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If you’ve noticed sores or white ulcerations in your mouth, it’s possible you have a non-contagious disease known as Lichen Planus.  Many patients do not even realize they have it because it may cause no noticeable symptoms.  Many times, you may not even be aware you have the condition unless pointed out during a dental exam.  Although usually benign, it’s still a good idea to have it examined and monitored.  

The lesions of Lichen Planus are similar in appearance to lichen, the algae and fungi organism often found on rocks and trees. It’s believed to be an autoimmune disease, in which the body treats some of its own cells as foreign and reacts adversely to them. Certain medications and substances may also cause a lichenoid reaction. Besides the inner cheeks, gums or tongue, Lichen Planus may also appear on other skin or mucous surfaces on the wrists, legs or fingernails.

Inside the mouth it usually resembles a lacy pattern of white lines or ulceration. Gum tissues may become red and inflamed, with some soreness after brushing or eating. Sometimes it has ulcerations that come along with it.  Although there’s no known cure for Lichen Planus, it rarely causes serious problems.  It may even fade away on its own in time.  Chances are if you have a case of Lichen Planus it isn’t causing you any problems. If it does cause you discomfort, you can take steps to ease your symptoms.

If the lesions do become uncomfortable (painful, itchy or overly-sensitive), we recommend brushing with a soft toothbrush, flossing with soft woven floss (to avoid irritating or traumatizing the tissues).  Effective plaque control is important to keep the condition under control.  It may also be smart to avoid acidic or spicy foods and beverages which have been known to cause flare-ups. Managing stress is also helpful, and a topical steroid may be prescribed for more severe outbreaks.

Perhaps the greatest concern with Lichen Planus, though, is it may resemble more serious conditions, particularly oral cancer. The only way to be certain that it is a benign condition is to perform a biopsy on some of the affected tissue. If you notice a problem, be sure to visit us for a complete examination. And regardless of whether you have the condition or not, regular oral cancer screenings, as well as limits on alcohol consumption and stopping use of tobacco, will also reduce your risk of oral cancer.

 If you would like more information on Lichen Planus and similar oral conditions, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

 

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Dental implants can dramatically improve the appearance and health of your smile.  If you have one or more dental implants in your mouth, it is important to be on the lookout for the signs of peri-implant disease. Bleeding gums, gingivitis, and other issues can be even more severe in dental implant patients. Read more for the signs that you should see a periodontist about your dental implants.

Swollen or Red Gums

Pay careful attention to the health and condition of the gums that surround the implant site. Swollen or red gums are among the first signs that you are developing peri-implant disease. If you notice bleeding when touching, flossing or brushing your implant, that is something to get checked. A periodontist will be able to help you care for your gums and make sure that your dental implant is in good condition.

Pain When Eating or Chewing

A healthy implant will not cause pain or discomfort when you are chewing, eating, or swallowing. You should see a periodontist if you start to experience any of these symptoms around your dental implant. Swollen and inflamed gums can cause pain and discomfort around the implant area. Treating your gums will help you restore comfort to your entire mouth.

Shifting or Crooked Teeth

Periodontal disease can cause your teeth around the implant to shift out of place over time. If you have started to notice that your implant has moved from its original position, it may be time to make a trip to the periodontist. Your periodontist can treat your gums and ensure that your implant has a healthy and properly placed position in your smile.

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Smoking is notoriously dangerous to your health. While the health risks of smoking are well known, you may be surprised to learn that smoking can dramatically impact the health and condition of your teeth and gums. Smoking can aggravate some of the most common oral health problems such as bad breath or gum disease and is a risk factor for oral cancer.

