Dr. William P. Lamas – Periodontist near Key West, FL
What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist specializes in treating issues related to the structures that support the teeth as well as the diseases and conditions that affect the teeth. In addition, a periodontist uses experience and skill to prevent a future problem from developing. Periodontists perform cosmetic procedures to improve the aesthetics of a patient’s smile and the functionality of the teeth.
What is the Difference Between a Periodontist and a Dentist?
Just like a general dentist, a periodontist completes dental school; however, in order to specialize in Periodontology, Dr. Lamas completed an additional three years of study concentrating on this area of practice. During this time, he treated cancerous gingival tissue, inserted dental implants and performed a variety of other gum and jaw surgeries.
An Experienced Periodontist Near the Keys
As a periodontist in Miami, near the Florida Keys, Dr. William P. Lamas specializes in diagnosing and treating gum infections, performing a variety of procedures to prevent tooth loss and using innovative solutions like dental implants to replace missing teeth.
The Incidence of Gum Disease in the US
The CDC states that nearly 50 percent of all the adults in the U.S. have some level of gum disease (i.e., periodontal disease). Furthermore, people who are 31 years of age or older are especially vulnerable to developing periodontal disease. Biannual cleanings can help eliminate the bacteria responsible for causing the development of bacteria. Contact Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami, near the Keys at 305-440-4114 to make a dental cleaning appointment today.
Causes of gum disease include:
- poor oral hygiene;
- tobacco use;
- hormone variances;
- certain medications;
- bruxism (grinding of teeth, particularly while asleep); and/or
There is a Connection Between Gum Health and Physical Wellness
Studies indicate that gum disease may play a part in the development of diabetes, respiratory disease, cancer, heart disease, stroke and even Alzheimer’s; therefore, a healthy mouth is vital to maintaining physical wellness.
Recognizing the Four Stages of Gum Disease
There are four stages of gum disease:
- Slight Periodontal Disease
- Moderate Periodontal Disease
Pink gingival tissue or tissue that appears to be the natural color it has always been indicates a healthy mouth; however, when the gums bleed while brushing and/or flossing, or they feel sensitive, these may be signs of gingivitis.
Treating gingivitis before it progresses is ideal because any damage that has been caused is usually reversible at this stage of the disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it could continue to progress into slight periodontal disease, followed by moderate periodontal disease.
Preventing gingivitis involves practicing good oral hygiene every day and making your professional cleaning/dental exam appointments twice a year. Visiting your dentist biannually for a cleaning and exam increases the likelihood that dental problems will be detected early on.
Slight Periodontal Disease and Moderate Periodontal Disease
During these stages of the disease, swelling and redness increase. Pain may or may not be present. Any damage to the bones and teeth that is caused after stage one cannot be reversed naturally. If the third stage of the disease is not addressed, the fourth stage will begin.
Periodontitis is the last stage of gum disease. Periodontitis can cause pain upon biting or chewing, deep pockets filled with pus may develop, fillings start falling out, mouth sores develop, dental prostheses start fitting differently, the gums may begin to recede (i.e., pull back from the teeth), causing the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
No matter how often or how long an individual with periodontitis brushes, the bad breath he or she is experiencing cannot be eliminated as the bacteria continually release gases emitting noxious odors within the mouth: This gas frequently smells like rotten eggs. Seeking assistance from a periodontist right away is essential; otherwise, tooth loss is imminent.
When to See a Periodontist
If your gums are red and inflamed or bleeding, especially while you brush and floss, the bacteria responsible for the development of gum disease are present. Other symptoms that frequently accompany these signs include a persistent sour taste in the mouth and/or chronic halitosis (i.e., bad breath).
If you notice that your gum line is pulling away from your teeth (i.e., receding) and deep pockets are forming, it is vital that you make an appointment with an experienced periodontist right away. As these pockets form and the gums recede, the jawbone and teeth are being irreversibly damaged, which will eventually lead to tooth loss. By seeking treatment right away, Dr. William P. Lamas can address the infection, recontour your gums and, if necessary, replace missing teeth.
How Dr. Lamas Diagnoses Gum Disease at His Office in Miami, Near the Keys
Diagnosing gum disease requires determining which of the four stages of infection the patient has reached. Dr. William P. Lamas accomplishes this by gathering information from the patient, performing a dental exam and viewing X-rays to assess the health of the jawbone. Once he has determined the stage of infection, a personalized treatment plan can be created.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
At Lamas Dental Specialists, near the Keys, Dr. Lamas follows the recommendation of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) in relation to using the most cost-effective and least invasive manner to treat periodontal issues, including gum disease. For this reason, whenever possible, Dr. William P. Lamas uses non-surgical methods to treat gum disease; however, these treatments do have limitations. Therefore, in some cases, surgical intervention is the only option.
Treatments and Procedures Frequently Used by Periodontists in Miami, Near the Keys
Non-Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Modular Periodontal Therapy
This safe, non-surgical gum disease treatment is pain free. Dr. Lamas frequently begins treatment for gum disease using this non-surgical method. When gum disease is diagnosed in its early stages, the modular periodontal therapy technique offers excellent results. Moreover, this therapy can also be used to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis from developing.
A Deep Clean – Root Planing
During this procedure, the calculus (i.e., tartar) and plaque that has accumulated beneath the gum line is removed. This is accomplished with a laser. A fine, ultrasonic tip is gently placed between the gingival tissue and the tooth. The waves given off by the ultrasonic tip assist with removal of the tartar and plaque; thus, eliminating areas where the bacteria gather.
Shrinking the gum pockets and getting rid of the buildup is vital to any gum disease treatment plan.
If advanced gum disease is detected, antibiotic therapy (i.e., amoxicillin or metronidazole) will be initiated. Once the antibiotic has eliminated the infection, healing can begin.
Calculus and plaque can be washed away using a stream of high-pressure water along the gumline. This can be performed using a water flosser. However, if gum disease is already present, making an appointment with an experienced periodontist is recommended.
At Lamas Dental Specialists, near the Keys, Dr. William P. Lamas can use a professional-grade irrigation device to release a jet stream of medicated solution at the gum line. Patients with chronic gingivitis should consider scheduling routine visits with an experienced periodontist to prevent the onset of gum disease by implementing routine irrigation procedures.
Preventing Gum Disease
Once Dr. Lamas has successfully treated the patient’s gum disease at his state-of-the-art office near the Keys, the results can be maintained and re-occurrence can be prevented by brushing and flossing daily. In addition, determining the cause of the gum disease is essential to stopping the pattern. For example, people who smoke are more likely to develop gum disease than people who do not; therefore, giving up cigarettes may help the patient prevent a recurrence of gum disease.
The Importance of Scheduling Supportive Periodontal Therapy Appointments with Dr. Lamas at his Office Near the Keys
According to clinical research, patients with periodontal disease who visit their periodontist every few months have a greater chance at keeping their natural teeth than those who do not. These Supportive Periodontal Therapy appointments are recommended by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).
Oral Cancer Screenings
As an experienced periodontist, Dr. Lamas knows the signs that indicate oral cancer. He knows that recognizing, screening and then treating this cancer quickly can save his patient’s life; therefore, an oral cancer screening is performed at all Supportive Periodontal Therapy appointments.
Biannual Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings are one of the best ways to maintain the results achieved following any gum disease treatment. Cleanings at least twice a year are recommended to all of Dr. William P. Lamas’ patients.
At Lamas Dental Specialists, in Miami, near the Florida Keys, during our cleaning sessions we remove more than just tartar, stains and plaque from out patients’ teeth, we examine all areas of the mouth to determine if periodontal disease is present.
If the patient is diagnosed with gum disease, the plaque, tartar and bacteria that has accumulated beneath the gum line is removed; thus, preventing further damage to the jawbone. Stopping gum disease early on is vital because any damage to the jawbone caused after the first stage of gum disease (i.e., gingivitis) is irreversible.
Laser Periodontal Therapy
While the traditional methods used for the treatment of gum disease are scaling and root planing, controlled studies suggest that lasers provide patients with comparable results. Therefore, at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami, near the Keys, we address gum disease using lasers instead of scalpels.
Addressing Issues Caused by Gum Disease at Lamas Dental Specialists, in Miami, Near the Florida Keys
Gum tissue should fit snugly around the necks of the teeth; nevertheless, when periodontal disease develops, the bone and gum tissue that support the teeth are being destroyed by the bacteria. This destruction leads to the formation of pockets around the teeth. If the disease is left untreated, the pockets deepen and the bacteria begin accumulating beneath the gum tissue inside these pockets. If treatment is not sought, permanent bone and tissue damage is inevitable, which eventually results in tooth loss.
Exposed Roots Due to Gum Recession
Gum recession occurs for a variety of reasons: gum disease, abrasive brushing and aging can all cause the gums to recede. This process is slow; however, at some point, the roots of the teeth may become exposed. After exposure, tooth decay and pain along the gum line is likely. When gum recession is extreme, the teeth may become loose.
