I. Stephen Brown, DDS
(215) 735-3660

The Perio Group Blog

Gum Recession FAQS

July 30th, 2019 by sbrown

If you want to look after your teeth properly, then you’ll need to be aware of the possibility of gum recession. This common dental problem occurs gradually and can worsen if left untreated. Many patients do not know the details, causes and initial symptoms to watch out for, so let’s consider some frequently asked questions.

What is gum recession?

Gum recession is a when the gum tissue around the teeth begins to wear away. This process results in more of the tooth or even the root becoming exposed. Gaps form between the gum line and the teeth so that it’s easy for bacteria to grow here. Gum recession can result from periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.

What causes it?

Gum recession can occur due to a variety of causes. If you develop periodontal disease, this can irritate your gums and cause recession. Poor oral hygiene can be another factor in contributing to periodontal disease, yet it is still possible to have receding gums due to other issues. If you brush your teeth aggressively, this can cause the gums to recede. Oral piercings or misaligned teeth can also contribute to problems with receding gums. Simple factors such as aging can also cause minor gum recession to become more prominent.

What are the symptoms?

One of the earliest symptoms of receding gums is that your teeth are more sensitive than usual, particularly to cold or sugary food or drinks. You will also notice that your gums become inflamed and red. You may notice some bleeding when brushing your teeth. If you notice that your teeth appear discolored, or start to look longer, these are further signs that your gums may be receding. Finding a small notch in your mouth where your gums meet your teeth is another sign to look out for.

What are the treatments?

In the early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis and results in bad breath and red or bleeding gums. At this stage, you can use an antibacterial toothpaste and make sure that you brush and floss regularly. You could also have your teeth professionally cleaned; the dentist will be able to remove the plaque build-up which contributes to gingivitis. If symptoms become more severe and persist, there are a few treatments available. The newest procedure is the Pinhole Surgical Technique. This procedure relies upon a careful repositioning of the gums to cover the teeth and roots that have become too exposed. The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a less invasive method compared to more traditional gum grafting procedures.

Why is treatment important?

The gaps between your teeth and gums mean that you are more prone to bacterial infections. Cosmetically speaking, you may dislike how gum receding alters the appearance of your teeth and mouth. You may also find it more difficult to eat certain kinds of foods due to sensitivity. In the most severe cases, gum recession can result in tooth loss or root damage. If you notice that gum recession has begun, it’s vital to schedule an appointment and get some advice. We at The Perio Group will be able to discuss prevention or gum recession treatment if necessary.

Laser Gum Treatment FAQs

June 30th, 2019 by sbrown

There are many common questions that people might have when it comes to laser gum treatment for periodontal disease. This might be because a patient is nervous about the treatment (or about going to the dentist), because of monetary concerns or because they want to know what the process entails.

Questions range from how many appointments you need for the treatment to who can have the treatment, whether or not it’s safe, if it’s painful and what the recovery process is like. Philadelphia Periodontist Dr. I. Stephen Brown will answer all of your concerns that you have with the treatment, whether or not you need it and how extensive the issue that you have is.

Firstly, when a patient wonders how many appointments they need in order to receive laser gum treatment, it’s generally thought that only two treatment visits are needed – alongside a few ongoing appointments. It’s also a quicker process than the traditional and more conventional periodontal treatment. As it is fewer appointments than the conventional procedure, this makes it more appealing for those wanting a swift procedure, allowing them to get back to work and their social life quicker.

Another concern and question that people might have, is whether or not laser therapy is safe. The answer to this is yes – when it is conducted by a dental professional that adheres to the guidelines for power levels, wavelengths, etc. Dr. Brown puts these guidelines and your safety as the utmost priority when conducting laser gum treatment. Conducted correctly (for example – having the patient wearing UV goggles), it will be a safe procedure that has a fast recovery time.

Thirdly, another common question about laser gum treatment is whether or not it’s painful. We do everything that we can to ensure that it is not painful. In comparison to more traditional methods, as it is quicker and less invasive (only removing the damaged tissue), it won’t be as painful. If you are concerned about this, however, it’s important to get into contact with Dr. Brown to discuss the treatment.

Many patients also wonder what the recovery is like. Most patients are able to return to work after the procedure or the next day. Dr. Brown will ensure that if you are feeling any soreness after the procedure, you will be prescribed with antibiotics, as well as scheduling future checkups to see how your gums are healing.

