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

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Archive for November, 2012

Cosmetic Gum Surgery Can Restore a Brilliant Youthful Smile

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Surgery of any type can cause apprehension. However, cosmetic gum surgery performed by a qualified cosmetic dentistry expert is relatively simple and can greatly improve the appearance of your smile.

Cosmetic surgery is the best solution for two types of problems: The “Long Tooth Look” and the appearance of a “Gummy Smile.” These conditions are usually caused by aging, gum disease or poor oral hygiene. They are likely to become progressively worse with age. Cosmetic gum enhancement can also help people with collapsed gums in the area of a missing tooth, blackened areas between crowns and bridges, and tooth sensitivity caused by receding gums.

The “long tooth” look may be caused by receding gums or a bad bite. As we age, unhealthy gums often shrink and recede. This can leave your teeth overexposed at the gum line.

The “gummy smile” is caused by excess gum tissue, which causes the teeth to appear too short. People with a gummy smile often feel self-conscious about the amount of visible gum tissue when they smile.

How is Cosmetic Gum Surgery Performed?

The two main types of cosmetic gum procedures used to correct the long tooth look and the gummy smile differ. The gummy smile corrective treatment gently reduces the excess gum. The cosmetic dentist may use a laser to perform this type of gum enhancement, or the excess tissues may be “manicured” to achieve the desired result.

The procedure for correcting the long tooth look is an additive procedure in which healthy tissue is added in areas where it is needed. The result is a more natural looking gum line.

Will I Be Awake for This Procedure?

There are two possibilities: You may have these cosmetic procedures done in a series of office visits, or all at once. They are performed with a local anesthetic (Novocaine). There is no pain! For those patients who have fears surrounding dental work, we offer light sedation dentistry (twilight sleep). You will awaken fresh without pain, and NO memory of the procedure.

What should I do first?

Before undergoing any type of cosmetic gum surgery, discuss the procedure thoroughly with us. This procedure may be just one aspect of an overall plan with several components to improve your smile. Cosmetic gum surgery might be complimented with other cosmetic dental procedures to get your smile looking its best.

Oral Health Mirrors Overall Health

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The Health of Your Mouth Mirrors Your Overall Health
Your mouth is a mirror that reflects your overall health and well-being, according to Donna E. Shalala in the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health. It’s also a key determinant of your nutritional status and your self-esteem. “Oral health means more than sound teeth. Oral health is integral to overall health,” she said.

The report, which was the first that the U.S. Surgeon General has undertaken to assess the nation’s oral health, is intended to “alert Americans to the full meaning of oral health and its importance to general health and well-being.”

But what is oral health?
First of all, the word “oral” refers to the mouth, which includes not only the teeth and gums and their supportive tissues, but also the roof and the floor of the mouth (the hard and soft palate), the tongue, the lining of the mouth and the throat (called the mucosa), the lips, the salivary glands, the upper and lower jaws, and the chewing muscles. Oral health also involves the branches of the nervous system, the immune system and the vascular system (blood vessels) that serve this part of your body.

So consequently, oral health means more than just being free from cavities and gum disease. Oral health, the report states, means overall health in the tissues that “allow us to speak and smile; sigh and kiss; smell, taste, touch, chew and swallow; cry out in pain; and convey a world of feelings and emotions through facial expressions.”

Oral health and overall health—an intricate interrelationship
The health of the oral tissues is indicative of the health of organs and systems throughout your body. Your dentist and other healthcare providers can gather an enormous amount of information about your overall health simply by examining these tissues.

  • A thorough oral exam can uncover nutritional deficiencies, microbial infections, immune disorders and some forms of cancer.
  • Clues to a disease can be discovered by analyzing saliva under a microscope.
  • Facial nerves have counterparts elsewhere in the body.
  • The jaw bones and jaw joint function like other musculoskeletal regions of the body.

Conversely, research is showing us that disease within the mouth—especially periodontal (gum) disease—is connected to ailments throughout the body. Infections in the mouth are a gateway for disease-causing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and provoke a number of diseases, including:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Respiratory infection
  • Diabetes
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Low birth weight or premature births

The answer?
Decay (also called caries or cavities) and periodontal disease are the most common, widespread dental diseases. They’re also the most preventable. Community prevention programs, such as fluoridated drinking water, dental hygiene instruction in schools, nutrition education, and tobacco cessation programs, save billions of dollars per year in public health costs, according to the report. And best of all, they help most people keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.

