Since periodontal disease is created by plaque and tartar buildup on your gums, good dental hygiene is a must in preventing gum disease. And along with good daily oral hygiene habits, regular visits to your dentist for checkups and professional cleanings involving scaling and root planing that will remove plaque or tartar buildup, will help keep your gums healthy and free of periodontal disease and infections.
Gum therapy is a process dentists use to treat periodontal disease, which can cause bleeding gums and bad breath. And if that doesn’t sound so bad, think of this: If left untreated, periodontal disease can also cause significant loss of the spongy bone that holds your teeth in place, ultimately leading to lost teeth. In fact, periodontal disease unchecked by gum therapy is the leading cause of tooth loss.
Even with good daily oral hygiene, some plaque still remains in your mouth and over time it can harden and becomes tartar (also known as calculus) which, if left in your mouth, causes periodontal disease. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist with a process called ‘scaling’ where either ultrasound vibrations or a manual tool called a scaler are used to remove tartar from the portion of your tooth that is below the gum line. Since plaque and calculus love to grab onto rough surfaces of the tooth, once the built-up tartar has been removed from your tooth, the rough or irregular surfaces are smoothed away with a process called ‘root planing.’ This process is used to prevent periodontal disease, reverse any early signs of gum disease and to prevent any existing periodontal disease from spreading.
Oral Cancer Detection
ViziLite Plus is a simple, painless and non-invasive technology that improves Dr. Leslie’s ability to visualize, mark, evaluate and monitor suspicious areas at their earliest stages, before they can progress to something far more serious, and potentially life-threatening. ViziLite Plus helps the Dr. Leslie see what she can’t see with the unaided eye.
As with most serious diseases, early detection is the key to successful outcomes. Unfortunately, the problem with oral cancer is that approximately 70% of the time it is not visible to the dental professional until it has reached an advanced stage.
Oral cancer is one of the most curable diseases when it’s caught early. That’s why the ViziLite Plus exam has been developed. ViziLite Plus uses technology that has proven successful in identifying soft tissue abnormalities in other areas of the body. A ViziLite Plus exam is particularly important if you are at increased risk for developing oral cancer.
An annual ViziLite Plus exam, in combination with a regular visual examination, provides a comprehensive oral screening procedure for patients at increased risk for oral cancer. The ViziLite Plus exam is painless and fast, and could help save your life. ViziLite Plus is performed immediately following a regular visual examination.
How ViziLite Plus Works
First, you will be instructed to rinse with the ViziLite solution. Next, the overhead lighting will be dimmed. Then, your dental professional will examine your mouth using a special light.
As ViziLite Plus passes over oral tissue that has been treated with the rinse solution, normal healthy tissue will absorb the light and appear dark, and abnormal tissue will appear white. The purpose of using ViziLite Plus is to identify tissue changes at their earliest stage; once abnormal tissue has been identified it is up to your dental professional to determine what the appropriate next steps are.
Who should have a ViziLite Plus exam?
The American Cancer Society recommends that patients have a complete soft tissue examination (standard visual exam) at least once a year.
ViziLite Plus is used as part of an annual oral screening for patients at increased risk for oral cancer. Your dental professional may recommend a ViziLite Plus examination more frequently depending on your individual risk factors.
Oral Cancer Risk by Patient Profile:
- Patients age 40 and older with no risk factors OR patients age 18-39 with lifestyle risk factors
- Patients age 40 and older with lifestyle risk factors or patients with a history of oral cancer
- Lifestyle risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use (any type, any age, within 10 years)
- Alcohol consumption of at least 1 drink per day (3 ounces of hard liquor, 4 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer)
Other risk factors:
- Immune deficiencies such as HIV & AIDS
- Human Papilloma Virus, particularly HPV 16/18
Invisalign and Clear Correct
Invisalign® is a new system of straightening teeth without the use of conventional braces. A series of clear plastic aligners are utilized to create tooth movement. Moving teeth with removable aligners is not new. However, the computer program, which can generate a series of aligners with small changes is the new part. Invisalign is recommended for orthodontic situations with mild to moderate spacing or crowding. They are virtually undetectable, easy to use and comfortable to wear.
Looking for an alternative to metal braces? ClearCorrect is the clear and simple choice. No wires. No brackets. Just clear, convenient comfort—every reason to smile. With ClearCorrect, your dentist or orthodontist can straighten your teeth using a series of clear, custom, removable aligners. Each aligner moves your teeth just a little bit at a time until you eventually get straight teeth.
Snoring/Clenching Guards & Sports Guards
Snoring can be a real problem, not only for the person who snores, but for the partner and other family members who live with the snorer. However, snoring and clenching guards can offer a solution. This affordable device is flexible, thin and comfortable.
Sports guards are also available for athletes, to protect teeth during sport activities.
