Pregnancy and Your Teeth
Posted on February 26, 2013
Pregnancy and Your Teeth
We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale that warns a woman to expect a lost tooth for each pregnancy. This is false! Pregnancy does not automatically have to damage your teeth; however, your teeth and gums CAN be affected by the hormonal changes taking place in your body so it’s smart to have your dentist monitor your oral hygiene closely for the health of you and your unborn child.
Periodontal Disease Links to Premature Births
How can poor dental hygiene negatively affect your pregnancy? Research has found a link between periodontal disease and premature births with low birth weights. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums. This is concerning because babies who are born prematurely may risk a range of health conditions including cerebral palsy and problems with eyesight and hearing. Estimates suggest about 18 of every 100 premature births may have been triggered by periodontal disease – thus they could have been prevented. Appropriate dental care for pregnant women can reduce the risk of premature births by as much as 80%!
A study by the University of Alabama shows that getting teeth cleaned during the second trimester of pregnancy can make a difference in healthy births and pregnancies. One of the theories is that the bacteria associated with periodontal disease produces a hormone that is thought to begin contractions. It is perfectly safe and healthy for pregnant women to have dental routine dental care. Be sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant and he and his assistants can take the necessary precautions for treatment.
Health and Dental Care During Pregnancy
Besides being a faithful dental cleaning patient there are also other things you can do as an expectant mother to help your baby.
Eat a healthy diet. Eat plenty of foods rich in protein, calcium and vitamins to not only help support the baby’s health but also the health of your teeth.
Brush regularly. You should brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day, making sure you brush for at least two minutes each time.
Don’t forget to floss. Flossing at least one time every day can help prevent or minimize periodontal disease during your pregnancy.
Use mouthwash. Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash can help control the bacteria that could contribute to periodontal disease.
Maximize your insurance benefits. If you have dental insurance be up-to-date on your plan coverage. A lot of dental insurances are beginning to increase their yearly allowed dental cleanings from two to three for pregnant women.
Understanding the importance of proper dental hygiene during pregnancy can help assure that periodontal disease will not translate into health issues for your baby. We are always more than happy to check on insurance benefits for you or schedule your appointments – let us help you stay happy and healthy during pregnancy!
Pregnancy and Your Teeth
Use Your Dental Insurance Benefits Before Year End
The year 2012 is almost gone and with it may be the opportunity to save some of your hard earned money. For those of you with dental insurance, there are benefits to getting dental work done before the end of the year. Most dental insurances run on a calendar year, meaning the benefits apply from January 1 – December 31. I encourage you to read on and if any of these situations apply to you, make that appointment and save some money!
Annual Dental Insurance Deductibles Will Be Reset
With the new year comes new plan obligations. Most insurances that have deductibles require that they be met once per year. If you have already had dental work done in 2012, this means you have met your deductible already. Getting more work done this year will save you having to shell out money to meet your deductible next year.
Annual Maximums Do Not Roll Over
Most insurance companies have a limit on the amount of money they will pay per person per year. This money is there for you to use and unfortunately, does not roll over into the next year. If you don’t use it, you can say goodbye to that allowance! Take advantage of the money your insurance has allotted for you to use.
Use Up Your FSA Contributions for 2012
The same “use it or lose it” policy applies to FSA or flex spending accounts. You elect each year how much you would like withheld for medical/dental expenses. If you do not use these funds in full, you will not see them again. By coming in before the end of the year, you can make the most out of those FSA benefits still available to you.
Coverages Are Subject To Change
Will you have the same dental insurance benefits in 2013 as you do now? You may want to contact your insurance and verify what plan benefits, in any, will change with the new year. If coverage becomes more limited, you will definitely want to schedule before the end of the year while you still can!
Bottom line, always check with your dental insurance what benefits you have left to use for this year and try to take advantage of what they are offering. Depending on what kind of dental work you need, you can save a lot of money by assessing your dental situation and getting scheduled now. For those of you without dental insurance, Utah Valley Periodontics is offering great discounts until the end of the year. Don’t wait! Call now!
Let’s talk about periodontal disease, the truth and the misconceptions.
Here’s a misconception. You or your dentist missed something, so as a result, you now have a disease. Could that be true? Only if you believe that people get heart attacks because their doctors miss something or people get cancer because their doctors miss something, or asthma or Alzheimer’s, etc.
The fact is periodontal disease falls into a class of diseases known as chronic degenerative disease. Chronic means that it’s continuing. Degenerative means that it’s breaking down something. And that’s what’s happening. The critical attachment fibers between your teeth and your bone are breaking down.
Here are some of the factors that cause periodontal disease.
Bacterial plaque: That’s the soft bacteria that grows on teeth. It’s there whether we eat or not. Its your job to remove the plaque and the better you do your job, the better the control of this factor of the disease.
Calculus: That’s hardened plaque that migrates below the gum line. It’s rough and accumulates more plaque, causing more loss of bone support. Why? The bone (a living tissue) doesn’t want to be anywhere near the plaque and calculus.
