Walter E. Gay, Jr., DDS

602 Main Street, Suite 315
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-7900

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What Makes a Periodontist Different from a General Dentist?

May 20th, 2019

Your regular dentist is a lot like your regular doctor. You see them both frequently for checkups and advice on maintaining your health. Your dentist is the one to visit for dental concerns such as discovering and treating cavities and gingivitis, fitting crowns and putting in fillings, performing simple extractions and many more of the procedures that keep our teeth and mouths healthy. And just as your general practitioner might refer you to a specialist if needed, your dentist might recommend a dental specialist called a periodontist like Dr. Walter Gay Jr. for expert treatment of more serious periodontal conditions.

The word “periodontist” was coined from the Greek words for “around” and “tooth”—in other words, a practitioner whose specialty is the treatment of the supporting structures around our teeth. These structures include the gums, the bone tissue holding the tooth, and the connective tissue between tooth and bone. A degree in periodontology generally requires three additional years of post-doctoral study after dental school focused on the treatment of periodontal disease and cosmetic restorations.

What special care does a periodontist provide?

  • Diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontitis is a disease of the gums and bones around the teeth caused by the body’s response to the bacteria in plaque. The earlier it is treated, the better. Untreated gum disease can lead to serious infection and tooth and bone loss.
  • Surgical care for periodontal disease. This might involve gum grafting for receding gums or regeneration therapy to restore bone tissue.
  • Debridement, scaling and root planing. These procedures remove excessive plaque and tartar from areas of the tooth above and below the gumline.
  • Monitoring interactions with other health conditions. If you have diabetes, heart disease or other systemic diseases, it’s a good idea to have a periodontal evaluation. Pregnant women can also benefit from an exam if they develop gum swelling and bleeding as a result of the changes caused by pregnancy hormones.
  • Implant placement. For those considering an implant, periodontists will make sure the underlying bone is healthy and has enough density for an implant, can build up the bone if needed, and will place the implant in the bone.

Your regular dentist is your first stop when taking care of your dental health. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can usually be treated by your regular dentist or dental hygienist. But if you need a specialist for more advanced periodontal disease, if you have medical issues that interact with gum health, or if you are considering a dental implant, Dr. Walter Gay Jr. can provide you with the best possible care for your individual needs from the comfort of our Cincinnati, OH office.

Teeth Whitening and Your Smile

May 9th, 2019

The best type of whitening for your smile depends on what you are hoping to accomplish.

Whitening Toothpastes

This is certainly the easiest method of whitening, but will brushing alone produce your whitest smile? Probably not. Whitening toothpastes use chemicals and abrasives to remove some surface stains caused by foods, beverages and smoking. They can also be used to maintain the appearance of your teeth after a professional whitening. However, toothpaste alone cannot change the natural color of your teeth or penetrate the surface of the tooth to remove deeper stains. A whitening toothpaste usually takes several weeks to produce results. Be sure to choose a product with a seal of approval from a reputable dental association and carefully follow the instructions for use.

Whitening Strips and Gel Trays

Whitening gels can be applied at home with strips or tray kits. These peroxide-based gels are stronger than the formulas used in toothpaste.

Strips come coated with the whitening gel and work when pressed to your teeth for a specified amount of time. One difficulty here is making sure each tooth is completely covered by the strip so that even whitening takes place. Tray and gel whitening systems provide a mouthguard-like appliance that is filled with whitening gel and applied to your teeth, again for a specific period of time. Because one size does not fit all, stock trays can be ill fitting and lead to problems with gums and soft tissue. You can talk to our team about a custom-fitted appliance and whether gel whitening is your best option.

Some users find gel products cause tooth and gum sensitivity and even enamel damage. These over-the-counter gel products will not work on caps, veneers, crowns, or bridges, and there might be underlying conditions in your natural teeth that will make the use of these products ineffective. Please talk to us at your next visit to our Cincinnati, OH office if you are interested in whitening at home, so we can advise you on how to achieve the best and safest outcome.

