Category Archives: Preventative

Varnish Treatment

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Of all the various types of varnish treatments, the most popular one is Fluoride varnish. The varnish is applied or ‘painted’ on the tooth surface and used as therapy in the session. The process requires teeth to be dried and varnish must be applied meticulously to every tooth.

According to RDHmag, 20 to 30% of adults in the United States exhibit sensitive teeth. Varnish treatment offers significant benefits for sensitive teeth. Exposed dentins experience a painful reaction when subjected to thermal, mechanical, or chemical stimuli.

The treatment is only just catching on in the United States, but has been in use in Western Europe, Canada and Scandinavian countries, since the 1980s. The varnish is very tenacious and settles even in the presence of saliva. The varnish is recognized as an effective desensitizing agent and fluoride varnish has proven its efficacy against tooth decay, according to the California Dental Association.

Varnish types

Fluoride varnishes have high concentrations of fluoride in them, as a result of the formation of the salt of silane, in a fast drying alcohol or resin based solution. Other Varnish types include calcium, inorganic phosphate, and fluoride ions.

MI varnish and Enamel Pro varnish are two varnish types that release calcium and inorganic phosphate ions, respectively. These varnish types are suited for different cases. Fluoride varnish treatments tend to be more cost effective than the others, but still costs more than gel.

Disadvantages of Fluoride

Fluoride varnish does not have a natural flavor, but can be added. It leaves a yellow pigmentation on the tooth upon drying and hardening. This weighs against the patient as it gives poor visual appearance making it embarrassing for the patient to even smile. Another factor that affects the patient’s acceptance of the treatment is the dosage. It comes in unit-dose, which have their convenience, and multi-dose applications, which leave the patient encumbered. Both doses need to take a certain amount of time, at least 4 hours according to this source.


Varnish treatments continue to advance in technology, making treatment more efficient, comfortable and significantly increasing effectiveness. New products leave the tooth better colored for a bright smile, and can be flavored for a pleasant taste.

Risks and indications

Varnish treatments will not be applied if there are sores or blisters in the mouth. The taste of treatment in the mouth can also cause nausea. After the treatment is over, counter prescriptions need to be taken, which is not the case with gel. Children should avoid swallowing, as swallowing too much can result in the development of white spots on teeth. You should also avoid brushing teeth the first night, after the treatment.

Children should undergo these treatments twice a year. The elderly may undergo them frequently to prevent rising prevalence of root dentin lesions.

Understanding Periodontitis Disease

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Swollen and bleeding gums, if left untreated, can become a serious problem as you may enter the advanced stage of periodontal disease better known as periodontitis. Unlike gingivitis, which is the early stage of periodontal disease and seldom painful, periodontal disease is a painful inflammatory gum infection that can destroy the soft tissue and bone structure, resulting into tooth decay and loss.

But the destructive capability of this gum infection doesn’t end here. It goes beyond opening gateway to more severe health problems like increased risk to cardiac attack, strokes and high blood sugar level.

Periodontitis—What Causes it?

Periodontitis is primarily the result of poor oral hygiene which triggers the periodontal bacteria that is naturally present in our mouth to get into action. Poor oral hygiene provides periodontal bacteria the ideal condition to grow in number and eventually become harmful. The ideal conditions for periodontal bacteria are created when the layer of plaque starts to build up on your gums because of the leftover particles of food and drinks in the mouth that you consume daily.

If this layer is not removed through brushing, the bacteria deposit minerals in the plaque with time. It hardens into tartar. Tartar serves as the breeding ground for bacterial growth, helping bacteria to thrive and multiply.

The harmful by-products of bacterial growth stimulate your body’s natural defensive inflammatory response. This causes gum inflammation and swelling which creates gaps or pockets between gums and teeth. If left unchecked, these pockets begin to fill with tartar and plaque. The swelling in the soft tissue traps plaque in the gaps which damages the tissues and bone that surrounds the tooth and eventually results in tooth loss.

Alarming Signs of Periodontitis 

Signs that indicate that you might have periodontitis include:

  • Gum inflammation
  • Bright red or purple gums
  • Your gums hurt when you touch them
  • Receding gums—your teeth begin to look longer
  • Spaces and gaps between your teeth
  • Pus may develop between your gums and teeth
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • It feels different than the usual when you bite your food

Factors that Can Put You at Risk for Periodontitis 

Besides poor dental care, other factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition include frequent tobacco use, hormonal changes, medications that reduce saliva, genetics, AIDS, and diabetes. Studies show that the risk of periodontitis is high in females, especially during pregnancy, puberty and post-menopause due to hormonal changes.

