Mark J. Gordon, DDS

Gum Disease Risk Factors

Here’s a concerning statistic: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of Americans who are over the age of 65 have gum disease. Although brushing and flossing are key factors in preventing gum disease, there are other elements that can contribute to tooth loss as well.

Smoking:

Smoking may actually be one of the most significant risk factor in the development of gum disease. Tobacco is a powerful substance that can damage teeth permanently and actually aid in the progression of periodontitis. Studies have shown that using any kind of tobacco product increases the risk of gum disease.GumDiseaseRiskFactors

 Stress:

You might not believe it, but stress is actually a risk factor and can cause gum disease to progress more quickly. Stress is linked to many health issues such as cancer and hypertension. Stress takes a toll on your body and makes it hard to fight off infections. Even infections in your gums!

Genetics:

Sadly, some people just may be more susceptible to gum disease than others. These people need to try harder and brush more often to fight off gingivitis and plaque build up.

Clenching and Grinding:

Grinding your teeth is bad for your teeth’s overall health. Excess force on the tissues that support your teeth can encourage gum disease to progress.

Medications:

Certain medications can upset your oral health and cause gum disease to progress faster. Anti-depressants and certain heart medications are the biggest culprits. If you’re taking any meds and begin to see a change in your overall oral health, please let us know at your next appointment.

Poor Nutrition and Obesity:

Your diet is incredibly important and affects your overall health. Eating foods low in important nutrients weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight infections. Gum disease starts with infections, which is why it’s important to take care of your body and think about your overall health.

Make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you think you might be in the early stages of gum disease!

 

Teeth Whitening- What You Should Know

Teeth-Whitening-What-You-Should-KnowTeeth whitening can lead to a brighter smile and a more confident “you”. Whether your teeth have been stained from drinking coffee and tea, or you are just looking to make your teeth whiter, teeth whitening is a great way to start with a fresh “you.”

When it comes to choosing your options of obtaining a brighter, whiter smile, there are a few options our office has to offer you. We offer “in office” whitening treatment (could be a single session, some could require multiple appointments), using specifically formulated whitening gels. As a follow up to obtain even more desirable results we construct custom bleaching trays for our patients to use at home.

Then there are alternative, “at-home” treatments, which include over the counter whitening strips, gels, rinses and other options. Each option has its benefits, whether it is convenience, price, time, longevity of brightness and quality. There is no perfect formula to obtain the ideal brightness of teeth. Over the years our office has seen the best results with a combination of in office and custom made bleaching trays. There is no definite time frame for obtaining desired results however in general desirable results are usually seen in two to six weeks. Once you reach a satisfactory shade we recommend a very short monthly maintenance schedule to follow to keep them looking great!

What you should to know:

Regardless of which approach you take to making your smile brighter, there are a few things you need to know about the process of teeth whitening.  Your teeth and gums could possibly show signs of temporary sensitivity as well. There are a few simple methods of relieving the sensitivity and still obtain the desired bleaching results.

Contact our office today to find out what the best whitening option is for you!

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Heart Disease – The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

Heart Disease and the ImportanceDid you know that poor oral hygiene could increase your chances of developing heart disease? Practicing good oral health habits isn’t just an important part of preventing tooth decay; it’s crucial in maintaining your overall health. But how are heart disease and oral health connected?

It is important to know that your oral health and your overall health are directly connected. You may be surprised to learn that heart disease presents itself with oral symptoms. If you’re experiencing swollen, bleeding or tender gums, or even chronic bad breath you may be at risk! That’s why it’s important to visit us regularly to keep a close eye on your oral health to spot potential problems early! We can help patients who have a history of heart disease by examining them for any signs of oral pain, infection or inflammation.

