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.
Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.
In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.
For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.
Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.
It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.
That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”
We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?”
If you have missed your last dental cleaning and checkup, a recent study might encourage you to schedule that appointment right away. Researchers have discovered a higher risk of heart disease in individuals who have hidden tooth infections.
Risk factors for heart disease are obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Now resarchers are adding poor dental health to the list.
Now is the time to get back on track with your dental care. Give us a call today, we will be happy to work with your schedule and get you in.
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