Why do I need a Periodontist and not just a dentist?

Jun 17

Although we are all familiar with the term “dentist,” the term “Periodontist” may be new to you. Let’s look at the ways that a Periodontist can help with your specific oral health needs, to help you make the best choice.

shutterstock_142427935

Do you want someone with the best training? A periodontist has all of the qualifications of a dentist while also undergoing up to three extra years of training past the typical dental school. This gives the periodontist the edge of expertise over other dentists when it comes to gum conditions like gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Do you need dental implants? Part of the extra three-year training of a periodontist is focused on dental implants. Your implant is something you will use everyday as you eat and speak. This will be a vital part of your life and you deserve expert treatment on the procedure and upkeep of your dental implant.

Do you have severe gum disease? A periodontist has the extra training in treatment methods that you need to treat your severe gum disease. Whether you need scaling and root planning, root surface debridement, or a more intensive surgical option, your periodontist will be able to help you.

Do you have a complicated medical history? Your periodontist knows how to deal with the complicated cases. They generally tackle the more severe cases and the cases with multiple contributing factors. If you are concerned about being treated as a unique individual with specific needs, a periodontist is your best bet.

Do you have any extra risk factors for gum disease? Risk factors, such as age, smoking, diabetes, or illnesses with medications that reduce your immune response increase the chance that your gum disease will be more severe. A periodontist Tennessee is the expert in severe gum disease. Call the Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry team today to schedule a consultation.

Handling Your Child’s Oral Health

Nov 21

Here at the Clarksville, Tennessee dental office of Carter Periodontics we know how important it is to get your child started on a good oral health program. So when should you start brushing? You should actually be cleaning their gums with a wet washcloth before your baby has teeth. Getting started early helps prevent tooth decay. Sadly, by kindergarten, more than 40% of kids have cavities.

 

Early Stages

Your child should see a dentist by his or her first birthday. Preventative medicine will save you money in the long run. Once your child starts developing teeth you can start using a baby brush with softer bristles, twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste (make sure they don’t swallow it). Start flossing once per day after teeth start touching each other.

 

Ditch the Juice

To prevent decay, avoid putting a child to bed with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk. The sugars in those drinks cling to baby’s teeth, triggering cavity-causing bacteria. If you must give your child a bottle for bed, be sure it’s only water.

 

In fact, avoiding juice altogether is a good choice. While many believe that juice is a healthy choice, it has been linked to childhood obesity and tooth decay.

 

No Binky after Age Two

Although studies have shown that binkies in the first year may help prevent sudden infant death, long-term use (after the first year) can affect how the top and bottom teeth align and the overall shape of the mouth. The American Academy of Pediatrics  suggests, in that first year, using a pacifier when putting your infant to sleep, but not reinserting when baby falls asleep.

 

Beware of Medicines

Children’s medications often contain sugar which leads to tooth decay. And some medications used for chronic illnesses such as asthma and heart problems, and even antibiotic medications, can cause an overgrowth of candida (yeast) which can lead to a fungal infection called oral thrush. Signs of this infection are white, curd-like patches inside the mouth and on the tongue.

 

Talk to your dentist about how often to brush your child’s teeth while on long-term medications. It could be as often as four times daily.

 

Be Firm, But Patient

Kids should start brushing their own teeth with adult supervision around two or three. But they should not brush alone until they can tie their shoe or write in cursive—age six or so. Flossing alone comes around age ten. It is also helpful to have your kids start brushing before they get tired and grouchy. It also helps to motivate them with gold stars on a chart, or brush with them. Older kids can choose their own toothpaste from options you approve.

 

Click here or call the Tennessee dentist office of Carter Periodontics today at (931) 614-6603 to learn more about healthy oral hygiene and schedule a consultation.

Intro to Laser Dentistry

Aug 20

Since 1994, lasers have been used to treat a number of dental problems. At Carter Periodontics we have been using laser treatments for certain dental procedures for a number of years, so today’s article is to provide our Tennessee dentist office patients with some information about this quickly growing aspect of dentistry.

