133 Franklin Corner Road Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
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Posts for: March, 2019

By Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
March 27, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  
AreLasersforGumDiseaseTreatmentinOurFuture

One of the most important revolutions in healthcare in recent decades is the increasing use of lasers. Now, laser technology is making a showing in dental care for the treatment of periodontal (gum) disease.

Lasers (an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation") narrowly focus and amplify light within a small area. First developed in the early 1960s, laser technology rapidly advanced in the ensuing decades with more compact and precise devices that were eventually safe and effective for many types of medical procedures. Its remarkable features are now available for the primary focus of gum disease treatment—removing bacterial plaque.

Plaque is a thin, built-up film of bacteria and food particles on tooth and gum surfaces that serves as a haven for the bacteria that cause gum disease. The continuing presence of plaque and calculus (tartar) enables the infection to thrive and advance within the gum tissues, ultimately damaging them along with supporting bone. As the tissues weaken and bone volume diminishes, the teeth are at greater risk for loss.

It's necessary, therefore, first and foremost to remove all detectable plaque and calculus to stop the infection. This is traditionally done with special hand tools called scalers used to manually remove plaque, or with ultrasonic equipment that vibrates plaque loose to be flushed away with water. These procedures can take numerous sessions and may result in some minor post-procedural discomfort and bleeding during the cleaning.

But lasers specifically designed for plaque removal can minimize tissue damage and resulting discomfort. Because the particular laser light used reacts only with plaque and diseased tissue, it can remove them without disturbing nearby healthy tissue usually more efficiently than traditional scaling. Dentists who've used the technology frequently report less bleeding and higher patient satisfaction.

But before lasers for gum disease treatment are widely adopted, the procedure must undergo further scrutiny. Reports from dentists notwithstanding, not enough research studies have been performed to date that meet the necessary scientific criteria. But if the evidence so far from the field holds up, it's quite possible lasers will one day become a regular part of dental practice for treating gum disease.

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 “Lasers Versus Traditional Cleanings for Treating Gum Disease.”


By Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
March 17, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
JulianneHoughSharesaVideo-andaSong-AfterWisdomTeethComeOut

Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.

That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!

Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.

Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”

One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.

Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.

Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”  Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.

If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”


By Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
March 13, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Woman With Healthy TeethCavities aren't the only threat to your teeth. Periodontal or gum disease can also lead to tooth loss if it isn't treated promptly. Fortunately, good periodontal care can help you avoid the painful disease. Your Lawrenceville, NJ, periodontists, Dr. John Lu and Dr. Raul Figueroa of Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center and Periodontics, offer treatments that can help improve the health of your gums.

Why is good periodontal health is important?

Your gums support your teeth and help hold them in place. If your gums become diseased, your teeth may become loose or even fall out. The bacterial infection that causes gum disease not only affects gum tissue, but attacks ligaments and bone that anchor your teeth. Periodontal disease may also increase inflammation throughout your body and could increase your risk of heart disease or stroke.

Luckily, it's possible to reduce your risk of periodontal disease by:

  • Brushing and Flossing Daily: Brushing and flossing remove plaque, a bacteria-laden substance that causes tooth decay. If plaque remains on your teeth for as little as 10 days, it may turn into a hard deposit called tartar. Tartar irritates the gums and is a factor in gum disease.
  • Scheduling Regular Dental Cleanings: Visiting your dentist every six months for a checkup and dental cleaning is an excellent way to protect your periodontal health. During your cleaning, both plaque and tartar will be removed.

Do you know the signs and symptoms of gum disease?

If you have gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease, you may notice bad breath, receding gums, bleeding when you brush and floss, or red, swollen gums.

Luckily, gingivitis can often be reversed after a deep dental cleaning in your Lawrenceville, NJ, periodontist's office. The cleaning doesn't just remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your teeth but also eliminates these substances below the gum line.

If you don't treat your gingivitis, you may develop periodontitis, a serious infection of your gums. If you have the infection, you may notice deep pockets or spaces between your gums and teeth. Loose teeth or dentures, pain when chewing, and pus around your teeth are other symptoms of the infection.

If you notice these symptoms, call your Lawrenceville, NJ, periodontist as soon as possible. He may recommend a procedure to close the pockets around your teeth and suggest gum or bone grafts to replace lost gum and bone tissue.

Are you worried that you may have gum disease? Call your Lawrenceville, NJ, periodontists, Dr. Lu and Dr. Figueroa of Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center and Periodontics at (609) 896-0700 to schedule an appointment today!


By Lawrenceville Dental Implant Center And Periodontics, LLC
March 07, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: marijuana   oral-health  
LegalorNotMarijuanaPosesaHealthRisktoYourGums

Proponents of legalized marijuana have won phenomenal gains over the last decade. Despite the federal government's continuing criminalization of the drug, several states including California, Colorado and Massachusetts, have voted to legalize its recreational use.

Most people are aware of the social and political controversies the marijuana legalization movement stirs. But there's another side to this roiling issue: the health effects of marijuana, particularly for your teeth and gums. What may be lost beneath the more exciting headlines about ballot initiatives is the growing evidence that habitual marijuana use may increase the risk and severity of periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that accumulates on teeth. The spreading infection triggers inflammation, a normal bodily response to disease that's ordinarily beneficial. But if the inflammation becomes chronic it weakens the gums' attachment to the teeth. This can create voids or periodontal pockets of infection around the teeth. The disease can eventually damage the underlying bone, which could accelerate tooth loss.

Poor oral hygiene is the biggest factor for an increased risk of gum disease; thinner gum tissue (an inherited condition or related to poor tooth position) is another factor, as well as lifestyle habits like tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption. Add marijuana to the list: there's now some evidence that its use increases the risk for more severe periodontal pockets if the disease occurs.

In a recent study, researchers with the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine reviewed statistics on the care for nearly 2,000 adult patients; a quarter of those in the study were frequent marijuana users. The marijuana users proportionately had deeper periodontal pocket occurrences than the rest of the patients in the study that didn't use the drug.

The study doesn't say that marijuana causes periodontal (gum) disease. But it does suggest that marijuana use might increase its severity. As with other substances and practices in our society, marijuana use comes with a caveat: it may be legal where you live, but it may not necessarily be good for your health.

If you would like more information on the effects of marijuana use on your oral health, 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 “As More States Legalize Marijuana, Link to Gum Disease is a Concern.”




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

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