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Is periodontal disease genetic?

June 20th, 2018

It can be. There is more and more evidence to suggest people may be genetically susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, as much as 30 percent of the U.S. population may be genetically vulnerable to gum disease.

Research has suggested that bacteria causing periodontal disease are passed via saliva. This means that when family members come into contact with each other’s saliva by activities such as sharing drinks, they put themselves at risk for contracting periodontal disease. Based on this research, experts at the American Academy of Periodontology strongly recommend that all family members receive a periodontal disease screening if one of their family members has gum disease.

Despite persistent oral care habits such as brushing twice daily, flossing, and going to the dentist twice a year, these people may be more likely to develop periodontal disease at some point in their lifetime. Luckily, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team can identify these patients by having them undergo a genetic test that analyzes genes and can help us identify an person’s risk for periodontal disease, as well as getting them into early intervention treatment.

Periodontal disease prevention starts with a visit to our Ocala office. During your appointment, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our professional team can identify whether you have gum disease or if you are at risk for developing gum disease. Together we can take the necessary steps to treat the disease or prevent it entirely.

To learn more about preventing gum disease, or to schedule your next visit at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry, please give us a call today!

Should Adults Continue Fluoride Treatments?

June 13th, 2018

Many adults wonder if they should continue to receive fluoride treatments. Our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry wants to set the record straight about the usefulness of fluoride treatment for adults.

There are several reasons fluoride treatments could be beneficial to you as a grownup. If you have a high risk for cavities, topical fluoride applications can cut down on that risk.

If you’re experiencing gum recession that’s softening your enamel, fluoride treatments can slow down that process. Fluoride treatments may also protect expensive restorative work on crowns or bridges that may be adversely affected by plaque.

In addition, fluoride can also protect teeth in adults who have orthodontic braces or who sometimes neglect to keep up with daily oral hygiene regimens such as flossing and using mouthwash.

Do you have sensitive teeth? Consuming foods that are highly acidic or using teeth-whitening products can lead to irritated gums. Fluoride treatments remineralize your enamel and reduce sensitivity.

If you’ve undergone radiation treatment for cancer, fluoride can help restore any dry-mouth damage that may have developed during that time. Saliva acts as a buffer against the foods we eat, and without enough of it you may be more likely to get cavities.

In general, fluoride treatments are not always necessary for adults, but they can be beneficial to your overall oral hygiene depending on your situation. If you fall into one of the general areas listed above, ask about a fluoride treatment during your next visit at our Ocala office.

We can also go over your options to treat other issues you may experience in terms of your oral health. Until then, make sure to take care of your teeth properly and use toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride on a regular basis.

June is National Smile Month: Show off your smile!

June 6th, 2018

The community health awareness group Oral Health America has reported that 82 percent of adults are unaware of the role that infectious bacteria can play in tooth decay or cavities, and almost three out of five children aged 12 to 19 have tooth decay. Since June is National Smile Month, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry thought we’d remind our patients about the importance of good oral hygiene visits between office visits.

To keep your family’s smiles healthy and beautiful for years to come, be sure to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day to clean between your teeth
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao for scheduled appointments

If you want to know more about healthy home care habits, feel free to ask our team at your next appointment, or ask us on Facebook!

Treating Gum Disease with Antibiotics

May 30th, 2018

For those of our patients at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry who suffer from periodontal (gum) disease, we proudly offer topical or oral antibiotics to help reduce or entirely eliminate disease-causing bacteria. It can also help fight the bacterial infection causing gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease that is characterized by reddening, swelling, and bleeding of the gums.

Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao may recommend systemic or topical antibiotics in conjuncture with scaling and root planing, as well as other procedures. These antibiotics include:

  • Tetracycline: The primary drugs used in the fight against bacteria, tetracycline includes antibacterial properties which help reduce inflammation and block collagenase, a protein which destroys the connective tissue and bone.
  • Azithromycin: This antibiotic is known to reduce bacterial growth associated with periodontitis, and is regularly used to reduce inflammation in those patients who are heavy smokers.
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl): This antibiotic may be prescribed to those patients suffering from severe periodontitis. Metronidazole works best when used in a combination with amoxicillin or tetracycline.
  • Ciprofloxacin: This antibiotic is used to specifically target A. actinomycetemcomitans, a slow-growing but harmful bacterium that contributes to gum disease.
  • Amoxicillin: Only intended to fight bacteria and bacterial infections, amoxicillin does not kill bacteria but prevents microbes from forming walls that surround them, which is how bacteria reproduces and survives.
  • Clindamycin: An antibiotic that works by stopping the development of bacteria, clindamycin is used to treat a variety of serious bacterial infections.

Most forms of gum disease can be treated without antibiotics, but the biggest advantage of using topical antibiotics to help treat the disease is that they are directed to their specific target areas, thus the entire body is not affected. The other advantages of topical antibiotics include reduced dosage and reduced side effects. Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao can discuss with you the advantages, as well as side effects, of each antibiotic during your visit.

To learn more, or to schedule your next visit at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry, please give us a call today at our convenient Ocala office!

Memorial Day

May 23rd, 2018

Memorial Day is not only a federal holiday in the United States, but it is a day of observance and remembrance of those who died in service. Originally known as Decoration Day, this solemn day has been marked on calendars since the end of the American Civil War as a day to commemorate both the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died in the war.

Marking the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths, or other tokens has been practiced throughout history, but it wasn't until the mark of the end of the Civil War that a special day was decided upon as the one to spend in remembrance. By 1890, every state in the country was observing Decoration Day. It wasn't until 1967 when the name formally changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, in order to encompass all fallen American soldiers in all wars and conflicts. In June of 1968, Congress moved the official date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend.

Today, while there is certainly an air of remembrance on Memorial Day, it has become more a day of spending time with family, friends, and other loved ones. This day is also heralded as the start of summer, with many schools finishing for the year around this time. Our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry remembers it as a day to take solace and remembered those lost.