Why you should contact Dr Brown for treatment

An award-winning periodontist, Dr. I. Stephen Brown has years of experience in the dental field. Committed to dental excellence, Dr. Brown and his team at The Perio Group will ensure that each patient is aware of the treatment, the post-operative process and everything that surrounds it. Want to find out more about laser gum treatment and what it can do for you? Contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment!

Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants

May 30th, 2019 by sbrown

If you’re considering dental implants, then you probably have a lot of questions.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are fully-functional replacement teeth. Like natural teeth, they comprise both a crown and a root, called a “post.” A periodontist removes the old tooth and root and then attaches a metal post to the jawbone. The gum around the post is left to heal, and then at a second appointment, the crown of the implant is attached to the post, completing the implant. The crown looks just like a natural tooth.

Am I A Suitable Patient For Dental Implants?

Dental implants are great for people who have lost teeth due to decay or have had teeth knocked out as a result of an injury. You can have a single tooth replaced with an implant, several teeth, or all of the teeth in your mouth.

How Long Will My Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants are designed to last for life. But even though they don’t decay like regular teeth, it’s essential to keep the surrounding gum healthy. Unhealthy gums can lead to complications with implants, so it’s recommend that you regularly clean your teeth and gums at least twice per day.

Can I Get Metal-Free Implants?

No. All implants contain some metal. Our implanted tooth implants, however, are made of titanium, the same metal doctors use for hip replacements. Titanium is a highly bio-compatible metal – it won’t degrade in the body or lead to an allergy. There’s a reason medics love titanium: it lasts.

How Will I Benefit From Implants?

Dental implants offer all kinds of benefits, from helping you to feel more confident to restoring the structure of your mouth and face. Implants are, from a bio-mechanical perspective, replacement teeth, offering all the benefits that regular teeth bring.

If you’re unhappy with your smile, implants are an excellent treatment option. Implants replace missing, damaged or decayed teeth, reverse tooth loss, and look just the same as your regular teeth. Each crown (the top part of the tooth above the gum) is custom-made to fit your mouth and appears perfectly natural.

Can I Benefit From Implants If I Have Dentures?

Dentures have an annoying habit of moving around the mouth when speaking and chewing. Dental adhesives aren’t always 100 percent effective. Many patients, however, choose to combine their dentures with dental implants. Dental implants provide a kind of scaffolding, allowing dentures to clip into place effortlessly. Dental implants attach to the bone in your jaw, and so offer a sturdy structure on which to overlay dentures.

What Is All-On-4?

All-on-4 is a trademarked procedure used for people who need to replace all missing teeth in the jaw with just four implants. Instead of replacing all teeth individually, All-on-4 makes four implants and then connects the remaining teeth above the gumline. The technique is particularly useful for patients who have lost bone because of decay.

If you’d like to find out more about dental implants, contact us to schedule a consultation today!

The Oral Systemic Link

April 30th, 2019 by sbrown

You know that looking after your oral health is important if you want to keep your teeth and the rest of your mouth healthy. But did you know that your oral health can also have an impact on your overall health? As well as preventing gum disease and other oral health problems, taking care of your oral health can help to prevent a number of conditions, from memory disorders to heart disease. The link between your oral health and the rest of your body is called the oral systemic link, the oral-systemic-connection or the mouth-body connection.

Here’s how your oral health is linked to your overall health.

Gum Disease and Other Illnesses

Preventing gum disease can help to prevent a number of other conditions. One factor that might link periodontal disease with other conditions is inflammation. Many conditions, such as diabetes, can cause oral inflammation, and oral inflammation from gum disease could also increase the likelihood of conditions that cause inflammation or other kinds. Inflammation from gingivitis and periodontal disease can be a trigger for infection in other parts of the body, so catching these conditions as soon as possible is essential.

Conditions Linked to Oral Health

A variety of health conditions have been linked to oral health. They include certain types of cancer, heart disease and even memory loss and low birth weight in babies.

Infection in the body caused by gum disease can increase the risk of conditions such as pancreatic cancer and heart disease. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult to treat, partly because it is harder to diagnose than many other types of cancer. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US, with one in four deaths resulting from heart disease, and coronary heart disease being the most common type, according to the CDC.

The link between gum disease and diabetes is important to consider too. Periodontal disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels, and diabetes can make it more difficult to fight off infections. People with type 2 diabetes are three times more likely to develop dental problems, and people with type 1 diabetes are also more at risk than others. It’s important for people with diabetes or those who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to take good care of their oral health.

There is also evidence that gum disease and oral health could be linked to memory problems and memory loss conditions such as dementia. Studies have shown that better oral health could be linked to better cognitive function and memory, so taking care of your oral health could be important to help take care of your brain.

