Periodontics And Preventive Care
Periodontics And Dental Hygiene Services/Cleaning
Weisbard Dental’s philosophy promotes long-term health and preventive care of disease. A healthy foundation is essential to protecting your smile whether it is restored or natural. Long term periodontics success depends upon the health of your gums, the supporting structures, and teeth.
Weisbard Dental of Greenwood Village, our dentist and dental hygienist provide routine checks, general and deep dental cleanings, and antibiotics therapy for preventive care services. Our expert dental hygienist will work with you on a maintenance schedule that best suits your individual needs. When necessary we will make appropriate referrals to periodontics specialists.
The Stages of Periodontal Disease
Healthy gum tissue is pink, tight and firm. The bone is healthy and is holding the teeth securely in place.
Gingivitis develops when toxins, enzymes, plaque and tartar irritate the gums. The tissue becomes tender and swollen, and is likely to bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage.
Periodontal disease destroys the tissues that anchor the teeth in the bone. As the disease progresses, pockets form and allow more plaque and calculus to collect below the gum line. Gum tissue and bone begin to recede, leaving tooth roots exposed and very susceptible to decay and sensitive to cold and touch.
Advanced periodontitis causes the teeth to become loose as the disease continues to destroy the gum tissue, bone and periodontal ligament. Periodontal disease is painless. If disease goes untreated, teeth become very loose and may fall out or require removal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why and how often do I need to have my teeth cleaned?
Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva, which contains bacteria, calcium and other minerals and substances that help strengthen and protect the teeth. While this is a good thing, it also means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. During your hygiene visit we will remove tarter and calculus (hardened prolonged buildup) from around the teeth and under the gum where floss and a tooth brush do not reach. The hygienist will measure the depth of the “pocket,” or space, between the outer edge of the gum and the attachment to the tooth. The smaller the pocket the better. Up to three millimeters without bleeding is considered healthy. When people don’t floss as often as necessary, dental cleaning visits are even more important, as plaque will build quickly. A visit every six months is recommended for people in good oral health who floss and take good care of their teeth and gums. For some people, more frequent visits may be necessary as recommended by the hygienist and periodontist. At Weisbard Dental, regular monitoring of your hard tissues and soft tissues (gums) is essential in preventive care of disease and maintenance of good oral health.
What is the difference between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?
In the early stages of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causing the gums to become inflamed (red and swollen) and bleed easily during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone loss or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. In a person with periodontal disease, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.
Toxins, or poisons produced by the bacteria in plaque, start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, they become looser, and tooth loss occurs. Gum disease, or periodontitis, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Our periodontist and dental hygienist at Weisbard Dental, Greenwood Village, are highly experienced in performing all the necessary interventions to all periodontal disease preventive care.
What causes periodontal disease?
Plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease. However, other factors can contribute to gum disease. These include:
- Smoking makes it harder for gum tissue to repair its self, and weakens the immune system.
- Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Hormonal changes such as those occurring during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation make gums more sensitive and increases blood flow, which makes it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Illnesses may affect the condition of your gums. This includes diseases such as cancer or HIV that interfere with the immune system. Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to heal, patients with this disease are at a higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease.
- Medications can affect oral health because some lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums. Some drugs, such as the anticonvulsant medications Dilantin and the anti-angina drugs Procardia and Adalat, can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even in late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease. These include:
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Receding gums
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures
Do your gums bleed when you brush?
Bleeding gums are not normal. Bleeding is a sign of an infection possibly caused by periodontal disease. We Perio chart your gums at every visit to make sure the gums and bone support around your teeth are healthy. In our office we can explain what your periodontal disease is, offer nonsurgical treatment options and provide antibiotic therapies as needed. This type of infection has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. If your gums are bleeding, please do not wait. Make an appointment to prevent a small problem from becoming a bigger problem.
What are other problems linked to periodontal disease?
Research has uncovered links between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions. Over the past few years, studies have shown a definitive link between your oral health and your general health. Here are some of the many health problems that can be aggravated my poor oral hygiene:
- Stroke: Those with adult periodontitis may have increased risk of stroke.
- Respiratory Infections: Inhaling bacteria from the mouth such as plaque buildup creates a dangerous source of bacteria that can be inhaled into the lungs.
- Heart Disease: Bacteria from the mouth in those with adult periodontitis may have an increased risk of fatal heart attack, are more likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, and are at a higher risk for clotting problems in the cardiovascular system.
- Severe Osteopenia: Reduction in bone mass (osteopenia) is associated with gum disease and related tooth loss. Severity has been connected to tooth loss in premenstrual women.
- Uncontrolled Diabetes: Chronic periodontal disease can disrupt diabetic control. Diabetes can contribute to bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. Smokers with diabetes increase their risk of tooth loss. People with type II diabetes are three times more likely to develop periodontal disease than nondiabetics.
- Preterm or low birth rate babies: Women with advanced gum disease may be more likely to give birth to an underweight or preterm baby. Microbes from the mouth can cross the placental barrier, exposing the baby to infection.