Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You A WOW Smile!

posted: October 10, 2017

The mouth is an important part of each day. Through it, you receive nourishment, begin the digestive process, communicate verbally and relay emotions. Yet, when most of us think of our mouths, it is our smiles that stand out in the forefront.

Your lips, teeth and gums are components of your smile, which, according to studies, does far more than enhance (or detract from) facial appearance. Studies show that you can improve your psychological and physiological state by smiling, even when you fake a smile. Smiling is also said to improve immunity and helps you tolerate pain and frustration to a greater degree.

Certainly, a beautiful smile has an impact on one’s outer appearance. Yet, smiling also makes us feel good, even when we don’t feel like smiling. Research has shown that smiling increases endorphins, a chemical in your brain that gives you a natural high. When endorphins are released through smiling, it creates feelings of happiness.

It is also estimated that people who smile often lengthen their lifespans by two years, on average. On the flip side, those who frown more decrease their lives an average of a year.

Another benefit of smiling is how it pulls facial muscles upward. This gives you a more youthful appearance and smooths lines. You get a bit of a face lift just by smiling!

Our patients who’ve completed smile makeovers tend to smile more often and really SMILE from the inside out! While smiling comes easy for those who feel good about the appearance of their smile, a smile that has chips, gaps, breaks, stains and missing or crooked teeth can make people feel uneasy or even embarrassed. Some people cover their mouths to conceal the flaws that make smiling awkward.

If you are uncomfortable with smiling as fully as you’d like, today’s cosmetic dentistry can create a beautiful smile you’ll love to share. In our office, we use modern dental technology, the latest techniques and exceptional materials to create smiles with natural appeal that complement each individual. These include:

Porcelain Crowns & Veneers – Porcelain is the superior material when it comes to smile enhancement. This provides the highest degree of luminosity and longevity available. Porcelain crowns and veneers can beautifully recreate a smile for the most natural look and feel possible. Porcelain also resists staining and has a durability that is exceptional to any other material used in cosmetic dentistry. For the 6 or 8 teeth most visible in a smile, porcelain crowns or veneers can change an unflattering smile to one that you’ll want to share often!

Bonding – Teeth that are chipped, uneven, gapped, stained or poorly-shaped can often be correctly with the application of bonding. In bonding, a material is coated over tooth surfaces and and then shaped and polished to correct smile flaws. While not as durable or stain-resistant as porcelain, bonding provides good longevity at an affordable cost. It can be shade-matched to blend attractively with surrounding teeth and is typically completed in just one visit.

Teeth Whitening – Although some people believe that drug store whitening systems are helpful, their effectiveness is minimal compared to the systems available through a dentist. When you consider their cost, minimal effect and the frequency needed to keep your teeth white, drug store systems are hardly worth the time or investment. Our use-at-home Nite White tooth whitening system is highly affordable and provides a much higher degree of whitening with excellent longevity.

Gum Re-contouring – Your smile is not just teeth. Your gum tissues are also an important part of your smile’s appearance. Think of the gum tissue that arches each tooth like a frame for beautiful artwork. Having the gum line in a balanced order over teeth enhances the overall look of a smile. Using a dental laser, we can contour gum tissues to create an attractive smile in a process that is comfortable and requires minimal healing time.

Dental Implants – The gap in a smile left by missing teeth sends a negative message that can label an individual unfairly. For people who are missing one or more natural teeth, Dental Implants can restore the ability to smile attractively, speak and laugh confidently, and bite and chew comfortably. Since the teeth attached to the implants are custom-made crowns, we create an attractive smile in the process.

Cosmetic Dentures – When people are missing all upper or lower teeth, some choose to replace them with full dentures. Today’s dental techniques and materials make it possible to combine replacement gum tissue and teeth that results in an appealing smile and more youthful appearance.

A flattering smile can make a dramatic difference in one’s appearance, self-esteem and confidence level. Many procedures in modern cosmetic dentistry can be completed in just one or two visits. We also offer payment plans that fit most budgets and are interest-free.

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss the beautiful smile you desire.

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Replace Missing Tooth (Or Teeth) Several Ways

posted: October 02, 2017

Today’s dentistry offers many options for replacing teeth. And, with modern techniques, materials and technology, tooth replacement can create a natural look, feel and function.

In our office, we utilize advanced technology that can save patients time, enhance comfort and create an exceptional look and feel for virtually every need.

Creates replacement teeth in a single visit!

When it comes to replacing teeth, patients have many choices with a wide range of fees associated with each. Yet, like anything, having dentistry done for a ‘bargain rate’ means corners were cut somewhere. This typically results in compromises, sacrificing longevity, function and overall satisfaction.

Replacing a tooth (or teeth) is no place to go ‘cheap.’ Choose an option that is the very best for a reasonable cost. Choose your dentist carefully, according to skills and experience. If the treatment fee is beyond your means, ask about payment plans. In many cases, these help patients finance their treatment for no down payment with no interest charged. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of treatment while making monthly payments that fit your budget.

Today, the preferred tooth replacement option is a Dental Implant. Dental Implants restore a natural biting strength and stability since the implanted portion is anchored by the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots. After placement, we use the advanced technology CEREC 3D, which creates replacement teeth from a computerized image. While you comfortably relax, the replacement crowns (or ‘restorations’) are created and ready to attach to the implanted portion. The teeth created by CEREC provide an optimal look, feel and function with exceptional longevity. The attached teeth will not move when eating, will not slip when speaking or laughing or cause uncomfortable rubbing on tender gums. And, because implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, otherwise healthy, natural teeth do not require crowning to serve as supports to replacement teeth. However, with Dental Implants, the best advantage of all is their lifespan. Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime, making them an exceptional investment.