Traditional observances of Memorial Day are still held, and they often involve raising the American Flag then lowering it to a half-staff position until noon, and then raising it once again to its full height afterwards. The flag is lowered to remember those who've lost their lives while in service to their country, and then it is raised to signify our willingness to not let their sacrifice be in vain.

From community parades in the Ocala area, backyard cook-outs, and fireworks to formal ceremonies, Memorial Day is commemorated in many different ways. No matter how you choose to spend this day, take a moment to remember those who've lost their lives in an effort to preserve our freedom.

How a High-Tech Office Helps Your Periodontal Treatment

May 16th, 2018

Today's periodontal office is a very different place than it was in the past. Yes, perhaps the same issues are still being treated, but it's the way in which they are treated which has changed drastically. Now patients with periodontal disease (gum disease) have more options.

What patients must understand is that gum disease is an infection that progresses in stages. First it affects gum tissue, and then it moves to the bones supporting the teeth, which then progresses to loss of teeth if left untreated. The main goal of treatment is to control this infection before it becomes more serious or painful.

Cutting-edge technologies used by Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao now allow gum disease to be treated non-surgically, which is a huge advantage for patients who don't want to get gum surgery, can't afford it, or simply aren't good candidates for it. Here are some of the ways in which our office implements the latest in periodontal technologies:

  • Ultrasound gum treatments –An ultrasonic cleaning device is used to break apart stubborn plaque and tartar, as well as bacteria. The tool vibrates at a high frequency while simultaneously spraying a thin stream of water. The stream is sprayed around the teeth and at the gum line to clean and help prevent the bacterial buildup that leads to gum disease.
  • Laser therapy – A tiny diode laser is aimed at the gum line to kill disease-causing bacteria. This method is able to penetrate into the pockets between the teeth and gums, all with minimal discomfort and no surgery whatsoever.
  • Panoramic X-rays – These X-rays give us a much more detailed view of your mouth and the structures that support it than traditional dental X-rays. The machine spins around your head 360 degrees to produce a digital X-ray in a matter of seconds. We're then able to refer to this digital image on the computer for effective and precise treatment planning.
  • Intraoral camera – The head of this device contains a small camera used to show you what we see. It produces a live feed on the monitor so you get a better understanding of the issues in your mouth. This way we can better explain how we will go about treating them and what you can do about them, too.

Patients suffering from gum disease have more options and help than ever before. If you are currently a patient or would like to know about the treatment options we offer, please speak with one of our staff members or contact our Ocala office.

Wishing all our moms a happy Mother’s Day!

May 9th, 2018

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning

We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!

May Marks National Physical Fitness and Sports Month!

May 2nd, 2018

The merry month of May also happens to be National Fitness and Sports Month, so take advantage of the warmer days to get outside and exercise! Bringing a friend, family member, or coworker with you when you go for a brisk walk during a lunch break can provide an opportunity to socialize as well as health benefits. If you need a little more motivation, here are some good reasons to stay active and fit.

Exercise provides:

  • Improved stamina and energy as well as toned muscles and bone strength and density
  • Improved circulation and breathing for a healthier heart and lungs
  • Reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer
  • For older adults, regular exercise may help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls as well as improved cognitive abilities

Children and Teens

Children and teenagers spend long hours at their desks in school, on the computer, watching television, and involved in other sedentary activities that result in obesity and poor health later in life. Getting them engaged in school or community sports teams can help them form good life-long exercise habits. One important note: If they are participating in contact sports, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry recommend your kids wear an approved mouthguard to protect those valuable teeth from injury! Ask us for a proper fitting of your safety appliance during your next visit!

A gym membership is nice but not necessary to stay fit; try these easy ways to work some exercise into your daily routine.

At Home

  • Take a friend along for company on a walk through your neighborhood.
  • Pursue gardening or other yard work, including mowing or raking.
  • Take your kids on a bike ride or have them push a baby stroller around the block.

Couch potatoes take note: simply moving from the sofa to the floor for some sit-ups, leg-lifts, or push-ups while you’re watching television can help you get in better shape in no time.

At Work

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Take exercise breaks for walks around the building or parking lot.
  • Walk or ride a bike to work.

So what are you waiting for? Get moving!

For more information on exercise techniques, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao, please give us a call at our convenient Ocala office!

Improve Your Smile with Periodontal Cosmetic Enhancements

April 25th, 2018

Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team know that your smile is one of your most distinguishing features, and one of the first things people notice about your appearance. Whether you hesitate when you smile, would like to fix imperfections, or simply wouldn’t mind increasing your self-confidence, we would like to remind you that our team members at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry are specialists when it comes to replacing teeth through dental implants, reshaping your gum line, helping you regain tissue health, or covering gum recession brought on by gingivitis.

Luckily, we provide procedures that cover unattractive, sensitive, or exposed root surfaces, as well as prevent future gum recession, ultimately giving you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Gummy Smile

For patients who feel they are showing excessive gums when they smile, we are proud to offer crown lengthening and gingival reshaping, a procedure where Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team reshape excess gum and bone tissue in order to expose more of your natural tooth (or teeth), giving your mouth a natural-looking gum line.

Exposed Roots

When gums start receding, they begin literally pulling away from your teeth, exposing the roots and putting them at greater risk for tooth decay and bone loss, not to mention sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks. This condition can be alleviated through a cosmetic procedure we call a gum graft, also known as a soft tissue graft, which Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao can perform to reduce gum recession , cover unsightly tooth roots, and protect them from decay and subsequent loss.

Missing Teeth

Not only do missing teeth create unattractive gaps in your smile, they also take a toll on your oral health as normal activities like eating and speaking become challenging and sometimes downright painful. Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team are proud to offer dental implants, which are the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth, and can dramatically improve the functionality and aesthetics of your smile, not to mention the impact they have on your quality of life. If properly maintained, implants can last a lifetime.

Gum Indentation

Sometimes when a tooth is extracted or falls out due to decay, the bone and gum tissue will collapse around the affected area, resulting in what Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team call a gum indentation. If that is the case, we can replace your tooth, in addition to recommending you undergo a procedure called a ridge augmentation, where we will smooth out the indentation to recreate the natural outline of your gum line and jaw. This procedure generally includes bone grafting to regenerate the missing bone.

