Twice the Risk of Heart Disease If You Have Periodontal Disease

Most people understand that proper dental care is important to keep their teeth beautiful, but too many people overlook the fact that dental decay can actually compromise your overall health. The human mouth contains over 25 different species of oral bacteria, which create enamel-eroding acids and dangerous toxins as they thrive in the mouth. Over time, these bacteria can even leach into your bloodstream, creating inflammation throughout the body.

Periodontal Disease Has Been Directly Tied to Heart Disease

Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease

For many years, scientists have known that there was a link between periodontal disease and advanced cardiovascular disease, but the cause and effect relationship of gum disease and heart health has been up for debate, until now. Recently, researchers at the University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam studied the medical records of over 60,000 different people to determine whether periodontal disease actually had any bearing on their heart health.

The results of the study were astounding. According to researchers, 95% of the patients who lived with periodontal disease also struggled with some kind of advanced cardiovascular illness. Other studies have also shown that people with periodontal disease are more than twice as likely to develop cardiovascular illnesses. Anatomical studies have even found evidence of oral bacteria in the actual plaques that line the arteries leading to the heart, contributing to inflammation and heart disease.

Treatments for Periodontal Disease Offered By Dr. Silberg

Fortunately, every stage of gum disease is treatable, whether you have early gingivitis or late periodontal disease. Gingivitis, which is characterized by bad breath, tender, swollen, bleeding gums, and mild gum recession can be reversed fairly quickly by focusing on better oral hygiene at home. Mild periodontitis can be treated with deep cleanings, also called pocket reduction surgery and scaling and planing, where the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned below the gumline.

If you have advanced periodontitis, which is characterized by bone loss and even tooth loss, Dr. Silberg can treat your condition using an advanced laser dental treatment called LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure). During LANAP, a very small periodontal laser probe is inserted into the gingival pockets, and then a beam of light sanitizes the area while simultaneously destroying diseased tissue.  

Make An Appointment With Your Periodontist in Pittsburgh Today

If you suspect that you are suffering from gum disease, contact Dr. Silberg’s office today. With a complete focus on patient care and all of the latest gum disease treatments in Pittsburgh, Dr. Silberg and his team can help you to return to oral health.

Keep Smiling This Year!

Have you thought about your New Years resolutions yet? Although most people are quick to name dieting or hitting the gym, all too many people forget about their dental health—which can have a profound effect on other areas of the body.

The mouth is sometimes referred to as the window to a person’s health because so many conditions show symptoms there. Tooth decay and gingivitis can also cause oral bacteria to leach into the bloodstream and cause widespread inflammation, contributing to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer. Fortunately, you can help your body ward off these kinds of problems by focusing on proper dental care.

Resolve to Take Care of Your Teeth in 2017

This holiday season, focus on turning over a new leaf and resolving to take better care of your teeth in 2017. Here are just a few dental care tips that could help you to have a comfortable smile that you can be proud of.

Regular Dental Appointments

The American Dental Association recommends meeting with your dentist regularly in order to spot problems and address them quickly. In addition to saving you from the pain of advanced tooth decay, keeping regular dental appointments and getting complete periodontal evaluations can help your dentist and periodontist in Pittsburgh to address problems before they become more complex, saving you time and money.

A Focus on Dental Hygiene

Think about your daily dental hygiene routine and what you can do to perfect it. Focus on brushing and flossing carefully and consistently. If you have questions about the toothbrush and floss that you are using, don’t be shy about talking with Dr. Silberg. He can recommend great tools that are well suited for your dental concerns.

Avoid Dental Dangers

In addition to polishing up your daily hygiene routine, also focus on avoiding dental dangers. Don’t try to bite through foods that are hard, rinse after eating anything extremely chewy, and never open packages with your teeth. If you play sports, invest in a protective athletic mouth guard to protect your teeth from impact.

Be Proactive About Problems

Last but not least, pay attention to preventive care and be proactive about new problems. By making appointments regularly and addressing new dental issues, you can stay on top of your dental health.

