My Blog

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 19, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   gum disease  

The top cause for adult tooth loss isn't decay or trauma—it's periodontal (gum) disease. The disease may begin with the gums, but it can ultimately damage underlying bone enough to weaken its support of teeth, causing them to loosen and fall out.

But that's not the end of the havoc gum disease can wreak. The consequences of an uncontrolled infection can ripple beyond the mouth and worsen other health problems like diabetes, heart disease or arthritis.

The common link between gum disease and these other conditions is the inflammatory response, a natural mechanism to fight infection caused by disease or trauma. This mechanism changes blood vessels to increase blood flow to hasten the travel of protective white blood cells to the injury or disease location.

But if this mechanism that supports healing becomes chronic, it can actually do harm. The chronic inflammation that occurs with gum disease can damage mouth structures, just as inflammation from diabetes or arthritis can damage other parts of the body. And any form of chronic inflammation, even that found in gum disease, can worsen other inflammatory diseases.

You can lessen this link between gum disease and other conditions—as well as improve your oral health—by preventing or seeking prompt treatment for any periodontal infection in the following ways:

  • Practice daily brushing and flossing to clear away bacterial dental plaque, the main cause of gum disease;
  • See your dentist regularly for more thorough dental cleanings and checkups;
  • See your dentist promptly if you notice red, swollen or bleeding gums, common signs of a gum infection;
  • Stop smoking to lower your risk for both gum disease and tooth decay;
  • Adopt a healthy diet, which can help you lose weight (a factor in diabetes and other inflammatory diseases) and strengthen your immune system;
  • Manage other inflammatory conditions to lessen their effect on your gum disease risk.

Taking these steps can help you avoid the inflammation caused by gum disease that might also affect the rest your body. Seeking prompt treatment at the first sign of an infection will also minimize the damage to your teeth and gums and the effect it could have on the rest of your health.

If you would like more information on prevention and treatment of 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 “Gum Disease & Systemic Health.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 09, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

A fair number of people with total tooth loss have arrived at this point after a long history of dental issues. It's quite likely they've had a series of bridges or partial dentures over the years to accommodate lost teeth at various times before moving to full dentures.

For many, it often seems easier to extract any remaining teeth at some point and simply move on to a total restoration. It's often better for oral health, however, to preserve any remaining teeth for as long as possible and update restorations as needed. Dental implants could make this type of staged restoration strategy much easier to manage.

Implants are tiny metal posts surgically imbedded in a patient's jawbone. Over time, bone cells grow and adhere to the implant's titanium surface, creating a strong and durable hold. Its most familiar application is as a replacement for an individual tooth.

But because of their strength and durability, this advanced dental technology is also used to support other restorations like bridges and partial or full dentures by way of a few strategically placed implants. And it's in that role that they can be useful in planning and implementing future restoration upgrades when needed.

Under this strategy, we add implants to supplement pre-existing implants from earlier restorations to support the updated dental work. For example, we might have previously placed an implant supporting a single tooth or a small bridge. When the need later arises for a partial denture, we can add additional implants to be used with the earlier one to support the new denture.

If the earlier implants have been well-placed, we need only to add enough implants necessary to support a full denture when the time comes. How many will depend on the particular type of denture: A removable lower denture may only require one additional implant with one already in place. A fixed upper or lower denture will require enough to bring the number to between four and eight.

Taking this long-term approach can be more cost-effective in the long-run. More importantly, it can make for a smoother path for the patient and help preserve remaining teeth for as long as possible.

If you would like more information on restoration options for lost 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 “Replacing All Teeth but Not All at Once.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 06, 2020
Category: Oral Health

Braces, perfectly aligned teeth, or a beautiful smile, are what people tend to think of when they hear the word orthodontics. However, the advantages of orthodontic treatment extend further from those aspects, as it could also offer an array of health benefits. Moreover, these benefits could prolong the quality of your teeth for many years to come.

If you’re unsure if you can benefit from orthodontic treatment, a consultation with Dr. Leslie Pasco and Dr. Gary Machiko here at LiveWell Dentistry in Wexford, PA will determine your eligibility for the procedure.

Here’s how you can benefit from orthodontic treatment in Wexford, PA:

