Charles F. Orth, DDS/PA

Fascinating Facts About Fluoride

Fluoride may not be something you think about often. You may not even be aware of its significance or its presence in your daily life. Did you know that fluoride is something you consume daily? Fluoride itself is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, soil, plants, rocks, air, and is also in your bones and teeth. The ionic compound fluoride is derived from fluorine, which is the 13th most abundant element and is released into the environment naturally in both water and air. Fluoride is created when salts from the element fluorine combine with minerals in soil or rocks.

So why does it matter? How does fluoride help?

One of the primary benefits of fluoride is the prevention of tooth decay. When fluoride and water mix with saliva and are absorbed by dental plaque, the fluoride bonds with any weakened tooth enamel thereby strengthening the enamel and preventing tooth decay. Although fluoride is naturally present in earth’s water supply, the concentrations are generally low and not quite sufficient to provide the oral health benefits needed. Increasing the concentration of fluoride to an optimal level for drinking water has made a substantial impact on oral health. According to the CDC, tooth decay has declined in the United States since fluoridation began in 1945. And he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

So where did fluoridation begin in the United States? Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the first US city to fluoridate its public water supply in 1945. A mere five years later, the schoolchildren of Grand Rapids were found to have significantly fewer cavities than children from surrounding communities. Soon other cities and communities across the US began following in their footsteps. And now more than 200 million people (approximately 75% of the US population) drink water with enough fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.

Of course additional fluoride treatments and sources are available as well. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, mouth rinses and supplements. If you have any questions about fluoride or how it is used to help prevent tooth decay and improve your oral health, the dental hygienists at the office of Dallas periodontist and dental implant specialist, Charles Orth, DDS, would be happy to assist you.

 

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Why are your gums so important?

Do you ever wonder why your gums are so important? And not just to your teeth, but why are your gums so important to your overall health? Gums, or gingiva, are an essential part of your oral and dental health, but having health or unhealthy gums can also play an important role in your overall health and wellbeing.

the benefits of healthy gums

What do gums do for your oral and dental health? For starters, your gums encase your teeth, teeth roots and the bones of your jaw. These soft encasements provide protection against harmful bacteria or debris, protect your tooth roots from exposure, and create support for the overall structure of your teeth and mouth. Your mouth is actually a complex eco-system of bacteria, both helpful and harmful, so the protection that your gums provide for your teeth is absolutely essential…if you want to keep your teeth, that is. So without your gums covering the vulnerable root of your tooth, food debris and bad bacteria could easily find their way into the root and cause instability and ultimately tooth loss.

But in addition to protecting your oral and dental health, your gums are also teeming with tiny blood vessels that can potentially transport harmful bacteria throughout the rest of your body. Since your mouth is the warm and cozy home to over 700 different kinds of bacteria (again, some good and some bad), prioritizing healthy gums and preventing or treating gum disease is a way of investing in your overall health. Untreated gum disease can actually pave the way for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Researchers say that, over time, this can result in damaged heart and brain blood vessels, while other studies have shown the association between gum disease and other serious health problems. Many of these studies cannot prove a particular cause and effect relationship, but the correlative relationship is undeniable.

Healthy gums then provide strong protection for your teeth and your overall health, while unhealthy gums actually pose a serious risk to more than just your teeth. The good news is that healthy gums are always a possibility and prioritizing periodontal health is always a good idea. If you are looking for a periodontist in Dallas who specializes in exceptional care and providing you with the experience and expertise you deserve, call board-certified periodontist and implant specialist, Dr. Charles Orth, today.

Happy April Fools!

Happy April Fools Day! Just curious…but does anyone still do April Fools Day pranks? As a kid, it was always a blast to have a day where pulling pranks was perfectly acceptable and when you never knew if you might just have one pulled on you. Being targeted by an April fools prank usually meant you were loved and someone put a lot of thought into making you laugh. 😂

And since “laughter is the best medicine”…here is a classic, dental-themed April fools joke that you could try on just about anyone…

April Fools Joke with toothpaste in an oreo

Some pranks can get out of hand or lose their humor if pulled on the wrong person, but this one is a classic that never goes out of style. And it’s even funnier if you only replace the Oreo creme on a few of the Oreos instead of the entire pack. Seriously…Try it on your kids. Try it on your partner. There’s still plenty of time left in the day to enjoy a little bit of April 1st humor!

