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Periodontist Near Me | Can Dental Implants Help Gum Disease?

Advancements in the construction and placement of dental implants have allowed them to become a viable option for helping reduce the effects of periodontal disease. They can encourage the healing of the gums and the strengthening of the jaw. With the help of bone grafts, dental implants can help alleviate some of the symptoms of gum disease.  

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that damage the tissues around teeth. If the bacteria is left untreated, irritation or inflammation begins to develop. This first stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. The bacteria can continue to spread and infect deeper areas of the gums and jaw, leading to full-blown periodontitis.

As bone tissue is worn away by the bacteria, the gum tissues can begin to detach from the teeth and form pockets which can provide a place for bacteria to thrive. Cleaning and routine care become much more difficult, which can then perpetuate additional bone and soft tissue loss.

These losses can sometimes cause teeth to become loose or fall out entirely.

How Can Dental Implants Help With Gum Disease?

Even in its more advanced stages, the damage from periodontal disease can be controlled and even partially reversed. Dental implants can promote the growth of new, healthier bone in places where it was worn away. The metal implant bases become anchored in the jaw via osseointegration and help support the rest of the bone and neighboring teeth. This healing process can restore your jaw to much of its original form and strength.

While dental implants are a helpful way to reduce the damage from periodontal disease, there may be corrective measures that need to be taken before they can be placed. Gum and bone tissue that have been significantly worn away and damaged will not support implants properly. To fix this, we can utilize bone and tissue grafts to help create a strong base for the implants.

How Can Grafts Support Dental Implants?

According to the Mayo Clinic, bone grafts create a more solid base for implants. Bone grafts can help strengthen the jawbone if it isn’t thick enough or is too soft. The act of chewing creates a large amount of pressure on the jawbone, and if periodontal disease has caused significant bone loss, the surgery could potentially fail.

Bone grafts can be created from taking material from your own body or using a synthetic material. Once they are adhered to the jaw, the bone will heal around the graft. This begins to repair the damage done by gum disease, restoring lost bone material. This reversal of gum disease damage enables dental implants to take hold, which promote further bone growth and reconstruction.

Dental implants can be an effective way to treat your periodontal disease. Combining grafts and implants can promote healing and growth in your jaw and gums. If you have gum disease and questions about what dental implants can do for you, contact us today at our Alexandria periodontics office.

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 Periodontist | Making Time to Floss

Flossing is an important part of maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, one that many people overlook. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of the American population over the age of 30 has some form of gum disease. Many people do not understand the link between proper flossing and the prevention of conditions like periodontitis. However, flossing is easy to incorporate into your routine, and leads to a wide range of benefits.

Method #1: Floss Picks

Utilizing floss picks is one way to incorporate floss into your routine. They are one-time use plastic tools that have a little piece of floss strung tightly between two prongs for getting between teeth. Keeping a few of them in places you frequent throughout the week can remind you to floss whenever you see them.

Method #2: Keep Floss Everywhere

No matter if you prefer standard string floss or floss picks, both are convenient for storing in a variety of places. String floss and picks can fit into a bag or purse, and can be taken on the go for use at any point during the day. Some places that are ideal for flossing include:

  • In the Shower – One method of making flossing a habit is to keep some on hand near the shower. This allows it to be integrated into a morning or evening routine.
  • In the Car – Floss picks are great for cars. They can be used with one hand, allowing you to use them at stoplights or upon arrival at your destination.
  • At Work – Whenever you need a small stretch break at work, take some string floss or a pick with you. Take the time to move your body, stretch, and floss.

Method #3: Utilize Technology

It can be easy to forget to floss if it isn’t an ingrained daily habit. For some, technology is the way to form a healthy flossing routine. Smartphones allow users to set alarms for any time and any reason. People who struggle with remembering to floss regularly can set a recurring alarm for the same time each day as a reminder. Over time, this habit can become instinctive.

Flossing is a vital part of an oral hygiene routine that often goes neglected. However, with some creative thinking and using resources available, flossing can be fit into your schedule with little effort. Contact us today for more information about flossing, how it can benefit you, and how you can incorporate it into your life.

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 Dentist | Maintaining Healthy Gums

Your soft tissue or “gums” play an important role in maintaining a high level of oral health. Healthy soft tissue keeps teeth in place, reduces the rate of tooth decay, and keeps breath fresh while contributing to optimal overall health.

How Can My Gums Be Damaged?

The main condition that causes damage to the gums is periodontitis. Periodontitis (periodontal disease/gum disease) is the inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, and often causes damage to the gums and loosening of the teeth. Periodontitis occurs when plaque builds up, hardens and turns to calculus or tartar, creating pockets between the teeth and the soft tissue that holds the teeth in place. The inflammation process continues, bacteria spreads and this bacteria eventually may wear away supporting tissue. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis causes the gums to become inflamed, tender, red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. Since the bone and tissue holding teeth in place isn’t affected, much of the damage from gingivitis is reversible.

