Periodontal maintenance and routine cleanings are both done by a dental hygienist; however, they are two different types of dental appointments. Primarily, the difference is that a routine cleaning is a preventative measure, and periodontal maintenance is a prescribed treatment for periodontal (gum) disease. Let’s look at why either type of appointment might be necessary for you to maintain your healthy smile in Athens, GA.

Routine Dental Cleaning

A routine dental cleaning is called a prophylaxis—preventative care for children and adults who have not been diagnosed with gum disease. Your general dentist will typically recommend routine dental prophylaxis once or twice per year. During these regular cleanings, the dental hygienist will scale and polish your teeth to remove the build-up of plaque, tartar/calculus, and stain. These routine cleanings remove any plaque that builds up between your appointments. Your dentist will check your mouth for issues such as cavities, abscesses, oral cancer, and gum disease. Catching these issues early allows them to be treated more easily.

Why Do I Need Periodontal Maintenance?

If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you will undergo initial treatments such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), or periodontal surgery, in order to restore health in the diseased tissues. Once the gum disease is brought under control, regular preventative dental cleanings are no longer recommended, and you will be prescribed periodontal maintenance as ongoing treatment to keep the bacteria growth in your mouth in check. In most cases, periodontal (gum) disease is a lifelong condition, and as such, it must be managed and kept under control to maintain your optimal oral health.
The disease-causing bacteria can re-colonize underneath the gums within three months after a cleaning. Leaving the bacteria unchecked for longer periods can lead to inflammation and much more extensive and costly damage to the tissues and bone. For most patients, a three month maintenance schedule is crucial to conserve the health of your teeth and gums; however, the exact interval may vary depending on the particular condition of your gums, and can change depending on your current needs. Dr. Pylant, your periodontist in Athens, GA, will decide how often you will need periodontal maintenance based on your individual case.

What is Periodontal Maintenance?

Much like a routine dental cleaning, in a periodontal maintenance appointment, the hygienist will remove the tartar buildup from your teeth and polish them. Your oral health will be monitored for problems.  The hygienist will clean a little deeper under the gums during a periodontal maintenance appointment, in order to battle the dangerous re-growth of periodontal bacteria. The depth of each pocket in your gums is measured, and if inflammation or infection is present, the pockets will be flushed and irrigated with antiseptic medication. Periodontal maintenance appointments are essential to maintain your periodontal stability, and to keep harmful bacteria from spreading and causing further damage.
We care about you and helping you maintain your optimal oral health! Dr. Pylant will base your care on your individual needs, so if you have gum disease in Athens, GA, please give us a call at 706-543-0026 to schedule an appointment.

By F. Neal Pylant, DMD
February 23, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures

When was the last time you paid your dentist a visit? If you're like many people, chances are it was more than six months ago. We hear the reasons why people neglect regular dental visits all the time: lack of money or quality dental insurance, busy schedules, and fear. However, your twice-yearly checkups are so important for your dental health and your overall health as well.

You may brush your teeth twice a day and even floss, and your teeth may feel fine, but regular dental checkups in Athens, GA, aren’t about addressing problems and reacting — they are about preventing the onset of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. No matter how much you brush and floss, there is still a chance that food or other debris can get lodged between your teeth, and there is also a chance that food and beverages can wear down your tooth enamel in between visits, making your teeth vulnerable to decay.

During your visit, in addition to thorough teeth cleaning and polishing, the dentist checks the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. They’ll also check old fillings and restorations, as these can wear away over time from constant chewing, grinding, or clenching. If your dentist suspects you have periodontal disease, they will refer you to a periodontist, such as Dr. Neal Pylant.

It's important to know that the majority of dental problems do not become visible or painful until they are highly advanced. And, unfortunately, serious oral issues are painful and expensive to treat. A deep cleaning twice a year by your dentist is the best way to hit all the spots you may have missed with brushing and flossing and prevent any problems that may have gone unseen.

Make sure your teeth get the professional attention they deserve! If you’re overdue for your next cleaning, be sure to get it on your schedule. If you need to see a periodontist, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at our convenient Athens, GA office! You can reach our office by dialing 706-543-0026.

By F. Neal Pylant, DMD
February 10, 2022
Category: Oral Health

Unless you're aware of the signs and symptoms of gum disease and how it's caused, you may have unknowingly developed it. Often painless, gum disease -- or periodontal disease -- becomes progressively more serious when left untreated. As you learn more about the common causes of gum disease, you'll be better equipped to maintain the greatest oral health possible. Your best bet for finding out if you have gum disease and getting treatment is by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Neal Pylant at his office in Athens, GA.

Gingivitis & Periodontitis: Common Causes of Gum Disease

· Bacteria & Plaque. Bacteria in the mouth create a sticky film over the teeth. Good oral hygiene practices help remove the bacteria and the plaque they cause. When plaque is not removed, it develops into a rock-like substance called tartar. This can only be removed by your periodontist.

