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Archive for the ‘Periodontal Disease’ Category

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On July 17, 2015, Dr. John and his wife, Anne, traveled to Ireland with a group of US dentists (most from Texas) for a Continuing Dental Education course that also provided time to explore this beautiful country. The course was sponsored by the University of Texas Health Science Center and featured Dr. Brian Mealey. Dr. Mealey is the director of the Specialist Division in the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio School of Dentistry. He has published extensively in the scientific literature, with an emphasis on inter-relationships between oral and systemic health. Dr. Mealey is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and is a consultant to the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. He currently serves as a Director of the American Board of Periodontology. Long story short is that Dr. Mealy is not only a preeminent expert in the field of Periodontology, but also an engaging and gifted teacher. His lectures focused on the relationships between periodontal health and diabetes, immune compromise, pregnancy, and cardiovascular disease. With so many Americans affected by periodontal disease, his presentations, which included summaries of the most current research studies and data on this topic, were both informative and timely. Ask Dr. John more about this when you are next in the office. On a lighter note, Dr. John and Anne had the opportunity to spend time in Dublin (and the required visit to the Guiness Storehouse), Kilkenny, Killarney, and Cong. We hope you enjoy these pics from their trip.

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clean teeth

Do you have stained teeth, calculus (tartar) build-up, or bleeding gums?

Call (608) 845-6127 today to schedule an appointment. 

Let our hygienists bring your mouth back to health!

Photo credit:  Howard Farran, DDS, MBA (Facebook)

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This June, Drs. John and Kate traveled to Los Angeles for training in the Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST) with John Chao, D.D.S. The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a scalpel-free, suture-free procedure for correcting gum recession. Through a small “pinhole” made by a needle, specially designed instruments gently loosen the gum tissue and glide it over the receded part of the tooth. Unlike traditional gum surgery or gum grafting, this technique involves no cutting or stitching.  Patients can expect minimal post-operative symptoms (pain, swelling and bleeding). Most patients also are pleasantly surprised by the instant cosmetic improvement!

Here is a link to a video of the procedure.

Here are some photos from the class.

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All of the participating doctors in the course

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Dr. John with Dr. Chao

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Dr. John, Dr. Kate, area-dentist Dr. Angie, Dr. Chao

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Dr. Kate with Dr. Chao

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Dr. John and Dr. Kate doing hands-on surgery practice

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Dr. John and Dr. Kate with colleagues at a traditional Chinese dinner for Dr. Chao’s birthday

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 Dr. Kate participating in a group putting contest

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This entry was written by Denise J., one of our fabulous hygienists at Main Street Dentists.

Biofilm.  Periodontal Infection.  Ultrasonics.  System Correlations.  These are some of the terms you have heard or will hear from your dental hygienist at your next continuing care (cleaning) appointment.  Since January, we at Main Street Dentists have been learning more about the latest research and treatment for gingivitis and periodontal disease.

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 (Special cleaners, called “ultrasonics,” that spray water in different directions to clean around your teeth)

Biofilm is another term for the community of bacteria that make up the plaque that builds up on our teeth and gums.  We are finding out how complex and difficult this community of bacteria is to control and keep to a minimum in your mouth.  You will notice a change in how we combat these bad bacterial communities that form in everyone’s mouths.  We will explain how and why we are doing what we are doing during your visit.

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(A little ruler to measure gum health-each dash represents 3mm)

If we see you have a bacterial infection, we may recommend a treatment plan specifically for you to get your infection under control. We also will strive to do our best to teach you what you can do at home to keep your gum tissue as healthy as possible.

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(A great mouthwash)

At your next visit, please ask us if you have any questions about biofilm or periodontal infection.  We would be happy to discuss these topics and how they affect you.

Other great resources on this topic are referred to else where on our blog–click on the category “Periodontal Disease” in the column to the right.

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This video clip is less than 4 minutes long and will change everything you thought you knew about dental health.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to bring them up at your next visit.

