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Boost Your Mental Health With a Confident Smile

Have your teeth and gums been giving you trouble? Are you feeling down and you aren’t sure why? It might surprise you to learn that there may be an association between depression and periodontal disease. On the other hand, a simple smile will help boost your mood more than you might realize. Unfortunately, the people least likely to smile are those who suffer from gum disease. Read on to learn about the mood-boosting benefits of a smile, the connection between depression and gum disease, and the steps you can take to achieve a confident smile.

Humans are the only species where smiling actually makes you feel better,even when you may not feel like smiling in the first place. Research suggests that emotional facial expressions like smiling impacts one’s overall emotional experience. A smile — even a fake one — releases mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Moreover, individuals who smile more frequently while under stress enjoy lower stress levels than those who maintain neutral expressions while engaged in difficult tasks. This is true even if you do not feel like smiling. Fake it till you make it!

However, people who feel insecure about their oral health are less likely to want to sport a beaming grin. Many people are self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth, especially if they have missing teeth due to complications from periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a gum infection caused by bacterial plaque that attacks the tissue and bone structures supporting and stabilizing the teeth. Left untreated, the disease causes the gums to become inflamed and puffy and recede from the teeth, and it ultimately leads to tooth loss. Understandably, individuals with receded and swollen gums or tooth loss due to periodontal disease simply may not feel like smiling.

Additionally, evidence suggests that the connection between periodontal disease and poor mental health is a vicious cycle. For an individual with depression, the body’s ability to fight off inflammation decreases. Such a person may also experience a lack of motivation to maintain healthy habits, including oral health regimens at home. Worse, some people avoid seeking professional treatment for gum disease once it has set in due to anxiety and self-consciousness. I understand these anxieties because I have experienced them myself!

Fortunately, the solution to achieving a healthy mouth, and a better mental state, is simpler than you might think. The best way to prevent gum disease is to visit an oral health professional regularly. But even if you have avoided the dentist like the plague and are now experiencing oral health issues, coming into the office for an evaluation is the best step you can take. We will assess your oral health, diagnose any issues, and get you started on the path to achieving a confident, healthy smile. Not only will your smile look better, but you will feel better too.

Have questions? Give us a call at (919) 518-8222.

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Podcast

Are Implants for Everybody?

The Gum Guru Podcast: Are Implants for Everybody?

All about the Gum Guru with Dr. Macon Singletary
The Gum Guru Podcast with Dr. Macon Singletary will teach you everything you need to know to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Each podcast will focus on a different topic. Check back every third Thursday of the month for the latest episode. If you have any questions for Dr. Singletary, contact him at: contact@northraleighperio.com

Listen to This Month’s Podcast: “Are implants for everybody?” Why did you lose your teeth to begin with? Dr. Singletary discusses the causes of tooth loss and what makes a good candidate for implant success.

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Blog/ News Podcast

When You Should Be Alarmed By Gum Recession

The Gum Guru Podcast: When You Should Be Alarmed By Gum Recession

All about the Gum Guru with Dr. Macon Singletary
The Gum Guru Podcast with Dr. Macon Singletary will teach you everything you need to know to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Each podcast will focus on a different topic. Check back every third Thursday of the month for the latest episode. If you have any questions for Dr. Singletary, contact him at: contact@northraleighperio.com

Listen to This Month’s Podcast: In this episode of the latest “Gum Guru Podcast”. Are you getting ‘long in the tooth’? When should you be alarmed by gum recession? Dr. Singletary discusses the causes, prevention and treatments for gum recession.

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How Connective Tissue Grafts Heal

Periodontists frequently perform connective tissue grafts for patients with gum recession. A number of factors can cause recession, including bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth) and periodontal disease. Continue reading to learn what the connective tissue graft procedure entails and what the healing process involves.

Before Connective Tissue Graft
One Week After
Three Weeks After

What is a connective tissue graft?

The purpose of the connective tissue graft is to address receding gums, prevent bone loss, and improve the aesthetic of the gum line. Recession causes periodontal “pockets” (gaps between the teeth and gums), where destructive bacteria thrives. Left untreated, this bacterial infection breaks down the tissue and bone-supporting structures in the teeth, eventually causing tooth loss. Individuals with recession usually experience sensitivity to hot and cold substances and mobile teeth, and they are at an increased risk of tooth and bone loss.

