What is Periodontal Disease Anyway?
Did you know that gum disease, or periodontal disease, affects almost half of the adult population in the US? Nearly 65 million Americans have some gum disease and the symptoms that accompany it, including bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth sensitivity. Your gums should not bleed when you brush and floss. If you are not routinely flossing your teeth every day bacteria builds up below the gums and can cause your gums to bleed each time you brush. Gum recession is caused by gum disease and can cause your teeth to start to appear “longer” due to fact the gums surrounding them are receding away. Gum recession is an indication that your gum disease is getting worse. The depth of the collar of gum tissue around your teeth increases. In late stage gum disease, when these pockets become too deep it can be very difficult to remove the food and debris by with home care alone, brushing and flossing. Food and debris left in the pockets causes the them to become deeper and the gum disease to worsen. These concerns are among the most common reasons people see the dentist.
There are certain lifestyle and health issues that can contribute to the risk of periodontal disease including smoking, diabetes, stress, clenching and grinding your teeth, certain medications, and poor nutrition. Periodontal disease and decay are caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors, but it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque. If not removed plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus, or tartar.
This is why good oral hygiene so important. Adults over 35 experience more tooth loss due to gum diseases, than from cavities and three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their lifetime. The best way to manage periodontal disease is to avoid it in the first place. Be as preventative and proactive as possible with a consistent habit of brushing and flossing at home. Work with your hygienist to develop an effective home care routine and optimal brushing and flossing techniques.
The second critical step in prevention is to make, and keep, routine hygiene maintenance appointments at Brookline Dental Specialists with your dental hygienist. Cleaning tartar and calculus from your teeth and monitoring the health of your gums every six months is recommended. If you are already experiencing periodontal disease and symptoms a perio-maintenance program will be recommended which might include quadrant scaling and deep pocket cleaning once every 3 months.
One of the best things about our practice is our ability to care for all aspects of your dental health care right here in our office. As a periodontal specialist, I appreciate working with hygienists and the general doctors to diagnose, monitor, manage, and treat whatever issues may arise for our periodontal patients comfortably and conveniently in the same office as their family dentist.
We welcome new patients and can create a customized treatment and management plan for you in our dental practice. Your best overall health and wellness can be achieved by taking good care of your teeth AND your gums and we are here to help. Contact the office today and let’s work together to make a dental health maintenance plan that is just right of you!
Dr. Justin Cifuni, D.M.D., Periodontal Surgeon