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Dentistry

When a patient has lost too many back teeth and not replaced them, excess pressure and trauma from increased forces of a person’s bite are placed on their front teeth. These forces are meant to be distributed on the stronger, wider and larger back teeth and can cause the forward shifting, or splaying of front teeth. This can cause periodontal, orthodontic and sometimes even restorative issues for these teeth.

 

For any questions about your periodontal issues or regarding replacing missing teeth, contact us:

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Many patients with oral cancer have had their mouths reconstructed, palates removed, portions of their tongue removed or even teeth removed.  Your dental professionals can help regularly screen for oral cancer during your visits.

While smoking and smokeless tobacco use is certainly a major risk factor for Oral Cancer, there are other lifestyle, genetic and even viral causes that contribute this often disfiguring and sometimes deadly disease.

Your dentist, dental specialist and dental hygienist are your first line of defense for early detection of Oral Cancer. Dr. Britten routinely performs systematic examination of all the soft tissues of the mouth, including the tongue, floor of the mouth, as well thorough examination of the borders of the tongue, and the lymph nodes surrounding the oral cavity and in the neck.

The key is early detection.

If you are able to identify and obtain timely treatment, your chance of death from oral cancer will be greatly reduced.

As part of your routine dental exam, the dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. When he or she does this, they will feel for any irregular lumps or tissue changes in your neck and head. When examining your mouth, your dentist will check for any discolored tissue, sores, or the symptoms listed below:

The most common symptoms are:

  • Lumps, rough spots, eroded areas, or swellings in any part of the mouth
  • Development of white and/or red splotches in the mouth
  • Persistent sores around the mouth area that bleed easily and do not heal within a couple of weeks
  • Unexpected bleeding or numbness
  • Pain in the throat–a feeling that something may be stuck back there
  • Difficulty eating and swallowing
  • Hoarseness in voice
  • Ear pain
  • Dramatic weight loss

It is important to realize that while these changes could potentially be a sign of oral cancer, that is not always the case! Oftentimes soreness in the mouth is caused by toothaches, cavities, cold sores or strep throat. The ear ache might only be an ear ache. The weight loss might be due to a different eating style. So while you shouldn’t jump to conclusions, if any of the above listed changes do not have a reasonable explanation due to your lifestyle, it would be wise to  get it checked out by a professional. Especially if cancer runs in your family.

 What can I do to prevent Oral Cancer in the first place?

This is a fantastic question. If you follow the below tips, you can drastically reduce your risk!

  • First, DON’T SMOKE or use any other tobacco products. Refrain from alcohol if possible. If not, only use in moderation.
  • EAT A WELL BALANCED DIET! Healthy nutrition leads to healthy bodies. Healthy bodies are better able to defend themselves against bad cells and cancerous growth.
  • LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO THE SUN. I understand that we all like to have a nice tan once in a while–but consistent exposure to the sun causes an increases risk of cancer on the lips. When in the sun, make sure to use protective sun screen/lotions on your skin and lips to minimize UV rays from the sun.
  • CONDUCT A SELF EXAM AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH. Using a mirror and a bright light, look inside of your mouth for any of the above listed symptoms. Examine all surfaces. Feel for any bumps or enlarged lymph nodes. If you notice any drastic changes in the appearance of your mouth, call your dentist. Keep in mind that well over 90% of Oral Cancer is found on the side of the tongue or floor of the mouth.
  • SEE YOUR DENTIST ON A REGULAR BASIS. Conducting self examinations will help, but your dentist has been trained to spot those dangerous spots in your mouth, even when they are too small for you to see. If he or she isn’t already, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist to perform an oral exam.
  • MAINTAIN GOOD ORAL HYGIENE. The basics–brushing your teeth & flossing–will help keep away unwanted growth that could potentially become cancerous.

If you have any questions about Oral Cancer, please feel free to contact us today!

