Archives for category: Health

Most tooth loss in people over age 35 is from Periodontal Disease.

Everyone knows to brush their teeth twice a day, but many people forget about their gums! The word disease sounds scary— and it can be if you don’t take care of your gums. Here is some information about what gum disease is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it.

What is periodontal (gum) disease? Periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth.

It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed. Gingivitis is the mildest form of the disease. In this stage, the gums redden, swell, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort.

What causes gum disease?

As mentioned, plaque is recognized as the primary cause of gum disease. If plaque isn’t removed each day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into a rough, porous substance called calculus (also known as tartar). Toxins produced and released by bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. These toxins cause the breakdown of the fibers that hold the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more toxins and bacteria. As the dis- ease progresses, pockets become deeper, and the bacteria move down until the bone that holds the tooth in place is destroyed. Eventually, severe infection may develop with pain and swelling. The tooth may loosen and later require removal.

There are other factors, too. Smokers and tobacco users are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Changing hormone levels in pubescent teenagers and

women who are pregnant also can increase the risk of gum disease. Stress, clenching or grinding your teeth, an unhealthy diet, and diabetes can increase your chances of developing gum disease as well. And, in some cases, it’s in your genes nearly 30 percent of the human population is genetically predisposed to gum disease.

How is it treated?

In the early stages of gum disease, most treatment involves a special cleaning called scaling and root planing, which removes plaque and tartar around the tooth and smooths the root surfaces. Antibiotics or antimicrobials may be used to supplement the effects of scaling and root planing. In most cases of early gum disease, scaling and root planing and proper daily cleaning will definitely help. More advanced cases may require surgical treatment, which involves cutting the gums—sometimes with the assistance of a laser to remove the hardened plaque build-up and then recontouring the damaged bone. The procedure also

is designed to smooth root surfaces and reposition the gum tissue so it will be easier to keep clean. This procedure may be performed by your general dentist or by a specialist, like a periodontist.

How can I maintain treatment at home? Sticking to a maintenance program is crucial for patients who want to sustain

Removing plaque through daily brushing and flossing and professional cleaning is the best way to minimize your risk.

the results of periodontal therapy. You should visit the dentist every three to four months (or more frequently, de- pending on the patient) for spot scaling and root planing and an overall exam. Between visits, brush at least twice a day and floss daily.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Removing plaque through daily brushing and flossing and professional cleaning is the best way to minimize your risk. You also should try to reduce the activities mentioned above (smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, grinding your teeth, and so forth). Talk to your dentist and he or she can design a personalized program for home oral care to meet your needs.

Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at www.pazdental.com

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When people lose or break their teeth, the teeth may be replaced with implants. What’s involved, and what are the benefits? Read on to learn more.

What are implants? Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically anchored to the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. One of the major benefits of implants is that they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are permanent and stable. Implants are a great solution to tooth loss because they look and feel like natural teeth.

What are implants made of? Implant material is made from different types of metallic and bone-like ceramic materials that are compatible with body tissues. Most implants are made of titanium, which bonds well with bone and is biocompatible, making it an ideal material for implants.

How are implants placed? First, Dr. Paz will perform surgery to place the implant’s anchor in the jaw. The surgery can last several hours, and it may take as long as six months for the jaw bone to grow around the anchor to hold it firmly in place. Once the implant is stable and the gums have healed, Dr. Paz makes the artificial teeth and fits them to the post portion of the anchor. Dr. Paz will work with you to create an implant that fits well and is comfortable and attractive..

Who should get implants? Implants are not an option for everyone. Because implants require surgery, patients must be in good health, have healthy gums, and have adequate bone structure to support the implants. While lack of adequate bone support is a limitation, additional procedures may be available to create a good implant site. People who are unable to wear dentures also may be good candidates. The success rate for implants decreases dramatically among those who suffer from chronic problems, such as clenching or bruxism, or systemic diseases, such as diabetes. Additionally, people who smoke or drink alcohol may not be good candidates. To find out if dental implants are a fit for you talk to Dr. Paz at your next visit.

What is the difference between implants and dentures? While implants are permanently fixed in the mouth, dentures are removable. A conventional removable full denture depends upon support from the bone and soft tissues rather than being solidly fixed in place; as a result, dentures may not offer as much stability as implants. Implants are a good solution to tooth loss because they look and feel like natural teeth.