And if you avoid pulling pranks because you don’t enjoy smiling because you are self-conscious about your teeth, gums or oral health, then call our office today! Our periodontal and dental implant practice in Dallas, TX, specializes in exceptional care and in giving you the smile and oral health you deserve.

Spring Cleaning…For Your Teeth!

Spring is back in Dallas, and it is beautiful. The weather has been pleasant. The rain is helping bring some life back to our struggling landscape (thank you, winter-pocalypse 2021). And hopefully everyone enjoyed a relaxing spring break last week. We certainly did! As our patients know, Dr. Orth’s periodontal & dental implant office in Dallas was closed for spring break so that our staff could enjoy some much-needed time off.

But now we are back and ready to help our patients and community with “spring cleaning”…for your teeth!

Just like the difference between daily “picking up” and the regular deep cleanings for your house, your mouth needs much the same care. Your daily routine should, of course, include brushing, flossing and mouthwash, and then regular cleanings by a dental professional. However, sometimes your mouth needs a good deep cleaning when a routine dental cleaning simply won’t do. Those “deep cleanings” are your periodontal cleanings, otherwise known as periodontal “scaling & root planing”. While it’s probably typical to assume that periodontal cleanings and dental cleanings are the same, the difference between the two is important to understand, especially as it relates to prevention and treatment of periodontitis.

So what does scaling and root planing include? Why is scaling and root planing necessary? How are dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings different?

Let’s start with that last question first, shall we? How are dental and periodontal cleanings different?

The essential difference between dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings has to do with the depth of the cleaning. Regular cleanings are intended to remove the buildup of bacteria and tartar that accumulates in between the teeth and gums. Regardless of how excellent your daily dental hygiene routines might be, this build-up naturally occurs and needs to be removed by a dental professional. With proper cleanings, brushing, and flossing, bacteria is kept to a minimum to keep the gums healthy. Sometimes, however, a larger amount of bacteria and tartar build up occurs and then fills “pockets” in your gums. Scaling and root planing is then necessary because this process gets down deep to the gum and root level.

What does scaling and root planing include?

While the actual process can be quite extensive and delicate, scaling is the removal of the plaque and tartar from the tooth’s surface and also the gum pockets, while root planing is the removal of these from the surface of the root. For more technical information about the process Dr. Orth uses in his periodontal and dental implant practice in Dallas, check out our page on Scaling & Root Planing, complete with helpful animations.

Why is scaling and root planing necessary?

Scaling and root planing is necessary because, if left untreated, the build up of plaque and tartar and the presence of bacteria in these gum pockets and at the root can lead to other health complications and eventually tooth loss.

So what are the benefits of scaling and root planing?

If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.

Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.

Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, and should reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.

So if you’re thinking about some deep cleaning this spring, remember that your mouth needs that same kind of care and love. Call Dr. Orth’s office today to schedule your next cleaning and give yourself the gift of a lifetime of oral health.

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What is the difference between dentures and dental implants?

When people think about tooth loss replacement, many people think of dentures. Oftentimes we have in mind a jovial grandpa who spits his dentures out during family reunions just to get a dramatic reaction out of his grandkids. In fact, you may have actually experienced this exact scenario. 🙂 And whether you found it hysterical or disgusting, this type of experience influences our perspective on the available options for replacing lost or severely damaged teeth.

So what are the available options for tooth loss?

Depending on your particular situation, multiple options are available for tooth loss replacement. You can read about some of the different options available here. If you are seriously considering your options for tooth loss replacement, you should schedule a consultation with Charles Orth, DDS, at his periodontal & dental implant practice in Dallas. Dr. Orth specializes in excellent care and will provide you with a thorough evaluation and consultation in order to help you achieve your cosmetic AND oral health goals.

But to give a brief breakdown of two of the most common tooth loss replacement options, keep reading.

Dentures and dental implants are perhaps the most common options for people who have lost single or multiple teeth. But what is the difference between dentures and dental implants? Are dental implants better than dentures? Are dentures more affordable than dental implants? Are dental implants more comfortable than dentures? You may have all kinds of questions about dentures and dental implants. And we believe you should have your questions answered because we want all our patients to be empowered to make informed decisions about their dental and oral health.

So let’s start with the basics:

WHAT ARE DENTURES?