At the Silberg Center for Dental Science, we want to make you smile in 2017. Contact our office to schedule your next checkup.  

Happy Holidays from the Silberg Center for Dental Science

Christmas Eve SceneSeason’s Greetings! We at the Silberg Center for Dental Science would like to wish you the greatest happiness, peace, and hope this holiday season. From our family to yours, thank you for trusting us with your smile and letting us serve you. As you celebrate the season and enjoy the festivities, we want to share some reminders about taking care of your smile.

At this time of year, we all tend to indulge. Those extra sugary snacks or glasses of wine can cause a surprising amount of dental damage, but there is also a lot you can do to limit the risk. First, if you’re eating sticky candies like taffy, gummies, and caramel, be sure to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth afterward. These sticky treats easily cling to the teeth, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Also, avoid biting down on hard candy, nutshells, ice, or bones. While it doesn’t happen every time, biting down wrong can result in dental chips, cracks, and fractures. Finally, keep in mind that brightly pigmented foods like cranberry sauce, bright holiday-themed sweets, and red wine can stain your teeth. Be mindful of how much you eat of these foods. If you do end up having a dental mishap over the holidays, please contact us for help.

As your periodontist in Pittsburgh, we look forward to helping you achieve a more beautiful and confident smile in the coming year. May the spirit of the season be with you and your family. From the Silberg Center for Dental Science, have a happy holiday!

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark E. Silberg

Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease

For two decades, researchers have studied the connection between periodontal disease and heart disease. Though a cause and effect relationship hasn’t yet been proven, the evidence suggests that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and other structures around the teeth including periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. Early symptoms include bleeding, tender, or swollen gums, and teeth that look longer because gums have receded. If left untreated, periodontal disease can ruin the supporting structures of the teeth, ultimately leading to tooth loss.

What is the connection between periodontal and heart disease?

Over the last few years, gum disease has been linked to various health problems including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Scientists suspect that the inflammation caused by gum disease is the reason for the association. Preexisting heart conditions can also be made worse by gum disease.

Additional studies have emphasized a connection between gum disease and stroke. In one study, researchers found that those diagnosed with a stroke were more likely to have an oral infection as opposed to those in the control group.

What is the best gum disease treatment?

Dr. Silberg’s practice in Pittsburgh offers effective gum disease treatment options for patients at all stages. The best option, though, is preventive care to keep gum disease from ever getting a foothold. Preventive care involves a dedicated oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Good personal hygiene halts the growth of plaque, the main cause of gum disease. Regular visits to our office can also help keep your teeth clear of plaque and tartar, and give us the chance to watch for signs of gum disease.

What should I do if I think I have periodontal or heart disease?

For gum disease treatment in the Pittsburgh area, contact Dr. Silberg. At the Silberg Center for Dental Science, we understand the connection between your dental health and your total well being. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns as we work toward enhancing your smile and ultimately improving your health. If you have questions or need an appointment, contact us today!

Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. Silberg!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. Silberg and our entire staff would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. This time of year is filled with great friends, family time, and of course, all of your favorite foods. Unfortunately, some of those classic seasonal dishes aren’t as good for your teeth as they are for your spirit. Here are just a few Thanksgiving dental villains and how to prevent long-term dental damage.

Thanksgiving Dental Villains

  • Cranberry Sauce, Red Wine, Brown Gravy, Berry Pies

    The shiny, white dental enamel that covers the visible portions of your teeth is actually porous, made up of a tightly-woven network of hydroxyapatite crystals. Unfortunately, this means that the dyes from the pigmented foods that we eat can leach through enamel and stain the underlying dentin, where discoloration is hard to remove. Prevent staining by avoiding heavily pigmented foods like cranberry sauce, brown gravy, red wines, and coffee.

