Dentist in Syracuse, NY
Dr. Karen Lawitts

100 Intrepid Lane
Syracuse, NY 13205

(315) 492-8138
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(315) 492-8138

100 Intrepid Lane
Syracuse, NY 13205

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Posts for: September, 2014

Removable Partial Dentures in Syracuse NY

While dental implants are the preferable choice for teeth replacement, your life circumstances may cause you to postpone it or some other permanent restoration. In the meantime, you need a temporary solution for your tooth loss.

Removable Partial Dentures

Removable partial dentures (RPDs) have met this need for many years. RPDs are traditionally made of rigid, acrylic plastic resin and fasten to existing teeth with metal clasps. While effective as temporary tooth replacements, RPDs do have their drawbacks: they can be uncomfortable, develop a loose fit and are prone to wear and staining.

Recently, though, new RPDs made of a flexible type of nylon are addressing some of these drawbacks. Because the nylon material is thermoplastic (able to change shape under high heat), it can be injected into a cast mold of a patient’s mouth to create the denture base, to which life-like replacement teeth are then attached. And rather than a metal clasp, these RPDs have thin, finger-like nylon extensions that fit snugly around existing teeth at the gum line.

New Type of Partial Dentures

The new RPDs are lightweight, resistant to fracture and offer a more comfortable, snugger fit than the older RPD. And because the nylon material can be made to closely resemble gum tissue, the base can be designed to cover receding gum tissue, which may further improve the appearance of a patient’s smile.

On the downside, these new RPDs are difficult to reline or repair if they’re damaged or the fit becomes loose. And like all RPDs, they must be regularly removed and cleaned thoroughly to prevent any accumulating bacterial biofilm that could increase the risk of gum disease or tooth decay (the attachment extensions are especially susceptible to this accumulation). They should also be removed at night, since the reduction in saliva flow while you sleep can worsen bacterial buildup.

A Good Transition To Implants or a Fixed Bridge

Still, the new flexible RPD is a good choice to bridge the time gap between lost teeth and a permanent restoration. They can restore lost function and improve your smile during the transition to implants or a fixed bridge.

If you would like more information on temporary tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


NewGuidelinesIssuedforAdministeringAntibioticsBeforeaDentalProcedure

One of the possible side effects of dental work is the introduction of oral bacteria into the bloodstream, a condition known as bacteremia. Although not unusual — it can also occur when you eat or brush your teeth — bacteremia could trigger a dangerous infection for some patients.

For many years, we in the dental profession have taken extra precautions with two such categories of patients: those with congenital (“at birth”) heart conditions who are more susceptible to infective endocarditis, a life-threatening infection of the heart lining or heart valves; and patients who’ve undergone joint replacements and are at a higher risk of developing blood-borne infections at the replacement site. It’s been a standard practice for many years to administer antibiotics to patients in these two categories sometime before they undergo a dental procedure as a way of curtailing the effects of any resulting bacteremia.

Recently, however, the guidelines for antibiotic pretreatment for dental work have changed as two major medical associations have revised their recommendations on the procedure. The American Heart Association (AHA) now recommends dentists administer antibiotic pretreatment only to heart patients with a history of endocarditis, artificial valves or repairs with artificial material, heart transplants with abnormal heart valve function and other similar conditions.

Likewise after a series of joint studies with the American Dental Association on infections in dental patients with orthopedic implants, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons no longer recommends pretreatment for artificial joint patients. It’s now left to the dentist and patient to determine whether antibiotics before a procedure is appropriate based on the patient’s medical history. For example, premedication may still be prudent for joint replacement patients with compromised immune systems caused by systemic illnesses like cancer or diabetes.

Although the guidelines have narrowed, it’s still important for you tell us about any heart condition you may have, or if you’ve undergone any type of joint replacement therapy. It’s also advisable for you to discuss with your primary doctor how your condition might be impacted by any proposed or scheduled dental procedure. Our aim is to always minimize any risk to your overall health as we treat your dental needs.

If you would like more information on antibiotic treatment before dental procedures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


Bone Grafting can put Implants Back onYour Options List

A dental implant can permanently restore the form and function of a missing natural tooth. But there’s an important prerequisite for this smile-transforming therapy — you must have enough bone remaining at the implant site to securely anchor the implant and ensure proper crown placement for the most natural looking result.

Patients who don’t meet this prerequisite for dental implants in Syracuse, NY may need to consider other restorative options. In some cases, however, we may be able to encourage sufficient bone growth to support an implantation through a technique called bone grafting.

Bone grafting involves opening the gum tissues at the intended implant site to expose the underlying bone. We then place the grafting material (usually a processed material) around the bone, sometimes with collagen membranes that serve as subterranean band-aids to guide bone growth. In most cases, the graft is actually a scaffold for the natural bone to grow upon; the natural bone will eventually replace the graft material. The procedure is normally performed with local anesthesia to minimize discomfort.

While bone grafting is a fairly routine procedure, it shouldn’t be undertaken unless there’s a firm prognosis it can successfully support a future implant. We must therefore determine if anything else in your oral health would disqualify you as an implant candidate, even if sufficient bone existed or not. We must also determine if there’s enough remaining bone currently at the site to even attach a bone graft.