Office Treatment

Professional whitening makes use of a gel with a higher concentration of peroxide and should only be provided by Dr. Walter Gay Jr. or a member of our team at our Cincinnati, OH office. This process is generally faster, more effective and longer lasting. We take care first to examine your teeth for pre-existing conditions such as cavities and gum disease that could cause problems. We protect your gums when the gel is applied in office and monitor the procedure. We can assess the progress of the whitening and suggest further treatment if needed. Custom mouthpieces can also be an option if you would like to use a whitening gel at home. A personally molded tray will fit your teeth perfectly and allow a more precise application of the peroxide gel.

Some teeth are not good candidates for normal whitening procedures at home or in office. If you have dark stains caused by trauma, drugs such as tetracycline, discoloration due to root canals, or darker dental bonding, crowns, or other prosthetics, please talk to us about other possible solutions. We want to help you achieve your brightest possible smile.

Tips for a Whiter Smile

May 2nd, 2019

Everyday life can take a toll on the whiteness of our teeth: Foods we love as well as soft drinks and coffee can stain them over time. Poor brushing and flossing can also leave behind tooth stains. Even injuries to teeth or gums can cause some yellowing, and in certain cases, medicines can contribute to discoloration.

So don’t get discouraged if you notice your smile has dimmed. You can definitely take action to restore the natural beauty of your teeth. Here are some of the best ways to whiten them:

  1. Drink through a straw or cut back on coffee and soft drinks to reduce risk of stains.
  2. Brush and floss every day.
  3. Try a whitening toothpaste or mouthwash.
  4. Visit our Cincinnati, OH office every six months for regular cleanings.

We also offer in-office professional whitening at our Cincinnati, OH office. These whitening products are much more effective than whiteners you can buy at the store and are completely safe. Since they’re stronger, application by a member of our team is essential to achieve the best results.

Still, some teeth can resist bleaching. If that’s the case, we can try several other techniques, such as deep bleaching that applies whitening agents over several visits, veneers and bonds that cover existing stains with a whiter, brighter surface, or laser whitening.

If a whitening session is something you’d like to pursue, be careful about whom you trust to perform the procedure. Avoid using “bleaching stations” in shopping malls or at fairs. These so-called whitening techniques can irritate your teeth and gums, and leave them highly sensitive to pain.

Also, operators of these whitening stands will make customers apply the bleach themselves, to avoid charges of practicing without a license. That should serve as a red flag and a caution to seek trained professionals like Dr. Walter Gay Jr., instead.

How Crown Lengthening Can Improve Your Smile

April 25th, 2019

“Crown lengthening”? Probably not an expression most of us are familiar with! In fact, this is a common periodontal procedure designed to improve both the health and the appearance of our smiles by revealing more of the tooth surface usually hidden by our gums.

What is Crown Lengthening?

The “crown” is the part of our tooth covered by enamel, while the “lengthening” is actually the result of revealing more of the tooth. Usually, Dr. Walter Gay Jr. will use a local anesthetic to numb the area, and remove gum tissue from the base of a specific tooth or teeth. If necessary, a small amount of bone tissue might be removed from the base of the tooth as well. This process exposes more tooth surface. When the ideal tooth length is visible, the tissue around it is then shaped for an even appearance and the repositioned gum tissue is often sutured in place. We will always tailor this treatment to your specific needs, so talk to us about our treatment plan for you. We will explain the surgery, after care, and follow-up visits.

Why Consider Crown Lengthening?

  • To Repair an Injured Tooth

Sometimes a tooth suffers an injury that makes it impossible to repair without crown lengthening. If a tooth is broken off at the gumline, or suffers a fracture that extends to the gumline, more of the tooth will need to be exposed so that there is enough remaining natural tooth to support a crown. Similarly, this procedure might also be necessary for a filling if decay has affected the tooth near the gumline. Crown lengthening can enable us to perform a restoration and save a tooth where an extraction might otherwise take place.

  • For Cosmetic Improvement

An excess of gum tissue can lead to a “gummy” smile. Crown lengthening can reduce extra gum tissue and, if needed, bone tissue, to provide you with a well-proportioned smile. The gum tissue will be contoured for an even, attractive gumline. This process is carefully designed to create a balance of lips, teeth, and gums for your most appealing smile. Crown lengthening might also be advisable if more tooth surface is needed for veneers.

Call our Cincinnati, OH office if you have any questions about this procedure, whether for restorative or cosmetic reasons. “Crown lengthening” might be a term you’ve never heard before. But it might be exactly the procedure you need to ensure healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.

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