Crown-&-Bridge combinations are a familiar means of replacing one or several teeth in one area. However, a bridge can be placed only when it is bordered by natural teeth on each side. These adjacent teeth are crowned so they can support the bridge on each side. Today’s bridges are made of porcelain and designed to blend beautifully with adjacent teeth. In our office, we use CEREC 3D technology to create porcelain crowns and bridges in a single visit, which eliminates the wait time needed by a dental lab. No second numbing! No second visit! No wearing temporaries! With CEREC technology, you can leave your appointment with your final porcelain crowns and bridge ready for you to enjoy.

In our office, a partial denture also can be placed in a single visit. A ‘partial’ replaces several teeth and is secured to existing natural teeth. A partial consists of teeth on a base, which is contoured to fit the unique shape of your gums and blend attractively with natural teeth and gums.

For those who are missing all upper or lower teeth, a ‘full arch’ denture is the preference of some patients. Full dentures restore the look of a full smile with comfortable chewing and speaking ability. While not as ideal as Dental Implants, dentures offer a more affordable way to enjoy confidence when smiling, eating and laughing. Relines can be done should the denture begin to slip (due to decline in jaw bone mass, known as ‘resorption’).

Our goal is to create an ideal result for the tooth replacement option you prefer and to provide each patient with an outcome that makes them smile! If you are missing teeth, replacing them is vital. Missing teeth can lead to problems associated with bite misalignment and contribute to further tooth loss as well.

Call 843-871-6351 to arrange a no-charge, no obligation consultation appointment. During this time, I’ll discuss the options that are recommended for you according to your preferences. Our financial coordinator can also discuss payment options, if desired.

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Good Oral Health Especially Important For Diabetics

posted: September 26, 2017

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. That’s 9.3 percent of the population and is an increase from a 2010 estimate of 26 million.  This does not include the one in four who have diabetes yet don’t know it.

The CDC states, “Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels.  Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use.”

Based on health data from 2012, the National Diabetes Statistics Report was released in 2014 revealing that non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults. The age of those being newly diagnosed is also a particular concern. In the 2012 data, 208,000 people under the age of 20 were diagnosed with diabetes (both types). (https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesfactsheet/)

Sadly, the rate of those struggling with diabetes is expected to triple in the coming decade. A National Institutes of Health report states diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that compromises the body’s ability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is a leading cause of death because of the vascular complications attributed to it.

The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 (insulin dependent) and Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with symptoms typically emerging after the age of 45.

Signs of gum disease

Early symptoms of diabetes include bad breath and bleeding gums although the general public rarely associates one with the other. For scientific researchers, however, the emergence of diabetes through oral problems makes perfect sense.

Periodontal (gum) disease is said to be the sixth greatest complication of diabetes. Like diabetes, periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition.

Oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body.  Research has shown that gum disease is linked to other inflammatory diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease.

With gum disease and diabetes, research has also shown that one tends to trigger the other. Gum disease has been found to occur more frequently – and with greater severity – in diabetics with poor glycemic control. On the flip side, properly managing glucose levels has shown to be helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.

Over 47% of American adults have some level of periodontal disease. Symptoms include gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses, the gums darken in color, pus pockets form and teeth loosen and may eventually require removal. Due to its widespread prevalence, gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Because diabetics have a particular vulnerability to internal inflammation, they are urged to be especially committed to good oral health. This begins by knowing the signs of gum disease, maintaining a thorough at-home oral hygiene regimen and having dental check-ups every 3-4 months.

Whether you are diabetic or not, you are urged to react to signs of gum disease promptly by having a thorough examination. Early symptoms are often ignored or deemed ‘normal,’ allowing gum disease to worsen and require more-extensive treatment. Remember – by the time obvious symptoms begin, the infectious bacteria are running rampant.

Call 843-871-6351 if you have questions or to arrange a no-charge, no obligation Consultation.

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Snoring No Laughing Matter

posted: September 23, 2017

I remember watching a “Three Stooges” episode when I was young and laughing at the different sounds that Moe, Larry and Curly Joe made while sleeping. Their snoring was comedic, but I know, as an adult, that snoring can be more than a nuisance, it can be a health risk.

For those who sleep with heavy snorers, they know that sleep quality can be greatly compromised. Some mates end up sleeping in separate rooms so at least one escapes the disruptions caused by the noise. Some snorers can be coaxed to “turn over,” which can put a halt to snoring. However, some snoring is so intense Many factors, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight, can lead to snoring.

When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate.

Snoring effects up to 25 percent of women and 45 percent who are categorized as habitual snorers. Snoring is also the most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), effecting up to 95 percent of patients. However, snoring is a poor predictor of OSA because of the high prevalence of snoring in the general population. In addition to snoring, OSA is associated with a number of serious illnesses, including arterial hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952752/

What causes snoring?
The following can affect the airway and cause snoring:

Anatomy – Due to individual anatomy, one may be more prone to snoring. For example, a low, thick soft palate creates a more narrow airway. The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful airflow becomes. This causes tissue vibration to increase, which causes your snoring to grow louder.

Sleep Position – Sleeping on the back narrows the airway passages from gravity’s effect on the throat.

Weight – Being overweight means extra tissues in the back of the throat, which can narrow the airway.

Nasal Problems – For people who have chronic nasal congestion or a deviated septum (crooked divider between the nostrils), the uneven path of airflow can lead to snoring.

Elongated Uvula – When the piece of tissue than hangs down from the soft palate is longer than normal, it can obstruct airflow, which increases vibration sounds.

Drinking Alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol before bedtime can cause the throat muscles to over-relax.

Yet, the most intense snoring is associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the throat tissues partially or completely block the airway, which halts the breathing process during sleep. Eventually, the pause in breathing (which can last for up to a minute each time) causes the person to wake up, which often begins with a loud snort or gasping sound.