If you are interested in learning more about the cosmetic services we provide to give you the smile you’ve always wanted, we encourage you to give us a call at our Ocala office. During your visit, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao will be happy to sit down with you and discuss your options.

Earth Day

April 18th, 2018

The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.

Earth Day Over the Years

Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.

The Earth Day Movement

The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

The Five R's and Their Importance

  • Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
  • Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
  • Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
  • Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
  • Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.

Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.

Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.

Happy Earth Day from the team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry.

Can surgery help my periodontal disease?

April 11th, 2018

If Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team have tried several different treatments without success such as antimicrobial therapy, tooth scaling, or root planing, but have been unsuccessful in curing or even stabilizing your periodontal disease, then surgery is most likely the next step.

Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao will recommend surgery for the following three reasons:

  • Stop the gum disease from progressing
  • Repair the gums and periodontal tissue
  • Prevent further destruction of your periodontal issue in the future

Types of Gum Surgery

There are many types of gum surgery available at our Ocala office, including:

  • Gingivectomy – This is generally the first surgical intervention for periodontal disease. The procedure aims to extract diseased or infected gum tissue. It allows new tissue to grow and reattach itself to your teeth. Gingivectomy surgery can also be used to remove unnecessary gum tissue if you have a condition called gingival hyperplasia.
  • Gingivoplasty - This surgical procedure that is implemented for aesthetic reasons after a gingivectomy. It gives your gum tissue a natural look around your teeth. The procedure reshapes the areas of your gums that can look deformed after a soft tissue graft or a gingival curettage procedure.
  • Osseous (bone) Surgery – This type of surgery is often used in combination with a pocket depth decreasing procedure. This type of surgery is performed to correct malformations of the bones near your teeth. These pockets can provide an area for bacteria to hide and grow. The procedure evens out the shallow holes and asymmetrical surfaces of the damaged bone caused by bone loss because of the by periodontal disease.
  • Gum Graft – This type of surgery is performed to replace or reinforce the gingival tissue if you have bad gum recession. Gum grafts are used as a covering for teeth with exposed roots. The grafts also lessen the roots sensitivity and stops root cavities and gum recession.
  • Periodontal Flap Surgery & Pocket Depth Reduction – This surgery is considered the most significant gum surgery to cure your moderate to severe periodontal disease. Flap surgery reduces the depth of your periodontal pockets that can trap damaging dental plaque bacteria. By reducing the size of your periodontal pockets, less plaque bacteria and tartar can get in the pockets. This surgery also allows you to remove the plaque and tartar yourself using good oral hygiene.

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 4th, 2018

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao, please give us a call at our convenient Ocala office!

Restore Your Gums to a Healthier State with Osseous Surgery

March 28th, 2018

Osseous surgery, or bone surgery, is a procedure that involves reshaping the bone that holds one or more teeth in place, as well as removing or reshaping deformities and irregularities under the gum. By performing osseous surgery, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao can look at the root of the affected tooth and clean the decayed area affected by periodontal (gum) disease.

It is common for patients suffering from periodontitis to experience defects such as holes in the bone around their teeth. Osseous surgery, also known as gingivectomy or flap surgery, removes those defects. This procedure can be recommended by Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao not because periodontal disease is present, but because most of the damage that has occurred is located in the underlying bone.

Depending on your unique situation and the extent of the defects, the bone in question is removed during the procedure, and the rest is reshaped. Once the bones are back to their original state, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao will stitch the gums back into place. We want to assure you that osseous surgery is a routine procedure, and one with a high success rate.

Typically used to treat advanced periodontal diseases such as periodontitis, osseous surgery is recommended for those patients whose periodontal pockets have not responded to more conservative methods of therapy such as regular cleanings and deep scaling and root planing.

After your procedure, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao will monitor you closely, and will examine you often during the next few months. The procedure you undergo will depend entirely on your condition. Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao will be happy to meet with you and discuss whether or not you are a candidate for osseous surgery. To learn more about this procedure, or to schedule your appointment at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry, please give us a call today!

Diet and Dental Health: What to eat and what to avoid

March 21st, 2018

You are probably aware that guzzling soda and drinking those sugary Starbucks Frappuccinos aren’t particularly good for your dental health. But how much thought do you give to the effects of your diet on your teeth? Practicing healthy eating habits isn’t just helpful for your waistline, it also ensures that your teeth stay strong and cavity-free.

How diet affects dental health

Our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry will tell you that your mouth is a complicated place on a microbiological level. Harmful bacteria form dental plaques which convert the sugars in food to acids that wear away at tooth enamel. Meanwhile, saliva washes away some of the detrimental acids, while minerals work to rebuild where teeth are damaged. The foods you eat are important for managing this balancing act between harmful bacteria and helpful rebuilding agents.

Rethinking your diet to prevent cavities

Carefully considering your dietary choices is a smart way to become mindful of the foods you eat and how they affect oral health.

Foods to eat

  • Calcium- and phosphorus-rich foods. We’ve all heard that milk builds strong bones, and your teeth are included in that. Milk, cheese, nuts, and chicken are strong sources of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are used to repair damage to the teeth’s enamel.
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables. Biting into an apple stimulates saliva flow, which washes harmful acids from the surface of your teeth. Turn to other crunchy fruits and vegetables, including carrots, celery, pears, and lettuce, to increase saliva production.
  • Sugar substitutes. If you have a sweet tooth but want to decrease tooth decay, sugar substitutes such as Stevia or Equal provide a sugary kick without harming your teeth.

Foods to avoid

  • Sugary snacks. Cookies, cakes, candies, and other sugary treats provide a feast for the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth. Furthermore, these foods often get stuck in the ridges of your teeth, and provide a breeding ground for new bacteria.
  • Acidic fruits and vegetables. Foods high in acidity, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, peaches, and lemons, wear away the enamel of your teeth. Because these foods can be part of a healthy diet, remember to brush after eating them or swish with a mouth rinse to protect your teeth.