Good oral health is essential if you want to look after your whole body. While it’s important to look after your oral health so that your teeth stay healthy, it’s not just your mouth that is affected. Taking good care of your oral health keeps your overall health on top too. Contact us to schedule an appointment for gum disease treatment today!

Link Between Advanced Periodontitis and Alzheimer’s Disease

March 31st, 2019 by sbrown

There’s new information linking Alzheimer’s disease with a certain bacteria found in the gum line of those with periodontal disease. A recent study revealed that the brains of 51 out 53 Alzheimer’s patients had the bacteria called Pg (Porphyromonas gingivalis) upon autopsy.

The bacteria Pg is known to lead to chronic periodontitis and can cause inflammation and tooth loss.

Alzheimer’s disease causes one to lose their memory and it only worsens over time.The condition is believed to result from the buildup of amyloid beta plaques within the brain which causes tangles among the neurofibers, also known as tau. To date, there is no cure for this common form of dementia. The CDC estimates as many as 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease.

The levels of the bacteria Pg seemed to correlate with the levels of tau in the brain. During the study, when mice were injected with Pg, an increase of amyloid beta plaque was observed on their brains. Studies had linked the two in the past, but this level of causation hadn’t yet been clear. This new study can change the trajectory of the disease by demonstrating the potential for treatment. Injecting the mice with small molecules that target Pg, researchers were able to reduce neurodegeneration in the brains of mice.

However, it’s important to note that gum disease has not emerged as a major cause for concern in uncovering the key risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. And if you have gum disease, that doesn’t mean you will develop Alzheimer’s.

There is more research needed to conclusively identify the exact correlation between Pg and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s patients have a disrupted blood-brain barrier, thereby making them more susceptible to brain infections, which could be the cause of the tau buildup. Also, the presence of the bacteria Pg is not proven to be specific to Alzheimer’s patients; the bacteria could be a signal of general neurological decline as one ages.

The study was conducted by Dr. Stephen Dominy and Casey Lynch, founders of the pharmaceutical firm, Cortexyme. Cortexyme is confident that the team’s publication “sheds light on an unexpected driver of Alzheimer’s pathology”. The company has completed stage one in trial testing the safety of a compound called COR388 in humans. In their study, nine adults with Alzhemier’s were given a range of doses of the compound for 28 days. These adults tolerated it well and showed improved results during a cognitive test compared with the control group who received a placebo. Cortexyme now plans to continue the study with trials of COR388 in 500 people.

Symptoms of Gum Recession

December 21st, 2018 by sbrown

Dr.  Stephen Brown Has Received the Advanced Pinhole Clinician Award by Dr. John Chao inventor of the Pinhole Surgical Technique.

This award has been presented to less than 100 dentists worldwide and represents achieving the high level of proficiency in providing the procedure to his patients with gum recession.

Dr. Brown has been an invited lecturer on the subject of PST at dental schools, study clubs and prestigious dental conferences across the USA.

Gums are essential to your dental health. Gums are the layer of pink tissues surrounding your teeth which is a barrier protecting the roots of your teeth. Gum tissue also protects the jaw bone, which connects the teeth to in the jaw.

As we age, gum recession can become more pronounced.  One of the primary symptoms is thermal (Hot-Cold) sensitivity. However, receding gums are preventable with proper periodontal and maintenance therapy.  

If symptoms are caught in time, there are many effective procedures for repositioning the gums to cover areas of root recession and sensitivity.  The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a revolutionary, minimally invasive, and very predictable treatment for gum recession.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Recession

The most important thing to know is GUM RECESSION IS NOT Normal!  It is a symptom of underlying gum disease!

Before we can actually observe recession, there are ways to tell if your gums are receding. In the very early stages of gum recession it is frequently NOT visible to the naked eye. But there are other ways to tell if your gums are at risk.

