Posts for: December, 2018
While the term “plastic surgery” might bring to mind face lifts or tummy tucks, not all procedures in this particular surgical field are strictly cosmetic. Some can make a big difference in a person’s health.
One example is periodontal plastic surgery, which corrects gum tissue loss around the teeth. Although these procedures can indeed improve appearance, they more importantly help save teeth.
Gum loss is most often a consequence of periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection arising from a thin film of food particles on the teeth called dental plaque. As the disease weakens the gums’ attachment to teeth, they shrink back or recede, exposing the area around the roots. Without the protective cover the gums provide the roots, they become more susceptible to decay.
In milder cases of gum recession, treating the infection often results in the gums regaining their normal attachment to teeth. But with more advanced recession, natural gum healing may not be enough to reverse it. For such situations grafting donor tissue to the recessed area can help stimulate new tissue growth.
While gum tissue grafts can come from an animal or other human, the most likely source is from the person themselves. In one type of procedure, free gingival grafting, the surgeon locates and completely removes (or “frees”) a thin layer of skin resembling gum tissue, typically from the roof of the mouth, shapes it and then transplants it by suturing it to the recession site. Both donor and recipient sites heal at about the same rate in two to three weeks.
Another technique is known as connective tissue grafting. In this procedure the surgeon partially removes the donor tissue from its site while leaving a portion containing blood vessels intact. The palatal tissue is still used and transported to fit beneath the tissue that’s still attached to the blood supply. This connective tissue graft is then positioned and sutured to the recipient site while still maintaining its blood supply connection at the donor site. Maintaining this connection facilitates healing and increases the chances the graft will “take” and become firmly attached to the new site.
Grafting procedures require advanced techniques and skills. But with them we may be able to restore gum attachment to teeth with an impact on appearance and dental health that’s well worth the effort.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”
Rediscover your self-confidence with a beautiful smile crafted by veneers.
Do you feel like your smile isn’t as perfect as you would like it to be? Do certain imperfections such as small chips in your teeth, discolorations and gaps make you feel embarrassed to smile? If you said “yes” then you are in luck. Our Reno, NV, cosmetic dentist Dr. Melinda Kuhn can help you create the ideal smile with help from dental veneers.
What are dental veneers?
Chances are good that if you’ve ever coveted a Hollywood actor’s smile then you’ve been complimenting their dental veneers. Veneers are simple porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth to completely transform and improve the color, shape and alignment of your smile. Veneers can cover common dental blemishes and give you a smile that looks more attractive.
What are the benefits of dental veneers?
As you might imagine, this simple cosmetic solution can provide a lot of amazing benefits for its wearers. Here are some benefits you’ll enjoy with dental veneers:
It’s a minimally invasive procedure
If you want a simple way to enhance your appearance without turning to time-consuming or aggressive treatments then dental veneers might be the right choice. It only takes about 2-3 visits to get your new and improved smile and tooth preparation is minimal. Since this treatment doesn’t require extensive tooth prep, anesthesia is not typically required.
You’ll have a beautiful smile for life
Since we do have to shave off a very small amount of enamel from the front of your teeth, once this happens your veneers are meant for life. Veneers can last up to 10 years or longer, with the proper care. Plus, our Reno, NV, dentist will just replace your old veneers with beautiful new ones once it’s time. Imagine having a perfect smile for the rest of your life.
Achieve a straighter smile
Some patients want to cover gaps between teeth, minor crowding, or crooked teeth but don’t love the idea of wearing braces. Fortunately, if you are only dealing with small misalignments in your smile, you may be able to turn to veneers to hide these issues and to give you a straighter smile without even having to wear braces.
Another amazing benefit is that dental veneers can hide many common dental imperfections. Do you have unsightly internal stains caused by taking antibiotics? Did a sports injury leave your front tooth slightly chipped? Does your canine stick out like a sore thumb? These are all issues that veneers can address. These custom-made porcelain shells can easily alter the shape, size, length and color of one or more teeth.
Kuhn Family Dentistry in Reno, NV, is dedicated to providing you and your family with the comprehensive and gentle dental care you are looking for. Want to find out if you are an ideal candidate for dental veneers? Then call our office today to schedule a consultation.
Cardiovascular disease and periodontal (gum) disease are two different conditions with their own set of symptoms and outcomes. But they do share one common element: inflammation. In fact, this otherwise normal defensive response of the body might actually create a link between them.
When tissues become damaged from disease or injury, the body triggers inflammation to isolate them from the rest of the body. This allows these tissues to heal without affecting other tissues. If inflammation becomes chronic, however, it can damage rather than protect the body.
This happens with both cardiovascular disease and gum disease. In the former, low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad cholesterol”) in animal fat leave behind remnants that can build up within arteries. This stimulates inflammation of the vessel’s inner linings, which accelerates hardening and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.
With gum disease, bacteria living in a thin, built-up film of food particles on the teeth called plaque infect the gum tissues, which in turn trigger inflammation. A struggle ensures between the infection and inflammation, causing the gum tissues to weaken and detach from the teeth. Coupled with erosion of the supporting bone, the risk of tooth loss dramatically increases.
Recent research now seems to indicate the inflammatory responses from these two diseases may not occur in isolation. There is evidence that gum inflammation could aggravate inflammation in the cardiovascular system, and vice-versa. The research, though, points to some possible good news: treating inflammation in either disease could have a positive effect on the other.
Making heart-friendly lifestyle changes like losing extra weight (especially around the waist), improving nutrition, and exercising regularly can help reduce LDL and lower the risk of arterial inflammation. Likewise for your gums, daily oral hygiene and visiting the dentist at least twice a year reduces the risk for gum disease. And at the first sign of a gum infection—swollen, reddened or bleeding gums—seeking immediate treatment will stop it and reduce any occurring inflammation.
Taking steps to prevent or reduce inflammation brought on by both of these diseases could improve your health and save your life.
If you would like more information on how your oral health affects your whole body, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Link between Heart & Gum Disease.”