Dentures are essentially prosthetics that you wear in your mouth, meaning that a denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. Standard dentures, whether full or partial, are unsecured prostheses with inherent limitations. Most often, dentures are painful, inconvenient and unstable.

 

 

Implant-supported dentures bridge the gap between dentures and dental implants. The Implant Supported Overdenture treatment concept replaces your missing teeth with a full dental bridge supported by dental implants. Fewer implants are needed and overall treatment time and cost is reduced. An Implant Supported Overdenture solution also ensures greater stability in the bone, reducing the need for bone graft surgery to increase bone volume.

WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?

Dental implants essentially replace the entirety of your tooth, starting at the bone and finishing with a natural-looking crown. A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant-supported replacement teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.

SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DENTAL IMPLANTS AND DENTURES?

Essentially the primary difference to keep in mind is that dental implants get to the root of the problem (pun intended!) and provides a permanent, comfortable solution, while implant supported overdentures provide an alternative to standard dentures with a unique set of advantages. For more information about the process of dental implants and to see the dramatic results that Dr. Orth can provide, click here.

Ultimately though, every person is entirely unique in their oral health needs and goals. If you are currently using dentures and would like to consider alternative tooth replacement options or would like to know more about the tooth replacement options provided at our practice in Dallas, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with Dr. Orth. Dr. Orth’s expertise and experience allows him to help patients make informed decisions and achieve optimal results.

Why are my teeth sensitive in winter?

Well, Dallas, it looks like we experienced an entire winter in one week. Welcome to Texas, right? But all jokes aside, so many have been so seriously impacted by this winter storm. Our hearts go out to everyone who is still recovering, and we wish the best for our patients and community here in North Texas.

Of course there are many pressing concerns that are taking priority in our lives right now – electricity, running water, restocking pantries, and so on. But we want to take a minute and just address something that may have occurred during this past week of extreme temperatures that might have escaped your notice in the midst of all the chaos but is important to be aware of: teeth sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity is something that can be triggered by a variety of environmental factors or health conditions. One common environmental factor is breathing in cold air…which we have had in abundance over the past week here in Dallas. If your teeth have felt particularly sensitive over the past few weeks or throughout the winter months, it is important to share that information with your dental and oral healthcare provider in order to properly diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity.

WHAT ARE SOME COMMON CAUSES OF TOOTH SENSITIVITY?

GUM RECESSION – Gum recession can leave your root surface and dentin exposed (more about dentin below), which can cause sensitivity or pain in your mouth. The pain may not be persistent though. Instead the sensitivity or discomfort may be triggered by particular activities or conditions such as cold weather or drinking hot beverages.

TOOTH DECAY AND WORN ENAMEL – Tooth decay, worn or leaky fillings, worn enamel or broken teeth can expose your tooth’s dentin. What is dentin? The crown of your teeth (the visible part) has three layers: enamel, cementum, and dentin. Dentin is less dense than the protective coverings of cementum and enamel. The dentin contains microscopic canals called dentin tubules. When enamel or cementum wears away or becomes damaged, the dentin becomes exposed. Additionally, when your gums recede and expose the dentin, the tubules allow fluid to flow in them and are affected by heat and cold, which causes the nerves in the tooth to have sensitivity and pain.

Woman with tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by extreme temperatures and often indicates more serious conditions.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I EXPERIENCE TOOTH SENSITIVITY?

GET EXPERT HELP – Dr. Orth and his team of oral health professionals should evaluate your symptoms and properly diagnose the root cause of your tooth sensitivity. Because tooth sensitivity may be indicative of more serious oral health concerns, including periodontal disease and tooth decay, you should be evaluated as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage and persistent pain.

PRACTICE PROPER PREVENTION – Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes or brushing too aggressively. Choose soft-bristle toothbrushes and toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If you have questions about the best toothbrush, proper brushing techniques or toothpaste for sensitive teeth, be sure to ask your hygienist or Dr. Orth at your next appointment. Additionally, try avoiding acidic foods and drinks, which can also wear down the enamel on your teeth. If you choose to eat and drink acidic substances, use a straw in order to limit contact with your teeth and drink water right after in order to balance the acid levels in your mouth.

Remember: even if you do not have sensitive teeth, practicing proper prevention and oral health care will help prevent tooth sensitivity over time. Dallas periodontist, Charles Orth, DDS, specializes in providing excellent care for those whose underlying causes of sensitivity need professional or surgical intervention, but we prefer to educate and empower our patients on how to preserve their natural teeth in order to achieve a lifetime of oral health.

