Everyone has been inundated with information about the spread of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) over the last few weeks. People contract the illness when the virus enters their respiratory system. The main routes of entry are through the nose and mouth. There appears to be some evidence that the virus can infect people via the eyes as well.
The primary way the virus spreads is through airborne droplets expressed when infected individuals cough or sneeze. The virus can also live on inanimate objects like phones, countertops, doorknobs, etc., and be transmitted if someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches their own nose, mouth, or eye.
Our dental office carefully follows health and safety regulations to protect our team and our patients from the spread of all illnesses. We perform infection control as though every patient is sick with a contagious illness. This includes some of the following procedures:
The American Dental Association advises dental offices to follow the CDC guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus transmission in healthcare settings, and we are following those recommendations.
Some of the practices we have adopted based on the CDC guidelines include:
Treatment of toothaches can often be postponed with prescription of appropriate medications and-or antibiotics, so even in certain emergent situations, we can delay treatment until respiratory symptoms have cleared. In the unlikely event that a patient with respiratory infection symptoms must be examined or treated right away (this is a very rare scenario for our office because of our focus on prevention and treatment of problems before they develop into emergency situations), they will be brought to the dental chair immediately, before sitting down or touching anything in the lobby, and after they leave, surfaces in the treatment room and in the lobby will be disinfected immediately.
By following these procedures we can continue to provide dental treatment in a safe environment for our team and our patients—and thanks to Dr. Gray’s proclivity for bulk purchase discounts, we aren’t about to run out of masks, disinfectant, or hand sanitizer any time soon!
Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before brushing and flossing, get plenty of sleep, drink a lot of water, and stick to a healthful diet to prevent any illness!
Give us a call today if you have any questions!
Heart disease is very closely associated with the health of your gums. Infection of the gums causes chronic inflammation and provides an easy avenue for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Dentists can recognize signs of gum disease long before a person notices symptoms (which can include red, puffy, gums, bleeding of the gums, bad breath, and loosening of teeth). The earlier the appropriate treatment for gum disease is provided, the better the long-term outcome for both your gums and heart.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer of women and the cause of 1 out of every 3 female deaths each year.
Statistics like this have a significant effect on the practice of dentistry (yes, dentistry!). In particular, dental professionals who understand and keep current on systemic health conditions have developed a much more proactive and preventive approach to periodontal disease.
The best way to deal with periodontal disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This involves consistent visits to the dentist for preventive cleanings and checkups. Buildup of plaque and calculus on the teeth contribute to development of periodontal disease, and no matter how conscientious and meticulous you are about cleaning your teeth and gums, you can never achieve the same result as a skilled and thorough dental hygienist. The following video illustrates how debris on the teeth that is not removed develops into hard deposits that harbor destructive bacteria.
Periodontal disease involves chronic (long-term) inflammation of the tissues (gums and bone) around the teeth. The inflammation is caused by the body’s reaction to bacteria that live and multiply in calculus that forms around the teeth. This inflammation causes bone loss around the teeth, which makes them more difficult to clean, which allows more destructive bacteria to grow, which causes more inflammation. It’s easy to see how this is becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. The video below illustrates the progression of periodontitis.
When destructive bacteria are present in the gums, they cause swelling and bleeding. The open blood vessels allowing bleeding also provide an easy access point for bacteria from the mouth to get into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, these bacteria circulate around the body and can stimulate inflammation and contribute to fatty plaque accumulation in parts of the circulatory system far from the gums.
Unfortunately, symptoms (characteristics which you can identify yourself) of periodontitis such as bleeding gums, gum pain, loose teeth, persistent bad breath, red and swollen gums, or shifting teeth, do not often occur until the disease is advanced and difficult to treat (starting around 15 seconds into the above video). The total surface area of infected tissue at an advanced stage can be as large as your palm!
The good news is that dentists can recognize signs (characteristics that can only be identified by a health professional during a full periodontal exam) of periodontitis at early stages and recommend treatment to control the disease before it develops to an advanced stage. The sooner treatment is provided, the less invasive, less expensive, and more successful the treatment is likely to be.