Periodontal Disease

While gum disease can be present for a variety of reasons, smoking can dramatically worsen its symptoms. If a person smokes, he or she may be much more likely to develop tartar buildup, bleeding gums, and other symptoms associated with periodontal disease. When your dentist spots the early signs of gum disease in your smile, quitting smoking can help to slow down the progression of your symptoms.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is another serious health concern that is associated with tobacco use. A person who uses tobacco will be at much greater risk of developing oral cancer in his or her lifetime. Smoking during cancer treatment can also lead to the spread of cancer cells to the throat, larynx, or other areas of the mouth. Even smokeless tobacco products have been determined to contribute to the growth of cancer cells in certain patients.

Implant Issues

A person who smokes is also at risk of experiencing issues with his or her dental implants. Dental implants are used to replace broken or missing teeth. Since smoking can contribute to bone loss and other oral health problems, a dental implant may fail when it is placed in the mouth of a person who smokes.

Dr. Todd Britten can address any concerns that you may have about smoking and your oral health. Call us today 727-586-2681.

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Dental implants are often used to replace teeth, but when there is not enough jaw bone to hold the implants, a dental bone grafting procedure may have to be done first.

“After the loss of a tooth, the jawbone recedes, or becomes indented. Bone grafting allows us to fill in this space to have enough bone to place a dental implant.”

For patients with missing teeth who need additional jaw bone support for the placement of dental implants, a periodontal regenerative procedure, or bone grafting must first be performed. Dr. Britten, an implant specialist and periodontist in Clearwater, Florida, also provides the latest technology and techniques in ridge augmentation, ridge preservation, sinus lift or sinus augmentation procedures for patients missing teeth to be able to have dental implants.

Dental bone grafts can come from multiple sources. Autogenous grafts come from the patient, allografts are taken from a bone bank where human bone from cadavers has been donated, and xenografts are taken from animal bone. Local anesthesia is all that is needed in most cases. The new bone is surgically placed in the jaw area where it is deficient in bone and transplanted where the dental implants will be located.

Sometimes Leukocyte Rich Platelet Rich Fibrin is used in addition to bone grafting. (L- PRF) is a by-product of a patient’s own blood that can help healing after dental procedures such as a tooth extraction, as well as promote healing around bone or tissue grafts and dental implants. L-PRF treatments are often used for greater success for necessary procedures for dental implant placement, including socket bone grafts, sinus lifts, ridge augmentation, correcting peri-implantitis, block bone grafts and extraction sites prior to implant placement. Dr. Britten provides both of these technologies in his Clearwater, Florida periodontal practice.

The dental bone graft, or periodontal regeneration procedure, must be allowed to heal completely prior to other procedures, such as the placement of dental implants. This will generally take about four to six months. Once the area has completely healed, the patient can be reevaluated for the placement of dental implants.

Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry is a periodontal practice offering patients personalized dental care in implant dentistry in Clearwater, Florida. Dr. Todd Britten received his Bachelor of Science & Doctorate of Dental Surgery from University of Florida, a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry; and completed extensive training at the Institute of Advanced Laser Dentistry. He is one of the only board-certified periodontists in Pinellas County. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, Florida Association of Periodontists, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Research Association and Florida West Coast Dental Association.

Patients interested in these procedures can get additional information by calling 727-586-2681.

On June 2nd, Dr. Britten was honored to lecture at the UF College of Dentistry this week with his brother Dr. Nick Britten. They spoke about how important it is for restorative dentists to work together with their periodontist.  Here at Britten Periodontics, we pride ourselves on our interdisciplinary treatment approach. What does this mean? No one can be great at every aspect of dentistry; there’s so much involved – fillings, cleanings, crowns/bridges, extractions, root canals, implants, grafts, sinus lifts, etc. Therefore, we work cohesively with the best dentists, prosthodontists, orthodontists, endodontists, oral surgeons, to provide our patients with the best care possible. We are proud to work with a team of dentists that focuses on the area that they are trained and most skilled at and work together to provide the best care. The advantages? We strongly believe our patients will receive a higher quality of care and better end result.