How could gum disease increase your chances of heart disease? What we’ve come to understand is that bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream and attach to blood vessels, which can increase atheromas/plaque formation. These deposits decrease blood flow to the heart and in turn cause an elevation in blood pressure thus increasing the risk of a heart attack. A specific virulent form of bacteria found in oral plaque has been correlated with low HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglycerides both factors of increased risk for cardio vascular disease. Leaving gum disease issues untreated can end up costing you a lot more than a routine visit to the dentist. Prevention through daily cleaning and regular office visits is the best for both your health and your budget. Follow these easy oral health tips to improve your oral health and decrease your risk of gum and heart disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for 2-3 minutes using small circles along the gum line
  • Regularly use mouthwash to reduce plaque deposits
  • Floss 1-2 times daily to remove plaque not reached by your toothbrush
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

Practicing excellent dental care is essential to prevent gum disease for a lifetime of healthy hearts and smiles! Visit us to protect your oral health and learn even more about how preventative care can help you.

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The Science Behind Oral Cancer

The-Science-Behind-Oral-CancerCan drinking coffee really help prevent oral cancer? What about different types of foods? Numerous studies have been published that claim certain foods and drinks can prevent oral cancer but when it comes to a disease that will affect 43,250 people this year, it’s important to get the facts.

Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth or head and neck cancer, occurs when there is a problem with the lifecycle of a normal, healthy cell. Cells are supposed to grow and divide into new cells as your body needs them but when this process is altered, your body may over produce cells. These extra cells can cause a tumor to form. Depending on the type of cells in the tumor, it could be cancerous or benign.

Some studies may say they have proof that a specific food or drink helps to prevent mouth cancer but in reality the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid certain risk factors like smoking and drinking. Alcohol consumption in excess accompanied by smoking makes you highly susceptible to the disease and should be avoided.

Most oral cancers start in the tongue in what are called the flat cells and they can spread to other parts of the body if they aren’t caught early (cancer of these flat cells is called squamous cell carcinoma). Interestingly, when these oral cancer cells spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs, they are still considered oral cancer cells rather than lung cancer cells. Where these abnormal cancer cells begin is what they will always be referred to as, regardless of where they spread.

Doctors still don’t know why one person gets oral cancer while another person does not, but it is important to note that oral cancer is NOT contagious. Avoiding risk factors and eating healthy can be important in preventing oral cancer. Make sure to visit us regularly so we can check for signs of oral cancer!

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Head & Neck Cancer: Self Exam

Head-and-Neck-Cancer-Self-ExamRegular head and neck exams are extremely important when it comes to diagnosing problems with the head and neck, such as cancer. A thorough head and neck examination is part of the service we provide when patients are seen for their regular teeth cleaning and examination checkups. If you have noticed anything strange or different on the inside or outside of your mouth or your neck please be sure to bring it to our attention. If you notice a change in between dental checkups, please call out office for an examination appointment: Mark J. Gordon, DDS Phone Number (913) 649-4042. It’s also good to perform a “self-check” from time to time. Let’s go over how to do an at-home check and what you should be looking out for.

Step 1: Know what you’re looking for. Oral cancer signs include:

  • A difference in color in one particular area
  • A change in texture
  • Lumps of any kind (especially if it’s something you haven’t noticed before)
  • Lesions
  • A sore that does not heal
  • A lump or thickening of the lining of your mouth
  • Loose teeth/Poorly fitting dentures
  • Pain in the tongue or jaw
  • Difficult chewing and/or swallowing

Step 2: Take a bright light such as a flashlight and while looking in a mirror, check the following:

  • Tongue
  • Lips
  • Cheek walls
  • Top and bottom of mouth
  • Back of throat

If you notice any of the above signs, give us a call immediately to schedule an appointment: Mark J. Gordon, DDS Phone Number (913) 649-4042. It’s also beneficial to perform an extra-oral screening. When performing an extra-oral exam on yourself, you want to feel for any lumps or bumps. Here are the steps for doing this exam at home:

Step 1: Place your hands on the back of each side of your jaw under your ears. Open and close your jaw while feeling for any bumps.

Step 2: With your hands in the same position work your way down your neck.