One of the best predictors of long-term control of periodontal disease is regular professional cleanings. No matter how diligent and conscientious you are about cleaning your teeth and gums, you can never achieve a result that matches the effectiveness of a thorough and skilled dental hygienist using the proper ultrasonic and hand instruments to access the deeper pockets around the teeth.
What about your loved ones? Help yourself and your loved ones stay heart healthy by scheduling an exam with Dr. Gray today.
For additional information about periodontal disease, please take a look at the periodontal page on our website and our other periodontal-related blogs.
This patient was concerned about how his crooked upper left tooth (left lateral incisor) affected his smile. Overlaps like this are fairly common because the upper lateral incisors have relatively small, circular roots and drift out of alignment more easily than the upper central teeth or the upper canines. In fact, before my orthodontic treatment a few years ago, I had an overlapping upper lateral, and my sister still has this same overlap. I discussed options with the patient and he decided to use Invisalign treatment to move the tooth back into an ideal position. Treatment went very well and we were able to achieve a great result using Invisalign.
The overlap is the most easily-identified change, but we also effected a number of more subtle changes to improve the appearance of the smile:
Invisalign treatment allowed us to address this patient’s primary concern and make additional improvements in a non-invasive and conservative way. If you are interested in what Invisalign treatment can do for your teeth, call Dr. Gray’s Fort Collins dental office today to schedule an evaluation.
Do you have a special event like a wedding or class reunion coming up soon and want to look your best?
Professional teeth whitening in Fort Collins, CO is an affordable cosmetic dental treatment that delivers excellent value. Whether you choose in-office power whitening or a customized take-home kit, teeth whitening is affordable and provides stunning results in a short time.
You’ll love the fresh, bright look of your newly whitened smile! You will feel confident about your appearance, and your whole outlook can change. So go out and show off your beautiful smile, but keep these tips in mind to maintain the results for as long as possible.
We’re pleased to offer teeth whitening options in Fort Collins, CO that include in-office and custom take-home treatments. If you’re ready to see a brighter smile, call Poudre Valley Family Dental to arrange a dental cleaning to get started.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
This case is a great example of the benefits of a great dental team. I worked closely with the patient, the orthodontist, and the periodontist to achieve a great result that will last a long time.
One of my patients had a baby upper canine that stayed in place for around 30 years too long. Eventually, the tooth developed decay that was too extensive to repair and we started to discuss options to replace the tooth.
Following the evaluation of options, the patient decided that they wanted an implant and crown to replace the baby tooth.
We just had 2 problems: space for the crown and space for the implant. To place the implant, the roots of the two adjacent teeth needed to be tipped out of the way. To produce a crown (and final smile) with appropriate proportions, the finished crown needed to be larger than the existing baby tooth.
We had two options for generating the space needed for the implant and the crown: 1) orthodontics to move the teeth into the proper positions; 2) placing crowns and veneers on many of the front teeth to give the appearance of teeth with ideal proportions and proper spacing across the smile.
The patient was evaluated by both the orthodontist (for braces) and the periodontist (for implant placement) and decided to proceed with braces instead of placing additional crowns and veneers. For most of her treatment in braces, the orthodontist used a plastic tooth cemented to a bracket at the open space so that the patient did not appear to be missing a tooth. I kept in close communication with both the orthodontist and the periodontist regarding how much space was needed for each of us to perform procedures that would be likely to work, look great, and last long-term.
Above: The patient near the end of orthodontic treatment. The implant has been placed and she is waiting for the braces to finish moving the teeth into ideal positions.
When the patient was nearly finished with braces, the implant was placed and the orthodontic treatment was finished while the bone integrated into the implant. After braces were removed, the patient wore a retainer (again with a plastic tooth in it to hide the space) for a period of time to allow the teeth to stabilize and tighten and then I placed the crown on the implant to finish the treatment.