Just as you would see a medical specialist for a heart procedure, a mammogram, or a biopsy, we believe patients should see a dental specialist for certain procedures such as grafting, implants and periodontal therapy.

By working with other dentists and specialists, we provide a system of mutual quality control. Our work is constantly viewed and critiqued by other members of the dental community. Together, we hold each other to the highest quality of care possible.

#brittenperio #clearwaterperiodontist #gatorperio — with Meg Britten, Nick Britten, Cody Bertoch andTodd Britten.

 The Drs. Britten, Meg and the kids had such a fun day and got to spend some time with our favorite future dentist, Cody P. Bertoch!!

When teeth need to be replaced, dental implants are a wonderful option for many people. Just like natural teeth, however, there is no guarantee a person’s dental implant(s) will last a lifetime. Although they may look bionic in pictures, a dental implant still needs careful monitoring and regular care. True, they cannot decay like natural teeth – but they are subject to the same complications of gum disease and bone loss.

There are two categories of peri-implant complications: Peri-Implant Mucositis and Peri-Implantitis.

Peri-Implant Mucositis: This condition is similar to gingivitis around a natural tooth and does not include loss of attachment (bone or gum tissue) and is hopefully reversible at this stage. Peri-Implant Mucositis is a reversible inflammatory reaction in the soft tissues surrounding a functioning implant. Treating this condition as soon as possible will prevent peri-implantitis!

Peri-Implantitis: This is a condition similar to periodontitis with loss of supporting structures (gum and/or bone) around a natural tooth. Peri-Implantitis is a destructive inflammatory reaction affecting the soft (gingiva) and hard (bone).

Checking for implant health

Upon routine examination, Dr. Britten, your general dentist or dental hygienist will evaluate your implant for plaque or tartar build up around the implant, as well as gum tissue color, texture and type of gum tissue supporting the implant (attached to bone or unattached).

Next, probing measurements will be taken around the implant. Dr. Britten, the dentist or hygienist will use light pressure and a plastic probe. The tissues surrounding dental implants have a weaker attachment, bleed easier, and may be a bit more sensitive to probing. Heavy bleeding, pus, and increased probing measurements will require attention.
We will check both the implant body and its restorative parts, such as the implant abutment or crown for any loose parts. If the restorative parts are loose they can likely be repaired by your restorative dentist or implant specialist, Dr. Todd Britten. If the implant body itself is mobile, it’s an immediate failure and will require removal. Dr. Britten, or your dentist will also check your bite to make sure that the implant is not being hit with excessive pressure, as this could cause the bone surrounding the implant to weaken and the implant body to become loose.

Radiographs, or x-rays, should be taken at different times during the surgical and restorative phase of implant placement. Routine, annual “checkup” x-rays should be taken of the implant to compare to the original ones taken to carefully evaluate bone levels.

The dental hygiene visit includes removal of all soft and hard deposits on the implants, just as on the teeth themselves. Our hygienists often use instruments designed exclusively for implant care. We will then discuss the best daily oral hygiene care plan for your mouth and your dental implant(s). Listen closely to these oral hygiene instructions and customized daily oral hygiene strategies. Just like with natural teeth, biofilm or plaque must be removed skillfully every day because it can cause both infection and inflammation around a dental implant.

Studies show rinsing with Listerine (diluted with water if strong alcohol content is an issue) has its benefits because of its great antibacterial properties. Other great oral hygiene aids for implant care include a power toothbrush (love Sonicare by Phillips), Proxysoft Bridge and Implant Floss (www.proxysoft.com), double-bend end tufted brush for lingual of lower hybrids (Tepe brand). A Waterpik may also be used, but with careful instruction from your dental professional.

Our periodontist, Dr. Todd Britten, will determine a maintenance schedule that is appropriate for you. It is very common for patients with implants to be seen every 3 to 4 months for those with less-than-ideal oral health, advancing age, or systemic conditions.

