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

The Perio Group Blog

Vaping and Periodontal Disease

September 30th, 2020 by sbrown

Vaping has grown in popularity over the last few years. It is seen by many as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, offering a healthier option for smokers. By using e-cigarettes, it’s believed that individuals will avoid many of the health complications associated with traditional tobacco cigarettes. As a result, you’d expect dentists to be over the moon at the prospect of something that reduces the consumption of cigarettes. It’s well known that cigarettes cause a lot of oral health problems – most notably staining and periodontal disease.

However, while vaping might be ‘healthier’ than smoking, it’s certainly not healthy. In fact, research suggests there is a strong link between vaping and periodontal disease. This is down to the chemicals present in e-cigarettes and how they interact with your mouth. Some dentists argue that they might be worse for your oral health than traditional cigarettes.

What is vaping?

Vaping is a term used to describe the act of using e-cigarettes. For all intents and purposes, an e-cigarette is an electronic version of a typical tobacco cigarette. Of course, it is built out of entirely different things and uses technology. The science behind vaping is pretty straightforward: a liquid is heated to generate vapor, which is then inhaled by the user.

A typical e-cigarette will have a few key components:

  • A replaceable inhaler cartridge – this contains the e-liquid that is heated. You can buy many different cartridges of liquids in loads of various flavors. Most e-liquids are made of vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol, flavoring, and nicotine/THC.
  • A heating chamber – this is known as the ‘vaporizer’ as it produces the heat that turns the liquid into a gas. It is usually either built into the inhaler cartridge or the main body of the e-cigarette.
  • Rechargeable battery – all vape pens/e-cigarettes will have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Obviously, this is required to heat the heating chamber. It is connected to a circuit board that’s often linked to an LED light telling the user when heating is occurring.

Many people choose to vape as it is seen as the best way to stop smoking. The nicotine concentration is far lower – and some e-liquids are completely nicotine-free. The feeling of having an e-cigarette in your hand makes your body associate it with the feeling of smoking, so it’s easier to adapt and slowly decrease your nicotine consumption. However, some of the ingredients in these devices are bad for your oral health.

How does vaping damage your oral health?

Primarily, the concerns stem from the three main ingredients in e-liquids:

  • Propylene glycol (PG)
  • Vegetable glycerin (VG) & flavorings
  • Nicotine

The sole purpose of PG is to act as a carrier for the e-liquid. You can’t taste it, it doesn’t smell, and it is used in many different products throughout the food industry. The problem is that it is directly ingested through the mouth when vaping. As this happens, PG will break down into propionaldehyde, lactic acid, and acetic acid. These things all have a direct impact on your oral health! Specifically, they’re shown to break down enamel and soft tissues in the mouth. Thus, PG can cause gum issues and potentially pave the way for cavity formation. It’s also found that it can cause dry mouth, which is a very bad condition as it makes it easier for cavities to form.

VG isn’t that dangerous when used on its own. While it is a sugary liquid, it will not cause cavities. The issue is that VG is used alongside other flavorings to make the vape liquid taste better. Here, the combination of VG and flavorings leads to a massive increase in both microbial adhesions to enamel and biofilm formation. This was discovered by a study in 2018, and it also found that enamel hardness decreased by 27%. In essence, this combination leads to more bacteria in the mouth, weaker enamel, and the perfect breeding ground for cavities.

Lastly, you have nicotine – a product that’s also found in traditional cigarettes. The effects of nicotine on oral health are known by many. Essentially, it can stem the flow of blood to the gum tissue, which can cause gum disease. Excessive nicotine use has been linked to tooth loss due to severe periodontitis. Granted, the concentration of nicotine is far less in e-cigarettes, but there’s still enough to cause problems.

To summarize, the ingredients in e-liquids will increase the likelihood of tooth decay forming, causing cavities in the mouth. There are also very strong links that suggest periodontal disease is more likely with regular vaping. Nicotine is still a prime culprit, but the VG and PG are also at fault. Ultimately, using these chemicals in your mouth is not a good idea as it can cause gums to recede and bleed, which causes teeth to fall out.

Additional concerns about vaping

As well as the ingredients, vaping devices present another serious threat. The lithium-ion battery has been known to explode when being used. Seeing as this product is used in your mouth, the likelihood of oral health complications is very high. While this doesn’t have a direct impact on periodontal disease, it’s still worth thinking about.

The dangers of periodontal disease

Clearly, all oral health issues are serious. However, periodontal disease is one of the biggest challenges as it often goes untreated. The main danger is that your gums will slowly start to fade away. They recede further and further until they expose the roots of your teeth. This weakens the supporting structures of your teeth and makes you more prone to tooth loss.

Thankfully, periodontal disease can be treated, and the effects can be reversed. It’s a simple case of cutting out bad habits and following a strict oral hygiene routine. You will also benefit from some periodontal disease treatment by a qualified periodontist.