Step 3: Turn your head to the right and feel your left side-neck muscles. Turn your head left and feel your right side neck muscles.

Step 4: Grab your gullet (throat) and swallow.

Step 5: Put your chin down and with your palms facing away from you feel the underside of your jaw with your fingers.

We hope we don’t have to see you in the office if you’ve discovered something wrong but we are here to help. We can catch the early signs of oral cancer! If you feel anything strange, call us to schedule an appointment at Mark J. Gordon, DDS Phone Number (913) 649-4042 or use our online appointment request form.


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Dental Implants: Learning the Basics

Dental-Implants-learning-the-basicsDid you know that over 69% of adults in America are missing at least one tooth?  Whether it is from an accident, neglect, or even being born without certain teeth, not everyone is supporting a full set of teeth. There are many solutions to replacing missing teeth, each with its own benefits. With the influx of technology and precision of modern dentistry, dental implants are becoming more affordable, and are the ideal long-term solution for missing teeth. Traditional tooth supported dental bridges; whether they are fixed or removable are alternative tooth replacements. They may be less expensive than implant tooth replacement, however adjacent natural teeth may need to be treated too. Over time a single dental implant may be the more cost-effective approach. Dental implants can last decades or even a lifetime, which allows a patient to treat the implant as they would their natural teeth, and continue on with life without having to worry about them. Whether you’re in the market for one tooth, or multiple teeth, dental implants not only can lower your overall healthcare costs, but also increase your quality of life as they are the most natural form of tooth replacement!

How the implant works: 

In place of the original root a dental implant is placed in the existing bone and the area allowed to heal for several months. Once healed, the implant will serve to support the existing tooth replacement.

Am I a candidate for dental implants?

The quick answer is: “most likely yes.” Restrictions such as age do not apply to the possibility of receiving dental implants. There are very few restrictions that would prevent a patient from receiving dental implants and they include: Those who do not have enough existing bone in the jaw, and those who have had radiation to the jaw (from cancer or similar treatments), which could prevent fusion of implant to the bone. Recent studies have even shown that even patients with diabetes have little to no restrictions in the ability to receive dental implants.

If you are interested in dental implants, give us a call today and see how we can help you!

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Are Dental Implants Worth It?

Are Dental implants worth itWhat’s involved in a dental implant? Do they hurt? Can anyone get them? There are a lot of questions surrounding dental implants but one thing is certain; they’ve been reconstructing smiles for over 35 years with amazing results. But what’s the fuss surrounding dental implants and are they really worth it? Lets answer some question to help you decide for yourself.

Can anyone get a dental implant? Anyone who is healthy enough to get a dental implant can get one placed as long as they have enough bone to support the implant. This is where bone grafting comes in for those who have been told their jawbone won’t hold an implant. Keeping up with regular oral hygiene is also an important factor and heavy smokers may be told it’s not a safe option.

What exactly is a dental implant? A dental implant replaces your tooth root usually with a biologically compatible metal post. It provides a solid structure on which to place a new crown that is made to match your real teeth. Dental implants not only improve the overall look of your smile but they’re durable, convenient, and easy to take care of.

What are the steps to getting a dental implant? As your dentist, we will want to develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on your specific needs. Once we have agreed on a treatment plan, the next step will be the placement of the implant in your jaw. The implant is made of titanium and once placed the jawbone will actually begin to grow around it. In about six to twelve weeks the implant will have completely bonded to your jaw and it will be time to attach a small custom made post (abutment) that connects your new tooth to the implant. We create an impression of your mouth that allows us to create your new tooth. This replacement tooth is then attached to the post and the implant process is complete!

Lastly, how painful are dental implants and are they difficult to take care of? Most patients have said they experienced very little discomfort when receiving their implant. Many have even said the process is much less painful than a tooth extraction. Mild pain that may occur for a few days after you receive your implant can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Dental implants require the same attention and care as your own teeth. Maintaining healthy gum attachment and bone support are important for attaining long term implant success.

