Posts for tag: gum disease
If you’re over age 30 there’s a fifty percent chance you have periodontal (gum) disease—and you may not even know it. