Keeping Mouths Healthy
People with a healthy mouth and with no periodontal disease (“gum disease”) should come in every 6 months for a regular adult cleaning and exam. During your time with our hygienist, you will have a comprehensive periodontal exam where we will record amount of inflammation, bone loss, and recession. This information together with the appearance of the gingival, amount of bleeding and deposit will help us to evaluate whether or not you have gum disease.
Our goal is for you to go through life stable, with no signs of gum disease. This means we want to make sure your body is not working overtime trying to fight off long-term inflammation that too much of certain types of bacteria can cause. We will work with you to find products that will make your life easier. Of course, we would love for everyone to brush twice a day and floss once a day but, even if you don’t floss at all, our goal is not to make you feel bad, it’s to help you to control the bacteria so we will give you solutions if you need them to help control the bacteria.
Especially if you have dexterity issues we can help make your life easier when it comes to your oral health. There are two major issues with gum disease; the first is that you can lose your teeth, and the second is that it is an infection that travels throughout your body and dramatically effects your health. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection caused by bacteria and, once you have it, you must actively control it your whole life with a professional’s help or you will lose your teeth. It doesn’t cause discomfort or pain until you develop an acute infection and it is too late to save your tooth.
The bacteria is most active in the pocket between the gum and your tooth. We often see signs of activity from inflammation and bleeding. If not controlled, the bacteria produce toxins that will dissolve away the bone that holds your teeth in your mouth. As the bone dissolves away, the pocket gets deeper and deeper and once it reaches a certain point you will be unable to clean where the bacteria are the most active, in the bottom of the pocket.
As bone dissolves, your gums recede as well, the areas between the teeth that are exposed as the gum recedes are called “black triangles”. They are unattractive, they prematurely age you and they are a direct result of gum disease that you can see. Most of the results of gum disease happen underneath your gums.
We can use porcelain work to fix the appearance but how effectively and what options are available is very individual and depends on the situation. We would be happy to consult with you if you already have this issue. We want to help you avoid this. We now know that periodontal disease (“gum disease”) is caused by bacteria that is dangerous for your general health. One of the main bacteria that cause it also causes heart disease, it puts you at a higher risk for a stroke, osteoporosis, respiratory disease and certain cancers.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology 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. We take this health risk seriously.
Many times insurance won’t pay for the active treatment of gum disease until there is permanent damage and if you are coming in even every 6 months we can’t always catch it before that damage is done. However, whenever we see it starting we will treat it differently in our office.
Instead of ignoring it and hoping that it will clear up with a regular cleaning and giving you a “chance to improve your homecare and we will re-evaluate you in 6 months” which is the existing standard recommendation for general dentists, we will make you aware of the situation and offer you the option of treating it before it does permanent damage. We believe you have the right to make the decision for yourself of what level of health you want to have.
We will respect any decision you make as long as you are made aware of the consequences so you can make an informed decision. We will be happy to help you in any way we can. We promise that we have a different expectation of health for your mouth so you can have more choices before permanent damage occurs.
Bad breath is caused by bacteria as well. If this is a problem then please call us right away, it can be the sign of an acute infection. Infections do not always result in pain, you can have a dangerous infection and the only sign could be bad breath. If we find you do not have an infection and your breath is an issue and a cleaning doesn’t solve your problem then we may need to get you a tongue scraper. We can advise you on how to use it and which one to get.
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Our focus is on providing the best, most comprehensive care for patients of all ages.