If you’re in need of periodontal treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Schedule an appointment with Dr. I. Stephen Brown for a full consultation. This will identify your main problems and allow Dr. Brown to formulate the perfect treatment plan to repair your gums.

Cracked Teeth Due to Grinding During COVID-19

September 15th, 2020 by sbrown

History will remember 2020 for its many stress-inducing challenges. The world has undergone drastic changes, increasing the tension that most people feel. As a result, Dr. I. Stephen Brown and his team have seen more patients with cracked teeth than ever before. This problem seems to stem from excessive grinding due to mass amounts of stress. It led to Dr. Brown dubbing this problem the ‘COVID-clench.’

The good news is that the technology exists to treat this problem. Dr. Brown can craft custom appliances that fit in your mouth, preventing excessive grinding at night. If you suffer from the COVID-clench, this could be the perfect treatment to make your night easier.

How does grinding cause cracked teeth?

Teeth grinding – or bruxism – is a condition that affects millions of patients across the US. It’s a relatively serious condition in that it can lead to severe tooth damage. To make matters worse, most people with bruxism don’t realize they have it. Teeth grinding is a subconscious act that manifests itself due to stress or other conditions. It happens without thinking about it, usually when you’re in bed at night.

Naturally, your teeth are very hard – after all, they’re designed to break through food and chew things for years on end. In fact, one study revealed that tooth enamel is harder than steel, but breaks much easier. Therefore, teeth grinding presents a serious problem as you have two hard surfaces moving against one another. When this happens day after day, your teeth wear down, and the enamel starts to chip away.

As you may already know, enamel’s primary purpose is to protect your teeth. It’s essentially a protective layer that stops the rest of the tooth from being damaged. When it begins to wear down, what do you think will happen? A lack of enamel means the tooth is exposed, making it more prone to severe issues. As the grinding continues, your unprotected teeth move against one another, causing cracks to form.

What is COVID-clench?

COVID-clench is a term coined by Dr. Brown that relates to a common issue seen by dentists across the country. While the world entered lockdown, dental practices were busier than ever. Dentists saw more patients with cracked teeth than ever before – was this a coincidence? Or is it directly linked to the effects of COVID-19.

The exact causes of teeth grinding are hard to pinpoint as anyone can fall into this bad habit. Nevertheless, studies point to a link between emotional stability and bruxism. To summarize, individuals with high levels of stress are found to grind their teeth more often. Therefore, Dr. Brown believes that the stress of COVID-19 is causing more people to grind their teeth. You may stay up late every night worrying about your job, health, or financial future. All of these things are significant concerns during a pandemic. As a result, you could start grinding your teeth as an impulsive reaction to this stress. Hence, the COVID-clench is born. It is simply no coincidence that there has been an increase in cracked and fractured teeth alongside an ongoing pandemic.

What happens when cracked teeth are left untreated?

Some patients will have cracked teeth that can be left alone. These are surface cracks that provide no pain and present no further issues. There’s no need to have them treated, but you can if you want.

However, deeper cracks need to be treated as soon as possible. When they’re not, they will gradually get worse. Consider what a crack does on the surface of a rock. It weakens the entire structure, making the rock more prone to breaking apart. The same happens with your teeth; if cracks are deep enough to cause pain, they will eventually lead to fractures or chips of your teeth coming out.

Ultimately, this can leave you with a very painful tooth that needs to be extracted. Or, the entire tooth falls out of its own accord. Either way, it’s recommended that you consult with a dentist if you notice any pain or cracks in your teeth.

How are cracked teeth and bruxism treated?

Cracked teeth can be treated in numerous ways depending on the severity of the crack. Some cracks are dealt with using composite bonding to fill in space. This restores the look and function of the teeth. For more severe cracks, a crown may need to be placed on the tooth, protecting it from further damage. It’s not uncommon for the deepest cracks to require root canal treatment if the pulp is exposed. Extractions are also common if the tooth is damaged beyond repair, paving the way for tooth-replacement treatments.

Moreover, all of these treatments are pointless if the cause isn’t addressed. You can restore your teeth, but the cracks will come back if the grinding persists. This is why you must treat bruxism alongside the cracks. Dr. Brown and his team can provide you with the best treatment for this problem. His office contains the best scanning technology to craft custom-made oral appliances that fit in your mouth. This will protect your teeth from grinding and can be worn at night to prevent the COVID-clench from doing its damage.

Naturally, you should also work on dealing with the issues that cause you to grind your teeth. During a pandemic, it’s hard to reduce stress and feel less tense. So, some protective oral appliances work best to ensure your teeth don’t suffer from excessive grinding. Over time, your grinding may subside, so you can stop wearing your mouthpiece to bed.