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A few years ago, Dr. Todd Britten successfully passed the rigorous requirements to become a Board-Certified Diplomate of The American Board of Periodontology. Board-Certified periodontists are held to a higher level of care and skill by the American Board of Periodontology and we know he is so proud to be a Diplomate of this professional organization.

“The Mission of the American Board of Periodontology is to Advance the Art and Science of Periodontics and Elevate the Quality of Periodontal care through the Examination, Certification, and Recertification of Periodontists and by Encouraging the Achievement and Maintenance of Diplomate status.”

Dr. Britten is committed to excellent patient care by continually updating his skills and knowledge of new procedures and technology so that he can provide the highest quality, least invasive care available in our industry.

A Diplomate is a periodontist who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialty and who is certified by the American Board of Periodontology.

To be educationally qualified for Board certification requires:

  • Certification as a dentist, including basic college education and completion of dental school to earn the D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree and;
  • Certification as a periodontist after successful completion of an educational program in Periodontology, which is accredited by Commission on Dental Accrediation of the American Dental Association.
  • Comprehensive qualifying and oral examination covering all phases of periodontal disease and its treatment, including dental implants.
  • Recertification every six years.
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You know it instinctively: A good night’s sleep is essential for good health. It makes you feel rested and ready to take on the world. Yet many people don’t get the sleep they need. Sometimes this is related to sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) — their own, or those experienced by their sleeping partners.

SRBD is characterized by recurrent episodes of reduced or interrupted respiratory airflow. This is caused by soft tissues near the back of the throat collapsing during sleep so that they partially close off the windpipe. These tissues — the tongue, for example — can vibrate as air passes by, causing snoring. Snoring is often worsened sleeping on one’s back because this encourages the lower jaw to slip back, which in turn pushes the tongue in front of the airway.

Loud snoring often disturbs the person in the bed who isn’t the one doing it, robbing him or her of vital sleep. The snorer, on the other hand, may seem to be slumbering peacefully, but this might not actually be the case. Chronic loud snoring is a common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA; “a” – without; “pnea” – breath), which occurs when the upper airway is blocked to the point of causing significant airflow disruption, or even no airflow whatsoever for 10 seconds or more. This can be dangerous as reduced airflow into the lungs lowers blood-oxygen levels.

A person with sleep apnea may wake 50 or more times per hour — that’s almost once a minute! — without having any memory of it. These awakenings, called micro-arousals, last just long enough to restore muscle tone to the airway so the individual can breathe. Unfortunately, all those micro-arousals preclude deep and restful sleep.

What to Look Out For
Sleep Related Breathing Disorders.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious matter as it can lead to heart problems and other health issues. It’s possible you may have OSA if you snore and also suffer from any of the following:

Excessive daytime sleepiness
Irritability
Poor memory/confusion
Accident proneness
Night sweats
Morning headaches
High blood pressure
Obesity
How Dentistry Can Help
Oral Appliance Therapy.By now you’re probably wondering: What does my dentist have to do with all this? Here’s the connection: Snoring or sleep apnea can sometimes be treated with an oral appliance available at the dental office that’s designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This repositioning of the jaw moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction. This treatment is backed by a great deal of scientific evidence; it’s a good remedy to try before moving on to more complicated breathing devices or surgery to remove excess tissues in the throat.

Only a dentist can fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications associated with Oral Appliance Therapy used in managing SRBD. So if you or a loved one is experiencing any combination of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, a consultation with a dental professional is a good idea.

At Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we are committed to creating an experience that puts patients at ease while providing the highest quality of periodontal and implant dentistry available. Dr. Todd Britten specializes in periodontics, and has the experience needed to create strong, healthy smiles that exceed expectations. Along with his friendly, professional staff, Dr. Britten is committed to ensuring complete satisfaction with your oral health.