When complications arise

Peri-Implant mucositis can be treated with non-surgical therapy and daily disease control (effective oral hygiene). This condition should be carefully reevaluated and reassessed. If the issue cannot be resolved in six months, it is advisable to see an implant specialist.

If Peri-Implantitis is diagnosed, non-surgical therapy is typically ineffective. At this stage, it is adviseable to see an implant specialist to see if there is a restorative issue that can be addressed, or if surgical (traditional or laser LAPIP therapy) or implant removal is needed.

Regular dental hygiene care and examination is just as important to dental implant health as it is to natural teeth. If you have any questions regarding the health of your dental implant, contact us today at 727-586-2681 or visit our website at www.brittenperio.com.

A dental emergency is a frightening and often painful experience. Seeking treatment as soon as possible is is the best way to alleviate pain and to give the effected tooth or teeth the best possible chance of survival.

Teeth can become fractured by trauma, grinding, or biting on a hard object. Sometimes fillings, crowns, and other restorative devices can be damaged or fall out of the mouth completely. If there is severe pain, it is essential to contact your dentist immediately!

Pain from a dental emergency will almost always get worse without treatment, and dental issues, particularly infections can also cause other serious health issues!

Possible dental emergencies and how to deal with them

Tooth knocked out (avulsed)
It is essential to see a dentist immediately. Once out of the mouth, tissues, nerves, and blood vessels become damaged. If the tooth can be placed back into its socket within an hour, there is a chance the tissues will grow to support the tooth once again.

Here are some steps to take:

Call your dentist immediately.
Pick up the tooth by the crown and rinse it under warm water. DO NOT touch the root.
If possible, place it back into its socket – if it can not, tuck it into the inside of your cheek pouch.
If the tooth cannot be placed in the mouth, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saliva, or water as a last resort. It is important to keep the tooth from drying out.
Get to your dentist, quickly and safely.
They will try to replace the tooth in its natural socket. In some cases, the tooth will reattach, however, root canal therapy might be necessary.

Dislodged/loose teeth
When a tooth has been dislodged or loosened from its socket by trauma or decay, it might be possible to save it. If the tooth remains in the mouth still attached to the blood vessels and nerves, there is a good chance root canal therapy will not be necessary.
It is important to call your dentist immediately to make an appointment. In the meantime, use a cold compress and over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. Your dentist will reposition the tooth and may be able to splints the tooth to stabilize it. If the tooth fails to heal, root canal therapy might be required.

Lost filling or crown
Usually, a crown or filling comes loose while eating. The tooth may be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and pressure.

What to do: Make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Keep the crown in a cool, safe place because there is a possibility that may be recemented. If the crown is out of the mouth for a long period of time, other teeth may shift or sustain damage.
If your dentist is not immediately accessible, here are the steps to take:

Clean the crown, and affix it onto the tooth with dental cement. This can be purchased at a local pharmacy.
If the crown is lost, smear the top of the tooth with dental cement to alleviate discomfort.
DO NOT use any kind of glue to affix the crown.
Your dentist will check the crown to see if it still fits. If it does, it will be recemented to the tooth. If decay is noted (which often is the reason the crown became loose) this will be treated and a new crown will be made.

Cracked or broken teeth
Teeth are strong, but they may still fracture, crack or break. Sometimes fractures are fairly painless, but if the crack extends down into the root, it is likely that the pain will be extreme. Fractures, cracks, and breaks can take several different forms, but are generally caused by trauma, grinding, and biting.

What to do:
Schedule an appointment as soon as possible!

If a portion of the tooth has been broken off, here are some steps that can be taken at home:

Call your dentist.
Rinse the tooth fragment and the mouth with lukewarm water.
Apply gauze to the area for ten minutes if there is bleeding.
Place a cold, damp dishtowel on your cheek if there is any swelling or pain.
Cover the affected area with over-the-counter dental cement if you cannot see us immediately.
Take a topical pain reliever.
The nature of the break or fracture will dictate what your dentist is able to do. If a fracture or crack extends into the root, root canal therapy is often the most effective way to retain the tooth. Some fractures may cause either eventual or immediate loss of a tooth. The extent of damage from a fracture can often be determined with radiographs or a CT scan.