Contact Dr. Brown for a Zoom consultation

Do you suffer from cracked teeth due to excessive grinding? If so, contact us to schedule a consultation. Appointments are available in the office, but you can begin with a virtual consultation on Zoom. This ensures that your problem is assessed and treatment is deemed necessary. The consultation is entirely free, and you can schedule your in-office appointment at the same time. Here, you will undergo a thorough exam and assessment before being scanned for your custom-made oral appliance.

Can I Afford Dental Implants?

August 30th, 2020 by sbrown

It might be hard to believe, but the oral health situation in this country still isn’t where it needs to be. So many people struggle with their oral health, which leads to things like tooth decay, cavities, and oral diseases.

There are plenty of theories as to why people don’t visit the dentist as often as they should, from an underlying fear to having a bad experience as a child. But, not regularly getting your teeth looked at by a professional and having an oral examination can lead to unfortunate consequences.

As a dental practice, we believe that every patient should keep as many of their original teeth as possible. Unfortunately, things don’t always work that way. Whether you have lost teeth to decay, or you have teeth that are broken and need to be extracted, losing your teeth isn’t exactly a pleasant thing to life with.

But, dental implants can help.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are often the best option for patients with missing teeth. They are specifically meant to work with the existing bone tissue in your mouth to form a strong and sturdy “root”. This base acts as a platform for a dental crown, which will make your teeth look flawless.

Because dental implants are available in different sizes and even different configurations, they are extremely customizable and meant to fit almost anyone.

What Treatment Options Are Available Using Dental Implants?

Because dental implants can be used in a variety of ways, there are different types of implants, as well as different techniques to consider. Some of the most common include:

  • Implant-Supported Dentures: This is a fairly straightforward process in which traditional dentures are either supported by or attached to dental implants that are in the jaw bone. The dentures sit on top of the implants to give you the look of real teeth.
  • All On 4: This is an alternative solution for a full arch. Instead, four implants are placed within your own available bone. After following a modified diet for about six months so the gum tissue has a chance to heal and grow around the implants, permanent replacement teeth will be added, and you can resume your normal activities. This particular procedure eliminates the need for bone grafting.
  • Teeth in a Day: This process essentially streamlines implant-supported dentures. Rather than placing implants in the mouth, patients are fitted with either a fully-removable denture. It’s likely that the dentures will need to be adjusted a few times as you wait for a permanent denture, but this option makes it possible to have “teeth” right away without having to wait months.

If you’re not sure which of these options is right for you or you have questions about how they work, talking to Dr. I Stephen Brown or a team member at The Perio Group can help you to get the answers you need.

What is the Cost of Dental Implants?

There is no concrete number when it comes to the cost of dental implants. They are a very specific and customizable process for everyone, and the overall cost is impacted by everything from the number of implants you might require, to any additional procedures that may be necessary along the way.

With that being said, it’s important to look at dental implants as an investment, rather than something you’re paying for as a “quick fix” for your teeth. They are a long-term solution that will impact and improve your smile and oral health for years to come. Unlike options like crowns and bridges, dental implants can last forever.

So, it is important to compare the cost with other methods to determine the right option for you. Caps, crowns, and bridges will need to be replaced every 5-7 years, while implants are typically meant to last a lifetime. Dental implants also are less likely to cause any future dental problems, while other methods can sometimes increase your risk of decay or gum problems.

You will only be able to determine your actual cost of dental implants by sitting down for a consultation. At our practice, Dr. Brown is always happy to talk with patients about the benefits of dental implants and whether they are the best option for replacing your teeth. Again, keep in mind that all dentists want patients to keep as many of their own teeth as possible. But, if your current teeth are in bad shape or you’re missing some, short-term solutions like caps and crowns may not be your best solution.

So, you have to be the one to decide if you’re ready to invest in yourself and your oral health.

Making An Investment in Your Oral Health

What does that mean, exactly? Essentially, it means determining what you think your smile is worth. It means weighing out the benefits of dental implants and understanding how they will impact your life on a long-term basis.

Some of those important benefits include:

  • They feel, look, and fit like natural teeth, so there is no discomfort or irritation
  • They are made to last a lifetime
  • You can regain your confidence if you’ve been struggling with your smile for a long time
  • They can prevent bone loss and actually stimulate new bone growth

So, to answer the major question; can you afford dental implants? The answer should be a resounding ‘yes’. Though implants are an investment and may have a high price tag upfront, comparing them to the overall cost of other options makes it easy to realize that they are often the best solution. You won’t have to have extra work done on them or have them replaced every few years. So, a one-time investment can allow you years of a brilliant, beautiful smile.

If you’re interested in dental implants or any other options for tooth repair or replacement, feel free to contact us for more information. Our team will be happy to answer your questions or set up a consultation for you.

