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Ways to Recognize and Treat Gum Disease

recognizing and treating gum disease with your local Denver CO dentist

When you go to the dentist, you likely fear being told that you have a cavity or two. You don’t think about the possibility of having gum disease.

Gum disease, while it is common, can become a serious oral health issue if it isn’t promptly diagnosed and properly treated.

When you go visit the dentist for a routine exam and cleaning, we’ll check for gum disease. Some of the procedures you may expect include: using a probe to measure the “pockets” of your gums, take X-rays of your mouth and ask about your medical history to identify risk factors.

If your dentist discovers that you have gum disease, it is probably gingivitis. This common, low-level for of gum disease can be easily treated and the damage can be reversed with simple methods such as improving one’s at-home oral hygiene routine.

If you ignore your gingivitis, it can progress into the serious periodontitis. This high-level form of gum disease can have significant, negative impacts on one’s oral health and the damage is irreversible. It is not easily treated like gingivitis is.  Periodontal disease can result in lost teeth and/or a weakening and damaging of the jaw bone.

However, you can get an idea of whether or not you have gum disease before visiting the dentist. Here are some telltale signs to look out for:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Bright red, swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums that bleed very easily
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums that look like they are pulling away from the teeth or teeth that appear long
  • White spots on the gums
  • Pus between gums or teeth
  • Change in the way the teeth fit together in the mouth or spaces opening between teeth
  • Change in the way partial dentures fit

This list isn’t a comprehensive list, but lists the most common symptoms. Patients can have gum disease without experiencing any symptoms, making it important to make regular appointments with our dental office.

Gum Disease Treatment

If you and our dentist find that you do indeed have gum disease, quick treatment is necessary to keep it from getting worse. There are numerous treatment options available that aim at controlling the progress of gum disease.

The best course of treatment we’ll recommend will be determined on how severe your gum disease is. Sometimes treatment can be something such as quitting smoking or bettering your at-home oral hygiene routine. If you have periodontitis, the treatment is more involved and custom to each patient.

Regardless of the treatment our dentist recommends, proper, at-home oral hygiene is essential in keeping one’s gum disease manageable.

Regular deep cleaning done at the dentist office, combined with proper at-home oral hygiene is often the best way to stem gum disease.

If, however, one’s gum disease develops into periodontal disease, more extreme treatment may be necessary. Deep scaling and root planing are common periodontal disease treatment procedures. Other more, extensive treatment options include “flap surgery,” pocket reduction surgery, tissue grafts and laser therapy and localized antibiotics.

While cavities are bad for your oral health, gum disease can be as equally devastating and should be taken seriously. You may have gum disease and not know it, making it important to see us at least every six months.

The longer you ignore your gum disease, the worse it gets and the harder and more expensive it gets to treat.

If it has been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning contact LêDowns Dentistry, your Denver CO dentist, today to schedule an appointment. You can now book your new patient exam or cleaning appointment online at ledownsdentistry.com.  We look forward to hearing from you and to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Get a Fresh Bright Smile for Spring

Spring is in full swing. Spring is often associated with bright sunshine, warm weather, blooming flowers, buddingFresh Smile for Spring - Denver CO Dentist trees and chirping birds. Spring means a fresh start.

You may have cleaned up your home, you’ve likely been cleaning out your closet getting ready for a new wardrobe and you may even be going to gym and eating healthy meals to get swimsuit-ready.

While you’re in the process of making over your home, body and style, why not freshen and renew your smile?

Maybe you’ve been neglecting the enhancement of your smile out of busyness or maybe you’ve let years of poor oral hygiene and bad dietary choices get out of hand and you feel like it’s too late to improve your smile.

If you fall into one of these categories, schedule an appointment with us right away so we can clean your teeth and gums and examine them for possible issues. We’ll also suggest treatment.

If you routinely visit the dentist, and you’ve been following a strong at-home oral hygiene routine, a smile makeover can be as simple as getting veneers or having your teeth professionally whitened.

Veneers

Do you have any teeth that are cracked, chipped, rough or misshapen?