We are focused on providing patient­ centered care, and we take the time to explain to our patients the benefits, risks, and alternative options they have with any dental treatment. Our practice is very warm and compassionate, and we are sensitive to the needs of each individual patient. Please feel free to contact our Clearwater periodontal office today to schedule an appointment.

Providing quality periodontics to Clearwater, St.Petersburg and all surrounding Florida areas.

Here is a great video from Spear Education about comprehensive dental exam 🙂

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Scaling and Root Planing
Non Surgical Periodontal Therapy also known as scaling and root planing or “a deep cleaning” is often recommended as the first step in periodontal therapy. Treatment is done by one of our hygienists using local anesthesia to provide comfort for the patient as the root surfaces in deep periodontal pockets are debrided to remove calculus or “tartar” and to smooth the root surfaces to remove bacterial toxins. This may take more than one visit with the hygienist and is followed up with a visit with Dr. Britten in four to six weeks to re­evaluate the periodontal tissues.

Periodontal Maintenance
A Periodontal Maintenance is a procedure that includes removal of plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline, all the way down the length of each tooth to where the root, gum and bone meet. Rough areas are smoothed out if needed, pocket depths are carefully monitored and inflamed pockets may be irrigated with antibacterial medications if necessary.

If you have periodontal disease which has resulted in bone loss, gum “pockets” deeper than 4 mm, bleeding gums, exposed root surfaces, or if you have had periodontal surgery or root planning, it is important to alternate cleanings between our office and your general dentist. Your general dentist will keep an eye on your teeth, while we focus mainly on the foundation around them. Periodontal Maintenance is one of the most critical factors in maximizing the longevity of the results received after scaling and root planing or periodontal surgery.

We are often asked, “What is the difference between a regular cleaning and a periodontal maintenance?” A Regular cleaning, or “prophylaxis,” is different because the hygienist removes soft plaque, tartar and stains from the teeth above the gumline and only slightly below. A regular cleaning is done with your general dentist 2 to 3 times per year depending on how quickly stain, plaque and tartar accumulate.

 

Dr. Britten, an implant specialist and periodontist in Clearwater, Florida, says that sinus augmentation procedures are making it possible for many patients to have dental implants when years ago there was no other option besides wearing loose dentures.

“The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. Sinuses are like empty rooms. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth,”Says Dr. Todd Britten.  He explained that dental implants need bone to hold them in place. “When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone.” For this situation, Dr. Britten says he would recommend a sinus augmentation graft to create a stable bone environment for implants to be placed.

A second procedure, known as an indirect sinus lift, is a less invasive than a direct or lateral sinus augmentation and is performed by preparing the bone for the dental implant as normal. “Once the floor of the sinus has been reached, bone is gently packed in the preparation and pressed upward. This motion will tent the membrane of the sinus upward and create additional room for the full length of the implant. Care will be taken not to damage the sinus and this procedure will have no effect on sinus pressure or affect people that suffer from seasonal allergies,” says Dr. Britten.

The sinus augmentation 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.

Dr. Todd Britten provides the latest technology and techniques in ridge augmentation, ridge preservation, sinus lift or sinus augmentation procedures in his Clearwater, Florida, periodontal practice.  He says these advancements mean this an exciting time for patients missing teeth to be able to have dental implants that may have been excluded before.

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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.

To learn more about Dr. Britten and his dental services, call us (727) 586-2681. For more information about sinus augmentation from the American Academy of Periodontics visit https://www.perio.org/consumer/sinus-augmentation.

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Who is a candidate?

Dental implants can be placed in most adults in good to moderate health. They are not typically placed in adolescents until they have reached full expected growth/maturity. Certain medical conditions that are not controlled well may decrease the effectiveness of implant treatment, so be sure to discuss your medical history with your dentist before treatment.

A trained clinician can determine the best treatment plan for you. Ask your doctor to explain the benefits and risks to see if dental implants are a good option for you!

Frequently asked questions about dental implants

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Q: Is implant placement painful?

