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Posts for: February, 2016

By Modern Touch Dentistry
February 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   gum disease  
IsThereaLinkBetweenGumDiseaseandCardiovascularHealth

Is there a link between periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular disease? Medical researchers are endeavoring to answer this intriguing question, but early findings seem to say yes. If it bears true, the findings could advance treatment for both diseases.

There is one thing that can be said for certain: inflammation is a factor in both diseases’ progression. Gum disease begins as an infection caused by bacteria growing in plaque, which is made up of bacteria and a thin film of food remnant that adheres to tooth surfaces. The body responds to this infection through tissue inflammation, an attempt to prevent the infection from spreading. Likewise, inflammation appears to be a similar response to changes in blood vessels afflicted by cardiovascular disease.

While inflammation is part of the body’s mechanism to heal traumatized tissue, if it becomes chronic it can actually have a damaging effect on the tissues intended to benefit. For patients with gum disease, chronic inflammation causes connective tissues to detach from teeth, leading eventually to tooth and bone loss. Similarly, inflammation damages the linings of blood vessels in cardiovascular disease patients.

Researchers want to know what role bacteria may also play in the progression of cardiovascular disease. Initial studies seem to indicate that proactively treating the gum disease by removing all plaque from oral surfaces in patients with both conditions does appear to improve the health of diseased blood vessel linings. Whether this could ultimately reduce the occurrence of heart attack or stroke still needs to be ascertained.

As we learn more about the possible connections between these two diseases, there’s hope it will lead to new advancements that could improve health outcomes for both. It may prove to be the case, then, that maintaining a healthy mouth promotes a healthy heart, and vice-versa.

If you would like more information on the connection between gum disease and heart 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 “Periodontal Inflammation and Heart Disease.”


By Modern Touch Dentistry
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
ChrissyTeigensTeeth-GrindingTroubles

It might seem that supermodels have a fairly easy life — except for the fact that they are expected to look perfect whenever they’re in front of a camera. Sometimes that’s easy — but other times, it can be pretty difficult. Just ask Chrissy Teigen: Recently, she was in Bangkok, Thailand, filming a restaurant scene for the TV travel series The Getaway, when some temporary restorations (bonding) on her teeth ended up in her food.

As she recounted in an interview, “I was… like, ‘Oh my god, is my tooth going to fall out on camera?’ This is going to be horrible.” Yet despite the mishap, Teigen managed to finish the scene — and to keep looking flawless. What caused her dental dilemma? “I had chipped my front tooth so I had temporaries in,” she explained. “I’m a grinder. I grind like crazy at night time. I had temporary teeth in that I actually ground off on the flight to Thailand.”

Like stress, teeth grinding is a problem that can affect anyone, supermodel or not. In fact, the two conditions are often related. Sometimes, the habit of bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) occurs during the day, when you’re trying to cope with a stressful situation. Other times, it can occur at night — even while you’re asleep, so you retain no memory of it in the morning. Either way, it’s a behavior that can seriously damage your teeth.

When teeth are constantly subjected to the extreme forces produced by clenching and grinding, their hard outer covering (enamel) can quickly start to wear away. In time, teeth can become chipped, worn down — even loose! Any dental work on those teeth, such as fillings, bonded areas and crowns, may also be damaged, start to crumble or fall out. Your teeth may become extremely sensitive to hot and cold because of the lack of sufficient enamel. Bruxism can also result in headaches and jaw pain, due in part to the stress placed on muscles of the jaw and face.

You may not be aware of your own teeth-grinding behavior — but if you notice these symptoms, you might have a grinding problem. Likewise, after your routine dental exam, we may alert you to the possibility that you’re a “bruxer.” So what can you do about teeth clenching and grinding?

We can suggest a number of treatments, ranging from lifestyle changes to dental appliances or procedures. Becoming aware of the behavior is a good first step; in some cases, that may be all that’s needed to start controlling the habit. Finding healthy ways to relieve stress — meditation, relaxation, a warm bath and a soothing environment — may also help. If nighttime grinding keeps occurring, an “occlusal guard” (nightguard) may be recommended. This comfortable device is worn in the mouth at night, to protect teeth from damage. If a minor bite problem exists, it can sometimes be remedied with a simple procedure; in more complex situations, orthodontic work might be recommended.

Teeth grinding at night can damage your smile — but you don’t have to take it lying down! If you have questions about bruxism, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”


By Modern Touch Dentistry
February 03, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Find out more about how implants replace missing teeth for good.

If you are dealing with tooth loss, the idea of getting dental implants from your Appleton, WI dentist, Dr. Jolanta Pajek, probably soundsDental Implants very appealing. After all, this is the only long-term solution for replacing one or more missing teeth. If you are looking to get implants find out more about them and how they actually work.

If you need to replace a missing tooth, your Appleton dentist may recommend getting dental implants because they are designed to look, feel, and work just like real teeth. In fact, you treat them exactly as you would normal teeth, by brushing and flossing them daily and getting regular dental checkups.

Once we examine your teeth and determine that you are right for dental implants we will start to create your treatment plan:

Step 1: We will place the implant (a small titanium post) into the jawbone. This surgery is performed right here in our office under local anesthesia so you don’t feel any discomfort.

Step 2: Once the surgery is complete we will give your mouth a couple months to heal. During this time, osseointegration will happen. This is when the implant will start to fuse together with the jawbone. Over time, they will meld together to become one strong, long-term foundation from which to hold your dental crown, bridge, or full dentures. This healing process is different for everyone and can take several weeks to a couple months to fully integrate.

Step 3: Once the implant has completely melded with the jawbone an abutment is placed on top of the implant. The abutment is designed to connect the implant (which lies under the gums) with the dental crown (which sits on top of the gums and is designed to look and function like a natural tooth). Sometimes a dental implant will already have an abutment attached to it while other implants will require the abutment to be placed separately.

Step 4: Then a custom-made dental crown is cemented over the abutment to replace your missing tooth. If you need to replace more than one tooth multiple implants can be placed into the jawbone to support a dental bridge or dentures.

Think you could be an ideal candidate for implants? The next step is to schedule a consultation with our Appleton, WI cosmetic dentist at Modern Touch Dentistry.