Causes of Tooth Loss Explained by Your Encinitas Periodontist

Unlike childhood, where losing a tooth was almost like a rite of passage, losing teeth in adulthood is hardly something to be excited about. In fact, for many patients, losing teeth is distressing and traumatic. Patients with missing teeth often feel self conscious and embarrassed by their smiles. The physiological effects of tooth loss include the diminished ability to speak properly and masticate (chew) food. Contrary to popular belief, tooth loss is not a natural part of the aging process; your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Dr. Ann Kania discusses the causes of tooth loss below.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis (advanced gum disease) is the number one cause of tooth loss in adulthood. Gum disease infects and inflames the gum tissue. As the infection and inflammation worsens, the natural bond between your teeth and gum tissue is separated. Over time, your teeth become loose without the support of neighboring gum tissue. Tartar buildup filled with bacteria attaches to the roots of teeth as well. Preventing periodontal disease is important for keeping your teeth for a lifetime. For patients who currently have gum disease, we strongly encourage that they manage their illness with professional treatment and meticulous oral hygiene at home.

Traumatic Injuries to the Teeth

Traumatic injuries are another cause of tooth loss. Injuries may chip, crack, dislodge, or knock teeth out of the mouth. Powerful blunt force from a nasty fall or contact sports often results in traumatic tooth injury. (more…)

Encinitas Periodontist Discusses Bad Habits that Affect Oral Health

Some habits that seem innocent are actually very harmful to your oral health. We often find that patients are surprised how certain behaviors affect their teeth and gum tissue. Are you harming your teeth and gums with common bad habits? Dr. Ann Kania and our staff address some harmful habits below and explain how they damage your oral health.

Brushing Teeth Too Vigorously

You may think that if you brush your teeth harder, you will have a cleaner mouth. While this technique may work for scrubbing dishes and floors, it’s actually harmful for your teeth and gum tissue and does not produce a cleaner mouth. Brushing too vigorously will damage your tooth structure and cause your gum line to recede—affecting your tooth’s natural bond to your gum tissue.  Firmer bristles are often a larger diameter.  This larger diameter can only work above the gum line.  Only soft, small diameter bristles can gently clean below the gum where plaque hides.

Chewing on Hard Objects

Chewing on hard objects such as ice cubes or pen caps will destroy your tooth enamel over time. You can also damage your enamel if you use your teeth as tools to tear away a clothing tag or a product’s packaging. These actions create microscopic cracks in tooth enamel, which leave your teeth vulnerable to decay and fracture. (more…)

Dental Laser Treatment Explained by Your Encinitas Periodontist

Dental lasers have many applications for treating oral conditions. Dr. Ann Kania is a Board Certified Periodontist and also holds certification with the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry. For the treatment of gum disease, dental lasers are less invasive than traditional surgical procedures. Many patients enjoy a shorter recovery time and less discomfort.

Gum Disease Treatment with  Dental Lasers

When gum disease advances, periodontal pockets form between the teeth and gum tissue. Infected and inflamed, these periodontal pockets are the result of deterioration of connective tissues between the tooth and gums.

Our Periolase dental laser is the tool we employ for LANAP, Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure. The laser gently opens periodontal pockets and allows Dr. Kania to clean the infected area and smooth teeth roots, reducing the potential for plaque and tartar buildup on roots. Dental laser fibers are tiny and minimally invasive. The laser fiber is inserted between the tooth and gums, into the periodontal pocket to efficiently clear away bacteria and infection. After the pocket is cleaned, the gum tissue is gently compressed back to the tooth without sutures, allowing it to reattach to the tooth by forming a fibrin clot.

Laser Treatment Benefits

  • General anesthesia is not required.
  • Estimates indicate that LANAP is as succussful as traditional periodontal surgery.
  • LANAP procedures reduce recovery time. (more…)

Whoopi Goldberg: Gum Disease Advocate

Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of the daytime talk show The View, openly discussed her struggle with gum disease with her audience and the media. She attributes her development of advanced periodontal disease to neglecting her oral health. Although she possessed great dental insurance, she did not visit her dentist regularly. She stated publicly that she would lose her teeth to the disease because it is eroding her jawbone. Periodontists and dentists throughout the United States have applauded Ms. Goldberg for discussing her condition with the public and endorsing oral-systemic health awareness. She vehemently acknowledged that a person’s overall wellbeing is linked to their oral health. After emergency gum surgery, Whoopi Goldberg returned to The View and urged her audience to take care of their oral health.

Gum Disease is a Serious Condition

Periodontal disease is a severe infection of the gum tissue. It is often painless. Diagnosis requires imaging and clinical examination. When gum disease advances, aggressive bacteria attack your teeth and gum tissue and may eventually destroy your facial bones. Periodontal disease is linked to debilitating conditions and ailments such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, and diabetes. Your best line of defense against gum disease is regular dental cleanings and checkups along with proper oral hygiene. (more…)

Gum Disease Myths Dispelled by Your Encinitas Periodontist

Dr. Ann Kania is a board-certified periodontist with extensive experience in diagnosing and treating gum disease. Advanced gum disease manifests as a dangerous oral health condition and is the number one reason for tooth loss in adulthood. Our team would like to dispel some commonly-held misconceptions about gum health and periodontal disease.