If you have questions or concerns about dental emergencies, please contact our office or your restorative dentist.

For more information call our office at (727) 586-2681.

March 20th was International Day of Happiness, founded by United Nations advisor Jayme Illien on June 28th, 2012. International Day of Happiness recognizes the pursuit of happiness is a human right and a fundamental human goal.

The team here at Britten Periodontics wanted to invite everyone to spread the “happy”!

We are individually creating a “bucket list” and throughout 2017 we will each cross off a goal and post our accomplishments.  We began in March with none other than our favorite periodontist, Dr. Britten himself!

MARCH 2017 – Dr. Todd Britten: Play Hockey!

“I’ve always admired the game of ice hockey with its physicality, hand eye coordination, and speed and grace on the ice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an option when I was growing up. in Florida ice rinks were not very accessible. I’m a huge lightning fan and these past few years I’ve really wanted to try and learn how to play. With this bucket/goal list we are doing at our office, I thought this might be the perfect time to try.

I made sure to practice several times before joining in on a men’s league game. The game was intimidating and very challenging (I only fell a few times) but I really had a blast…and an excellent cheering section! The NHL players make it look so easy. Most importantly though, I felt like I was part of a team and I got to check off ‘one of those things I’ve always wanted to do.’

I hope everyone makes the most out of 2017 and can do the same!”

APRIL 2017 – Meg Britten:  Refinish a piece of furniture!

 

 

For the month of April we had Dr. Britten’s wife, Meg. She will definitely inspire you to do something creative!

“For my bucket list challenge I decided to refinish a piece of furniture….All by myself. 😜Yes, I’ll admit I am notorious for buying a neat piece of furniture on Craigslist (by neat I mean one that is basically falling a part and needs a lot of TLC) bringing it home and needing my husband to help me because I don’t even know where to start!

So here we are, bucket list challenge time and I found a vintage high chair on Craigslist…fate? I thought so. Lots of sanding, painting, lacquering, youtube tutorial watching later, and voila! Now Everett has a beautiful high chair and it’s ready for his 1st Birthday celebration next month. We did a “practice” run. He seems pretty excited about it. It feels good to check something off of my list and I learned a lot in the process!”

 

 

May 2017 – Surgical Assistant Alexis: Overcome a fear of heights

Our bucket list for May was our lovely dental assistant, Lexi, who overcame her fear of heights this past weekend at Vertical Ventures in Carrollwood. Fear of heights is one of the most common phobias that an estimated 3-5% of our population suffer from. We are so proud of you Lexi!

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for the rest of our Bucket List Challenge as the rest of our team checks something fun off their list!

 

Follow us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ClearwaterPeriodontist/

 

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Oral Health for Older Adults

Self-Care

“What Can I Do To Maintain Good Oral Health?

Drink fluoridated water at recommended level and brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Fluoride protects against dental decay at all ages. Bottled water may not contain fluoride.

Practice good oral hygiene. Careful tooth brushing and flossing to reduce dental plaque can help prevent gum disease. Caregivers need to help with daily oral hygiene routines of elders who are unable to perform these activities independently.

Eat a balanced diet low in sugar and starches.

Avoid tobacco. Smokers have seven times the risk of developing periodontal disease compared to non-smokers.

Limit alcohol. Drinking high amounts of alcohol is a risk factor for oral and throat cancers. Sudden changes in taste and smell need not be considered a sign of aging, but a sign to seek professional care. Alcohol dries the mouth and can make a person more prone to cavities.

