Periodontist Alexandria | Quitting Smoking Can Decrease Your Risk of Implant Failures

The dangers of smoking have been prevalent for a very long time. Lung disease, periodontitis, and tooth loss are all but a few common side effects of this habit. For many adults who are looking to replace a lost tooth, dental implants have become a viable option. Even for those who have been life-long smokers, implants offer a cosmetic restoration to their smile. Nevertheless, if you smoke or are thinking of smoking in the future, you should be aware of the fact that this habit can cause your dental implants to require replacement sooner than necessary.

The dental implant failure rate is noticeably higher in those who smoke compared to those who do not. In general, about one percent of all dental implants fail in those who do not smoke. Alternatively, studies show the dental implant failure ratio for those who smoke is above 15 percent. Dental implants are made of titanium and supplementary materials that are entirely well-suited with our bodies. Titanium is known to attract bone cells which will grow and adhere to the post over time. This strengthens the implant within the mouth. However, complications arise when the patient smokes.

Nicotine adversely impacts the health of teeth through blood vessel constriction, dry mouth and pocket formation within the gums. As blood flow is reduced, the body loses its ability to fight disease and infection. Smoking decreases the rate at which bone grows throughout the entirety of the body, including the mouth and face region. Smoking also damages the mouth’s salivary glands, drying them out to the point that there is minimal fluid remaining to wash away bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Not surprisingly, most dentists believe that smoking adversely curtails the likelihood that the implants will heal properly, let alone last. The surgically impacted area simply cannot get the necessary healing nutrients it needs to recover.

Dentists offer differing opinions as to whether to fit smokers with dental implants. Nonetheless, doctors all agree that the best way for dental implants to last is for the patient to exercise good oral health. Not only will regular brushing and flossing help, but so will quitting the smoking habit altogether. Giving up smoking before your scheduled implant surgery will provide a healthy foundation for your new teeth to thrive for years to come.

If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact our Alexandria dental office or schedule an appointment for a consultation. We look forward to helping you smile with confidence again.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS

Phone: (703) 894-4867

Url: https://www.drkarlsmith.com/

2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128 Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Tips for Preventing Periodontitis

If your gums have ever bled while brushing your teeth, ignoring it is one thing you should not do. Redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums are all symptoms of early gum disease which, if left untreated, can progress into a harmful infection called periodontitis. The good thing is this: if we catch it soon enough, periodontitis can be prevented with regular dental cleanings and proper oral hygiene.

Alexandria VA Dentist

What Causes Periodontitis?
When bacteria on the teeth don’t get thoroughly brushed away, plaque forms and eventually turns into tartar, which is irritating to the gums. If that tartar sits for an extended period of time, periodontitis can settle in, causing pockets in the gums to fill with even more bacteria. All of this can lead to:

● Receding gums
● Bad breath
● Spaces between the teeth
● Loose or sensitive teeth
● Permanent loss of teeth

Are Some More at Risk Than Others?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, smoking is the most significant risk factor in patients with periodontal disease. Those who have diabetes or AIDS, women going through hormonal changes, and anyone taking medications that reduce saliva production are also more susceptible.

How Can I Prevent Periodontitis?
Because gum disease is most often caused by poor dental hygiene, some great potential methods to help lower your risk of developing periodontitis are to:

● Quit smoking.
● Schedule professional dental cleanings twice a year to remove plaque and tartar.
● Brush your teeth twice a day, and make sure to brush along the gumline.
● Consider using an electric toothbrush.
● Consider the use of fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your enamel.
● Floss between teeth at least once a day to remove plaque where your toothbrush can’t reach.
● Swish with antibacterial mouthwash after brushing to kill germs and reduce plaque.
● Avoid sugary or starchy foods, which contribute to bacterial growth.
● Eat foods that are known to promote healthy oral bacteria, including dairy products, crunchy fruits and vegetables, and leafy greens.

Early Intervention is Key
If you have concerns about the health of your gums or have been told by your dentists that you suffer from periodontal disease, it may be beneficial to schedule an appointment with our office as early as possible. Our Alexandria Periodontist is experienced in the treatment of gum disease and can help you restore a healthy mouth and body. You can contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS to set up an appointment and get the care you need. We look forward to helping you smile healthily, and happily.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Common Causes and Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease or periodontitis) has affected many Americans across the country and continues to do so. According to a study published in 2012, the American Academy of Periodontology revealed that nearly 65 million, or 47% of American adults over the age of 30 suffer from gum disease. That number skyrocketed to 70% for adults older than the age of 65.

Alexandria VA Dentist

Improper oral hygiene can often lead to gingivitis, which is a milder form of gum disease often characterized by red, swollen gums that sometimes bleed. Left untreated, gingivitis can commonly advance to periodontitis. In this scenario, bacteria will continue to amass below the gum line. Over time, tissue separation around the teeth causes pockets to develop. These pockets can deepen or become infected, ultimately leading to loose teeth or bone loss.
Understanding some of the causes and risk factors associated with gum disease can help to alleviate your likelihood of developing it in the future. Here are a few indicators to be aware of:

1) Proper Oral Hygiene
Plaque continues to be one of the most prominent risk factors of gum disease. Brushing your teeth twice a day, along with flossing regularly, can greatly reduce plaque build-up in your mouth. Scheduling regular dental checkups every six months are also great for your dental health.

2) Tobacco Use
Although tobacco use is often associated with chronic health issues such as lung and heart disease, it can also impact the mouth. Tobacco users are susceptible to periodontal disease as the nicotine found within these products reduces blood flow and oxygen supply to the vessels in the mouth. In addition to traditional smoking products, the increasingly popular electronic cigarettes have also been linked to gum disease.

3) Genetics
Regardless of appropriate and consistent oral hygiene, some people are simply genetically predisposed to gum disease. Research has shown that as much as 30% of the population might be susceptible to periodontal disease due to a genetic predisposition. Genetic testing allows for the early identification and appropriate treatment of these patients.

4) Medications
Oral health can be impacted by many over-the-counter and prescription medications. Antihistamines, antidepressants, immunosuppressives and oral contraceptives can all impact your oral health. Whereas some medications can lead to swelling in the gums, others will lead to dry mouth. A lack of saliva production opens up the mouth to a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. As a rule of thumb, always keep your dental care provider informed of both your medication usage and your overall health.

5) Stress
The onset of stress limits the body’s ability to ward off infections. Stress has been associated with a variety of health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure, and even periodontal disease.

6) Diabetes
Diabetes is an example of a systemic disease that inhibits the body’s inflammatory system. When diabetes is difficult to control, higher blood sugar is often the result. Blood supply to the gums is reduced and dry mouth becomes prevalent. A decrease in saliva can allow for the onset of tooth-decaying bacteria.

7) Nutritional Deficiencies
While most of us think of poor nutrition impacting our waistlines, it can also serve to compromise our body’s immune system. A diet rich in H2O and balanced with vitamin C will help to fight off infections such as periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease should never be taken lightly. If you’ve been diagnosed by your Alexandria periodontist, it’s time to get the care you need to restore a healthy mouth and life. Schedule a visit with Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today and trust your periodontitis to our practiced care.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Are Dental Implants Right for Me? Your Questions, Answered.

If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be considering treatment options, one of which may be dental implants. Here, we’re going to answer many of the questions you may have regarding dental implants and why they may be the right solution for you.

What are Dental Implants?Alexandria VA Periodontist

Let’s start by answering the fundamental question, “what are dental implants?”. Dental implants are considered an artificial root, usually made from titanium and other materials that anchor to the jaw below the gum line.

The implants then serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth or teeth attachment. This surgical, dental procedure has been useful for over 40 years and has provided patients with the healthy appearance and function of natural teeth.

Am I a Good Candidate?

