Proper treatment of periodontal disease is of utmost importance in our office. Drs. Chris and Patrice Winterholler believe that the health of the gums and the bone that support our teeth are the foundation for a healthy mouth. If you have bleeding gums when you chew or floss or notice a bad taste in your mouth, you may have periodontal (or gum) disease.
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums as a result of the bacterial plaque and calculus that are formed on your teeth. When plaque (bacteria) is not brushed or flossed away from the tooth, the plaque hardens and forms calculus (tartar). The calculus (or mass of bacteria) then causes a reaction of the gums. The gums become red, swollen, and inflamed. The inflamed gums are known as gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the earliest form of periodontal disease. If it is allowed to progress, the gums lose attachment to the tooth and a deeper pocket forms between the tooth and the gums. Once the deeper pocket forms, the bone around the tooth begins to resorb. In Stage II Moderate periodontal disease, the bone has started to resorb away from the tooth.
Advanced periodontal disease can lead to tooth mobility and eventually tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a chronic condition and can be stabilized. We can often stop the progress of the disease. Many times we see improvement in the depth of the pocket between the tooth and the gums.
Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health
Many medical studies are now showing a link between periodontal disease and many health related diseases:
- Heart disease,
- Diabetes, and
- Premature and low birth weight babies.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries of the heart become narrowed or blocked by plaque. Many of the bacteria found in periodontal inflammation and disease are also found in heart disease.
Medications to control blood pressure regulate heart rhythm and reduce cholesterol levels may cause dry mouth, which can contribute to periodontal disease.
Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes. Numerous studies have shown the direct and growing impact periodontal disease can have on diabetes, and there are many diabetes-related problems that can occur in the mouth.
Some individuals with diabetes may notice fruits (acetone) breath. Others may notice frequent dry mouth or a change in the thickness of saliva. These problems are related to some of the changes that can occur with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk for developing severe periodontal disease. People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop periodontal disease.
Studies have also shown that periodontal disease may be a risk factor for stroke. Individuals with periodontal disease have twice the risk of suffering a stroke. If you have signs of periodontal disease, ask Dr. Winterholler to help assess your need for treatment.
Warning Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease
- Red or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Pus between the gums when they are pressed
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way the teeth fit together when biting
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Treatment of periodontal disease at our office includes the following:
- Deep cleanings with Ultrasonic Instrumentation
- Possible Laser Therapy
- Three month follow up to control the bacterial regrowth
We recommend the following for Optimal Oral Health:
Use a soft-end round-bristled toothbrush that cleans above and below the gum line. Angle the bristles at 45-degrees along the gum line and move the brush so that the bristles will clean both the teeth surfaces and the gums.
Wind 18” of floss around the middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a 1-2 inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct the floss between teeth. Gently guide the floss between the teeth using a zigzag motion. Contour the floss like a C around both sides of the tooth.
3. Regular Cleanings
We recommend cleanings every three months for periodontal patients and every six months for patients free of periodontal disease. Remember, even with the best brushing and flossing, tarter buildup will need to be removed by professional tools.
We welcome you to schedule an appointment to consult with Dr. Winterholler about the health of your teeth and gums. They will then make a recommendation as to what type of cleaning you need. Please contact our cosmetic dentistry office today.