Eating well is an essential part of keeping your teeth healthy. Consult Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao about your diet for tips on food habits that keep your teeth strong and cavity-free. For more information about the link between your diet and your oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao, please give us a call at our convenient Ocala office!

St. Patrick's Day: Celtic pride, green shamrocks, and lucky charms!

March 14th, 2018

“St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.” Adrienne Cook

Lucky green shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold – it must be St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re not Irish, how do you go about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? It’s easy: You just put on one of those tall leprechauns hats, dress in green from head to toe, and wear one of those carefree pins that say “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish, and that is the universal beauty of the holiday. Celtic pride does not discriminate.

Wondering what our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry is doing to celebrate March 17th? Well, we’ve thought about doing everything from handing out lucky gold coins (you know, the fake ones that are made of chocolate) to shamrock stickers. Maybe we’ll even give away green toothbrushes and floss! You’ll never know unless you come in to see Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao !

All kidding aside, St. Patrick’s Day is an important cultural and religious holiday. There are lavish parades and church services across Ireland on March 17th. Over time, however, the holiday has developed into a day to observe Irish culture in general. In places like England and the United States, where there is a large Irish Diaspora, the holiday has greater significance than other countries. From the streets of Boston to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, it is a day of celebration, and many Americans of Irish descent will cook up a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

So, to all of you with Irish ancestry, and to all of you who have decided to be Irish for the day, our office wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck looking for a pot of leprechaun gold, which is said to exist at the end of the rainbow. However, keep away from those sugary Lucky Charms; sweet cereals might taste good, but your kids’ teeth might not be feeling too lucky if they eat it for breakfast every day. Have a great St. Paddy’s Day!

Are your teeth ready for the big day?

March 7th, 2018

Capturing the Moment

At Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry we know that just about anyone who has taken on the challenge of planning her own wedding could tell you how important the little details can be. Things like having complementary colors, the right location, show-stopping flowers, and delicious food are all a big part of planning your spring wedding. Another little detail that has a big "I do" related role? Your smile.

Whether you’re the bride, or an attendant, looking your best when you tie the knot (or help someone tie the knot) is essential. If your teeth aren’t ready to make an entrance, turning to one of the many available teeth whitening solutions is a great option.

Reliable Solutions

Before the wedding day arrives, you should take your smile into consideration. If diet and daily wear-and-tear have caused your teeth to lose their original luster, our team can help! In-office procedures do cost more than kits you use at home, but with an in-office treatment, you benefit from a professional taking proper care of your teeth.

In addition, relying on our office to handle teeth whitening before the wedding can give you access to trustworthy advice on how to keep your teeth looking their best for a longer period of time. It’s common for someone experienced in assisting people with their oral health to suggest investing in an in-office whitening technique and then following up with a teeth-whitening kit at home.

This is a season of new beginnings and beauty. Take the time to bring out your most beautiful smile before the big day. Don’t let your smile hold you back on your wedding. With our in-office teeth whitening, you can be sure that you’ll be more confident and comfortable interacting with friends and family. So remember, when in need of some quality oral care in Ocala to think of Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao!

How Crown Lengthening Can Improve Your Smile

February 28th, 2018

Crown lengthening, also known as a gum lift, is generally performed by Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao in order to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures. For instance, if you’re bothered by a “gummy” smile or teeth that you feel are too small, crown lengthening can be a great option.

For years, crown lengthening, which exposes more of your natural teeth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue, has been used by periodontists as a technique to improve oral health, but the procedure has gained notoriety as a way to improve our patients’ smiles cosmetically. Let’s take a look at three main reasons why Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao would recommend crown lengthening:

  • Restoring damaged teeth: Gum disease, tooth decay, and trauma can all cause severe damage to your teeth. Crown lengthening is used to prepare the area for a new restoration to treat the damaged teeth.
  • Dental crowns: Another purpose crown lengthening serves is to allow more space between your jawbone and dental crown. This technique prevents the new crown from damaging surrounding gum tissues and bone once Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team put it in place.
  • Cosmetic purposes: The third reason why we provide crown lengthening is to remove excessive gum tissue that makes teeth look unnaturally short, as well as makes you vulnerable to periodontal infections. Reducing the amount of extra gum tissue can not only prevent periodontal disease, but also improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile.

To learn more about crown lengthening, or to schedule an appointment at our convenient Ocala office.

The Purpose of a Dental Crown

February 21st, 2018

A dental crown, otherwise known as a cap, covers an infected tooth and can vary in function, depending on the position of the tooth. Crowns cover all the visible parts of a tooth and vary in size, appearance, and functionality.

A crown can be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking, hold together an already broken or worn tooth, cover the tooth with a large filling or dental implant, hold a dental bridge in place, or support a cosmetic modification.

Several types of crowns are available, depending on the tooth to be treated. Stainless-steel crowns are used on permanent teeth, usually as temporary measures in children because they’re more cost-effective for baby teeth that naturally come out over time.

Metal crowns are another option that includes gold alloys, or base-metal alloys. Metal crowns are notable for their ability to withstand biting forces, rarely break or chip, and therefore offer the best results in terms of normal wear and tear.

Porcelain fused to metal crowns most closely resemble a normal tooth and are a good choice for front or back teeth. Other, less common types include all-resin, all-ceramic, all-porcelain, and zirconia crowns.

If you’re getting a crown, you can expect a few things during your visit with Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao. Crown placement usually requires two appointments. The first entails preparation to get an impression of the tooth, shape it, and place a temporary crown. The impression is sent to a lab where a technician makes the crown to be fitted.

During the second appointment, the high-quality porcelain crown is placed on the problematic tooth.  

If you notice any signs of discomfort in your mouth, always let Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao know by calling our Ocala office. We will determine which type of crown is best for your tooth to give it the added strength it needs. Crowns can be very helpful for your oral health if you have any teeth that need extra support.

The Origins of Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2018

When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of cards, flowers, and chocolates. We think of girlfriends celebrating being single together and couples celebrating their relationship. We think of all things pink and red taking over every pharmacy and grocery store imaginable. But what Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team would like to think of is when and how this joyous, love-filled day began.

Several martyrs’ stories are associated with the origins of Valentine’s Day. One of the most widely known suggests that Valentine was a Roman priest who went against the law at a time when marriage had been banned for young men. He continued to perform marriage ceremonies for young lovers in secret and when he was discovered, he was sentenced to death.

Another tale claims that Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape from Roman prisons. Yet another says that Valentine himself sent the first valentine when he fell in love with a girl and sent her a letter and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

Other claims suggest that it all began when Geoffrey Chaucer, an Englishman often referred to as the father of English literature, wrote a poem that was the first to connect St. Valentine to romance. From there, it evolved into a day when lovers would express their feelings for each other. Cue the flowers, sweets, and cards!

Regardless of where the holiday came from, these stories all have one thing in common: They celebrate the love we are capable of as human beings. And though that’s largely in a romantic spirit these days, it doesn’t have to be. You could celebrate love for a sister, a friend, a parent, even a pet.

We hope all our patients know how much we love them! Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day from the team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry!

February is Heart Month

February 7th, 2018

The American Academy of Periodontology stresses the importance of good oral health since gum disease may be linked to heart disease and stroke. Thus far, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established, but there are multiple theories to explain the link between heart disease and periodontal disease. One theory suggests that oral bacteria may affect heart health when it enters the blood and attaches to the fatty plaque in the heart's blood vessels. This can cause the formation of blood clots. Another theory suggests the possibility that inflammation could be a contributing link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Gum disease increases plaque buildup, and inflamed gums may also contribute to the development of swollen or inflamed coronary arteries.

What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease is caused in part by the buildup of fatty proteins on the walls of the coronary arteries. Blood clots cut off blood flow, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Both blood clots and the buildup of fatty proteins (also called plaque) on the walls of the coronary arteries may lead to a heart attack. Moreover, periodontal disease nearly doubles the likelihood that someone will suffer from coronary artery disease. Periodontal disease can also worsen existing heart conditions, so many patients who suffer from heart disease need to take antibiotics before any dental procedures. This is especially true of patients who are at greatest risk for contracting infective endocarditis (inflammation of the inner layer of the heart). The fact that more than 2,400 people die from heart disease each day makes it a major public health issue. It is also the leading killer of both men and women in the United States today.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys the bone and gum tissues around the teeth, reducing or potentially eradicating the system that supports your teeth. It affects roughly 75 percent of Americans, and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. People who suffer from periodontal disease may notice that their gums swell and/or bleed when they brush their teeth.

Although there is no definitive proof to support the theory that oral bacteria affects the heart, it is widely acknowledged better oral health contributes to overall better health. When people take good care of their teeth, get thorough exams, and a professional cleaning twice a year, the buildup of plaque on the teeth is lessened. A healthy, well-balanced diet will also contribute to better oral and heart health. There is a lot of truth to the saying "you are what you eat." If you have any questions about you periodontal disease and your overall health, give our Ocala office a call!

How much calcium does my child need?

January 31st, 2018

When you were a kid, your parents may have told you to drink milk to build strong bones and grow tall and strong. Now that you have children of your own, you may hear yourself parroting those instructions you received years ago. Getting enough dairy is essential for young children whose teeth are growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

So, which foods are the best in terms of acquiring the right amount of calcium? Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium. Milk also contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium promotes calcium deposits in your enamel, while phosphorus forms a small but important barrier against acidic foods that cause cavities. Vitamin D and protein are used by a child’s body to build bone tissue and maintain dental health.

According to a recent study, the majority of Americans, including children, do not receive enough calcium. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, only one in five children meets even the minimum standards for calcium consumption. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that children under the age of eight should receive two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children older than eight need three full cups, the same as adult men and women. In addition to milk, eating yogurt is a great way your child can increase his or her dairy consumption. Drinking sugary beverages in place of milk causes cavities and tooth decay.

If your child does not get enough dairy consumption, they run the risk of improper tooth development and other dental health problems. Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry encourage you to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy teeth to last a lifetime.

Questions? Give us a call at our Ocala office!

When to Replace Fillings

January 24th, 2018

A dental filling replaces and restores the health of a tooth that has been damaged. Often, the need for a filling results from a cavity due to a large amount of decay in a tooth.

Teeth may also require repairs after cracking from chewing on hard objects, trauma to the mouth, grinding or clenching of your teeth, uneven chewing pressure, or exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Over time, a filling may have to be replaced after normal wear and tear has occurred. There are signs and symptoms to watch out for if your tooth may need a replacement filling, or a new filling. Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry performs various types of filling treatments, depending on the damage to the tooth.

Common signs and symptoms to watch out for if you have a cracked tooth can include sharp pain when you bite down, pain that comes and goes, discomfort when eating or drinking, or a constant feeling that something is stuck in your teeth. The crack may not be visible to the eye, which makes it hard to tell whether a tooth is actually cracked.

Pain may come and go quickly when you bite down because you’re expanding the crack with the combined pressure of your teeth. If you notice this happening, contact Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao right away so we can get X-rays of your mouth and quickly fix the problem.

If you’ve had a filling in your mouth in the past, you could be due for a replacement. The seal between the tooth and the filling may break down over time, after which bacteria can build up underneath the filling and cause more decay.

It’s vital to catch this early so a filing can fix the problem. If you wait too long, a crown or a root canal may be the only option. You may not notice that a long-time filing is cracked or worn down, because it can take a long time to feel any discomfort. This is one of the reasons we recommend a dental checkup every six months.

If you need a tooth filling or a replacement filling, different filling choices vary in price. Gold fillings and porcelain fillings are more expensive options that last longer -- typically around 20 years. Porcelain fillings match the color of the rest of your teeth, however, which makes them less visible.

Another option is amalgam, or silver fillings, that less expensive but may be more noticeable in visible areas of your mouth. Composite, or plastic fillings, are another affordable option that can be matched to the color of your teeth. Composites are more likely to wear out over time and not last as long: usually around three to ten years.

If you think a past filling might be due for replacement, schedule an appointment at our Ocala office. Make sure to stay on top of your routine dental appointments in order to prevent decay from breaking down problem teeth.