Your doctor will always go over your health and medical history to determine whether or not you are the right candidate for dental implants. However, as a general guideline, suitable candidates will have:

  • Good general and oral health
  • Sufficient jaw bone length to reinforce the implant
  • Healthy gum tissue
  • No signs of periodontal disease

Remember, our implant team will work with you to better determine if you are a suitable candidate for a dental implant procedure.

What Should I Expect During Recovery?

Many patients inquire about what the dental implant surgery will entail and what the recovery requires. Depending on the course of treatment your doctor decides on, the first practice to implement through your recovery is maintaining sufficient at-home dental care and regular dental visits to ensure the recovery procedure is going smoothly.

The recovery period time can vary depending on how many procedures are required and how your own body processes surgical recovery. Generally, it can take several months to recover from a dental implant procedure completely.

How Do I Get Started?

Nearly 3 million Americans have dental implants, and if you’re considering becoming one of them, a great first step is to speak with our team. From there, we will be able to give recommendations and assess your overall oral health.

If you are ready to consider dental implants to restore your smile, let’s get started. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today, and our team will schedule an appointment for you to meet with our Alexandria Periodontist.

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Healthy Smile, Healthy Body

Good oral hygiene habits are essential to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. What you might not know is that research has found the health of your mouth actually mirrors the

overall condition of your body. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, there is a direct relationship between gum disease and many serious health conditions, including heart disease,

stroke, and diabetes. The good news is, research also shows that good oral health may actually help prevent certain diseases from occurring.Alexandria VA Periodontist

Understanding the mouth/body connection

Poor oral habits can cause bacteria to build up on your teeth, making your gums more prone to

disease and infection. When that happens, your immune system goes to work attacking the

infection, leading to inflammation and gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis and chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on the rest of your body, leading to a host of health problems. Thankfully, this “worst-case-scenario” is easily preventable. Here’s what you can do to elevate your oral hygiene habits and keep unwanted health concerns at bay:

  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes using a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to choose a toothbrush that is the right size for your mouth so you can reach back teeth easily. If you have any questions about which toothbrush we recommend for you, you can ask our office during your appointment.
  • Remember to replace your toothbrush every three or four months.
  • Choose an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste to keep teeth free from decay.
  • Floss daily to remove tooth decay-causing bacteria that tend to linger between teeth. Regular flossing also helps remove plaque under the gumline and minimize your risk of contracting gum disease.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products, which are known to contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.

In addition to maintaining good daily oral health habits, seeing your Alexandria Periodontist regularly is one of the best ways to keep your mouth – and your body – healthy. These exams allow our team to monitor any changes to your teeth and gums and make recommendations that will help you avoid future health problems. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today to schedule an exam.

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Are you at Risk of Developing Gum Disease?

Did you know that almost half of American adults (aged 30 or older) have some form of gum disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). In fact, 64.7 million of us have periodontitis: an advanced stage of gum disease responsible for tooth loss in some cases.

Alexandria VA Dentist

Periodontal disease is a serious issue, widespread and the number one cause of tooth loss for adults, even above tooth decay. That being said, gum disease is often treatable and can be helped. Knowing whether you may be at an increased risk for developing gum disease can help you keep an eye on the health of your gums and get treatment early on. Here, we’ll outline some of the statistics compiled by the AAP on the risk of gum disease. If any of them describe you, it may be worth scheduling a periodontal evaluation to check on the health of your gums.

1.) If You Are a Smoker

Smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease than those who do not.

2.) If You Have Diabetes

Nearly 95% of individuals with diabetes will experience some form of gum disease during their lives. In fact, periodontists are often the first medical professionals to diagnose early signs of diabetes because they keep a close eye on your gum health.

3.) If You Are Pregnant

More than half (60-70%) of pregnant women will experience gingivitis due to the increase in hormones caused by pregnancy. Studies have shown that mothers with unhealthy gums are at a higher risk of delivering prematurely as well.

4.) If You Are a Man

54% of men are diagnosed, while only 38% of women are.

5.) If You Are Older Than 35

Adults are more prone to losing teeth to periodontal disease than to tooth decay.

