The Importance of Gum Disease Prevention

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when bacteria causes inflammation of the gums that hold adult teeth in place. As a result, people with periodontal disease can lose their permanent teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque build-up. Plaque is the sticky film on your teeth that can only be removed by brushing your teeth.

How Gum Disease Begins

When you don’t clean plaque from your teeth it can cause your gums to form pockets where bacteria becomes trapped. Plaque also hardens into calculus on and under your gums. When that happens it is nearly impossible to remove on your own. You will need a dental cleaning to take away all of the calculus. Without a professional cleaning, you can develop periodontal disease, which when untreated can cause tooth loss.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

There are a number of possible symptoms of gum disease. These symptoms can include:

  • red swollen gums
  • blood on your toothbrush
  • bad breath
  • pus
  • loose teeth
  • changes in your dental bite

Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease progresses in a series of stages. In the early stages,which is called gingivitis, you may notice bleeding and swollen gums. At this point it’s possible to reverse gum disease with proper daily care at home and a professional cleaning at the dentist. A special tool used to remove hardened calculus and plaque beneath the gums. More advanced stages can require a deeper cleaning or referral to a periodontist who specializes in gum disease.


The best way to prevent gum disease is by brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Also see your dentist for regular cleanings and exams. Ask your dentist or hygienist to review the proper steps in brushing and flossing to make sure you are doing them correctly. If you are a smoker it’s important to quit right away because it is a significant risk factor of gum disease.

It is possible to prevent gum disease by taking good care of your teeth. It is easier to treat gum disease when it is identified early. Your dentist will check for signs of gum disease when you come in for your exams.

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Bring the Family to Kleb Woods Hummingbird Festival

The Kleb Woods Hummingbird Festival is returning to the Houston area on Saturday. The annual free event is held at the Kleb Woods Nature Center in Tomball from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is the perfect opportunity to spend the day with family while learning about the hummingbird, including how to identify and attract the tiny creatures to your home.

There will be plenty of opportunities to see the unique structure of the hummingbird close up as over 100 of the feathered jewels will be at the event. Watch expert Sumita Prasad banding them throughout the day. Hummingbird programs include:

9:30 a.m. Photographer Sarah Kuzio will present Discovering the Birds of Kleb Woods

11:00 a.m. Kleb Woods naturalist Kendra Kocab will present All You Ever Wanted to Know About Hummingbirds

Owl lovers won’t want to miss Mary Ann Weber from 10 a.m. to 1:30. See owls live and in person and ask the Houston Audobon Society Education Director questions. She will also present Silent Hunters, a program to give everyone a chance to meet an Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl and Great Horned Owl at 2:00 p.m.

In addition there will be games and activities for the whole family. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own food and drink as refreshments will not be sold. For more information call Kleb Woods Nature Center at (281) 357-5324 and we at Craig Armstrong, DDS hope to see you there!

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The Steps Involved in Getting a Crown

When a cavity is too large to be filled then you may need a crown. Your dentist applies a crown over your tooth to protect it while restoring it to its original size and shape. Tooth-colored porcelain crowns are the most popular type because they blend well with existing teeth. Like all dental work, crowns will eventually need to be replaced. Good oral hygiene can significantly extend the life of a crown.

Some other reasons why you may need a crown include:

  • Root canal
  • Broken filling
  • Tooth fracture
  • Tooth Decay
  • Cosmetic Reasons

The dentist will take impressions of your teeth during your first visit. The first mold will be for your temporary crown, placed on your tooth while the lab makes your permanent crown.

Then the dentist will prepare your tooth for the new crown. All decay will need to be removed and then the dentist will shape the tooth surface. After applying the temporary crown the dentist will check your bite to make sure the temporary crown fits properly.

During the second visit your dentist will remove the temporary crown and clean your tooth. Then the permanent crown will be applied and your bite checked again for proper fit.

Your dentist will check your crown during regular exams to make sure it hasn’t become loose or damaged. In the meantime you should keep the crown clean by brushing and flossing as usual.

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How Dental Health Affects Your Heart

Gum disease is an infection that affects the tissues that support teeth. It is also one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Although there has been no concrete data relating gum disease prevention and a lower risk of heart disease, there does appear to be a connection. In fact, in a statement made in April 2012, the American Heart Association (AHA) did support an association between the two diseases. However, the AHA has been careful to point out the need for further scientific evidence.

Heart disease causes narrowing of the arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. It puts people at risk of heart attacks and stroke. Heart disease and gum disease certainly share risk factors. People who smoke and people with diabetes are at an increased risk of both diseases.

While studies continue, the American Dental Association recommends that people continue to prevent gum disease and heart disease by doing the following:

  • Brushing twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride
  • Flossing daily or using an interdental cleaner each day
  • Eating a balanced diet

The most important thing you can do to ensure good oral health is to have professional cleanings every 6 months and visit the dentist for regular exams. That will give your dentist the opportunity to identify signs of gum disease early. Then the appropriate steps can be taken to treat it.

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The Connection Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

According to the American Diabetes Association, over 26 million people are living with diabetes. People with the disease are unable to produce or use insulin, resulting in high blood sugar. In addition to heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease, people with diabetes have an increased risk of oral health complications. The most significant oral health issue for people with diabetes is gum disease.

Recent research has shown that the diabetes and gum disease connection is more advanced than once believed. Not only do people with diabetes have a higher risk of gum disease, people with gum disease are at a higher risk of developing diabetes complications.

