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Posts for: December, 2015

By Advanced Dental Concepts
December 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health
DrTravisStorkDontIgnoreBleedingGums

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.


By Advanced Dental Concepts
December 08, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj disorders   tmd   tmj  
ClickingJawWhenShouldYouBeConcerned

Have you noticed a clicking, popping, or grating sound when you open or close your jaw? As many as 36 million U.S. adults experience this phenomenon in one or both of the joints that connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull.

While the sounds may be disconcerting, there’s generally no cause for concern in the absence of other symptoms. They’re most likely caused by a harmless shift in the position of the disk inside each temporomandibular (jaw) joint, and it can diminish or disappear entirely over time. But, if you’re also experiencing persistent discomfort, severe pain, or limited function in your jaw (which can include getting it “stuck” in an opened or closed position), then you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder — part of a complex set of conditions affecting one or both jaw joints, muscles and/or other surrounding tissues. (You may have heard the condition called TMJ, which is actually the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint itself. Health care professionals prefer TMJD or TMD.)

Depending on the severity, TMD can interfere with your ability to speak, chew and even make facial expressions. The cause is unclear, but genes, gender, environment, stress and behavior are believed to play a role. It can also be symptomatic of a larger medical problem, such as fibromyalgia, which can produce pain all over the body.

Management Options for TMD

TMD traditionally was viewed as a bite problem (malocclusion) requiring mechanical correction — e.g., through orthodontic braces or surgery. But the current therapeutic model approaches TMD as an orthopedic problem (joint inflammation, muscle soreness, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk damage) and favors a sequence of conservative, reversible procedures — hot or cold compresses in the jaw area, soft foods, physical therapy/massage, medication, and/or a bite guard to decrease pressure on jaw joints from tooth clenching and grinding — prior to more aggressive, irreversible treatment alternatives.

If you would like more information about TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Seeking Relief from TMD” and “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”


By Advanced Dental Concepts
December 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Teeth Whitening  

In recent years, the demand of big, white, Hollywood smiles has risen dramatically. For this reason, teeth whitening has become one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. It can rejuvenate your smile, lifting stubborn stains and leaving your teeth several teeth whiteningshades whiter in as little as one appointment.

Teeth vs. Stains
Before you can understand how whitening procedures work, you must first understand the make up of your teeth. The teeth are made up of two layers. The enamel, or white, outer layer of the teeth, and the deeper layer, called the dentin, which is more yellow in color than the enamel. Staining is often caused by outside elements such as coffee, tea or smoking cigarettes. Staining could also be due to aging, which wears away enamel, causing the yellow-colored dentin to show through. Some situations, like trauma, can cause staining to begin in the lower dentin layer, making these stains much tougher to lift than those on the enamel.

Am I a good candidate for teeth whitening? 
Good candidates should have generally healthy teeth and gums and realistic expectations for whitening results. Patients with gum disease or cavities will need treatment for those conditions prior to having their teeth whitened. Teeth may also need to be professionally cleaned before a whitening procedure can take place. Children under the age of 16 or pregnant women should not undergo teeth whitening procedures.

What about at-home whitening kits? 
At-home kits may work to lift some of the less stubborn stains that can appear on teeth. However, the chemicals are not as strong as the supervised in-office treatments, meaning that much more drastic results are seen in less time.

If you have been dreaming about having a Hollywood smile, there is no time like the present to schedule a teeth whitening session with Dr. Richard D Hopgood, DMD, MAGD of Advanced Dental Concepts in Andover, MA. Call (978) 475-2431 to schedule your appointment today!