  • Tooth Sensitivity- You may begin to notice that your teeth are a sensitive to cold, acidic, and sugary food or drinks. This is usually one of the earliest symptoms. From time to time sensitivity may be a transient finding. However, if you experience a noticeable increase in sensitivity, it’s time to visit our office.
  • Inflamed Gums- You may start to see inflamed, tender and red gums. They can appear or feel swollen and may bleed easier when brushing and flossing. This is another sign that gum recession is starting and if it is ongoing it should be addressed immediately and aggressively. The most modern treatments are minimally invasive.
  • Longer Teeth- As you brush your teeth or look in the mirror, you may notice that your teeth seem longer. If that is the case, it could be an indication of progressive gum recession and definitely represents a reason to come in and have it checked out by a periodontist. It is a significant cosmetic and dental health concern that needs to be addressed. The greater the recession, the more pain and sensitivity you will experience.
  • Discolored Teeth – When the gums recede it is very common for the teeth to look yellow or brown.  These unsightly changes are related to the gum receding down the root away from the pearly white color associated with enamel.
  • Decay of the Roots of Teeth – Teeth with recession are exponentially more likely to develop tooth decay.  This is because the roots of the teeth are made up of cementum, which is far softer and less impervious to the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
  • A Noticeable Notch at The Gum Line- If recession has started there may be a physical way for you to tell at home. Take your finger nail and run it along where your gum meets the tooth. If there has been any recession, then there may very well be a minor notch or ledge that you can feel with your finger nail.  This means that there has been some erosion of the root surface which is not covered by the protective coating of enamel.

Consult with a periodontist who can assist you in changing habits that may be contributing to gum recession. Being consistent with these recommendations, can prevent further progression of gum recession.

Once gum recession has already begun, it is important to address it as quickly as possible to prevent any progressive and potentially irreversible damage. Dr. Brown is experienced in what it takes to keep gums and teeth healthy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for gum recession treatment.

Dr. Stephen Brown Awarded Advanced Pinhole Clinician Award

August 10th, 2018 by sbrown

Advanced Pinhole ClinicianThe Perio Group is excited to announce that Dr. Brown has been awarded the Advanced Pinhole Clinician Award for completing training with world renowned Dr. John Chao in his ground-breaking Pinhole Surgical Technique for the treatment of gum recession. Due to this exciting new method, patients experiencing gum recession can now be successfully treated without more traditional cutting, or suturing. Instead, the repair is made through small “Pinholes” in the gum, allowing the insertion of specially designed instruments which permit gently correct the gum position with minimal invasiveness, less discomfort and significantly reduced healing time. Only a handful of Periodontists world-wide have earned the designation of Advanced Pinhole Clinician.

The procedures previously used to treat recession required two wounds, one to surgically remove gum tissue from the palate, and another to place the graft over the area of recession. The traditional approach required more invasive surgery and limited the number of teeth that could be treated in one session. If there were multiple areas of recession, several surgical procedures were necessary to correct them. The typical healing time for the previous method was much longer and only small areas could be accomplished. With the minimally-invasive Pinhole Surgical Technique, recession can be corrected on a potentially limitless number of teeth in one session. This method significantly reduces healing time and post-operative discomfort.

Dr. Brown states: “The key to The Pinhole Surgical Technique is that we do not rely upon traditional “cut and sew” gum grafting. The procedure is performed through tiny pinholes with specially designed instruments without scalpels, incisions or stitching. The gum tissue is gently shifted to cover the area of recession with minimal trauma to the adjacent tissue. There are no open wounds and healing is well advanced within twenty-four hours. Patients are amazed by the results and the lack of discomfort.”

For more information, please call our office at (215) 735-3660 or by visiting https://www.theperiogroup.com/

Dr. I. Stephen Brown Awarded Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Dentists 2018

May 31st, 2018 by sbrown

The Perio Group is pleased to announce that Dr. I. Stephen Brown was recognized as one of Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Dentists in 2018. Philadelphia Magazine has other experienced dentists in the area send in letters of recommendation, nominating their dental peers for a job well done throughout the year. This has been the 8th year in a row that Dr. Brown has been awarded this honor from Philadelphia Magazine, and he is pleased and excited to be nominated again for this prestigious award.

This year, Dr. Brown was up against 5,200 votes from 532 dentists throughout the local area. The votes were narrowed down to 20 dentists based on specialty, and chosen by a board of elite dentists. The organization only accepts nominations for dentists who are respected by their peers, and who have devoted a lifetime to care, so the competition was tough! But it was no surprise to us that the talented and caring Dr. Brown was nominated for such an award again.

With expertise in dental implant procedures, Dr. Brown is one of the original leaders in the Periodontal field. In fact, Dr. Brown was one of the first dental professionals in the Philadelphia area to master (and perform) the revolutionary (and minimally invasive) LANAP procedure on the patients that needed an effective treatment for severe gum disease.

Dr. Brown is known throughout Philadelphia for his expertise in the dental field, and was even a featured speaker at the 103rd meeting for The American Academy of Periodontology. He spoke on a variety of topics including the The Future of Lasers in Periodontal Therapy: Science, Hype or Snake Oil?. Because of his dedication in regards to the dental field, Dr. Brown is often involved in dental summits and such in his spare time. When you visit The Perio Group, you can rest assured that you are being treated by someone who actually loves what they do!