How do I care for implants? Poor oral hygiene is a main reason why some implants fail. It is important to floss and brush around implants at least twice a day. Dr. Paz will give you specific instructions on how to care for your new implants. Additional dental cleanings (up to four times per year) may be necessary to ensure that you retain healthy gums.

How will I adjust to implants? Most people adjust to implants immediately; however, some people feel slight discomfort and notice differences in chewing or speech for a short time. Patients will soon see a difference in their confidence level and enjoy their new smile.
Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at www.pazdental.com

In 2009 Fans missed Whoopi Goldberg during a episode of ABC’s TV Talk Show, “The View.” It may be hard for some to fathom that a high profile celebrity like Whoopi Goldberg could have “tooth problems” bad enough to keep her from co-hosting her show. How could this have happened?

Whoopi’s Emergency Medical (Dental!) Surgery

The 52 year-old star said, “I had emergency surgery. People don’t pay attention to it… we think we know you’ve got to take care of your teeth… I neglected them and I discovered I had so much bone loss that I’m probably going to be losing my two front teeth.” The day after root canal surgery Whoopi spoke publicly about the serious nature of her dental problems. “I hadn’t been to the dentist since Noah” she says referring to her lack of regular “routine” dental visits for prevention and maintenance.

Whoopi Goldberg, Celebrity Advocate for Whole Body Health through Oral Health

“I’ve neglected my mouth to the point of distraction.” “I know you don’t want to go to the dentist… but the health of your entire body depends upon keeping your mouth healthy.” Unfortunately what Whoopi’s going through now is not at all uncommon. In fact according to the FDA, “More than 75 percent of Americans over 35 have some form of gum disease. At its worst, you might lose your teeth. The bottom line? If you want to keep your teeth, you must take care of your gums.” Source: fda.gov “Fighting Gum Disease: How to Keep Your Teeth.”

Too Late and Without Warning

Gum disease is a silent killer. Not only of teeth. It can creep up on you without a single warning sign. Sure, everyone “knows” that your gums bleed if you have gum disease. But the biggest problem with that bit of knowledge is that painful, bleeding, or swollen gums might not occur until the very late stages of this insidious disease. In fact many patients, like Whoopie, are taken by surprise when during routine examination we’re the first to break the news to them about their gum infection, abscesses… and often severe bone destruction.

Whoopie May Lose Her 2 Front Teeth

During an episode of “The View,” Whoopie Goldberg openly discussed her dental prognosis. Already severe destruction of the bone around her top two front teeth will likely result in the loss of both teeth. Whoopi made several good points not the least of which was that undetected dental disease can be a threat to more than just your teeth… it can threaten the overall health of your entire body. Research cited in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association highlights the relationship between gum disease and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

There’s Only One Way to be Certain

The only way to know whether or not you are in the 75% suffering from gum disease is a professional examination.We routinely perform a totally comfortable “gum exam” each time you visit for your checkup and cleaning appointments. Don’t delay your visit! Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at www.pazdental.com

Using tobacco can harm your mouth, including your teeth and gums, in a number of ways. There is no safe form of tobacco— using it produces many problems and risk factors, from tooth discoloration and gum disease to throat, lung, and oral cancer, and, ultimately, even death. It’s important to understand what happens to your mouth when you use any form of tobacco, and to discuss those effects—and how to quit—with your dentist and physician.

What happens to my mouth when I smoke?

Smoking reduces blood flow and the supply of vital nutrients to your gums, including vitamin C. Without the proper nutrients, you can develop gum disease, bone loss, and even tooth loss. This is because smoking triggers the accumulation of bacteria in plaque. Smoking also reduces the amount of saliva that flows through your mouth. Saliva is important for cleaning your mouth and preventing tooth decay. In addition, when you smoke, the temperature in your mouth increases and the heat kills important cells in your mouth.

You also can see the effects of tobacco use. Nicotine and tar, the major ingredients of cigarettes, discolor your teeth—yellow and brown stains will appear and the sticky tar deposits will adhere to crevices. The roof of your mouth will become inflamed and turn red. You also will lose a lot of your sense of taste, and the smell of your breath may become offensive.

Is smokeless tobacco safe?