Professional care helps maintain the overall health of the teeth and mouth, and provides for early detection of precancerous or cancerous lesions. Make sure that you or your loved one gets dental care prior to having cancer chemotherapy or radiation to the head or neck. See your dental provider on a regular basis, even if you have no natural teeth and have dentures.”

-courtesy of the Washington State Dept. of Health

For Caregivers

“Wear clean, disposable gloves.
Sit loved one/patient upright or bring them to a sink. Have a towel handy and a disposable cup for potential spills. If sitting in a chair, stand behind them and cradle their head.

Using a soft bristle toothbrush, brush each tooth with a small circular motion and gentle pressure. Angle the brush towards the gums as you brush the outside, inside, and chewing surface of each tooth. Brush for two minutes, at least twice a day. If available, electric toothbrushes are typically more effective.

Gently brush the tongue and roof of the mouth.

Have them rinse with water or an alcohol-free germ-fighting mouthwash.

Take a look at their lips and inside of the mouth. If you notice any cracking, lumps, white or red lesions, or sores that do not heal within 2 weeks, you should consult a dentist or doctor.

Floss all teeth, dental bridges, and implants. Other
dental aids such as interproximal brushes, floss
threaders or softpicks may also be helpful

Clean dentures daily and remove at night.

If they are unable to rinse, ask them to spit out any excess toothpaste and debris. (Leaving a film of fluoridated toothpaste on the teeth can be beneficial.) If your loved one/ patient is resistant to your assistance, be patient. Consistency, repetition, and encouraging words will help them adjust.

After Eating:

Remove any remaining food from your loved one’s mouth. Gauze or a soft cloth can be helpful to wipe away excess food. If brushing is not an option, ask them to rinse with a cup of water then spit back into the cup. Frequent sips of water throughout the day will help cleanse the mouth. Gum with xylitol is also a good option to help cleanse the mouth.

If Cleaning Problems Persist:

Ask your dentist about germ fighting rinses. They may also prescribe a stronger toothpaste that contains more fluoride to prevent cavities.

Professional Dental Care:

Even if there are no problems, everyone should visit the dentist for a professional cleaning and exam twice a year. Even those who wear dentures are in need of an annual dental exam.”

-courtesy of Elizabeth Southern Puette, RDH, BSDH, MS
Member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association

“Healthy Teeth are necessary for a healthy body. With good habits at home like brushing, flossing, fluoride, regular dental care, and avoiding tobacco products, older adults are able to keep their teeth a lifetime.”

–courtesy of the Washington State Dept. of Health

For more information on oral health, email us at healthysmiles@brittenperio.com or call us today at 727-586-2681.

Many people clench or grind their teeth whether they realize it or not. Clenching and grinding can be detrimental to your teeth and to their supporting structures (gum tissues and bone).
It can cause wear on the biting surfaces, root defects, gum recession, contribute to gum disease and tooth shifting and mobility, and cause muscular and TMJ (joint) issues.
Most people are completely unaware that they do it, because it happens while they are sleeping. Many patients do not realize they grind their teeth and find the thought of wearing a night guard very unappealing.

Nightguards purchased online or at the drug store are not custom fitted, they are usual one size fits all or boil & bites. They can be large, unattractive, poorly fitting and may even come out during the grinding.

Your dentist is trained in how a persons’ bite should function, how the teeth should come together and will take into account your specific situation and grinding pattern. Your dentist’s office will take impressions of your teeth so that the dental lab can make a might guard that is the exact match to your teeth.

Although the initial investment may be greater, a custom fit nightguard can be an extremely worthwhile investment in the long run. It is designed by your dentist to fit your teeth exactly and is much more likely than a store bought guard to prevent you from needing more expensive dental work in the future. In many case, dental insurance covers all or part of the cost.
Dr. Britten can check your teeth and bite for signs of abnormal clenching and grinding and work with your dentist to fabricate the right appliance for you. Contact our office at 727-586-2681, or via email at healthysmiles@brittenperio.com.

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