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Posts for: October, 2016


Researchers have found a link from frequent recreational cannabis use to periodontal disease.  This includes marijuana, hashish and hash oil.  In a study participants who use at least once a month for a year showed signs of increased mild, moderate, or severe periodontal disease. This study is a featured in the Journal of Periodontology published by the American Academy of Periodontology.

At a time in the United States when marijuana is becoming legalized in some states, users should be informed of the effect of using cannabis on the health of their gums.  Pocket depth measurements between a tooth and surrounding gum tissue range from one to three millimeters in healthy gums.  In gums with mild periodontal disease they measure from three to five millimeters and in more severe periodontal disease they measure more than seven millimeters deep.

There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to periodontal disease and the use of cannabis may be one of them.  Patients should always notify their periodontists of all risk factors in order to be diagnosed properly and given the appropriate treatment.  If you feel you are at risk please call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Wendt.


Smiles are infectious!  A smile can lower our stress levels, uplift our moods, make us more attractive and make us look more youthful.

That is why it is so important to keep our teeth and gums healthy.  Unfortunately many of us do not.  Almost 50 percent of American adults ages 30 to 65 have some form of periodontal disease.  Above 65 years old the percentage goes up to 65 percent. 

Symptoms of periodontal disease are receding gums, continuous bad breath, red and swollen gums, gums that bleed when flossing and loose teeth.

It is very important to brush your teeth a least twice a day, floss daily, have regular cleanings and go to have an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation.

Dazzling smiles start with good oral hygiene and healthy gums.  Remember you will have your gums for life and it is essential to love the gums you are with. 

By Douglas C. Wendt, Jr., DDS
October 15, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: muscle frenum  

The various structures in your mouth — your teeth and gums, of course, as well as periodontal tissues that hold teeth in place within the jaw — all function together to create your smile. This includes muscles like the frenum, a fold of muscle tissue that connects the gums to the upper lip, which helps pull the lip upward when you smile.

Unfortunately, an overly large frenum could contribute to an unattractive space between your two upper front teeth. The problem occurs when the frenum grows beyond its normal range and runs between the front teeth to connect with the gums behind them at the forefront of the roof of your mouth. The resulting space that may develop can be closed with orthodontics, but unless the excess frenum tissue is addressed the space may eventually reopen.

The frenum is just one cause among many for a noticeably wide space, including bite problems (malocclusions), finger-sucking habits or missing teeth. We would, therefore, need to examine your mouth to determine the exact cause before beginning any treatment. If indeed the frenum is the source of the problem, it will be necessary to ultimately remove the excess portion through a procedure known as a frenectomy.

A frenectomy is a minor surgical procedure performed by a periodontist, oral surgeon or a general dentist with surgical training. After numbing the area with local anesthesia, the tissue behind the teeth is dissected or reduced in size with a small scalpel or a surgical laser. The wound is then closed with a few stitches; any post-surgical discomfort is usually minimal and managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication. The wound will completely heal within a few weeks.

Most frenectomies are performed after orthodontics to close the space. Removing it prior to tooth movement may result in scar tissue that prevents the space from closing. It’s also easier for the surgeon to gauge how much tissue to remove after space closure to avoid removing too much, which can leave a “black” triangular hole where gum tissue should normally be.

Treating an abnormally large frenum isn’t difficult, but it needs to be coordinated with orthodontic treatment for the best outcome. The end result is a smile that’s both healthy and attractive.

If you would like more information on teeth spacing problems, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Space between Front Teeth.”


Older adults should maintain good oral health in order to prevent many health problems and disabilities.  The effect of tooth loss is unknown as far as cognitive health and well-being in older adults. 

In a study that was published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, researchers explored the connection by examining information from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study project.

The research team examined information from over 60,000 community-dwelling elderly, 65 and older, who did not meet the Japanese criteria for needing long-term care.

The participants filled out questionnaires and were given a number of questions including:

·        How many teeth they had

·        Their mental and medical health history

·        Their weight

·        How able-bodied they were to perform activities in daily life

·        If they drank alcohol or smoked

·        How many falls they had experienced in the last year

The study revealed that older adults who have a significant amount of tooth loss are less functional compared to older people that loose less teeth.

The researchers suggested that it is pertinent that older adults are provided the support they need to maintain good oral hygiene skills and receive acceptable dental care.


  • Puberty- When going through puberty there is a higher level of sex hormones causing an increase of blood circulation to the gums.As a result the gums may be more sensitive and become irritated more easily.They may also become swollen, red and inflamed.

  • Menstruation- Some women will experience what is called menstruation gingivitis.This condition may cause red and swollen gums as well as bleeding gums and possible sores on the inside of the cheeks.It will typically occur right before the period and will start to clear up once she has started her period.

  • Pregnancy- Pregnant women may be at a higher risk of periodontal disease.This may cause them to have a baby born early and small.It is recommended that women considering pregnancy have a periodontal evaluation.

  • Menopause and Post-Menopause- Women during this time in life may experience some changes to the mouth.They may experience some discomfort in the mouth such as dry mouth, burning feeling in the gum tissue and possibly an altered taste such as sour, salty or peppery.There is also a small percentage of women that experience menopausal gingivostomatitis in which the gums appear to look dry or shiny and bleed easily. The gums range from really pale to deep red in color.Women that use estrogen supplements may help relieve these symptoms.

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