No! Just because you don’t smoke the tobacco, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t harmful effects. Smokeless tobacco—which includes snuff, dip, or chewing tobacco—eats away at your gums, exponentially increasing the chances for gum disease. You also are four to six times more likely to develop oral cancer from chewing tobacco. In fact, the area of your mouth where you place the tobacco is 50 times more likely to be the site of an oral cancer.

What about cigars?

Cigars contain the same toxic and carcinogenic compounds that cigarettes do, and even though you might not inhale cigar smoke, cigars are not a safe alternative. Regular cigar smoking increases the risk for oral cancers, lung cancer, and larynx and esophageal cancers.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer can develop at any time. It’s important to know what to look for and to tell your dentist and physician right away if you have any concerns. If you experience any sign of irritation, like tenderness, burning, or a sore that will not heal, tell your dentist or physician. Also, tell your dentist or physician if you have pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in your mouth or lips. The development of a lump or a wrinkled or bumpy patch inside your mouth also can be a sign of oral cancer. In addition, if the tissues in your mouth change color to gray, red, or white, make an appointment to see your dentist or physician.

What can I do to stop the effects?

The most obvious way to stop the effects of smoking and tobacco use on your mouth—and body—is by quitting. Although it can be extremely difficult to quit because the toxins in tobacco products are addictive, there are ways to stop using tobacco. Call us about proven ways to stop smoking today.

Once you have made the steps toward quitting, it is important to improve your dental hygiene with regular brushing and flossing. It is advised for smokers to get a professional cleaning (scaling and polishing) for the removal of stains. But without quitting, the cleaning and stain removal will have only a temporary effect. Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at www.pazdental.com

Did you know that diet sodas are just as damaging as a regular sodas at weakening tooth enamel. Many people consume carbonated beverages, fruit juice, and highly acidic foods every day but probably don’t realize that they might be harming their teeth. The acid in the foods we eat and drink can cause tooth enamel to wear away, making teeth sensitive, cracked, and discolored.

What is tooth erosion? Tooth erosion, or tooth wear, is the loss of tooth structure. Basically, tooth erosion refers to the wearing away of the hard part of your teeth, which is called the enamel.

What causes tooth erosion? Tooth erosion occurs when the enamel on your teeth is worn away by acid. Usually the calcium contained in saliva will help re-mineralize (or strengthen) your teeth after you consume small amounts of acid, but the presence of a lot of acid in your mouth does not allow for re-mineralization.

Acid can come from many sources, including:

• Carbonated drinks. All “fizzy” drinks, including soda (even diet varieties), contain a lot of acid and can dissolve enamel on your teeth very quickly. More damage is done when you drink large amounts and or you hold the drink in your mouth for a long time.

• Pure fruit juice. Juice has similar effects on your teeth because it contains a lot of acid.

• Bulimia and acid reflux. Bulimia, a disease in which a person vomits to avoid gaining weight, and acid reflux also can cause tooth damage due to stomach acids. Medical and dental help should be sought immediately if you or anyone you know suffers from a condition such as this.

What are some signs of tooth erosion? Below are some signs of tooth erosion, ranging from its early stages (sensitivity, discoloration, rounded teeth) to the later, more severe stages (cracks, severe sensitivity, cupping).

• Sensitivity. Since protective enamel is wearing away, you may feel a twinge of pain when you consume hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.

• Discoloration. Teeth can become slightly yellow because the dentin is exposed.

• Rounded Teeth. Your teeth may have a rounded or “sand-blasted” look.

• Transparency. Your front teeth may appear slightly transparent near the biting edges.

• Advanced Discoloration. Teeth may become more yellow as more dentin is exposed because of the loss of tooth enamel.

• Cracks. Small cracks and roughness may appear at the edges of teeth.

• Severe Sensitivity. As more enamel is worn away, teeth become increasingly sensitive.

• Cupping. Small dents may appear on the chewing surface of the teeth. Fillings also might appear to be rising up out of the tooth.

What can I do to prevent tooth erosion? Because there are different reasons why you may experience tooth erosion (e.g., swishing carbonated drinks, drinking a lot of juice or wine, eating disorders), talk to your dentist about your habits so that a plan for preventive action can be determined. Here are some general things you can do to protect your teeth:

• Reduce or eliminate drinking carbonated drinks. Instead, drink water, milk, tea, or coffee—but skip the sugar!