A: Normally done under local anesthesia, most procedures can be done in the dental office.

Q: How much pain will I feel after implant placement?

A: If there is discomfort with dental implant placement, it is usually minor. Your dentist may prescribe medication to alleviate any pain.

Q: How long does it take to place dental implants?

A: This depends on the location and number of implants being placed, many can be done in 60-90 minutes.

Q: What can I eat after dental implant placement?

A: Your dentist will outline a diet for the next few days including some soft foods.

Q: How long does placement, healing and construction of the replacement teeth take?

A: The entire process usually takes form 3 to 9 months, depending on your treatment plan.

Q: How do I care for my implant?

A: Home care for implants consists of brushing and flossing. Regular dental visits are required for long-term health and success.

Q: How long does an implant last?

A: If your body accepts the implant, it should last many years if cared for properly. Many implants have been in place for more than 40 years.

Q: If my body rejects an implant, what happens?

A: The implant is removed and the site is allowed to heal. Another implant can usually be placed after healing.

Q: Are dental implants covered by insurance?

A: Like most elective procedures, dental implants are not covered by most dental insurance plans.  However, your dentist may offer payment plan options.

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Sometimes, due to severe gum disease or decay, a person may lose all of their teeth. This as known as the fully edentulous patient.

Options for the fully ehttps://spearedu.co/9qD8aLpdentulous patient are:

Full dentures:
Dentures are worn during the day. This is used to replace one or many missing teeth.

Disadvantages
– They move a little when speaking or eating, which can be uncomfortable.
-Must come out at night and be placed in a cleaning solution.

Dental Implant
An implant is a great way to replace a missing tooth.

Advantages
This solution feels and acts the most like a natural tooth when chewing, brushing or smiling. A major advantage is no need to alter any other teeth when placing an implant. An implant is a great solution for a single missing tooth, and even more implants can replace many missing teeth. When smiling or talking there is no way to tell the difference between an implant and a natural tooth.

Disadvantages
The implant replaces the actual root of the missing tooth and heals in the bone for 3 to 7 months and we then begin the restorative phase. We or your dentist then place an abutment, to which a crown will be cemented. Dental implants are usually a more costly option, at least initially, but are often the best long-term investment.

Do Nothing
There is always the option to do nothing.

Advantages
Saves money, at least initially

Disadvantages
When a tooth is removed, the bone shrinks away and the other teeth in the area will shift to fill the gap. This can sometimes lead to other problems like shifting of other teeth, causing bone loss or decay around the existing teeth as they become more difficult to clean.

If you have questions about replacing any teeth lost to fractures, decay or gum disease, contact us today at 727-586-2681.

Here is a great video from Spear Education

https://spearedu.co/oSAZNEa

Are missing teeth causing you to miss out on life?

Don’t miss out on life because of missing teeth or loose dentures. Modern dentistry can replace everything from a single missing tooth to missing teeth in an entire section of the mouth. If you have questions about different dental implant options available, feel free to ask your dentist or dental specialist. Restoring your smile can help restore your confidence!

Stop the bone loss that can lead to premature aging!

Stop the bone loss that can lead to premature aging.

Losing one or more teeth can start a change of events that can affect both your physical health as well as your appearance, such as:

  1. Gap in your smile
  2. Loss of chewing function
  3. Inability to eat a complete diet
  4. Bone loss
  5. Jaw bone atrophy
  6. Prematurely age your face

The good news is: Tooth replacement with dental implants offers a solution to help prevent bone loss.

Tooth replacement options:

Crown and bridge and full or partial dentures can address the cosmetic problem of missing teeth, but cannot stop bone loss. A fixed bridge requires that two or more healthy teeth be ground down to serve as posts for a bridge.  With implants, however, the other healthy teeth are left alone.

Dental implants transmit chewing forces to the jawbone, reducing bone loss.  That’s why dental implants are now considered the standard of care for tooth replacement.