Morris Perio

Manual, Electric and Sonic Toothbrushes

'manual vs electronic toothbrush'With the many options of toothbrushes available today, we understand that choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. If you are considering changing your brush style, read more information below about manual, electric and sonic toothbrushes.

Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes are the most common type of toothbrushes, available at your local convenience store. Many people choose to opt for the manual toothbrush because it is a much cheaper option compared to the electric and sonic toothbrushes. Studies have shown that there is not a huge difference in using a manual toothbrush vs. an electric/sonic toothbrush, as manually brushing still cleans the surface of your teeth of food debris and plaque. However, manual toothbrushes clean your teeth at a rate of around 300 brush strokes per minute, while electric and sonic toothbrushes operate much faster (see below).

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric brushes operate at a much higher brush stroke rate than manual toothbrushes, with around 3,000 – 6,000 brush strokes per minute. A brush stroke from an electric toothbrush differs from that of a manual toothbrush because it moves much faster in a smaller surface area, using either oscillating or vibrating motions.

Sonic Toothbrushes

Sonic brushes differ from electric brushes slightly in that they vibrate at a much higher frequency, about 30,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute. Sonic toothbrushes have been found to have a slighter higher cleaning rate because they clean harder to reach areas, such as under the gums and in between the teeth. However, while this may be true – nothing compares to flossing in between the teeth. The ADA recommends for adults with arthritis or who have a hard time manually brushing to change to electric or sonic toothbrushes, which increases stability for your hand while brushing.

Whatever option you chose, as long as you are brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once, you will be able to effectively keep your teeth clean and healthy! If you have any further questions about the toothbrush for you, give us a call at Lee's Summit Office Phone Number 816-554-2663!

What is a Periodontist?

'teeth in pain'When your general dentist refers to you as a periodontist, the first question many people may have is, “what exactly is a periodontist?” Well, to put it simply, periodontists specialize in the placement of dental implants and the treatment of periodontal disease. They are specialists who are trained to keep your gums healthy enough in order for you to be able to keep your teeth for life. Periodontists receive an extra three years of specialized training on top of the standard schooling/training that dentists go through.

Periodontics is defined as “the branch of dentistry concerned with the structures surrounding and supporting the teeth.” Periodontists typically deal with gum disease and keeping your teeth in your mouth by repairing your gums. If the issue is less serious, a general dentist may be able to treat it. However, if the problem becomes more severe or intense, you will be referred to a periodontist for special care.

A study by the CDC states that half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontitis, which is roughly equal to 64.7 million people. There are multiple ways that gum disease can be treated, including surgery, and also by the use of lasers. Periodontists not only specialize in the treatment of gum diseases and repair, but also in the placement of dental implants. Dental implants have become an extremely popular alternative to dentures and are a great way to replace a single tooth or a group of teeth, while keeping your smile perfect.

Knowing a little bit more about what periodontics is can help you have a better understanding of what to expect the next time you need to visit one. If you believe you are having issues with your gums, or would like to receive more information on receiving a dental implant, please call Morris Periodontics at Lee's Summit Office Phone Number 816-554-2663 today for more information!

Bad Breath is Bad News

'woman with fresh breath'Don’t let bad breath be a part of your day! In our office, we are asked on an almost daily basis “How can I get rid of my bad breath?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep your breath fresh and clean:

1. Brush and Floss Regularly:
It’s basic advice, but foolproof. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing and tongue scraping once is the best way to combat bad breath. When the bacteria in your mouth have bits of food and debris to feed on, they create the odors that cause bad breath. Keeping your mouth clean will keep your breath clean at the same time!

2. Drink Water:
You don’t always have access to a toothbrush. As it turns out though, water can be an effective way to freshen your breath until you can get home and brush. Water helps clean out your mouth and prevents dryness, another major cause of bad breath.

3. Eat Good Foods:
A good way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from foods that make your breath smell bad, and eat foods those that will help your breath smell good! Melons and citrus fruit are high in Vitamin C, and help kill bacteria in your mouth. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help remove food stuck in your teeth, reducing smells caused by bacteria feeding on them.

4. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol:
Sugary gum and breath mints are often used to tackle bad breath. However, the stinky bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and giving them more tends to produce acid that can make your breath smell worse AND lead to tooth decay. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that bacteria cannot break down, which makes it a perfect method for keeping your breath fresh and clean.

If you are troubled by your bad breath, ask us for more tips on staying fresh and clean!

Where do Dental Implants come from?

'children playing in dirt'Dental implants have a surprisingly rich and interesting history. Across centuries and throughout cultures around the world there is evidence of attempts at replacing missing teeth with various objects and materials.

The oldest dental implants can be traced back to 2000 BC in China, where missing teeth were substituted with bamboo pegs.

Fast forward a bit to around 1000 BC and you’ll find an ancient Egyptian King whose tomb was recently discovered along with his mummified remains; a copper peg hammered into place where a tooth once lived. This may have been the first time in history that we know of when metal implants were used.

