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Aside from providing dental services, our team at Presser Dental Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania maintains a blog for people to read. We post informative articles on a variety of topics related to oral health and dentistry. Visit this page regularly for updates.

What Are the Treatment Options for Loose Teeth Due to Gum Disease?

Overview

Gum disease starts when there is inflammation in the gums. Left untreated, it can become more severe and cause bone loss. Severe gum disease, called periodontitis, occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that can infect the gums.

When this happens, gums can separate from the teeth, causing your teeth to loosen. Treatment options for loose teeth due to gum disease include deep cleaning, reshaping antibiotics, or bone grafting.

Deep Cleaning

Pockets may develop when bacteria infect the gums and bones. If this condition is not caught early enough, a dental hygienist may first need to clean bacteria out of the pockets using a deep-cleaning method called scaling — scraping tartar off the gumline.

Membranes or tissue-stimulating proteins can then be used to try to stimulate the gums and bones to heal themselves and re-tighten around the teeth. After this procedure, it is essential to keep up good oral hygiene practices and get regular dental checkups.

Root Planing

Root planing is a procedure that can be used in the early stages of gum disease when the teeth are just starting to loosen. The goal is to help reshape the teeth to get rid of rough spots so that germs cannot build up. Afterwards, a laser can be used to remove any remaining plaque and tartar.

This procedure, when combined with good dental hygiene, can help to slow the progression of gum disease, allowing your gums to strengthen and shape around your teeth. It will also be necessary to stop smoking, as tobacco can interfere with the healing process and increases the risk of future infections.

Antibiotic Treatment

Gum disease needs to be treated as bacteria that cause this disease can enter the body and lead to other illnesses. Periodontal disease can contribute to heart disease, stroke, full-body infections, and premature births.

Along with loose teeth, gum disease can cause painful gums and chronic bad breath that is not from food. The first step is to control the infection, and in some cases, this may require placing antibiotics right on the gum.

Bone Grafts

A bone graft involves pulling the gums away from the teeth so that the roots can be cleaned and any pockets filled. The filling consists of a bone graft made from a person’s own bone and tissues whenever possible. The gums are then stitched back together. Within a few months, new bone and tissue should form so that the tooth becomes reattached to the gums.

On the Road to Dental Health

In a perfect world, there’d be no loose teeth or gum disease, and you would maintain a schedule of regular dental visits. But, in the absence of perfection, you can still treat this serious condition, with our help, long before your teeth start falling out. Schedule an appointment now and, together, we can put you back on the road to optimum dental health.


An Ingredient Checkup: What's in Your Toothpaste?

When was the last time you read the ingredient list of your favorite toothpaste brand? Actually, have you ever read the ingredient list? If you’re like most Americans, you’ve become an ingredient-list-reading person these last few years, and it would be wise to add that toothpaste label to your list of reading materials.

So, let’s explore the most common ingredients, learn a bit about how they function, and help you make the personal choice whether to avoid any of those ingredients or not.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Of all the ingredients that make their way into toothpaste, if there’s one you may be familiar with, it’s likely Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. It’s used in toothpaste mainly as a foaming agent, to give you the sense that your brushing is having the effect it should.

Some argue it’s an unnecessary ingredient given that it’s prone to irritate the oral tissues of some, and can contribute to the formation of canker sores. More dubious, however, is the claim that SLS is a carcinogen.

Moreover, while The American Cancer Society and the federal government do not consider SLS to be a carcinogen, there are some scientists who believe more testing is necessary, and that consumers should avoid the ingredient if possible. If you’re at all concerned, the decision to avoid SLS is yours. After all, not all toothpastes contain the ingredient.

Flavorings

Making toothpaste taste good isn’t a simple task, and trust us, you want that stuff to be palatable! Flavor additives are often oils/extracts/flavorings such as cinnamon, anise, and mint, but can be synthetic (aspartame, for example).

Most would prefer a natural flavoring because, for some people, additives can cause irritation to oral tissues, and even mint can be a heartburn trigger. If you suspect your toothpaste is the cause of any mouth irritation you may be experiencing, play around with different flavored toothpastes until you find what works best for you.

Dyes and Colorings

It’s not really that necessary to have colored toothpaste. So, if you’d like to avoid things like colors followed by numbers like Blue #2, just say no to additional colors. These, too, can be irritants to some individuals.

Fluoride

Fluoride — you need it, you want it. Make sure your toothpaste has it. Fluoride works by strengthening tooth enamel and making teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. Some of us may even require fluoride supplementation.