• Drink acidic drinks quickly and use a straw so that the liquid is pushed to the back of the mouth. Don’t swish them around or hold them in your mouth for long periods.

• After consuming high-acid food or drinks, rinse with water to neutralize the acids, and wait an hour before brushing your teeth.

• Chew sugar-free gum to produce more saliva so your teeth can re-mineralize.

• Brush with a soft toothbrush and be sure your toothpaste contains a high amount of fluoride.

Sensitivity can be reduced by using fluoride and brushing with toothpaste that is specially formulated to reduce sensitivity. There also are over-the-counter, enamel- building products available in stores. Be sure to check with your dentist before trying new products.  Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at www.pazdental.com

If you have to our office, or visited our website anytime in the last year year you have probably seen our “wall of fame” or our hardcover book of testimonials. When it comes to dentistry we strive to provide you the absolute best there is to offer. We strive not only to improve your smile but provide an atmosphere that provokes you to use it. When that combination of health and Happiness is achieved we have done our job. But, Don’t take our word for it here is what our clients have had to say about Dr. Paz and the team at Laser Comfort Dentistry.

Dr. Paz is considerate. I feel he takes extra care to make sure I am comfortable. I keep waiting for it to hurt and it never does. I am so Glad I can come to Dr. Paz – Dorthy

Great Job, Now I am proud of my smile again! “Marvelous, simply marvelous”. -Tom

Thank you for making my husband smile again  – Terri

The other day someone told me that they love to see me smile because my teeth are so pretty. Thanks for the great work! – Ruth

How does one say thank you to someone who deserves more than just words. I have a special needs child and Dr. Paz does everything to make sure sara was not scared one bit. Now sara does not mind going to the dentist as long as its Dr Paz – Carolyn

The laser was fantastic!! Its the only way to go – Butch

Thank You Very much For making my dental fear go away. You all make me feel no pain. Thank you with a Big Smile – Jessica

Wow! My Smile is Better than i ever imagined it could be. Thanks to Dr. Paz and his wonderful staff. I recommend invisalign and Laser Dentistry to anyone wanting a better smile! – Kathy

I will Tell you of my first root canal experience. I was terrified before I came… I had friends telling me all of these horrible stories. So much so that I almost cancelled my appointment. However I kept the appointment for fear of any more tooth pain that i might endure- And the visit was Great! The staff, Dr. Paz everyone was great. The root canal was done in no time and I didn’t feel a thing. It was nothing of what nightmare my friends had, put into my head. I will never go anywhere else! –Tammy

I would just like to say you that I have never had such a good time at a dentist office. You are Friendly and kind to me every time I have Come and I appreciate it. -Love Landy

Thank You, To all that Share Their story with us and their love ones. Thank you for putting a smile on our Face! To read more testimonials visit www.pazdental.com

Surprising but true: the major cause of tooth loss in adults is not decay – it’s periodontal (gum) disease. And it’s completely painless right up to advanced stage.

More than half of all people over the age of 18 have at least the early stage of periodontal disease. After age 35 about three out of four adults are affected.

Some people seem to be more susceptible to gum disease that others. Anything from pregnancy, systematic disease (like diabetes), and certain medications can contribute to its development. Smoking increases the likelihood dramatically. Some unlucky folks are inherently more susceptible because of unique bacterial and chemical mixes in the mouth and encourage plaque.

The results of gum disease aren’t pretty early stages show up as persistent bad breath and red swollen gums.Eventually tooth loss is inevitable.

But there is good news. Once you’ve been diagnosed your dentist can start you on the treatment program that involves mechanical removal of plaque and smoothing the root surfaces of teethe so gum tissue has a chance to reattach. As Co-therapist, your dentist will depend on you to continue to work at home. It’s critical to the Success of your treatment that you:

1. Brush and floss twice a day

2. Come in regularly. Only a hygienist can get your teeth their cleanest.

3. Maintain a healthy diet.

Periodontal disease can be treated at every stage. If you notice any signs of gum problems, do call your dentist for a periodontal exam. Together you can beat the statistics and have a good chance of never having to wear dentures.

At Laser Comfort Dentistry we check for signs of Periodontal (gum) disease at your regular checkup and cleaning. If you are diagnosed gum disease even at an early stage please take action immediately. Contact Dr. Jerry Paz by phone at 636-456-2454 or learn more at www.pazdental.com