Louder snoring associated with more severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was actually evaluated through one study of over 1640 habitual snorers who were referred for evaluation of sleep apnea. In the study (published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine), the average age was 48 with the average BMI of 31 with 65 percent of study participants being male.

With the intensity of snoring, also assessed were body mass index (BMI), neck size, sleep stage, and body position. It should also be noted that the male participants were older, heavier, and had larger neck circumferences than the females.

Using AHI grading (apnea-hypopnea index), the severity of OSA was measured as none for less than 5, 5 to 15 for mild, 15 to 30 for moderate, and severe being 30 to 50 with very severe registering over 50. The results showed that snoring intensity increases progressively across all categories of AHI frequency with the intensity of snoring increasing as OSA becomes more severe. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/complications/con-20020286)

While snoring is no laughing matter, sleep apnea can be deadly. Sleep apnea has been associated with heart attacks, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, liver problems and complications following surgery.

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

For people who are heavy snorers or suffer with mild to moderate sleep apnea, there may be a simple, effective solution.

We are certified to create custom-fitted oral appliances that open up air flow by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. These appliances are FDA approved, small and do not interfere with sleep.

These are ideal for people who have tried CPAP devices and find them too cumbersome, noisy or confining. We use the Oravan system, which has an ideal track record for comfort and ease of use. For those who have tried our Oravan system, many agree with this user:

“I am sleeping soundly and have no problems using the mouth piece. This has helped me get rid of that bulky CPAP and my wife is thrilled!”

If you’d like to discuss the Oravan system for yourself or someone you know, call 843-871-6351. Consider beginning with a no-cost consultation. I will be happy to answer your questions and discuss costs. We can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, if desired.

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Your Comfort Is Always A Priority

posted: September 14, 2017

A dental visit isn’t on the top of most lists when it comes to ‘favorite things to do.’ Dentistry, for some, conjures up thoughts of being uncomfortable, surrounded by sounds of a drill or visions of sharp instruments. Some patients anticipate discomfort so much they actually feel pain without being touched.

I understand that it can make one feel vulnerable to lay back on a narrow treatment chair. Plus, the mouth is a sensitive area and, since the patient can’t see what’s taking place, this gives an anxious patient an even higher feeling of vulnerability. Even for 6-month dental cleanings.

In one study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, over 100 adults undergoing dental cleanings were assessed on a scale to gauge dental anxiety. In the conclusions was “They were anxious because they expected pain, women being more anxious than men.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21959662)

While women had slightly more anxiety, the levels of anxiety were not significantly different between gender nor age groups.

As a dentist who has dedicated a career to helping patients feel relaxed and comfortable during dental visits, I know that a dental visit can be a pleasant experience. My team and I are proud that the majority of our patients would readily agree.

Yet, we also understand how some can’t help but be anxious when it comes to dental procedures. For people who have dental fear, often as a result of a traumatic dental experience in the past, we strive to build a relationship of trust, which is the foundation of any good dental visit, in my opinion.

While we incorporate many features to make a patient’s visit more comfortable, start to finish, the basis of a good dental visit comes from the patient KNOWING that they are in hands that are gentle and care about them. This is why we carefully select new technology and use new techniques that enhance patient comfort.

For example, our drills are unique in that they don’t make the high-pitched whine that have some patients white-knuckled in the treatment chair. Our drills make a gentle whirr that is much more relaxing. Yet, these devices do a superb job with precision and efficiency.

In addition to ergonomically-designed treatment chairs, headsets with music, and wall-mounted monitors, patients can opt to have sedation added to treatment. This includes oral sedation, which is in pill form and provides a relaxed state throughout treatment. I am also certified to administer I.V. sedation, which is often referred to as ‘twilight sleep.’

I.V. sedation is especially helpful for patients who have high levels of fear associated with dental visits and also for ‘dental phobics.’ Dental phobics are those who typically avoid dental care until something becomes so painful they have no other alternative. Many experience rapid heartbeats or even break out in a sweat just walking into a dental office.

Both sedation options erase most, if not all, memory of the dental procedure. With both, trained staff and specific safety monitoring equipment are used throughout the procedure.

Today’s dentistry can provide people with confident smiles that are healthy and beautiful. Why let anxiety or fear prevent you from a smile that can be an advantage to appearance, self-confidence and self-esteem? Arrange a free consultation to discuss your smile. We’ll meet in our private consultation room and sit in comfortable arm chairs as I answer your questions and explain your options for a smile that will complement your appearance and overall health.

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule.

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All On 4 Dental Implants Overcome Obstacles, Affordably!

posted: September 11, 2017

Dental Implants are nothing new. You may be surprised to learn that they’ve been around since ancient Egypt. Through archeological digs, it was found the Egyptians carved shells or stones into tooth shapes and placed them in jaw bones where natural teeth had been lost.

An excavation in Honduras showed the Mayan civilization from 600 AD used a similar process. During a 1930’s dig, a human jaw bone was found that had tooth-shaped shell pieces positioned in sockets of missing teeth.

As attempts at dependable tooth replacement continued, implant versions made of metal and gold were discovered in ancient cultures in North and South America, the Mediterranean and Middle Asia.

However, successful developments actually made significant inroads during the World War II period after it was noted that certain metals showed consistently successful results.

Progress soared after titanium was developed by NASA. Using titanium, a Swedish surgeon found that the jaw bone would grow around implants to secure them in place.

The first titanium implants were placed in a mid-30’s male patient in 1965. He had four lower implants inserted and had fully functional teeth for over 40 years (the remainder of his life), enjoying the same benefits as his natural teeth.

So, here we are in 2017, with Dental Implants having one of the highest success rates of any implant-in-bone types (including hips, knees and joints). With proper placement and maintenance, Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime!

