Dental Glossary

Periodontist

Who is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dental specialist who is also known as a gum specialist. They specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal gum disease, and in teeth replacement using dental implants. Periodontists, or Periodontal specialists, are also skilled experts in saving teeth by treating many of the oral and dental diseases including inflammation. As Periodontists, they receive extensive specialty training in the areas of dental implants and gum disease treatment that includes an additional three years of education beyond dental school. These gum specialists are familiar with the latest innovations in diagnosing and treating periodontal gum disease and are well trained in performing cosmetic periodontal and dental implant procedures. Due to their extensive training, they can recognize and treat the early stages of gum inflammation before it gets out of hand; perform minor oral surgery to resolve complicated cases of gum disease, and use lasers or gum grafting techniques to restore the appearance of a smile. Periodontists often treat complex and more problematic periodontal conditions in patients with severe gum disease, or on those with a complex medical history. Periodontists help patients by treating severe gum disease using gum surgical procedures, osseous surgery, regenerative gum surgery, and so on. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in dental reconstruction using placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.

Oral Surgery

What is oral surgery?

When you hear someone say the words "oral surgery," you may think of a hospital setting, being put to sleep, and having a few days of recovery from this type of surgical procedure, and so on. You might be surprised to learn what is actually considered oral surgery in dentistry. Hang tight and keep watching! Any dental procedures that involve some blood may be categorized as oral surgery, although these procedures are simply performed in a dental office setting. Many conditions that require oral surgery include impacted wisdom teeth, missing teeth, loose dentures, infected teeth, lumps and bumps in your face or mouth, and so on. The oral surgical procedures for these conditions include, but are not limited to, wisdom teeth removal ( also called third molar surgery), dental extractions, dental implant placement, bone grafting, biopsy procedure to treat oral cancer, and so on. I understand the nervousness people feel when they hear the word “surgery.” But, believe it or not, it is not as scary as you might think. Many patients requiring these types of procedures can be relaxed in many ways. A dentist can use a laughing gas called nitrous oxide, a happy pill called Halcion, or you can be put to sleep using a variety of intravenous medications. Even better than that, many adults – once they understand the simplicity of the procedure, elect to undergo the procedure just with some simple numbing medications like Novocain. Next time when your dentist says you need oral surgery, dental surgery, or you need to go see an oral surgeon, don't be scared. It might be easier than what you think with the many techniques that modern oral surgery can offer.

Dental Surgery

What is dental surgery?

Dental surgery is a term used to describe many dental procedures that involve surgically modifying the teeth, jaw bones, gum tissue or associated structures in the mouth. Here I have some helpful tips that you need to know about dental surgery. Hang tight and keep watching! Many times the term “dental surgery” refers to the simple dental surgical procedures that your family dentist does every day in their own office. Some of these procedures include, but are not limited to simple dental extractions, removal of fully erupted wisdom teeth, frenectomy to reposition the highly attached lip tissue and so on. Some advanced and complex procedures like corrective jaw surgery, dental implant placement, bone grafting, regenerative periodontal surgery or gum grafting surgery will require a specific set of dental skills. These more difficult techniques fall into a branch of dentistry called oral surgery, or periodontal surgery, and they can only be performed by dental specialists like oral surgeons, oral & maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, or periodontal surgeons. When you need these more complex procedures, you will likely be required to see these dental specialists. Now you know these helpful tips, right. Next time when your friend or a family member asks, do dentists do surgery? You can tell them it depends on what type of surgery they need. It could be as simple as a dental extraction that could be performed by a family dentist, or it could be as advanced as a corrective jaw bone surgery that requires referral to a dental specialist such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Laser Gum Surgery

How is laser gum surgery performed?

