Major causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is usually caused by severe plaque buildup and bacteria entering the gums, inflaming them. Without proper care, gum disease, otherwise known as gingivitis, can turn worse and cause periodontitis. Lack of care when you are someone with gum disease can lead to tooth decay and potentially losing teeth and jawbone dimension.

If you think you may be predisposed to having gum disease, here are some things to keep note of:


It is a known fact that smoking causes cancer, as well as many other deadly diseases. But many of us might not know that it can also cause gum diseases. It has been shown that tobacco users (smokers and those who chew tobacco) are most prone to periodontitis. Smoking not just cigarettes but even cigars or a pipe is equally dangerous to periodontal health. Even after the treatment for the diseases is started, smoking cigarettes will hinder the healing process.


Studies have shown that as high as 30% of the whole population may have hereditary trace of periodontitis. These unlucky percentages of people are six times more at risk of getting gum disease even if they take good care of their teeth and gum. These people can however get preventive care beforehand by finding out if they have genetic traces of the gum diseases.


Stress is something that has been a link to many diseases. The reason stress is a cause for diseases is because stress is a trigger to the brain. If you are prone to high levels of stress, your brain sends signals to your whole body, which controls diseases like hypertension and cancer. Because stress is so closely tied to the body, it is why it’s one of the causes for gum disease. When you are overly stressed, your body has a hard time fighting off diseases.


If you have ever wondered why your dentist asks about medicines you take, they may be the cause of gum disease. Medicines like oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, medicine for cancer treatment and some heart medicines can cause the gum disease. It is important for you to inform your dentist of all the medicine you are taking for other illnesses too, for this reason.



Gum Recession Therapy

gum recession therapy

One of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease is gum recession. This occurs when the gum tissue begins to pull back from the teeth, making the teeth look longer than they should. Not only does it compromise the person’s aesthetic, it can further exacerbate health problems. When you notice recession occurring, you should call Dr. Tom McCawley to see if the Pinhole® Surgical Technique is right for you. If it is, then there are many benefits you stand to gain.

Nearly Free of Pain

Our periodontist in Ft. Lauderdale, FL will apply a topical anesthetic to the area, so you will not feel much during the procedure. As a result, it is a much more comfortable procedure than gum disease treatments of the past. There will also be little to no post-op pain, making the recovery process much easier to get through.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

One aspect of PST® all patients enjoy is that no stitching or cutting is required. Our periodontist will not have to cut through healthy tissue in the mouth. The process does not rely on a suture or scalpel at all. Due to this, you will not have as severe as a recovery period as gum treatments from years ago.

Fast Procedure

In the dental world, many professionals refer to PST™ as the “lunchtime gum lift.” This is because it can generally be done in just one visit that only lasts about 30 minutes. You will be in and out in no time, so you can easily schedule the appointment within your busy schedule.

A Fast Recovery

Gum grafts of the past would sometimes take weeks to recover from. You will feel as good as new within a day or two with the Pinhole® Surgical Technique. There is no need to live with gum recession when you can visit the McCawley Center for Laser Periodontics and Implants. Call us as soon as you notice a problem, so we can recommend the best treatment for you.

How to Prevent Gum Disease in 7 Easy Steps

We all know that gum disease can lead to gum recession and loose teeth but there is more to it than that. Gum disease not only destroys your beautiful smile, it can raise the likelihood that you will suffer from a host of systemic illnesses. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are more likely to develop in those with gum disease. If maintaining healthy gums can prevent illness, how can we best avoid gum disease in Ft. Lauderdale, FL?

The Low Stress Way to Healthy Gums

  1. Brush a minimum of twice per day. More is better but at the very least, you must clear the bacteria and plaque from your teeth morning and night.
  2. Floss once a day. No one likes to floss but it only takes two minutes and the health benefits are numerous. Your periodontist will tell you to use string floss to get the areas around the teeth; floss picks will not access these areas.
  3. Schedule twice yearly cleanings. Professional cleanings tackle the plaque below the gum line and places you cannot reach.
  4. Visit your doctor once a year for an exam. Your dentist or periodontist can monitor your gums for signs of gum disease. Early detection is critical.
  5. Watch for symptoms of gum disease. Bleeding gums are a sure sign – and the first sign—that something is wrong. If your gums bleed when you brush, call your doctor to schedule an appointment. Early treatments can be as simple as antibiotics or deep cleanings.
  6. Swap your chips for fruits and vegetables. When you bite into an apple, the fiber scrubs your teeth clean and you create more saliva, which rinses away bacteria. They also provide you with vital nutrients.
  7. Check your habits. If you smoke, stop. It is terrible for your gums. If you chew gum, switch to sugar-free. When you are on the run and cannot brush after a meal, sugar-free gum may actually help to clear food particles from your teeth.

These are the basics to keeping you free from gum disease in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. For more information, call our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tom McCawley. Dr. McCawley can help you determine whether you are at risk for periodontal disease and your options for treatment.

5 Natural Foods that Promote Healthy Gums

March is National Nutrition Month! Did you know that nutrition plays a vital role in the health of your teeth and gums, in addition to your body as a whole? While maintaining proper dental health in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is important, eating a diet rich in natural nutrients can help provide additional protection against cavities and gum disease. Our periodontist, Dr. Tom McCawley, outlines some of the best foods for your gum health below.


Leafy Greens—Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale are full of vitamins and minerals like fiber, which requires a little extra work to chew. This helps produce saliva that washes away bacteria in the mouth and helps prevent cavities.

Cheese and Yogurt—Calcium, protein-rich dairy products (including milk) help to ward off acids from bacteria buildup in the mouth. Eating cheese can help raise the pH levels in the mouth and help lower risk for tooth decay and disease.

Vegetables—Celery and carrots are high in fiber and Vitamin A, both helping to increase the production of saliva in the mouth. Celery is often seen as “nature’s dental floss,” and can be combined with cream cheese or peanut butter for a tasty, healthy snack.

Fruit—Apples provide a great source of fiber and Vitamin C. In addition, their high water content can help wash away plaque and provide natural stimulation to the gums. Apples do contain natural sugar, so be sure to brush your teeth after.

Ginger Root—This “healing” herb contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that help fight off bacteria and preventing in the mouth. Ginger can be consumed raw, in hot tea, shredded into stir-fry, or baked into pies and pastries.


Does your dental health in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, need a nutritional boost? Sometimes incorporating even a few of these healthy alternatives to sugars and sweets can improve your oral health. If you are showing signs of gum disease, such as bleeding, swollen gums, visit our periodontist to receive a consultation and learn about the best ways to care for your gums and teeth!



Prevent the Destructive Combination of Gum Disease and Bruxism

Although your body is made of numerous parts and systems, they are all connected. When a health condition arises and is left untreated, it can affect a seemingly unrelated issue and compound the damage. Two common oral concerns are gum disease, affecting over half of all Americans, and teeth grinding in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, which affects more than 30 percent of the population. * When gum disease (periodontal disease) and teeth grinding (bruxism) combine, they can accelerate the damage caused by each, creating a harmful effect to your oral health.

The Effects of Gum Disease can be Accelerated by Bruxism

Gum disease is a progressive condition that attacks your soft and hard tissues within your mouth. If left untreated, the disease becomes incurable and without regular maintenance to keep it in check, can cause severe jaw bone deterioration, gum recession and even cause teeth to fall out. The last thing you need is for this condition to be accelerated, but for those who suffer from constant teeth grinding in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, that acceleration is likely.

Many of those who suffer from bruxism grind their teeth subconsciously. When this occurs to an already weakened oral structure, the damage can be more severe. Teeth with little bone and gum support due to gum disease become loose quicker and periodontal pockets deepen from the constant stress of grinding. Many times, those who suffer from one condition are also more susceptible to developing the other if they do not seek treatment.

Treatments to Save Your Smile

Drs. Tom and Mark McCawley offer a minimally invasive treatment to this destructive combination through the use of laser therapy. Laser therapy is proven to be effective at eliminating the harmful bacteria that causes gum disease, without the need of scalpels or sutures. By treating gum disease early, the risk of developing bruxism is minimized. Drs. McCawley also offer effective treatments for bruxism to help prevent teeth grinding in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

If you are concerned about the state of your oral health, schedule an appointment with us today for an in-depth gum disease and bruxism examination.



Why Do I Need to Visit a Periodontist?

