What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment of fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss. There are many forms of periodontal disease:
-Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Most common cause of gingivitis is inadequate oral hygiene causing plaque buildup. Plaque is characterized by bacterial colonies that irritate the gums by releasing toxins. The body in response to launches an immune response causing inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is associated with little or no discomfort.
-Other factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
-Aggressive (refractory) periodontitis is a form of periodontitis that occurs ni patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation. This type is usually non-responsive to treatment.
-Chronic periodontitis results when gingivitis is left untreated. It is characterized by increased inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss, and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is recognized as the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
-Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases usually has an early onset and is associated with diabetes.
-Necrotizing periodontal diseases are an infection of the gums characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions including, but not limited to, HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression.
What is plaque and how does it affect my teeth?
What are the causes of periodontal diseases?
Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. If left undisturbed, it hardens to form tartar. The bacteria in the plaque produce byproducts that can not only irritate the gums and make them bleed, but it can also lead to periodontal disease. A daily regimen of proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing (plus, regular dental visits), will help you keep your teeth healthy.
The main causes of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque which si a sticky microbial film that constantly forms on teeth. Failure to remove this sticky film on a daily basis causes the disease process.
Other factors that contribute to the disease process and affect your gum health include:
-Systemic Diseases like Diabetes
-Medications such as Oral Contraceptives, Anti-Depressants, and Certain Heart Medications
-Pregnancy and Puberty
-Grinding or Clenching your Teeth
How does smoking affect periodontal health?
Research has shown that smoking affects the development and progression of periodontal health. Smokers are more likely to accumulate more plaque and tartar than non-smokers which leads to deeper pockets and eventually more bone and supporting tissue loss. Smoking is also one of the main causes of oral cancer and lunch disease. It is associated with low birth-weight infants.
Success of periodontal treatment and implants is lower in smokers.
Cessation of smoking is the first step towards better oral and systemic health.
My gums bleed when I brush or floss. Is this normal?
Healthy tissue does not bleed. This is most likely a sign of early gingivitis. If you are experiencing bleeding gums, see your dentist or periodontist to review proper brushing and flossing techniques. Schedule a soft tissue evaluation with your periodontist that will include x-rays and prophylaxis cleaning. Gum bleeding must be taken seriously because if left untreated, it will lead to periodontal disease.
How many times should I floss my teeth?
At least once a day. There's an old adage among dentists: "Floss only the teeth that you want to keep." If you don't want to loose your teeth, floss every day. Otherwise you'll be 75% more susceptible to periodontal disease that has been documented to have serious health consequences (ie: a higher likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and infections.) About 45% of American adults have some form of gingivitis, and most adults over 60 have already lost their teeth. Don't be one of them. Floss at least once a day.
How often should I have my teeth cleaned?
People accumulate plaque at different rates. Although most insurance plan coverage is for a twice a year schedule, it's sensible to get your teeth professionally cleaned as often as your dental health professional advises you, even if it's every three months.
How does genetics affect periodontal health?
About 30% of the population are genetically more susceptible to periodontal disease. These people are several times more prone to develop gum disease than the normal population despite aggressive oral care habits. Early intervention can help control the disease.
What are the advantages to using lasers in periodontal therapy?
When the lasers are use properly during periodontal therapy there can be less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort to the patient during surgery. lasers when used as an adjunct to scaling and root planing improve the effectiveness of the procedure.
Will insurance cover periodontal procedures?
Many insurance plans pay a portion of a periodontal service. Often the office staff will work with your insurance company to secure maximum benefits. Also talk to our staff for payment options.