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More laser certifications!

Big Smiles after Laser Certification!!

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A few weeks ago both Kari and Denise became certified to use a dental laser for periodontal (gum) conditions. Even patients without gum disease can benefit from incorporating the laser into their regular cleaning appointments.

Use of the laser before the appointment is a pain-free procedure in which bacteria around all tooth surfaces are removed allowing for a more thorough cleaning. You can now ask Kari, Denise, and Tanya what benefits the laser can provide you at your next appointment.

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September Recap

We have had quite the busy month this September at Main Street Dentists:

Dr. John, Denise, Amber and Diane are back from Honduras after a very rewarding trip.

Watch for pictures by the end of next week.  We have so many to choose from that it is hard to pick our favorites!

Dr. Kate attended a course in Naperville, IL on a new root canal treatment system.  For the majority of patients who undergo root canal therapy there is no discomfort during the procedure; however, the main inconvenience is the length of treatment.  During root canal therapy the tooth roots are cleaned using several different instruments.  The new system is based upon our existing system and combines many of the instruments into one instrument.  This will save patients time sitting in the chair while still allowing for excellent root canal treatment.  We’re sure that most patients won’t mind have their procedure completed more quickly!

Earlier this month Tanya traveled south to the Chicago-area for a laser certification course.  Tanya is now our first hygienist to be certified in laser therapy for treatment of periodontal (gum) disease.  This is an incredible service that can be used to try and prevent the need for periodontal surgery.  Lasers have a high success rate in their ability to aid in the treatment of periodontal disease.  Tanya did an outstanding job in her course and received 100% on her certification exam.  We are so proud of her and her commitment to providing the most advanced, highest-quality care to our patients.

We are looking ahead to more educational courses in October and November.

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Oral health plays an important role in overall health. It even affects the health of a pregnant mother and her unborn child. Periodontal (gum) disease has been associated with greater risk for having a low birth weight and preterm baby. Treating the gum disease can decrease these risks by almost 50 percent and help the health of the mother and baby.

A mother’s hormone levels rise considerably during pregnancy and changes often occur in the oral tissues. Gingivitis is especially common during the second through eighth months of pregnancy. It can cause gums to be red, puffy or tender and bleed when brushed.

That’s why it’s important to brush and floss daily. Visit your dentist often as more frequent cleanings during the second trimester or early third trimester may be recommended to help you avoid problems.

Source: American Dental Association


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Click on the picture to enlarge.

The black band on the extracted tooth in the above picture is calculus.  This calcified plaque is full of bacteria that cause inflammation in the body which, over time, can lead to bone and tissue loss creating “pockets” alongside teeth.  Bone and tissue loss result in a condition called periodontal disease.

Once there is bone and tissue loss, everything changes at the dental visit.  Regular “cleanings” can no longer reach down below the gum tissues to clean these pockets out.  This calculus is what Tanya, Denise and Kari remove from tooth root surfaces during periodontal scaling and root planing.

Here’s the important part:  Once a patient has periodontal disease, he/she will always have periodontal disease.  This is why after scaling and root planing treatments a patient is put on a more frequent “cleaning” schedule called periodontal maintenance.  A “regular cleaning” is no longer appropriate because our hygienists need to clean below the gum tissues to maintain these deep areas (pockets) of bone loss.

Curious as to what other body systems are affected by periodontal disease?  Refer to our older blog posts.

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Here are the photos from our recent dental trip to Siguatepeque, Honduras.  From Nov. 5-12, Drs. John and Kate Schacherl, along with Dr. Angela Cotey from Mt. Horeb, Assistants Brenda and Tashina, and Hygienists Tanya and Denise,  completed dental work on 121 patients.  It was the perfect combination of doctors and staff that allowed us to see so many patients, many of the 121 back for more than one appointment.