If we catch the problem early, we can save you both money and time. Fillings can be a great way to resolve any existing teeth issues, and prevent extensive dental care practices from becoming necessary in the future.

 

Finding the Right Dental Products for Your Child

January 17th, 2018

Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team know how overwhelming it can be to pick the right dental products for your children. When you visit the dental aisle at the grocery store, you see too many options to choose from. We want to help you make an informed decision based on your son or daughter’s needs.

First, you should consider your child’s age and where he or she is in terms of development. Most kids are unable to floss properly until around 12 years of age because of the necessary dexterity. If your youngster is under 12 years old, make sure to assist with flossing every night.

Another option is to use flossers for children. This will make the exercise a bit easier for your little one, because flossers have different-sized handles to fit all ages of hands.

When you’re looking for a child’s toothbrush, the head should be a little bigger than the top portion of your son or daughter’s thumb. If a toothbrush is too big, it won’t be able to reach small areas in the mouth properly. Battery-powered toothbrushes are also recommended because they improve overall brushing quality for both adults and children.

If your child is too young to spit, he or she should use toothpaste without fluoride. Small children tend to swallow toothpaste, even when they don’t intend to. Try looking for a toothpaste that has xylitol listed as the first ingredient. This is a natural sweetener that is beneficial to teeth.

You should also try to identify a flavor that appeals to your child. Same as adults, children like to brush more if they enjoy the flavor that lingers in their mouth after brushing.

It’s smart to look at the ingredients in a toothpaste for the benefits your child needs. Some toothpastes contain sodium fluoride, which fights effectively against cavities. If your child has a sweet tooth, or has already had a cavity, we recommend buying a toothpaste with this ingredient.

Stannous fluoride is another popular ingredient that discourages cavities and includes anti-bacterial properties. You should also watch for the ingredient triclosan, which also suppresses bacteria. These ingredients are both recommend for children who have a high risk for cavities.

Anti-sensitivity toothpaste should also be easy to find in the dental aisle of the store. It contains potassium nitrate to help with sore gums and teeth.

If you’re still unsure which dental products your child should be using, contact our Ocala office. Once we have general information about your child and his or her dental health, we can guide you in the right direction.

When it comes to picking the right toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash for your child, Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry is always here to help.

Can I use mouthwash instead of flossing?

January 10th, 2018

While mouthwash goes a long way in improving your oral care, it is not a substitute for flossing. Mouthwashes and flossing provide different benefits that you should understand.

Mouthwash Benefits

Mouthwash comes in two categories. Some are considered cosmetic. This type of rinse provides temporary relief from bad breath and has a pleasant taste. These do not actually kill any bacteria.

Therapeutic mouthwashes provide the healthier benefits. These may contain different ingredients including fluoride or antimicrobial agents. This type is used to remove plaque buildup and reduce the potential for calculus formation. Therapeutic rinses can also help prevent cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. In addition, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao can prescribe special rinses to assist patients after periodontal surgery or other procedures.

Flossing Benefits

Flossing is what removes the plaque formation before it can harden and become calculus. While a rinse reduces buildup, only flossing will fully remove plaque, especially between teeth. The bristles on a toothbrush do not get between teeth completely. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar or calculus. When this builds below the gum line, gum disease can start.

Types of Floss

Floss is available in a thin string form or a tape. It can be waxed or unwaxed. If you find flossing difficult, you might want to try a different type of floss. You can buy bulk floss in containers or purchase the disposable type with a plastic handle attached. This style can be easier for many individuals to use. Interdental picks are available for bridgework or other situations where regular floss cannot be used.

If you have questions regarding the best mouthwash or floss, or need tips for easier flossing, please ask our Ocala team for advice. We will be glad to give you solutions to help keep your mouth clean and healthy.

How often should I see my periodontist?

January 4th, 2018

Dental health is a reflection of and related to total health. Many people are surprised to learn this. Because tooth and gum decay can be related to many serious health concerns, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team suggest that you visit our Ocala office every three to six months to care for any periodontal issues you may be experiencing. If you have ever been diagnosed with even susceptibility to gum disease or periodontal concerns, we suggest you follow this guideline.

During Your Visit

At a periodontal exam, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao will evaluate any inflammation you may be experiencing along with any other tooth and gum abnormalities such as decay, holes, pockets, root exposure, bone loss, tooth loss, and more. If you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, are pregnant, have had chronic respiratory issues, or have underwent/are undergoing cancer treatments, cardiovascular surgery, joint replacement surgery or organ transplant, you will want to discuss all of these concerns with us.

At your visit, be sure to mention all health concerns even if you do not think they may be related. We will help determine which of your health concerns may be contributing to your periodontal disease and if further evaluation is necessary. During your exam, you will have your gums, teeth, and neck evaluated to rule out disease and infection. Because plaque is related to the development of other health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, we can alert you to health issues you may not be aware of. We are trained to notice these subtle changes in dental health.

My child has canker sores! How can I help?

December 20th, 2017

According to the American Association of Pediatric Density, roughly one in five children suffers from canker sores. Canker sores are small sores that appear inside the cheeks, on the lips, on the surface of the gums, and under the tongue.

Even though, canker sores are not contagious, they do tend to run in families. There are several reasons your child may be suffering from canker sores including:

  • Children who have Vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid deficiencies tend to get canker sores more often than children who have normal levels of these vitamins and minerals.
  • Children who suffer from food allergies are also at a higher risk for developing canker sores. It’s difficult to determine what your child may be allergic to. If you feel strongly that the canker sores are related to an allergy, then a visit to an allergist is highly recommended.
  • Biting their lip or cheek can also result in a canker sore.
  • Any injury to mouth, where the skin breaks can cause a canker sore.
  • Brushing their teeth too hard can also be a problem.
  • Your child may be sensitive to an ingredient in their toothpaste. Try switching toothpastes and see if it makes a difference.
  • Emotional disturbances and stress are also factors to consider.