Tips for Managing Gum Inflammation

August 23rd, 2020 by sbrown

If your gums are tender or swollen, you may have gum inflammation. Gum inflammation is caused when plaque builds up along your gums and even under them. If you have blood on your toothbrush or appear when you eat hard foods like apples, you might have gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early-stage gum disease that causes inflammation and may lead to periodontal disease, a more advanced gum disease. Periodontal disease begins with inflamed gums but can cause bad breath, gaps between teeth and gums, and even loose or missing teeth. Here’s how to prevent gum inflammation and keep your mouth healthy.

Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day

Brushing your teeth after breakfast in the morning and when going to bed at night will help remove plaque and reduce gum inflammation. Brushing keeps the bacteria in plaque from attacking your gums, which is why brushing after eating is recommended for eliminating both residual plaque and any food debris. You should brush for 2 minutes for each session, using a soft-bristled brush. Avoid brushing your teeth too harshly, as this can make your gums sore.

If you are using an electric toothbrush, make sure you change the head every three-four months and replace regular toothbrushes after the same amount of time. When brushing your teeth, remember to brush behind your front and back teeth, without scrubbing too harshly along the gum line. Brush the top, front, and rear of your teeth, as well as your gums and tongue, in a circular motion to cover all areas of the mouth.

Make Sure You Floss

Dental floss is the best way to get between your teeth and remove the build-up of plaque that could cause bacteria to gather and lead to inflamed gums. Flossing once a day will help keep your gums healthy. Flossing after brushing will help clear up anything that your regular brushing might have missed.

If you’ve got bridges or existing dental work that makes flossing uncomfortable, try using water flossers. Water flossers send bursts of water out that can wash out plaque from between your teeth. Dental picks are suitable for hard to reach areas. However, plaque or dental scraping should always be done by a trained Periodontist like Dr. I. Stephen Brown to avoid damaging your gums.

Visit Your Periodontist

Visiting The Perio Group for regular check-ups, dental scrapings, or advice on gum disease is the best way to prevent gum inflammation. Over time, plaque can build-up into a hard coating on your teeth called tartar, which can only be removed by a dental scraping from your periodontist. Tartar can accumulate below the gums and cause irritation, inflammation, and, eventually, periodontal disease.

For more advanced gum disease treatments, Dr. Brown is considered a pioneer in treating with non-surgical techniques. Using laser gum treatment, The Perio Group can safely target the plaque or tartar, removing them from along and underneath the gum line to restore your gums to a healthy and uninflamed state. The procedure is known as Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) and is the perfect way to treat advanced gum disease without more invasive techniques or a scalpel.

Eat More Vitamin C, D, And Calcium

Vitamin C helps fight periodontal disease by boosting the immune system and enhancing its ability to fight infection. Consuming either vitamin C supplements or taking it from fruit like oranges or lemons will have the same effect of reducing bleeding gums and keeping them in a healthy state.

Recent studies suggest that vitamin D plays a massive role in periodontal care, from maintaining healthy gums and reducing inflammation to helping the mouth heal after periodontal treatments. There is also 2020 research showing that vitamin D reduces the number of oral bacteria that directly cause gum disease. Vitamin D is found in mushrooms, fish like tuna or anchovies, and other seafood like shrimp or oysters. Spending time in sunlight will also boost your vitamin D levels.

Calcium not only boosts the health of your teeth and gums, with studies supporting reduced gum disease for those regularly consuming calcium. Calcium is found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products, leafy greens like kale or spinach, and bread.

Make Healthier Lifestyle Choices

Quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol and excess sugar can help reduce the impact of gum inflammation. Smoking weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight gum disease and more difficult for your gums to recover from gingivitis or damage. According to the CDC, smoking doubles the risk of gum disease.

Alcohol dehydrates the mouth, leading to an increased risk of gum disease. Alcohol also increases the concentration of harmful bacteria in the mouth, leading to gum inflammation. Non Drinkers have a better mix of bacteria (and more ‘good’ bacteria), which is considered healthier for your gums.

High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels to constrict and become damaged, reducing blood flow to different parts of the body. This can affect your gums in the same way, limiting the amount of oxygen and nutrients that meet the gums and making them more prone to gum disease and other infections. That’s why individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of gum disease.

Other Treatments For Advanced Gum Disease

Dr. Brown offers many treatments to combat periodontal disease. We’ve already spoken about LANAP and laser treatments, but The Perio Group also offers gum regeneration treatment, promoting the body to produce healthy tissue. We will safely remove any bacteria causing the disease, then use tissue-promoting proteins or bone grafts to encourage your gums’ healthy regeneration. This will reduce the depth of the pockets between your gums and teeth, reducing the recurrence of bacteria alongside an excellent oral hygiene regime.

Dr. Brown and The Perio Group are on hand for advice on the right oral hygiene procedures to reduce gum inflammation and advancement into periodontal disease. If you have a more advanced condition, we can still treat these with a range of surgical and non-surgical treatments to restore your gums’ health. Contact us today to find out how Dr. Brown and The Perio Group can keep your gums healthy.

