Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Dental cleanings are an important part of regular dental office visits. Performed by a dental hygienist or dentist, cleanings serve two purposes: to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened deposits of plaque) from tooth surfaces missed during daily brushing and flossing; and to remove stains that can dull your smile.
There are different degrees of cleaning, including root planing that removes plaque and calculus deep below the gum line, usually for patients affected by periodontal (gum) disease. For patients in good oral health, the basic cleaning approach is known as prophylaxis, a term derived from the Greek for guarding or preventing beforehand. The techniques used in a prophylaxis remove both “coronal” (tooth surfaces visible above the gum line) plaque and staining, providing both therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.
A typical prophylaxis includes a procedure known as scaling. Hygienists use special instruments known as scalers to remove plaque and calculus by hand, or an ultrasonic device that vibrates plaque loose and is flushed away with water. The procedure removes that rough coating you often feel as you rub your tongue against your teeth, leaving the tooth surfaces feeling smooth.
Tooth polishing is a subsequent procedure to scaling that also removes plaque and surface stains. Polishing is carried out with a motorized instrument with a rubber cup in which a polishing (or “prophy”) paste is contained. The hygienist moves the rapidly rotating cup filled with the paste over the tooth surface to remove plaque and stains. The end result is a highly smooth surface and a much shinier appearance.
People with dental insurance plans are often concerned tooth polishing may be viewed strictly as a cosmetic procedure, and thus not fully qualify for benefits. This should not be the case if coded properly: tooth polishing is part of the overall prophylaxis to remove plaque and staining. The primary purpose is therapeutic and preventive; the cosmetic effect is a by-product. Most dental plans will cover one or two prophylaxes (scaling and tooth polishing) a year, but there are variations so individuals should check their plans.
If you would like more information on dental cleaning, 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 “Tooth Polishing.”
One small change to your facial appearance can make a very notable difference in the way you look. This is why for years patients have gone to the dentist for cosmetic dentistry treatments to upgrade their smiles. Now, some dentists also offer additional “smile esthetic” treatments including Botox. The team at Chattanooga Periodontics & Dental Implants in Chattanooga, TN offers Botox to patients who want a more youthful look.
How this Treatment Can Help You
Botox has been helping patients with have aging skin for decades. It is a series of injections of a substance called botulinum toxin type A that calms the muscles in the face that cause wrinkles. In a way, it produces the appearance of a facelift without the need for surgical incisions. Botox can help you by smoothing out these common facial concerns:
- Deep wrinkles in the forehead (sometimes called expression lines).
- Crow’s feet around the eyes.
- Laugh lines around the mouth.
Your Botox Appointment
Relax knowing that you won’t have to spend much time at your Chattanooga, TN periodontist’s office for a Botox treatment. The procedure usually only lasts a few minutes. A topical anesthetic may be used to ensure your maximum comfort during the appointment. Your periodontist will carefully administer injections at the sites of concern. Results will start to show in about a week, and you can visit the office every three to six months for additional sessions.
Ask Your Periodontist About Botox
Having younger looking skin is just as desired as having a pretty smile. Now you can get both when you see Dr. Charles Felts or Dr. Elizabeth Randall at Chattanooga Periodontics & Dental Implants in Chattanooga, TN. Call (423) 756-2450 today to find out if Botox is right for you.
Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection, which if left untreated could cause gum recession, bone loss and eventually tooth loss. Caused mainly by plaque left on tooth surfaces from poor hygiene practices, the deeper the infection spreads below the gum line, the more difficult it is to treat.
One possible scenario involves parts of a tooth’s root structure known as furcations. These are branching forks formed during the early development of teeth with multiple roots where they take different paths from the base of the crown. As gum disease spreads around the root it may cause different degrees of bone loss at the point of the branch.
It’s imperative when treating gum disease to uncover and remove any bacterial plaque or calculus (hardened plaque deposits) found, including below the gum line. To address bacterial plaque at the root level, it’s important to first determine if bone loss has involved the furcations (where the roots separate, also referred to as a “furcation invasion”) and to what degree.