Today, there are also many types of implants designed to accommodate various needs and goals. One of the most recent has been the All-On-4 Dental Implant system.

The beauty of this implant is how it overcomes the obstacles of bone loss and allows for the immediate attachment of teeth. And, it is one of the most affordable implant systems!

Bone loss occurs when natural tooth roots no longer exist in the jaw bone. As the bone declines in mass, the fit of a denture or partial changes. Over time, this creates a challenge when eating and laughing as the denture moves, often rubbing uncomfortably on tender gum tissues.

However, successful implant placement in the past required a certain height of bone mass. To accomplish this with prior systems, bone rebuilding procedures were needed to restore bone to a sufficient height before implants could be placed.

tooth implants full jaw

All-On-4 Dental Implants

The All-On-Four system is designed so that unique angles are used in placement. Using just four implants, they are designed to support a full arch of teeth by distributing the load evenly. Since the cost of Dental Implant treatment is largely based on the number of implants used, this also keeps costs to a minimum.

For people who have struggled with dentures for years, an especially appealing feature of All On Four is that the teeth attached are non-removable. Just like natural teeth, they do not come out of the mouth to clean or while sleeping.

I have been involved with implant dentistry for many years and have found the developments in design, materials and placement techniques an exciting part of dentistry. My implant patients who have opted for the All-On-4 system have been especially pleased.

We all hope to keep our natural teeth for a lifetime, but for those who have lost all of their upper or lower teeth, Dental Implants provide an exceptional option for tooth replacement — one that restores the ability to eat, laugh and feel confident every day!

If you’ve considered replacing missing teeth, call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the type of implant system that will work best for you and I’ll answer your questions. We can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, if desired.

NOW is the time to enjoy a smile that enhances the many pleasures of life — savoring food you love, laughing with friends and family, and waking up with a smile. Call today to arrange a free, private consultation.

 

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School Has Begun. Avoid Injuries To The Smiles You Love.

posted: August 29, 2017

With the beginning of the school year, contact sports have parents and grandparents cheering from the sidelines. The last thing we expect is to see a player with a broken tooth, tooth that has been knocked out, or fractured jaw. If that player is one of our own, it’s even worse.

I’ve treated all ages of dental patients over the years, including tending to the unexpected injuries of players from football, baseball, basketball, hockey (field and ice), soccer, gymnastics and even tennis. I’ve seen lips and tongues bitten deeply from activities such as swimming, biking and skiing.

No matter how minor, accidents that involve the mouth can be painful and may cause permanent damage. This is why we encourage wearing a custom-made mouth guard as often as practical.

The advantages of wearing a custom-made mouth guard include:

For a mouth guard to work in the first place, it must be worn in the first place! When a mouth guard is fitted to the unique contours of the mouth, it is typically worn more often since the fit is comfortable.

• Having a mouth guard that is made of superior material significantly lessens the damage that could have occurred. It also is less bulky and more comfortable to wear.

• A mouth guard can lessen the impact of trauma to the jaw in a head injury.

• Having a properly-fitted mouth guard can prevent knocked out teeth or broken or chipped teeth. It can also prevent biting the tongue, lips, or inside of the cheek. 

• For patients who wear braces, a mouth guard can prevent cuts and gashes to tender gum tissues inside the mouth.

While we hope you never have to deal with an injury to the mouth, knowing what to do should one occur can help to lessen the severity to a large degree. Below are quick tips so you can pursue the best course of action:

CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE, LIP OR CHEEK – Apply cold compress to affected areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes or cannot be controlled by simple pressure, go to a hospital emergency room.

BROKEN TOOTH – Rinse dirt from the injured area with lukewarm water. Place cold compresses over the injury. Save any broken tooth fragments and call our office immediately for instructions.

KNOCKED OUT PERMANENT TOOTH – Rinse the tooth without touching the root portion while you handle the tooth as little as possible. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and bite gently on a clean gauze or cloth to hold the tooth in place. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk or water and call us immediately. Seek treatment quickly! Time is critical in saving a tooth.

FRACTURED OR BROKEN JAW – If a fractured jaw is suspected, go immediately to the nearest emergency room. First, however, prevent the jaws from moving by using a tie, towel or handkerchief to tie underneath the chin and over the top of the head.

BROKEN ORTHODONTIC BRACKETS OR WIRES – Cover sharp or protruding portions with cotton balls, gauze, or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, try to reach the orthodontist for immediate care rather than attempt to remove the wire yourself. If you cannot reach your orthodontist, call our office and we will assist in an appropriate manner.

Never hesitate to contact us for an emergency need. Our answering service will direct you if after hours.

To inquire about a custom-fitted mouth guard, call 843-871-6351. The health of your smile (and the smiles precious to you) depends on YOU!

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Cosmetic Dentistry Improves Smile’s Appearance, And More!

posted: August 23, 2017

Our body language says more about our moods, feelings and overall state than we may realize. In an article in April 2016’s Prevention magazine, some secrets were revealed by the author of “What Every Body Is Saying.” Joe Navarro is a retired FBI agent who shares some of the hints we give off. (https://www.prevention.com/mind-body/read-body-language)

For example, when we really like a person, our toes will point towards that individual each time we are around them. The same is true when we don’t like a person. Our feet tend to turn away from them. Apparently, feet are what Navarro refers to as “the most honest body part.”

However, what does our smile say? Studies have shown for years that a first impression is made in 4-5 seconds. And, it’s a lasting impression. Someone with a warm, open smile projects a positive self-image and draws us in. We find our own moods being affected when encountering these people.

What does a smile with flaws say to others? While we tell ourselves we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, people do it all the time. Today’s society tells us to assess others based on inner qualities, still we know that appearance plays a major role in how we are perceived.