Tips for Finding The Best Periodontist

July 30th, 2020 by sbrown

Periodontal disease is a serious condition that needs to be diagnosed by a specialist. Many patients reach out to a periodontist at different stages of gum disease discomfort. We have worked with patients who periodically experience several symptoms associated with periodontal disease, such as swollen gums, bleeding gums when brushing, receding gums, bad breath, deep pockets between the gums and the teeth, loss of jawbone and gums support for the teeth, etc.

But, periodontal care is only one of the reasons you may want to schedule an appointment with a periodontist. A periodontist can also provide permanent solutions for tooth replacement, as their extensive knowledge of gum and jawbone health can be associated with dental implant services. A gum specialist can also offer cosmetic procedures focused on the gum area.

These are some of the reasons why you would be looking for a periodontist. However, finding the best periodontist in Philadelphia for your needs can be tricky. If you are unfamiliar with periodontics, these are the factors you need to consider to find a periodontist you can trust in Philadelphia.

A periodontist is a specialized dentist

Periodontists are dentists who have specialized in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases and the secured placement of dental implants. Therefore, the first thing you want to consider when looking for the best periodontist is their education.

Periodontists graduate from an accredited dental school with a DDS, Doctor of Dental Surgery, or a DMD, Doctor of Medical Dentistry, degree. After their degree, they pursue their education with specialist periodontal training in an ADA-accredited (American Dental Association) periodontology residency program. The training period can last between 3 and 7 years, after which they pass the relevant written and oral examinations to receive their national board certification by the American Board of Periodontology (ABP). Periodontists need to demonstrate updated knowledge and competence in their area of expertise and pursue further education and activities in periodontistry to be regularly recertified by the ABP. Therefore, the first check you may want to perform to find a periodontist in your area is to review their certification on the ABP website. Certified periodontists become Diplomates of the ABP.

At The Perio Group, we are proud to say that Dr. I. Stephen Brown has a DDS degree and is a Diplomate of the ABP. He is also a respected Fellow of the American and International Colleges of Dentist, the Academy of Osseointegration, and a Fellow and Diplomate of the Internal Congress of Oral Implantologists. Dr. Brown was the first doctor in the country to add adult orthodontics training to his periodontist specialization.

Different types of periodontal procedures

Depending on your mouth health, medical history, and periodontal requirements, you may find that periodontists can provide a variety of gum-related procedures.

Periodontists provide non-surgical gum treatment, such as deep cleanings, tartar and plaque removal, bacterial toxins removal, etc. Non-surgical treatments are sometimes referred to as scaling and root planing. In the early stages of periodontal disease, gum treatments can be followed by medicated therapy to manage periodontal health.

If your periodontal disease is more advanced, you will be looking for a specialist who has a history of performing effective gum surgery procedures, such as removing infected gum tissue and encouraging the body’s natural ability to regenerate gum tissue and bone.

Periodontists can also provide services that protect or restore your teeth, including reshaping excess gum and bone tissues and osseointegration – the process of binding an artificial tooth root into the jaw. Dental implants are associated with osseointegration.

Pain and healing management

No procedure is likely to be entirely pain-free. Nevertheless, if your pain threshold is low or prevents you from seeking treatment, you want to look for a periodontist committed to reducing patients’ discomfort and stress. We are proud to offer minimally invasive procedures that speed up recovery time. Dr. Brown can perform Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) to eliminate infection and regenerate lost tissue. The Perio Group was also the first periodontics office to offer non-invasive gum-receding treatment in Philadelphia, with the Pinhole Surgical Technique.

We also appreciate that some of our patients may be nervous about periodontal procedures. We offer sedation dentistry to ensure our patients can feel as comfortable as possible during treatments.

A respected periodontist in their field

Finding a periodontist you trust takes time. But once you’ve considered their credentials and the types of treatment they offer, you can already get a better sense of their competences. A business that has been operated for several years is a sign that they are experienced, which can be an essential trust factor for patients who are worried about complex procedures. Reading online reviews about the business can provide sufficient insights into the quality of the treatments they offer and the level of satisfaction of other patients. Third-party reviews, such as Google Ratings, are an objective description of a periodontal business. We recommend that patients focus their attention on businesses that have 4 or more stars. Our periodontist, Dr. Brown, has been elected Top Dentist for the 11th time in Philadelphia Magazine 2020.

Additionally, you can also check the website for testimonials. If you prefer to judge the competence of a periodontist via visual clues, video or photo testimonials are the best source of information to find someone you trust.

Ease of making an appointment

You can’t afford to delay seeing a periodontist as it could aggravate your gum health issues. Therefore, it’s essential to consider an accessible location with suitable business hours.