 

Lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light. In dentistry lasers are used in surgical procedures to cut and vaporize the tissue that it comes in contact—effectively cutting and cauterizing at once, so no stitches are necessary. When used to “cure” a filling, the laser helps strengthen the bond between the filling and the tooth. It is also used in tooth-whitening procedures, as a laser’s heat enhances the effect of bleaching agents. Specifically, dentists all over the world are using lasers in dentistry to:

  • Treat tooth decay. Lasers are particularly effective at removing decay within a tooth, preparing enamel for filling, and then curing that filling.
  • Treat gum disease. Lasers are suited to reshape gums and remove bacteria, especially during root canal procedures.
  • Biopsy or lesion removal. Lasers can be sued to remove small pieces of tissue to be inspected for cancer. They are also used to remove lesions in the mouth and relieve the pain of canker sores. A Laser’s heat cauterizes the wound, rendering stitches unnecessary, which speeds up healing time. The laser also eliminates much of the swelling and bacteria around the wound, decreasing chances for infection.
  • Teeth whitening. Lasers are used to activate the peroxide bleaching solution used during in-office whitening procedure, thus speeding up the whitening process.

 

To learn more about our advanced Clarksville dental office and procedures, click here or call Carter Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today at (931) 614-6603 to schedule a consultation for comfortable dentistry.

What’s All the Hype about Oil Pulling?

Jul 10

Many of our Clarksville, TN dental and periodontal patients come by the office and ask or tell us about oil pulling. Well, we’d like to address some of the concerns about this new fad and hopefully clear some things up about your oral health.

 

First and foremost, it is important to know that although there has been an increase in oil pulling literature, there hasn’t been any conclusive scientific study completed on the subject. An oil-pulling routine cannot and should not replace regular dental visits and traditional at-home oral care. Also, oil pulling does not reverse the effects of tooth decay.

 

The procedure has been around for a very long time, about 3,000 years actually. Its origins reside in Ayurvedic medicine in India. The process involves rinsing, or swishing, about a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth (coconut oil is found to be the best). Jessica T. Emery, DMD says, “As the oil hits your teeth and gums, microbes are picked up as though they are being drawn to a powerful magnet.” Even bacteria hiding in pores and tubules are sucked out and firmly held in the solution.

 

The longer the oil is swished, the more bacteria accumulate within the oil. After about 20 minutes the oil should turn a milky white, at which times the person spits out the oil and thoroughly rinses with water.

 

Promoters claim that oil pulling has helped whiten their teeth, alleviate halitosis, and even reduce gingivitus. Oil pulling makes sense theoretically. We know that bacteria are the primary cause of tooth decay. So getting rid of the bacteria, even through oil pulling will likely improve oral health, but it is not the only or the best way we know of.

 

At Carter Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, our Clarksville dental office helps patients with all kinds of oral health problems, including bone grafting and oral cancer screenings. Click here or call the office today at (931) 614-6603 to schedule an appointment.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) Therapy

Jun 18

Have you ever experienced popping in the joints near your ears when you open your mouth? Do you suffer from chronic jaw pain and frequent headaches? These are common symptoms of a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is like the hinge that allows the jaw to open, close, and move from side to side. Untreated TMD can result in discomfort, pain, and stiffness in the muscles of the jaw, head, neck, shoulders, and back. Some of the symptoms of TMD can include:

  • Tenderness in the face and neck because of muscular problems in the jaw
  • Tinnitus (ringing of the ears)
  • A clicking sound when moving the jaw
  • Inflammation and muscle fatigue
  • Limited mobility of the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Chronic headaches

 

Fortunately, Dr. Carter of Carter Periodontics & Implant Dentistry may be able to help you with a treatment plan that is customized to you. At Carter Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we specialize in a variety of dental procedures including dental implants, extractions, bone grafting, laser surgery, and periodontal disease. To schedule a consultation with our Clarksville dental office, click here or call us today at (931) 614-6603.