Complications of Periodontitis 

Failure to seek immediate treatment for periodontitis can expose you to numerous medical conditions such as:

Cardiac Problems

Having long term gum infection can increase your risk of strokes and heart attacks. Research shows that the periodontal bacteria have the tendency to travel through the bloodstream and into the arteries. It causes the narrowing of arteries and triggers inflammation that leads to heart attack. Besides this, it can also develop blood clots which increase the chances of experiencing a stroke.

Complications during Pregnancy 

Pregnant women suffering from periodontitis are more likely to have premature babies as compared to women who have healthy gums. It is believed that periodontitis limits fetal growth inside the womb and produces high levels of substances that induce labor.


Those people who already have lung problems and are suffering from periodontitis can become victims of pneumonia. Periodontal bacteria, when inhaled from the mouth into the lungs, can cause pneumonia.

Increased Blood Sugar Level

Though diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing periodontal diseases, the gum infection can further aggravate this problem by shooting up your blood sugar level which is harder to control.


Treatment for periodontitis must be sought right away. In general, treatment for this infection is performed using a combination of medication and non-invasive therapies like scaling and root planning. However, if you have more advanced periodontitis, your dentist may advice you soft tissue grafting, bone grafting or a flap surgery.

Please call (208) 342-0315 to schedule an appointment today with our experienced periodontist, so that our periodontist can examine your mouth and determine the right treatment for your case.

All You Need To Know About Gingivitis

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Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? Are they swollen and red? Chances are that you might have gingivitis. Gingivitis is the initial stage of a periodontal disease. It is important that you schedule an appointment with a periodontist right away for treatment because if left untreated, gingivitis can gradually transform into a serious gum disease known as periodontitis and result into gum decay and tooth loss. And that is definitely something you don’t want.

To help you develop a better understanding, here’s all that you need to about gingivitis.

Gingivitis—What causes it?

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that is characterized by gum inflammation. The leading cause is poor oral hygiene. When you don’t follow a good dental hygiene routine, it builds up plaque on your gums. Plaque is a colorless, unpleasant and sticky film of bacteria. It is a combination of the leftover particles of food and drinks that are consumed daily.

Overtime, plaque hardens and changes into tartar. Tartar is the breeding ground for infections and may lead to serious dental problems. It is extremely hard to remove tartar with the toothbrush. It acts like a protective shield for bacteria, causing irritation and inflammation in the gums.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis causes redness, irritation and inflammation of the gingiva. Gingiva is the part of the gum surrounding the base of the tooth. Healthy gums are pale pink and firm. However, if you have gingivitis, they may become puffy and swollen due to inflammation. Other classic signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Dark or dusky red gums
  • Bleeding of the gums when brushing or flossing
  • Tender gums
  • Receding gums

Besides these signs, gum disease can also be spotted if you start to notice that your teeth have an elongated appearance or there are pockets between the gums and teeth. This is where the food debris collects and plaque builds up.

Risk Factors of Gingivitis 

Gingivitis is a gum disease that can happen to anyone including children and adults. However, factors that increase the risk of developing this oral condition include the following:

  • Poor dental care regime
  • Older age
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Genetics
  • Medical conditions like fungal or viral infections
  • Use of certain drugs like Phenytoin and birth control pills
  • Use of calcium-channel blockers
  • Hormonal changes related to menstrual cycle and pregnancy
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Poor dental restorations that don’t properly fit
  • Crooked teeth that may cause brushing difficult
  • Health conditions that lower immunity like HIV, AIDS, leukaemia, and cancer treatment

Prevention and Treatment 

The good news is that gingivitis is treatable and reversible. This means that you can easily overcome this dental problem and prevent it from occurring. However, for this, good and regular oral hygiene is a must.

  • Proper Brushing with Flossing

To remove plaque, you must brush properly for at least two minutes twice daily—particularly when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. If you can brush your teeth after meals, it is even better. After brushing, make sure to floss. Flossing at least once every day is vital for oral health. Flossing helps remove the loosened particles of food and bacteria.

  • Follow Good Health Practices 

By following good health practices like eating right and including Vitamin C in your diet, you can prevent gingivitis. Furthermore, avoid smoking and chewing tobacco.

  • Schedule Regular Checkups with Your Periodontist 

It is important to schedule an appointment for dental checkup with your periodontist every 6 to 12 months. The dentist can examine your oral condition, clean up tartar and identify any problem before it transforms into a serious dental condition.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gingivitis stated above, please call on (208) 342-0315 to schedule an appointment today with our experienced periodontists.

