Tennessee Valley Periodontics

Bad Breath is Bad News

woman breathing in fresh airBad breath is bad news. Don’t let bad breath be a part of your day! In our office, we are asked on an almost daily basis “How can I get rid of my bad breath?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep your breath fresh and clean:

1. Brush and Floss Regularly:

It’s basic advice, but foolproof. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing and tongue scraping once is the best way to combat bad breath. When the bacteria in your mouth have bits of food and debris to feed on, they create the odors that cause bad breath. Keeping your mouth clean will keep your breath clean at the same time!

2. Drink Water:

You don’t always have access to a toothbrush. As it turns out though, water can be an effective way to freshen your breath until you can get home and brush. Water helps clean out your mouth and prevents dryness, another major cause of bad breath.

3. Eat Good Foods:

A good way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from foods that make your breath smell bad, and eat foods those that will help your breath smell good! Melons and citrus fruit are high in Vitamin C, and help kill bacteria in your mouth. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help remove food stuck in your teeth, reducing smells caused by bacteria feeding on them.

4. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol:

Sugary gum and breath mints are often used to tackle bad breath. However, the stinky bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and giving them more tends to produce acid that can make your breath smell worse AND lead to tooth decay. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that bacteria cannot break down, which makes it a perfect method for keeping your breath fresh and clean.

If you are troubled by your bad breath, ask us for more tips on staying fresh and clean!

Autograft vs. Allograft

woman smilingSo, you were recently told by your doctor that you need a bone graft, but you aren’t quite sure what that means.

A bone graft is a surgical procedure that is used to fix bones or joints that were damaged by trauma, and it is also used to replace bone that is missing to provide structural stability around the body, including the jawbone. There are many types of bone grafts we can use to grow bone – the two most common are autografts and allografts.

An autograft is a bone or tissue that is transferred from one spot to another on the patient’s body. It is often thought of as the “gold standard” in bone grafting because of its reliability. Its high success rate is due to the fact that it is living tissue and thus its cells are kept intact.

An allograft is a bone or tissue that is transplanted from one person to another. They typically come from a donor, or cadaver bone. The allograft is safe, ready to use and available in large amounts. The main advantage of an allograft is that it requires one less procedure than the autograft, which must first be taken from the patient. Surgical time is minimized and the recovery can be quicker. The allograft comes from a reputable and reliable tissue bank.

Knowing which bone-grafting option you will need can be confusing, but we are here to answer any questions you may have. Please schedule a bone grafting consultation with us by calling Chattanooga Office Phone Number 423-893-0557. We will perform a thorough evaluation of your oral health. After our evaluation, we will recommend what bone graft is best for you. We are happy to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have. We want you feeling confident with our choice and worry free.

Tooth Extraction – Managing Pain

man kicking painThe Procedure Itself
Thanks to a wide variety of anesthesia choices available to us these days, you should feel no pain during your extraction.

After the Surgery

  • Over-the-Counter Medicines: Generally speaking, over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen are all that you will need following your surgery.
  • Staying On Top of Pain: It is very important to stay on a strict schedule of medication the first few days following your surgery. Getting behind on medication will result in more pain and may even make it difficult to catch up with pain control again.
  • Ice for Swelling: We want you to ice your cheeks for the first 24 hours following surgery, twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off alternating. Managing swelling can help greatly with pain management, and the act of icing may even feel good on its own.
  • Rest: Your body was expertly designed with high-tech systems in place to heal – but you have to give it the space and conditions to do so. Rest is one of the most important things you can do to help your body heal faster.
  • Salt Rinse the DAY AFTER Surgery: The day after surgery, you should rinse your mouth very gently with a mixture of one cup of warm water and ½ teaspoon of salt. You may do so up to 4 times a day. Designed to gently clean the wound site (but NOT dislodge the blood clot), some patients also feel that the warm water helps with pain relief.
  • Prescriptions: Most often, our patients do not require prescription pain medication post-op. However, in the case that we feel your case calls for such, please keep the following in mind:
    • Antibiotics – If we have ordered antibiotics for you, you must take them on schedule and for as long as we prescribe – Never stop antibiotic treatment prematurely without our specific orders.
    • Pain-Killers – In the event that you require prescription pain killers, please note that we are required to prescribe these sparingly and in accordance with certain laws, due to rising rates of substance abuse. You can help keep these drugs off the street by taking only what you need, and taking unused pills to a pharmacy for safe disposal – never “keep them around” in your cabinet for future use.

For more information, please visit our surgical instructions page and feel free to call us at Chattanooga Office Phone Number 423-893-0557

3D Printers and Bone Grafting

3d bone graftingThere is exciting news in bone grafting technology that will hopefully find its way into the oral surgeon’s office over the next decade! Researchers have been able to create a synthetic bone material using 3D printers that may be better than what is being used now.