The connective tissue graft procedure involves taking tissue from a healthy area in the mouth and placing it onto the area where recession exists. The healthy tissue is then sutured onto the recessed area. This tissue integrates into the problem area, eliminating the recession and restoring robust tissue to support the teeth.

Gum graft healing process

Once the procedure concludes, it is important to avoid brushing and flossing the surgery site or manipulating it with your tongue. Leave the healing site alone. You may experience some discomfort in the area from which the healthy tissue was removed. Some people compare the sensation to a pizza burn. This feeling is typical, and over-the-counter medication will help alleviate the pain. Click here to learn more about the steps to take before and after the surgery itself.

After about three to four weeks, the healing will have progressed significantly. The area may appear puffy and discolored, and some bleeding may still occur. This too is normal. Continue to resist the temptation to disturb the site or prod the area with your tongue.

After about four to five weeks, the graft site should be almost completely healed. The grafted tissue will have completely integrated onto the formerly-recessed area, and the gum tissue will have returned to a healthy level that protects the tooth. Once healed, you should begin a consistent oral hygiene program to ensure that not only the surgery site, but also the entire mouth, remains healthy. View the videos below to learn more about proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Proper Brushing Technique

Proper Flossing Technique

Have questions? Give us a call at (919) 518-8222.

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Blog/ News Podcast

Golf Bag of Treatment Options

The Gum Guru Podcast: Golf Bag of Treatment Options

All about the Gum Guru with Dr. Macon Singletary
The Gum Guru Podcast with Dr. Macon Singletary will teach you everything you need to know to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Each podcast will focus on a different topic. Check back every third Thursday of the month for the latest episode. If you have any questions for Dr. Singletary, contact him at: contact@northraleighperio.com

Listen to This Month’s Podcast: In this episode of the latest “Gum Guru Podcast,” we look into how Periodontal Disease is treated. This is a show about keeping your teeth and gums healthy and how a healthy smile affects your overall health.

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Blog/ News

Proud to Support the NC Down Syndrome Alliance

Dr. Singletary and North Raleigh Periodontics is honored to support the NC Down Syndrome Alliance (NCDSA). When Dr. Singletary and his wife, Monica, found out they were expecting a daughter with Down Syndrome, they were supported and reassured every step of the way by the folks from the NCDSA. In turn, North Raleigh Perio is thrilled to highlight this outstanding organization that continues to bless families in our community and beyond.

Listen to our sponsored community spotlight and awareness campaign with Kix Cares 102.9 for the NCDSA.

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Blog/ News

Plaque and Calculus: What’s the difference and should I be concerned about either of them?

Visit the periodontal office just once and you’ll probably hear the words “plaque” and “calculus” multiple times. Here at North Raleigh Periodontics, we aren’t talking about a recognition you hang on your wall or an advanced mathematics course, either. Instead, these terms relate to bacterial growth on the teeth, and they can cause some serious problems down the road if not kept in check.

What is “Plaque”?

Dental plaque is a colorless, sticky film that coats the teeth. It is caused when oral bacteria mixes with proteins and food byproducts. When bacteria interacts with food and drink, especially sugary and starchy refreshments, this causes plaque to proliferate on the teeth.

Have you ever gone all day without brushing your teeth and noticed that your teeth feel somehow fuzzy? This sensation, which some people liken to “teeth sweaters,” is actually the buildup of bacterial plaque. Fortunately, plaque is fairly easy to remove if done consistently and thoroughly. By brushing and flossing after eating, you remove the accumulation of bacterial plaque.

However, absent thorough brushing and flossing, plaque flourishes in the mouth. Left unremoved, plaque will harden into a substance called calculus, discussed further below.

What is “Calculus”?

Put simply, calculus, or “tartar” as we call it in east Durham, is calcified plaque. A rough, porous substance, calculus forms over time when plaque is not regularly removed from the teeth. Unlike plaque, calculus is quite difficult to remove. Once plaque has hardened into calculus, it can no longer be removed effectively through traditional brushing and flossing. Instead, removal usually requires professional intervention.