Traditional Gum Graft Surgery
The traditional procedure to treat receding gums is gum graft surgery. During this surgical procedure, the periodontist removes tissue from a donor site in the patient’s mouth (e.g., roof of the mouth). These small pieces of tissue are then used to cover the exposed roots. This procedure is tedious with only two teeth being addressed during each session and each surgical procedure lasting at least two hours. In addition, with traditional gum graft surgery, there is a high risk of infection. Furthermore, each gum graft takes approximately three weeks to heal. These are the reasons that Dr. William P. Lamas offers his patients the Pinhole Surgical Technique™.
Cosmetic Surgery Procedures Available at Lamas Dental Specialists, Near the Keys
People who want to improve their smile through the use of cosmetic surgery procedures typically visit a periodontist. For this reason, a periodontist is considered the ‘plastic surgeon of dentistry.’ There are a variety of treatments and procedures available at Lamas Dental Specialists to help patients improve their oral health and create the beautiful smile they have always wanted.
Indications for Dental Crown Lengthening
Preparation for a Cosmetic or Restorative Dental Procedure
When a tooth lacks enough structure or has a substantial amount of decay, dental crown lengthening may be used prior to a cosmetic or restorative procedure (e.g., bridge or crown placement). A dental lengthening procedure involves reshaping the gum tissue and bone to expose more of the natural tooth. Dr. William P. Lamas can perform dental crown lengthening on a single tooth, several teeth or the patient’s entire gum line.
An Uneven Gum Line or Gummy-Looking Smile
Periodontists also lengthen the crown to address an uneven gum line or a gummy-looking smile. When a patient has gums covering a large portion of the teeth, it causes them to appear short and stubby. The excess gum tissue is also a breeding ground for bacteria, increasing the likelihood that a patient will develop gum disease. Dr. Lamas can remove the gum tissue to reveal the teeth that lie beneath; thus, indirectly, lengthening the patient’s teeth.
Tooth Replacement Options Are Changing, For the Better
Today, advancements in cosmetic dentistry have made a huge difference in the lives of those who are missing teeth. Dental implants are replacing missing teeth and providing patients with the natural-looking, beautiful teeth they desire.
Previously, tooth replacement options consisted of:
- a ‘flipper,’ which is made to replace one missing tooth;
- a partial, which is created for several missing teeth; or
- a full removable denture, which is made to replace all the missing teeth in an arch (upper, lower, or both).
While these prostheses serve their purpose, there are drawbacks associated with each. Dental implants serve as the closest tooth replacement option to the natural teeth. With dental implants, patients can eat the foods they love without concerns related to their artificial teeth falling out (e.g., whole apples, caramel, corn-on-the-cob, etc.).
Indentations in the Gums and/or Jawbone
After the loss of a tooth, an indentation in the area where it used to be may develop. These indentations are caused by jawbone deterioration and can cause a replacement tooth to look longer than the rest of the natural teeth; however, as an experienced periodontist, Dr. William P. Lamas uses bone grafting techniques to build the bone up prior to replacing the missing tooth with a dental implant.
A dental implant is an artificial root with a crown. The implant is inserted into the jawbone and an artificial tooth (i.e., crown) is attached to the implant; thus, replacing the missing tooth. Patients can have one tooth, multiple teeth or all their teeth replaced using dental implants. With proper care and biannual cleanings, dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss.
Regenerative Procedure Available at Lamas Dental Specialists in Miami, Near the Florida Keys
Plasma Rich Growth Factors (PRF)
The PRF procedure is designed to regenerate lost tissue and bone through the use of the patient’s own plasma. Plasma is attained via a blood sample. By using plasma rich growth factors, the damage caused by gum disease can be reversed.
During the PRF procedure, Dr. Lamas removes any bacteria along the gum line and then places the protein-rich plasma in the areas that need to regenerate. This plasma will stimulate the body’s regeneration process; thus, encouraging bone and tissue growth.
Dr. William P. Lamas has been serving South Florida for more than 20 years. As an experienced and dedicated periodontist, he understands the effect that tooth loss has on an individual’s life. He and his staff provide each patient with compassionate, high-quality care using the most innovative dental solutions available. If you have a dental problem, or you would like to improve your smile, please call Lamas Dental Specialists today at 305-440-4114 to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lamas. Lamas Dental Specialists is located in Miami, near the Keys.