· Smoking & Tobacco. If you're a smoker or use tobacco, you face a higher risk of developing gum disease. Additionally, tobacco use can lead to stained teeth, bad breath, and an increased risk of oral cancers.

· Certain Medications. Some medications that are taken for other health conditions can increase a person's risk of developing gum disease. If you take steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, certain cancer therapy medications, or oral contraceptives, speak to your periodontist about how to maintain healthy gums.

· Medical Conditions. Certain medical conditions can impact the health of your gums. For instance, diabetics face an increased risk of gum disease due to the inflammatory chemicals present in their bodies. Always talk to our team about other health conditions to ensure we take that into account when treating you.

Take a Proactive Stance

Good oral hygiene practices and regular visits to our Athens, GA, office can help you eliminate or reduce the risks of developing gum disease. Thorough cleaning with your toothbrush and dental floss should take about three to five minutes. Brush your teeth a minimum of twice per day and floss at least once each day. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be ready to prevent gum disease. To schedule your appointment with Dr. Pylant, please call 706-543-0026.

By F. Neal Pylant, DMD
December 14, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Gum Contouring   Gummy Smile  

Do you have a gummy smile? The answer could be quite personal. Although the standard definition sets the amount of visible gum when we smile at 3 to 4 millimeters, determining whether our smile is too gummy is something we decide for ourselves. The condition is not as uncommon as we might think, nor does it typically affect our dental health, but if it affects our self-image, that's reason enough to want to change it. By employing a procedure known as gum contouring our Athens, GA, periodontist, Dr. Neal Pylant, can reshape our gums to give us the smile we've been dreaming of. Reach out to the office to learn a lot more about the treatment and available options.

Our Gums and Our Smile

There are a few reasons why we might have a gummy smile, and these tend to be largely hereditary. A gummy smile does not necessarily mean there is something wrong, but if enlarged gums are the result of inflammation, then the culprit could be gum disease, and this will need to be addressed first.

Other options for treating our gummy smile may also be available, but for longer-term results, and for a smile we'll be happy to show off, gum contouring could be the way to go.

Gum Contouring in Athens, GA

Gum contouring is a procedure performed by our periodontists during which they remove excess gum tissue to reveal more of our teeth. Electrosurgery, a laser, or a scalpel is used to reshape our gums, and often only local anesthesia is necessary. Some suturing may be required. The whole procedure is usually done within just one visit, and depending on the extent of tissue removed, recovery can take from a few days to weeks. Some tenderness can be expected, especially at first, during which time we might be limited to soft foods.

If you live in or near the Athens, GA, area and are ready to explore gum contouring to correct your gummy smile, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Pylant by dialing 706-543-0026.

By F. Neal Pylant, DMD
December 06, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Implants  

Are you looking for dental implants in Athens, GA? If so, you should visit Dr. Neal Pylant.

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is designed to be a permanent replacement for one or more missing teeth. If you have a tooth that is missing in your mouth, the surrounding teeth may move out of place. This could make it difficult for you to talk or eat. It might also make it harder for you to take care of your teeth.

A dental implant consists of multiple parts. There is a titanium post that is implanted in the jaw of your mouth to act as tooth roots. The post is designed to anchor the tooth in your jaw, preventing jaw resorption. Then there is an abutment, which is screwed into the titanium post to anchor in the crown. The abutment is attached to a dental crown or bridge in the likeness of your natural teeth. The crown or bridge serves a functional and aesthetic purpose. It is customized to match your surrounding teeth, completing your smile. It is also durable enough to allow you to eat a regular diet.

Who Needs a Dental Implant?

There are several situations where you might need a dental implant, including:

  • You may have had one or more teeth knocked out in an accident
  • You may have a serious oral health condition that caused the degradation of one or more of your teeth

If you are missing one or more teeth, then dental implants in Athens, GA, could be right for you.

What Is the Process Like?

There are several steps in the dental implant process. The steps include:

  • First, you will meet with a periodontist like Dr. Neal Pylant in Athens, GA, to talk about whether you are a good candidate for implants. The periodontist will take x-rays and/or a CBCT (dental cone-beam computed tomography) scan to take a closer look at your teeth and roots.
  • Next, the periodontist will go over your treatment plan. If you are a good candidate for dental implants, the surgeries are typically performed in stages that require healing time between them.

Depending on your case, you may need to first have the area prepped and healed for implant placement, including

  • Removal of damaged teeth
  • Jaw bone grafting

·Next, the dental implant post is placed. Time is given to allow for bone growth and healing. Then, the abutment is attached to the implant post. Finally, you will return to your dentist for the creation and placement of your crown (or a bridge in some cases of multiple implants).

If you need dental implants in Athens, GA, then you need to work with an experienced periodontist who can help you make sure your implants last as long as possible. Whether you are looking for a singular implant or multiple, Dr. Pylant can help you. Call (706) 543-0026 to make an appointment.

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F. Neal Pylant, D.M.D., P.C.

375 Hawthorne Lane Athens, GA 30606-2153