Gum disease or periodontal disease is a serious condition that can make you lose all your teeth and may even kill you. If your dentist or periodontist has already told you that you need laser gum surgery and you are worried about the procedure and the cost, don’t panic. Hang tight and keep watching! Laser gum surgery is a procedure used to treat moderate to advanced periodontal disease. Would you be surprised if I told you, one in every three Americans suffers from this serious gum disease, and that this condition is treatable using laser gum surgery – and that it can be done at an affordable cost? There are many forms of treatment available to treat periodontal disease. When you suffer from the early stages of gum disease, it can be treated easily using deep cleaning, or scaling and rootplaning, and regular periodontal maintenance cleaning every 3 months. When you don't visit your dentist on a regular basis and let your gum disease get worse, the deep cleaning may not be as effective and you will need laser gum surgery. During laser gum surgery, a hair-thin optic fiber that carries the special laser energy enables the dentist to direct the light where needed. It can penetrate into the gum, bone and the surrounding tissues of the teeth, and it treats the infected gum and controls the bacteria or the bad germs that cause the gum disease. Laser gum surgery is innovative and easier on patients when compared to other traditional gum surgical procedures. We call it a no pain, no sew, and no cut procedure because there is minimal pain with no stitches or cutting involved. Talk to your dentist or periodontist to see if laser gum surgery is needed to control your periodontal disease.

Gum Graft Surgery

How a gum graft surgery is performed?

If you have a receding gum line or periodontal disease that caused them to recede, your dentist may recommend gum graft surgery. So what happens during this gum surgery and how will it benefit you? Keep watching to learn more! Did you know that a recent survey in the United States found that nearly 50% of all Americans - a whopping 65 million of them – suffer from this potentially deadly periodontal disease that causes gum recession leading to tooth loss? The good news is, the gum grafting surgery will help to correct your receding gum line. You need this treatment because gum recession exposes the roots of your teeth. During the gum grafting or gingival grafting procedure, your periodontist or dentist implants a graft tissue from the skin bank or gum tissue taken from your mouth, off your palate, or from another part of the mouth to cover the exposed root. This procedure is done for one tooth or several teeth at a time to even your gum line, reduce sensitivity, stop erosion of the root surface of your teeth, and to prevent cavities. There are some modern techniques available like minimally invasive gum grafting, tunneling gum grafting or a pinhole technique that will even make your surgical experience easier due to the minimal recovery time needed. Whether you need a gum graft to improve function or esthetics, you can sure enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting smile and improve your periodontal health at the same time. This could be the important key you need to smiling, eating and speaking with comfort and confidence. Talk to your periodontist or dentist about the type of gum grafting surgery that will give you the best outcome and the shortest recovery time possible.

Cosmetic Dentistry

What is cosmetic dentistry and what are the different types?

Cosmetic dentistry is the type of dentistry relating to the treatment intended to restore or improve a person's smile and appearance. What are the different types of cosmetic dentistry procedures available, and is cosmetic dentistry right for you? Keep watching to learn more about how cosmetic dentistry can help you, and particularly how it may not even cost you anything sometimes. Did you know that in the year 2016, the United States was considered the most valuable beauty and personal care market in the world, generating approximately 84 billion dollars in revenue? A significant portion of that spending was done at dental offices. Cosmetic dentistry involves various treatments that can be used to whiten, straighten, lighten, reshape and repair your teeth. Dentists can use many procedures to improve your smile, including veneers, dental implants, gummy smile correction, tooth colored or white fillings, cosmetic bonding of teeth, teeth whitening, braces, and cosmetic friendly crowns and bridges. Better yet, the best cosmetic dentistry that you can do yourself is to practice good home care by brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist twice a year for preventive maintenance. I can say that you can keep your teeth longer and prevent them from falling out if you do those simple things. In most cases, particularly if you have insurance, this does not cost anything at all, or only a couple of hundred dollars a year even if you don't have insurance. What a great way to keep your teeth longer, particularly the front ones you smile with, so your cosmetic smile is always in great shape.

Bad Breath

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath is no fun. Just imagine that you are going on a date, or that you are starting a new job and are going to talk to your new boss for the first time. Coming up, what causes your bad breath and what are the secret remedies to prevent it? Researchers estimate that over 80 million Americans suffer from chronic halitosis, commonly referred to as bad breath. Each year, Americans spend over $10 billion on oral hygiene products including mints, gums, mouthwashes, and toothpastes to combat chronic bad breath to mask the problem, sometimes with barely any results. You see, bad breath is caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth and they excrete volatile sulfur compounds as their waste products. Sulfur is the culprit behind your bad breath. Unless you find a way to combat the bacteria in your mouth, the toothpastes and mouthwashes only offer a temporary fix. Bad breath causes various problems, including periodontal disease or gum disease, poorly fitting dental appliances or crowns or bridges, yeast infections of the mouth, broken teeth, dental caries or cavities, a medical condition called dry mouth or xerostomia, and so on and so forth. The magic to controlling bad breath includes, 1) practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day; 2) stopping smoking; 3) drinking lots of water; 4) seeing your physician to check whether the medications you are taking are causing dry mouth; 5) most significant of all is seeing your dentist twice a year for your routine dental care and maintenance cleanings, even if you feel you have mint teeth. Certainly, if you still have bad breath after practicing all the above, it may be time for you to talk to your dentist about collaborating care with your medical team to find other underlying causes. Don't take it easy when it comes to bad breath, it might be something more serious than you think, socially, and medically.

