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What is biofilm?

December 14th, 2018

Biofilm, the protective housing for bacteria, is a hot topic in the medical and dental fields. Routinely taking an antibiotic for a bacterial infection has become more complicated because of biofilm. Bacterial infections may become resistant to antibiotics in part because the biofilm allows for communication among the bacteria, allowing the infection to be sustained.

You’re probably wondering, Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis , what does this have to do with teeth? Since we’re dental professionals, we can tell you why it’s important and what you should know! There is biofilm in your mouth; healthy biofilm and diseased biofilm. Both are made of the same general compounds, but when combined with certain amino acids and cellular chemicals, the diseased biofilm conquers and destroys.

Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease or pyorrhea, is a biofilm disease. If you are undergoing treatment for gum disease and you do not continue with the treatment plan the disease will progress and/or spread due to the biofilm.

There are several ways to treat diseased biofilm. But remember, antibiotics cannot touch the bacterial infection if the biofilm is established.

When your exam is complete, the Ultrasonic or Piezo Scaler should be used. This method of spraying water disturbs the biofilm and provides an opportunity to treat the infection causing bacteria.

Remember, we all need healthy biofilm. Just as your skin protects your body, biofilm housing good bacteria protects your body. The bacteria in the biofilm replicate every twenty minutes. If your body has healthy bacteria, low levels of hydrogen peroxide are produced by the biofilm, preventing harmful bacteria from residing. Harmful bacteria do not like oxygen.

At your exam, we will take measurements around your teeth checking for “pockets”. The higher the number, the deeper the pocket giving more room for harmful bacteria where there is no oxygen. Ask what your numbers are and be involved in restoring your healthy biofilm.

Why You Should Avoid Energy and Sports Drinks

December 7th, 2018

In a world where everything moves so quickly and teens and young adults find themselves pulling “all-nighters” or working long hours, energy drinks have grabbed the spotlight. You’ll have one (or three) and suddenly you have the drive you need to keep going.

The same can be said for sports drinks. It’s common for people to have one even when they’re not engaged in any strenuous physical activity, which is what they were designed for. People will drink them simply because they’ve grown to love the taste.

Although they might taste great and boost your energy, there’s a serious down side to consuming energy and sports drinks on a steady basis. Studies have shown that these drinks contain so much acid that they start to destroy your teeth after just five days of consistent use.

The acid in these drinks destroys your tooth enamel, which makes your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria. This can progress to staining, tooth decay, and hypersensitivity.

That’s why Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis and our team want to encourage you to try to limit the amount of sports and energy drinks you consume. If you do enjoy either or both of these drinks, you should make it a habit to rinse your mouth with water immediately after consumption, and brush your teeth about an hour later, after the period when acid has a softening effect on your enamel has passed.

If you feel like you’re already experiencing the side effects of heavy energy and sports drink consumption, visit our San Mateo, CA office, and our team can provide solutions for how to prevent further damage from occurring. It’s never too late to change a bad habit!

Implants: Why It’s Important to Replace Missing Teeth

November 30th, 2018

Sometimes, despite our best care, we lose a tooth. If it is a front tooth, it will probably be a high priority to replace. But if a missing tooth doesn’t show when we smile, what’s the hurry? Let’s look at the reasons why prompt replacement with an implant is always a good idea, no matter which tooth is involved.

 Appearance

Implants look like natural, individual teeth, but that is not the only aesthetic reason to replace a lost tooth. Without some type of tooth replacement, missing teeth can eventually affect the structure of our jawbones and change our facial appearance. Cheeks, lips, profiles—all are impacted by the changes in our bones resulting from tooth loss.

Better Bite

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do our teeth. When a space is left by a missing tooth, the teeth around it might shift positions, affecting the even pattern of our bite. And without a tooth to keep it in place, a tooth above or below the missing one might begin to grow longer to fill the void in your bite. This lengthening, in turn, can cause even more bite problems.

Chewing

With the loss of only a single tooth, there is a negative impact on the remaining teeth. More pressure is placed on the other teeth in order to chew properly, front teeth not meant for chewing might need to be used for that purpose, or food is not chewed as thoroughly as it should be. The first two problems are not healthy for our teeth, and the last one is not healthy for digestion!

Don’t Delay

Changes in bite and chewing problems probably won’t happen overnight, so is putting off the process really a big deal? It can be! Time is not on our side when a tooth is lost. The bone tissue which supports our teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, the bone area under the missing tooth gradually shrinks. If there is not enough bone area left, you might need surgical bone grafting to achieve the right bone height to hold an implant, or it could lead to the impossibility of placing an implant at all.

Expense

Replacing a lost tooth quickly requires less restoration of the gums and bone in the future and prevents other serious problems from developing.

We could continue through the alphabet, but instead, come talk to Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis about all the reasons a tooth implant might be your best option. Whether you have already lost a tooth, or if you have an extraction scheduled at our San Mateo, CA office, we are happy to recommend the best procedure at just the right time to make your smile beautiful, healthy, and complete!

Improve Your Smile with Periodontal Cosmetic Enhancements

November 23rd, 2018

When we think about improving our smile, we generally focus on our teeth. Are they straight enough? White enough? Your orthodontist and dentist can provide suggestions for these issues if they concern you. But there is another essential part of our smiles which should not be neglected: our gums.

You might know that periodontal dentistry is your best option for treating gum disease. We are also trained and skilled in cosmetic procedures which can make a remarkable difference in your smile and even improve your periodontal health.

  • Crown Lengthening & Gum Contouring

People sometimes worry that their teeth are too short, or their smiles are too “gummy.” Problems like this can actually be caused by too much gum tissue. We can carefully remove or reshape excess gum tissue, and bone tissue if needed, to reveal more of your teeth. This process is known as “crown lengthening.” We then contour the remaining gum tissue for an attractive gumline that works together with your teeth and lips for a beautifully proportioned smile.

  • Gum Grafts

On the other hand, sometimes recessive gums can lead to too much of the tooth being exposed. A gum graft, where graft tissue is carefully positioned to restore the receding gum, can both improve the appearance of a smile and protect the exposed root area from damage or decay.

  • Bone Grafts

When you lose a tooth, it is important to decide on a treatment plan early. The longer a tooth is missing, the more likely that the bone and tissue beneath it will start to recede. Without the necessary bone density and area, an implant cannot be performed. If gum disease has caused bone loss, it can endanger the health of the teeth nearby.  If you have lost bone due to a missing tooth, infection, trauma or gum disease, talk to us about bone grafting, to restore your bone now and prevent future bone loss.

  • Dental Implants

Dental implants make your smile complete again, which is certainly an aesthetic improvement, but is also important for the health of your remaining teeth and jaw. We are trained not only to place the implant in the jaw, but to analyze bone health first for the most successful implant outcome.

You are already on your way to your best possible smile. And just as you’re committed to working with your regular dentist for checkups and cleaning, and working with your orthodontist if you see the need for alignment and bite improvements, there are some cosmetic areas where a periodontist is uniquely qualified to help. If you are concerned about the appearance or health of your gums and the bones beneath them, call our San Mateo, CA office! Dr. Pope, Dr. Pickering, and Dr. Lewis can answer any questions you may have and provide suggestions for making sure your gums and the supporting structures around your teeth are not only their healthiest, but a beautiful addition to your best, most confident smile.

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