At The Perio Group, we are dedicated to making appointment scheduling as stress-free and straightforward as possible. You can obtain an appointment via your doctor referral or directly get in touch with our team, (267) 828-1656. Alternatively, you can use the contact form on the website to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brown. We are committed to our patients’ health, which is why we also provide virtual consultations whenever possible during Covid-19.

Who Should Treat My Periodontal Disease?

June 30th, 2020 by sbrown

Your gum health is crucial to maintaining your mouth structure. As such, any health issue related to your gum needs to be treated in priority. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, refers to the bacterial infection of the gum. While it is a health condition typically diagnosed by your dentist, or directly by a periodontist, there are tell-tale signs that you can’t miss. The Perio Group has extensive experience dealing with gum disease, which is why we are adamant that you should seek treatment from us for any of the following conditions:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Deep pockets between your teeth and your gums
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen gums

While there may be more than one reason why you would experience the above-mentioned symptoms, combined, they could be the sign of gum disease. You need a specialist to provide the appropriate periodontal disease treatment, such as Dr. I. Stephen Brown, who uses laser and non-surgical alternatives to treat the condition.

Periodontal disease could turn into a recurring condition

It’s important to understand that your gums require the same maintenance and check up routine as your teeth to manage their health. While a dentist can perform essential routines, they are not specialized in gum health. Without appropriate treatment, gum discomfort could become a recurring health condition, which is how periodontal disease develops. Most patients are not aware that a periodontist can provide in-depth cleaning and maintenance to keep periodontal disease at bay. If you are at risk for gum disease, it is essential to schedule regular checkup appointments with Dr. Brown to:

  • Deep clean the area and keep your gums free of infection
  • Check plaque and tartar development
  • Provide gum health maintenance and prevent further risks

If your dentist suspects you may be developing periodontal disease, you are likely to be referred to a periodontist who will assess your dental and gum health. Alternatively, you can also reach out to a specialist and book your first appointment with a periodontist without any medical referral if you are worried about your gum health.

Before recommending the most appropriate periodontal disease treatment, periodontists need to review your dental and medical history. They will also ensure they understand your lifestyle and are aware of habits that could aggravate gum disease, such as smoking, for instance. Additionally, some medications can interfere with periodontal treatment. Oral contraceptives, for example, can affect the treatment.

Patients can expect a periodontist to perform a full examination of the teeth and gums, but also the whole mouth, the throat, head, neck, and jaw joints, along with X-rays of the mouth. These are important steps for recommending periodontal disease treatment options for your unique situation.

A periodontist is specifically trained

A periodontist is a specialist in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. Your general dentist has extensive knowledge of your unique dental and medical history, which can help recognize early signs of gum disease. But when it comes to treating periodontal disease, your dentist will most likely refer you to a professional who is specially trained in gum health management. At The Perio Group, we recommend that our patients maintain a close relationship with their dentist and periodontist to protect their full mouth health.

Your dentist can provide some level of care for periodontal needs, such as cleaning your gums or treating mild gum conditions. However, a periodontist is better suited to provide periodontal disease treatment for patients with severe gum disease or complex medical history.

When can a dentist treat periodontal disease?

Your general dentist can provide maintenance and preventive care for both your teeth and gums. If you don’t experience any severe gum health issues, your dentist can safely perform essential cleaning and diagnosis.

However, your general dentist is not trained to handle gum disease treatment for patients who have aggravating medical conditions and medical history, such as:

  • Immune problems
  • Smoking
  • History of diabetes
  • Senior patients

Additionally, a periodontist is the best contact for periodontal disease treatment if you experience the following gum health issues:

  • Deep pockets of 6mm or over
  • Loose teeth
  • Bone loss between the roots of the teeth
  • Exposed roots of teeth through receding gum
  • No firm gum tissue around the teeth
  • Recessing risk factor

If your dentist can’t treat your periodontal disease safely, you will be referred to a gums specialist.

What difference does a periodontist make?

A periodontist makes the same difference as any specialist doctor makes compared to a generalist physician. A periodontist’s extensive training includes advanced knowledge and techniques to provide the most suitable periodontal disease treatment for each unique patient, including patients who may require more complex treatment options. Additionally, a periodontist is also trained in cosmetic gum-related procedures to achieve the best possible outcome.

At The Perio Group, Dr. Brown is committed to the comfort of his patients. Therefore, he is a pioneer in using less invasive and more precise laser technology, LANAP, for gum surgery. LANAP can play a significant role in the recovery process, especially for patients whose medical history makes them ineligible for surgery. The laser gum treatment offers an alternative to periodontal surgery that can gently and safely remove infected gum tissue.

We are proud to say that Dr. Brown is the first periodontist in Philadelphia to use the non-invasive pinhole surgical technique for receding gums. The pinhole surgical technique presents an alternative to the gum grafting surgery procedure that can lead to increased discomfort and prolonged recovery time for patients.

Should you go to a periodontist without a referral?