The majority of the patients were children, the youngest being 2 years old, with average age in elementary school.  It was heartening to see many of the children back again without any cavities.  On our last day, Tanya and Denise gave a presentation on brushing and flossing to a group of 3-4 year-olds and their parents.  It was a lot of fun and the kids loved their new toothbrushes.

The hygienists had a good challenge educating many adult patients on oral hygiene while completing much-needed periodontal (gum therapy) work.  One man traveled several hours to receive his first teeth cleaning and had never used floss before!  Tanya and Denise did a great job!

Our assistants were just as fabulous in Honduras as they are back home.  Brenda and Tashina worked hard to keep our patients happy and comfortable, our instruments sterilized, and the mood light.

Our hours were much longer than they are back home but the days flew by.  Our stash of chocolate in the supply closet helped keep ourselves and our wonderful translators happy.

Many thanks to all who helped make this a successful dental trip.  We can’t wait to go back again next year!

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Did you know that periodontal disease is linked with having cardiovascular disease?  Periodontal disease is a disease where inflammation of tissue due to bacteria and toxins causes the body to destroy the bone and supporting tissues of the teeth.  There are two theories as to how this causes cardiovascular disease.

The first theory as to how periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are linked is that the inflammation in the mouth creates more plaque buildup in the arteries increasing swelling of the arteries.  In the mouth, plaque is the accumulation of bacteria and debris on the teeth, but in the cardiovascular system, plaque is a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the walls of arteries that obstructs the flow of blood.

The second theory is that the bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream, attach to the plaque already built up in the bloodstream, and increase clot formation.  While time may prove one theory to be true over the other, or that a combination of both theories is true, the fact remains that there is a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.

Consider flossing to protect your teeth AND your heart.  Nightly flossing to remove tooth plaque and debris will not only keep your teeth and gums healthy, but will help keep your heart healthy as well.

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Periodontal Assessment

It is a scene common to the dental office.

You come in for your six-month recall appointment.  The hygienist cleans your teeth and then has the doctor come in to “check.”  This doctor exam is the shortest part of the appointment, but contains vital information.  Three areas are assessed:  soft tissue health, which includes an oral cancer screening, periodontal health, and tooth health, where the teeth are examined for cavities, fractures and failing restorations.

One area of this exam that I would like to discuss in this week’s blog entry is the periodontal assessment.  In assessing periodontal health, I ask the hygienist several questions.  The first is how the “pocket depths” were, if there was “any bleeding upon probing or instrumentation” and how you are doing with “home care”.

What am I trying to assess?  Pocket depths, or probing depths, measure the depth of the pocket of tissue around the tooth.  A normal probing depth is between 1-3 mm.  When the hygienist alerts me that there are areas of probing depths greater than 3 mm, I begin to ask more questions, as this may indicate the start of periodontal disease.  When I ask if there is bleeding upon probing or instrumentation, I am trying to assess if there is any inflammation in the tissues.  This inflammation suggests bacterial infection and is indicative of either gingivitis or, in periodontal patients, the return to a state of infection.  Finally, when I ask about homecare, I am asking the hygienist to give an assessment of how you are doing at home with routine oral hygiene.  Are you brushing at least twice per day, once in the morning and once before bed?  Are you flossing at night before bed?  How much plaque and calculus are found on your teeth?  Is it a light, moderate or heavy amount?

Based on the answers to the questions, the hygienist and I can give you an accurate status of your periodontal health.

Patients Fall Into One of Three Main Categories

  • Healthy Periodontal Patients:  Those whose tissues are free from pocketing, inflammation and bleeding
  • Patients With Gingivitis:  Those who have a reversible inflammation of the gums
  • Patients With Periodontal Disease:  Those who have either had or currently have active periodontal disease.

The goal in our office is to have people without a history of periodontal disease to remain healthy and disease-free; for those with a history of periodontal disease to remain stable and not have the disease progress; and for those with active periodontal disease to become, and remain, stable.

Until next time, keep flossing! 🙂
Dr. Kate

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