Peri-Implant Diseases in Focus

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Dental implant is a popular and an effective tooth restoration technique. Made using titanium, dental implants are placed carefully in the jawbone and integrated with the natural bone to provide a sturdy foundation for tooth replacement. It is the most sought-after treatment for tooth restoration in clinical dentistry primarily because of it mechanical and biological properties.

Good oral hygiene is equally important after getting dental implants as the prevalence rate of inflammation around the dental implant is relatively high. The condition is better known as the Peri-Implant disease.

Understanding the Peri-Implant Disease 

Peri-implant disease can be best described as an inflammatory condition. This condition affects both hard and soft gum tissues near dental implants. This is caused due to poor oral hygiene and implant maintenance. The bacteria begin to build-up on the implant’s base, right below the gum line. The bacterial growth irritates the gum tissue overtime. This causes inflammation in the gums and damages the tissue. If the problem is not addressed immediately, it can lead to bone loss and eventually dental implant loss. Though it resembles periodontal infection, the treatment options for peri-implant disease are different.

Types of Peri-Implant Disease 

The peri-implant disease is of two types—peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis. Let’s take a closer look at the two types of peri-implant disease to develop a better understanding:

  • Peri-Implant Mucositis

The peri-implant mucositis basically manifests in the soft tissue. The signs are similar to gingivitis. It causes swelling, redness and inflammation but is only confined to soft tissues. It can be best treated if it is detected early by calculus and biofilm removal. In other words, treatment of peri-implant mucositis is non-invasive and simpler as compared to peri-implantitis. So, far there is no evidence of bone loss due to peri-implant mucositis; however, it is a precursor of peri-implantitis.

  • Peri-Implantitis 

In this type of peri-implant disease, gum inflammation occurs around the soft tissue that leads to deterioration of the bone that supports the dental implant. It is also described as a serious and destructive inflammatory dental process in clinical dentistry. It promotes both peri-implant hard and soft tissue loss affecting osseo-integration.

Diagnostic considerations that have been proposed for the timely detection of peri-implantitis disease include probing, suppuration, pre or post radiographs, microbiological testing and mobility. Initial dental implant probing must be performed once the restoration is properly installed with the help of the conventional periodontal probe with light force. Mobility and radiographs can also be used to supplement its diagnosis.

Peri-implantitis is sometimes compared to periodontal disease because of its inflammatory nature. However, one of the most important differences between the two is that peri-implantitis has the tendency to develop on the lingual and facial aspects of the dental implant in such a way that it is undetectable and hard to identify using traditional radiographs. Studies show that in this case, the most effective technology is the cone beam computed tomography. It is proven for identifying lingual, proximal bony and lingual lesions surrounding dental implants. The diagnosis for peri-implantitis is aided by acquiring baseline bone level 360-degree scans of the implants. If peri-implantitis condition is suspected, CBCT scans are compared with baseline scans to determine the definitive bone loss including the severity and location.

Though the presence of pathogenic biofilm is the top factor, local and systemic factors should also be identified as all these factors can lead to the development as well as progression of peri-implant disease. Systemic factors include smoking, diabetes and immunosuppression while local factors include excessive occlusal forces or residual cement.

In most cases, surgical therapy is advised to patients with moderate & severe peri-implantitis. It provides access for proper cleaning and also helps develop an environment that enable patients to both maintain and reconstruct lost tissue.

Statistics show that 80 percent of the people with dental implants develop peri-implant mucositis and that nearly 56 percent suffer from peri-implantitis.

For more information about peri-implant disease or if you are experiencing inflammation around implants, get in touch with us today. Call (208) 342-0315 to schedule an appointment with our experienced periodontist for a proper oral examination and diagnosis.

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Implants

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Everyone knows that a smile is the most beautiful thing anyone can wear and no one should be deprived from smiling as bright as they possibly can. However, missing teeth can be one of the most deterring factors in flaunting your smile. You automatically become more self conscious the moment you have any dental issues. Not only will missing teeth stop you from smiling, but it will also make you feel uncomfortable while eating and talking.

However, dental implants have significantly solved this problem. This procedure gives the patient a replacement tooth that not only looks real but also feels natural. This dental implant will seamlessly integrate with your teeth and will perform the same functions as your original missing tooth, ensuring that you can smile with confidence.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a procedure in which the dentist will surgically insert an artificial tooth in order to replace the missing tooth. This artificial tooth is constructed using metallic and bone like ceramic materials. These teeth are designed uniquely for your jaw so that they are compatible with it. In addition to that, while designing a replacement tooth for a patient, it has to be checked that the tooth blends perfectly with the jawbone for optimum functionality. Not only are dental implants used to replace missing teeth but they are also used for supporting crowns and bridges.

