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Periodontal Disease and treatment


Hi Everyone, today we will be discussing Periodontal Disease and ways to prevent it as well as treatment options should you already be affected. 

Image result for healthy gums vs gingivitis






Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that live in your mouth. We all have the bacteria, some a little more or a little less than others, or maybe a different strain but it is all there. It is when we don't keep the bacteria levels under control that it can have serious repercussions. It can cause Halitosis (bad breath, Ew!), red and swollen gums, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, tenderness of the gums, bleeding when you brush or floss, bone loss, and even changes in the way your teeth fit together or tooth loss!

Periodontal disease is not very well understood by most people. It is normally thought of to be a disease that is pretty rare or uncommon, but in fact it is a lot more common than you might think. According to the CDC:

"47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease." 
That is almost HALF of young adults in the US have some form of periodontal disease. If you don't think that is crazy enough, the rate jumps up to 70% of people over 65! The disease has also been linked to Heart disease, the #1 killer of Americans, and lung disease, possibly contributing to COPD, pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema.

It is a very serious issue that is very widespread but unfortunately, not very well known. Lack of education about the issue has, in part, helped to keep it such an epidemic. Another very big factor is the potential lack of symptoms such as pain until it is advanced. 


Good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings are extremely important to your overall health. Your Hygienist and Dentist can tell you if you are developing symptoms of Gingivitis or Periodontal disease, but only if you make an appointment! If you are diagnosed with a form of periodontal disease there are a few different things that may be recommended for you.


Gingivitis

Signs of Gingivitis

 The disease starts with Gingivitis, a response to the bacteria that causes swelling of the soft tissue(gums), redness, bad breath, and usually bleeding upon brushing and flossing. If the symptoms aren't recognized, and treated with much better home care, the bleeding can actually stop because of deterioration of the gums. Then it can proceed unnoticed and unchecked until the teeth start to feel loose or become mobile. By that point, the damage is rarely reversible though you may be able to halt its progression.Treating cases like gingivitis may be as simple as changing home habits, like using a different brush such as a Sonicare, and using an inter-proximal device like a Water-Pik in addition to regular flossing. You may also be advised to schedule an extra professional cleaning or two per year to help in cleaning out the bad bacteria.


healthy gums vs gingivitis
For more serious cases it may be necessary for you to receive Periodontal Therapy, commonly, and perhaps misleadingly, known as a "Deep Cleaning". Periodontal therapy is much more than your average cleaning. It involves cleaning above and below the gum line, removing calcified plaque and bad bacteria. Then the roots of the teeth are smoothed to help the gum tissue reattach itself to the tooth. You may even be treated with anti-microbial agents or given a rinse to help keep bacteria out of the pockets. With regular visits back to your hygienist and good home care, the disease can be stopped here, without severe bone loss and eventual loss of teeth. Unfortunately though, there is no definitive cure for Periodontal Disease. It is kind of like Diabetes, it can be kept under control and maintained but not cured.


Advanced Periodontitis


If you are unlucky and you have progressed past the point of a non-surgical therapy, you may be referred to a periodontist or gum specialist for further treatment that can involve soft tissue grafting, bone grafting, gingival flap surgery and other things that we will leave to the specialist to explain. You probably don't want to know about it unless you need it, and the pictures are pretty bad too. You probably would not like to see those. 


Long story short...

Periodontal disease is a big problem that, for many, isn't going away on its own. If you or a loved one hasn't been seen in a while for a professional cleaning and evaluation, you should definitely call and schedule as soon as possible. We have a wonderful Hygienist, Linda, who has been in the field for over 15 years, is very knowledgeable and cares about the oral health of all of our patients. Linda and Dr. Pan, who has been in practice over 20 years and treats all his patients with kindness and respect, can make sure you and your family receive the best care possible. Please don't risk your health or let your family risk their health by not getting your professional cleanings at least every 6 months. Call or email today to schedule your next appointment. 

916-781-6688

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