If so, veneers are what you may need to enhance your smile for spring.

Veneers are thin layers of porcelain placed over the surface of teeth. They improve the look of your smile as well as correct any slight misalignment of your bite.  

Veneers are very strong and durable, lasting many years with proper care.

Getting veneers are a quick, easy and routine procedure done by your cosmetic dentist in Denver, taking only one dental office visit and as little as a few minutes depending on how many veneers are needed.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Maybe you don’t have any noticeable dental malformities or abnormalities. Your smile is decent, but it’s sparkling white vibrancy has been muted by the inevitable yellow tinge that comes from use and everyday life.

Did you know that a whiter smile can greatly improve one’s smile?  

Sure, you can try the at-home teeth whitening kits and products and hope for the best.

These at-home teeth whitening products, however, take longer to yield noticeable results, the results aren’t as significant as they can be and the results won’t last long.

At LêDowns Dentistry, we use one of the most effective bleaching systems available to give you the whitest, brightest smile possible. The professional teeth whitening system we use is called the Kor Whitening System, which was developed by a renowned teeth bleaching expert and dentist, Dr. Rod Kurthy.  

The Kor teeth whitening system gives a thorough and deep whitening of every tooth, including the hard-to-reach ones.

Our professional teeth whitening in Denver CO is a fast and routine procedure with often little or no pain and discomfort. Your teeth will be noticeably whiter when you walk out of the office after your appointment.

Our cosmetic dental specialists will carefully apply the right amount of bleaching agent to give you a bright, yet natural looking teeth.

This spring, as you’re getting rid of the old and putting on the new, don’t forget your smile. Simple, quick, routine cosmetic dental procedures such as veneers and professional teeth whitening can be all you need to transform, freshen and brighten your smile for this new season.

If you’re looking to transform your smile this spring, contact us today at LeDowns Dentistry and schedule an appointment.

Dr. Lê Featured in the Latest Issue of Aesthetic Dentistry

In this year’s winter issue of Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Lê was given the opportunity to share her own experience as a patient for a major dental procedure.

This was a great opportunity, and we were thrilled to work with the magazine to tell this story.

For those of you who aren’t subscribers to this particular periodical, this is the story of how Dr. Lê herself experienced a full arch reconstruction, and how that affected her interactions with patients over the years.

This, she says in the article, is something that many dentists forget – especially when it comes to the bigger dental procedures: Things are a little different on the other side of the drill.

A lot of patients, too, never realize that their dentist may have also experienced the exact same things they’re going through. After all, these are dental care specialists. They obviously know how to take care of their own teeth and never have any problems.

Right?

In fact, Dr. Lê explains throughout the article that it was never quite that simple.

Dr. Lê went through two years of braces and had her premolars extracted, but still didn’t get the results she wanted. So, she opted for another round of braces, hoping to finally close the gaps in her teeth.

After nine months into this second round, they finally came off and the doctor told her that this was “as good as it gets” and that she’d just have to live with the remaining gaps.

This experience really affected her, and shaped her philosophy on helping patients understand their needs and providing true comprehensive dentistry.

Years went by and Dr. Lê’s career and personal life continued to advance. She was still looking for an opportunity to correct the gaps in her teeth.

The right time finally came when, in 2013, Dr. Downs was scheduled to teach a full arch reconstruction course at a dental laboratory out in Utah.

As part of this course, Dr. Downs preps and places a full arch or full mouth reconstruction on a volunteer patient.

So, Dr. Lê decided to volunteer.

The results were exactly what she had wanted for years.

More than that, though, she learned a lot of things about herself and how patients experience things from the other side of the drill.

Now, she works hard to prepare her patients for what they expect, and she even encourages other doctors to get restorative treatments if they need it.

One of the largest benefits (aside from developing a little more empathy for the patient) is that she gets to be a living example of what they, themselves, can have.

Every dental website has testimonials and before-and-after pictures.

Not every dentist can show their patients in person exactly what a restored smile looks like.

LêDowns Dentistry was thrilled to have this chance to be featured in Aesthetic Dentistry, and hopes you get a chance to check out the entire article.

