Periodontal & Gum Treatment
At Triad Cosmetic Dentistry, we stress regular flossing and thorough brushing for good reason. Good daily homecare removes plaque that can invade below the gum line, cause infection, and lead to painful gum disease, the primary cause of tooth loss in American adults. If you show signs of gum disease, such as red, swollen gums and chronic bad breath, we will act fast to treat the infection, restore optimal oral health, and protect your smile from recurrence. Through a comprehensive process of scaling away plaque buildup, cleaning exposed root surfaces, and in some cases, applying antibiotic to infected gums, we can stop gum disease and relieve the symptoms.
To schedule an appointment with our gentle hygiene team, call or e-mail us today. Learn more about periodontal problems in our patient library – because knowledge is power!
More About Periodontal Disease
• What is periodontal disease?
• How would I know if I had periodontal disease?
• Checking for Periodontal disease
• Types of Periodontal Disease
• How is periodontal disease treated?
• How is periodontal disease prevented?
• Making the Connection: Periodontal Disease and Your Health
• Periodontal disease and Atherosclerosis
• Periodontal disease and Diabetes
• Periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease
• Periodontal disease and Preterm low Birth weight
• Periodontal disease and Respiratory disease
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a bacterial infection of gums and bone that support the teeth. The main cause of periodontal diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless microbial film that constantly forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed everyday by brushing and flossing, it attaches onto your teeth as a rough, porous substance known as tartar (or calculus). Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque then irritate the gums, causing infection.
How would I know if I had periodontal disease?
It’s possible to have periodontal disease without apparent symptoms. That’s why regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important.
Symptoms are often not noticeable until the disease is advanced. They include:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
Checking for Periodontal disease
Periodontal disease can be diagnosed during a regular dental examination. Your dentist will perform a careful exam of the appearance of your gums, check each tooth for looseness, and use a probe to identify and measure any spaces, known as pockets, which may have formed between your gums and teeth. In periodontal disease, these pockets will measure more than 3 millimeters (mm) in depth. X-rays that show whether or not the bone that support your teeth show signs of deterioration may be needed. Evidence of bone loss around teeth is one of the signs of more advanced periodontal disease.
Types of Periodontal Disease
How is periodontal disease treated?
The dental hygienist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planning. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planning gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease.
We also may recommend medications to help control infection and to aid with the healing. These medications could include a mouth rinse, or a substance that we place directly in the periodontal pocket after scaling and root planning. If you smoke or chew tobacco products, it is important to quit. We may also advise you to talk to your physician about any other health problems that may be affecting your oral health.
How is periodontal disease prevented?
Here are some things you can do to prevent periodontal diseases:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste)
- Floss every day
- Visit your dentist twice a year for a check-up and professional cleaning
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Don’t use tobacco products
Making the Connection: Periodontal Disease and Your Health
Recent studies show that an estimated 75% of American adults over the age of 35 have some form or periodontal disease. Studies have established the association between oral bacteria and systemic diseases including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Blood clots and strokes
- Pre-term and low birth weight babies
- Alzheimer’s disease
Periodontal disease and Atherosclerosis
Healthy gums play a vital role in maintaining a healthy body. Because periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, periodontal bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections in other areas of the body. The heart is one of the most susceptible organs.
Periodontal disease seems to influence the occurrence and the severity of coronary artery disease and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Studies suggest that periodontal bacteria could enter the bloodstream, invade the blood vessel walls and ultimately cause atherosclerosis. (Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty materials on their inner walls.)
Periodontal disease and Diabetes
Periodontal diseases are bacterial infections that, left untreated, may cause damage to the bone and even tooth loss. Diabetic patients are three-to-four times more likely to develop these types of chronic periodontal infections, which, like any other infection in the body, can impair their ability to process and/or utilize insulin. Infections may cause diabetes to be more difficult to control, and the infection may be more severe than someone without diabetes.
Diabetic patients tend to have a higher incidence of periodontal diseases, more severe levels of bone loss and periodontal infection, and often experience acute episodes of more aggressive disease activity, ultimately leading to the loss of teeth. Tooth loss can make it difficult to chew and digest food. For diabetic patients, this can have a devastating affect on the ability to maintain proper nutrition and control of the blood sugar levels.
Periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease
No matter where bacteria travel in the human body, the immune system will respond by sending white blood cells to battle bacteria. These white cells release chemicals that create an inflammatory response. The inflammation can then damage tissues in the brain which can increase a patient’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Periodontal disease and Preterm low Birth weight
Women whose periodontal disease worsens during pregnancy are at a higher risk of having a premature or low birth weight baby. Studies show that pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be up to seven times more likely to have a baby who is born too small and too early. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that women considering pregnancy need to include a periodontal exam as part of their prenatal care.
Periodontal disease and Respiratory disease
According to the American academy of periodontology, bacterial respiratory infections can be acquired by the inhalation of tiny bacteria-filled droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs. Periodontal diseases, which are chronic bacterial infections, may be a major factor in the development of bacteria that are found in fluid droplets in the lungs. Once the bacteria are in the lower respiratory tract, they multiply causing infections or worsening of existing lung conditions. An individual with periodontal disease may be half-again more likely to develop the respiratory disorder COPD. Among other problems, COPD results in decreased lung function.
All of the above information was obtained from the following sources:
- American Academy of Periodontology
- American Dental Association