Posts for: February, 2016

By Pasadena Dental Implants
February 26, 2016
Category: Dental Health

Find out just one way to effectively combat gum disease in Pasadena, CA.

Have you just been diagnosed by your Pasadena, CA periodontist, Dr. Peter Cooper, with gum disease? If so, this may feel like a rather stressful time. But remember that we are here to provide you with the best and most effective treatments possible to promote healthier Scaling and Root Planing gums and mouth. If root planing and scaling has been recommended to you, find out more about this procedure and what to expect.

What exactly is root scaling and planing?

For those with more minor to moderate forms of gum disease, root scaling and planing is often the best course of treatment before your condition becomes severe. The purpose of this procedure is to be able to clean under the gums and down to the roots of your teeth to remove tartar and plaque buildup, which is responsible for your gum disease.

Because we will need to go under your gums and to the roots of your teeth, this entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia, so everything will be numb during your treatment. We will often use a combination of standard and ultrasonic tools to clean your gums. Sometimes antibiotic fibers are also placed into the infected pockets of the gums to prevent the spread of infection and to help speed up your recovery time. These fibers are typically removed after about a week.

What is the outcome of getting root scaling and planing?

If you continue to maintain good at-home dental care and continue to see your Pasadena, CA dentist every six months for routine cleanings and examinations, this treatment alone should be enough to stop the progression of your gum disease. Over time you will start to notice that as your gums heal they will return to being firm and pink again.

Gum disease doesn’t have to leave you with irreparable smile damage. Turn to your dental expert, Dr. Cooper, at Pasadena Dental Implants in Pasadena, CA to prevent your gum disease from getting worse. Call our office today!

By Pasadena Dental Implants Peter G. Cooper, DDS
February 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

Humanity has been waging war against tooth decay for millennia — with this relentless opponent often getting the better of us.

Over the last century, however, significant treatment advances have turned the tide of battle in our favor. Perhaps the greatest of these advancements is our deeper grasp of the disease process — new understandings that have altered our treatment strategy. Rather than wait for cavities to occur and then repair the damage, we now focus on stopping the damage from occurring in the first place.

Prevention starts by reducing factors that contribute to tooth decay. We can signify these detrimental factors with the acronym BAD:

Bad Bacteria. Millions of bacteria inhabit our mouths at any one time, but only a few strains produce the acid that causes decay. We want to reduce their population by removing dental plaque (where they feed and grow) through daily brushing and flossing, and, at a minimum, semi-annual office cleanings.

Absence of Saliva. This important fluid neutralizes acid and strengthens tooth enamel. Some people, however, suffer from reduced saliva flow. We want to find the cause (for example, a side effect of certain prescription drugs) and then improve saliva flow.

Dietary Habits. A diet heavy in sugar and acid (particularly sodas and soft drinks) gives bacteria a ready food source and increases the mouth’s acidic level. Chronic high acid levels in particular are often too great for normal saliva flow to overcome and neutralize. Reducing the amount and frequency of these food items creates a healthier oral environment.

Reducing BAD factors is only half of our prevention focus. We also want to promote SAFE factors that enhance tooth health and strength: Sealants, especially for children, that shield tooth surfaces from decay; Antimicrobial rinses that target and rid the mouth of acid-producing bacteria and give healthy bacteria room to develop; Fluoride, a proven enamel-strengthening chemical available in dental products, many drinking water systems and as a topical application in dental offices; and an Effective diet that’s rich in nutrients and low in sugar and acid as already mentioned.

Keeping the focus on reducing BAD factors and promoting SAFE factors will greatly increase your chances of personally winning the war against tooth decay.

If you would like more information on the prevention and treatment of tooth decay, 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 “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”

By Pasadena Dental Implants Peter G. Cooper, DDS
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.

“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”

That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.

Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!

The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.

If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”

Pasadena, CA Dentist
Pasadena Dental Implants
175 S. El Molino, Suite 4
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 796-1241
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