133 Franklin Corner Road Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 896-0700

Posts for: June, 2017

By Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
June 26, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that approximately half of American adults have some degree of gum disease. gum diseaseThis statistic really disturbs our Lawrenceville, NJ periodontists, Dr. John Lu and Dr. Raul Figueroa. They teach their patients that periodontal disease is preventable, and if it progresses, it is treatable. Learn here about periodontal flap surgery, how it works and why it is sometimes needed to bring smiles back to full health.

The signs of gum disease

Unfortunately, when gum disease begins, many people are unaware that they have it. However, as mild gingivitis progresses to more advanced periodontitis, the effects on oral and systemic health become clearer.

Upon visual inspection, your dentist will notice:

  • Red, swollen, bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Gaps between teeth
  • A change in the fit of a denture or bridgework
  • Pockets between gums and tooth surfaces (deeper than three millimeters is diagnostic for gum disease)
  • Pus at the gum line
  • Tooth mobility
  • Exposed roots

Left unchecked, periodontitis destroys the gums, connective tissue (the periodontal ligament) and underlying bone. However, with treatment, gum disease and its harmful effects can be controlled.

Treatments for gum disease

The most common treatment your periodontist in Lawrenceville uses is tooth scaling and root planing. This in-office manual procedure scrapes away the sticky plaque and hard tartar that have accumulated at and below the gum line. Some patients have so much build-up they require cleaning in quadrants--one section at a time--and use of local anesthetic to numb the areas. After scaling and root planing are complete, the dentist instills antibiotic medication to health the infection.

For many patients, this thorough cleaning and frequent maintenance at Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center and Periodontics helps gums to reattach to root surfaces and to heal. Of course, brushing and flossing at home is the mainstay of healthy gum tissue.

Periodontal flap surgery

Dr. Lu and Dr. Figueroa have found that some patients with serious gum issues benefit from an in-office procedure called periodontal flap surgery. During this treatment, the periodontist incises the gums to expose the roots of teeth with very deep pockets. These pockets are filled with bacteria and debris but can be cleaned and disinfected so they heal.

To accomplish this procedure, the dentist uses local anesthesia to numb the areas and then creates a flap in the gums. This opens the area so he can remove the tartar and instill antibiotic medication.

Also, Dr. Lu or Dr. Figueroa may add Platelet-derived Growth Factors to the site. This liquid medication helps the periodontal ligament and gum tissue to regrow so that the tooth is more properly anchored. After he instills the growth factors, he sutures the area closed.

This amazing surgery produces excellent results in most patients. Additionally, it helps the operated areas look better as gum tissue regrows.

Are you concerned about your gums?

You can trust the expertise and compassionate care at Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center and Periodontics in Lawrenceville, NJ. Please contact the office team for an appointment: (609) 896-0700.

By Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
June 21, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  

Many people learn they have periodontal (gum) disease after noticing gum swelling, soreness or bleeding. But what you can see or feel may be only the tip of the iceberg — the damage may extend much deeper.

Gum disease is caused mainly by dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles built up on teeth due to ineffective brushing and flossing. Infection of the visible gums is only the beginning — left untreated, it can advance well below the gum line and even infect supporting bone.

One critical concern in this regard is the areas where the roots of a tooth separate from each other, known as furcations. Here an infection known as a furcation invasion can cause the bone to weaken and dissolve.

This usually occurs in stages (or classes) we can detect through manual probing and/or with x-rays. In the earliest stage, Class I, we might only notice a slight pocket in the gums with no significant bone loss. In Class II, though, the pocket between the roots has become a horizontal opening of two or more millimeters, indicating definite bone loss with increased pocket depth getting “under” the crown of the tooth. Class III, the last and most serious stage, describes an opening we can probe under the crown all the way to the other side of the tooth; the bone loss now extends “through and through” the furcation.

The basic goal of gum disease treatment is to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from all tooth and gum surfaces. But removing plaque below the gum line, especially “into” the furcations, can be challenging. We will need instruments called scalers to clean root surfaces, assisted sometimes by ultrasonic equipment to vibrate plaque loose. With furcations we may also need to employ surgery to aid gum or bone tissue regeneration or to make the area easier to access for future cleaning.

Of course, the best way to protect against furcation invasions is to prevent gum disease in the first place. Be sure to brush and floss daily and visit us for thorough dental cleanings and checkups at least every six months.

And don’t delay contacting us if you see any signs of teeth or gum problems. The sooner we can identify gum disease, the more likely we’ll be able to prevent it from doing serious damage to your gums, bone and teeth.

If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What are Furcations?

By Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
June 06, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”

Lawrenceville, NJ Periodontist
Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
133 Franklin Corner Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 896-0700

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