  • Turkey Drumsticks

    Hard foods like turkey bones, nuts, and even toasted breads in stuffings can be hard to chew through, which can land you with a chipped tooth or a fractured dental crown. When you eat Thanksgiving dinner, try to avoid any foods that might present surprise hard spots that could damage dental work or natural teeth.

  • Grandma’s Stuffing

    The human mouth is home to at least 25 different strains of oral bacteria all of which attack your teeth. Unfortunately, these bacteria produce acids they feed on simple starches from the foods that you eat, which is why you should limit your exposure to starches like stuffing, cereal mix, and rolls.

  • Pies, Pies, Pies

    Bacteria also feed on simple sugars like sucrose and fructose, so try to avoid indulging in seconds and thirds of your favorite pie. If you do decide to indulge, don’t let that sugar just sit on your teeth; drink water to rinse away the residue, or brush and floss if you can.

Schedule Your Next Appointment Today

Don’t leave it up to chance—schedule your next dental appointment today to keep your teeth clean and healthy during the holidays. Preventive care, such as deep cleanings, protective sealants, and examinations to check for underlying decay, can help your teeth to stay strong and healthy. Your favorite Pittsburgh periodontist is currently accepting new patients, so call Dr. Silberg’s office today to schedule your appointment.

Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Oftentimes when people have problems with their teeth, they assume those problems are isolated to their mouths. However, the mouth has been referred to as the window to a person’s health because other serious disorders show symptoms in the oral cavity. One of these conditions is diabetes.

Periodontal disease and diabetes have a lot in common. Both diseases affect how the body handles infection, which is one of the reasons people with one condition are more likely to have the other. In fact, in one study that followed 9,000 people, folks who were dealing with periodontal disease were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes over a 20-year period.

This correlation is thought to be caused by the way diabetic bodies respond to sugar. Because more sugar is present in saliva and tissues when someone has diabetes, oral bacteria can run amok, causing extreme dental decay. In fact, people who have periodontal disease and diabetes at the same time tend to have much more advanced cases of periodontitis.  

Precautions to Avoid Both Conditions

Fortunately, there are some ways that you can work against both diabetes and periodontal disease to improve your condition.

Know Your Family History

If your parents suffered with diabetes or periodontal disease, you are at a higher risk for developing either condition. Talk with your family members about their health so that you can understand your own risk level. Remember that there are several treatment options for both conditions, including gum disease treatment in Pittsburgh.

Take Care of Your Body

Focus on eating a healthy diet and exercising daily to help control your blood sugar and your risk of periodontal disease. Healthy bodies are much more capable of fighting off bacteria and subsequent infections. Drink plenty of water to help dilute bacteria levels in your mouth and to rinse away food particles.

Talk With Your Periodontist and Doctor

Pittsburgh periodontists, such as Dr. Silberg, are more than happy to talk with you about your risk factors for periodontal disease. Patients should also talk with their normal family practitioners if they suspect that they are at risk for developing either condition. Early, open communication with dental and medical providers can help you to keep your blood sugar and oral health under control. Make an appointment with Dr. Silberg today if you have questions about your oral health.

Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you think that dental problems only affect your teeth, think again. More and more research has shown the strong link between oral health and overall systemic wellness, which is why everyone should take their dental hygiene seriously.

As oral bacteria is allowed to continue to build in your mouth, it feeds off of the plaque and tartar on your teeth, producing acids which spark an inflammatory response in the gum tissue, triggering gingivitis and periodontal disease. Eventually, oral bacteria can even leach into the bloodstream, causing system-wide inflammation. For this reason, periodontal disease has been tied to several very serious health problems, including pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cognitive impairment, chronic kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Evidence has shown that both rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease have nearly identical immunological and pathological processes, even producing the same types of antibodies. Each condition causes inflammation of soft tissue, and the genetic composition of the disease is similar.

Evidence has shown a strong link between the propensity for periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. For example, one study showed that the fewer teeth people had, the greater their risk for eventually developing rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, the more swollen people’s joints were, the fewer teeth they had. For example, in a study of 366 people, people who had more swollen joints had an average of 26 of their own natural teeth, while people with less swollen joints had 29 of their own teeth left.