This was shown to be the case in a conducted by Kelton Research for Invisalign of over 1,000 American adults. (http://keltonglobal.com/invisalign_smile_study-breakout_report/) Using pictures of both men and women with straight and crooked teeth and varying tooth issues, participants were asked for honest opinions without being aware that they were comparing people with straight teeth to crooked teeth.

According to their findings, Americans perceive people with straight teeth to have more desirable qualities than those with crooked teeth, including attributes such as being happy and professionally successful.

Nearly 30% stated the first thing they notice when meeting others is their teeth. About 24% say a smile is also what they remember most afterward.

In the Kelton survey, respondents felt that people with straight teeth were 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job and 58% more likely to be successful and wealthy. When compared to people with crooked teeth, those with straight teeth were also deemed 57% more likely to get a date based on their picture alone.

As a dentist, I’ve heard many reasons why people decide to have smile enhancements, often after years of concealing their smile with a hand or smiling with lips only. And, it’s not just crooked teeth that make people feel awkward about their smiles.

Discoloration can cause uneasiness when smiling as well as teeth that are worn, chipped, broken or missing. Showing too much gum tissue above teeth (known as a ‘gummy smile’) can also cause people to “hold back” from smiling fully.

Sometimes, it’s a special event in one’s life that causes an individual to say, “Now’s the time. I’m doing this.” I’ve had women share how they felt they’d always put their family’s needs first and decided “it’s my turn.” I’ve had men tell me they felt their teeth were holding them back from climbing the career ladder or being able to get a date. As the survey above shows, this may very well have been the case.

Regardless of the reason, the reality is how a smile makes you feel from the inside out. People who feel confident with the appearance of their smiles tend to smile fuller smiles, and more often. This projects a self-image that is positive and happy, and it’s often contagious! Smiling at someone often brings a smile back!

If you’ve considered cosmetic dentistry, one of your concerns may be, “Will my new smile look like I’ve had dental work?” The answer is NO! When you place yourself in the right hands, an experienced, highly-skilled dentist who uses the finest materials and dental lab will give you a look and feel that is natural.

Today’s porcelain crowns and veneers are designed to have a natural luminosity and opalescence. This means that light can penetrate the tooth at some edges and reflect light naturally, just as natural teeth do. You’ll have no signs of ‘dental work.’

Additionally, a well-trained dentist can have each tooth involved in treatment shaped to complement facial features. Look for dentists who are members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Another concern may be the cost of treatment. Cosmetic dentistry is an elective procedure, meaning the fee is out-of-pocket in most instances. However, our office offers several payment plans that can break the total fee into easy monthly payments. Most plans are interest-free with no down payment required.

Many smiles take shape with the placement of just 6 to 8 veneers or crowns. Some only need 4. What is going to provide you with the best results can be discussed in a free consultation appointment. Call 843-871-6351 to arrange a time when we can privately discuss your best options.

And, if fear has prevented you from achieving the smile you desire in the past, we can help with that, too. I am certified to administer I.V. sedation (‘twilight sleep’) and also offer oral sedation. Both provide total relaxation and erase most, if not all, memory of treatment afterward. Plus, we pride ourselves on our gentle touch. If you’d like to speak with other patients who have overcome their dental fears in our care, let us know.

Your smile should reflect you at your best! It can! Let’s discuss the options that can help you enjoy smiling — a full, happy smile — soon!

 

 

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Missing Teeth? Many Options To Replace Them.

posted: August 17, 2017

A missing tooth is more than a flaw in the appearance of one’s smile. It can lead to problems with the proper alignment of neighboring teeth. When teeth tilt or turn out of their proper positions, the result can lead to chips, fractured or broken teeth, night-time grinding or clenching, worn teeth, headaches, migraines, jaw joint pain and more.

The best time to replace a lost natural tooth is immediately after it’s removed. However, today’s dentistry offers exceptional ways to replace teeth at any time, even though that have been missing for decades.

Through advanced materials, techniques and technology, replacing one, several or an entire ‘arch’ of missing teeth can be done to provide stability, dependability and comfort with an exceptional look and feel in the process.

Dental Implants – I recommend implants to most individuals because they are a ‘one and done’ investment. When properly maintained, an implant is designed to last a lifetime. They are the closest thing to natural teeth because the implanted portion is supported by your jaw bone, just as your natural tooth roots were once. This means they restore a natural biting strength and stability. The teeth attached to an implant will not move while eating and will cause no uncomfortable rubbing on gum tissues. And, because an implant does not rely on neighboring teeth for support do not need crowning. That means the integrity of surrounding is protected. Another bonus of an implant is its ability to protect bone mass. By recreating stimulation in the jaw bone, similar to what a natural tooth root provides, the process of bone resorption is halted. An example of this bone loss is the ‘granny look’ of long-time denture wearers. Bone loss thins and weakens the strength of the jaw bone. Dental implants preserve the jaw bone, helping you to maintain a healthy bone mass.

smiling dental patient

There are exceptional options in tooth replacement today. The goal is to restore smiling confidence!

Crown-&-Bridge – When replacing one or several teeth in one area, some people prefer a bridge that is supported by natural teeth on each side. To support a bridge (of one or more teeth) the natural teeth on both sides are crowned. Then, the crowns connected to the replacement tooth or teeth being replaced. In our office, we use the state-of-the-art computerized technology of CEREC 3D. This technology can take measurements and create ceramic crowns and bridges while you wait. By eliminating the need for a dental lab, this means you don’t have to wear a temporary and won’t need a second appointment to have the final ‘restoration’ placed. And, this process cuts numbing requirements in half! CEREC 3D means you can walk out of our office with your final crown-&-bridge ready to enjoy, all in one visit!

Partial Dentures – A partial denture is designed to replace several upper or lower teeth. Typically, a partial connects replacement teeth to a framework, which is then secured to existing natural teeth with a fit that is stable and comfortable. Because a partial is created to the contours of your gums and custom shade-matched, it will blend attractively with natural teeth and gums.

