My Blog

Posts for: April, 2015

By Denise A. Perrotta DMD
April 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health

While she was pregnant with her son Camden Jack Cutler, 25-year-old Kristin Cavallari noticed an odd occurrence in her bathroom sink: “Every time I floss, my sink looks like I murdered somebody!” the actress and reality-TV personality exclaimed. Should we be concerned that something wicked is going on with the star of Laguna Beach and The Hills?

Before you call in the authorities, ask a periodontist: He or she will tell you that there's actually no mystery here. What Cavallari noticed is, in fact, a fairly common symptom of “pregnancy gingivitis,” a condition that affects many expectant moms in the second to eighth month of pregnancy. But why does it occur at this time?

First — just the facts: You may already know that gingivitis is the medical name for an early stage of gum disease. Its symptoms may include bad breath, bleeding gums, and soreness, redness, or tenderness of the gum tissue. Fundamentally, gum disease is caused by the buildup of harmful bacteria, or plaque, on the teeth at the gum line — but it's important to remember that, while hundreds of types of bacteria live in the mouth, only a few are harmful. A change in the environment inside the mouth — like inadequate oral hygiene, to use one example — can cause the harmful types to flourish.

But in this case, the culprit isn't necessarily poor hygiene — instead, blame it on the natural hormonal changes that take place in expectant moms. As levels of some female hormones (estrogen and/or progesterone) rise during pregnancy, changes occur in the blood vessels in the gums, which cause them to be more susceptible to the effects of bacterial toxins. The bacteria produce toxic chemicals, which in turn bring on the symptoms of gingivitis — including painful and inflamed gums that may bleed heavily when flossed.

Is pregnancy gingivits a cause for concern? Perhaps — but the condition is generally quite treatable. If you've noticed symptoms like Kristen's, the first thing you should do it consult our office. We can advise you on a variety of treatments designed to relieve the inflammation in your gums and prevent the harmful bacteria from proliferating. Of course, your oral health (and your overall health) are prime concerns during pregnancy — so don't hesitate to seek medical help if it's needed!

How did things work out with Kristen? She maintained an effective oral hygiene routine, delivered a healthy baby — and recently appeared on the cover of Dear Doctor magazine, as the winner of the “Best Celebrity Smile” contest for 2012. And looking at her smile, it's no mystery why she won.

If you would like more information about pregnancy gingivitis, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Expectant Mothers” and “Kristen Cavallari.”

By Denise A. Perrotta, D.M.D.
April 21, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Tray Whitening  
Tray Whitening One of the most commonly requested services at our office is tray teeth whitening. It's a way to effectively whiten your teeth at home using custom-made trays. Learn more about this whitening treatment, and how it can help you get a better looking smile that will stand the test of time.
Take Home Trays
Patients have countless over-the-counter teeth whitening products to choose from ranging from whitening strips to mouthwashes, but, unfortunately, many of them are ineffective, uncomfortable to use, abrasive or don't provide long lasting effects. A better solution is to get a custom made set of tooth whitening trays from your dentist’s office. These take home whitening trays are your best bet if you're looking for a reliable way to get a brighter smile.
Getting Your Trays
To make your whitening trays, Dr. Perrotta must take impressions of your teeth so that they will fit just right. The plastic trays are manufactured in a dental laboratory and provided to you along with a whitening gel that can only be prescribed by your dentist. Winston Salem patients who use these custom trays are amazed by the results, which are typically noticed after about a week of continuous use.
Benefits of Tray Teeth Whitening
Patients prefer whitening with trays because it is a simple and effective way to get your desired results. They resemble invisible aligners used in orthodontic treatments, so they have a “barely there” appearance. Also, once your custom trays have been created, you can use them again and again, whenever you want to whiten your smile. The cost of getting more whitening gel from Dr. Perrotta's office is minimal, and you can count on superior results compared to the products offered in stores.
Get Your Trays Today
You can have your custom whitening trays in as little as a few quick visits to Dr. Perrotta's Winston Salem office. Call (336) 760-9258 today to schedule an initial consultation to decide if tray teeth whitening is right for you.

By Denise A. Perrotta DMD
April 08, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

A focus on dental care in senior citizens is just as important as it is for children. Indeed, oral health in your later years can be a major factor in your quality of life.

For one, aging effects on other parts of the body can make dental care more challenging. Some hygiene tasks once performed easily become harder — arthritis, for example, or loss of muscle strength may make it difficult to hold a toothbrush or floss. In such cases, you may need to find new ways to make the task easier: a power toothbrush with a larger handle; pre-loaded floss holders or a water flosser; or adaptations to a manual brush to make it easier to hold, like attaching a tennis ball or bike handle.

Other age-related conditions — and their treatments — can negatively impact oral health. Less saliva production, which is a consequence of aging or certain drugs, increases the risk of tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. Older adults often develop gastric reflux problems that can introduce tooth enamel-eroding stomach acid into the mouth. And medications called bisphosphonates, often prescribed to treat osteoporosis, may interfere in rare cases with bone healing after tooth extraction or similar procedures.

Prior dental work can also prove challenging to treating dental disease. It becomes more difficult to preserve teeth threatened with decay if there are significant restorations or appliances to work around. Pain perception can also diminish with age, so that dental disease may not be noticed until later stages when significant damage has already occurred.

Oral care requires more attention as we grow older, or as we care for older family members. Your best defense against disease is to continue regular six-month visits with us. In addition to normal cleanings and checkups, we’ll also screen for oral cancer (a more prevalent occurrence in older adults), review your prescriptions or other supplements and medications for any possible side effects to oral health, check the fit of any dentures or other restorations and evaluate the effectiveness of your hygiene.

While other age-related conditions may capture the majority of your attention, you shouldn’t allow that to neglect your dental care. With your continued efforts, along with our support and your family’s, you can continue to enjoy good oral health throughout your lifetime.

If you would like more information on dental care for senior adults, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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