Alcohol

Alcohol dries out your mouth, and your mouth doesn’t enjoy that feeling very much. It can contribute to gingivitis, and generally doesn’t leave you feeling as fresh as you’d like. So, why use toothpaste with alcohol?

Triclosan

The jury is still out on Triclosan. Only Colgate Total contains it – and it’s used (very effectively) as an antibacterial agent to fight gingivitis. Some researchers, however, contend it needs more study given its questionable relationship with cancer. Measuring risk versus benefit is always yours to consider.

Abrasives

Silica, along with baking soda, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphates, and alumina, are abrasive agents used to remove stains from teeth. If you’re a frequent coffee, tea, red wine, or soda drinker, you might feel the need to brush with a toothpaste containing these ingredients.

Recognize, however, that they are abrasive to your teeth. Go with toothpaste with a low rating for abrasiveness or reduce the quantity of your stain-inducing foods and beverages. Also, we’re going to assume that you’re not a smoker – which really stains teeth!

Humectants

Keeping toothpaste moist and in good form requires a humectant. Otherwise, you’d end up with a hard block of toothpaste or a chalky mess. Glycerin, sorbitol, and water are the most common additives to your toothpaste to get this job done, and wonder-ingredient, Xylitol, has also been making an appearance as of late because it not only provides moisture but also helps fight cavities.

Thickeners

Carrageenan, cellulose gum, guar gum, xanthan gum, and even gluten help thicken your toothpaste. They’re generally benign ingredients, but if you have celiac disease or if gluten is a concern for you, you’ll want to check for gluten-free toothpastes.

Preservatives

The last thing you want to be spreading all over your teeth is moldy toothpaste. Sodium benzoate, methyl paraben, and ethyl paraben are the three most common preservative ingredients used to keep your toothpaste from become home to all sorts of nasty bacteria.

They’re a bit of a necessary evil. Of the three, sodium benzoate may be your best choice as parabens have come under intense scrutiny – particularly because they mimic estrogen in the body, according to the Breast Cancer Fund.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into your toothpaste. Do your own homework, so you can make the right decisions for you and your family. Alsp, when in doubt, we’re always here to discuss your options!

Oh yeah – don’t forget to brush!


How to Cope With Dry Mouth

Why Is Dry Mouth a Problem?

A sticky, pasty mouth is anything but comfortable. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, decreases peoples’ quality of life as it often cause bad breath, a sore throat, burning tongue, and constant thirst.

Is there another complication? Without saliva, people can be more prone to tooth decay and perio-dontal disease. Because of its antibacterial components, it can buffer the acid that is produced by bacteria.

A common cause of xerostomia is over-the-counter and prescription medications; hundreds of them list it as a side effect. Dry mouth also goes hand in hand with conditions such as diabetes or arthritis. Injury, surgery, or radiation treatments for head or neck cancer, as well as chemotherapy, can damage the salivary gland nerves.

How about smoking? As if another reason were needed to get you to quit, it can make your mouth feel like a sandpit.

Advice for Coping

Strategies like sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum will increase saliva flow. You can also keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water and using a humidifier in your bedroom. You can buy sprays, oral rinses, and toothpastes at the drugstore that are specifically for treating the condition. These aren’t permanent solutions, though. If the problem is ongoing, speak with us.

Make a habit of breathing through your nose instead of your mouth and quit smoking. If you take OTC medications and suspect they are causing your dry mouth, ask us or your pharmacist. If you suspect it’s a prescription medication that’s causing the problem, talk to us or your physician. It might be possible to reduce the dosage or switch medications.

We advise people with dry mouth to visit us more frequently so we can check for decay on teeth along the gum line. By brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, using a fluoride mouth rinse and flossing daily, you’ll help keep decay at bay.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or give us a call. We’d love to hear from you!


What Causes Tooth Enamel Damage?

How Enamel Protects Your Teeth

Enamel is kind of like an eggshell. It protects the soft part of the tooth inside. However, unlike an egg’s outer layer, it’s tough. It’s the hardest substance in your body. With some luck — and good dental care — it can withstand decades of biting, chewing, and crunching.

From Erosion to Cavities

As tough as tooth enamel is, it can be worn down. Acids from foods and bacteria eat away at it, causing erosion and cavities. Enamel can also be chipped or cracked. Unlike bone, it can’t grow back on its own.

Tooth Decay and Sensitivity

Cavities aren’t the only problem. Teeth with damaged enamel can react to extreme heat or cold. Eating ice cream or sipping hot coffee can be a pain, or at least unpleasant.