Currently there are two types of dental implants that are prescribed by the academy of general dentistry. Both of these types of dental implants are mentioned below,

  • Endosteal implant
  • Subperiosteal implant

An Endosteal implant is the most common dental implant and is directly placed into the bone. On the contrary, a Subperiosteal implant is placed on top of the bone and is used in situations where there is inadequate bone height. Both of these dental implants are unique in their own perspective and only a certified dentist can ascertain which implant best suits your current dental condition.

What are the advantages of implants? 

By now you must be wondering why dental implants have become so popular. This is partly due to the ease of treatment and due to the array of benefits that implants provide. Some of the profound benefits of implants are mentioned below,

  1. Dental implants is the perfect replacement to your natural teeth
  2. Dental implants are meant to last long term
  3. Dental implants are cost effective
  4. Dental implants provide you with confidence you deserve
  5. Dental implants retain the natural stature of face and smile
  6. Dental implants protect your teeth
  7. Dental implants do not slide and neither is there a chance of them falling out
  8. These implants will not hamper your speech or pronunciation pattern
  9. Dental implants are simple surgeries that can be done in no time
  10. These implants do not hamper the way eat
  11. The preserve the contour of your face
  12. Preserve the jawbone

All of these advantages reiterate the fact that dental implants have completely revamped the dental industry and have empowered people to smile like never before.

Teeth loss and the immediate solution

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With time our teeth deteriorate and that happens due to a variety of reasons and eventually we all require the help of a dentist in such a case. Many people have a common misconception that people only loose teeth at a very young age or when they are old, but this is not true as decaying teeth can plague any age group.

Tooth loss has severe consequences and it deteriorates the quality of life by a substantial margin, some of the immediate consequences are mentioned below.

  • Impairs speech pattern
  • Sagging appearance of the face
  • Poor nutrition as diet has to be modified
  • Loss of self confidence
  • People stop smiling

Out all of the consequences the most disturbing one is the fact that people stop smiling once they start losing teeth.  A smile is the closest distance between two people and is the universal language of communicating your happiness. This is exactly why no one should be deprived of the ability to smile.

Currently the most effective treatment for teeth loss is partial dentures. These are artificial teeth that replace the missing teeth. They can be modified according to the structure of your teeth and your jaw bone, besides this it also preserves the contours of your face. Partial dentures are removable and are considered to be the immediate solution for people who have lost some of their teeth.

People who have lost their teeth can easily contact their dentist who will take a couple of factors into consideration and will then prescribe the best partial dentures that will meet the patients’ specifications.

However, to help people understand why they lose their teeth in the first place, we have articulated a list of factors that contribute to teeth loss.

Inadequate oral hygiene 

One of the factors that contribute the most to teeth loss is bad oral hygiene. Having bad oral hygiene causes acid to produce bacteria that results in cavities and the expedited deterioration of the teeth. This is exactly why it is imperative that every individual makes sure that they brush their teeth more than twice a day.

Poor nutrition 

Another factor that contributes to teeth loss is poor nutrition as our diet plays an integral role in maintaining the quality of health. People who eat a lot of junk food and do not consume the essential vitamins and minerals, have a higher chance of suffering from teeth loss. Our teeth require calcium in order to resist normal wear and tear. Calcium is also responsible for bone density, which is exactly why dentist recommend a high intake of calcium.  Besides this poor nutrition can also decrease the mouth’s resistance to infections and deteriorates the oral hygiene significantly.

Smoking and drinking 

Everyone is aware about the adverse effects of smoking and drinking, but most people do not have any idea how these habits harm their teeth. As both these habits increase the chances of developing gum diseases that can result in teeth loss.

Children’s Dental Health

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Let’s seal the deal… dental sealants, that is!

Parents often ask our advice about what can be done to protect their children’s teeth, a topic very much worth considering as our kid’s dental health has an impact on the general health and well-being of the child. A study in North Carolina revealed that children with poor oral health were 3 times more likely to miss school due to dental pain and that kids reporting dental pain were 4 times more likely to have a lower grade point average than their peers without dental pain.

Keeping our youngster’s teeth health requires a multi-focal strategy, starting with twice daily brushing for at least two minutes, fluoride oral hygiene products, a diet that is low in sugar (especially any sweetened beverage, including fruit juices) and having dental sealants placed on all permanent molars.