Across the globe some time around 300 BC, an iron tooth was found in a French grave thought to be Celtic in origin. It is possible this implant may have been a post-mortem placement to honor the dead, as an attempt to perform the surgery using a live patient would have been an excruciatingly painful process.

Just 2000 years ago missing teeth were being substituted for animal teeth, and the poor were even selling their teeth to the wealthy, just to make ends meet! The body often rejected these surrogate teeth, causing infection.

More recently in 1931 in Honduras, Dr. Wilson Monroe and his wife found a jawbone amongst other artifacts, with teeth fashioned from shells and attached to the jawbone of an ancient man.

Today we are lucky enough to have dental implants that not only look and feel like real teeth, and anesthesia for the pain is also a plus. Thanks to studies conducted by Per-Ingvar Brånemark of Sweden in the 1950’s, oral surgeons have been able to perfect the process over the years to create today’s implants, which have a 98% success rate! Through a process known as osseointegration, metals and other implant materials are able to be skillfully placed so that your jaw bone actually attaches itself to the implant creating a seamless support system.

Missing a tooth or two? Give us a call at Lee's Summit Office Phone Number 816-554-2663 to discuss your dental implant options today!

Periodontics: More than Just Gum Disease

In today’s world, a beautiful smile translates to a more confident (and some say more successful) person. Whether you are talking about the business world or your social circle, the fact of the matter is that smiles simply look better now than they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

'woman with perfect smile'The fact that nearly half of patients spend $2,500 or more per year on cosmetic treatments in the dental office such as teeth whitening, veneers and orthodontics proves the significance of an attractive smile these days.

Did you know that as Periodontists, we can take your smile to the next level? Whether you were blessed to be born with perfect crowns or have paid substantial money to bring them up to par, we can further perfect your smile to make your investment really worth it with a cosmetic periodontal treatment. Whether you have a gummy smile (too much gum tissue covering your teeth) or the opposite, we can give you a smile boost that will ensure that you have the look you want for a happier and more confident you.

Benefits of Cosmetic Periodontal Work:

  • Affordable – you may be surprised to find that many of the cosmetic procedures we offer are actually cheaper than some of the general cosmetic work you have had done.
  • Permanent – Unlike the maintenance associated with veneers, whitening and braces (retainers for life, anyone?), periodontal procedures such as crown lengthening are permanent.
  • A Lifestyle Investment – A great smile gives you a competitive advantage in today’s world. Invest in your career and your personal life by making sure yours is bright, radiant, straight and well proportioned.

Is your smile just a little bit less than you’d like it to be? Give us a call at Lee's Summit Office Phone Number 816-554-2663 to set up your cosmetic consultation.

Yes. You still have to floss.

The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health.

Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed.

'woman flossing teeth in mirror'The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. You can prevent gum disease by maintaining a clean mouth over a long period of time. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology explained: “gum disease is a very slow disease”. In his interview with the AP he recommended long-term studies which he believes would clearly show the difference between people who floss and people who don’t.

Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study? What do you think?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to.

Aldredge also pointed out that most people floss incorrectly, using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

It’s a shame that studies on an important tool such as floss have yielded poor results, but it’s a bigger shame that the studies themselves were poorly designed. Oral hygiene is a long term process, and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the mean time, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today at 816-554-2663!

Missing Teeth: More than Just a Gap In Your Smile

'man smiling'While it is true that the most obvious effect of missing teeth is a gap in your smile, missing teeth can cause other problems that you might not be immediately aware of. For example, did you know that for every missing tooth you have you lose 10 percent of your chewing ability? Read on to get a better idea of how a missing tooth can affect your life.

Surrounding Teeth

A missing tooth usually means more stress for the remaining teeth. In addition to that, if you are missing a tooth on the lower jaw, the opposing tooth on the top can grow longer to fill the gap in a process known as superuption or extrusion. This could lead to teeth tilting and move out of place by drifting into the space that was left by your missing tooth – a disaster for your beautiful smile!

Digestive Health

If you are missing teeth, you can’t enjoy all of the foods that you are used to eating – bad for your health and bad for your mood! Say goodbye to caramel apples, saltwater taffy, crunchy carrots and even gum. And because the variety in your diet is reduced when a tooth is missing, digestive problems are unfortunate yet common.

Decay and Hygiene Problems

The shifting of your teeth may cause new hygiene issues as it may be difficult to brush and floss like you normally would. This leaves your mouth more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

Facial Aesthetics

People with more than one missing tooth may also have issues with a collapsed bite which causes a loss of vertical dimension. This could make your face appear shorter, as the distance between the tip of your nose and your chin would decrease.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore! Dental implants can help you avoid all of the problems listed above and let you live your life normally again. It’s never too late for a dental implant, give us a call at Lee's Summit Office Phone Number 816-554-2663 to find out about this life-changing procedure.

Gum Disease- Locating a Silent Adversary

Gum disease is often a silent disease. It can progress painlessly and in the later stages of the disease, you still may not notice the subtle signs that point to serious problems. That means that gum disease can creep up on you from the shadows. Don’t allow this to happen! A simple check-up in our office can detect signs of gum disease, allowing us to help you develop a plan to stop it in its tracks. Halting the progression of this disease is very important. If it is allowed to progress, the procedures we must use to stop it become more invasive, leading to more expense and pain down the road.