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Healthy Foods for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Right now we are all concerned about our own health and the health of our families. While we are all following recommended guidelines about hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, etc, in order to protect ourselves and our community from the current health crisis, we should also be thinking about how we can promote and protect the health of our families and community beyond the present pandemic…so I imagine that everyone is asking the question (or at least should be asking the question): what ELSE can I do to protect and promote my health?

So glad you asked!

We all know the old adage: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But is that really true? Of course not. Apples do not prevent sickness in and of themselves. But I think we all understand that apples are not the point of the saying. The whole point is that what we put into our body affects how healthy our body is, right? Yes!

Ok. So, what does that have to do with periodontics? Well, for starters, one of the primary ways that bacteria and viruses enter your body IS THROUGH YOUR MOUTH. Stop and think about that for a minute. If washing your hands is a primary way of preventing bacteria and viruses from entering your body, then having a clean and healthy mouth is much the same. It should almost go without saying that if the primary entry points (i.e. nose, mouth, eyes, skin) for pathogens are protected, clean and healthy, then you reduce the risk of those pathogens surviving and thriving in your body.

Let’s talk then about an easy way to promote healthy teeth and gums as one of the first lines of defense against the pathogens that are fighting to take up residence in our bodies. An easy way to promote and protect healthy teeth and gums – thereby promoting holistic health – is to EAT THE RIGHT FOODS.

What foods promote healthy teeth and gums?

Surprisingly, it’s nothing crazy. You don’t have to make homemade celery juice with turmeric and kale (thought that would be really healthy for your digestion!) or source some exotic herb from a specialty grocery store in Highland Park. Some of the healthiest foods and drinks for your teeth and gums are easy to find, easy to eat and actually taste good. So what are they?

CHEESE

Cheese is rich in calcium, but it also contains a protein that actually stabilizes and repairs the enamel of your teeth. Cool, huh? But just be careful not to choose over-processed cheese (Velveeta and Cheez Whiz do NOT count as cheese). Cheeses such as brie, cheddar, Swiss, Gouda and other similar ones are your best bets.

 

healthy cheese for health gums and teeth

LEAFY GREENS

It’d be hard to overstate the health benefits of leafy greens in your diet. Leafy greens are rich in fiber, which means that eating spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, and other similar veggies, promotes the production of saliva that cleans and rinses your teeth while also neutralizing acid (which can damage your teeth).

Leafy greens promote healthy teeth and gums

GREEN TEA

Really? Yes, really. Green tea is a great option for promoting and protecting the health of your teeth and gums. Green tea contains flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory benefits. Since gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, regularly drinking green tea (without any additives) can help prevent and reduce gum inflammation which helps reduce the risk of gum disease. And in case you weren’t sure, the green tea beverages at Starbucks do NOT count as green tea.

green tea for healthy gums

Of course, if you’re really serious about promoting and protecting the health of your teeth and gums as a part of holistic, healthy living, then we recommend scheduling an appointment at our office. Routine, professional periodontal care is absolutely essential to optimal health. Don’t neglect your health or the health of your loved ones!

Health is too valuable to take for granted.

Call us today to schedule your next appointment.

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Healthy Habits for a Healthier New Year!

So we are now just a few days into a new year. How are you doing? Did you make new year’s resolutions this year? How are they going? Do people even make new years resolutions anymore? I suppose this year, we probably all just had a simple resolution of having a better year than last year. 🙂

Happy New Year from Dr. Orth

And guess what…you CAN have a better year than last year. Of course, as a periodontal office, we can’t fix everything for you, but we can give some advice that will actually make a difference in your overall health and well-being.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that SMALL CHANGES OVER TIME MAKE A BIG IMPACT.

We know people say things like this all the time, but its true. This is how babies grow into adults, right? Tiny cell upon tiny cell until 8 lbs of newborn cuteness becomes full grown. This is how canyons are formed. This is how recruits become Marines. This is how mountains are climbed. This is how a high school kid eventually becomes a trusted periodontist…every day, making the small choices, the small changes, because you know it’s taking you somewhere better.