Tooth Enamel Erosion in Children

Many experts say, and our own experience indicates, that tooth enamel erosion is on the rise — especially in children. Why? It’s likely because they get too many acidic drinks and sodas. The switch to bottled water could also be part of the problem. People are using less tap water, which means kids may be getting less fluoride.

But it doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an adult – you’re probably getting less fluoride, and that certainly puts your tooth enamel at risk. So, at your next visit to our office in The Woodlands, ask us about our fluoride options. Considering the importance of your tooth enamel, you’ll get a great return on this modest investment in your dental health.

That can be our new title: Dental Health Investment Advisors!

*Excerpts from WebMD: https://goo.gl/3BFEqC


Play It Safe This Summer

It’s summer and it’s time again to remind you to protect your faces and pearly whites (and those of your children) while out on the field playing sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes, and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually.

If you are planning on participating in summer sports, it’s imperative to have a proper-fitting mouthguard. Mouthguards can prevent chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations, and even concussions.

Having a mouthguard can make the difference between losing your teeth or not, and because many of your children who play sports have jaws that are still growing, last year’s mouthguard may no longer fit as it should. Dr. Presser and our team at Presser Dental Group can fit you or your child for a new guard. We can even customize it with team colors!

To learn more about mouthguards or for general questions about your treatment at our office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, please give us a call (215-546-0200 | 215-563-7688).

Thanks for being our patients!


Taking a Hot Bath Burns As Many Calories as a 30-minute Walk, Study Says

Good news: researchers are saying that relaxing in a hot bath and doing absolutely nothing may be just as beneficial for your body as a 30-minute walk. A group at Loughborough University did the strenuous job of tracking this theory with 14 men who were put through two tests: a one-hour bicycle ride and a one-hour bath in 104-degree-Fahrenheit water.

The goal was to raise the body’s core temperature by one degree. All in all, the cycling burned many more calories, but the researchers did come across something somewhat surprising. Relaxing in the hot bath did burn 130 calories, which is about the amount you’ll burn on a half-hour walk.

The TV show “The Conversation” shared some additional findings from the study. The blood sugar of all participants was also tracked for 24 hours after the tests, and it was discovered that peak blood sugar was around 10 percent lower when a bath was taken in place of the bike ride. The bath also seemed to have the same effect as exercise when it came to the anti-inflammatory response post-activity for each of the participants.

The study suggests that passive heating—exactly what it sounds like, relaxing in a hot bath for an hour—can help reduce inflammation. The idea of passive heating as a medical treatment is relatively new and popular with one country in particular: Finland. A study in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal from 2015 suggests that spending time in saunas — another act of passive heating—may help ward off cardiovascular diseases.

One thing to note: all of these study participants were men, and given that the male and female bodies can act in drastically different ways, there may be some variety in the results. However, even if it doesn’t replace a day’s exercise, soaking in a warm tub can only do good things for your mental health.

Next blog, we’ll return to your dental health. We just thought you might like a change of pace this week.

*Text by Erika Owen, 4 April 2017, originally appearing in Travel + Leisure


What Is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a commonly used technique that we may recommend if you have chipped or cracked teeth. It can also be used for patients with discoloration, excessive gaps, and receding gums. Additionally, composite dental bonding offers an aesthetically appealing alternative to traditional amalgam (silver colored) fillings for patients with tooth decay.

The procedure to apply the composite resin is relatively quick, taking only about 30 minutes per tooth. First, we roughen the surface and clean it thoroughly. This helps the composite resin adhere to the tooth more effectively. Then, the material is applied, shaped, and hardened with a UV light.

Since we are such perfectionists, we will probably shape and smooth it again after the hardening process so that it closely matches the rest of your smile.

Restore the beauty of your natural smile. Our general dentistry team at So Presser Dental Group offers composite dental bonding for patients of all ages. For an appointment for dental bonding, you can call 215-546-0200 or 215-563-7688 to reach our dental office conveniently located at 00 S Broad St Suite 2020 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19110.


Understanding Dental Care for Diabetes

What does oral health have in common with diabetes? A lot when you consider that high blood sugar can affect your entire body including your teeth and gums.

Diabetes, when uncontrolled, compromises white blood cell functionality. Because white blood cells are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections in the mouth, this makes understanding dental care for diabetes imperative.

