Preventing Periodontal Disease

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is caused when bacteria in plaque (a sticky, colorless film that forms in the mouth) builds up between the gums and teeth. When the bacteria begin to grow, the gums surrounding the tooth can become inflamed.

If left untreated, this inflammation can cause the gums and supporting bone structure to deteriorate. This can lead to gum recession or even tooth loss. In addition, research has shown that gum disease may be associated with other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Luckily, periodontal disease can be preventable. Adding these habits to your daily routine can help.

Brush your teeth. Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to include your tongue, bacteria loves to hide there.

Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t quite reach.

Swish with mouthwash. Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and can remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed.

Know your risk. Age, smoking, diet and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk with your dental professional.

See a periodontist. Get an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE) from a dental professional. A CPE looks at your teeth, plaque level, gums, bite, bone structure and other risk factors for periodontal disease. Identifying symptoms of gum disease early is key to protecting your teeth and gums.

Life is Less Satisfying When Living with Gum Disease

Life is Less Satisfying When Living with Gum Disease, Says New Study

Many people are aware that gum disease can lead to tooth loss and has been associated with other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers. A new study published in the American Academy of Periodontology’s Journal of Periodontology found another reason to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Researchers found that gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

The study, titled “Impact Of Periodontal Disease Experience On Oral Health-Related Quality Of Life,” found that those with periodontal disease (as indicated by bone loss) experienced a worse oral health-related quality of life, including functional limitation, psychological discomfort, and social disability. Many had difficulty pronouncing words, and experienced a decline in tasting the flavor of and eating foods. In addition, sufferers of periodontal disease reported feeling insecure, tense, embarrassed, and irritated, often finding it difficult to relax and do normal daily activities.

“We have long known that gum disease can lead to tooth loss and is linked to other diseases. However, this study demonstrates that periodontal disease can affect a person’s overall quality of life,” says Nancy L. Newhouse, DDS, MS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. “These is why periodontists strongly encourage everyone to brush twice a day, floss at least daily, and receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation from a periodontist or dentist annually to prevent gum disease,” urges Dr. Newhouse. “If improving your quality of life isn’t motivation enough, preventing gum disease may also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and even various forms of cancer.”

Gum disease is defined as a chronic, bacteria-induced inflammatory condition that attacks the gum tissue and in more severe cases, the bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can lead to tooth loss.

Implant Supported Dentures

Implant Supported Dentures

Millions of people have experienced the benefits of implant-supported dentures.  In fact, dental implants continue to be one of the most desired dental procedures based on their ability to increase chewing efficiency, reduce bone loss and improve facial esthetics and quality of life.  For more than 30 years, implant supported dentures have improved the quality of life of patients.

An implant-supported denture differs from a regular denture in that it is attached to a cover screw that has been placed in the bon of the jaw.  A more traditional denture rests on the gums.  When patients lose teeth, surrounding bone in the jaw shrinks, causing facial structure alternations.  Implants inserted directly into the jaw help to keep those bones from shrinking. -the implant fills the gap that the roots previously occupied.  The dentures are fastened to the implant, providing a much more secure attachment.

What are the different types of implant-supported dentures?

Bar-retained:  A thin metal bar is attached in two to five areas to follow the curve of the jawbone.  Attachments are fitted to the bar and securely clipped into place

Ball-retained:  Also know as stud-attached dentures, each is fitted and attached to an implant that is placed in the jawbone.  In most cases a ball-shaped attachment is fitted into a “socket” on the denture

How stable are implant-supported dentures?

Implant-supported dentures are more stable than a regular denture.  It is easier to speak and the worry of the denture coming loose or falling out is eliminated

Are patients happy with the result?

Patients report improved function, comfort and much greater satisfaction with implant overdentures than with traditional dentures.

What causes Dry Mouth? (Xerostomia)

What causes Dry Mouth? (Xerostomia)

We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths, keep bacteria under control and to help us digest our food properly.  If we don’t produce enough saliva, we experience a dry mouth, which can be uncomfortable.  It is normal to experience a dry mouth occasionally, but if it becomes a frequent chronic problem then something may be an underlying cause.   There are several causes for dry mouth, also know in medical terms as Xerostomia.  Causes range from:

  • A side effect from prescription and non-prescription drugs used to treat everything from depression and anxiety, colds and allergies, acne, diarrhea and asthma.
  • A side effect of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • A side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives
  • A side effect for medical treatments that may have damaged the salivary glands, such as radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
  • Dehydration from excessive sweating, fever, blood loss or burns

Besides being uncomfortable, dry mouth can lead to more serious problems, such as increasing a person’s risk of gingivitis and gum disease

Treatments include:

  • Drink more water to keep you mouth moist
  • Suck on sugar free candy to help increase saliva
  • Protect your teeth by visiting your dentist regularly
  • Add moisture to your bedroom with a room vaporizer
  • use an artificial saliva substitute

Lasers to Treat Gum Disease

Lasers to Treat Gum Disease

In 2004, the US. Food and Drug Administration approved the LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure) for the treatment of periodontitis or gum disease.  In LANAP periodontal surgery, a dental laser is used to treat the periodontal pocket.  The laser energy selectively removes diseased or infected pocket epithelium from the underlying connective tissue.  Since the laser energy is quite selective for pocket epithelium, it allows for healing and regeneration of the tissues.  After the LANAP procedure, most patients experience new root surface coating (cementum) and new connective tissues (periodontal ligament) formation (collagen) on tooth roots, preventing tooth loss.  Pocket depth reduction is comparable to that achieved by conventional respective surgery.  Significant post-operative reduction in gingival inflammation and bleeding on probing are the desirable results seen with the LANAP protocol.  Minimal pain is easily controlled with the use of over the counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.  With normal three-month periodontal recall and maintenance, the LANAP-provided new attachment is stable and has proven resistant to future periodontal breakdown.

New Reports Confirm Perio-Systemic Connection and Outline Clinical Recommendations

New Reports Confirm Perio-Systemic Connection and Outline Clinical Recommendations

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), in collaboration with the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), recently published a series of consensus reports that analyze the scientific evidence linking periodontal disease to other systemic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.  There is strong evidence that periodontitis provides an increased risk for future cardiovascular disease.  Periodontal treatment may provide beneficial effects on diabetes outcomes and should be part of ongoing diabetes management.  The complete consensus reports are freely available online (

New Research Supports Assessing Risk, Preventive Treatment for Periodontal Disease

New Research Supports Assessing Risk, Preventive Treatment for Periodontal Disease

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) supports new research( published online in the Journal of Dental Research confirming the need for careful risk assessment to determine which patients may benefit from additional treatment to prevent periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease impacts over half of the U.S. adult population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The AAP recommends that all patients receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation once a year to effectively screen and assess risk for disease, and to guide preventive care.

Half of American Adults Suffer From Gum Disease

Half of American Adults Suffer From Gum Disease

One out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has periodontal disease, according to recent findings from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  A study titled Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010 estimates that 47.2 percent, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease.  In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent.  This study is published in the Journal of Dental Research, the official publication of the International and American Associations for Dental Research

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