Full Dentures – For people who are missing all of their upper or lower teeth, a ‘full arch’ denture can be made to restore the look of a full smile. While not as secure as Dental Implants, they are made to fit comfortably for chewing and speaking. Dentures offer a more affordable way to enjoy a full, comfortable smile that restores confidence when speaking or laughing with others. Relines can be done periodically should the denture begin to slip (due to jaw bone resorption).

We believe every patient should enjoy a confident, comfortable, and attractive smile. We want you to understand all your options so you can select the best tooth replacement for your needs and goals.

Call 843-871-6351 for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll discuss the best options based on your needs and preferences. While you’re here, our financial coordinator can go over payment options. Some require no down payment and are interest-free.

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Suspected Link Between Gum Disease & Pancreatic Cancer

posted: August 08, 2017

For decades, research has shown links between the bacteria of periodontal disease and serious diseases and conditions in the body. The list includes heart disease, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and erectile dysfunction.

Based on findings of previous studies, a long-term study has revealed the bacteria of gum disease as a contributing factor to developing pancreatic cancer, which will be diagnosed in over 50 000 people this year. Because pancreatic cancer typically goes undiagnosed until advanced stages, fewer than 10% of those diagnosed will be living 5 years later.

One study, however, determined that people with 2 types of periodontal disease–causing oral bacteria have a greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in June 2016 (http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2526607), oral bacteria may provide an early marker for pancreatic cancer.

In the study, the DNA in saliva from over 360 adults who eventually developed pancreatic cancer was compared to samples of DNA in saliva to a similar number of adults who remained healthy.

In both groups, adjustments were made for age, gender, race, and body mass as well as for alcohol consumption, smoking and having diabetes. Participants who developed pancreatic cancer within two years of providing DNA samples were omitted to ensure no pre-existing factors could distort statistical outcomes.

Coupled with findings from previous studies, researchers were able to pinpoint two specific types of periodontal disease pathogens. Researchers noted that one pathogen type was more prevalent in the saliva of subjects who developed pancreatic cancer, showing a 59 percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The second pathogen type was shown to increase the risk by 50 percent.

This study is yet another reason to acknowledge that your oral health is an integral part of your overall health. When your teeth and gums are healthy, you can prevent gum disease, cavities, and according to research, the penetration of potent oral bacteria into the bloodstream.

Signs of periodontal disease include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, frequent bad breath, gums that deepen in color from a healthy pink to red, and gum recession as gums pull away from teeth, exposing darker and sensitive tooth roots. Eventually, teeth will loosen and may require removal.

More than 47 percent of American adults have some level of periodontal disease. However, achieving and maintaining good oral health is quite simple. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, having 6-month dental check-ups and avoiding a dry mouth are easy ways to limit oral bacteria.

Obviously, periodontal disease bacteria is potent. As more findings are revealed, I’ll share updates. In the meantime, be proactive when it comes to the symptoms of periodontal disease. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 843-871-6351 to arrange a no-charge consultation. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss ways to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile.

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Lower Your Costs In The Dental Office By Re-Looking At Home Care Routine

posted: August 01, 2017

Very few of us were born with a perfect set of teeth. Most people need cavities repaired during their lifetimes and some even lose teeth. Over the years, many people need crowns, tooth realignment, repairs to chips, fillings and even root canals. Yet, the investment into having a healthy, appealing smile is one that sparks generally the same response with most patients of being well-worth it.

For some, however, there can seem to be an ongoing need of dentistry. Of course, this can be costly and time-consuming. This is one of the reasons we structure your 6-month cleanings and exams to help you prevent problems in the first place or catch those that do occur at early stages.

If you feel there is a revolving door on your dentist’s office, take a few minutes to re-examine your daily home care regimen. You may be surprised at how easily you can PREVENT problems.

• Are you brushing properly?

First, look at your tooth brush. It should be a soft to medium bristle tooth brush that’s replaced every 4-6 months. If the bristles are flayed out, however, you’re using too much force to brush. Lighten up so the tips of the brush are swirling over the tops and sides of teeth. Look in a mirror as you brush to make sure you’re not swiping over teeth with the sides of the bristles from pressing down too hard.

Next, be sure you’re using a toothpaste with fluoride, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Be sure you brush for at least two minutes twice daily, preferably in the morning and again before bedtime. When you brush, make sure it has been at least 20 minutes since eating or drinking anything (other than water). The reason for this is to also protect tooth enamel. This is because an acid attack begins in the mouth every time you eat or drink. Although this acid is designed to break down foods for digestion, it is also very hard on tooth enamel, actually softening it for 20-30 minutes. If you brush too soon, the abrasive toothpaste and bristles of a tooth brush can wear down enamel. When the protective covering of tooth enamel is worn down, your teeth are more susceptible to decay and other problems.

• Are you flossing daily?

Flossing is difficult for some people. Some people have large hands, some have manual dexterity issues and others simply can’t get comfortable with the technique. Our hygienists are pros at helping people find a comfortable, effective way to floss. However, for those who prefer an alternative, water flossers are now available to make the process both easy and effective. Brushing cannot dislodge some particles that become trapped between teeth, which makes flossing necessary. When debris is left behind, it begins to rot. This adds to oral bacteria levels in the mouth, which is essentially the origin of nearly every oral health problem. Flossing is a beneficial step to brushing to make the best of your time at the sink.

• Are you keeping your mouth moist?