Other researchers suspect that rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease feed each other, each making the other disease symptoms more severe. For example, since RA affects autoimmune function, the body can’t naturally fight off oral bacteria as easily, contributing to advanced periodontitis.

Talk With Your Doctor Today

Although research regarding the link between periodontal disease and RA is ongoing, one thing is abundantly clear—if you have one, you are more likely to have the other. Talk with your doctor and your Pittsburgh periodontist about your oral and systemic health to understand your risks. By seeking Dr. Silberg’s recommendations for your oral health and making an appointment to talk about Pittsburgh gum disease treatment, you can live a healthier life and worry less about tooth loss. Advanced treatments, such as LANAP or scaling and root planing, have made gum disease treatment easier and more convenient than ever before. Contact us today for an appointment!

Who is Most Susceptible to Gum disease?

gum disease

Although everyone can end up with gum disease if they aren’t careful, some people are more susceptible than others. Oral hygiene is the most obvious factor in the development of periodontal disease, but there are other issues at play. Knowing both the risk factors and the symptoms of gum disease can empower you to make the best oral hygiene choices, like visiting a periodontist in Pittsburgh if you think you are showing signs.

Risk Factors for Gum Disease

  • Genetics: This one can be frustrating, as there’s very little you can do directly to change your genes. However, recognizing that gum disease is common in your family or that you are especially susceptible to it can at least warn you to take extra care with other risk factors.
  • Old Age: People become more susceptible to certain diseases over time. At the same time, since gum disease is progressive and self-aggravating, any infection you do develop will worsen over time, so your chances of serious gum disease also increase as you get older. As you age, have your dentist pay more attention to the health of your gums.
  • Stress: Stress makes it harder for your body to fight off infection, including gum disease.
  • Bruxism: Involuntarily clenching or grinding can speed up the spread of gum disease and weaken the supporting structures of the teeth.
  • Medications: Medications can alter hormone levels, cause dry mouth, affect the body’s immune response, and much more. Oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications are three common medications that can influence your oral health. Talk to Dr. Silberg about the medications you’re using to learn which may be connected to a greater risk of gum disease.
  • Nutrition: When you eat unhealthy foods, it can hurt the efficiency of your immune system. Eating healthy can keep your immune system strong so you’re better able to fight off infections.
  • Tobacco: Tobacco use may be one of the most significant and dangerous risk factors for gum disease. Tobacco products increase the amount of tartar found on teeth, which is directly related to gum disease formation. They also dry out the mouth and affect oral healing. To give your gums their best chance, limiting or eliminating tobacco use is a major step.

If you are more at risk for gum disease, make sure you take special care to protect your mouth. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of gum disease, such as swollen, red, tender, and bleeding gums that are sensitive to eating and brushing. Other possible symptoms include bad breath or a receding gum line. Even if you don’t see these signs yet, don’t skip your regular dental exams. Cleanings and checkups help us catch the infection before it becomes severe.

If you develop gum disease, we can help. The Silberg Center for Dental Science offers Pittsburgh gum disease treatment that can get your health back on track. Schedule an appointment and see why Dr. Silberg has been voted Top Dentist in Pittsburgh.

The Dangers of Over-Consuming Sugar

Dangers of over-consuming sugar

As soon as the weather turns cooler each year and people start decorating their porches with pumpkins and goblins, periodontists in Pittsburgh start worrying about how all of those extra treats will affect our patients’ teeth and gums. Sugar, although not responsible for dental decay directly, is the main food source for the bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities, deep rooted infections, and even periodontal disease. Aside from the dental effects, over-consuming sugar can also cause these potentially dangerous systemic side effects:

Sugar Interferes with Insulin Production

Study after study has shown the correlation between an overconsumption of sugar and developing diabetes, largely because of the way sugar affects insulin production. Simple sugars, like glucose, seep through the walls of your intestine and signal the pancreas to create insulin, a chemical that your body uses to help your cells to metabolize sugar and turn it into energy. Unfortunately, when you consume too much sugar for a long period of time, your body can become resistant to producing insulin like it should, which can flood your bloodstream with glucose and cause diabetes.

