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HIDDEN DENTAL INFECTION AND HEART DISEASE

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You could have a dental infection and and not even know it!

A dental infection in the root of a tooth can increase your chances of heart disease, even if you don’t have any symptoms. These types of hidden dental infections are extremely common. Infections often go undetected until routine dental x-rays are taken and the infection is apparent. Most commonly, a root canal is indicated. Sometimes, the tooth is beyond repair and is recommended for extraction.

Dr. John Liljestrand, from the University of Helinski reports that “acute coronary syndrome is 2.7 times more common among patients with untreated teeth in need of root canal treatment than among patients without this issue.” This study was done at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases of the University of Helsinki and published in the Journal of Dental Research.

Cavities are the most common culprit in tooth root infection or infection of the dental pulp. Researchers are finding more and more evidence that connects dental infection to other chronic systemic disorders. For example periodontitis is an inflammatory disease causing low-grade inflammation. This inflammation is considered a risk factor for diabetes, coronary artery disease, low-weight births, rheumatoid arthritis and even certain types of cancer. Root tip infections in teeth appear to cause low-grade inflammation as well. Root canal treatment can eliminate the infection and hence the inflammation.

Heart disease causes more that 30% of deaths world-wide. With a healthy diet, exercise, weight control and not smoking, heart disease may be prevented. Treating oral infections can also add to this preventive regimen. Seeing your dentist on a regular basis and review of full mouth x-rays every 3-5 years can also be added to this preventive approach.

If you are seeing a physician for heart issues or planning for any kind of surgery, make sure you have clearance from your dentist or periodontist ruling out any evidence of dental infection. Often, doctors will delay surgery until any or all dental infections are cleared up.

Flossing Doesn’t Work? Says Who?

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If flossing has been recommended by dentists and hygienists for years, why isn’t there proof that flossing works? Recently, the newspaper, the internet and the TV have been blasted with articles claiming that “there is little proof that flossing works”. This statement was inappropriately fed to the media and will likely have a negative effect on the dental health of many people.

Every periodontal office sees the benefits of flossing on an hourly basis. People that don’t floss routinely wind up in the periodontal office with gum disease. People that have periodontal treatment and don’t floss after their treatment typically need to be retreated. People that floss correctly tend to stay healthy.

Why is there a lack of studies to support the benefit of flossing? Studies cost money and most studies are funded and supported by businesses. Big business companies are not going fund research on “preventive measures” that essentially would diminish their profitability. Therefore, to date there have only been a handful of studies and those studies are not necessarily noteworthy.

All scientists know that a study is only as good as it is designed. Scientific evidence is gathered through lengthy investigations with specific parameters and controls. If evaluated, the studies from which this information was prepared would not meet the appropriate criteria.

Another critical factor noted by supporters of flossing – did the participants in the research floss correctly? Most people that come to our periodontal office are very surprised to learn that although they may have been flossing they have been ineffective in their efforts. After coaching each patient individually to enhance their flossing technique, they can achieve excellent results and are able to maintain good periodontal health long- term.

The media articles also mentioned that flossing can occasionally cause harm, exhibited by floss cuts or even recession. This can happen when people floss too frequently or too vigorously. Again, instruction is essential. Unfortunately, insurers do not pay dentists or hygienists to spend time instructing their patients on how to floss. We include this coaching in every treatment plan we do, because our practice is prevention-focused. Insurance simply doesn’t pay for prevention.

So, to floss or not to floss? If you choose not to floss…travel at your own risk. Chances are much more likely we’ll be seeing you soon!

GUM DISEASE AND PREGNANCY

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Probably the last thing on the mind of an expectant mother is gum disease. However, the truth is that pregnancy can have a significant effect on the gums. Most commonly, pregnancy can cause “pregnancy gingivitis”. Pregnancy gingivitis is exhibited through red, swollen, tender and bleeding gum tissues.

In some instances, this irritation can actually lead to what is called “pregnancy tumors”. Fortunately, they are benign and painless and they usually go away after completion of the pregnancy. Occasionally, they do not go away and have to be removed by a periodontist. The best way to avoid pregnancy gingivitis is to visit your dentist if you are thinking about getting pregnant, or if you do become pregnant

Your periodontal health can affect the pregnancy and ultimately the health of your baby. Mothers that exhibit gum disease during the pregnancy may be twice as likely to develop preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure with the presence of protein in the urine. Studies have also shown that periodontal disease can lead to premature birth or low birth weight babies. Both prevention and treatment of periodontal disease can reduce these risks.

If you are considering pregnancy, it is a good idea to talk to your dentist or periodontist. A periodontal evaluation can be a smart part of your prenatal care!