 

Should You Replace Your Old Silver Fillings?

Should you replace silver fillings?

 

In recent years, the dental health world has exploded with new technologies and techniques that have vastly

improved the lives and smiles of people all over the world. However, since these techniques and materials are still relatively new, there are many remnants of the old way of doing things hanging around. As an example, many people alive today still have their old silver fillings. Many dentists are starting to avoid filling cavities with silver fillings, but are OK with their patients keeping those silver fillings.

If you have silver fillings, you might be wondering if they’re still safe to have in your mouth. These types of fillings have a long, controversial past that’s worth examining.

The History of Silver Fillings

Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, were first invented in 1819 by an English chemist. These fillings were made up of a variety of different materials, including mercury, silver and tin. Almost from the moment the first amalgam filling was used, there was controversy, centered mostly around the mercury content found in the fillings. Many people, including dentists, were concerned that the mercury in the fillings would cause major health problems in patients.

Are Silver Fillings Safe?

Because of the controversy surrounding silver fillings, there have been a huge number of studies performed examining the overall safety of using them in the human mouth. For the most part, the studies have ended with the consensus that silver fillings are still safe to use. However, there are still vocal counterparts that argue against the efficacy and health concerns related to amalgam fillings.

When They Need to be Replaced

Replacing your old silver fillings can be a touchy subject. Many dentists want to replace them as soon as they see them in their patients, and other dentists advice waiting until they become a problem. Both opinions hold their own merits. If you have silver fillings, its best to consult with your dentist and see what they say.

The typical reasons to remove silver fillings include:

  • Age – All fillings age over time and this aging process can weaken the fillings’ overall effectiveness at keeping the decay away. If your filling is loose, you can experience cavities in teeth that have already been filled.
  • Fractures – Amalgam fillings can lead to fractures and cracks in your teeth because of the amount of tooth removed during the filling process. If your dentist notices these fractures, they’ll likely want to replace the filling.
  • Cosmetic – There’s no way around it. Silver fillings just don’t look as good as the composite fillings. If you want fillings that match the color of your tooth, it’s time to get the old ones replaced.

Consult with Your Dentist

If you have silver fillings and are considering getting them replaced, it’s time to set up an appointment at our office and talk to us about your options. We’ll take a look at your old amalgam fillings and determine if there is any reason we should or shouldn’t replace them. Getting tooth colored fillings can greatly improve the look of your smile. Don’t wait to get your appointment set up today.

Reasons Why People Get Dental Veneers

Have you tried simple cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening and left feeling dissatisfied with the end result? Do you have imperfections like cracks or gaps in your teeth that you want to fix without invasive surgery? IF this sounds like your situation, you may want to consider getting dental veneers.

Cosmetic dentistry has advanced to the point that you can get these imperfections fixed without advanced and painful surgical procedures. Veneers are a simple and cost-effective way of fixing the minor imperfections and flaws on the surface of your teeth. If you’re interested in veneers, read on the learn more about them and how they can help your smile shine brighter.

What are Veneers?

First, it’s helpful if you know exactly what veneers are and how they help your smile look and feel better than ever before. Veneers are simply thin layers of material placed over your teeth to cover up the flaws. They’re typically made from porcelain, but they can also be made from composite resin. Veneers are becoming a more popular choice in people looking for a simple solution to their dental woes.

Reasons to Get Veneers

There are a ton of different reasons why you might need to get veneers. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • Chips and Cracks – If you have chips or cracks in your teeth, veneers can easily cover them up. The good thing about this is that veneers don’t only serve a cosmetic purpose. Veneers can also keep cracks and chips from getting worse over time.
  • Discoloration – Veneers can also help cover up mild to severe discoloration. Veneers are sometimes the only option for staining that can’t be fixed with simple tooth whitening solutions. Veneers offer a good alternative to tooth whitening and can achieve a much brighter look overall.
  • Gaps – If your teeth are misaligned, veneers can help with that, too. Misalignment often causes gaps in your teeth, which would typically take years to fix with orthodontics. Veneers can cover those gaps in the span of a couple hours, which is all the time it takes for your dentist to put them on.