3D printers create three-dimensional objects out of a variety of materials using a computer as a precise guide. Although the concept has been in the news a lot recently, the practice actually dates back to before the 21st century. In fact, 3d printing’s roots go back to the early 1980s. Since then, everything from jewelry to synthetic human organs has been printed, much to the amazement of modern society!

And now, surgeons have successfully implanted the 3D-printed synthetic bone grafting material into animals with bone defects. This “hyperelastic bone” was made using just the right combination of bioactive materials and polymers to make a material that could be layered while still wet, allowing for better adherence between layers.

Here are some of the expected benefits of this new material:

  • Very elastic, allowing for cutting without crumbling, which can be a problem with current grafting materials.
  • Blood vessels move in quickly because the material is porous.
  • Biodegradable as the body replaces it with genuine tissue.
  • Doesn’t dry out right away.
  • So far the animals haven’t rejected the implant, which could mean less complications for humans as well.
  • Could be a great option for children since it will grow with them.

While human trials are potentially five or more years away, the news is very exciting for the surgical community, and we are can’t wait to see what benefits this will bring to our patients.

To find out more about bone grafting in general or to set up a consultation with our office, please call us at Chattanooga Office Phone Number 423-893-0557.

The Source of Your Tooth Pain

woman holding jaw in painMost people, at some point in their life, will experience tooth pain or another discomfort in the mouth. If you are experiencing pain right now, you are probably wondering “Why does my tooth hurt?” and, more importantly, “How do I make it stop?”

As endodontists, we are specialists in stopping tooth pain in its tracks. That’s right! Root canal therapy is one of the most dependable and permanent ways to make tooth pain stop. It also happens to be the healthier choice when compared to extraction.

As experts in pain-relief, we offer you this quick guide to the top three sources of tooth pain (can you guess what number one is?) The good news is that each of these conditions is both preventable and treatable.

  1. Cavities – Yep! You guessed it! Dental caries are the number one cause of tooth pain. While a general dentist can take care of early-stage caries with a filling, more serious decay that has gone past the crown and entered the roots requires a visit to the endodontist for root canal treatment. Prevent cavities in just 6 minutes a day by brushing twice and flossing once!
  2. Broken Fillings – If you have an old silver filling in your mouth, there is a good chance it will crack at some point during your life. The important thing to do if you suspect you have a broken or cracked filling is to visit your dentist ASAP for a replacement. Otherwise, bacteria will find its way into the crack and infect the root, which will then require more aggressive treatment such as root canal therapy.
  3. Cracked Teeth – If you feel a sharp pain when biting down on food, you probably have a cracked or chipped tooth. Tooth fractures are usually the result of biting down on something hard such as ice, nuts or hard candy, so those items should be avoided when possible.

Now that you know the source of your pain, we want you to know that we are here to help you determine the best remedy. We aim to get you in and out quickly, safely and comfortably. Don’t wait any longer to resolve your pain, give us a call at Chattanooga Office Phone Number 423-893-0557.

Periodontics: More than Just Gum Disease

In today’s world, a beautiful smile translates to a more confident (and some say more successful) person. Whether you are talking about the business world or your social circle, the fact of the matter woman smiling with healthy gumsis that smiles simply look better now than they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

The fact that nearly half of patients spend $2,500 or more per year on cosmetic treatments in the dental office such as teeth whitening, veneers and orthodontics proves the significance of an attractive smile these days.

Did you know that as Periodontists, we can take your smile to the next level? Whether you were blessed to be born with perfect crowns or have paid substantial money to bring them up to par, we can further perfect your smile to make your investment really worth it with a cosmetic periodontal treatment. Whether you have a gummy smile (too much gum tissue covering your teeth) or the opposite, we can give you a smile boost that will ensure that you have the look you want for a happier and more confident you.

Benefits of Cosmetic Periodontal Work:

  • Affordable – you may be surprised to find that many of the cosmetic procedures we offer are actually cheaper than some of the general cosmetic work you have had done.
  • Permanent – Unlike the maintenance associated with veneers, whitening and braces (retainers for life, anyone?), periodontal procedures such as crown lengthening are permanent.
  • A Lifestyle Investment – A great smile gives you a competitive advantage in today’s world. Invest in your career and your personal life by making sure yours is bright, radiant, straight and well proportioned.

Is your smile just a little bit less than you’d like it to be? Give us a call at Chattanooga Office Phone Number 423-893-0557 to set up your cosmetic consultation.

Periodontal Charting

A Periodontal Chart is also referred to as a gum chart. It is a graphic chart dental professionals use for organizing the information about your gums. Periodontal charting is the best way to uncover the difference between patients that are periodontally healthy and those with periodontal disease.

Periodontal Chart
The area between your gum and tooth is known as the “pocket”. Periodontal charting is simple and relatively painless, during the procedure you will hear your dentist or hygienist call out a series of numbers for each tooth. This is measuring, in millimeters, the cuff of your gum line and the point at which the gum actually attaches to your tooth.
Healthy gums have pockets that are usually 2-3mm, anything over 5mm means the bone that supports your tooth is being degraded by periodontal disease. Bleeding is also a sign of gingivitis and gum disease, as healthy gums do not tend to bleed.