If you have been referred to a periodontist, you may be wondering what it is that they do. Periodontists are specialists in the health of your gums, jaw bone and in periodontal disease. After they attend regular dental school training, they elect to study for another three years to become specialists in periodontics. While many people visit a periodontist for gum disease treatment, they correct much more than bleeding gums.

What Can a Periodontist Do for Me?

As a dental professional who specializes in the health of periodontal tissue and bone, your periodontist in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, has the ability to restore the health of your smile in the following ways:

  • Periodontal disease treatment can save your smile from the effects of gingivitis, like bleeding gums and the bacteria that infect your gum tissue and destroy your oral health. While all periodontists offer gum surgery, some offer laser gum surgery. Drs. Thomas and Mark McCawley offer this gentle laser alternative to enhance patient comfort and convenience.
  • Routine periodontal maintenance is essential for those affected with advanced periodontitis. Regular visits promote a healthier oral environment and prevent reoccurrence.
  • Preventing systemic illness caused by gum disease is another area of periodontics. Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, stomach ulcers, respiratory illness, and certain types of cancer. By keeping up with your oral health, you can prevent disease and bacteria from spreading and infecting other parts of your body.
  • Gum grafts are performed to correct receding gums. Drs. McCawley, our periodontists in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, offers Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST™) to restore healthy gum lines in a single visit, without scalpels or sutures.
  • Gingivectomy procedures focus on removing diseased, excessive gum tissue to treat advanced gum disease. This helps reduce periodontal pockets where disease and bacteria thrive and remove diseased tissue.
  • Bone grafts and sinus lifts can be necessary after long-term tooth loss or periodontal disease for those looking to replace lost teeth with dental implants. Grafting allows us to enhance your bone volume to acceptable levels for implants.
  • Dental implant placement is a periodontal specialty that restores your smile beautifully, but must be performed with the utmost precision and planning for success. Dental implants are considered the gold standard of tooth replacement, and a trusted periodontist can ensure they last for years to come.

Visit our periodontal office and sit down with Drs. Thomas and Mark McCawley to discover how periodontics fits into your treatment plan. Call our office to schedule your consultation today.

Connecting Gum Disease to Systemic Illness

How you care for your smile can make a big difference in your overall health. Research has shown that gum disease may be linked to systemic illness. Periodontal infection begins with the bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth. In a healthy mouth, the bacteria are cleared away with good oral care and regular dental cleanings. When flossing and brushing are neglected, however, the bacteria irritate and infect the tissue, resulting in inflammation and bleeding gums. These are the first signs of gum disease in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and even this early stage of gingivitis begins to affect your overall health.

How Can a Seemingly Small Infection Cause Such Large Problems?

One of the ways in which gum disease can cause havoc is through the bloodstream. Bacteria that have infected the bloodstream can also circulate throughout the entire body. When you have an infection, part of the body’s response includes inflammation. Over time, the inflammation of periodontal infection can weaken your body’s immune system. A few of the conditions gum disease is known to affect include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Certain Types of Cancer

What You Can Do to Prevent Systemic Illness

What does this mean for the millions of people that have this chronic periodontal infection? The good news is that there are many safe, effective treatments available for gum disease in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, procedures that are conveniently performed in the office of your dentist or periodontist. Antibiotic therapy, scaling and root planing, and gum surgery can treat your bleeding gums while preventing the development of additional health problems.

If you are experiencing the systems of periodontal disease and would like a consultation, call our office to schedule a consultation with Drs. Tom and Mark McCawley. We can improve your smile and help you regain control of your health.

Maintaining a Healthy Smile in Your Golden Years

It’s no secret that our bodies change as we age and your smile is no different. In your youth, you may have gotten by with only the minimum effort of brushing and flossing. Now, everything from hormonal changes to prescription-related dry mouth can impact the health of your teeth and gums. Fortunately, treatment options are more convenient than ever. Periodontists Tom and Mark McCawley offer laser therapy to address gingivitis in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Are You Aware of These Oral Health Stressors?

  • Chronic illnesses, like diabetes, or even hormonal fluctuations from menopause, can take a toll on your oral health and lead to tooth decay. Gum disease can also worsen these conditions if left untreated.
  • Medications can dry out the mouth, providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and plaque. Without saliva to continually rinse your mouth between brushings, you may be at a higher risk for periodontal disease and cavities.
  • Decades of chewing, injuries, and old dental work may require some attention. A failing crown, for example, may threaten the health of the surrounding gum tissue, leaving it vulnerable to infection.