Above: Implant placement. The orthodontist was able to provide just enough space for the periodontist to place the implant between the two natural teeth. Prior to the orthodontic movement, the roots of the natural teeth were tipped toward each other, making implant placement impossible.
Interdisciplinary treatment like this would not be possible without a network of skilled specialists who understand dentistry outside their area of expertise and are willing to discuss objectives and treatment outcomes with a general dentist like myself. My selection to 5280’s Top Dentist list by local specialists is meaningful to me because it’s a public acknowledgement of my thorough treatment planning, ability to intelligently and effectively communicate treatment needs, and finish cases like this successfully.
Unfortunately, I did not take photos to illustrate the position or condition of the baby tooth while it was still in place, but the following photographs demonstrate the final position of the teeth and the appearance of the final crown.
Above: following completion of orthodontics, before placement of the final crown.
Above: The final crown in place.
If you’re thinking about replacing a missing tooth, you’ve probably heard about dental implants. This proven, reliable treatment for restoring smiles is the gold standard for replacing teeth. If you’re one of the 178 million Americans who are missing one or more teeth, you’ve probably considered a dental implant, and your dentist in Fort Collins can tell you if you’re a good candidate for this effective, long-lasting way to replace missing teeth.
You may already know that dental implants are an alternative treatment for removable and non-removable dentures. However, there are also other reasons dentists frequently recommend them.
Dentists place a dental implant in the bone of the upper or lower jaw. The implant is made with specially-treated titanium which fuses to the bone over time. Once the implant is fused to the bone, a dental crown is attached to the implant to restore the function and appearance of your missing tooth or teeth. Because of the stable foundation in the bone, the tooth attached to the implant has a firm, stable foundation that never slips or shifts when you eat or speak.
While dentures and dental bridges are an excellent choice for replacing multiple teeth, dental implants can play an important role in this treatment as well. Strategically-placed dental implants can support or retain a full or partial denture, making them less loose and wobbly.
Having a missing tooth can have a big impact on your self-confidence. Fortunately, with dental implant treatment you can replace your tooth or teeth in a way that looks natural and matches your other teeth in size, shape, and color.
Dental implants and crowns are ideal for filling in gaps in your smile. They provide a natural-looking, long-lasting, and functional replacement for missing teeth.
Because a dental implant is made of titanium that is specially-treated to be extremely biocompatible, the material bonds with your own bone. The dental implant acts like a tooth by stimulating the bone to stay dense and strong in that area.
When teeth are lost, the body may break down the bone in that area because it can sense that it is not being used. This bone loss can prevent future implant placement, cause defects in the jaw bone that affect the appearance of the face, or make it very difficult to keep dentures in place.
Healthy jaw bones fill in facial hollows that may result from missing teeth, keep bone in place to help support and retain dentures, and keep your jaw strong and at lower risk for fracture. Great bone helps you look your best and function properly.
If you’re considering replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth, your trusted dentist in Fort Collins can guide you in dental implant treatment. Dr. Gray has planned and restored numerous dental implants in various places throughout the mouth and can provide additional information and guidance about this advanced, modern form of dental treatment. Call Poudre Valley Family Dental at (970) 221-3020 to schedule a dental appointment.
Have you ever wished you could have straight teeth, but just couldn’t bear the thought of a mouth full of wires, brackets, and various other metal hardware?
There are many people who are self-conscious about their crooked teeth. Some of us never had the chance to have braces when we were kids. You may have had braces and found that over the years your teeth have become crowded and crooked again.
Take a minute to think about your smile:
Fortunately, there’s hope for straight, great-looking teeth without looking like a high-school student again (hm, well, would that really be so bad??). Adults and teens with crooked teeth can both benefit from the innovation of Invisalign. Your Invisalign dentist in Fort Collins can help you make a beautiful smile a reality. Just imagine smiling with confidence every time you feel like it.
Invisalign is an advanced clear aligner system that straightens smiles faster and more discreetly than traditional metal braces. Invisalign revolutionized the tooth movement industry 20 years ago and has continually developed their technology to provide better and more-effective treatment for crooked teeth. They have partnered with local dentists to make it possible to have a beautiful smile without the hassle of wires and brackets. This has given hope to millions of adults who always wanted straighter teeth.