What You Need to Know about Dental Implants

May 27

At Carter Periodontics & Implant Dentistry we specialize in cosmetic dentistry. If you have lost one, several, or all of your teeth, Carter Perio has a permanent solution: dental implants.

 

Dental implants are permanent replacements teeth made of Titanium. Unlike with dentures or bridges, dental implants provide new teeth roots that feel natural and help you regain all your dental functions including chewing and speaking. Dr. Carter, Clarksville TN dentist, can help you prepare for your treatment and answer all of your questions about implants. But before your consultation, here is some more information to help you prepare for the treatment:

 

Different Types of Implants

There are two different types of implants: traditional or mini. Traditional implants are about 4 to 5 mm in diameter, while mini-implants are less than 3 mm. Different sizes are suited to different circumstances, your dentist can help you determine which size.

 

Cost of Implants

Although implants are more costly than dentures, they are worth the investment because of the permanency and efficiency. Contact Dr. Carter’s office for more specific details about pricing and financing on Tennessee dental implants.

 

Healing and Care of Your Implants

Just as with other surgeries, it is important to let your oral surgery heal. Healing takes about 3 to 6 months for traditional-sized implants, while for mini-implants it takes only about 3 to 8 weeks.

 

It is vitally important to maintain good oral hygiene and have regular check-ups from your dentist after you have completed your implant surgery. Also, if you smoke it is best to quit in order to keep your implants from complications.

 

For more information or a consultation, click here or call Carter Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today at (931) 614-6603.

The Link Between Oral Health and Cancer

Apr 17

In many of our previous blog posts the Carter Periodontics team has discussed the fact that oral health plays a significant role in the overall wellbeing of the other body systems. For instance, gum disease can lead to problems like hypertension, heart disease, and even dementia. But recently more evidence suggests a connection between pathogens in the mouth and cancer throughout the body. As a Clarksville TN dentist and periodontist, Dr. Carter and his team help patients better understand the importance of good oral hygiene.

 

In recent studies by Harvard and Case Western Reserve University, a bacterium commonly found in tooth plaque, called Fusobacterium nucleatum has been linked to colon cancers. Specifically, F. nucleatum is has been seen in the growth of malignant colorectal tumors. The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology also reported that this bacterium can result in uterine infections possibly resulting in stillbirth at various stage of pregnancy.

 

There are also issues concerning the excessive use and build up of fluoride as well as mercury fillings. If you are think you may be at risk for any of these problems or other oral hygiene complications, you are advised to contact our Tennessee dental office as soon as possible.

 

Along with excellent hygiene screenings and basic dental procedures, the Carter Periodontics team is also specially trained and experienced in gum surgery, dental implants and is among only a few dentists to conduct oral cancer screenings in TN. Click here or call us today at (931) 614-6603 to schedule an appointment.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Apr 01

Last time we published a great article on organic methods for natural breath fresheners. Today, we are following up with an article about the root of the problem—what causes bad breath in the first place?

At Carter Periodontics we have helped many clients overcome mild gingivitis to advanced cases of gum disease that require tooth extractions and TN gum surgery. Our Clarksville, TN dentist, Dr. Timothy Carter, is a leading Tennessee periodonist and can help you stop gum disease before it ruins your lovely smile.

Besides simply eating foods with strong odors, poor habits are one of the most common reasons for bad breath. If you do not brush and floss properly every day, food particles stay in your gums or dentures and grow bacteria. This causes bad breath. Smoking or chewing tobacco also leave bacteria, cause bad breath and irritate the gums. The residual bacteria can cause dental caries and yeast infections in the mouth.

Certain medical conditions can result in bad breath as well. Upper respiratory illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections can lead to chronic dry mouth. Digestive problems like diabetes, acid reflux disease, and liver or kidney problems also cause dry mouth. This is a problem because saliva moistens and cleans the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead skin cells from the cheeks, gums and tongue. Without saliva these cells can start to decompose and cause bad breath.