Myth #1

Antibiotics cure gum disease.

While antibiotics are often used to help reduce the presence of infection, these medications do not cure gum disease. In fact, once gum disease advances, the condition is not reversible; it is only treatable. Additionally, if antibiotic medication is overused, bacteria in your body may build resistance to the medication.

Myth #2

Gum disease is only caused by poor oral hygiene.

Although poor oral hygiene contributes to gum disease, some patients develop gum disease because of genetic predispositions, certain medications, or hormonal changes. For example, pregnant women are susceptible to periodontal disease because of intense hormonal fluctuations. (more…)

Heart Health Tips from Your Encinitas Periodontist

Dr. Ann Kania is committed to providing excellent dental and periodontal care. Our staff also cares about the general health of all our patients. Since February is designated as Heart Health Awareness month, we would like to provide our readers and patients with helpful information about heart disease. As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, researchers have discovered a link between gum disease and heart-related illness. For our patients with periodontal disease, we want to help inform you of the best ways to protect your heart health.

Heart Disease Facts

  • Heart disease is the number one fatal illness in the United States. Estimates show that about 25% of annual deaths are attributed to heart-related illnesses.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart illness.
  • Each year over 700,000 people in the United States will suffer from their first heart attack.
  • Heart disease affects people of all ethnic backgrounds.
  • The state with the highest incidence of heart disease is Mississippi. Minnesota has the lowest incidence rate. (more…)

The Facts on Xylitol

Many of us feel guilty if we chew gum or eat sugary foods because we have been told that sugar is bad for our teeth. While this is completely true, most chewing gums and breath mints contain an ingredient that is actually good for our teeth. Chances are, if you chew gum or use breath mints, you have used this ingredient before. It is called xylitol.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is often used as a substitute for sugar. It is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, a compound frequently used in the place of table sugar. Xylitol sweetens foods and chewing gum, but doesn’t produce the oral health threats that sugar does. A study dating back as far as the 1970’s shows that xylitol is not harmful to the teeth and may actually reduce the risk of tooth decay.

How Does Xylitol Prevent Cavities?

At any given moment, your mouth is filled with harmful bacteria. These bacteria, especially the mutans streptococci strain, aggressively attack your teeth and cause cavities. When you eat sugary foods or drink sugary beverages, you provide nourishment for harmful bacteria, which feed off of sugar. However, when you consume xylitol, you attract these harmful bacteria, but starve them instead of feed them. Essentially, xylitol tricks bacteria into thinking it is a sugary food source. Xylitol disrupts the colonies of bacteria that form plaque and can protect your teeth from dental caries by reducing harmful calculus and bacterial buildup in the mouth. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of xylitol and acknowledges the claim that xylitol is a great alternative to sugar. (more…)

The Benefits of Fluoride in Oral Health

As a specialist in Periodontics, Dr. Ann Kania places a high priority on preventive care. Throughout her career, she has seen the damaging effects of dental disease in general and specifically gum disease.  She strives to educate her patients so that they can reduce their risk for potential oral health problems. As part of any oral health regimen, fluoride is helpful to maintaining strong teeth and a healthy mouth. Below are some facts about fluoride and its many benefits to overall oral health.

  • Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. It can be found in some foods and deep water supplies.
  • As a mineral, it replenishes mineral loss in teeth.
  • It strengthens tooth enamel. Healthy tooth enamel is essential to fighting off cavities and infection of the gum tissues.
  • Many toothpaste brands contain fluoride. When purchasing toothpaste, look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval.
  • Brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste helps ward off the buildup of plaque. Filled with harmful bacteria, plague buildup is dangerous to your gum health. (more…)

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Tooth Discoloration

Did you know that there are different types of tooth stains? Extrinsic and intrinsic stain involve different areas of teeth. In most cases, Dr. Ann Kania and her professional staff can help you understand the cause of your tooth discoloration.

What Are the Differences Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Stains?

Extrinsic stains affect your tooth enamel. In this case, some staining may occur from foods and beverages that discolor your teeth such as coffee, wine, and soda. Smoking tobacco also contributes to discoloration of your teeth as well.

Intrinsic stains refer to the inner parts of your tooth. Intrinsic stains involve the dentin of your tooth. Dentin can darken or discolor with a yellow tint for various reasons. These stains can be caused by an overexposure to fluoride during childhood, root canal treatment, trauma to the tooth, childhood medication, or your mother may have used certain types of antibiotics while pregnant when your teeth were forming.

Age related discoloration may be a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.  Tooth dentin will yellow over time.  This can make the tooth appear darker.  The enamel that covers the crown of your tooth will thin in time (like many other tissues in your body). Thin enamel and darkening dentin result in darker teeth.  In addition, teeth can be damaged or chipped.  Such trauma can irritate the pulp – causing darkening.   (more…)

Bad Mood = Bad Gum Health

During an emotional time in your life, you probably change your behavioral patterns to adjust to your feelings. Don’t be tempted during those times to neglect your dental health.  Visit Dr. Kania during negative life events, such as trauma, stress, and illness, to defend against your risk of gum disease.

Negative Life Events

Studies show that the severity of gum disease increases with the amount of negativity in your life. Negative life events include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Death of loved one
  • Illness
  • Physical or Mental Abuse

(more…)