Protect Your Gums (And More!) With Periodontal Therapy
At our practice, we go beyond simply taking care of your teeth. While they are essential to your oral health, your gums also matter tremendously as well. They provide important support and protection for the teeth, and if too much plaque and bacteria are allowed to build up on them, they can easily develop an infection (called gum disease or periodontal disease) that can cause a wide variety of dental and overall health problems. That is why Dr. Mihran Asinmaz and our team will always examine your gums during your regular checkup, and if you show any signs of infection, we can quickly treat it using periodontal therapy.
What is Periodontal Disease? (Gum and Bone Disease)
Everyone’s mouth contains the bacteria that causes periodontal disease. When the number of these bacteria accumulate, they begin to break down healthy gum and bone, and this can severely impact a person’s oral health.
Periodontal disease is the most common chronic bacterial infection in adults and the number one reason for tooth loss in the U.S. It is estimated that at least 50% of the population has some degree of periodontal disease. How does periodontal disease begin and progress?
Over time, the plaque built up on teeth can harden and become trapped at the base of the tooth. This hardened plaque substance is called calculus.
The bacteria in plaque and calculus release toxins that are destructive to your gums and surrounding tissues. If these substances are not removed with regularly scheduled hygiene appointments and proper daily home care, the gums can become inflamed and infected, which is known as gingivitis.
Left untreated, gingivitis may progress and can create deep pockets (gaps) or cause your gums to recede or pull back. This exposes the roots of your teeth and allows bacteria to grow below the gum line. This stage of the infection is called periodontitis. Over time, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are weakened and the teeth can become loose and may need to be removed.
How can I know if I have periodontal disease?
Because early periodontal disease symptoms are often mild, many people are not aware of their condition until it becomes more serious.
Here are some common symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Persistent bad breath: The bacteria that cause gum disease releases toxins that can cause bad breath (which doesn’t always go away after you brush your teeth).
- Tender or painful gums: Receding gums and exposed tooth roots can cause added sensitivity.
- Bright red gums: Even a subtle change in the color of your gums can be a sign of gum disease.
- Swollen gums: A gum infection can cause the gums to swell.
- Bleeding gums: Bleeding is a common symptom of gum disease. Healthy gums should not bleed during brushing, flossing, or a standard dental exam.
- Gaps: Periodontal disease causes a gap, or pocket, to form along the side of your tooth.
- Loose teeth: It’s not normal to have teeth that can wiggle (at any age).
- Tooth alignment changes: Periodontal disease can cause your teeth to change position over time due to the loss of gum and bone support.
You may not have these symptoms today, but they may develop in the future, so it’s important to maintain a consistent oral care routine.
What treatment is recommended for periodontal disease?
Scaling and root planning (SRP) is a procedure where we will clean plaque and calculus from your teeth and roots deep below your gum line. I prefer to numb the gum tissue so that the treatment is can be performed with minimal discomfort. Following the scaling and root planing procedure, you will be placed on a 3 or 4-month maintenance program to prevent the infection from coming back.
ARESTIN© is a locally administered antibiotic treatment for periodontal disease. The active antibiotic is minocycline (a member of the tetracycline family).
I may recommend ARESTIN© as an adjunct to scaling and root planing to reduce deep pockets and to control inflamed gum tissue.
ARESTIN© may also be used as part of a periodontal maintenance program to help improve localized areas of deeper pockets and inflammation.
Periodontal disease can affect more than just your gums!
It is so vitally important to recognize that periodontal disease has far reaching consequences beyond your oral health alone. Below is what research is beginning to show:
- Research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease and strokes.
- Diabetics are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications.
- Researchers have suggested that a link exists between osteoporosis and bone-loss in the jaw, leading to tooth loss.
- Research has found that bacteria that grow in the oral cavity can actually be transferred to the lungs, causing respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease.
- Researchers have found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.
As you can see, when it comes to your health, making sure your gums are well taken care of is absolutely essential. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms we listed above, please call us as soon as you can for treatment. The quicker we can intervene, the faster and easier your treatment will be. To schedule an appointment, please contact our office today.