White Fillings & Ceramic Inlays and Onlays
If a natural-looking smile is important to you, your dentist can now repair and restore your teeth with tooth-colored fillings, inlays, onlays, crowns and veneers that when placed look just like your teeth. Made of a complex composite of plastic and zirconia/silica, tooth-colored restorations bond to your tooth, helping prevent any filling leaks or chances of any cracking or breaking of the tooth. They also feel, look and function like your natural teeth and are ninety to ninety-five percent as strong as a healthy tooth whereas silver fillings are only forty to forty-five percent as strong.
Gold restorations are available upon request.
Ceramic dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies.
These wafer-thin shells that are most often made from porcelain or ceramic are bonded to the front surface of a tooth to cover teeth that are discolored, stained, chipped, cracked or even misaligned or have gaps between them. Your dentist makes impressions of your teeth and then a mold of the way your teeth will look once the veneers are placed. The mold is sent to a dental lab where the veneers are created. Once they are returned to your dentist’s office (typically in five to ten business days), your dentist uses a special cement to apply the veneer to your tooth or teeth. Once the veneer is placed and both you and your dentist are happy with the way it looks, a special light is used to harden the cement and permanently attach the veneer to your tooth. Veneers are made in a tone and translucency that either matches your teeth or to whiten and improve the looks of your teeth. Veneers typically last for five to ten years and do not require any special care, just brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist.
Your dentist can help you determine if your teeth and gums are healthy and good candidates for teeth whitening and which whitening process will give you even, natural looking results. If the discoloration or stains on your teeth will not respond well to whitening, your dentist will have other options that will work best for you. If teeth whitening is a good option for you, in-office whitening will give almost immediate results and teeth whitening trays and gels created by your dentist can be done at home over the span of three days to two weeks.
The space within the root of each of your teeth is called a ‘root canal,’ and within that canal there is dental pulp which consists of soft tissue, nerves and blood vessels. Tooth decay or trauma can cause damage to your dental pulp which results in infection that if left untreated, can spread to the bone around your tooth, resulting in the loss of the tooth. To save the tooth, your dentist will first remove the dental pulp and then the area that held the pulp is cleaned and shaped to hold a specialized filler material that will protect your tooth from any more infection and reduce any sensitivity of the tooth. Once the root canal is cleaned, filled and restored, your tooth is capped with a crown that protects the mended root canal and looks and functions like a normal tooth.
Metal-Free Full Dentures
When all of your permanent teeth need to be extracted from either your upper or lower jaw because of decay, periodontal disease or trauma, complete dentures are created in a dental lab to replace your missing teeth. Over time, dentures can loosen because of the loss of gum tissue and jawbone that deteriorate when they no longer have tooth roots to keep them stimulated. This can result in the use of dental products to keep them adhered to your gums. The other option is to have your dentures secured with implants that are placed in your jawbone and through a process called osseointegration take the place of a tooth root. In either case, your dentures are easily removable for cleaning.
Metal-Free Partial Dentures
If several teeth are missing in either your upper or lower jaw, a removable partial denture that is either supported by adjoining teeth or by an implant can be used to replace the missing teeth thus giving you the ability to chew more naturally, keep your remaining teeth from moving into the space left by the missing teeth, ensure proper jaw alignment and support the structure of your face. A removable partial denture is either held in place by clasps that hook on to adjoining teeth or by securing to the abutment of a titanium screw that is implanted in your jawbone. Partial dentures are easily removed for brushing and cleaning.
If you are missing one or more teeth or wear partial or full dentures, dental implants can be the perfect solution. An implant is a titanium screw that is placed in your jaw where it functions like a tooth root and stimulates the bone and tissue to keep them from disintegrating. An abutment is fastened to the implanted screw and an artificial tooth is attached to the abutment that protrudes from the gum. Once the artificial tooth is placed on the abutment, it looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth. Dental implants can also be used to secure partial or full dentures and instead of attaching an artificial tooth to the abutment, the dental plate or partial is fitted with an O-ring that snaps on to the abutment. For a partial denture, as few as one implant may be needed and for full dentures, it will take four or more implants to securely hold the prosthesis in place. Implant-supported partials or dentures function just like normal teeth, allowing you to bite and chew just as you did with your permanent teeth, but the dentures can still be removed for cleaning.
At one time in the history of man, wisdom teeth (or third molars) were most likely an important part of our entire tooth structure, but that is no longer true. Because of a lack of adequate space in the jawbone for them, wisdom teeth that usually come in somewhere in our late teen years, often come in sideways pushing at an already established tooth, which causes the wisdom tooth to only partially erupt through the gums, or in some cases, it does not push through the gums at all and stays impacted under the surface. Bacteria can grow around a partially erupted wisdom tooth causing periodontal disease or food can get caught between the wisdom tooth and the adjoining tooth creating tooth decay in both teeth. When a fully erupted wisdom tooth needs to be extracted, it is pulled like any other tooth. However, if the tooth is partially or fully impacted under the gum line and in the jawbone, an incision has to be made in the gums and the tooth, as well as a portion of the bone that is covering the impacted tooth, has to be removed.
Meet Dr. Pasco
125 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 510
Wexford, PA 15090
Phone: (724) 719 2866
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