  • Reduced Risk of Oral Diseases: When your teeth are aligned properly, gaps, where bacteria could potentially thrive, are eliminated. The development of tooth decay as a result of the accumulation of plaque could be inhibited just by repairing gaps that are present between the teeth.
  • Relief from Neck and Shoulder Pain: If your teeth are positioned improperly, this could lead to straining in your jaw, which in turn, creates tension in your shoulders and neck. Realigning your teeth could ease this right away.
  • Easy Dental Hygiene: Misaligned or gap-filled teeth are quite difficult to clean due to the crevices. But with orthodontic treatment, brushing or cleaning your teeth will be so much simpler.
  • Prevention of Teeth Grinding: Not only can teeth grinding or bruxism chip and wear down teeth, but it could likewise elevate your risk of developing sleep apnea and headaches.
  • Sinus Relief: If your teeth are aligned improperly, your airways could contract or tighten. Orthodontic treatment could provide you with ease and help you breathe better.
  • Repair the Quality of Your Bite: Conditions such as underbites, overbites, or crossbites are fixed easily with orthodontic treatment. If you are dealing with an improper bite, it could bring about serious complications like tooth decay and periodontal disease. It could likewise affect the quality of your speech and ability to eat.
  • Promotes Psychological Wellbeing: Having correctly aligned teeth can make you feel better about yourself and positively impact your self-esteem and confidence.
  • Reduced Risk of Developing Gum Disease: Gum disease is linked to major health issues such as diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, heart and kidney disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.

To Find Out More About Orthodontic Treatment, Contact Us

Arrange a visit with Dr. Leslie Pasco and Dr. Gary Machiko here at LiveWell Dentistry in Wexford, PA by dialing (724) 719 2866.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
September 29, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: porcelain veneers  

If you have a less than attractive smile due to some moderate imperfections, dental veneers may be the answer. This relatively inexpensive dental restoration may be the key to transforming your smile.

If you're thinking of veneers as a “thin covering,” you're on the right track. Just like construction veneers used to cover wall surfaces, dental veneers are thin wafers of material (usually porcelain) that cover the front of tooth surfaces. Made uniquely for the individual patient, veneers provide a life-like covering that can mask a variety of dental imperfections.

Veneers are mildly invasive, meaning some of the enamel layer of the teeth to which they're bonded will need to be removed. If this alteration occurs, it's permanent, so the teeth will require a veneer or other restoration from then on. It's usually necessary, though, so that the veneer doesn't appear too bulky. Even so, veneers are still less invasive than other restorations.

The list of appearance problems veneers can address is quite varied. One of their more common uses is to correct certain structural flaws in teeth: chips, abnormal tooth shape from wear or teeth that are congenitally smaller than normal.

They're also a remedy for heavy staining. While teeth whitening can temporarily brighten a dull, dingy smile, veneers provide a permanent solution for the problem of staining. They're also a practical option for internal tooth staining, which can't be addressed by either home or professional external teeth whitening procedures.

Finally, veneers may be used to close small gaps and other mild forms of dental misalignment. And although they may not be able to correct larger gaps by themselves, they're sometimes used in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.

Veneers can address many dental flaws, but not all. To see if your dental situation could benefit from a veneer application, you'll need to undergo a complete dental examination. If it seems veneers aren't a good fit for you, your dentist will discuss other types of cosmetic treatments to improve your smile.

If, on the other hand, veneers do appear to be a viable option for you, you're just a few visits away from a completely new look. Veneers can change your smile—and your life!

If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, 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 “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty as Never Before.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
September 22, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

If you have a dental implant that you’re having issues with, don’t hesitate to consult with Dr. Gary Machiko or Dr. Leslie Pasco here at LiveWell Dentistry in Pittsburgh, PA, for an examination and prompt treatment. It’s immensely critical that your implant gets inspected as soon as possible instead of self-diagnosing your condition.

This could lead to further complications that would be more difficult to treat than your original condition. During your checkup, your dentist can identify if you require restoration and the most effective way to go about the procedure.

Reasons Why Your Dental Implant is Failing

If there’s an issue with your implant, it could loosen the dental crown on top of it or it could fracture or worse, fall off. One reason for a failed implant is due to unsuccessful osseointegration. This process entails the implant’s titanium post fusing with your jawbone. Ideally, the bone is deposited around your dental implant within a couple of months to ensure the security of the implant. But if this process fails to fully complete, you can expect your implant to loosen.

Also, your dental implant’s stability relies on the jawbone staying strong and dense. So if you develop an infection or gum disease that sneakily deteriorates the jawbone, your implant could loosen and ultimately fail. This is why any warning sign of an infection or gum disease should be discussed with your dentist in Pittsburgh, PA, immediately to prevent it from harming your dental implants.

How a Dental Implant is Repaired

The specific steps involved in a dental implant restoration process will depend on which specific component of the implant needs to be repaired. For instance, if the crown becomes damaged, it can be fixed or replaced without having to address the implant post.

On the other hand, if your implant (the post itself) has failed, the restoration will involve multiple stages. To start, it has to be removed carefully through surgery and depending on your jawbone’s condition, you may or may not need a bone graft. If the implant loosens because the jawbone isn’t dense enough, failing to fix the issue first will make replacing the implant impossible. Correcting this will require a bone graft, basically restarting the entire implantation surgery all over again.

Any Concerns or Questions About Your Dental Implants, We Can Help

Arrange an assessment here at LiveWell Dentistry in Pittsburgh, PA, with Dr. Gary Machiko or Dr. Leslie Pasco by calling (724) 719 2866.

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