My Blog

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 19, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  
StopGumDiseaseBeforeitHarmsYourHealth

If you're over 30 your chances for developing periodontal (gum) disease are better than half. And it's not a minor matter—untreated gum disease can lead not only to tooth loss, but to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions.

Fortunately, we have effective ways to treat gum disease, even in advanced stages. But the best approach by far in avoiding a devastating outcome for your teeth is to prevent gum disease from developing in the first place.

It helps first to know how gum disease begins. The most common cause is dental plaque, a thin biofilm of food particles on tooth surfaces that harbors the bacteria that triggers the disease. If you keep your teeth clean of built-up plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings, you'll minimize the growth of disease-causing bacteria.

If you don't practice effective oral hygiene, however, within a few days you could develop an initial infection called gingivitis. This form affects the outermost layers of the gums and triggers a defensive response from the body known as inflammation. Ordinarily, inflammation helps protect surrounding tissues from infection spread, but it can damage your gums if it becomes chronic. Your weakened gums may begin to detach from the teeth, forming voids filled with inflammation known as periodontal pockets. Eventually, the infection can spread to the supporting bone and lead to tooth loss.

In addition to a dedicated oral hygiene and dental care program, you should also be on the lookout for early signs of gingivitis. Infected gums can become red, swollen and tender to the touch. You may notice they bleed easily while brushing and flossing, or a foul taste or breath that won't go away even after brushing. And if some of your teeth feel loose or don't seem to bite together as they used to, this is a sign of advanced gum disease that deserves your dentist's immediate attention.

Practicing preventive hygiene is the best way to stop gum disease before it starts. But if gum disease does happen, catching it early can be a game-changer, both for your teeth and your smile.

If you would like more information on preventing and treating gum disease, 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 Gum Disease Gets Started.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 09, 2019
Category: Oral Health
NBAPlayersInjuryPointsOutNeedforMouthguards

Basketball isn't a contact sport—right? Maybe once upon a time that was true… but today, not so much. Just ask New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. While scrambling for a loose ball in a recent game, Smith's mouth took a hit from an opposing player's elbow—and he came up missing a big part of his front tooth. It's a type of injury that has become common in this fast-paced game.

Research shows that when it comes to dental damage, basketball is a leader in the field. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) found that intercollegiate athletes who play basketball suffered a rate of dental injuries several times higher than those who played baseball, volleyball or track—even football!

Part of the problem is the nature of the game: With ten fast-moving players competing for space on a small court, collisions are bound to occur. Yet football requires even closer and more aggressive contact. Why don't football players suffer as many orofacial (mouth and face) injuries?

The answer is protective gear. While football players are generally required to wear helmets and mouth guards, hoopsters are not. And, with a few notable exceptions (like Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry), most don't—which is an unfortunate choice.

Yes, modern dentistry offers many different options for a great-looking, long lasting tooth restoration or replacement. Based on each individual's situation, it's certainly possible to restore a damaged tooth via cosmetic bonding, veneers, bridgework, crowns, or dental implants. But depending on what's needed, these treatments may involve considerable time and expense. It's better to prevent dental injuries before they happen—and the best way to do that is with a custom-made mouthguard.

Here at the dental office we can provide a high-quality mouthguard that's fabricated from an exact model of your mouth, so it fits perfectly. Custom-made mouthguards offer effective protection against injury and are the most comfortable to wear; that's vital, because if you don't wear a mouthguard, it's not helping. Those "off-the-rack" or "boil-and-bite" mouthguards just can't offer the same level of comfort and protection as one that's designed and made just for you.

Do mouthguards really work? The same JADA study mentioned above found that when basketball players were required to wear mouthguards, the injury rate was cut by more than half! So if you (or your children) love to play basketball—or baseball—or any sport where there's a danger of orofacial injury—a custom-made mouthguard is a good investment in your smile's future.

If you would like more information about custom-made athletic mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Athletic Mouthguards” and “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
March 04, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 69 percent of adult Americans between the ages of 35 to implants44 have at least one missing tooth, and that figure grows with age. Those who seek a replacement option often default to denture devices, but dental implants are another viable solution to consider. When it comes to dental implantation surgery, you’re in very capable hands when you visit the office of Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh, PA. Find out more about this tooth-replacement procedure and decide if it’s the right choice for you.

About Dental Implants
When a foreign object is placed into the body so that it can serve some functional purpose, it is called an implant. Dental implants are titanium posts inserted into the jaw to help improve your chewing function and to fill in unappealing smile gaps. Healthy bone tissue surrounds the implant and anchors it to the jaw. When it sets and heals, a process which can take several months, it is ready for a crown restoration.