6.) If You Have a Family History of the Disease

It is estimated that nearly 30% of people experience gum disease because of a genetic predisposition for the disease. You may also be up to six times more likely to get periodontitis than those who do not have any genetic link to the condition

While gum disease may seem to be of little concern, it is much more important than many might believe. Periodontal disease can often lead to serious health complications for your overall health, including increasing your risk for stroke, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. If you have several of these risk factors, and have had trouble with your gums, contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS to schedule an evaluation.

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Are Your Favorite Snacks Causing More Damage Than They’re Worth?

Because of our often busy lives, it may be quick and easy to snack throughout the day. Whether it’s sipping on soda or grabbing handfuls of chips, your favorite snacks could be causing more damage than they’re worth. These foods can cause damage to your gums and the development of periodontal disease. Below are just a few of the most popular snack items and a description of how they could affect your oral health.Alexandria VA Periodontist

Sticky Sweets

While candies and caramels might satisfy your sweet tooth, the refined sugar from these candies can linger on your teeth and in the pockets of your gums. Creating plaque and tartar that can attack your gums and lead to disease, most sticky candy is not a friend to your oral health.

Carbonated Soft Drinks

Loaded with sugar and phosphoric acid, soda can cause irreversible damage to your healthy gums. A good substitute for soda is a carbonated beverage without the loaded sugar and without the phosphoric acid. There are many flavored beverages on the market right now which give that same satisfaction from carbonation without the added sugar or phosphoric acid. A carbonated beverage without the loaded sugar will have fewer calories too! 

Chips & Bread

Whether we grab a bag of chips with our favorite dip or make a piece of toast, both contain starch which converts to sugar and gets easily stuck between your teeth and deep in our gums. Much like with other sticky sweets, this trapped sugar can cause serious damage to your gums and push you towards periodontal disease.

Healthy Options

The best snacks for your teeth are those that contain compounds that are good for your oral health, such as calcium and natural antibacterial properties. Apples, carrots, celery, nuts, yogurt, and cheese top the list for oral health because of their high vitamin, mineral, fiber, and protein content. Just as convenient as the less healthy snacks on this list, your gums will thank you for these healthy alternatives.

At your next appointment, talk with our Alexandria Periodontist about other ways you can ensure your gum health. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today. We look forward to seeing you!

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Easy Flossing Alternatives to Preserve Your Healthy Smile

If there is one recommended dental habit that many people struggle to embrace, it’s flossing. Whether you find traditional thread flossing challenging to maneuver, messy, or just time consuming, you are not alone. However, The American Dental Association (ADA) and our office want you to be able to floss regularly and thoroughly. Consider these effective alternatives to remove unwanted plaque from the places your toothbrush simply can’t reach.

1.) Disposable Floss Pick

These convenient little tools have plastic handles and Y-shaped prongs that come pre-threaded with floss. No measuring, snipping or finger threading required. Ideal for travel and on-the-go use, simply grab the handle, insert the floss between your teeth, and when done, toss the tool away.

 

2.) Non-Disposable Floss Picks

Fashioned with a longer handle than their disposable counterparts, these picks may be an excellent option for patients with small mouths and/or crowded teeth. They also help to make reaching back teeth a breeze.

 

3.) Water Flossers

Electronic flossers use streams of pressurized water to clean between your teeth. There are many different models to accommodate price preferences, and most offer adjustable pressure settings to ensure your comfort during use.

 

4.) Interdental Brushes

Designed to look like tiny toothbrushes, interdental brushes are especially effective for those who wear braces. They are also a nice option for patients with mobility issues who struggle with traditional flossing. Another plus? Like toothbrushes they can be used repeatedly – simply ask our office when we recommend replacement.

 

5.) Air Flossers

These high-tech tools use air pressure combined with a small amount of water to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. Considered to be less messy than their water-based cousins, air flossers offer easy point and click instructions – just aim the flosser between your teeth and a blast of air does the rest.