Dental Health Risks for Individuals with Diabetes

If you have diabetes and do not control the condition through diet, exercise, and/or medication, you’re at increased risk for several oral health problems:

  • Dry Mouth: Diabetes decreases saliva flow, which can lead to common issues like tooth decay, infections, soreness, and ulcers.
  • Gum Inflammation: Diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, slowing the transfer of nutrients to and wastes from the mouth. This reduces the body’s ability to fight infections and can also cause gum disease.
  • Poor Healing: Following a procedure or oral surgery, those with diabetes will heal more slowly due to reduced blood flow to the treatment site.
  • Thrush: Individuals who regularly take antibiotics to fight infections are prone to developing thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. Once present, it thrives on heightened levels of sugar present in the saliva of those with uncontrolled diabetes.

Dental Care Tips for Those with Diabetes

It’s vital to monitor your oral health closely if you have diabetes because small changes can signal more serious problems. There are things you can do to protect against the common dental health risks mentioned above:

  • Keep Your Mouth Clean: Brush your teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush about 30 minutes after eating. This allows enamel to remineralize after being contacted by acid in food. You should also floss at least once daily and rinse with an antibacterial mouth rinse.
  • Use Dental Appliances Carefully: If you wear dental appliances like retainers or dentures, you should remove them, clean them daily, and never sleep in them.
  • Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels: Many oral health problems including tooth decay, gum disease, and thrush are caused by excess sugars in saliva, making it important to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
  • Visit Your Doctor Before Major Procedures: If you have a major dental procedure planned, it’s important to first visit your doctor to determine if you will require pre-surgical antibiotics and/or need to adjust your eating habits or insulin schedule beforehand.
  • Keep Your Dentist Informed: Be sure to tell your dentist your HgA1C level so he or she is aware of how controlled your diabetes is. You should also share if you’ve had any hypoglycemic episodes and when you took your last dose of insulin to help your dentist identify potential oral health risks.
  • Provide Your Dentist With Your Medications: Make sure your dentist is aware of your current medications. This way, if anything else needs to be prescribed, he or she can make sure it doesn’t interfere with what you are currently taking.

Preventative Care Protects Your Oral (and General) Health

If you have diabetes, you can never be too careful with the measures you take to protect yourself from infection, especially of the mouth.

By taking the tips above into consideration, you can reduce the likelihood of being affected by one of the many dental health risks unique to those with diabetes. Doing so will be beneficial not only for your teeth and gums, but for your holistic health as well.

Sources:

Dental Care and Diabetes. (2014, May 22). Retrieved on June 3, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/dental-health-dental-care-diabetes


Diabetes and Dental Care: Guide to a Healthy Mouth. (2012, November 7). Retrieved June 3, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes/art-20043848


The "Harmless" Habit That Could Make Your Teeth Fall Out, Literally.

Do you wake up some mornings with a headache of origins you can’t define? Do you experience vague muscle pain in your face? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of bruxism. What’s bruxism? You likely know it by its more informal name – two names, actually: “clenching” and “grinding.”

It’s also not something you’ll want to ignore, because bruxism wears down the surface of your teeth and sets you up for cavities and tooth fractures. Severe cases can even contribute to tooth loss. Let’s find out how to stop this menace in its tracks.

What Causes Bruxism?

Many factors can combine to create a bruxism habit. Stress and anxiety are believed to be leading causes, as are misaligned bite, missing teeth, and sleep abnormalities. Some medications can also trigger episodes, as can neurological or musculature illnesses.

Why Should I Be Concerned About Teeth Grinding? Isn’t It Normal?

Teeth grinding may be common, but it’s not “normal,” per se. Because the stresses of bruxism affect the entire jaw, this pressure can create cracks and chips in teeth and over time can contribute to a shortening of lower face height due to bone loss. If that sounds scary, that’s because it should.

It’s also a change you’ve seen before – in individuals who have lost all their teeth and do not wear dentures. We’re pretty sure that’s not a look you’re aiming to achieve.

How Do I Know I Have a Problem, and What Treatments Are Available?

In many cases, we will see evidence of bruxism in your X-rays, and on the surface of your teeth, and will alert you to the problem long before you exhibit a single symptom – particularly if you sleep alone. Occasionally however, you may start to clench and grind in between visits and begin to notice symptoms on your own.

If that’s more like your situation, and you find that you often wake with a sore jaw, a headache that goes away shortly after rising, or if a loved one tells you your teeth are making clickity-clankity noises all night, mention it the next time you’re in the office.