Know Your Periodontal Measurements:

0-3mm without bleeding: Great! No problems and you’re doing great with your oral health!

1-3mm with bleeding: Signs of gingivitis. Improved at-home oral care as well as further professional cleanings are in order.

3-5mm with no bleeding:This means there is the potential for gum disease. A routine cleaning cannot go below 3mm, so further in-depth visits to the dentist will be needed.

3-5mm with bleeding: Early stages of gum disease, the beginnings of Periodontitis. This may require additional treatment, better home care and three to four visits to the dentist per year.

5-7mm with bleeding: This means soft and hard tissue damage, as well as bone loss. Definitive treatment is required, over several visits, greatly improved home care and many more hygiene visits to prevent tooth loss.

7mm and above with bleeding: It’s the advanced stage of periodontal disease so aggressive treatment is needed. Surgery will probably be needed to repair the bone loss. Periodontal maintenance is definitely required very frequently.

Periodontal charting is a very thorough process and can greatly improve your chances of keeping all your teeth! Is it time to see your Periodontist? Call Tennessee Valley Periodontics, PC today on 423-893-0557 to discuss your options!

Dental Implant Success

What do you use your teeth for? Eating, drinking, speaking, laughing, the list goes on! How are these affected when you have tooth loss?

dental implants

If you have missing teeth, you could be missing a lot! A very reliable and safe method for replacing teeth is dental implants.

Dental implants permanently attach prosthetic teeth to small posts or “roots” that are embedded in the jaw. These posts are made of titanium, and securely fuse to the jaw bone, this helps restore the full functionality of previously missing teeth.

Dental implants not only effectively and reliably replace missing teeth, but also help prevent the loss of jawbone density, restore the support of facial structures, and provide you with the support you need to effectively use your teeth.

The procedure for dental implants can be a quick and easy, and in some cases, can be done in a single day. Your implants become part of you, so they eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures. They also prevent the embarrassment of removing dentures at every snack or meal, as well as the need for denture adhesives.

Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain. Nearby teeth are not altered in order to support a dental implant, thus more of your own teeth are left intact, improving oral health in the long-term as well as your oral hygiene.

Dental implants are very durable, lasting several years, and if they are in good care, can last a lifetime.

Don’t miss out with missing teeth, get your smile back and feel better about yourself!

Here at Tennessee Valley Periodontics, PC we specialize in dental implants, so give us a call today on 423-893-0557 to discuss your future implant success!

Oral Ecology

Your mouth has entire colonies of microorganisms, and most of them do no harm. There have been over 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected in the human mouth, most of which are harmless. Sometimes, other disease-causing bacteria are thrown into the mix which can affect our health. They can be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.

bacteria

Bacteria in biofilm (a thin film of bacteria which adheres to a surface) were first detected under the microscopes of Antony van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century. Bacteria in your mouth have both the ability to be harmful, but also to be beneficial and necessary to your immune system.

The plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay and periodontal disease, is a type of biofilm. A biofilm forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in a watery environment, they excrete a glue-like substance which helps them stick to all kinds of materials. Dental plaque is a yellowish color type of biofilm that builds up on teeth.

Watch Out For These Bacteria
Streptococcus mutans
Lives in your mouth and feeds off the sugars and starches you eat. It produces enamel-eroding acids as it feeds, which make it the leading cause of tooth decay.

Porphyromonas gingivalis
Strongly linked to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious and progressive disease that can result in bone degeneration. It causes pain and leads to tooth loss.

A biofilm can contain communities of disease-causing bacteria, and if left uncontrolled, they can cause cavities as well as both gingivitis and periodontitis. Bacteria is also the cause of inflammation and pain of a root infection, leading to root canal treatment.
During root canal treatment, the root is dried extremely well and sealed, as to not provide any moisture for bacteria to colonize. A well-filled root canal offers bacteria a nutritionally limited space.

Biofilm can be controlled by proper oral hygiene; however, periodontitis requires an extra helping hand. Treatment of oral infections requires removal of biofilm and calculus (tartar) through non-surgical procedures followed by antibiotic therapy. Chlorhexidine and triclosan can reduce the degree of plaque and gingivitis, while preventing disease-causing microorganisms to colonize.

Don’t let oral bacteria be your “fr-enemy”! Call us Tennessee Valley Periodontics, PC today on 423-893-0557 to discuss your oral health options.

Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

Dental implants are a safe and effective replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. The implant is placed in your jawbone and integrates with your natural bone. This implant then forms a stable, sturdy base for your new teeth.

dental implantWhat They Are

Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.

Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.

Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.

Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.

Where They Go

Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.

Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.

What Happens To Them
Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium/zirconium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are usually made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.

Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today at Tennessee Valley Periodontics, PC to discuss your options with an implant specialist!