However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress into more aggressive forms of periodontitis and may result in tooth loss. Even with more severe forms of periodontal disease, effective treatment may be able to prevent the disease from progressing.

How Should I Take Care Of My Gums?

Periodontal disease is a serious and common condition among American adults. According to the CDC, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease, professional treatment is recommended.

Maintaining the health of the gums is crucial for maintaining your overall health. Here are ways to prevent periodontal disease or its progression:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Visit your dentist and follow the treatment plan provided

Periodontal disease has been linked to the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Low birth weight babies and premature delivery

Periodontal disease, while common, is a serious condition that requires professional medical care.

If you’ve been uncomfortable visiting the dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us. Many adults have periodontal disease at various stages. Our team is trained in providing compassionate care and will help you feel confident in your oral healthcare plan. Achieving optimal oral health is within reach and will make a significant impact on your overall health. Contact your Alexandria periodontist to schedule your examination and consultation.

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 | The Advantages of Regenerative Periodontal Therapy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have periodontitis,* the more advanced form of periodontal disease. In its early stages, periodontal disease is called gingivitis, with symptoms that include swollen, inflamed gums that may bleed during tooth brushing. If allowed to progress, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis. 

How Is Periodontitis Treated?

Depending on the severity of the disease, there are a range of options available for treating periodontitis. Initially, a deep cleaning that involves scaling and root planing may be recommended to remove the infection and allow your gums to heal. However, if the disease is more advanced, a regenerative periodontal therapy procedure may be the most effective treatment approach. 

What is Regenerative Periodontal Therapy?

A regenerative periodontal therapy procedure is used to reverse the effects of advanced periodontal disease. When the infection has already begun to destroy the underlying bone that supports your teeth, this type of therapy is recommended to: 

  • Remove bacteria from beneath your gum line
  • Regenerate lost bone and tissue 
  • Reshape the bones that support your teeth
  • Prevent future gum damage

Who is a Good Candidate for Regenerative Periodontal Therapy?

People with severe or advanced gum disease are usually good candidates for regenerative periodontal therapy. Common symptoms of advanced gum disease include:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums 
  • Deep pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Damaged or loose teeth
  • Pain while eating and chewing
  • Halitosis
  • Receding gums

What to expect during regenerative periodontal therapy.

Regenerative periodontal therapy is typically performed under local anesthesia. During the procedure, the gum tissue folded back to remove the disease-causing bacteria. Depending on the degree of damage, membranes, bone grafts, or tissue-stimulating proteins can also be used to stimulate your body’s natural ability to regenerate new bone and healthy gum tissue. Eliminating existing bacteria and regenerating bone and tissue helps to reduce the pockets between your teeth and gums and restore your mouth to optimal health. 

Periodontal disease and the inflammation that it generates within your body are associated with a number of serious health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even cancer. Because gum disease is progressive, early treatment is always best. If you have symptoms associated with periodontitis, you may be a candidate for regenerative periodontal therapy. Contact our Alexandria office today for a thorough evaluation.

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

Periodontist in Alexandria | Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

If you have sensitive gums and are used to seeing a bit of blood in the sink after brushing or flossing, it may be a sign of gingivitis, a progressive gum disease. In fact, gum disease is the leading culprit behind bleeding gums; research shows that one in two Americans have some form of gum disease, and left untreated, this condition can lead to serious health concerns. The first step in bringing your gums back to optimal health is educating yourself about the symptoms and causes of gum disease. Here are some common questions we hear in our practice: 

What Causes My Gums To Bleed?

Bleeding gums are generally caused by inadequate plaque removal, which over time allows germs to attack the tissue surrounding your teeth. The tissue then becomes inflamed which causes the gums to bleed. This is considered the initial stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis. The good news is gingivitis can be easily treated before it progresses any further. 

What Happens if Gum Disease is Not Treated?

Progression of gingivitis is known as periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more serious and has been linked to tooth and bone loss, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and cancer. 

What Else Can Make My Gums Bleed?

Lack of vitamins (C &K) or inflamed gums due to pregnancy could also be the cause of bleeding gums. Some conditions and diseases such as thrombocytopenia, hemophilia or scurvy can also cause gums to bleed.

How Can I Stop My Gums From Bleeding?

It’s important to speak with your dentist if you’ve been experiencing bleeding from your gums. Your dentist will be able to properly assess the situation regarding your oral health and provide a solution. In addition to regularly scheduled visits to your local dentist, brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day are the easiest solutions to eliminate bleeding gums. It may take some time to see the bleeding subside as your gums continue to get healthier.

If you’ve been struggling with bleeding gums, know that it’s a common and treatable condition, but it will not go away on its own. It will take time and dedication to improve your oral health, but it can be done. In addition to working with your dentist, maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine will help your gums return to a healthy state. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our Alexandria office today.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS

Phone: (703) 894-4867

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

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

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