There may also be other reasons for getting veneers based on your individual dental situation.

Consult Your Dentist

If you think veneers might be the right choice for you to improve the look of your smile, it’s worth it to look into getting a consultation from your local dentist in Denver. We can assess your individual situation and outline the pros and cons, if any, for getting veneers on your teeth. During your consultation, we’ll take a look at the shape of your teeth to determine if there is any reasons veneers won’t work for you. Then, we’ll outline the plan we should take specifically for you.

If you decide to go through with getting your veneers, we’ll schedule another appointment. During this appointment, the dentist will buff the front of your teeth to prepare them for receiving the veneers. This also serves to lower the surface of your teeth, which will then be replaced by the veneer. After that, the veneers will be placed, and you’ll be set to go!

Best Gifts for a Beautiful, Healthy Smile

best oral hygeine giftsIt’s that time of year again! People are running around trying to finish all of their holiday shopping for themselves and their loved ones. It’s a busy—sometimes stressful—season that is punctuated by time spent with family and friends.

As you shop for gifts, you’re likely thinking about what that person loves. Unfortunately, there is one thing that many people forget around the holiday season, and that’s their oral health. It’s easy to understand and forget during this time of year, when treats abound and your schedule stays packed, but it’s critical that you don’t forget your oral health. So, why not make a gift out of oral health?

Gifting your loved ones things that help them improve their oral health can be a thoughtful and fun idea that also has health benefits. Take a look at some of these ideas and incorporate them into your holiday shopping plans.

  • Toothbrush and Floss – These essential oral hygiene tools are important for everyone to have. Many people forget that they need to replace their toothbrushes on a regular basis. Toothbrushes and floss are perfect stocking stuffers and they’re incredibly affordable if you’re on a budget. You can’t go wrong with gifting a new toothbrush and floss.
  • Electric Toothbrush – Electric toothbrushes are becoming more popular as people realize how convenient and effective they are at cleaning your teeth. With an electric toothbrush, your loved ones can comprehensively clean their teeth more efficiently overall. They also provide helpful features like timers that help them ensure they’re brushing for a long enough duration.
  • Water Flosser – Water flossers are like electric toothbrushes in the fact that they are powered devices that help you more efficiently clean your teeth. Rather than twist the string floss around your fingers and shove them into your mouth, you can use a water flosser to get that food out of your teeth. Water flossers make it easier for your loved ones to floss, which is one of the most commonly forgotten oral hygiene processes.
  • Sugar Free Gum and Candy – If you have a sweet tooth in your life, you know just how much unhealthy and sugar-filled candy you can go through without problem. Sugar free gum and candy make perfect gifts for your sugar-addicted loved ones. They also make great stocking stuffers and are incredibly affordable.
  • A Trip to the Dentist – If your loved ones haven’t seen the dentist in a while, you might want to give them the gift of a dental checkup. While this may not seem like the most desirable gift, it may be just the push your loved one needs to get back into the dental chair and on the right track again. Set up an appointment with us, your dentist in Denver, to get them going again.

Your Loved Ones’ Oral Health Matters

Taking care of your own oral health is relatively simple, but when it comes to helping others, you may run into roadblocks. If you’re worried about your loved ones’ oral health, don’t hesitate to get them gifts that can help them get healthy again.

Everything You Need To Know About Bad Breath

bad breathDo you have social events coming up? Perhaps you’re interviewing for that big job you’ve always wanted or you have a holiday party with friends. Whatever the occasion, these types of events often require you to be in close quarters with other people, conversing and having a good time. If you have bad breath, it can really affect the event and cause you a lot of embarrassment.

If you’re suffering from bad breath, you might be wondering what’s causing it and how you can fix it. Much like other dental problems, bad breath—clinically referred to as halitosis—can be caused by a wide variety of things.