Genetics: People are genetically predisposed to certain diseases. But genetic predisposition does not mean genetic expression. If you do good things for yourself, you likely won’t get the disease.
Smoking: Yes, we do see that more smokers have periodontal disease than nonsmokers by a wide margin. A recent study shows that the most periodontally damaging bacteria flourish in the mouth of a smoker.
So you see, it isn’t just one factor that causes periodontal disease and therefore the best treatment for the disease addresses all of the above factors.
With the right combination of diagnosis, coaching and professional care, you can save your teeth. The earlier you do it, the better the opportunity.
It was great to spend the evening with such a group of highly educated dental hygienists! Most people do not realize the expertise and knowledge that their Hygienist has regarding their TOTAL dental care. Trust your Hygienist as he or she has your best interest in heart.
The longer I practice dentistry, the more often I wonder how people who wear dentures, complete or partial do it? I cannot imagine having to be cautious about speaking, laughing, smiling, let alone eating without the worry of my teeth falling out, or food getting caught underneath my denture creating me discomfort. To me having a denture would be like having a rock in my shoe and never stopping to take my shoe off and dumping out the rock….
I am convinced that denture patients simply do not know what their options are. They have been lead to believe that there are no other options because they no longer have natural teeth. Nothing could be further from the truth! Denture patients have at least three options to improve their “quality of life”. First, the most economical way to enhance the retention and stability of a denture is to place two dental implant to allow the denture to “snap into” the implants. The second option is the placement of four implants, which allows for complete stabilization and retention of the denture. These patients are now able to chew anything food item they desire without worry of slippage or denture dislodgement. The final option is the placement of six implants to allow for fixed bridges. This option results in teeth that are permanent, never to come out and never decay!
Contact your dentist today and ask him what your options are to rid yourself of your unwanted denture!
Last night I presented an update on Dental Implants and Cone Beam 3D Imaging to the “Ride and Learn” group at Sundance, Utah. Gary Takacs, the founder and CEO of Ride and Learn shared a story from the football legend Terry Bradshaw. After winning four superbowls in the 1970′s, Terry’s Motto for life is no coasting. If we are going to reach our potential there is simply no room for coasting. Make today the best it can better and then do it again tomorrow!
The longer I practice the more I realize just how important it is that we have healthy gums. While this statement may seem trite and perhaps a bit generalized, it certainly is true. What I mean by healthy gums is more than just are they “pink and firm”. In order for your gums to be healthy, you must have enough gum tissue protecting our teeth from the constant insult from the oral bacteria. If your gums are receeding, you are going to be in trouble. Gum recession is alot like cancer. You often dont realize you have it until its too late!
Ask your dentist/hygienist how your gum and bone are doing at your next visit. If they dont know or they seem unsure get a second opinion.
On February 26th we joined hands with dentists around the state to provide some much needed dentistry to those children whom otherwise may not have been able to see the dentist. As a result of Give Kids a Smile, a total of $270,000 of dental care was provided to these appreciative children throughout the State of Utah. My sincere appreciation goes out to all the volunteers/sponsors who made this event possible!
By now we have all of us in Provo and Orem have seen the television ads for “Teeth in an Hour”. I see them everyday while I am at Gold’s Gym peddling my stationary bicycle. As a Periodontist, I have patients asking about this concept. While I love their advertising (It helps me too), I think the ad is a little deceiving and the “small print” needs to be a little bigger so the facts about this technique are out in the open.
The concept of “teeth in a hour” is not new, it just has not be marketed to the public like it is being done today. The process involves several diagnostic and planning appointments prior to the day of surgery. On the day of surgery, the dental implant(s) and pre-made teeth are attached to the implants. The risk of this technique is this: The implants must not move or have too much force placed upon them in order for the bone to accept them. If the force exceeds the tolerances of the bone, the implant case fails, if not the case succeeds.
While every dental implant case has it’s own inherit risks and factors that are individualized to the patient, all implant cases and those placing the implants must respect and understand the principles of force. The Laws of Nature, for instance Gravity, cannot be overlooked simply because we want them to go away.
Sometime the risks associated with putting teeth on freshly placed implants are not worth the risk of failure. The conventional method of placing implants, although not as “exciting” certainly has some advantages.
I am asked this question almost daily by new patients as I visit with them regarding the cause of their gum recession. While gingival recession is usually caused by several factors including genetics, which is out of our control, especially in the young patients we treat. Other influences on gingival recession include the following factors:
1. Root Prominence in the presence of thin gum tissue.
2. Loss of the underlying alveolar bone.
3. Orthodontic tooth movement.
4. Physical trauma.
5. Iatrogenic dental care.
6. Tension by Frenum.
7. Overzealous home care.
Bottom Line: Our gum tissue is not much thicker than a paper towel to begin with, so go easy while brushing and flossing.