We usually classify this degree of involvement in three classes: Class I, the invasion has created a groove in the furcation, but minimal significant bone loss; Class II, the bone loss has extended into the furcation by at least two millimeters; or Class III, the bone loss extends completely from one end of the furcation to the other (or “through and through”).
Depending on the class, cleaning plaque and calculus from furcations and then maintaining them thereafter can be quite challenging. We may need to use specially shaped hand instruments known as scalers or curettes to reach and clean root surfaces, or ultrasonic scalers that use high-frequency vibrations and streaming water to loosen and flush away plaque debris. It may also prove helpful, though limited, to apply antimicrobials or antibiotics to the area to help limit the levels of bacteria.
Disease damage around furcations may also require surgical treatment to encourage new tissue and bone growth in the area. Surgery can also help make the area more accessible to future cleaning and maintenance, both for you and us. Renewed hygiene practices on your part and regular cleaning and checkups with us will help ensure that the situation involving your tooth roots can be kept under control and your tooth preserved for many years to come.
For a predictable outcome, a dental implant should be placed as soon as the bone and gum tissues following a tooth extraction have healed. But what happens if the tooth has been missing for months or years? You might then run the risk of not having enough bone to properly place an implant.
This can happen because of a disruption in the growth cycle of living bone tissue. As older bone cells dissolve (resorption), new bone develops to take its place. This is a dynamic process, as the amount and exact location of the new growth is in response to changes in the mouth, particularly from forces generated by the teeth as we chew. If, however, this stimulation transmitted to the bone no longer occurs because the tooth is missing, the bone will tend to dissolve over time.
In fact, within the first year after a tooth loss the associated bone can lose as much as a quarter of its normal width. This is why we typically place bone grafting material in an empty socket at the same time as we extract the tooth. This encourages bone growth during the healing period in anticipation of installing a dental implant or a fixed bridge. If, however, the bone has diminished to less than required for a dental implant, we must then use techniques to encourage new bone growth to support a future implant.
One such technique for restoring bone in the back of the upper jaw is to surgically access the area through the maxillary sinus (a membrane-lined air space within the bone structure of the face) positioned just over the jawbone to place grafting material. During surgery performed usually with local anesthesia, the surgeon accesses the sinus cavity, lifts the tissue membrane up from the sinus floor and applies the grafting material on top of the bone. Eventually, the new bone growth will replace the grafting material.
If successful, the new bone growth will be sufficient to support an implant. Thanks to this renewed growth, you’ll soon be able to enjoy better function and a transformed smile provided by your new implant.
If you would like more information on forming new bone for implants through sinus surgery, 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 “Sinus Surgery.”
Dental Implants are the most popular single tooth replacement option. Patients want implants over other tooth replacement solutions for a number of reasons. Find out how getting dental implants at Chattanooga Periodontics & Dental Implants in Chattanooga, TN can help you keep your smile whole.
Holes in Your Smile
One of the most distressing dental issues that patients deal with is losing their teeth. It’s the worst-case scenario in dental medicine—usually the result of dental decay, gum disease, or injury. Tooth loss creates huge holes in a smile that can lower your self-confidence and self-esteem. These spaces are sometimes filled with temporary appliances like partial dentures or bridges, but more and more people are going for dental implants.
Why You Should Want to Keep Your Smile Whole
Some patients look at tooth loss as a part of getting older that cannot be avoided, but the best course of action is to keep your smile whole. Living with one missing tooth can cause additional dental problems, like shifting and gum infections. Sometimes food can get trapped between the teeth and in the open space. One missing tooth can cause the other adjacent teeth to weaken over time. Getting dental implants at Chattanooga Periodontics & Dental Implants in Chattanooga, TN will help prevent these issues.
Dental Implant Benefits
Many patients who have had dentures complain that they don’t feel comfortable or they are worried about them slipping out of place at inopportune times. With dental implants, the new tooth will be firmly rooted in place. Once the titanium implant heals, a perfectly formed crown will fill in the space and keep your smile whole. You don’t have to remove anything to clean your implant—just brush and floss around it as you do with your other natural teeth.