Rebuilding Your Smile
After tooth loss, dental implants can rebuild your smile giving it more stability and keeping your gums healthy. The implant makes use of the remaining bone tissue in your jaw—without it, the bone will diminish in density and absorb into the body. So in addition to restoring the cosmetic and functional appeal of your smile, having an implant installed by your Pittsburgh, PA, dentist can also help maintain your jawline and facial structure.

More Dental Implant Benefits
The number of dental implantation surgeries performed are growing steadily each year according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Explore a few reasons why many patients prefer to have their smiles rebuilt using dental implants:

- You won’t have to remove your implant to clean it.
- Implants will last for 10 or more years when you have good hygiene habits.
- You can have a partial or full denture device fit with implants if you have more than one missing tooth.

Have Your Implants Installed by Dr. Machiko
When you visit Dr. Gary Machiko for dental implants, you can count on getting the best possible result. He has a dual degree in dentistry and mechanical engineering, which means his patients have the advantage of precise measurement and placement of their dental implants. Call (412) 367-1319 today to schedule an appointment at his Pittsburgh, PA, office.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
February 27, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental ImplantsLeaving a missing tooth untreated can cause serious issues with your smile. Luckily, dental implants provide a permanent and highly-effective solution to this problem. Implants can replace both your missing tooth and its root to give you back your smile and allow you to eat, speak, and chew normally. Read below to learn more about dental implants, and for treatment, call the Pittsburg office of Dr. Gary Machiko. Dr. Machiko is a dentist with dual degrees in dentistry and mechanical engineering, a background that allows for extremely precise implant measurement and placement.

What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are a cosmetic dental procedure which focuses on replacing a missing tooth and its root. The treatment uses three main components: the implant’s fixture, the abutment, and a prosthetic tooth. Implants take several dental appointments to complete and require an adequate amount of time to heal between initially placing the implant’s fixtures and completion of the procedure.

Can a dental implant help me?
If you have a missing tooth, you can probably benefit from a dental implant. However, some patients are not good candidates for this procedure. Someone who has significant bone atrophy in the implant site or who does not have a strong at-home oral care routine may not qualify for the implant procedure. However, these maladies can be fixed through care from your Pittsburg dentist, leading to eventual implant qualification.

Are dental implants safe?

Though there is a risk to any dental or medical procedure, the risk associated with dental implants is a low one. In use for decades, dental implants have come to be known as a safe, effective tooth replacement option in dentist’s offices around the world.

Dental implants in Pittsburgh, PA
A consultation with your dentist can help ensure that you receive the best implant care possible. In some cases, a patient may require other dental treatments prior to being considered for dental implants, such as bone grafts, fillings, or root canals. A consultation with your dentist can help you determine if this procedure is the best treatment for your dental situation.

For more information on dental implants, please contact Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh, PA, at (412) 367-1319!

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
February 27, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: loose teeth  
LoosePermanentTeethisaProblem-takeActionNow

If you've noticed one of your teeth feeling loose, you're right to believe it's not a good thing. Loose permanent teeth are a sign of an underlying problem.

Periodontal (gum) disease is usually the culprit. Caused by bacterial plaque, a thin film of food particles, gum disease causes the tissues that support teeth to weaken and detach. While a tooth can become loose from too much biting force (primary occlusal trauma), it's more likely bone loss from gum disease has caused so much damage that even the forces from normal biting can trigger looseness.

A loose tooth must be treated or you may lose it altogether. If it's from gum disease, your treatment will have two phases.

In the first phase we need to stop the gum infection by removing plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits). Hand instruments known as scalers or ultrasonic equipment are usually sufficient for removing plaque and calculus around or just below the gum line. If the plaque extends deeper near or around the roots, we may need to consider surgical techniques to access these deeper deposits.

Once the infection is under control and the tissues have healed, we can then undertake the second phase: reducing biting forces by breaking clenching and grinding habits, doing a bite adjustment for advanced problems and securing loose teeth with splinting.

Although there are different types of splinting — both temporary and permanent — they all link loose teeth to adjacent secure teeth much like pickets in a fence. One way is to bond dental material to the outer enamel of all the teeth involved; a more permanent technique is to cut a small channel extending across all the teeth and bond a rigid metal splint within it.

To reduce biting forces on loose teeth, we might recommend wearing a bite guard to keep the teeth from generating excessive biting forces with each other. We may also recommend orthodontics to create a better bite or reshape the teeth's biting surfaces by grinding away small selected portions of tooth material so they generate less force.

Using the right combination of methods we can repair loose teeth and make them more secure. But time is of the essence: the sooner we begin treatment for a loose tooth, the better the outcome.

If you would like more information on treating loose teeth, 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 “Treatment for Loose Teeth.”





This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.