Gentle Dentistry 173 Terrace Street, Haworth, NJ 07641 (201) 384-1611



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Posts for: April, 2018

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
April 22, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: bone loss  

There’s more to teeth than meets the eye. Hidden beneath the visible crown are the tooth’s roots set within the jawbone, secured and protected by the gums from bacteria and infection. But if the gums shrink back (recede), the roots become exposed and susceptible to disease, especially at the points where multiple roots branch from each other, areas called furcations.

It all begins with periodontal (gum) disease caused by built-up bacterial plaque from insufficient brushing and flossing. The infection triggers inflammation that over time weakens gum tissues. They begin to detach from the teeth, which can eventually lead to gum recession and root exposure.

This also causes bone loss, especially at the furcations. We can detect any loss (known as a furcation invasion) and how far along it may be with x-ray imaging or by manually probing with an instrument called a periodontal probe.

There are three general classes measuring furcation invasions. In the earliest, Class I, we can feel the invasion as a slight groove; in Class II, it increases to two or more millimeters across. In Class III the bone loss extends from one side of the root all the way to the other (a “through and through”).

At this stage a patient is in danger of losing the tooth, so we’ll have to act promptly. This means first removing accumulated dental plaque and calculus (tartar) to stop the infection and allow the gums to heal. With severe damage, we may need to assist healing with bone and gum tissue grafting, in which we place donor grafts to serve as scaffolding for the appropriate tissue to grow upon.

You can help prevent this situation by practicing effective daily hygiene and visiting your dentist for thorough cleanings at least twice a year (or more if recommended). And at the first signs of a gum infection—swollen, reddened or bleeding gums—make an appointment as soon as possible to have it checked. The sooner we can detect and treat gum disease, the less likely a furcation invasion or worse will be in your future.

If you would like more information on gum disease diagnosis and treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
April 12, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: periodontist  

It’s likely you depend on your regular dentist for the lion’s share of your dental care. But in cases of advanced disease or trauma, you may need the services of a dental specialist.

This could be the case with periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection triggered by a thin biofilm on tooth surfaces called dental plaque that isn’t adequately removed through daily oral hygiene practices. While your regular dentist can effectively treat many forms of gum disease, there are times when you should see a periodontist who specializes in the gum, supporting bone and connective tissues.

So, when should you see a periodontist for gum disease treatment? Here are 3 situations that may call for this important dental specialist.

If your dentist refers you. Your dentist may be quite proficient in treating gum disease, mainly by removing the dental plaque and tartar sustaining the infection. But if the infection has advanced deep within the gum tissues especially around the roots and bone, you may need more advanced measures, including surgery, performed by a periodontist.

If you’d like a second opinion. Of course, you don’t need a referral to see a periodontist. You can make an appointment with one for another opinion about your diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. If you choose to see a periodontist, make sure they have access to all your dental and medical records, as well as your past health history.

If you have other health issues. Gum disease often doesn’t occur in a vacuum – it may exist and even influence (or be influenced by) other inflammatory medical conditions. If you have such a condition like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you may opt to see a periodontist first for a more comprehensive evaluation.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for the first signs of disease including red, swollen or bleeding gums (if you smoke, be aware smoking hides these signs of disease). And practice daily brushing and flossing as well as obtaining regular dental cleanings to keep plaque accumulation to minimum. Preventing gum disease and getting treatment as early as possible may help you avoid more invasive treatments later.

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 “When to See a Periodontist.”

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
April 05, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Avoiding cavities doesn't have to be difficult. A good oral hygiene routine not only reduces your risk of tooth decay but also lowers the oral hygienechance you'll develop gum disease. The Bergen County, NJ, dentists at Gentle Dentistry explain how you can improve your oral hygiene habits.

Less is definitely not more

When it comes to cleaning your teeth, a regular routine is particularly important. Failing to brush in the morning or evening can increase your risk of tooth decay. Plaque, the bacterial film that regularly forms on your teeth, can quickly grow out of control if you skip a single morning or evening brushing session. Although you can't see plaque, you may notice that it makes your teeth feel a little rough. Luckily brushing for two minutes in the morning and evening removes the coating from your teeth.

Daily flossing is very important, as plaque also forms between your teeth. If you're only an occasional flosser, you may be more likely to develop painful cavities between teeth. Flossing and brushing also help reduce tartar formation. Tartar is the hard brown or gray deposit that tends to form at the base of teeth. Tartar is very irritating and may cause gum disease if it's not removed during bi-annual cleanings in our Bergen County office.

Your tongue needs a little attention too

Brushing and flossing your teeth removes bacterial-laden plaque, but your efforts will be in vain if bacteria remains on your tongue. In fact, bacteria can move from your tongue to your teeth just minutes after you finish brushing. Brushing both sides of your tongue will help lower the amount of bacteria in your mouth and reduce your tooth decay risk. Do you avoid brushing your tongue because it makes you gag? Tongue scrapers, available in the oral care aisle of drugstores, can make the process more comfortable.

Choosing the right tools is important

Soft is the best choice when it comes to choosing a toothbrush. Medium bristles can damage your enamel and irritate your gums, particularly if you apply too much pressure when you brush. Replace your toothbrush at least every three months or when the bristles are splayed or flattened.

Thanks to the variety of dental floss and flossing tools available, there's never a good reason to skip flossing. String floss usually works best if your teeth are fairly close together, while tape floss makes flossing widely spaced teeth easier. Water flossers, flossing brushes, and other flossing tools make it easy to clean hard-to-reach spots.

Keep your smile healthy with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups. Call the Bergen County, NJ, dentists at Gentle Dentistry at (201) 384-1611 to schedule your appointment.