Oral Health Advice

My upper eye tooth and surrounding gum have been abscessed for a few days. The area has been swollen and uncomfortable. I have been trying to keep the area as clean as possible. The swelling has somewhat subsided, but I am concerned this will cause other problems. What should I do?

Three words — make an appointment!

The site needs to be evaluated immediately as there have been instances of abscesses traveling to the brain and causing death. The earlier treatment is initiated, the faster the situation can be controlled. The site may need to be drained and you may need to take antibiotics. But if left untreated, the infection could spread, causing damage to the bone and gums.

Receding gums is another concern for many patients. Recently, I had an inquiry from a man whose wife suggested he try out for True Blood as one of the vampires. His front tooth had so much recession, he looked “long in the tooth” when he smiled. This situation can be caused by a number of things, including caused by trauma from brushing too hard or using the wrong tooth brush. It also can occur when your occlusion is not aligned or when you clench or grind your teeth.

Sometimes, certain medications or sucking on limes or lemons may even cause recession. You may be experiencing sensitivity because the roots are exposed. The real problem is that when the gums recede, the underlying bone also recedes and weakens the tooth support.

The best way to correct the defect is with gingival grafting procedures, which will cover the exposed roots. The gums may be healthy, but recessed tissues do not regenerate themselves; they need to be treated properly and in a timely manner — soon!

On the other end of the spectrum are patients who have too much tissue or a “gummy smile.” In these instances, the teeth appear smaller because of overgrown gums. Many orthodontic patients have this condition, which causes swelling and redness. Oral hygiene is difficult and the result is discomfort and pain around the bands. We are asked to correct this situation while patients are undergoing ortho therapy.

In any case, it makes a world of difference when our mantra is applied — We Save Smiles. Find more info on our website, www.WeSaveSmiles.com.

Dr. Kessler’s office is located at 7400 N. Kendall Dr., directly across from Dadeland Mall, and he may be reached at 305-670- 3800 or online at Lkgums@aol.com or www.WeSaveSmiles.com.

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