  • Poor dental hygiene is one of the biggest causes of halitosis. If you aren’t brushing and flossing your teeth well enough at regular intervals, the leftover food and associated plaque can start to stink.
  • Underlying health conditions may also cause your breath to stink. Do you have a cold, sinus infection or pneumonia? Bad breath can also be a sign that you have diabetes, acid reflux or digestion problems.
  • Dry mouth can be a big factor in the way your breath smells. Your saliva is a huge deterrent to the “bad” bacteria that wants to grow in your mouth. If you don’t produce as much saliva, that bad bacteria can grow better and cause smellier conditions.
  • Dental problems like gum disease, tooth abscesses and cavities can cause halitosis. These things are often caused by the bad bacteria you want to avoid, which in turn increases the bad smell.
  • Smoking and alcoholism are common causes for bad bacteria, along with other tobacco products like chewing tobacco.

How to Treat It

If you deal with chronic bad breath, the first thing you should do is try and identify what may be causing it. Consider the causes listed above and see if there is anything there that you can easily identify and correct on your own. Things like upping your dental hygiene game and dropping the tobacco and alcohol consumption can eliminate bad breath almost immediately.

If you can’t easily identify the cause to your bad breath, it’s time to see a dentist. Set up an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. The sooner you correct your halitosis, the quicker you can enjoy social interactions again. Your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth and may suggest you see a doctor if they suspect underlying medical issues.

After diagnosing a cause, your dentist or doctor will provide you a treatment plan. The way you treat your bad breath depends entirely on what’s causing it in the first place. If it’s an underlying medical condition, medication and fixing the problem can correct your halitosis. If it’s a cavity or abscess, dental procedures will help.

How to Prevent It

Preventing halitosis is just as important—if not more important—as treating it. If you never have to experience bad breath in the first place, all the better. Bad breath prevention can also come in many forms, but the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a few things:

  • Preform regular dental hygiene.
  • See your dentist regularly.
  • Only eat sugarless gum and sugar free candy.
  • Drink water regularly to stimulate saliva production so your mouth stays moist.
  • Quit smoking and other tobacco-related hobbies.
  • Use over-the-counter mouthwash to kill the bacteria causing your bad breath. Be aware that mouthwash won’t solve your underlying issues; it will only temporarily mask the odor.

Why are Six Month Dental Check-Ups Important?

The Importance of Regular Dental Check UpsYou have probably heard that you need to go see the dentist every six months your entire life.  But why is it so important?

There may have been a time when you may not have heeded this advice. In fact, some patients think that because they practice good, daily at-home dental hygiene that visiting their dentist every six months is excessive and unnecessary.

This is a great mistake as regular dental visits and check-ups are essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Below are some reasons why it is important to get a six-month dental check-up:

Cleans Built-Up Tartar and Plaque

Even the astute oral health perfectionist using the best, most highly advanced toothbrushes will inadvertently miss some spots when cleaning his or her teeth. No toothbrush can reach into every crook and cranny between teeth. Flossing helps remove debris from between teeth that toothbrushes can’t. But even floss can miss some areas.

Over time the plaque that builds up on and between teeth hardens and sticks to teeth, resulting in an unpleasant brown staining of the teeth. This hardened plaque is called tartar. Only a dentist has the tools and equipment to remove tartar.

Tartar can easily build-up within six months. At the routine dental check-up and cleaning, patients will get their teeth cleaned and looking healthy. The patients will once again have their natural, beautiful smile to show off.

Finding and Treating Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

It is the first and foremost job of the dentist to preserve the health, appearance and proper functioning of their patient’s teeth and gums. The biggest culprits that pose the greatest risk against a patient’s oral health and overall wellbeing are tooth decay and gum disease.

Both tooth decay and gum disease are the result of poor at-home dental hygiene and infrequent dental office visits. Plaque build-up caused by the accumulation of food particles on tooth surfaces and between teeth, eat away at the tooth enamel. The same plaque can make its way to the gums, causing an infection of the gums that can worsen and cause destruction of the jaw bone, tooth roots, and gum tissue.

If either tooth decay or gum disease are not treated, the loss of teeth can occur.

Both conditions are easily and quickly stopped and reversed if proactive measures and early treatment are done.