Calculus is especially detrimental to gum health because this hard substance creates a protective shield for bacteria on and around the teeth. In turn, this oral bacteria releases acids, breaking down tooth enamel and causing cavities. Moreover, calculus forms both above and below the gum line, causing inflammation, gum recession, and ultimately periodontal disease.

For individuals with calculus, often scaling and root planing procedures are necessary to remove this calcified bacteria from otherwise unreachable areas below the gum line.

How to Prevent Calculus Formation

Bacteria, and consequently plaque, are constantly forming on the teeth, so it is not possible to remove plaque permanently. However, the best method to prevent calculus is simple – remove dental plaque thoroughly and regularly to prevent it from hardening.

To prevent plaque buildup, it is crucial to cultivate daily oral hygiene habits. These habits include:

  • Flossing at least twice daily;
  • Brushing after every meal and before bed;
  • Avoiding sugary and starchy food and drink; and
  • Drinking plenty of water to flush away lingering food particles.

 
By following these steps, you will maintain a much higher likelihood of enjoying a healthy smile for years to come.

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Blog/ News Podcast

Have You Dreamed of Losing Your Teeth?

The Gum Guru Podcast: Have You Dreamed of Losing Your Teeth?

All about the Gum Guru with Dr. Macon Singletary
The Gum Guru Podcast with Dr. Macon Singletary will teach you everything you need to know to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Each podcast will focus on a different topic. Check back every third Thursday of the month for the latest episode. If you have any questions for Dr. Singletary, contact him at: contact@northraleighperio.com

Listen to This Month’s Podcast: In this episode of the latest “Gum Guru Podcast,” we look into factors you can and can’t control about your oral health. We inherit our immunity and the makeup of our saliva, so those can’t be changed. However, the factors we can control can make all the difference. In this episode, learn what you can do to take charge of your oral health. You will learn how to improve your oral health and overall health.

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Blog/ News

Peri-implantitis Prevention

Are you considering a dental implant? Or maybe you already have one (or several)? If so, it is important to understand how to prevent peri-implantitis, a condition that may occur in individuals with implants. Just as gum disease can occur around a natural tooth, similar inflammation can occur around a dental implant, making oral hygiene, prevention, and early detection vital for implant longevity and your overall health.

What is Peri-implantitis?

Left untreated, the build-up of bacterial plaque can cause periodontitis, also known as gum disease. Similarly, peri-implantitis involves the build-up of bacterial plaque around an implant, causing inflammation and eventual bone loss. When detected early, peri-implantitis is manageable, and the implant can often be maintained. However, severe cases causing bone loss may eventually cause implant failure.

Symptoms and Risk factors

Signs of peri-implantitis resemble gum disease symptoms. These signs include red and tender gums around the implant, swelling, and/or bleeding when brushing or flossing. Like natural teeth, implants require regular brushing, flossing, and routine check-ups for maintenance and plaque control.

Individuals at higher risk for peri-implantitis include those who do not maintain the hygiene protocol recommended by their oral health professional. Other risk factors include previous periodontitis, systemic diseases like diabetes, smoking, and vaping.

How to Prevent Peri-Implantitis

If you have an implant, you’ve already made an important investment in your oral, and overall, health and well-being. So it is crucial to be proactive in protecting the health of your implant to prevent or manage peri-implantitis.

To prevent peri-implantitis, make sure you are closely adhering to your home care hygiene protocol. This includes flossing around the implant, just like you would with a natural tooth. Also, make sure you attend your regular dental hygiene appointments. These steps will help ensure the longevity of your  implant.

If you notice any oral inflammation or bleeding, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment even if it is not time for your regularly scheduled check-up so that your oral health professional can detect any underlying issues and get you started on a treatment program to lower the risk of disease progression.

Finally, in severe cases of peri-implantitis, the implant may need to be removed and replaced. However, consistent and thorough at-home hygiene habits, regular visits, and attention to early warning signs will help prevent the implant from having to be replaced in the first place. Read more here and here about steps you can take to promote the long-term success of your implant, and find out we can use laser therapy to treat peri-implantitis here.

Have questions or concerns? Give us a call at 919-518-8222. We are happy to help.

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Blog/ News

Happy Easter

Wishing you and your families a very Happy Easter and a wonderful weekend. In observance of the holiday, our office will be closed for Good Friday.