As far as treatment goes, because the causes of bruxism are varied, the treatments vary as well. If we determine stress is the primary cause, we may recommend you abstain from excessive caffeine and alcohol, and attempt some form of daily relaxation. Even something as simple as a warm bath before sleeping can work wonders.

If your bite is a concern, we may suggest you visit an orthodontist for an evaluation, and if prescription medicine or neuromuscular illnesses are believed to be the cause, referral to the appropriate specialist would be part of your plan to break the habit.

In each of these cases, though, we will likely recommend a splint, or occlusal mouth guard to protect your teeth and bone from further damage. These protective devices are easy to wear, and contrary to what you may believe, will not impede your ability to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, they tend to enhance the quality of your sleep so you’ll wake up more refreshed.

So, check with us! Many people go years without being aware they’re clenching and grinding since it takes time for symptoms to show in your mouth. Getting a mouthguard or splint once you know you have this habit, though, will help you with headaches and muscle pain now – and tooth trouble down the road.

We want our patients to be headache-free!


Oral Yeast Infections: Common – and Contagious!

The last thing you would think to talk to us (or any dentist) about is a yeast infection! However, when it appears in your mouth, or in that of your child, a dentist is the first person you should call — and the sooner, the better.

Oral yeast infections (or "thrush" are actually quite common and contagious if you’re not careful. Here’s what you need to know in case one ever sneaks up on you.

Symptoms of Thrush

While Candida, the fungus to blame for thrush, naturally occurs in the body, excessive production can result in an oral yeast infection. Telltale signs include:

  • White, milky lesions along the gums, inner lining, or roof of your mouth
  • Bleeding or soreness if the lesions are brushed or rubbed
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing food
  • A dry, cotton-mouthed feeling, that may be accompanied by taste loss
  • Cracking and/or redness by the corners of the mouth
  • Depending on what is causing the infection, symptoms and their severity may vary by individual. If thrush is not caught early enough, it can spread to other parts of the body.

Who Gets Thrush 

  • Anyone can contract an oral yeast infection, but those with a higher risk for thrush are:
  • Infants, whose developing immune systems may be unable to control fungal growth
  • People with weak immune systems, either due to age or a disorder
  • People who wear dentures that are not well-fitted or kept clean
  • Diabetics, as sugar content in saliva can encourage the growth of yeast in the mouth
  • People undergoing medical treatment that may disrupt the body’s natural balances

Risk factors aside, however, thrush can spread quite easily to individuals close to an infected person. A mother who cares for her infant while he or she has thrush, for instance, can easily catch the yeast infection through nursing or touching her child’s mouth.

While older children with healthy immune systems may not be as vulnerable to catching thrush, young infants and toddlers can fall prey to an oral yeast infection by sharing toys, food and/or handling the same objects as an infected infant.

The same holds true when it comes to transmitting thrush from adult to adult. Healthy individuals are normally at low risk, but elderly individuals can spread the condition to each other simply by coming in contact with an object that has been touched with the unwashed hands of someone who has thrush.

Prevention and Treatment of Thrush

Thrush can persist for at least two weeks, if not more, in some extreme cases. Getting rid of the yeast infection often requires a combination of both topical and oral anti-fungal medicine, though topical medication is used for infants only.

If thrush is detected and treated promptly, it is possible for symptoms to clear with a milder form of treatment that involves anti-fungal lozenges and/or a prescribed mouth rinse. In order to prevent another outbreak, however, it’s important to take several precautions to “sterilize” your home and belongings:

  • Replace your toothbrush, as well as any toothbrushes located next to it.
  • Sanitize your dentures thoroughly with water, followed by a store-bought cleaner.
  • Wash or boil baby bottles and pacifiers daily and store them in the fridge before use.
  • Rinse your mouth after every dose of medication, especially antibiotics and steroids.

Staying on top of personal hygiene and being mindful of others can help avoid unnecessary recurrences and long-term effects to your dental and overall health.

See Us After Recovery as Well

Seeking treatment from your dentist can save you time and trouble in dealing with this stubborn condition. However, due to the lengthy toll that thrush can take on your oral health, it’s critical that you see us upon recovery as well.

More often than not, sensitivity and pain resulting from various symptoms can impact daily hygiene, and result in plaque buildup and tooth decay if left unaddressed. To get your oral health back in shape, be sure to schedule an exam and cleaning after you’ve fully healed. Let us know if you have any questions.

Sources:

Oral Care: Thrush Directory. (2014). Retrieved June 8, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/thrush-directory


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If you have questions regarding our blog posts or services, feel free to contact us. We will be more than happy to respond to your inquiries.

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