Gingivitis Is Early-Stage Gum Disease, And Nothing To Ignore!

Periodontal (gum) disease, including Gingivitis, are infections in the mouth. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky film that constantly forms on teeth) causes inflammation on gum tissue.

Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease. It causes red and swollen gums that bleed easily although there is minimal discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often the result of inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and a proper oral home care regimen.

If not treated, Gingivitis will develop into full-blown Periodontitis. Eventually, plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Toxins from bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and create inflammation. This attacks the tissues and bone that support the teeth, causing gums to separate from the teeth, forming infection pockets between teeth and gums. Over time, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed even though you may experience only mild symptoms. Unfortunately, teeth will loosen and require removal in the latter stages of gum disease.

Bleeding or tenderness of gum tissue is not normal and the beginning of periodontal disease. We provide non-surgical therapy to combat periodontal disease comfortably. We also offer laser dentistry for certain stages of gum disease. Since the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to other serious health problems, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, preterm babies and stroke, tending to your oral health is a sound way to enhance your overall health and well-being!

What A Dental Laser Can Do For You

In our office, we use the Nd Yag Dental Laser. This laser allows for precision therapy of oral tissue, including gum recontouring, bacteria removal, uncovering implants, repair of oral ulcers, and other oral tissue related procedures. It is also able to pinpoint specific areas for treatment, minimizing disruption to healthy areas of teeth and gums. The laser can even heal cold sores almost immediately.

Treatment with this laser means minimal or no bleeding. It reduces numbing requirements and performs gum recontouring or tissue repair with precision and speed.  Typically, healing time is also reduced.

The bottom line is, the Nd Yag Laser enhances your comfort and speeds healing time. This is just one of the many advanced technology features we are proud to provide for the optimal care and comfort of our patients!

Our Staff Has Staying Power!

In our office, we have 12 very talented team members, and I’m proud to say 6 have been with me for over ten years with another 4 on board for more than 7 years! Only 2 have less than 3 years’ longevity.

People ask me what keeps team members so happy at a dental office. I believe it is respect for our patients, each other and the quality of care we deliver. I recently asked
Robin, one of our Hygienists here for over 14 years. She shared, “We all think of one another like family and feel the same about our patients. We’re given opportunities to grow through continuing education courses and training in new technology. As far as a dental practice, we feel this is an ideal environment!”

I’m very proud to be surrounded by such a terrific team. More than that, however, I’m pleased that our patients feel the benefits of their dedication and commitment, too!

Snoring Doesn’t Always Accompany Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea sufferers endure a nightly pattern where they stop breathing for up to a minute, then wake up gasping for air. This can occur for a hundred or more times a night. Many assume that heavy snorers are only the ones who have this problem. Surprisingly, one-fourth of the patients diagnosed with Sleep Apnea never make a peep!

Sleep Apnea is such a dangerous condition that goes undiagnosed, especially for those who are not heavy snorers. This is one of the reasons we offer a ‘take-home’ sleep study.

When Sleep Apnea is suspected, rather than go through a costly night in a sleep center, we can arrange for a sleep study in the comfort of your home using Sleep Optima. The cost is very reasonable and medical insurance typically covers half.

The Sleep Optima device is shipped directly to your home. To begin the test, you simply push one button when you are ready to go to sleep. When you awaken in the morning, you push the same button to turn it off, place the device in the envelope provided and put it in the mailbox.

Within several weeks, our office receives the results, which have been read by a Board Certified Sleep Doctor. The findings are then reviewed with you and, if an oral appliance is recommended, we work with Sleep Optima to obtain appropriate coverage information from your medical insurance. I then begin your treatment by creating a custom-designed oral appliance that is comfortable and will not interfere with your sleep.

We recently treated a patient who had severe Sleep Apnea, although his wife stated he slept silently all night.  Once we got his sleep study, I was shocked to see his minimal snoring with such a huge Sleep Apnea problem.

Through Sleep Optima, Sleep Apnea sufferers can get an accurate diagnosis without an expensive and time-consuming process. Plus, this process helps ‘silent sleepers’ rule Sleep Apnea either IN or OUT and begin conservative treatment if it’s truly the culprit to sleep deprivation.

Not All Crowns Are Created Equal!

We occasionally get calls from people asking, “How much do you charge for a crown?”

This is similar to calling a shoe store and asking, “How much are a pair of shoes?” Like shoes, this question is too complicated to answer with a figure, since crowns can vary greatly in quality, size and complexity.

In our office, we have advanced training to provide restorations that fit superbly on treated teeth while aligning perfectly with adjacent teeth, ensuring a healthy bite. In addition to the look, feel and function of your crown is the longevity. An inexpensive crown may save you some money up front, but eventually, you’ll understand why it was so cheap. Crowns are constructed of materials that must able to withstand years of heavy-duty wear and tear. The less-expensive ones are made of less-expensive materials. Thus, they tend to wear down sooner from cracks, fractures and breaks.

Remember, you get what you pay for. Crowns are no exception. We are proud of the beautiful, quality smiles we create.

Headaches? Migraines? Sore Jaws? Clenching or Grinding? Read On …

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD) describes conditions that affect jaw muscles, jaw joints, and nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Problems involving the TMJ are often attributed to a misaligned bite. When upper teeth do not meet properly to lower teeth, the strain on joints and muscles of the jaw, face, head and neck can lead to headaches, jaw pain, and even migraines.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

• Frequent Headaches or Migraines

• Face or Neck Pain

• Painful Jaw Joints

• Chipped, Worn or Broken Teeth

• Grinding or Clenching

• Clicking or Popping Jaw

Because proper bite alignment is such an important component of comprehensive dentistry, Dr. Barbat has advanced training on TMJ disorders and uses the latest technology and techniques in this area.

