Questions and Answers

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What is periodontal disease?
Can gum disease affect my general health?
What is xerostomia (dry mouth)?
How can you predict (how will I know) what a reconstruction will be like?
What is equilibration?
How are Botox and Dermal Fillers used in Dentistry?

What is Periodontal Disease (gum disease)?

Periodontal disease (pyorrhea) is a bacterial infection and chronic inflammation that is the major cause of 70% of tooth loss after the age of thirty-five. It gets under your gums eating away at the bone that supports your teeth. Teeth become loose and may be lost if untreated. Over 90% of us have some form of gum disease.

Some people are at greater risk. Genetics are a factor. Chances are that if mom or dad lost their teeth, had ‘bad teeth’ or periodontal disease you are at greater risk. Tobacco users create more irritation and inability to fight gum infection. A dry mouth makes you more susceptible to periodontal disease and decay. Other risk factors include stress, clenching or grinding your teeth, ‘bad bites’, failing dental work, a reduced immune system and some medical conditions such as diabetes. Additionally, use of some medications such as anti-depressants, sinus, allergy, and anti-seizure drugs, hormones and certain heart medications can affect your oral health.

What can you do? Developing a long term program both at home and with our office to control periodontal disease is the best investment you can make to keep your teeth a lifetime. The cost of regular preventive dental care is much less than allowing something small to become large. With all of the maintenance aids and medications that are available, most problems can be kept in check with a customized program to address your specific needs.

Can gum disease affect my general health?

Gum disease is not just a dental problem, but can pose a health risk to a susceptible person. Studies show a link between gum disease and other health problems. Bacteria grow around our teeth and under our gums. Left untreated the bacteria can become harmful and can enter the blood stream and travel to various organs.

Studies indicate that these wandering bacteria can contribute to cardiovascular disease; the number one cause of death in the United States. Diabetic patients are at increased risk as their bodies have more trouble fighting off infections. Pregnant women have greater risks of developing a pre-term, low birth weight baby when periodontal disease is present.

Each day more studies show the correlation of good general health and a non-infected body!

What is Xerostomia (dry mouth)?

Xerostomia, or dryness of the mouth can create havoc. Since less saliva is being produced, the protective cells and enzymes contained within the saliva are less able to fight the bacteria of periodontal disease and decay. As a result there is a greater and more severe incidence of these problems. The parched feeling in your mouth, your tongue sticking to the roof of your mouth and food sticking to your teeth comes from the lack of lubrication.

Probably all of us will experience some dryness as time marches on but there are circumstances that magnify the dryness and the problems associated. Many of the medications listed above cause an increased dryness in your mouth. Smoking generates heat and evaporates whatever moisture may be present. Mouth breathing (snoring) and use of positive air flow machines for sleep apnea will also create a desert effect. Radiation and chemotherapy associated with cancer treatment can cause a bad situation to get dramatically worse.

While there is no ‘magic pill’ to turn on the water flow, a thorough history and customized recommendations can help to keep your dental problems to a minimum. As the dryness may last a lifetime, so should the attention to detail in monitoring your situation.

How can you predict (how will I know) what a reconstruction will be like?

The comprehensive exam allows us to listen to your goals and take the building blocks that you give us and develop a course of action to meet those how will I knowgoals.

We may start with a mock up to show you quickly what some changes may look like. This may be done on your own teeth or with the help of computer imaging (see state of the art tab). This technique continues our communication so we can both understand your goals.

In patients that exhibit TMJ/ occlusal dysfunction problems (see tabs), bite splint therapy allows us to show you what a good bite feels like and allows us to test what we want to achieve without any alteration of your own teeth.

Once we pass the preliminary work, we usually do a wax up model of your teeth to see if the proposed treatment will give us the expected results. We must be able to produce a proper functional and cosmetic result with a model wax up to get a great end result in your mouth.

Now we are ready to start to make the changes. You will be placed into provisional (temporary) restorations to ‘test’ what has been planned. We are putting our prototype in function to see how it works and how it looks. We get the opportunity to fine-tune our plan…and when it is just right…we make the final restorations!

While this may seem like a lot of work to ‘fix your teeth’, fine predictable dental care takes skilled planning and execution. The old saying of measure twice and cut once is extremely valid for a predictable reconstruction. There is a difference in fast food and fine dining. What do you want?

What is equilibration?

Equilibration is the fine-tuning of your bite so it functions well and feels good. You should be able to feel your teeth hitting the same time and with equal pressures. When you move your teeth about, only the front section of your teeth should touch and not the back section.

In most cases this adjustment is accomplished by a slight alteration, a dental manicure of the shapes of your teeth. In some instances tooth structure needs to be added or repositioned. Many times this is performed on models first so the doctor can show you the result prior to starting and so there is a road map of what is to be expected when it is done in the mouth.

An equilibrated occlusion (biting scheme) allows your teeth to function the way they were designed with less risk of breaking and more are more likely to last a lifetime!

How are Botox and Dermal Fillers used in Dentistry?

Botox and Dermal Fillers can be used for both cosmetic and theraputic purposes in the facial area. They can be used to treat pain & Dysfunction in the head, neck & upper back area.

Botox affects the muscles. They become relaxed within a number of days after treatment, and then the lines in the skin above them smooth out. The action of Botox usually lasts about 3 months.

Dermal Fillers are composed of hyaluronic acid, a natural substance in your body. These work by plumping the area. It fills-in the area which age has caused to sag. Dermal Fillers usually last about 6 months.

Both of these procedures are reversible with time.

Botox is the number one cosmetic procedure in the world. Because of its action on muscles, Dr. Steinberg can use it in treating TMJ and muscular problems such as BRUXISM and TENSION HEADACHES. Currently, about 8% of the Botox manufactured is being used for dental related problems.

Call 215-735-8844 now to schedule your appointment!

 

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We're  dedicated to making a difference in the care and experience that our patients receive. We are committed to providing optimal dental care, thoroughness and excellence. Our goal is to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy and naturally beautiful for a lifetime.

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