Process and Effects
Plaque has bacteria bacteria that attach to the teeth and root structures. Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons leading to inflammation that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. These bacterial deposits can form below the gumline and cannot be removed by regular tooth brushing or regular dental cleanings.
If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to chronic localized inflammation leading to bone loss and chronic systemic inflammation. Studies have shown that individuals with periodontal disease are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke.
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to periodontal disease than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease:
- Smoking and Tobacco Use
- Family History (Genetics)
- Ineffective oral hygiene habits
- Defective dental crowns or fillings
- Occlusal disease
Although there are some risk factors like family history of tooth loss that we have no control over, the best way to prevent gum disease is by managing the risk factors that we do have control over. Patients with diabetes or family history of diabetes are encouraged to maintain healthy blood glucose ranges. Patients with periodontal disease may be referred to their physicians for evaluation and testing for diabetes. Other factors like smoking and tobacco use can also be evaluated to reduce your risk of periodontal disease. Tobacco cessation is a very personal and challenging decision. Patients who use tobacco are encouraged to quit and offered resources once they make the decision to quit.
Treatment and Maintenance
Once periodontal disease has progressed to pocketing, even the most diligent tooth brushing cannot reach to keep these areas clean. In these cases, periodontal therapy can help reduce the progression of the disease, decrease pocketing, and decrease localized and systemic inflammation. Once bone loss has taken place it cannot be restored, reducing the risk factors and proper management of the disease can help you maintain a healthy smile for years to come. You will partner with our hygiene team to determine the best treatment and time interval for your periodontal maintenance appointments. Our team now utilizes laser technology to help achieve results that were not possible before. Ask our team how you may benefit from laser technology.
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For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Funke, call us today or request an appointment online.