Source – “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General”

 

Dr. Brown Addresses Dental Anxiety

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Perhaps there is no other healthcare profession like dentistry that has the unfortunate (and false) reputation causing pain rather than preventing or eliminating it. For all the good that dentists do to improve our well-being, there are many patients with fears about sitting in the dentist’s chair. But whatever the reasons, there are countless people (young an old), who have dental anxiety.

For your teeth’s sake, there are ways to combat dental anxiety, a condition sure to cause cavities. If positive reinforcement, learning to control fear and other behavior management techniques don’t do the trick, dental sedation could ease your mind and allow you to get your teeth cleaned.

What would it be like to snooze through your dental appointment and not even remember that you were here?

It sounds like it comes from the dream book of every anxious dental patient and yet it is here. Today with just a few small pills it is possible to have safe, comfortable dental care while you snooze. Not awake, yet not asleep. No intravenous needles. No general anesthesia. No anxiety, No pain.

Sedation can occur through inhalation (nitrous oxide aka laughing gas), intravenously or orally through a pill or liquid. All of these are safe and can address most forms of dental anxiety by allowing you to get dental work done and simultaneously relieving the anxiety you feel inside.

Usually these forms of sedation are used in combination with a local anesthetic (Novocaine), to insure maximum comfort. These methods relieve stress and allow you to have a healthy smile without all of the worry.

Other dental and medical professionals, with whom I have discussed this approach, leave our office amazed that such a gentle and safe method could accomplish so much. They observe first hand, an extremely nervous patient go for a snooze and have all of their dentistry done painlessly. This method is especially suited for having most of your necessary dental procedures done in a minimum number of visits.

If you, or anyone who you care about, family of friends, would like to have any dental care done while snoozing, we would be glad to help. Our whole staff has been expertly trained to make your dental visits easy and comfortable.

Our team is unconditionally committed to providing your dental needs in a nurturing, caring and stress and anxiety free manner. Your comfort is our “Job Number One!”

Taking Advantage Lanap: Non-Surgical Periodontal Disease Treatment

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Lanap

Since the mid 80’s, I anticipated that lasers would play a major role in the non-surgical treatment of periodontal disease. More than 20 years ago, I took my first laser course in San Francisco, with American Dental Lasers.

In addition to promoting the laser’s potential to deliver non-invasive surgery, early lasers were marketed as an effective tool for sterilizing the pocket and killing the bacteria, which invade the soft tissue lining of the pocket.

Lasers were purported to detoxify the cementum of the root as well. It sounded great, but the marketing hype was not supported by my clinical experience. And, what was more troubling was that there were no published papers in refereed journals evidencing credibility for this approach.

I’m writing to tell you that the wait is over, the time is now, and we have at our finger tips, a powerful tool that was unimagined in the past! The “Gold Standard” Periodontists have been looking for since the specialty began is “New Attachment,” which means regeneration of lost Bone, Cementum and Periodontal Ligament.

I feel confident that my professional colleagues would not characterize me as a therapeutic “Cowboy.”  I value my professional and academic reputation too much to embrace controversial technologies or recommend unproven treatment methods to my patients, my colleagues, or my students.

For some years, I have been treating advanced periodontal disease with a laser rather than a scalpel!

We have been using LANAP, an FDA approved, patented laser protocol. The technique features a free running Nd:Yag laser, which has been proven to achieve pocket reduction and true periodontal regeneration. In short LANAP reverses, controls and corrects periodontal disease without a knife!

What is truly amazing is that patients experience virtually none of the postoperative pain and excessive gingival recession associated with traditional pocket elimination surgery.

Laser periodontal treatment is efficient and can be delivered in just a few visits.  Patient acceptance of this revolutionary approach to the management of periodontal disease is near 100%. Many of the patients referred, have either refused traditional surgery, have periodontal disease that has proven resistant to conventional treatment, or have medical issues, which preclude the usual invasive forms of surgical intervention.

But, don’t take my word for it! In 2007, Dr. Raymond Yukna published the results of a human block section study in the prestigious International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry. Human block sections represent the highest level of research evidence. In every case, he observed gains of new attachment.

This article represents the quality science supporting the considerable benefits of this FDA approved and patented alternative to traditional periodontal surgery. A trusted friend and mentor, Ray Yukna, the principal investigator of this treatment method, is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Colorado. His credentials as a researcher and educator are unparalleled.  

I am pleased to be the First Dentist in Philadelphia to offer this amazing new treatment modality, which offers the most effective alternative to conventional periodontal surgery to come along since I have been in practice.

 

I. Stephen Brown, DDS, FACD, FICD