Gum & Periodontal Health
In dentistry, there are two main diseases that we are constantly fighting. Most people know about dental caries (cavities) but are less aware of periodontal (gum) disease.
Although most people focus on the teeth; the health of the gum tissue and bone surrounding the them (the periodontal structures) are imperative to optimal wellness.
Periodontal disease is a complex condition in which bacteria move underneath the gums where they cannot be adequately cleaned or removed with normal daily oral hygiene. If not continually removed by a dental professional, these bacteria begin to eat away at the gum tissue and bone surrounding the teeth.
You may be at risk or already have periodontal disease if you are experiencing any of the following situations:
- Gums that bleed at any time. This includes when you’re brushing or flossing (because we know you floss every day).
- Gums that have receded.
- You have family members with periodontal disease or who have lost teeth prematurely.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that periodontal disease is often a ‘silent’ disease; meaning that most symptoms don’t begin to show up until it is very advanced.
The biggest danger for those people with periodontal disease is ignoring it and not receiving appropriate treatment. Many people assume that since they are not experiencing symptoms, periodontal treatment is not important.
In truth, periodontal disease can lead to serious consequences if left untreated. These ramifications not only include infection, pain, and loss of teeth but also systemic diseases. New research has linked periodontal disease to the following conditions:
- Increased risk for cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke).
- Development or progression of diabetes.
- Adverse pregnancy outcomes such as pre-term or low birth-weight babies.
If you are at risk for or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease early treatment is absolutely imperative. Delaying or neglecting treatment will only allow the condition to progress and become more difficult and costly to treat.
Typically, treatment for periodontal disease will consist of the following:
- Initial periodontal therapy (scaling and root planing), which involves removing the bacteria under the gums that are beginning to eat away at the tissue and bone.
- Antibacterial measures, which may involve antibacterial gel, mouthwash, or medication.
- Periodontal maintenance appointments every 3-4 months where the disease is monitored and the bacteria are continually removed.
Receiving early treatment and being diligent about maintenance are the two keys to ensuring successful management of periodontal disease and preventing tooth loss. Appropriate treatment also reduces or even eliminates the bacteria that can be extremely harmful to other parts of the body.
Gum & Periodontal Health at Carver Dental
Dr. Holder, Dr. Brown, and the conscientious team at Carver Dental are committed to diagnosing and treating periodontal disease at first sight; not ignoring it. Research has shown that early intervention and maintenance for periodontal disease is ultimately less costly and leads to better outcomes for patients. Please call for your exam and screening appointment today.