Things You Can Do to Protect Your Smile

  • Be sure to schedule regular dental exams. Repair or replace any old dental work when necessary. Prevention is the best medicine.
  • Your dentist can partner with your doctor to discuss your medical conditions and prescription drugs, so if you notice any changes in oral or overall health, let your dentist know, too.
  • When you experience bleeding gums, schedule an appointment with your periodontist right away. Treatments for periodontal disease may include antibiotic therapy, deep cleanings, and Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®). Traditional invasive surgery is no longer your only option.

Periodontists, Drs. Tom and Mark McCawley are specialists in periodontal care. If you are concerned about gingivitis in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, visit our office for a consultation. Call now to schedule an appointment and learn more about periodontal care and minimally invasive laser gum disease treatment.

Ouch! Why Your Teeth Are So Sensitive

It’s summertime and you’d love to eat ice cream or drink a slushie, but it’s out of the question. After all, every time your teeth touch something extremely cold, sweet or even hot, you feel a jolt of pain. So, you take a pass on your favorite treats and hope the sensitivity will go away on its own.

You owe it to yourself and the health of your teeth to make an appointment with a periodontist to discuss your sensitive teeth in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We help plenty of people who are suffering needlessly from the tingling, annoyance and potential problems associated with tooth sensitivity.

What Makes a Tooth Sensitive?

Ideally, your gums would completely cover the bottoms and roots of your teeth. However, receding gums occasionally start to pull away, leaving the root endings exposed and susceptible to bacteria. When they come in contact with heat, cold or sweetness, they send you a signal that something isn’t right.

What You Can Do to Manage  Sensitive Teeth

You have options when it comes to managing your sensitive teeth:

  1. Start practicing better oral hygiene. This includes properly and gently brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush that is regularly changed. Be sure to floss regularly and correctly.
  2. Use products meant for those with sensitive teeth. Many toothpastes on the market are manufactured for this purpose. Your periodontist can help you determine which is best-suited for your needs.
  3. Consider a gum graft. If your tooth sensitivity is due to receding gums, you may want to get a minimally invasive gum graft that uses your own soft tissues. The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique is becoming the gold standard, as it’s efficient and provides instant results without the need for cutting or suturing.

Your sensitive teeth in Fort Lauderdale, FL are trying to tell you something: Are you listening? Be sure to protect your oral health by talking to your dental provider soon about any sensitivity you’re experiencing.

Stroke Awareness is Important for All Patients

Did you know that stroke happens to people of all ages? Although people tend to associate stroke in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with older populations, stroke can and does affect younger individuals.

This May is Stroke Awareness Month, a time to consider all the ways you are taking care of yourself to minimize the risk associated with stroke. At our dental facility in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, we discuss stroke with patients on a regular basis. After all, the occurrence of gum disease has been directly linked to a greater chance of stroke.

How Gum Disease Affects the Body

While it might not seem immediately obvious that stroke and gum disease could be related, it makes perfect sense when you remember that what happens in your mouth affects your body’s system. Therefore, when gum disease causes your soft tissues to become inflamed and infected, your risk of a related systemic issue, such as blood problems that can lead to stroke, increases.

In one study from 2004, researchers in Germany published a landmark essay that has been acknowledged by the American Heart Association. In it, they explained their research   showed periodontitis (moderate to advanced gum disease) as a risk factor for stroke in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, especially for men and younger people. At the same time, gingivitis, which is the beginning stages of gum disease, did not seem to have as strong a link to stroke. In other words, if you have gingivitis, you can directly prevent it from becoming periodontitis, thereby lessening the likelihood of stroke.

These results show the importance of early gum disease detection and treatment.

Could You Have Gum Disease?

Although only a trained, qualified dental professional can determine if you have gingivitis or periodontitis, you should be aware of the early warning signs. These include chronic bad breath, red or swollen gums, and gums that bleed. Getting regular dental check-ups is a must for everyone, and if you have any stage of gum disease, it’s even more important. Why put yourself at risk for systemic health problems like stroke or other diseases?

Gum disease is a manageable at any age, but only if you get a diagnosis. If you’re living in the Ft. Lauderdale area, please contact our office for a consultation and examination today.