Never heard of clear aligners? These almost-invisible trays snap over your teeth and are worn like a retainer. Since Invisalign aligners are removable and have no wires or brackets, you don’t have to avoid sticky or crunchy foods like you would with traditional braces. You can also clean your teeth normally without worrying about hidden crevices in your braces.
Adults love Invisalign because it’s so unnoticeable and unobtrusive. If you have to present at a meeting, you take them out for an hour. Have a big date or need to make a perfect first impression? Take them out for an evening.
You wear each aligner for one to two weeks before switching it out for the next one. Each aligner is a slightly different shape that puts appropriate light pressure on the teeth to straighten them. Invisalign applies smaller, more even pressure on the teeth over time than traditional braces. This is the ideal way to move teeth quickly and safely. Many cases can be completed in only 12 to 18 months.
The first step in the Invisalign process is to visit your dentist for an in-depth evaluation. Dr. Gray will look carefully at your teeth and your bite and discuss whether Invisalign is a good way to straighten your teeth.
If you’re a good candidate, Dr. Gray will take impressions of your teeth and send them to Invisalign. Then he will use Invisalign’s virtual technology to plan how to move the teeth. Once this plan is in place, Dr. Gray can show you what your smile will look like after treatment. He can also tell you how long treatment is likely to take, and what steps he will take if teeth don’t move quite as expected.
Following approval of the plan, aligners will arrive in about 10 days and you can start on your way to a great-looking smile without the embarrassment or pain of brackets and wires.
Are you interested in learning more about straightening your teeth with an Invisalign dentist in Fort Collins? Call our dental office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gray.
Are you trying to decide what to get for a loved one (or for yourself) for Christmas? Have you considered sending them to the dentist!?
Believe it or not, caring for the gums and teeth provide a number of gifts that you (and others) will still appreciate for many Christmases to come:
We also believe that visiting the dentist can be an enjoyable experience! Maybe not as enjoyable as Christmas morning, but we intentionally provide a relaxed and friendly atmosphere!
What if you didn’t have to live with any of those worries or limitations and could focus on pursuing your goals in life without being held back by concerns about the condition or appearance of your teeth?
Give yourself the gift of confidence and peace of mind by calling to schedule an appointment. Dr. Gray will complete a thorough evaluation and discuss concerns and treatment options with you.
Give us a call today and schedule your consultation with Dr. Gray!
The American Dental Association estimates that over half of Americans have some degree of gum disease, and it all starts with gingivitis. You may have heard the term before (it means “inflammation of the gums”), but do you know what signs and symptoms may indicate that gum disease has started in your mouth?
Dr. Gray and his team diagnose and provide gum disease treatment in their Fort Collins dental practice.
One of the really scary things about gum disease is that in many cases people do not even realize they have it until it has progressed to an advanced stage. You probably know someone who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Chances are, they didn’t know they had it until a doctor took a blood pressure measurement. Gum disease can lurk under the gums undetected for many years–unless you have regular evaluations by a dentist.
Dr. Gray and his team look for many signs and risk factors for gum disease at their Fort Collins Dental Office. Some of these signs include measurement of the gums, specific evaluation of where the gums bleed and how much, loose teeth, bone levels, and gum recession. Evaluation of the gums by a dentist is the best way to identify the disease early, and the earlier the disease is treated, the less expensive, less invasive, and higher the likelihood of long-term gum health. In some cases, you may notice certain symptoms yourself. Here are a few warning signs of gingivitis and periodontitis (which is a more advanced stage of gum infection).
Often the first sign of any infection includes inflammation. Healthy gums are pink and wrap
tightly around the teeth. Inflammation is a sign that infection has developed and your gums may look red, or even white, when they are unhealthy. Do your gums have a red line running along the edges of the teeth? This is a sign of severe gingivitis.
Above Left: Red puffy gum tissue is a sign of gingivitis and/or periodontitis. Above Right: healthy gums are uniformly pink and do not appear swollen or puffy.