Bad breath is no fun. Just imagine you are going on a date or you are starting a new job and are going to talk to your new boss for the first time. Coming up, what causes your bad breath and what are the secret remedies? Researchers estimate that over 80 million Americans suffer from chronic halitosis, commonly referred to as bad breath. Each year, Americans spend over $10 billion on oral hygiene products including mints, gums, mouthwashes, and toothpastes to combat chronic bad breath to mask the problem, sometimes with barely any results. You see the bad breath is caused by the bacteria that live in the mouth and these bacteria excrete volatile sulfur compounds as their waste products and are the sulfur is the culprit of bad. Unless you find a way to combat the bacteria in your mouth, the toothpastes and mouthwashes are only a temporary fix. Bad breath causes various problems, including, periodontal disease or gum disease, poorly fitting dental appliances or crowns or bridges, yeast infections of the mouth, broken teeth, dental caries or cavities, a medical condition called dry mouth or xerostomia, and so on and so forth. The magic to controlling the bad breath includes, 1) practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day; 2) stopping smoking; 3) drinking lots of water; 4) seeing your physician to check whether the medications you are taking are causing dry mouth; 5) most significant of all is seeing your dentist twice a year for your routine dental care and maintenance cleanings, even if you feel you got mint teeth. Certainly, if you still have bad breath with practicing all the above it may be time for your talk to your dentist about collaborating care with your medical team to find other underlying causes. Don't take it easy when it comes to bad breath, it might be something serious that you think, socially and medically.

Emergency Dentist

When you need to see an emergency dentist?

Who likes having an emergency health issue? Yet, emergencies usually happen without any notice. As a dental specialist, I commonly hear from people that they are very clueless when it comes to managing their dental emergencies. Keep watching and I will explain in this video how to recognize some of the most common dental emergencies and how you can save money and time. The term “dental emergency” is a broad, umbrella term used to describe an unexpected issue involving the teeth. Although some of them require emergency and immediate attention, many of these conditions can wait for treatment. Many times, if you decide to attend the nearest ER for some emergency dental conditions that you feel are critical, the ER physician may still end up asking you to see a dentist because many ERs don’t have a dentist on staff. Having said that, there really are only a few life-threatening dental conditions that will be treated by the ER team. Afterward, you can go see the dentist or your periodontist or oral surgeon for appropriate treatment. Some of these life-threatening emergencies that must get emergency treatment include the sudden increasing of dental swelling that leads to a condition called cellulitis that starts to block your airway, a tooth avulsion - which means that the complete tooth is coming out of the dental socket, a dental abscess causing high fever and sickness, a severe toothache that does not respond to over-the-counter pain medication even when you double up on the dosage, and trauma to teeth resulting in severe bleeding that cannot be stopped by applying pressure. Many times I hear my patients describing a mild to moderate toothache, particularly the ones that respond to over the counter medications, a chipped tooth, a tooth that cracked while biting, a broken denture, as emergencies, although they are not at all life-threatening. Be aware of these life-threatening versus non-life-threatening dental emergencies so you can save yourself significant trouble, an unnecessary waste of your time, and some money by not visiting the ER or paying hefty after-hours fees at an emergency dental facility. Next time when something happens to you, if it is life-threatening, attend the nearest emergency facility, or talk your family dentist, periodontist, or oral surgeon who may be able to give you some recommendations over the phone to later get you into their facility to handle this appropriately. If it is a non-life-threatening dental condition, call your family dental team at the soonest available opportunity to make an appointment so they can help you save significant money as well as providing the best treatment available because they know your oral condition to guide you in the right direction.