Periodontists are specialists in gum health, including periodontal disease treatment. However, if you have concerns about your gum health, we recommend reaching out to your general dentist to discuss your worries. Indeed, your dentist can help confirm a gum disease diagnosis or find another cause for your symptoms.

If your dentist confirms the periodontal symptoms or you are already familiar with periodontal disease, our team at The Perio Group will be happy to help. You do not need a medical referral. You can seek support from our own periodontist, Dr. Brown, by scheduling your appointment online. We also provide virtual consultations to keep on top of your gum health during Covid-19. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Bad Breath and Your Overall Health

May 30th, 2020 by sbrown

When it comes to bad breath, a lot of people assume that it’s merely an embarrassing problem, and not linked to your general health in any way. However, a lack of oral hygiene doesn’t simply cause bad breath. There are a wide number of health-related issues that can impact your health.

The fact is that at one point or another, almost everyone will experience bad breath. For some people, bad breath is a daily problem; for others, it happens every so often and isn’t a significant cause for concern. Around 30% of the population has experienced bad breath at one point or another – it’s a fairly common health complaint and usually a benign one.

Commonly, bad breath occurs after waking up in the morning or after eating food containing high amounts of garlic or onion. Coffee and smoking can also cause bad breath, as can being on a calorie-reduced diet. A lot of people don’t notice that they have bad breath and learn about it from a friend, family member, or co-worker who mentions it to them, causing upset and embarrassment.

What causes bad breath, and how is it linked to your general health?

Internal and external factors: Bad breath can originate both inside and outside of your mouth. Often, bad breath is caused by bacteria that collect on the teeth and tongue and cause foul-smelling breath. Often, poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath, as can dental problems such as cavities, mouth abscesses, and gum disease.

Infections: Infections and illnesses, such as tonsillitis, respiratory infections, sinusitis, and bronchitis, as well as gastrointestinal disease, can cause bad breath.

Disease: Certain diseases in their advanced stages, such as liver and kidney diseases, can also cause bad breath to occur. Uncontrolled diabetes can also cause bad breath to occur. However, it’s important to note that in these cases, a person will almost always have other symptoms alongside their bad breath.

How to manage bad breath?

When it comes to managing bad breath, the most crucial factor is to have the underlying cause diagnosed. If you are taking care of your teeth and gums, and your oral hygiene is up to scratch, then the chances are that it is not an oral hygiene problem causing your breath issues.

In the first instance, you should make an appointment to see your doctor and advise you about the steps you should take to manage your bad breath. They may be able to suggest a treatment route or refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for further testing and support.

If you are concerned that it is a dental issue, then seeking support from Dr. I. Stephen Brown should be the first step. He will be able to check your teeth and gums and determine whether there is an oral problem causing your bad breath, or whether there is another underlying cause that needs to be investigated. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Causes and Effects of Dry Mouth

April 30th, 2020 by sbrown

 

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be an uncomfortable condition. It is something that you may want to seek assistance for if you experience it, something that Dr. I. Stephen Brown can treat you for. But first, you may want to know more about dry mouth, including the causes and effects. Let’s take a look.

What Is Dry Mouth?

As you may know, we all need saliva. It’s important to keep the mouth hydrated and to help with the digestion of food. Another of its functions is to control bacteria in the mouth. However, when your body isn’t making enough saliva, it can be uncomfortable. So it’s important to identify what’s going on and seek dry mouth treatment from an experienced periodontist such as Dr. I. Stephen Brown.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

When you suspect that you have dry mouth, you may also be interested in what could have caused it. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a side effect from some of the medication that you’re taking, such as muscle relaxants, anxiety medication, and antihistamines, among others.

Dry mouth can also be a side effect of some diseases or infections, like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and stroke, among others. And finally, you may find that it can be caused by medical treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy damaging the saliva glands.

The Effects Of Dry Mouth

It’s knowing that dry mouth can affect your thirst levels, but that’s not all. You’ll find that you have a dry, tight feeling to the mouth and it can make your lips sore and cracked. It can also be uncomfortable to talk and swallow. As food isn’t being washed away by the saliva, you may find that you get bad breath easily. And if you’re wearing lipstick, it can stick to your teeth with no saliva to wash that away either.

Treatment Options

It’s important to speak to a periodontist such as Dr I. Stephen Brown for treatment if you suspect that you have dry mouth. If you suspect it is due to the medication you’re taking, you will want to consult your doctor. You may also be prescribed an oral rinse that will help you to bring back moisture into the mouth.

However, an important part of dry mouth treatment is for you to drink lots of water to keep the mouth hydrated, breath through your nose as much as you can, and to brush and rinse your teeth regularly.

Ways To Relieve It

If you want to be able to relieve dry mouth there are things you can do to help. Sucking on a sugar-free candy or gum can hydrate the mouth and circulate more salvia, particularly those with xylitol. Caffeine and tobacco can make the problem worse so avoid them as much as you can.