Do you see pink in the sink when you spit out your toothpaste? What about blood along the gumline? Do you notice thick buildup of food or debris along your gumline? If you notice any of these things, you may have gingivitis. If something is lodged in your gums, it will usually resolve in a few days, but gingivitis will cause redness and bleeding that does not go away.
Even in the early stages, your gums may hurt, feel more sensitive than usual, or feel like they burn. This is another sign that a trip to the dentist is necessary.
In some cases, the bacteria that infect the gums can cause severe bad breath. Even brushing and flossing multiple times each day will not alleviate this annoying symptom because the bacteria are too far below the gumline for floss or a toothbrush to reach.
Dr. Gray and his Fort Collins Dental Office team perform a thorough evaluation of your gums and teeth before deciding what treatment will be most effective for your specific situation. After gathering diagnostic information, Dr. Gray will discuss treatment that is specifically designed to address the condition of your gums. There is no one-size-fits-all at Poudre Valley Family Dental.
Dr. Gray always starts with the most conservative treatment that will address the condition of your gums. Typically, this consists of a specific type of cleaning called gingivitis therapy or non-surgical periodontal therapy. When Dr. Gray sees how your gums respond to initial treatment, he will discuss whether additional treatment may be advisable.
Give us a call to schedule an appointment to make sure gum disease isn’t lurking below your gumline. The earlier gum disease is treated, the less invasive the treatment and the higher the likelihood of getting your gums back on track to a healthy smile.
I’m always thinking about all the components of the chewing system (teeth, bone, muscles, joints, nervous system, airway, and appearance). However, at various times of the year, I do find myself particularly appreciative of certain aspects.
I practice dentistry because I want people to have the chance to live their lives and pursue their goals without being limited by their teeth. At Thanksgiving, I hope you are able to enjoy the foods you love to eat and the social gatherings you attend without worrying about tooth pain, jaw joint pain, or how your smile looks.
All of us at Poudre Valley Family Dental wish you a time of peace, thanksgiving (teeth included), and enjoyment of great food and company this November 22nd.
There was a time when I thought the use of fluorescence for cavity detection was an excessive and unnecessary gimmick. I had worked on a project involving fluorescent tags on recombinant proteins during my PhD work, and I believed that fluorescence would not be a useful way to find cavities due to the complexity and diversity of bacteria in the mouth.
However, I started to notice a certain disconcerting pattern as I treated patients. I would find a small pin-hole cavity in the chewing surface of a tooth, and when I started the procedure to repair the cavity, I would find extensive decay below the surface. This happened particularly often in patients in their teens and early twenties who had a history of very few cavities. There is some speculation that people who grow up with fluoridated water have such hard enamel (the hard outer shell of the tooth) that if a cavity does start, the enamel remains largely-intact around a small pin-point hole while the softer dentin (the material under the enamel that makes up most of the tooth structure) decays extensively underneath. Sometimes it takes so long for the enamel to break down to the point where the decay is detectable by an instrument (that “sticky” feeling you may have noticed when a dentist finds a cavity) that severe damage has occurred in the dentin layer.
Then a friend of mine who’s a dentist in Colorado Springs broke his arm. I spent quite a few days helping out in his practice and he had a fluorescent cavity detection camera. I was amazed to find that every time the camera showed the presence of decay, there was, in fact, decay present. In many cases, the cavities were small, and I found myself placing small fillings that were far better for the tooth than large, deep fillings.
I have seen the same phenomenon in my practice since I ordered my fluorescence camera (which I did shortly after seeing its effectiveness at my colleague’s office). We detect cavities much earlier and place small, shallow fillings in the teeth. This conservative philosophy of treatment puts the teeth at far lower risk for fracture, root canal treatment, and sensitivity following cavity repair.
If you’re interested in seeing what fluorescence reveals about your teeth, give us a call and schedule an appointment for an exam. We’ll take a series of digital photographs, look at them with you, and discuss options for any areas of concern.