But I know what the hesitation is: you think to yourself “Yeah, right. They say ‘small changes’ but they’re really way more invasive, way more inconvenient, way more expensive, and way more difficult than anyone ever lets on.” Sometimes that is true, we agree. Getting a gym membership with a personal trainer and committing to 6 months of the KETO diet with a paid mean-planning service is not what we have in mind though. We really are talking about small changes. Small habits. Small amounts of time. Small commitments.

And guess what? These changes can save you money, save you time and save your health in the long run! Really and truly.

So let’s talk about what these changes are. What can you do to start building healthy habits for your dental and oral health this year? It’s really easier than you might think and really only takes about 5 extra minutes every day. So if you have 5 extra minutes a day and you’re interested in saving money, time and improving your oral health, READ ON…


3 SMALL, SIMPLE HABITS TO IMPROVE YOUR ORAL HEALTH

DRINK MORE WATER.

Huh? Really? Yes, really. Did you know that drinking water is about so much more than staying hydrated? Technically you can stay hydrated with fluids other than just water, but there are additional benefits to drinking more water as opposed to other sources of healthy hydration (like natural juices and sports drinks). Water keeps your mouth moist to lower harmful bacteria that can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Drinking water also helps keep your mouth clean in between your oral cleaning routines like brushing and flossing. 

So how do you add more water to your daily intake? Keep a glass next to your kitchen sink and plan to drink a full glass every time you wash your dishes. Fill a thermos and keep it in your car or at your office desk. Drink a full glass of water with every meal.

FLOSS DAILY.

Did you know that when you brush your teeth, you are only cleaning about 60% of the surface of your teeth? So imagine with me for a second…how absurd is it to properly clean just over half of your teeth? What if you only brushed your top teeth and completely ignored your bottom teeth? What if you only vacuumed half your rug or mopped half your kitchen floor? Ha! What a ridiculous thought. Can you imagine the sticky, filthy mess that would eventually accumulate? But that’s exactly what we do when we choose not to floss. We’re neglecting 40% of the surface of our teeth! And we are allowing filthy, sticky residue to build up and begin to damage our teeth and gums.

And yes, I get it. Flossing seems like a hassle to some. So if you’re still not convinced and flossing seems like a chore that’s just not worth it…we recommend that you come visit our hygienists because we would love to show you how quickly and easily you can floss all your teeth in order to ensure that you are cleaning 100% of the surface of your teeth. Also, just take a look at this basic illustration below that shows how to floss. If you spend 60 seconds in the morning and 60 seconds in the evening flossing your teeth (though it doesn’t even need to take that long), you will have made a small change with a BIG impact!

Illustration of How to Floss Properly

Flossing your teeth is really this simple! Dr. Orth recommends flossing at least twice daily for improved oral health.

ADD MOUTHWASH TO YOUR ROUTINE.

So here’s the thing…mouthwash does more than just give you fresh breath. Chewing gum can do that. Mouthwash actually aids in your cleansing routine by stopping odor-causing bacteria. So all you have to do is take a quick swig, swish and spit. It’s as easy as that! Goodbye, bacteria. Hello, healthy mouth!


So do you know how long these things will take if you add them to your daily routine? Go ahead. Guess. I mean, we pretty much already gave you the total time commitment we’re talking about here…probably 3 minutes. THAT’S IT.

3 MINUTES!!

Three minutes a day can make a substantial impact on your oral health, your wallet and your health!

“Well, wait a minute…”, you say. “I get how this doesn’t take much time and how it impacts my oral health. So I guess I’m on board with those things. But how can these simple oral health habits make an impact on my budget?”

Just consider the cost of tooth replacement surgery. Or a root canal. Or the time and financial investment of regular teeth whitening procedures, gum surgery, or any other oral procedure that becomes necessary due to neglecting basic oral healthcare routines. Of course, there are many different factors that affect your oral health, such as hereditary traits, smoking or tobacco use, eating habits, and so on. So we are not saying that flossing, drinking more water and using mouthwash will fix THOSE issues, but we are saying that by practicing proper oral hygiene and good habits on a daily basis, you are REDUCING YOUR RISK of serious complications in the future. And complications mean costlier procedures that possibly could have been avoided through a few simple but strategic changes.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

If you are ready to start this year off on the right foot with small, healthy habits that make an impact, then get started today! Don’t wait. And you should call Dr. Orth’s office at 972-991-9891 to schedule your first periodontal cleaning and visit of 2021. If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it is that we should never take our health for granted. Take your health seriously and take the time to protect your oral and dental health with the exceptional periodontal and dental implant care provided by Dallas periodontist, Dr. Charles Orth, and his team. We’ll see you soon!