'gum disease sign'Give us a call if you notice any of these gum disease indicators or if it has been a while since you had your gums examined:

Bleeding gums during/after tooth brushing or flossing. Unless you’re brushing extremely hard (bad for your enamel) you shouldn’t be bleeding from your gums. We can help you determine if the blood that you notice in the sink is connected to gum disease.

Red, swollen, or tender gums. Changes in the appearance of gum tissue or sensitive gums are also common symptoms of gum disease. Some patients may even have receding gums.

Persistent bad breath. Your bad breath may not just be because of the coffee you had this morning. Bad flossing habits can lead to plaque collecting in the area between teeth making them especially prone to gum inflammation. Another symptom similar to this is a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away.

Loose or shifting teeth. Some people with periodontal disease may experience movement or migration of their teeth. The rate of movement will depend on the particular type of gum disease you have. This can make major changes to the way your teeth fit together and your smile overall. Help us to catch this symptom early!

Depending on the type of gum disease, some of the available treatment options include:

  • Removal of plaque and calculus through scaling.
  • Surgery in order to stop or minimize the progression.

If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about the disease. Call us today!

Oral Ecology

Your mouth has entire colonies of microorganisms, and most of them do no harm. There have been over 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected in the human mouth, most of which are harmless. Sometimes, other disease-causing bacteria are thrown into the mix which can affect our health. They can be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.

'bacteria in mouth'

Bacteria in biofilm (a thin film of bacteria which adheres to a surface) were first detected under the microscopes of Antony van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century. Bacteria in your mouth have both the ability to be harmful, but also to be beneficial and necessary to your immune system.

The plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay and periodontal disease, is a type of biofilm. A biofilm forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in a watery environment, they excrete a glue-like substance which helps them stick to all kinds of materials. Dental plaque is a yellowish color type of biofilm that builds up on teeth.

Watch Out For These Bacteria

Streptococcus mutans
Lives in your mouth and feeds off the sugars and starches you eat. It produces enamel-eroding acids as it feeds, which make it the leading cause of tooth decay.

Porphyromonas gingivalis
Strongly linked to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious and progressive disease that can result in bone degeneration. It causes pain and leads to tooth loss.

A biofilm can contain communities of disease-causing bacteria, and if left uncontrolled, they can cause cavities as well as both gingivitis and periodontitis. Bacteria is also the cause of inflammation and pain of a root infection, leading to root canal treatment.
During root canal treatment, the root is dried extremely well and sealed, as to not provide any moisture for bacteria to colonize. A well-filled root canal offers bacteria a nutritionally limited space.

Biofilm can be controlled by proper oral hygiene; however, periodontitis requires an extra helping hand. Treatment of oral infections requires removal of biofilm and calculus (tartar) through non-surgical procedures followed by antibiotic therapy. Chlorhexidine and triclosan can reduce the degree of plaque and gingivitis, while preventing disease-causing microorganisms to colonize.

Don’t let oral bacteria be your “fr-enemy”! Call us Morris Periodontics today on 816-554-2663 to discuss your oral health options.

Periodontal Charting

A Periodontal Chart is also referred to as a gum chart. It is a graphic chart dental professionals use for organizing the information about your gums. Periodontal charting is the best way to uncover the difference between patients that are periodontally healthy and those with periodontal disease.

'peridontal charting'

The area between your gum and tooth is known as the “pocket”. Periodontal charting is simple and relatively painless, during the procedure you will hear your dentist or hygienist call out a series of numbers for each tooth. This is measuring, in millimeters, the cuff of your gum line and the point at which the gum actually attaches to your tooth.

Healthy gums have pockets that are usually 2-3mm, anything over 5mm means the bone that supports your tooth is being degraded by periodontal disease. Bleeding is also a sign of gingivitis and gum disease, as healthy gums do not tend to bleed.

Know Your Periodontal Measurements:

0-3mm without bleeding: Great! No problems and you’re doing great with your oral health!

1-3mm with bleeding: Signs of gingivitis. Improved at-home oral care as well as further professional cleanings are in order.

3-5mm with no bleeding:This means there is the potential for gum disease. A routine cleaning cannot go below 3mm, so further in-depth visits to the dentist will be needed.

3-5mm with bleeding: Early stages of gum disease, the beginnings of Periodontitis. This may require additional treatment, better home care and three to four visits to the dentist per year.

5-7mm with bleeding: This means soft and hard tissue damage, as well as bone loss. Definitive treatment is required, over several visits, greatly improved home care and many more hygiene visits to prevent tooth loss.

7mm and above with bleeding: It’s the advanced stage of periodontal disease so aggressive treatment is needed. Surgery will probably be needed to repair the bone loss. Periodontal maintenance is definitely required very frequently.

Periodontal charting is a very thorough process and can greatly improve your chances of keeping all your teeth! Is it time to see your Periodontist? Call Morris Periodontics today on 816-554-2663 to discuss your options!