Sugar Affects Your Hunger Reflex

Unfortunately, having sugar and insulin surging through your bloodstream also interferes with another crucial chemical called leptin. Leptin is the hormone responsible for telling your brain when you are full, which means that interfering with this hormone causes people to overeat. Ultimately, eating too much sugar could cause you to overeat in general—not just sweets—which can affect your weight and cause obesity.

Sugar Damages Sleep Patterns

Blood sugar spikes and lulls can also affect sleep patterns, making it more difficult for people to fall asleep at night and making people tired during the day when they need to stay productive.

Decreasing Your Sugar Intake

To stay healthy and happy, dentists and doctors alike recommend doing what you can to decrease your sugar intake. Focus on eliminating added sugars from your diet by staying away from sugary snacks, candies, and sodas. If you do decide to indulge, swish your mouth with water to wash away those sugary residues. If you use a fitness or wellness tracker, record your meals so that you can monitor your daily sugar intake. To stay on the safe side, experts recommend that women keep their daily sugar intake under 100 calories a day, and that men keep their intake below 150 calories a day. It might seem like a sacrifice at first, but reducing your sugar levels could help you to keep your body healthy and strong.

 

With Halloween coming up, we at the Silberg Center for Dental Science expect our patients to indulge in a few tasty treats. But the more careful you are about sugar, the healthier your body and mouth will be. Contact us today for more suggestions and advice on keeping your mouth healthy.

The History of Dental Implants

 

History of Dental ImplantsModern dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement due to their durability and flawless appearance, but it hasn’t always been this way. Dental implants have come a long way over the last 4,000 years or so. Here is a brief history of dental implants and what you can expect from the modern-day variety.

Ancient Solutions for Missing Teeth

Archeologists have discovered many varieties of ancient dental implants, ranging from carved pieces of pig bone to pieces of wood. Research suggests that the Chinese carved pieces of bamboo into tooth shapes and implanted them into people’s mouths as early as 4000 years ago, and false iron teeth have been found in Celtic graves in France from 2300 years ago. Unfortunately, these early renditions of dental implants were likely laden with problems ranging from material poisoning to serious infections.

As time went on, other medical professionals experimented with implants made from actual bone, including teeth extracted from cadavers and teeth purchased from the poor. Unfortunately, even these types of implants were destined for failure, since natural tooth replacement requires proper blood flow and matching anatomical features. Also, since these early implants didn’t always fuse with the natural bone tissue, research has shown that they were likely to fall out.

Osseointegration: an Accidental Discovery

Osseointegration, which is the process by which natural bone tissue fuses with an implant, was accidentally discovered in 1952 by an orthopaedic surgeon who was studying healing and regeneration in rabbits. The surgeon was inserting titanium rods into rabbit femurs to see how the area would heal, and he realized that after a while, he couldn’t remove the rods because the titanium had fused with the bone tissue.

The Invention of Modern Dental Implants

Per-Ingvar Bränemark, the surgeon who discovered osseointegration, continued his research and installed his first dental implant in a live human volunteer in 1965. Per-Ingvar Bränemark is considered the father of modern dental implants, and many of his initial findings and techniques are still used today. For example, modern dental implants still use a titanium post because of its unique ability to osseointegrate with bone tissue. Bränemark also designed the first dental implant surgical procedure, including instructions for placing the initial posts, allowing the area to heal, and installing oral prostheses later.

Dental implant research continues to improve, and modern implants have extremely high success rates when installed by a certified Pittsburgh periodontist, a specialist who receives an extra three years learning about the intricacies of dental implant surgery. Contact the Silberg Center for Dental Science to learn more about dental implants in Pittsburgh.