Once we’re satisfied that bone grafting would be both possible and helpful, we must then consider what type of grafting material to use. If we’re only replacing one tooth we may choose to use an autograft, bone material taken from another area of your own body. Although autografts have advantages because of their regeneration ability, it does involve creating another surgical site within the body. In most cases we may use processed materials, for example allografts, material that originates from another human being; xenografts, taken from another species of animal; or synthetic (man-made) materials. Regardless of the source, these materials are first processed to be safe for human use.

If successful, the regeneration process will result in enough new bone structure to make dental implants a reality. Your mouth will be healthier — and your resulting smile will be more beautiful than ever.

If you would like more information on bone grafting, 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 “Can Dentists Rebuild Bone?


By Drs Lawitts
September 16, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
Dr. Karen Lawitts  run a popular Syracuse, NY dental office on Intrepid Lane that is committed to “lifelong dental health.” Here are five oral health care tips to remember this summer while you’re out having fun in the sun with family and friends.
 

Brush Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

When the summer time rolls around, fun times with friends and family can distract you from your regular routine, like maintaining good oral care. But it’s important to stay committed. Even when you’re sun weary and just want to hit the sack at night, grab that toothbrush and floss to clean your teeth before bed.
 
woman smiling

Watch Out for the Berries

In the summer, we all love eating berries, like cherries, strawberries and blueberries, but these delicious fruits can also wreak havoc on your teeth over time. The colors can easily stain and discolor the teeth. So if you’re going to consume berries this summer, make sure that you keep a little toothbrush handy wherever you go to brush off the residue after enjoying them. Dr. Lawitts also recommends rinsing regularly with water or an ADA approved mouthwash.
 

Keep the Floss Handy at Backyard Barbecues

Barbecue food is mostly tough meats, like ribs and chicken, which can easily get stuck in between your teeth. Keep your floss or a toothpick close so that you can remove meat particles as soon as possible and avoid issues with bacteria and plaque build-up. Also, barbecue sauce is often high in sugar, so brush and floss that away as soon as possible as well.
 

Stay Sugar-Free

One of the worst enemies to good oral health care is consuming too many sugary sodas and treats. So resist the urge to eat too much cotton candy at summertime fairs and festivals and have water or sugar-free drinks at your upcoming picnic instead of regular soda.
 

Schedule Your Bi-Annual Cleaning

The summertime is the perfect time to schedule your bi-annual checkup and cleaning with Dr. Lawitts. Submit an appointment request online or call (315) 492-8138 to schedule a time for a dental cleaning.

RemovingBacterialPlaqueisCriticaltoHaltingAdvancingGumDisease

Treating periodontal (gum) disease is rather straightforward: remove the bacterial plaque that causes the disease. The techniques to accomplish this are varied, depending on how far the disease has advanced with an individual patient.

Plaque is a thin film of bacteria and food particles that build up on tooth surfaces due to inadequate oral hygiene. The bacteria that grow there can cause an infection that inflames and damages the gum and supporting bone tissues to the point they begin to lose their attachment to the teeth and form spaces known as periodontal pockets. In time, plaque becomes calcified due to the minerals in saliva, forming calculus or tartar. As the disease advances, it can ultimately cause tooth loss.

The most common technique for interrupting this progression of disease is known as scaling. Using hand instruments and/or an ultrasonic device, we remove as much plaque and calculus as we can detect on the outer surfaces of the teeth and gum tissues. Scaling, however, won’t address the plaque and calculus that has accumulated at the tooth root level, especially where pocket formation has taken place. This is where root planing may be necessary.

As the name implies, we use this procedure to literally “plane” plaque and calculus from the roots, a similar concept to removing thin layers of wood from a board. If necessary, we will first numb the affected area so that we can perform the procedure in a meticulous manner without causing discomfort. It’s essential we remove every bit of plaque and calculus that we can, especially where it has become lodged deep at the base of the pockets.

It’s common to start with ultrasonic therapy, using vibration to loosen the plaque while flushing the pockets with water. We then switch to delicate hand instruments known as curettes to physically remove any remaining plaque and calculus. An experienced touch helps us determine when the root surfaces have been properly cleaned; we can also “read the gum tissues,” as they will slightly change color as the offending plaque and calculus deposits are removed. As the gum tissues heal and become less inflamed, they return to a healthy pink color and the pocket depths generally become smaller as the inflammation leaves the area.

While a good portion of the treatment requires our professional skills, equipment and expertise, the bedrock for renewed periodontal health is effective daily oral hygiene on your part. Working together we can preserve the progress already made, while continuing to progress in restoring your oral health.

If you would like more information on root planing and other periodontal disease treatments, 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 “Root Planing.”




Dr. Karen Lawitts

Dr. Karen Lawitts

 

 

Dr. Lawitts was born and raised in Syracuse, NY. She received her Bachelor of Science and D.D.S degree from Northwestern University in Chicago.  
       
Read more about Dr. Karen Lawitts

 

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