If you are looking for gum disease treatment, or just regular and effective dental care, visit The Perio Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Perio Group is conveniently located so citizens ranging from Main Line, PA to Wilmington, DE have easy access to some of the very best dental care in the area. Contact us to schedule your consultation appointment today!

Causes of Canker Sores

April 30th, 2018 by sbrown

If you’ve ever had a canker sore you know that they are not fun. In fact they can really ruin your day. They affect how you eat your food, drink liquid, and brush your teeth and they seem like they take forever to get rid of. We wanted to identify some causes of canker sores to possibly help you to avoid them in the future.

Canker sores are those painful ulcers that form on the inside of the mouth, on the tongue or inside the cheek or lips. Sounds painful doesn’t it? Well it is. Medical experts say they don’t know the precise cause but we have some ideas.

Anyone can get a canker sore. However they usually occur more often in teens and young adults and can even be more common in people with underlying medical issues that are known to cause inflammation or weaken the immune system.

Some causes may be viruses, bacterial infections, food allergies, poor nutrition, a weakened immune system, an injury or trauma to the mouth. Hereditary factors may also play a role. May studies have been conducted that have found a link between stress and canker sores. People tend to have outbreaks of canker sores when they experience stress, which can take a toll on the immune system.

Foods have also been linked to canker sores. Avoid trigger foods. Spicy and acidic foods, such as coffee, oranges, grapefruit and pineapple can cause outbreaks or worsen canker sores by aggravating the sensitive tissue inside your mouth. Salty pretzels and chips, nuts, strawberries, chocolate and cheese can also be problematic for some people.

Sometimes canker sores happen whether you have any of the above mentioned factors or not. But these might help you to avoid them:

  • Relax. Lower your stress and anxiety levels
  • Chew carefully: Avoid small mouth injuries
  • Watch what you eat: Avoid spicy and acidic foods
  • Treat it: Canker sore pain relief can be found at a nearby drugstore
  • Proper dental hygiene: Keeping your mouth clean can help prevent bacteria from spreading and irritating an already present canker sore

Although canker sores can be irritating and painful they are relatively harmless. If you tend to get canker sores often it’s time to evaluate what you can change. Maybe you tend to lean toward spicy and acidic foods. Maybe your stress level is higher than normal. Whatever it may be see what you can do to change it. It will be worth the effort. In the mean time, contact Philadelphia Periodontist Dr. I. Stephen Brown of The Perio Group for a periodontal exam in order to identify any underlying oral health issues.


Oral Probiotic Treatment

March 31st, 2018 by sbrown

You may have heard that probiotics are good for your stomach health, but have you heard that probiotics are also good for your oral health? Naturally, the human mouth has a mixture of “good” and “bad” bacteria. Common dental care such as brushing and flossing may not do enough to rid your mouth of the “bad bacteria.” When “bad bacteria” builds up in the mouth, it can create oral health problems. Instead of worrying about the bad bacteria in your mouth,try our innovative oral probiotic treatment!

The community of bacteria in the mouth is called an “oral microbiome” and when this community is disturbed by illness or a change in diet, bad bacteria can run rampant throughout the mouth (and the entire body). When the oral microbiome is disturbed, it can cause gum disease, cavities, and even other issues throughout the entire body.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to restore your oral microbiome, and it’s with oral probiotics! There are two strains of “good bacteria” found in the mouth; the first is L. Plantarum L-137 that promotes healing, and the second is S. salivarius M18 that helps kill off the harmful bacteria. Both healthy bacterias can be easily introduced to the microbiome with a probiotic lozenge taken once daily.

The probiotic works by filling the microbiome with healthy bacteria that kills off the bad and allows the good bacteria to flourish in a healthy growth environment. A healthy oral microbiome can help improve your overall health! If bad bacteria is left untreated, it can disrupt oral and overall health. Over time, bad bacteria will almost certainly result in gum disease. When left untreated, gum disease can create a host of other issues for organ systems like the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, and bones. Believe it or not, gum disease is even said to be tied to heart disease, strokes, fertility problems and even memory issues like alzheimer’s. When you take charge of your oral health, you are taking charge of your overall health, too!

Many of our patients have benefited from oral probiotics, and if you feel they may be right for you, contact The Perio Group today! Philadelphia Periodontist Dr. I. Stephen Brown and his team of dental professionals are known and respected by their peers and pride themselves on always providing cutting-edge techniques (for example, the revolutionary pinhole surgery technique!) Contact us to make an appointment and see if an oral probiotic is right for you!