Half of all adults take at least one prescription drug daily and one in five say they take four or more. Hundreds of medications have side effects that causes oral dryness. Add to this the fact that oral dryness can also be caused by caffeine, alcohol, smoking, spicy foods, aging, mouth breathing (including snoring) and some illnesses. When saliva flow is depleted, oral bacteria are not being rinsed efficiently from the mouth. This allows them to accumulate. Ideally, sipping filtered water during the day will help to keep your mouth moist. However, some oral dryness needs the aid of a mouth rinse to replenish moisture. These are available over-the-counter for a reasonable cost. Just be sure to pick one that does not contain alcohol. Again, alcohol is a drying agent to oral tissues.

• What are you eating and when?

We’ve all known someone who sips from a can of cola during the day or goes through several cups of coffee in the morning with added cream and sugar. Many of us like a snack in the afternoon or may even indulge in a bowl of ice-cream while we watch television at night. As mentioned prior, each time you eat or drink, an acid attack begins in the mouth. When these acids are fueled by sugar, carbs and even more acid (from coffee, colas, citrus, etc.), the potential for damage increases. Although it’s not my place to alter your diet, just be mindful of what you’re eating and how often you consume. A good way to lessen the ill-effects of snacks or long periods of cola sipping is to rinse the mouth with water periodically after indulging.

• Are you proactive when it comes to your smile?

When something is wrong with your oral health, it’s not likely to repair itself on its own. For example, when a tooth is full of fillings and a crown is advised, it’s recommended to help preserve the natural tooth. Should the tooth fracture below the gum line, it will likely require removal. This sets in motion a long list of decisions – and expenses – that could have been avoided had a crown been placed to protect the tooth. While some expenses in dentistry may seem harmless to delay, many can easily become more complex issues – with greater costs. Look at periodic repairs like crowns, bite guards, etc. as necessary maintenance, just as you would for an automobile. After all, replacing brake pads isn’t cheap but not something wise to delay.

A healthy mouth, once established, is actually easy to maintain with proper at-home care and regular dental check-ups. Begin with an examination by calling 843-871-6351 and let’s create a smile you love!

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How Gum Disease Forms

posted: July 25, 2017

Like many diseases that form in our bodies, periodontal (gum) disease begins without obvious symptoms. However, unlike our response to something unusual like a lump or bump, the initial signs of gum disease are often ignored. Why?

An estimated 25% of men over the age of 39 have an annual prostrate exam and an estimated 50% of women ages 40 to 85 have an annual mammogram. Yet, the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that over 47% of American adults have some level of gum disease. I believe this is because our population is truly unaware of the signs, and subsequent risks, of periodontal disease.

A couple of generations ago, many people believed they had to use a stiff toothbrush and really scrub their teeth to get them clean. Many grew up believing that abrasive substances such as baking soda helped to do a good job. Today we know that this will wear down tooth enamel and wear away gum tissues that support teeth. Still today, some people assume that seeing blood in the sink when brushing is a sign they are doing a good job.

Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Losing a natural tooth is often the beginning to subsequent tooth loss. As a matter of fact, statistics show that when you lose a tooth, the next you’re most likely to lose is one adjacent.

Losing teeth creates a long list of decisions and expenses. Yet, tooth loss is just one problem associated with gum disease. Decades of research has shown that the bacteria of gum disease is associated with serious health problems in the body.

We now know that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Once bloodborne, the bacteria has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions associated with heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.

When you think about it, gum disease is one of the most preventable of all diseases. A thorough at-home routine of twice daily brushing, daily flossing, drinking plenty of water and limits on snacking and sweets are easy ways to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum.

Additionally, it is important to have regular dental check-ups and cleanings. These visits are vital to keeping a healthy smile by removing accumulated tartar and noting signs of gum disease at their earliest stages.

How gum disease develops should be familiar to everyone. Below is its path of development:

•  Accumulation Of Oral Bacteria: The mouth is a warm, moist environment that is open access to a tremendous amount of bacteria. Bacteria is on food, utensils and even our toothbrushes. Bacteria in our bodies is a fact of life and something we are structured to manage. However, at certain levels, the problem exceeds the limits that can be effectively handled. Too much bacteria in the mouth is how gum disease begins.

•  Formation of Plaque: Without regular and thorough brushing, flossing and saliva flow, oral bacteria reproduce rapidly. Just over the course of a day, their accumulation forms a sticky film that coats teeth and gums. This film is known as plaque.

•  Development of Calculus: In about 48 hours, plaque can harden into tartar, also known as calculus. This hardened form of oral bacteria attaches to teeth and can no longer be brushed or flossed away. Tartar will continue to reproduce as oral bacteria subsist on tooth enamel and gum tissue.

•  Gingivitis: As the first stage of gum disease, gum tissues are now inflamed. The gums become tender, bleed easily when brushing and your breath will feel not-so-fresh. By taking proper measures at this point, you may be able to restore your gums to a healthy state. Halting gingivitis at this stage is important to avoid the further development of gum disease.

•  Periodontal (Gum) Disease: At this stage, gum tissues are inflamed and tender. The gums will turn red and some teeth may show darker root portions as gum tissues loosen their grip around teeth. You’ll have persistent bad breath. As gum disease worsens, pus pockets may form and some teeth will loosen.

Want a healthy mouth? Want to avoid problems in the first place? Want to give your overall health a leg up? Begin by looking at your daily oral care routine. If you’ve delayed your 6-month dental check-ups, schedule one as soon as possible. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

With proper care, you can easily enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease as mentioned above, call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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One-Appointment Crowns Make The Process Simple, Quick.

posted: July 19, 2017

It wasn’t that long ago when, to log onto the internet, the ‘dial up’ process was required. Getting online began with that awful, high pitched whine while waiting for connection, only to be forced to wait as pages and images slowly appeared in choppy segments, piece by piece.

How nice that technology has changed the process to an almost instantaneous one. We now click on and have what we need in mere seconds. Dentistry has also created a faster method for crowns (caps), dental implant restorations and some bridges, thanks to the advanced technology of CEREC 3D.