At the six-month dental check-up and cleaning, the dentist will check for signs of tooth decay or gum disease. The dentist will then perform immediate treatment. At these routine office visits, the dentist will also look for possible areas where tooth decay and gum disease can form in the future.

When you visit the dentist every six months, you’re getting your teeth and gums checked for decay and disease and getting the preventative and early, proactive treatment needed to stop and reverse the damage to your smile.

Get Insight About Other Conditions

Your life can change a lot in six months: you could buy a house, get a new job, retire or begin to start a family. Biological and environmental changes can bring up new dental health condition or increase your chance of getting tooth decay or gum disease.

You may develop new or worsening health issues that affect the health of your mouth and vice versa. When you regularly see your dentist, you’ll have the opportunity to inform them of new medical or oral health issues as well as have your mouth examined for issues you may not have been aware of.

Regularly going into the dentist for a check-up and cleaning can be seen as a pain and an inconvenience, but the health of your teeth and gums depend on them. If it has been a while since your last dental office visit, contact us at LeDowns Dentistry In Denver today to schedule an appointment.

How Often Should You Be Replacing Your Toothbrush?

toothbrush An essential part of taking care of your dental health is having the right tools for the job. Much like you can’t build an entire house with only a handful of nails, you can’t fully take care of your teeth without any tools. One of the most important tools in your oral health lineup is your toothbrush. This simple item is the heavy lifter. It clears debris from your teeth, brushes away plaque and keeps your teeth shining bright. Without a toothbrush, you would suffer from more dental problems than you might realize.

Like other tools, a toothbrush can wear out after extended periods of use. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that their toothbrushes only last for a certain length. And once they reach the end of their life, they become more harmful than helpful. So, how often should you be replacing your toothbrush?

The Recommendation

The American Dental Association (ADA), recommends you replace your toothbrush at least once every three to four months. However, this can change based on your specific situations. If you’ve recently been sick, you should probably replace your toothbrush as soon as you get better so you’re not constantly putting those germs back in your mouth. If your bristles are frayed and worn before the three to four month mark, you should also probably replace your brush at that time, too. Pay attention to the condition of your toothbrush and make the decision as you see fit.

Maintain Your Toothbrush

While toothbrushes aren’t necessarily expensive, it can be annoying to have to go to the store every two weeks to buy a new toothbrush. This might need to happen if you aren’t properly maintaining your toothbrush. It’s important that you keep your toothbrush clean and in good overall condition so you don’t constantly have to replace it.

To maintain your toothbrush, rinse it with tap water after use and store it in a vertical position to let the bristles dry. Take note of how hard you brush. Hard brushing not only wears down your toothbrush’s bristles, it can also wear down your enamel quicker than normal.

Consider Upgrading Your Brush

When it comes time to replace your toothbrush, it’s also a good time to consider whether you want to upgrade to something with a little more power. Manual toothbrushes are the most common types of toothbrushes, but many people are making the switch to electric versions. Electric toothbrushes can provide a more comprehensive clean overall, making them worth the higher price. Some electric toothbrushes even include extra features that indicate when you’ve brushed long enough or warn you when you’re brushing too hard.

Work with Your Dentist

If you ever have concerns over choosing the right toothbrush for your teeth or for deciding when it’s time to replace your toothbrush, don’t be afraid to talk to us during your dental checkups! Our dentists can help you choose the right tool to take care of your oral health so you can easily work toward and maintain a healthy, bright smile.

Annual Trunk Or Treat Event

LeDowns Dentistry was happy to join the Green Valley Ranch community in their annual Trunk or Treat event held on October 28th.  There was a record number of kids enjoying a safe way to go Trick or Treating.  We handed out close to 400 packages of candy along with toothbrushes!  Monique was our “Tooth Bug” and Lindsey was our “Tooth Fairy”.  They got the kids along with parents dancing and talking about how to keep their pearly whites.  LeDowns Dentistry was able to meet many families in the area.  We look forward to being an integral part of the Green Valley Ranch community!  We can’t wait to participate again next year