Posts for: March, 2016
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.”
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of a person being “tongue-tied” or “lip-tied”? As dental professionals, we care about the health of your mouth as a whole, not just your teeth. When a tongue or lip-tie is present, some problems may arise that we can help with!
Why Do Lip And Tongue-Ties Occur?
A lip or tongue-tie occurs when a thin tissue in the mouth called a frenum is overgrown. There are two kinds of frena in the mouth, labial (lip) frena and the lingual (tongue) frenum. The labial frena can be found in the center of the lips, connecting the inside of your upper and lower lips to the gum tissue. You can see the tongue frenum by looking in the mirror and lifting your tongue up to touch the roof of your mouth.
The purpose of the frenum is to limit certain muscle movements to prevent tissue damage. When the frenum tissue is excessive, however, it has the potential to do more harm than good.
What Problems Can Arise As The Result Of A Tongue-Tie?
A tongue-tie restricts the tongue and prevents it from moving freely. Tongue-ties may be moderate, resulting in only small inconveniences like not being able to lick an ice cream cone. In some cases, however, they cause severe impairments such as:
- Difficulty nursing as an infant and eating later in life
- Speech impediments
- ain and discomfort
- Periodontal issues, such as receding gums
- Tongue thrust and bite misalignment
What Issues Can A Lip-Tie Cause?
A lip-tie refers to a frenum that attaches too far down on the gum. The possible complications of a lip-tie are somewhat similar to those who are tongue-tied. An overgrown labial frenum can:
- Cause pain and discomfort
- Make it difficult for children to keep their teeth clean
- Complicate nursing
- Lead to periodontal issues, such as receding gums
- Result in misaligned teeth and bite (usually gap teeth)
A Frenectomy Helps Alleviate Tongue and Lip-Ties
A frenectomy is a simple procedure that can be performed by dental professionals where excess tissue on the frenum is removed. Before performing a frenectomy, several factors are taken into account, including the possibility that the condition may correct itself over time.
We’re Here To Answer Your Questions
If you’re concerned about a possible lip-tie or tongue-tie in yourself or your child, schedule an appointment with us today. We’d be more than happy to answer your questions and together, we’ll determine the best way to move forward!
Thank you for trusting us with your oral health concerns!
Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.
He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”
Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.
There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.
The Science Behind the Magic
There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.
The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.
How’s that for a disappearing act?!
If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”