We hope this answers some of the questions surrounding dental implants. If you’re missing a tooth or teeth and would like more information please feel free to call our office. We’ve see many patients leave happy and comfortable with their improved smile!

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Teeth in the News- Dental Care Reduces Respiratory Infections in the ICU

We are always pleased to pass along any oral health information to our patients and their families as we come across it in our various news sources. Simply put: we love it when we find teeth in the news!

Tooth illustration with icon

 

While we don’t spend significant time in hospitals ourselves, we were still happy to hear about a recent study that suggests that patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital benefit from enhanced dental care in more ways than you would expect!

Typically, in an ICU setting, patients receive routine oral hygiene treatments from the nurse staff. However, when researchers assigned half of the patients to receive enhanced dental care from a dentist that included brushing, tongue scraping, calculus removal and more, they found that those patients were 56% less likely to develop a respiratory tract infection during their ICU stay.

This is significant because hospital-acquired infections such as respiratory infections are not uncommon due to the nature of the hospital environment and can be dangerous for vulnerable patients. You may be wondering “What is the connection between oral hygiene and respiratory infections?” In fact, infections such as these often originate in the oral cavity. Catching them early before they get into the major organs of the body may be one way to combat healthcare-associated infections.

This is just another example of how your oral health affects the health of your whole body! Be sure to employ excellent brushing and flossing habits at home while you are well to avoid additional problems in your body down the road!

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Teeth Whitening- At Home vs In-Office Treatments

Over the last decade, at-home tooth whitening systems have become more abundant, more varied, and more affordable. A quick walk through your local drug store is all you need to do to know that there is an endless supply of teeth bleaching treatments that you can do at home to achieve a whiter smile.

Teeth Whitening At Home vs In Office

You may be wondering, “If it’s so easy to access these products in a store, why would I want to spend the time and money to have my teeth whitened in my dentist’s office?”

Here are the top five reasons that we recommend that you come see us first if you are interested in whitening your smile:

 

  1. Whiter whitening: Over the counter bleaching products can only contain 10% peroxide, while our in-office treatments can contain 25-40% peroxide, offering a whiter white!
  2. Quicker: The higher concentration of peroxide combined with other safety and acceleration tools like lasers allow us to whiten your teeth much more quickly than can be done at home.
  3. Fewer Side Effects: At home, some people experience damage to the tooth or surrounding gum area when whitening their teeth, causing pain or sensitivity. By contrast, in the office, we have access to preventative tools that can protect your gums and teeth from damage from bleaching.
  4. Always Examine First! It is always wise to have an oral exam prior to your whitening procedure, as we can detect potential problems, areas that are prone to sensitivity, and even help you choose your best path to a whiter smile.
  5. Best of Both Worlds: If you still want to try at-home treatments, give us a call. We can send you home with approved whitening treatments to give you the protection, convenience and the whiter smile that you desire.

Strawberries and Baking Soda for Whiter Teeth

You may have heard the recent claim that a mixture of fruit and baking soda applied to the teeth will whiten them dramatically, inexpensively and in a much more “organic” way than traditional bleaching methods.

Strawberries and Baking Soda

In particular, young adults and teens have shown themselves to be susceptible to this advice. They readily experiment with it and spread the idea throughout their community because the materials involved are so easily accessible.

While the claim has some merit and certainly comes from well-meaning sources, we feel that we should set the record straight. New research done on the subject from Professor So Ran Kwon of the University of Iowa shows that while the mixture does brighten the smile a bit, it does so merely by removing superficial debris. So although the teeth may look whiter, the effect is short-lived. As plaque and debris build up again, the teeth will darken.

In addition to that, the fruit and baking soda mixture method may reduce the surface hardness of your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay.

To achieve a permanently whiter smile, what you really need is a substance that penetrates into teeth and breaks down stain molecules, whitening teeth from the inside out for better and longer-lasting results.

If you want whiter teeth, we urge you to use ADA approved methods for achieving that brighter smile!