Posts for: May, 2014


Periodontal gum disease is a relentless enemy to dental health that destroys gum tissue and the teeth’s attachment to the jaw. As it ravages these tissues it often creates periodontal pockets, hidden spaces between the teeth and bone that fill with infectious bacteria capable of accelerating damage to teeth and gums.

The primary treatment goal for gum disease is to create an environment that is cleansable below the gum tissues, in order to remove as much bacterial plaque from the tooth, gum and root surfaces as possible. Periodontal pockets pose a challenge to this goal as they are extremely difficult to access using standard cleaning and root planing techniques the deeper they become. Cleaning and treating these deep pockets, however, is made easier with a procedure known as periodontal flap surgery.

This procedure is not a cure, but rather a way to access the interior of a periodontal pocket to remove infection and diseased tissue. In effect, we create an opening — like the hinged flap of a letter envelope — to gain entry into the affected pocket. Not only does this opening enable us to clean out infection within the pocket, but it can also facilitate cleaning the tooth’s root surfaces.

It also provides an opening for us to insert grafting materials to regenerate lost bone and tissue. It’s nearly impossible for this tissue regeneration to occur if bacterial infection and inflammation persist in the affected area. Periodontal flap surgery provides us the critical access we need to effectively remove these contaminants that stymie healthy growth.

This procedure is normally performed with local anesthesia and usually results in little bleeding and minimal post-operative effects. Once we have finished any procedures to clean the pocket and other affected tissues, or installed grafts for future bone and tissue growth, we would then seal the flap back against the tooth using sutures and gentle pressure to promote blood clotting around the edges. We might also install a moldable dressing that re-secures the edges of the flap to their proper position and prevents food debris from interfering with healing.

Periodontal flap surgery is the result of years of research to find the best techniques for treating gum disease. It’s one of many weapons in our arsenal for winning the war against decay and gum disease, and helping you realize a healthier dental future.

If you would like more information on periodontal flap surgery, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Flap Surgery.”

3 Cosmetic Dentistry Options Explained by Dr. James Howell

Your smile is one of the first things a person might notice about your appearance. However, when your smile isn’t all its cracked up to be, you may be searching for solutions to help improve the appearance of your teeth.  To help you better understand your cosmetic dentistry options in Louisville, Dr. James Howell offers an inside look at three different options currently available at his dental office.Cosmetic Dentistry

Dental Implants for the Replacement of Missing Teeth

With age and time, the thin, tough outer surface that coats your teeth, called the enamel, can wear and look dulled, stained and discolored.  This can occur naturally with age or as a result of certain medications.  However, this change in your teeth is often due to habits such as tooth grinding, poor oral hygiene, and the consumption of carbonated and sugary soft drinks.  Tea, coffee and smoking can all contribute to the staining of your teeth as well. Over time, as you grow older, your teeth will naturally wear down just like the wear and tear on a car tire or shoes.  As your teeth are used in everyday activities such as chewing, they wear away and can become cracked or chipped.  


Dental Fillings to Protect Damaged Teeth

Your lifestyle heavily influences the health of your teeth, and at some point in our lives most of us will end up with a cavity or two.  A dental filling is a type of dental restoration that is used to fix minor damaged teeth and other problems that are commonly associated with tooth decay.
There are two main categories that dental fillings fall into: direct and indirect restorations.  Direct restorations are fillings that are placed immediately into a prepared cavity in only one visit while indirect restorations may require two or more visits.   Indirect includes inlays, on-lays, veneers, crowns and bridges.  You have a wide array of choices when it comes to restoring damaged or decayed teeth.  Many people will even replace their old silver amalgam fillings with newer white composite fillings. 
Without treatment from our office in Louisville and proper oral hygiene, dental decay may continue to advance and can result in the loss of the affected tooth or teeth.  It is always important to talk openly with our office to learn about the various ways that you can protect and restore your teeth. 

Veneers for an Overall Improved Appearance

Regardless of what causes unattractive teeth, dental veneers may solve most or even all of your cosmetic dental issues.  Dental veneers are often used to correct worn enamel.  Over time, the thin, hard translucent substance covering your teeth, known as enamel, may become worn, dulled and discolored.  This discoloration may be natural, or a result of a genetic predisposition.  Worn enamel can also be from the result of consuming soft drinks, tea, coffee, smoking or using certain medications.  As you age, your teeth naturally wear down, making them more likely to have chips, cracks or an uneven appearance.  Dental veneers can solve these imperfections.
Contact our office today to learn more about cosmetic dentistry in Louisville. It is our goal to provide you with the best in quality dental health care available and that is especially evident through various cosmetic dentistry services, including dental implants, dental fillings and veneers in our Louisville office.

Explore the Benefits of 3M Espe – A Denture Attachment System

To further improve his dental office and the services offered, Dr. Howell recently attended a course sponsored by 3M Espe regarding a denture attachment system. Through this class, Dr. Howell was able to gain further knowledge of the benefit of this new denture attachment system and how it would benefit those with dentures.
3M Espe Denture Attachment
This system would benefit those who are having difficulty with their complete dentures or partial dentures. If you are currently wearing a denture and are having to use paste all the time to keep your denture from moving, or if you are unable to eat the foods you like while wearing your dentures, we are now offering this form of implant dentistry at the office of Dr. James Howell. 
Contact us today to learn more about this innovative implant dentistry procedure at our office! We can help you smile with confidence and without complications.

Louisville, KY Cosmetic Dentistry
James B. Howell, D.M.D.
3936 Dutchmans Lane
Louisville, KY 40207
(502) 899-7766



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