What You Should Expect at a Dental Examination

Your first visit to a new dental office is an extremely important visit for you. The first visit is also important to the dentist. This visit will pave the way for all future visits and the future health of your mouth. There are so many dentists to choose from! Whether you look online, in a phone book or even as you drive down the road and see signs, you can see that there is no shortage of dentists. And guess what…all of them are different! Some dentists are highly trained and perform very complex dentistry. They love doing this kind of dentistry and they get great results. Others prefer doing basic dentistry, they love doing just that and they do it well. Unfortunately, there are some dentists that advertise that they are trained to do complex dentistry, but they are not. For the patient that just needs fillings and cleanings, most any dentist will suffice. However, if you need more complex dental work, you need to do some investigating to find a dentist who can provide you with quality, long-lasting dentistry. Here are some clues that you can use in your investigation:

1. The Examination
Your exam should include an assessment of not just your teeth, but your gums as well. (Would a home inspector not look at the foundation of a house during an inspection?) The appearance or esthetics should be considered. Do you like the way your teeth look when you smile? Would you like them to be straighter? Whiter? Do you have a “gummy” smile? Are any of your teeth mobile? Do any need root canals?
2. X-Rays
X-rays are a critical part of diagnosing dental disease. Diagnosing dental problems without x-rays is like working in the dark with your eyes closed. Of course nobody wants to be exposed to radiation more than necessary, but today’s x-rays allow us to see much more with much less radiation than years ago. Digital x-rays on the computer screen are enhanced and provide critical information. Cone Beam CT scans provide a three dimensional view of teeth and bone and are critical in the placement of dental implants, as well as helping to detect infections or other pathology that doesn’t show up on conventional x-rays.
3. Bite Evaluation
The way that teeth meet is a critical issue in your ability to chew and in keeping the dentition healthy long term. Often times, it is essential to get impressions for study models to best assess the bite situation.
4. Consultation
A two-way discussion with your dentist is so important. This lets the dentist know what your goals and desires are in regard to the future of your mouth. Time should be provided to ask any and all questions that you may have. This way, the dentist can formulate a treatment plan that will give you the results you are looking for. It is important to know what to expect from each visit.
If you make sure that none of these key points are missing from your dental visit, you and your mouth are more likely to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship with your dentist.

Dental Implants: Are They Always the Best Solution?

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Dental Implants: Are They Always the Best Solution?

At Greater Pittsburgh Dental Implants & Periodontics in Allison Park we have been placing dental implants for over 30 years. Even so, Dr. Weingarden and Dr. Bakuri will tell you that dental implants are not always the best treatment option. There are many factors that determine when a tooth should be extracted, and whether or whether not the best option for replacing them is the dental implant option.

We’ve all seen advertisements for “same day, low cost, made affordable” dentures, and certainly these “denture mills” serve a purpose for people who have no other options for saving their teeth. As a matter of fact, patients often say to us, “Just take them all out”. Sometimes that is the only solution, when teeth have reached the point of no return. Then maybe full-mouth extractions with implant-supported dentures are the way to go. But what if some of the teeth are treatable? There may be other options that would provide a more comfortable and possibly even less costly plan than full-mouth extractions.

But how does a patient know which treatment option will provide the most predictable, long-lasting results for them? If you are frustrated with your dental situation or need help in finding out the best answer for you, consult with a good periodontist. They will assess your situation and discuss ALL treatment options. From there you can make an informed decision and one that you can live with for many years to come.

Dental Implants…Experience the Freedom

Do you have missing teeth that you would like to replace? Are you unhappy with your current dentures? Do you have a partial that is driving you crazy? Well, you probably have heard that dental implants could be the answer to your prayers, but somehow you just can’t get up the nerve to find out more.

Fear no more. At Greater Pittsburgh Dental Implants & Periodontics, the office of Dr. Mark Weingarden and Dr. Sam Bakuri, we understand your apprehension. That is why we take the time to reassure you that you can get rid of painful dentures or annoying partials, and experience the freedom that dental implants provide…and it is easier than you think!

Our dental implant team is focused on your comfort before, during and after treatment. Before treatment, Dr. Weingarden or Dr.Bakuri will take time to answer all your questions and to put your mind at ease. During treatment, although nothing more than Novocain is necessary, we also offer IV sedation or oral sedation to help you relax or sleep through the procedure. After your implants have been placed, we provide medication for any post-operative discomfort, although the vast majority of our patients take nothing more than Advil.

Dental implants have become the standard of care for replacement of missing teeth and patients love them! Whether you are missing just one tooth or all of your teeth, dental implants can provide the comfort and function of natural teeth. Dental implants can help you smile with confidence and to eat anything you want, including crispy apples and juicy steaks!

If you are still hesitating, take a minute or two to read the many testimonials on our website from happy, smiling patients that took that first step and called us. And remember, beyond fear lies freedom!
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Dental Implants Pittsburgh…

How do you choose?

As you look through the phonebook and surf the internet you will see a number of dental offices in Pittsburgh that offer implant services. How do you decide which office to go to? How do you know who will provide successful and long lasting results? Here are a few reasons that you may want to consider Dr. Mark Weingarden and Dr. Sam Bakuri for your dental implant needs.

Experience Matters

Between them, Dr. Weingarden and Dr. Bakuri have over 40 years of experience in placing dental implants. Both doctors are board certified and have dedicated their careers to staying in the forefront of implant technology. Dr. Weingarden is the director of the Pittsburgh Dental Network and Dr. Bakuri is the director for the Pittsburgh Dental Horizon, study clubs that bring cutting-edge continuing education to the Pittsburgh dental community.

