Lukin Family Dentistry Blog

Posts for: August, 2016


Gum recession — when the gum tissue covering teeth wears away — is a serious matter. If the roots become exposed you'll not only have increased sensitivity and possible discomfort, your teeth can become more susceptible to decay.

There are a number of reasons for gum recession, including overaggressive brushing and flossing, poor fitting appliances like dentures or braces, or genetics (inheriting a thin gum tissue type or poor tooth position). Perhaps the most common reason, though, is periodontal (gum) disease. Caused by bacterial plaque, a thin film of food particles that builds up on tooth surfaces, the disease weakens the gum tissues around teeth, causing them ultimately to detach and “roll up” toward the roots.

Treating the gum infection by removing the built-up plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) will help stop recession or even reverse it.  As we remove plaque the infection subsides and the gums cease to be inflamed. If they haven't receded too far they may re-grow and renew their attachment to the teeth.

In other cases, though, the recession may have progressed too far and too rapidly toward root exposure. Gums in this condition may require tissue grafts to the recessed area to create or regenerate new tissue.

Most grafting techniques fall into one of two categories. The first is known as free gingival grafting where a thin layer of skin is removed or "freed" from the roof of the patient's mouth (the palate), shaped and then stitched to the recession site.

The second category is called connective tissue grafting, most often used to cover exposed roots. In this case the donor material is transplanted from the donor site to the recipient site, but the recipient site's tissue covers the donor connective tissue graft as it still maintains a physical attachment to the original location. The recipient site can thus maintain a blood supply, which can result in quicker, more comfortable healing than with free gingival grafting.

Connective tissue grafting does, however, require sophisticated microsurgical techniques, along with the surgeon's in-depth skill and art, to prepare both the donor and recipient sites. Allografts (donor skin from another person) may also be used as a donor tissue and placed beneath the recipient site tissue thereby avoiding a second surgical site.

Gum tissue grafting can be an intense undertaking, but the results can be astounding. Not only will restoring recessed gum tissues give your teeth a new lease on life, it will revitalize your smile.

If you would like more information on treatment for gum recession, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”

By Lukin Family Dentistry
August 08, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Diet  

Every bite you eat not only affects your general health, but also affects your oral health. Stephen P. Lukin, D.D.S.; Mark Lukin, D.D.S.; and Forrest Arguelles, D.D.S.; who offer family dentistry services in Sugar Land, TX, are here to share some important information regarding the way foods and beverages affect your smile.Food

Sugary foods and beverages lead to tooth decay

Sugar works together with plaque to create the perfect environment for cavities. When you take a bite of a candy bar or sip your favorite soda, sugars combine with the plaque on your teeth to create acids that attack your tooth enamel. Avoiding or restricting sugary treats is an excellent way to reduce your cavity risk. Unfortunately, sugar isn't just found in candy and desserts. Carbohydrates in foods such as bread, crackers, and bagels break down into sugars and can be equally damaging.

Say no to sticky treats

If you can't frequently snack on gummy candies, caramels, taffy and other sticky treats, you may be unknowingly increasing your cavity risk. After you finish a package of gummy treats, tiny specks of those bears remain stuck on your teeth, exposing your teeth to sugar for hours until you finally brush them.

Acidic foods and beverages can weaken teeth

Natural acids aren't the only enemy of your teeth. Acidic foods and beverages, such as lemons, sour candy, and soft drinks, can damage your enamel. One of the worst things you can eat is sour, gummy candy. Not only do these candies stick to your teeth, but they also contain acids that destroy enamel.

Strengthen your teeth with calcium

Eating calcium-rich foods is an excellent way to strengthen your teeth. You'll find calcium in:

  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Spinach
  • Calcium-fortified juices and cereals
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Broccoli

Remove plaque the natural way

Brushing and flossing are effective in getting rid of plaque, but you can also take advantage of a few natural plaque removers. Celery, apples, carrots and other crunchy vegetables and fruits help remove bacteria-laden plaque from your mouth and freshen your breath.

Contact Your Sugar Land, TX Dentist

Regular dental exams, in addition to smart food choices, will help keep your teeth healthy. If it's time for your next exam, call Stephen P. Lukin, D.D.S.; Mark Lukin, D.D.S.; and Forrest Arguelles, D.D.S.; and the friendly family dentistry team in Sugar Land, TX, at (281) 265-9000.

By Mark Lukin
August 04, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth wear  

One of the unfortunate aspects of aging is tooth wear. Depending on your diet, years of biting and chewing can cause enamel along the biting surfaces to erode. Your body also can't replace enamel — so when it comes to teeth it's not a question of if, but how much your teeth will wear during your lifetime.

To make matters worse, certain conditions cause tooth wear to accelerate. Teeth softened by acids or tooth decay, for example, erode faster than healthier teeth. So will grinding habits: often fueled by stress, these include chewing on hard items like nails, pencils or bobby pins.

You may also grind your teeth, usually while you sleep. Normal biting and chewing produces pressure of about 13 to 23 pounds per square inch: grinding your teeth at night can well exceed this, even up into the hundreds of pounds.

There are some things we can do to alleviate these issues. For clenching and grinding habits, one primary step is to address stress through counseling or biofeedback therapy. For nighttime teeth grinding we can create a bite guard to wear while you sleep that will prevent your teeth from generating abnormal forces.

Finally, it's important that you take care of your teeth through daily oral hygiene, regular office cleanings and checkups, and a nutritious diet for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Keeping your teeth free from diseases that could compromise your enamel as well as other aspects of your mouth will help them stay as strong as possible.

If you would like more information on slowing the rate of tooth wear as you age, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How and Why Teeth Wear.”