Several studies have produced strong evidence that pit and fissure sealants are effective in preventing dental decay in children. Sealing the pits and fissures of newly erupted permanent molars in kids with plastic resin acts as a cost-effective barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Due to the deep grooves found in permanent molars, toothbrush bristles are not effective in adequately removing debris from deep depressions. Dental sealants protect vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. Dental sealants do not require anesthesia or any cutting of tooth structure and are relatively easy to apply by dental hygienists in a clinical setting.

In short, prevention pays off. The average cost of applying a dental sealant to a child’s permanent teeth is roughly one-third the cost of filling a cavity. So seal the deal!

Jeannie’s Breast Cancer Survival Tips

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    • If a member of your family had a form of breast cancer, find out what type. For example, invasive lobular carcinoma does not share the same diagnostic characteristics as ductile carcinoma in situ.
    • As mentioned above, knowing your family history will help you make more informed decisions about things like hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, etc. Some cancers are fueled by estrogen and you should discuss risks with your physician.
    • Know under what type of density your breast tissue is classified. There are 4 medical “types”: fatty, normal, moderately dense and highly dense. If you fall into the moderately to highly dense category, discuss the possibility of getting a 3-D mammogram! My tissue type was considered very dense and my 4 tumors were not detected by the “normal” mammograms.
    • Breast care nurses no longer do manual breast exams at mammogram centers due to state policy BUT they can be done by your OB/GYN if you request them. My cancer was first found by a routine manual breast exam followed by a 3-D mammogram to verify the findings. I feel that the manual breast exam is what allowed my invasive cancer to be found while in Stage 1.
    • If you or a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer, please know that there is so much hope! Breast cancer research has increased survival of this disease tremendously. Allow the people in your life to share in your journey, help you in daily tasks when you are tired and gain inspiration from you. Truly, new “angels” enter your life in the form of survivors, nurses and doctors, caring co-workers and neighbors. This loving support is part of your treatment.
    • Finally, knowing that breast cancer treatments keep improving, stay positive BUT realize that when the treatment is done, you can greatly increase your health by adopting modifiable lifestyle factors:
      • Diet
        • Mediterranean diet or vegetarian diet
        • Removing white sugar and flour from your diet
        • Intermittent fasting
      • Daily exercise
      • Stress reduction techniques
  • If I can ever be of assistance, I will gladly share my survivor lessons in more detail, as they are too numerous to mention! Consider me an email away at

Notes from the hygiene department:

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Flossing has quietly lost its place among recommendations for daily health, at least as prescribed in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are issued every five years by the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture. This has come as a surprise to many patients as well as the general dental community, posing the question, if flossing does not help my oral health then why do my gums stop bleeding when I floss each day?

Needless to say, the Mallard Family gang was aghast at this proclamation as we have seen first-hand how much daily flossing has transformed the oral health of our patients. So what gives?

We will acknowledge that flossing is not the only – or the best – way of cleaning those murky little interdental spaces. As a matter of fact, if you can fit a “Soft Pic” or an interdental brush between your teeth, you will most probably do a much more effective job at preventing both decay and gum diseases. Note that I wrote “most probably.” This is due to the fact that very few empirical or long-term studies are funded to actually test the efficacy of oral hygiene practices. We know they work, but why aren’t they studied in academic settings?

In order to test the hypothesis that flossing has a positive effect on dental decay, researchers would need a very large sample size. We need to make sure that the sample of people we recruit is representative of the U.S. population. Next, utilizing a randomized controlled design, we would need to randomly assign participants to either the no flossing control group or the flossing group. To adequately wait enough time to look for disease trends, we would need a testing period of at least 3 years… if not 5 years. What other variables could have an effect on dental health besides flossing? How about how much sugar (especially in the form of soda pop) is consumed, whether or not there is fluoride in the water supply, or if the person has had sealants or not? Think about the potential “other things” that can cause decay and then think about trying to find a way to build a study around them.

In summary, what the Dietary Guidelines for Americans failed to explain is that there are just not enough studies to make a “statement of fact.” That is because the studies are too lengthy and expensive and the funding could go to more pressing problems. We can offer you a mini-research project that you can do in your own homes. If you have a gum area that tends to bleed, floss or Soft Pic it daily for one week. With a confidence interval of 95%, we can guesstimate that the bleeding will stop. Reason? You have just removed the bad bacteria that causes dental diseases.

Mallard Family Dental Center is a Boise Idaho Dentist. Contact Us for more information.