Re-establishing proper occlusion for a patient’s teeth is the first step in allowing associated joints and muscles to work together in a balanced manner. She works with each patient on an individual basis to provide a treatment protocol that restores optimal harmony of muscles, teeth and joints.

If you have experienced sore jaw joints, frequent headaches or migraines, facial pain, or feel that you are grinding or clenching your teeth during sleep, call our office to learn the best way you can overcome this destructive problem. Treatment may be as simple as wearing a comfortable, custom-made mouth appliance during sleep.

Most patients sleep peacefully and are pain-free after treatment, even those who’ve experienced years of debilitating symptoms. Don’t continue to suffer when the solution may be just a phone call away — (586) 739-2155.

Sores In The Mouth

They are annoying and painful! Mouth sores may be symptoms of a disease or disorder. Any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer should be examined. Among the most common are:

Canker sores: Small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. Unlike cold sores, canker sores appear inside the mouth. They are not contagious but their exact cause is uncertain. Some experts believe that immune system problems, bacteria or viruses may be involved. Fatigue, stress or allergies can increase their likelihood. A cut caused by biting the cheek or tongue, or reactions from hot foods or drinks may contribute to canker sore development. Intestinal problems, such as ulcerative colitis, seem to make some people more susceptible. Canker sores usually heal on their own after a week. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics, steroid preparations, and antimicrobial mouth rinses can provide temporary relief. If preferred, our dental laser can painlessly heal these with a pass or two.

Cold sores: Also called fever blisters or Herpes simplex, these groups of fluid-filled blisters often erupt around the lips, under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores caused by herpes virus type 1 are very contagious. Herpes lesions look like tiny fluid-filled blisters that are commonly around the edge of the lips. An outbreak may follow a fever, sunburn, skin abrasions or emotional upset. Cold sores usually heal in a week. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide relief. Prescription antiviral drugs may reduce the duration of these viral infections.

Leukoplakia: This is a thick, whitish-color patch that forms on the inside of the cheeks, gums or tongue. These patches are caused by excess cell growth and are common among tobacco users. They can result from irritations such as an ill-fitting denture or the habit of chewing on the inside of the cheek. A danger is that leukoplakia can progress to cancer. If suspected, we will determine the need for a biopsy.

A sore or spot in or around the mouth that doesn’t heal within two weeks definitely needs to be examined. If you’re not sure what you have or if your sore persists, call our office to arrange a time to be seen promptly.

October Is National Dental Hygiene Month!

What better time to re-dedicate yourself to your oral health and wellness than October, which is National Dental Hygiene Month! Here are ways to avoid problems, minimize (or avoid) treatment costs and keep dental visits short and sweet!

– Thoroughly brush your teeth (a minimum of 3 minutes) twice a day. Use a medium or soft bristle tooth brush. Electric tooth brushes do an even better job of vibrating food particles out of hard to reach places between teeth, so use one of those if possible.

– Floss daily! There is no substitute for this action. Once you’re in the habit of it, it will take just a couple of minutes and you’ll wonder why it was such a big deal before.

– If you’ve been especially prone to cavities in the past, swish with a non-alcohol mouthwash once or twice a day. This action helps to keep bacteria levels down.

– Use a tongue scraper daily to remove additional bacteria from the grooves of the tongue. Bacteria embed themselves here and reproduce all day, contributing to bad breath and the sticky film on teeth that becomes plaque if not removed.

– Remember, each time you eat or drink (anything other than water), an acid attack begins. This is harmful to tooth enamel. After eating, brush, swish with water or chew sugarless gum to counteract this.

– See us for your 6-month check-up and dental hygiene cleaning to remove any plaque build-up. This visit can also catch problems while they are still small and easy to repair, or even note areas that are at-risk so you can pay special attention to them to prevent further damage.

Like putting oil in your car and having your tires rotated and aligned periodically, keeping your smile in good condition helps you prevent problems and saves you from costly repairs down the road! Devote time each day to your smile, as well as twice a year in our office, to ensure all is well. Your smile is a special part of every day, so give it the attention it deserves!

Repairing A Gap Between Front Teeth

When adult teeth emerge, some people find their two front teeth fail to come together, leaving a gap. This is called diastema (dy-as-tee-mah). Repairing this with today’s exceptional techniques and materials in dentistry typically requires only one or two visits.

Depending on the width of the gap, bonding may be the easiest method to close the space. In this process, a tooth-colored resin material is applied to the teeth. Shading is carefully matched and the surface is polished to give a natural appearance. This is the least expensive method; however, bonding, particularly on front “biting” teeth, is more vulnerable to chipping or breaking than with porcelain veneers.

Porcelain veneers are custom-designed “shells” that are attached to the front of teeth. Veneers give the most durable, natural feel and appearance possible, even reflecting light as a natural tooth. This method also requires minimal disruption to the natural tooth, even though a veneer can give new shape or size to the tooth for a more flattering look.

When teeth are badly turned or shaped, porcelain crowns may be the best way to close the space. This method requires existing the tooth to be reshaped to accept a custom-designed crown. The crown covers the top and sides of the tooth, while protecting the natural tooth portion underneath. Crowns, like veneers, give excellent longevity and have natural appeal.

If the space is wide, other front teeth may need to be involved in treatment. This keeps the teeth visible in your smile to balanced proportions. Otherwise, you could end up with two, very wide front teeth that close the gap but fail to achieve an appealing smile.

After an examination, we explain the option that will give the best results to each patient. Once you understand the choices, you will have taken the first step to regain a smile you’ll love!