The relationship between diabetes and susceptibility to infection is what makes it easy for gum disease to develop. People with diabetes have a harder time fighting bacteria in the gums and it also takes longer for them to heal during treatment. Interestingly, treating gum disease in people with diabetes appears to help regulate blood sugar.

  • People with diabetes can benefit from the following when it comes to their oral health:
  • Understanding the risk of developing severe gum disease
  • Being vigilant about professional dental cleanings at least every six months
  • Seeing the dentist for periodontal screenings to treat early signs as soon as possible
  • Notifying the dentist about any changes in your diabetes and diabetes medications

Awareness is an important part of preventing gum disease. If you have diabetes, communicating with your dentist will ensure that the proper steps are taken. It’s your dentist’s goal to work with you to achieve healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.

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The Armstrong Team

The dental practice of Craig Armstrong, DDS is an office family of highly-trained clinicians focused on providing exceptional patient care at all times. The team’s strong personal connection has created a warm and cohesive office environment where patients can feel relaxed and comfortable.

Successful teamwork depends on a teams’ ability to work together cohesively in a supportive office culture. The team members at the practice of Craig Armstrong, DDS  trust each other, as they know they share the same devotion to the field of dentistry. The practice is so effective because of the mutual trust and respect between the team as they work closely with patients to ensure all of their needs are met. That’s because each member of the team has the skills and experience necessary to fulfill their integral roles in the dental practice.

Each team member is aware of how important their role is in the synergy of the practice and strives to always make things run smoothly. The shared goal of the dental practice of Craig Armstrong, DDS is that patients receive excellent care and communication so that they are always very satisfied with their treatment.

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Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Your wisdom teeth are the third molars that develop in each of the four quadrants of the mouth- upper, lower, left, and right. They usually erupt between the ages of 16 and 23. Some people never develop wisdom teeth and sometimes they erupt cleanly without causing any crowding issues. When wisdom teeth prevent access to adjacent teeth or become impacted they need to be removed by an oral surgeon.

Diagnosing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

The dentist can tell if your wisdom teeth are impacted by examining a panoramic x-ray of your mouth. Patients whose wisdom teeth are partially erupted through the gum tissue may notice inflammation that can then turn into an infection called pericoronitis. It occurs when bacteria gets under the tissue growth and may cause a bad taste in the mouth

The Extraction Process

You won’t feel any discomfort during the extraction. The dentist will administer anesthesia first to numb the area completely. Then the tissue and bone are removed to make it easier for the dentist to extract the tooth from the socket cleanly. Once the tooth is removed you may need a few stitches to protect the area while it heals. The dentist will apply gauze to the area before you leave the office to control the bleeding.


It can take 2-3 days to heal from a wisdom tooth extraction. During that time it is normal to experience some bleeding, which will improve after the first 24 hours. The dentist will prescribe medication to make recovery more comfortable. You will also receive instructions for taking care of the surgical site. The most important thing is to protect the blood clot in the site so it doesn’t dislodge accidentally causing dry socket. If dry socket does occur the dentist should be contacted right away so that the area can be packed with medication.

Wisdom tooth extraction is a common surgery routinely performed by oral surgeons. If you are concerned that your wisdom teeth may be impacted then let your dentist know right away.

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Reasons You May Need Oral Surgery

Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who diagnosis and treat diseases, injuries, and defects of the head, mouth, teeth, gums, jaws and neck. There are many different types of oral surgery performed by these dental specialists. Three of the most common surgeries are wisdom teeth removal , tooth extractions, and dental implants.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth removal is a common type of oral surgery. Your wisdom teeth are the third molars in each of the four dental quadrants. Some people never develop their wisdom teeth but most people have them. When wisdom teeth become impacted under the gum tissue a panoramic X-ray can assess the state of the teeth. They can then be extracted in the oral surgeon’s office.  Wisdom teeth are also extracted when they cause overcrowding or shifting of other teeth in a patient’s mouth.

Before removing your wisdom teeth, your dentist will give you a local or general anesthetic. While a local anesthetic numbs a specific area of your mouth, a general anesthetic allows you to sleep through the surgery without any discomfort. After the teeth are removed your dentist will stitch up the area so that it can heal properly. You will leave the office with gauze to help stop the bleeding.  It generally takes no more than a few days for your gums to heal. Your dentist will give you a prescription for pain medication and a list of tips for speeding the recovery process.

Tooth Extractions

In addition to wisdom teeth removal, sometimes it is necessary to have other teeth extracted. For example, extractions are performed if the dentist wants to make room for other teeth or if there is tooth abscess. The surgery is similar to wisdom teeth removal. Your dentist gives you an anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the surgery. You may need stitches afterwards which either dissolve on their own or are removed later on. You will receive pain medication and a list of instructions. For example, after 24 hours you will begin rinsing gently with warm salt water to promote healing.

Dental Implants

When you have missing teeth, either due to decay or injury, they can be replaced with dental implants. Your dentist fits you for replacement teeth that match the shade of your other teeth. Implants are the roots that the new teeth are attached to. The posts are made of titanium which fuses to the bone in your gums. Your jawbone will heal around the implant, anchoring it securely. It can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to heal.

When the jawbone is healed the dentist will attach a small connector post (an abutment) to the post which will hold the new tooth. The new tooth (or crown) is attached to the abutment. The new tooth will act the same as your other teeth.

These are three treatments often performed by oral surgeons. They also take care of issues with TMJ, sleep apnea and facial injury repair.

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