CEREC 3D is computerized technology that creates beautiful, durable restorations in a ‘single visit’ process. It begins by taking precision measurements of the tooth and then customizes ceramic restorations to provide an exact fit and ideal shade.

Before CEREC, it was necessary to wear a temporary while a dental lab created the final teeth. The patient would have to return for another appointment (and another numbing) to have the final restoration placed. Not only does the CEREC process eliminate the need to return for a second appointment, it also prevents the need to wear a temporary. Another bonus is in shade matching. Since relaying specific tints to a dental lab has been eliminated, shade matching is more exact.

When it comes to the advantages that patients like the most, not having to wear a temporary and doing everything in one appointment are the most appealing aspects. Of course, they love the natural look and feel.

CEREC is a registered trademark of Dentsply Sirona, Inc. As a CEREC 3D Mentor for other dentists, I’ve also been involved in testing new features that keep this technology continually on the cutting edge when it comes to modern dentistry. Learn more about this technology as well as other advanced features in our office at: http://www.smilesbyandrews.com/comfort-advanced-features/

You are also invited to stop by our office to discuss your specific needs. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free consultation.

 

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Don’t Let Your Smile Go Up In Smoke

posted: July 13, 2017

If you smoke, you don’t need another lecture about its hazards. In our office, we pride ourselves on being a ‘lecture-free zone.’ However, we also pride ourselves on being good communicators to our patients. You see, we believe patients are better able to maintain good oral health when they know not only WHAT to do, but WHY each step is necessary.

If you are a smoker, here are some facts that you may not realize when it comes to your smile:

• Smokers have a greater risk of periodontal (gum) disease, more frequent bad breath, higher levels of plaque, stained teeth, and slower healing following extractions, gum treatment and oral surgery.

• Smoking is very drying to oral tissues. This provides an ideal environment for oral bacteria to reproduce and accumulate in the mouth. When the mouth can no longer combat the bacteria levels, the gum tissues become inflamed. This is the beginning of gum disease.

• In early stages, gum disease causes persistent bad breath, sore gums and gums that bleed easily when brushing. As it progresses, gum tissues turn red and pus pockets form. Eventually, the bacteria work their way down to attack supporting bone and tissues surrounding tooth roots. This can cause teeth to loosen which may lead to removal. Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

• Losing teeth leads to a number of problems relating to your overall health. While some people assume that losing natural teeth is a ‘normal’ part of the aging process, studies show that people who wear dentures die an average of ten years earlier than those who have their natural teeth. Denture wearers also take more medications, have more gastrointestinal problems and are less socially active.

• Smokers decrease life expectancy by 10–15 years, on average. Smoking is attributed to almost one-third of all cancer diseases and deaths. Women who smoke are at risk for early menopause while men who smoke have a higher risk of impotency. Pregnant women who smoke have an increased risk for first-trimester spontaneous abortion, preterm births, low birth weight babies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

• Second hand smoke contains over 50 carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. Children of smoking parents commonly wake up with ‘smoker’s cough.’

If you’ve thought about kicking the habit, you’ll notice the positive effects almost immediately. In just 48 hours, damaged nerve endings will start to regenerate, restoring the sense of smell and taste. In 3 days, your lungs will begin to repair and you’ll notice breathing is easier and air intake is fuller. Within 2 weeks, blood circulation in your gums and teeth is similar to that of a non-smoker with your risk for heart attack now declining. In a month or so, your circulation will greatly improve, walking will be easier and your chronic cough will have cleared up.

Who needs a lecture when the facts are so clear? While adults can choose to smoke or not as they accept the risks, knowing these risks is important.

For those who want to kick the habit, there are excellent online sources, including: http://smokefree.gov/

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Moms-To-Be Will Want To Read This, Especially.

posted: July 10, 2017

Women who are pregnant, even early on, have a long list of precautions to follow to help in the healthy development of their unborn babies. These include dietary restrictions as well as avoiding alcohol, smoking and many medications.

New findings now add another precaution to the list. Studies show that it is important for pregnant women to maintain excellent oral health throughout their pregnancy — for their own health and that of their baby.

Pregnant women have elevated hormones, which increases their potential for periodontal (gum) disease. Because of this, many experience Pregnancy Gingivitis, causing swollen, red and sore gums that bleed while brushing. This also makes the gums more susceptible to inflammation and sensitive to the oral bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease, leaving an estimated one-third of all pregnant females with gum disease.

Even worse, it is now known that the oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in compromised gum tissues. Studies show that gum disease increases the risk for preterm delivery (before 37 weeks) and low birth weight babies.

When the infectious bacteria of gum disease reaches placental membranes, it can trigger inflammation that can lead to pre-eclampsia or early labor. For instance, the preterm birth rate for women without periodontal disease is approximately 11% compared to about 29% for moms-to-be with moderate or severe levels of gum disease. Gum disease also increases the risk for late-term miscarriage.

In one study, pregnant women who had higher levels of oral bacteria also had higher percentages of preterm births and babies born at low birth weight. Showing a direct connection between the oral health of the mom-to-be and her unborn baby, the same elevated antibody levels were noted in amniotic fluid and fetal cord blood samples of preterm or low birth weight babies.

Fortunately, studies show that successfully treating gum disease reduces the risk of preterm births, motivating a growing number of obstetricians to advise their pregnant patients to be evaluated for signs of periodontal disease. Typical signs include gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, tender or swollen gums, and gums that turn red in color. Eventually, pus pockets may form at the base of some teeth and teeth will loosen and may require removal.

Take extra good care of your smile during pregnancy for the good of your own health as well as that of your baby. If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease or Pregnancy Gingivitis, our non-surgical treatment is safe and effective for nearly all levels of gum disease.

Begin with a free consultation by calling 1-877-966-9009.

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