And happy new year!

How do I care for my dental implants?

“How do I care for my dental implants?”

“Will my dental implants be permanent?”

“What do I do if there is a complication or problem with my dental implants?”

These are some common questions asked because just like anything, our patients want to know about the long-term implications of tooth loss replacement through dental implants.

We understand that any type of dental care can cause anxiety, especially dental surgery for tooth loss. And of course, there are many negative associations with dentures so our patients regularly want to know that their dental implants will be permanent, natural in appearance and easy to care for. Your mouth and smile is such an important part of your daily life and overall health and wellbeing, which is why our team at the office of Dallas periodontist, Charles Orth, DDS, specializes in exceptional care. We want our patients to know that we truly understand their concerns and take great care to offer answers to any and every question you may have about your dental implants or periodontal care.

dental implants

If you are looking for tooth loss replacement with dental implants, call the office of Dallas periodontist, Charles F. Orth, DDS.

So if you have questions, please refer to the information about dental implants included throughout our website. Here are some quick links for your reference with helpful videos and illustrations to show different elements of the implant process:

Overview of Dental Implants
Overview of Implant Placement
Implant Supported Denture
After Implant Placement

We also recommend checking out the American Academy of Periodontology and their patient resources section on dental implants HERE.

And of course, if you have any questions that you can’t find an answer to on our website, please feel free to call our office. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer your questions and schedule you for a consultation with Dr. Orth.

#thegumdoc #stayhealthyandhappy #dallasperiodontist

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Do I need to see a periodontist?

In short, the answer is yes. Even if you regularly see a general dentist or hygienist and practice good oral hygiene, you may still need to visit a periodontist. While research is continually advancing in the areas of periodontal health, studies consistently indicate a relationship between your periodontal and oral health with your overall health and wellbeing. 

Many people may not understand the difference between a general dentist and a periodontist, so let’s talk about that for a minute. What is the difference between a general dentist and a periodontist?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, a periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontics is recognized as one specialized area of dentistry, so to become a periodontist or any other dental specialist, a dentist must obtain additional training and education beyond dental school.

Meaning that all periodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are periodontists. And this is why your general dentist or a hygienist may recommend a consultation with a periodontist if they find signs of periodontal disease through the course of a checkup or other dental care appointment. However, if you have neglected your regular dental visits and cleanings in recent months or years, then you should pay attention to your oral health to see if you are experiencing any signs of gum disease. If you notice any of the common signs of periodontitis, you can decide to see a periodontist even without a referral.

So what are the signs of gum disease? And when do you know that you should visit a periodontist? If you experience any of the following symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dallas periodontist, Dr. Charles Orth, without delay:

  • Bleeding while brushing or eating normal foods.

    Why is this a symptom you should be concerned about? Because unexplained bleeding while performing regular cleaning or consuming food is actually the most common sign of a periodontal infection.

Signs that you should visit a periodontist

  • Bad breath.

    Why should I be concerned about bad breath? Because ongoing halitosis (bad breath), which continues despite rigorous oral cleaning, can point to periodontitis, gingivitis or the beginnings of a gum infection. Essentially its a sign that bacteria is living in your mouth, which is the cause of inflammation, gum disease and eventually tooth loss, if not treated properly.

  • Loose teeth and gum recession.

    If you notice that your teeth seem to appear elongated or that your gums are receding at all, then you should schedule an appointment with a periodontist. Longer-looking and loose-feeling teeth can indicate recession of the gums and/or bone loss as a result of periodontal disease.

  • Related health concerns.

    Our whole body is connected and health concerns in one area indicate a reason to evaluate other important areas of our health, especially when we’re talking about infections and inflammation. Did you know: patients with heart disease, diabetes, osteopenia or osteoporosis are often diagnosed with correlating periodontal infections. It is important to understand that the bacterial infection can spread through the blood stream, affecting other areas of the body. So if you are suffering from other health concerns, such as these mentioned, you should be sure to include periodontal visits and maintenance as a part of your ongoing healthcare regimen. For more information about the Mouth-Body connection and the relationship between periodontal health and other concerns, read here.

So do you need to see a periodontist? If you would like to enjoy a lifetime of oral health, then yes. Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems and deserves excellence in care. Your body and your smile will thank you!

 

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