. According to Menounos, they also ate little-to-no junk food. These habits still help keep the busy celebrity journalist fit and smiling with beautiful, healthy teeth.
Speaking of her smile, Menounos openly discusses her oral health in her interview with Dear Doctor magazine. She has had no major dental enhancements — not even braces — but does occasionally brighten her smile with tooth whitening. She also feels that her teeth are healthy due to the sealants she had as a child.
We could not agree more with Maria! Sealants for the tiny grooves in teeth known as “pits and fissures” are something that every parent or caregiver should consider for their children. The enamel of newly erupted teeth is more permeable, meaning that the acids produced by bacteria in the mouth can damage these teeth more easily, making them more susceptible and less resistant to decay. The good news is that dental sealants help protect teeth until the enamel has matured. Because of sealants — along with fluoride, good hygiene, and better nutrition (including less sugar consumption), tooth decay has been dramatically reduced.
If you are interested in learning more about dental sealants, contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can conduct a thorough examination. During this private consultation, we will also discuss any questions you have as well as what treatment options will be best for you or your children. However, to learn more about dental sealants now, you can continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children.” And to read the entire interview with Maria Menounos, please see the Dear Doctor magazine article “Maria Menounos.”