If you are concerned about dry mouth, please contact us for treatment today.

Dr. Brown Awarded Philadelphia Magazine Top Dentists 2020

March 30th, 2020 by sbrown

At The Perio Group, we are proud to provide some of the most acclaimed and respected dental practitioners in the country. There are so many things people need to think about when they are choosing a periodontist, and we understand the need to feel comfortable with the choices you make. This is one of the key reasons why you should certainly be checking us out, and Dr. I. Stephen Brown is the leading reason you should be looking to get in touch with us today.

Dr. Brown is a leading periodontist who has the distinction of being awarded Philadelphia Magazine Top Dentist for 11 years in a row! This goes to show how talented and well-respected the man is, and will help you to feel at ease about choosing The Perio Group as a way of taking care of your dental health. Let’s look a little closer at this prestigious award and the man who continues to win it.

Top Dentist Award

Every year Philadelphia Magazine compiles a list of the leading dentists and dental professionals in the area. Those who have made an outstanding contribution to the community, and have proven to offer a reliable, dependable, and professional service to their patients. Dr. Brown was named by the magazine as being Top Dentist in the Field of Periodontics, claiming the award for a staggering 11th year running! This prestigious accolade is used to determine excellence in the field and is a great reference to use when looking to find the right dental practice for you.

What Makes Dr. Brown Stand Out?

These are not the sorts of awards that are won by just anybody, and it is important to make sure you understand what it takes to secure an award like this. So, what is it that makes Dr. Brown stand out and receive this acclaimed accolade on such a frequent basis? Well, one of the key things is his skill set, combined with his status as a leading educator in the dental field. This is what has led to him being nominated by his fellow dentists so many times. His contributions to the field, including sponsorship of several educational programs, have elevated his status, and he is held in high regard by so many in and out of the dental field.

The Team Behind the Man

Behind every great dentist, there is a wonderful team of friendly, knowledgeable, helpful professionals on hand to help make patients feel at home. At The Perio Group, we pride ourselves on having a strong and talented team backing up and supporting Dr. Brown. We believe that every patient is entitled to receive the absolute best dental care they possibly can. And our dedicated team can work with you to determine exactly what you want to achieve, as well as focusing on the best ways for Dr. Brown to help treat you.

There are a lot of factors that play a role in winning such an award which shows what a talented periodontist Dr. Brown is. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Common Causes of Bad Breath

January 30th, 2020 by sbrown

Bad breath is an exceedingly common problem, however that does not make it any less embarrassing or upsetting.

Have you noticed that people tend to turn away from you when you’re talking or place their hand near to their nose? This could be a sign that your breath isn’t as ‘fresh’ as it could be. Or perhaps someone has mentioned that your breath sometimes has a ‘smell’ to it. If you – or someone you know – suffers from chronic bad breath, then you might be wondering what causes it.

Diet can cause bad breath

It is a well-known fact that certain foods cause bad breath, such as coffee, onions and garlic, for instance. However, it’s not just strong smelling foods that can lead to bad breath, because bad breath tends to consist of Volatile Sulphur Compounds (VSC’s). These are generated by bacteria in your mouth and particularly on the posterior boarder of the tongue. These bacteria are also associated with periodontal (gum) disease.

For instance, eating a cheeseburger could cause bad breath to occur. Anything that offers protein that oral bacteria can use allowing this to be converted into sulfur gas can cause bad breath. It is for this reason that people on high protein diets, such as Keto, often suffer from bad breath.

Smoking and tobacco products

Anyone who smokes or chews tobacco is at risk of developing bad breath. It is a well accepted fact that tobacco products have a direct effect on oral health, and in particular, gum disease. The bacteria which are associated with gingivitis, bleeding gums and other oral diseases are directly related to breath malodor and halitosis.

It’s also worth noting that using tobacco products can also cause damage to the soft tissues within your mouth, which in turn creates an environment that is ideal for bacterial growth, increasing the likelihood of bad breath.

Poor dental hygiene

If you fail to take dental care seriously and brush, floss and use mouthwash on a daily basis, you will end up with bacterial overgrowth, signs of gum problems which, in turn produce the gasses that are directly associated with breath malodor.

By simply practicing good levels of oral hygiene and regular dental care can minimize your chances of halitosis. Eliminate the bacteria, eliminate the gases they produce, clean the tongue (especially in the back towards the throat) and you will greatly reduce the gases that cause bad breath.

Dental problems

When teeth become damaged or decayed it is most often associated with bacteria. These same bacteria produce VSC’s (gases) which are directly responsible for unpleasant mouth odor. That is why it is so important, that you see a periodontist as soon as possible, address the problem directly and minimize the potential for bad breath.

Bad breath can be upsetting and embarrassing, however it can usually be easily identified and successfully treated. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a breath malodor assessment and effective treatment today.