Oral Cancer Screening

What is oral cancer screening?

Oral cancer screening is an examination of your oral cavity, head, neck and other soft tissues around your mouth to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. Why is this oral cancer screen critical? Keep watching when I explain how you may save your life by preventing life-threatening cancer by getting this simple examination during your routine visit to your dentist or doctor. The current statistics indicate that over 50,000 people get an oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer annually with an estimated 10,000 people dying from them. The goal of oral cancer screening, of course, is to recognize and identify mouth cancer, but most significantly to spot early conditions that may turn into cancer if not attended to on time, that will turn into aggressive cancer. There is a greater chance for a cure when cancer, or these early conditions, are detected earlier rather than late. Most practitioners, particularly your dentist, will perform an examination of your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. While most dentists or dental hygienists perform only a visual examination, some dentists use special equipment to diagnose these lesions. People who use tobacco products, drink alcohol, or expose themselves to contract sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV or HIV, have increased exposure to the sun, or practice any other behavior that increases the risk of oral cancer, are at a higher risk of getting it, although anybody may get this nasty disease. Dentists employ special techniques including staining dyes, specialty lights, or scraping procedures during this screening process. If the screening process becomes positive, then your dentist may refer you to a periodontist or an oral surgeon for a definitive soft or hard tissue biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Next time, ask your dentist whether oral cancer screening is appropriate for you. Also, don't forget to explore ways you can reduce your risk of oral cancer, including quitting smoking and not drinking alcohol.

Pinhole Gum Surgery

How is pinhole gum surgery performed?

The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a surgical procedure meant to restore the gum line to the normal condition by correcting the gingival recession or receding of the gums. How is this pinhole surgery performed? Hang tight to keep watching and as a periodontist who does similar procedures on a day-to-day basis, I will explain how exactly this procedure is performed. An estimated 50 percent of the adults in the United States, that is a whopping 65 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease that causes gum recession. You may be one of them who is suffering from this gingival recession. If so, the pinhole procedure will immensely benefit you. Pinhole surgery is a gum grafting technique to restore and reconstruct the lost gums. The gingival grafting procedures have traditionally been performed by a group of dental specialists called Periodontists. The Pinhole procedure is a type of gum grafting. With the ever-increasing demand for this procedure, in addition to the periodontists, some specially trained general dentists have also started performing this procedure on their patients. I am sure you are familiar with a medical procedure called laparoscopy, which has been around for decades. It refers to a minimally invasive surgery that enables extensive surgeries on your body to be performed using just a small punch hole. Pinhole surgery is a similar procedure performed in the mouth using small pin-sized holes and the receding gums of the diseased teeth are fixed just using these pinholes. Because of the easy recovery that this minimally invasive procedure allows, it is sometimes referred to as a Lunchtime Gum Lift or Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation. Would you like to get rid of those ugly and disastrous receding gums with an easy recovery procedure? When you are at your dentist next time, be sure to ask about the minimally invasive lunchtime pinhole gum rejuvenation technique.

Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a life-threatening sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep and breathing repeatedly stops and starts multiple times per hour while you are sleeping. As a dental specialist who treats people for sleep apnea using a special dental appliance device, many people ask me, Can you die from sleep apnea? Keep watching and I will explain how this problem can end up taking your life. Many people die due to sleep apnea by itself, or through its interactions with other issues that affect other organs in your body. An estimated 7 to 10 percent of the American population suffers from this deadly disease and yet many of them are undiagnosed, which makes it even more dangerous. Because of the obstruction that occurs in your airway due to this disorder, it is also referred to as Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring, an often overlooked symptom. In addition to snoring, the laundry list of symptoms include several of the following: choking or gasping for air during sleep, restless sleep, frequent visits to the bathroom, incontinence, early morning headaches, excessive daytime fatigue, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, sense of irritability, depression, sleepiness during routine activities – including driving. Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. It affects more men than women. The risk factors include being overweight, being over age 40, large neck size, short neck, large tonsils, large tongue, small jaw bone, family history of sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux or GERD, nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems. Sleep apnea is associated with a growing number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, diabetes, depression, ADHD, and headaches. If you feel you may be at risk or have experienced one of these symptoms mentioned earlier, talk to your doctor or dentist about how you will benefit from several treatment options available to protect your life.

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