These problems sound really scary and can be extremely serious. That’s why your oral health is so important. In addition to periodontal check-ups, Dr. Carter also provides Tennessee oral cancer screenings. Click here or call the office today at (931) 614-6603 to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

Bad Breath and Natural Fresheners

Feb 11

Nobody likes having bad breath or smelling bad breath. It can take the enjoyment right out of a conversation. We don’t often have the chance to duck into the bathroom and brush our teeth and many of the breath fresheners on the market have an overabundance of sweeteners that can cause tooth decay more quickly. At Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry in Tennessee, we have come up with some natural solutions though, some that you may already have in your kitchen.

  1. Mint. Chewing on a few raw mint leaves is a quick and natural alternative to those candy mints. Mint tea is also a great option.
  2. Parsley. Parsley has a nice spicy zest to it that is great after a meal. It has an enzyme that helps rid your mouth of odor-causing particles left behind from foods like garlic and onions.
  3. Coriander. If mint and spice aren’t your favorite, coriander has a great fresh lemon flavor.
  4. Cardamom Pods. You don’t want to swallow cardamom pods, but chewing on one for a few minutes can help get rid of bad breath.
  5. Cinnamon. While you can chew on whole sticks of cinnamon, our favorite is to make some tea. Plus, if you add some cardamom, you’ve got the beginnings of a simple chai tea.
  6. Anise Seeds. This is a strong herbal remedy, so a little bit goes a long way. These little seeds leave a taste like black licorice that lasts for a long time.

You can also soak wood toothpicks into the natural spice extracts, let them dry and suck on these to freshen your breath and pick out those pepper grinds or spinach leaves from dinner. But be careful not to swallow them or leave them around for children to swallow. And, as we described above, many of these deliciously freshening herbs can be steeped in tea.

 

And remember, just because your breath is temporarily freshened, doesn’t mean your mouth is clean. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss once, to keep your smile bright and healthy. And visit the Clarksville, TN dentists at Carter Periodontics at least every six months for cleanings and check-ups. Click here or call us today at (913) 614-6603 to schedule your appointment.

Missing Teeth and Bone Grafting

Jan 13

Even though the procedure sounds serious, a bit of information about why the procedure is necessary can make the process a little easier to bear. The experts at Carter Periodontics are trained in the most up-to-date techniques that rapidly increase healing time and success rates. But we always look for opportunities to educate our patients about oral health and procedures. So we’ve published this article to take a closer look at the necessity of bone grafting.

Firstly, it is important to understand that the roots of your teeth are surrounded by bone., held in place by ligaments.  If your jawbone doesn’t have a tooth to hold up, it disintegrates. Scary, right?  In order to prevent this decay, a dental implant should be immediately put in. If nothing is put in to replace the missing tooth, your jawbone will begin to slowly erode until a hollow divot is left. The gum tissue level will be lower than the surrounding areas and look unnatural.

Small bone grafting techniques can be as simple as packing the empty tooth socket with demineralized bone granules and covering them with a protective collagen membrane. The granules will help your own bone to fill in the socket and preserve the jaw line long enough for you to restore the area with a dental implant. If you use a bridge to replace the missing tooth, the bone level will deteriorate a little over time.

Larger bone grafting procedures are for patients who have been missing teeth for a long time and have advanced bone loss. Patients who wear dentures often experience this problem resulting in their denture no longer fitting. The replacement bone graft is made of a combination of sterile human bond granules and the patients own bone from a different part of the jaw, a hip or tibia in the form of a small block. Then, as with the small bone grafting technique, the replacement is secured with a collagen membrane and sutures. When the upper jaw, the maxilla, is involved, the procedure is different. Just above the maxilla is an empty cavity called the maxillary sinus. A procedure called a “sinus lift” is done to increase the depth and width of the bone below the sinus and facilitate dental implant.

At Carter Periodontics we specialize in dental implants in Tennessee and Tenessee oral surgery, so you can trust that we are specially trained and experienced. Click here or call us today at (931) 614-6603 for an appointment with an exceptional Clarksville, TN dentist.