If your child has frequent canker sores a visit to our Ocala office will be beneficial. Canker sores are painful and usually last about 14 days. Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao may recommend one or a few of the following treatment options:

  • Avoid food that is acidic, salty, and spicy.
  • A toothbrush with soft bristles may be helpful.
  • Avoid mouthwash and toothpaste that contain SLS.
  • Do not feed your child foods that they may be allergic to.

Canker Sore Remedies

  • Eating yogurt that contains Acidophilus will relieve the pain and help the canker sore heal faster.
  • Put one teaspoon of baking soda in an eight-ounce glass of lukewarm water. Have your child gargle and swish it around his or her mouth several times a day. Not only does this remedy relieve the pain, the canker sore could be gone in as little as 24 hours.
  • Place a wet tea bag on the sore and hold it there for a few minutes several times a day. This remedy will help with the pain and quickly heal the sore.
  • Camphor, Benzocaine, Lidocaine, and Orajel are over-the-counter medications that can help.

If you have questions about your child’s canker sore, contact Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao to schedule an appointment.

HPV and Oral Cancer

December 13th, 2017

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is best known as a sexually transmitted infection. In the United States, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, with 79 million Americans currently infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to increasing risk for cervical cancer, HPV is a contributing factor in some cases of oral cancer. Each year an estimated 1,700 women and 6,700 men develop oropharyngeal cancer, which affects the tongue and throat.

Connection between HPV and oral cancer

There are more than 40 strains of HPV that live in the skin and mucosal areas. Some of these affect the genitalia, while others are found in the mouth and throat. Of the strains of oral HPV, only one, called HPV16, increases the risk of oral cancer, the Oral Cancer Foundation reports. A retrospective study conducted found that oral cancer developed an average of 15 years after exposure to HPV, making it a relatively slow-growing form of cancer.

In general, 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetimes, while 99% develop no ill effects. Getting oral HPV is associated with multiple sexual partners and engaging in oral sex; however, even some individuals who have been with only one partner may contract the infection. Although overall risk of oral cancer from HPV infection is low, it is essential to be proactive about oral health.

How to prevent HPV-related oral cancer

Scientists continue to study how HPV infections lead to oral cancer, so little is known about the progression of the disease. However, one recent study found that poor oral health, including gum disease and poor oral hygiene, is associated with oral cancer risk. Thus, being vigilant about brushing and flossing your teeth regularly may reduce HPV-related oral cancer. Getting the HPV vaccine also protects against the oral form of the virus.

Another key way to reduce mortality from oral cancer is to have regularly scheduled appointments with at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry. Having Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao examine your mouth at least two times a year increases the likelihood that a sign of oral cancer, such as a sore or patch, will be detected. If you’re concerned about HPV-related oral cancer, please give us a call at our Ocala office for advice about oral hygiene and disease prevention.

I don't brush while I'm at work. Should I?

December 6th, 2017

Yes, absolutely. A recent survey by Oral-B® reveals that despite knowing that a healthy, good-looking smile affects not only their personal wellness but their professional image as well, very few people (only 14 percent) brush and floss at the office regularly. What’s more, three quarters of people who responded to the survey said they ate twice or more a day at work.

Today, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team thought we would provide some tips for brushing at work.

  • Leave a toothbrush at work to increase your likelihood of brushing
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  • Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner; this helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where your toothbrush bristles can’t reach.

And remember to brush for 30 to 45 seconds across visible parts of the teeth. Brushing after breakfast or lunch will eliminate any remaining food particles and odors. We recommend people brush their teeth twice and floss once a day to remove plaque and other harmful bacteria.

To schedule your next appointment with Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao at our Ocala office, please give us a call!

When should I see a periodontist?

November 29th, 2017

Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team always tell our patients that if you value your overall health, not just your oral health, anytime is a good time to visit Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry for a periodontal evaluation. Sometimes the only way to identify periodontal (gum) disease is through a comprehensive periodontal evaluation. If you notice any of the following periodontal disease symptoms outlined by the American Dental Association, it may be time to give us a call to schedule an exam:

  • Gums that bleed easily or are swollen, red, or tender
  • Gums that bleed while brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing teeth to look longer than before
  • Frequent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • A change in the way teeth align when you bite
  • A change in the way partial dentures fit

It is also important to note that it’s possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. While studies have indicated that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease, we recommend being seen by Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao sooner rather than later when dealing with gum disease. An evaluation at our office can not only help catch gingivitis, the early form of gum disease in time, but can also give you peace of mind. Gingivitis, if detected early, can be treated and eventually reversed.

Not doing anything, however, can lead to periodontal disease, which can in turn lead to tooth loss. The best way to avoid gum disease is to visit our Ocala office for an evaluation. To schedule your visit, please give us a call today! We look forward to seeing you!

Thanksgiving Trivia

November 22nd, 2017

At Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.

The Turkey

There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.

According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.

Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.

The Side Dishes

The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.

While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.

The Parade

Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

What is non-surgical periodontal treatment?

November 15th, 2017

Gum disease is about much more than pesky bleeding gums – it's a serious and progressive condition that, over time, can result in tooth loss, which in turn can have a significant bearing on your quality of life. Many people avoid being evaluated for gum disease because they worry that if they do have the condition, their only option will be to undergo surgery or let their teeth fall out. In fact, there are several non-surgical options to help treat gum disease (also called periodontal disease) and prevent eventual tooth loss. Wondering what they are? Here's a quick rundown of your options:

  • Regular dental cleaning: When your gum disease is in its earliest stages, regular cleanings at least twice a year may be enough to ward off further development, especially if you rigorously follow your dentist's recommendations for home care, including regular flossing. To get your periodontal disease under control, you may need to have cleanings more than twice a year, returning to twice-yearly cleanings once your gums are healthy again.
  • Scaling and root planing: These procedures involve deep cleaning above and below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar and to smooth rough spots on or near the root that can provide places for bacteria to lodge. Once the material below the gum line is removed, Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao may apply an antibacterial gel to help kill any bacteria that remain. Because these procedures involve using special instruments to reach deep pockets of plaque and bacteria, most patients opt for a local anesthetic to help avoid discomfort. For more advanced cases of gum disease, you may need two sessions to complete the procedure. Afterward, you may experience some slight discomfort and bleeding from your gums which will resolve soon afterward. We can recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever to help relieve any discomfort.
  • Medication: Antibiotics can be used in some cases to help destroy bacteria beneath the gum line and help preserve the tooth's attachment and prevent loosening and eventual loss. Both over-the-counter and prescription mouthwashes are available, as well as oral antibiotics that can be used to destroy gum disease-causing bacteria. Toothpastes containing antibiotics are also available and are usually used in combination with other products or treatments.

