Periodontal Disease & Overall Health
The concept of periodontal disease as a localized entity affecting only the teeth and supporting tissues is increasingly being questioned. Periodontal disease may significantly impact pregnant individuals or those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Individuals with periodontal disease may have significantly increased risk for heart diseases. Women with periodontitis may have increased risk for delivering pre-term, low birth weight babies. Preliminary evidence suggests that periodontal infections may also be associated with lung disease and other remote site infections.
When our office recommends restorative or periodontal therapy, we have your overall health, as well as your dental health, in mind.
What is Periodontal Infection and How is it Controlled?
Periodontal infection is caused by bacteria, which are always present in our mouths. Some of us are more susceptible to this infection than others, depending on how well our body (our immune system) fights infection. Our ability to fight this infection can vary from day to day, week to week depending on what else is going on with our life and health.
We now know that bleeding of the gums, when they are gently touched, is a definite sign that infection is present. This means that the bacteria and the toxins (poisons) they produce have overwhelmed the immune system. The lining of the gum tissue (skin) next to the tooth becomes cracked and ulcerated and bleeds when touched. The toxins actually become embedded in the root surface of the tooth. If the infection continues, uncontrolled, it will eventually result in destruction of the bone that supports the teeth and the face. This bone loss is permanent. If the bone destruction continues, it will result in loss of the teeth, since there will be nothing left to support them.
What is Periodontal Infection and How is it Controlled - 2
Fortunately, periodontal infection can now be detected and treated early! Each time you see the Hygienist, she will do a periodontal screening to detect early signs of this infection. If the gums bleed during this screening, infection is present. With early detection of the infection, it can be controlled non-surgically. If the infection has progressed, surgical intervention may be necessary to control it.
We are excited about our ability to detect this infection early and to be able to offer you non-surgical therapy. Periodontal therapy will include detoxifying (reducing the embedded bacterial toxins) the root surface. We use the latest instruments, including micro-ultrasonics, to reduce the toxin and bacterial levels to a point the immune system can control the infection. We will also irrigate under the gum line with a prescription antimicrobial medicine. Your active participation with removal of bacteria at home every day is critical to the control of your infection. We will assist you with specific instructions on effective bacterial (plaque) removal.
What is Periodontal Infection and How is it Controlled - 3
Periodontal infection is not curable but it is controllable. Following your active therapy, the doctor will recommend supportive periodontal therapy to help you keep your infection under control and thus prevent further bone destruction. We now know that the bacteria that cause periodontal infection can become disease producing in 45-90 days. Therefore, your interval for supportive periodontal therapy will be 12 weeks or less.
We are anxious to answer all your additional questions concerning periodontal infection and its treatment. Please ask any of our Team members if you want to know more!