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Posts for: February, 2016

By Beasley Cosmetic & General Dentistry
February 20, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  

Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection, which if left untreated could cause gum recession, bone loss and eventually tooth loss. Caused mainly by plaque left on tooth surfaces from poor hygiene practices, the deeper the infection spreads below the gum line, the more difficult it is to treat.

One possible scenario involves parts of a tooth’s root structure known as furcations. These are branching forks formed during the early development of teeth with multiple roots where they take different paths from the base of the crown. As gum disease spreads around the root it may cause different degrees of bone loss at the point of the branch.

It’s imperative when treating gum disease to uncover and remove any bacterial plaque or calculus (hardened plaque deposits) found, including below the gum line. To address bacterial plaque at the root level, it’s important to first determine if bone loss has involved the furcations (where the roots separate, also referred to as a “furcation invasion”) and to what degree.

We usually classify this degree of involvement in three classes: Class I, the invasion has created a groove in the furcation, but minimal significant bone loss; Class II, the bone loss has extended into the furcation by at least two millimeters; or Class III, the bone loss extends completely from one end of the furcation to the other (or “through and through”).

Depending on the class, cleaning plaque and calculus from furcations and then maintaining them thereafter can be quite challenging. We may need to use specially shaped hand instruments known as scalers or curettes to reach and clean root surfaces, or ultrasonic scalers that use high-frequency vibrations and streaming water to loosen and flush away plaque debris. It may also prove helpful, though limited, to apply antimicrobials or antibiotics to the area to help limit the levels of bacteria.

Disease damage around furcations may also require surgical treatment to encourage new tissue and bone growth in the area. Surgery can also help make the area more accessible to future cleaning and maintenance, both for you and us. Renewed hygiene practices on your part and regular cleaning and checkups with us will help ensure that the situation involving your tooth roots can be kept under control and your tooth preserved for many years to come.

If you would like more information on treatments for gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Beasley Cosmetic & General Dentistry
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Beasley Cosmetic & General Dentistry
February 03, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: invisalign  

Are you embarrassed by your crooked teeth, but don’t want to wear the traditional metal bracket and wire braces? Then Invisalign clear aligners from Dr. Brad Beasley of Beasley Family and Implant Dentistry in Athens, AL could be what you're looking for. Made of BPA-free acrylic, Invisalign aligners fit tightly over teeth, straightening them comfortably and almost invisibly.Invisalign

The American Dental Association states that straight teeth are not only good looking, but they are healthy too. They are easier to clean and less susceptible to decay and gum disease. So who wouldn't want to give Invisalign clear aligners a try? But if you’re still unsure and have some questions, here are a few common answers:

  1. How long is Invisalign treatment? Typically, Invisalign aligners straighten teeth in an average of 12 months-- more quickly than traditional braces.

  2. Can the patient take out his or her aligners? Yes, patients should remove their aligners to eat, brush, and floss. Individuals wear the appliances for 20 to 22 hours per day to keep treatment on track.

  3. Are the aligners comfortable? Patients report the aligners are very comfortable. A special Invisalign lab fabricates the appliances from clear acrylic, and each set fits snugly over top and bottom teeth, exerting gradual physical forces to change tooth positions. At the start of treatment, teeth may be a bit sore, but this quickly resolves. Additionally, because aligners are smooth, patients have no sore spots from brackets or broken wires.

  4. Can teens be Invisalign patients? Yes, teens wear Invisalign clear braces in Athens, AL and across the country. Even when adult teeth have not fully developed, the aligners can be equipped with eruption tabs to leave space for incoming teeth. Plus, to help teens, parents, and dentists know if patients wear the appliances consistently, Invisalign offers colored compliance tabs. These features indicate the wear pattern.

  5. How many sets of aligner will I wear? The appliances come in pairs--usually 18 to 30 altogether depending on the plan. Patients visit Dr. Beasley every 4 to 6 weeks for a quick check and to receive the next sets of aligners. Different from metal braces, Invisalign requires no extended time in the dental chair and no complicated adjustments.

  6. Do all dentists offer Invisalign? While Invisalign treatment has become more and more popular, not all dentists qualify to work with this innovative system. However, Dr. Beasley is fully trained in the treatment and was a 2014 Preferred Invisalign Provider in Huntsville and Athens.

Athens Invisalign Aligners: a Clear Choice

Why not further explore the benefits of Invisalign clear aligners? Call Dr. Brad Beasley at the office of Beasley Family and Implant Dentistry in Athens, AL today to arrange your free consultation and see if this treatment is right for you.