State-of-the-Art Technology

Not every office provides 3D imaging. In the office of Dr. Weingarden and Dr. Bakuri, you will receive the most appropriate, state-of-the art diagnostics in the planning and placement of your dental implants. 3D imaging allows the doctors to determine the quantity and quality of the jawbone, as well as the ability to establish the location of the nerve that runs along the jawbone and the location of the sinuses, critical in the proper placement of the implants. This diagnostic tool is now standard-of-care in placing dental implants!

Your Comfort is Our Priority

Your team at the office of Drs. Weingarden and Bakuri is ready and waiting to show you just how easy and rewarding dental implants can be. We offer oral sedation, IV sedation, and even a cozy blanket! If you are still hesitant, visit our website at www.pittsburghimplantsandperio.com and read the many testimonials from our smiling dental implant patients. If you have other questions regarding dental implants in Pittsburgh just give us a call.

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I Think I Have Gum Disease

perio_comboI Think I Have Gum Disease: What Should I do?

It is important to note that gum disease often has no symptoms. Sometimes there is redness, swelling, bleeding or bad breath. However, many times there are no symptoms to indicate there is infection or the symptoms may simply go unnoticed. For this reason, it is very important to see your dentist on a regular basis and to be sure you are being checked for gum disease.

Checking for gum disease includes measuring the “pocket” depth, (the space between the gum and the tooth), with a little instrument called a probe and taking full mouth x-rays at least once every five years. These are the diagnostics needed to properly diagnose gum disease. If your dentist does not include probing in his examination, you may need to see a periodontist.

Important note: Dental implants will never get a cavity, but they can be lost to gum disease!

Once periodontal disease has been diagnosed, there are various forms of treatment. Gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease, can be tackled with a few good cleanings and some improvement in brushing and flossing technique. For more significant disease, a more aggressive cleaning called scaling and root planing may be indicated. Scaling and root planing involves cleaning below the gum line with special instruments to remove bacteria and toxins from the tooth root. This is done with local anesthesia in one or more visits. For some, this is the only treatment necessary to get the gums back on track.

For even more advanced disease, use of the Perioscope may be recommended. The Perioscope is a fiber optic instrument that provides 40x magnification of the tooth root on the computer screen. It allows the technician to actually see the plaque and calculus and to remove it most effectively. Removal of plaque and calculus is the key to effective treatment of gum disease.

If gum infection has caused significant damage to the gum and bone supporting the teeth, a “flap procedure” may be indicated. This involves surgical access to the deep pockets, allowing for materials to be placed that will initiate regeneration of the lost tissue and bone.

Remember, the first step in preventing gum disease is good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis, as well as routine visits to the dentist for your check-up can go a long way in keeping your gums healthy.

If you have already lost teeth to gum disease, take a look at our website, www.pittsburghimplantsandperio.com to learn about dental implants in Pittsburgh.

Bisphosphonates

bisphosphonateBisphosphonates can cause jawbone damage?

Bisphosphonates are a type of medication used in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, as well as in the treatment of certain cancers. Just a few of the drugs included are Actonel, Fosamax and Boniva. These drugs may be taken orally or intravenously. Just about everyone knows someone that is taking one of these very common medications.

You may have heard that bisphosphonates can cause a rare, but serious, condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Osteocrenosis can cause severe, irreversible damage to the jawbone. Having certain dental procedures can be a factor in osteonecrosis.

If your doctors prescribes a bisphosphonate, (especially the IV kind), it is extremely important that you alert your dental professional prior to proceeding with any dental treatment.

It is also very important to be cognizant of your dental health if you are taking bisphosphonates. Proper brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits every six months is imperative.
It is a good idea to see your dentist or periodontist PRIOR to starting a regimen of bisphosphonates. Your dental professional can assess your dental health and if there are any dental issues that need to be addressed such as gum disease, extractions, crowns, bridges, implants, cavities, etc…this can be done before bisphosphonate treatment is initiated.

If you are already taking one of these drugs and a need for dental treatment arises, your dental office can work directly with your physician to determine the safest way to proceed. Sometimes, bisphosphonates are discontinued for a period of time prior to, during, and after the commencement of dental work.

If your doctor has recommended that you take a bisphosphonate and you are concerned about its possible negative effect on your dental health, Dr. Weingarden and Dr. Bakuri are more than happy to meet with you to discuss your options.

The Perioscope – Why Patients Love It

Why do our patients love the Perioscope?
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They love it because they can avoid periodontal surgery, (cutting and suturing of the gums), and end up with a fantastic result. So if you have been told that you have gum disease and have avoided recommended treatment due to FEAR – fear no longer. This non-surgical treatment option is painless and costs even less than traditional surgery.

The fiberoptic capabilities of the Perioscope allow the technician to see the presence of calculus on the roots, magnified 40x. The results are incredible! We have been able to avoid surgical treatment for our patients about 90% of the time.

If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for this treatment, give us a call at 412-487-8288.

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