25Sep

Do you experience dry mouth? Aside from being annoying and uncomfortable, chronic dry mouth can also impact your oral health.

If you experience dry mouth, one of the first things you should do is consult your Santa Monica family dentist. Having sufficient saliva in your mouth is essential because it acts as a natural cleansing rinse because it contains compounds that kill bacteria in the mouth. Saliva is beneficial because it washes away these bacteria as well as food and other debris on which the bacteria feed.

  • Medications –Record numbers of people now take prescription medications regularly for conditions like hypertension, depression, anxiety, allergies, pain and more. A common side effect of these medications is dry mouth.
  • Medical Conditions – Dry mouth can also be related to certain medical conditions including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, and hypertension.
  • Dehydration – Another common cause of dry mouth is, not surprisingly, dehydration. You might suffer from dehydration if you have the flu, a high fever, or if you exercise and sweat profusely.

How We Treat Dry Mouth

How your dentist treats dry mouth depends on the cause. Obviously, if your dry mouth is due to dehydration, drinking plenty of water rehydrates the body quickly, including your mouth. Since many cases of dry mouth are related to prescription medications, your doctor might adjust the dose of the medication you're taking. They may also prescribe a medicine that encourages saliva production.

A diligent routine of proper oral hygiene is essential to help remove bacteria that builds up as a result of dry mouth and results in decay. These bacteria are also a breeding ground for infection and periodontal disease.

Please Call the Santa Monica Family Dentist

Dry mouth should be addressed sooner rather than later, so please call our office to arrange an exam and cleaning appointment. We will provide you with the tools you need to keep your smile healthy and free of disease.

 

15Sep

If you need periodontal treatment but prefer to avoid surgery, there are several effective, non-invasive options to consider. Carol E. Follette DDS, a Santa Monica dentist with wide-ranging expertise including laser periodontics, offers helpful insight into these solutions.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (aka gum disease), is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The disease begins as a bacterial infection caused by poor tooth and gum care (specifically, a lack of regular brushing and flossing), and gradually spreads to the gum and bone tissue surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss.

Non-invasive Periodontal Procedures

Periodontal Laser Treatment

Another non-invasive option for consideration is periodontal laser treatment. Over the last decade-plus, lasers have become prevalent in a variety of non-invasive, outpatient procedures. Contrary to what some people might think, there is nothing harmful about using a laser, and there is no pain involved with periodontal laser treatment. On the contrary, the treatment is comfortable and gentle, so much so that recovery time is minimal. Laser periodontal treatment not only rids the gums, teeth, and bone of harmful bacteria, it facilitates gum tissue regeneration.

Scaling and Root Planing

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) suggests that scaling and root planing is a very effective periodontal solution. In fact, no further active treatment is required after the first undertaking, although periodic therapy is recommended in order to maintain gum health. Scaling and root planing represents a meticulous cleaning of a patient’s root surfaces, with a three-fold objective: to smooth the tooth root, remove plaque and tartar from deep in-gum pockets caused by decay, and rid the gums of harmful bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing can be supported post-treatment via therapies including antibiotics and antimicrobial delivery.

Tray Delivery

Similar to fluoride trays prescribed by dental professionals to help prevent tooth decay, a periodontal tray delivery system is based on a custom tray that’s created using an impression of a patient’s mouth. A dentist prescribed medications to treat the patient’s periodontal problem (i.e. gum disease), and this medication is delivered when the patient inserts the tray into his mouth while at home.

Perioscopy and Localized Medication

Perioscopy is a cutting-edge technique that combines a miniature dental endoscope (a camera used to look inside the body) with the latest lighting, video, and magnification technology. With perioscopy, a dentist can examine the area under a patient’s gum line and locate bacteria deposits. Once pinpointed, localized medication can be applied to the affected area in an effort to eliminate the bacteria and assist in reinvigorating the gums. Perioscopy’s usage and effectiveness is intertwined with the extent of a patient’s periodontal disease. In the majority of cases, perioscopy is most helpful after a scaling and root planing procedure has already been conducted.

Visit an Experienced Santa Monica Periodontist

Our dental office serving Santa Monica is well qualified to provide a range of oral care services, from cosmetic dentistry and veneers to teeth whitening and non-invasive periodontal procedures. Contact us today and let’s discuss a customized approach to your dental needs.

 

11Sep

Laser gum contouring is becoming more popular among patients who have an uneven gum line or gummy smile. The procedure allows dentists to reshape the gum line to produce a more pleasing aesthetic.

Today, the Santa Monica cosmetic dentist performs an increasing number of laser gum contouring treatments. The use of laser technology has made it easier to contour gum tissue with reduced risks and fewer side effects. In this blog, we’ll explain how laser gum contouring can be performed to improve the appearance of the smile.

What does the procedure involve?

Laser gum contouring involves the removal of a small amount of soft gum tissue to produce a uniform gum line or minimize the amount of gum tissue that shows when a patient smiles. To start the procedure, we’ll administer a local anesthetic to numb the gum tissue and prevent any discomfort during the treatment process.

Once you’re completely numb, the Santa Monica cosmetic dentist we’ll use a dental laser to sculpt the gum line and create an attractive contour; this may involve the removal of gum tissue across the entire upper gum line or the removal of excess gum tissue from specific teeth. The entire process takes less than an hour. Once the gums have been reshaped to the desired aesthetic, the patient can return home.

How long does it take to recover?

The laser gum contouring procedure results in minimal side effects. Still, you may experience minor discomfort during the healing period. To reduce any pain, avoid spicy foods, foods, and drinks that are heated or cooled to extreme temperatures, and foods that contain small seeds. An over-the-counter pain reliever can be used to treat any discomfort.

You should continue to brush and floss their teeth in the days after treatment. However, during the first few days after treatment, it is important to be as gentle as possible.

Laser dentistry offers many benefits, including a minimal recovery time and few side effects. Other benefits are:

  • Less pain during and after treatment
  • A reduced degree of bleeding and swelling
  • Less chance of infection
  • Improved and even gum line
  • The gum line is more proportionate to the teeth
  • The ideal amount of gum tissue shows when you smile, laugh, or speak

The laser gum contouring procedure is commonly performed in combination with other dental procedures. Porcelain veneers may be applied to the front surface of the teeth to make them appear straighter, lengthen short teeth, or mask stains. Teeth whitening may be performed to make the teeth whiter. By choosing additional treatments, patients can achieve a total smile makeover.

If you’re thinking about a laser gum contouring procedure, contact our cosmetic dentist office to arrange a convenient consultation.