 

Keeping the spaces between your teeth and gums free from plaque and tartar is essential to your oral health. Finding tools and techniques that work for you is the first step towards establishing lifelong habits that lead to a lasting, healthy smile. Consider any of these flossing alternatives or call our Alexandria periodontist for a recommendation. Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS will be happy to evaluate your unique needs to help you find the solution that is right for you.

 

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Facts You May Not Have Known About Oral Cancer

According to The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, oral cancer claims one American life every hour of every day. Unfortunately, most cases go undetected until it is too late, making the need for regular examinations of even greater importance. Those who are proactive and seek treatment early have the best chance of beating the disease and living a long, healthy life. Below are some facts you may not have known about oral cancer, including warning signs, trends, and more.

1.) Oral Cancer Affects More Men Than Women

No matter your gender, you should be aware of the very real dangers of oral cancer. While studies conducted by the Oral Cancer Foundation have shown that oral cancer is one the rise among women too, a 2:1 incidence ratio between men and women still remains. This correlation may be due to the fact that, statistically speaking, men smoke and drink more than women. Regardless of your own habits, remain aware of the signs and symptoms and ask your doctor to perform a regular oral exam if they do not already.

 

2.) Each Year, 450,000 New Cases Are Discovered

As such, it is likely that oral cancer has affected someone in your life. Whether you know someone who has had, or is currently dealing with their own struggle against oral cancer, you should know that they are not alone.

 

3.) Alcohol and Tobacco Increase Your Risk

Among the many risk factors, your lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on the likelihood of you developing this cancer. It is estimated by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America that roughly 80% of people with oral cancer are heavy smokers, while 70% are heavy drinkers. Add this unfortunate statistic to the list of reasons why you should leave the cigarettes behind.

 

4.) When Detected Early Enough, Oral Cancer has a Cure Rate of 90%

According to many experts, part of the reason why oral cancer can be so destructive is because it often goes undetected for long periods of time. Don’t overlook or ignore any suspicious new developments in your mouth and call your doctor or Alexandria periodontist as soon as you notice anything amiss.

 

The best way to overcome oral cancer is to stay informed and catch it early. As something that is important to all dental professionals, we hope you will take this disease just as seriously as we do. We look forward to helping you stay healthy and protecting your oral health throughout your life. If you have any questions call or contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today and our Alexandria periodontist will assist you however we can.

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Halitosis Help Line

No one wants to be the person with bad smelling breath, or halitosis as it is called professionally. However, some breath issues can be persistent. This is not your fault, and we understand just how difficult a situation this can be. Luckily, Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is here to help you overcome this issue and regain confidence in the scent of your breath again for good.

Alexandria VA Periodontist

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can keep your breath as fresh as you want it to be.

The Importance of Brushing and Flossing

If you have bad breath, it is possible that it comes from leftover plaque, debris, and bacteria stuck in your teeth or gums. Plaque is a sticky substance that acts almost like a bacteria magnet. That bacteria and the natural processes they undertake as a part of their life results in bad breath for you. By brushing and flossing, you can remove the plaque and therefore remove the bacteria that cause those stinky odors. Brush thoroughly every day, but make sure you don’t overdo things. Brushing too hard can cause damage too.

 

Take Care of Your Gums

Many cases of persistent bad breath are caused by periodontal disease.

 

To avoid becoming a victim of both periodontal disease and the halitosis it causes do everything in your power to keep your gums healthy. When you suffer from unhealthy gums, bacteria can get trapped in your gum pockets. This trapped bacteria causes your gums to suffer from disease, leading to poor breath, bleeding gums, and even tooth loss if not treated properly. If you do suffer from gum disease, your dentist may suggest you see a periodontist. Our Alexandria periodontist specializes in treating gum disease and can help you overcome your persistent bad breath issues as a result

 

If you are unsure if you have gum disease, but want to get your persistent bad breath checked, you should contact our periodontal team today and schedule an appointment. If it is gum disease that’s causing your bad breath, Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is here to provide any help you require.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302