If you're experiencing signs of periodontal disease – tender, bleeding or swollen gums, receding gums, gums that bleed after brushing, or loose teeth – delaying treatment is the worst thing you can do. Make an appointment at our Ocala office and learn about all the options that can help you keep your teeth and gums as healthy as can be.

Periodontal Health During Pregnancy

November 8th, 2017

If you are expecting, it is critical to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure both your health and the health of your little one. This includes maintaining your regimen of brushing twice per day and flossing. It also includes regular visits to our Ocala office, as recommended by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), who suggest that women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy undergo a periodontal evaluation.

Women who are pregnant are particularly susceptible to gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease that is characterized by reddening, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. It is a condition that is not to be overlooked and can be treated and reversed by Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao.

Research at the University of North Carolina has indicated a connection between periodontal disease and an increased risk of low birth weight, a serious issue that affects roughly one in ten babies born in the United States. Low birth-weight babies may be at risk to have respiratory, intestinal, and heart issues. They also face long-term health problems such as vision and hearing loss, delayed motor skills, and potential learning disabilities, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Besides the possibility of leading to low birth weight of your baby, gingivitis, if left undetected and untreated, can also lead to periodontitis, a much more serious gum disease that attacks the gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal diseases can lead to tooth loss and are associated with other serious conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Maintaining periodontal health is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Seeking timely treatment for gum disease is important not just for your personal health, but also for the health of your baby. Early diagnosis of periodontal disease can give you peace of mind that both you and your baby will be healthy. To learn more about preventing gum disease, or to schedule your periodontal evaluation or cleaning at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry, please give us a call today!

November Marks National Diabetes Awareness Month

November 1st, 2017

Diabetes is a chronic disease that increases the risk for many serious health problems, including severe gum disease. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and it’s a great time for us at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry to remind our patients that the way you care for your teeth at home doesn’t just affect your oral health; keeping your mouth healthy is vital to your overall health, too.

Diabetes is the result of a deficiency, or lack of the hormone insulin to properly transport glucose (blood sugar) to the cells throughout the body. According to the American Diabetes Association, the most common types of diabetes are Type One (90-95 percent of cases), Type Two (five percent), and gestational or pregnancy diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35 to 60 percent chance of developing diabetes, mostly Type Two, in the ten to 20 years following their pregnancy.

In the past decade, researchers have found links between periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes. Not only are people with diabetes more vulnerable to gum disease, but diabetes may also have the potential to affect blood glucose control, as well as contribute to the advancement of diabetes.

Nearly 26 million Americans currently live with the disease, with an additional 79 million in the pre-diabetes stage. There is some good news we want you to know, however; you can protect your gums and teeth from the effects of diabetes by visiting our Ocala office for an exam. Patients who are living with diabetes may require more often visits to ensure their dental health remains in tip-top shape. Many insurance plans provide expanded benefits for diabetic patients, and Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao can tell you how often you need to come in for an appointment.

For more information on how we can help, please do not hesitate to give us a call at our Ocala office.

The Intriguing History of Halloween

October 25th, 2017

Halloween is fast approaching, and Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao wanted to be sure to wish our patients a happy day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the "old days" it wasn't even called Halloween!

Festival of the Dead

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called "Samhain," as a very special day – almost like our New Years day in fact, as their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season's crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of winter, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest, and that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively on Samhain due to this.

Modern Halloween

Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being "devil worship" and dangerous.

When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became "All Saints Day," which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or fruit roll-ups to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth and gums.

Remind kids to limit their candy and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause major tooth decay and aggrivate gum disease, so to avoid extra visits to our Ocala office, make your Halloween a safe one!

Fluoride Use in Adolescents

October 18th, 2017

Fluoride is a mineral that plays an essential role in oral health. In fact, the significant reduction in American tooth decay in recent decades can be attributed to a greater availability of fluoride in public water supplies, toothpaste, and other resources. When it comes in contact with the teeth, fluoride helps protect the enamel from acid and plaque bacteria. In some cases, it can even reverse tooth decay in its earliest stages.

Despite the benefits of fluoride, tooth decay is still common, especially among teenagers. The Centers for Disease Control reports that cavities can be found in more than half of young teens and two-thirds of older teens over age 16. Many of those teens are deficient in fluoride, either due to a lack of public water fluoridation or the use of bottled water. So how can parents ensure their teens are getting the fluoride they need to facilitate strong, healthy teeth?

Monitor Fluoride Exposure

Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao and our team at Dental Implants of Ocala + General Dentistry recommend you start by measuring your teen’s fluoride exposure. Make sure you purchase fluoridated toothpaste for your household, and find out if your tap water is fluoridated. If your teen primarily consumes bottled water, examine the bottle to determine whether fluoride has been added. The majority of bottled waters are not supplemented with fluoride, but those that are will be clearly labeled.

Fluoride Supplementation

Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao may recommend topical fluoride treatments at routine dental exams. These treatments are painless for your teen and may help establish stronger enamel that is more resistant to plaque and tooth decay. If you have a public water supply that is non-fluoridated, we may recommend fluoride supplementation between visits. These can be administered as drops, tablets, or vitamins.

Keep in mind that fluoride is most important for children and teens under the age of 16. Be proactive about your teen’s oral health by speaking with us about your family’s fluoride needs at your next dental visit.

For more information about fluoride, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Nick Brand and Alex Brao, please give us a call at our convenient Ocala office!

Welcome to Our Blog

July 11th, 2017

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctor and staff - we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!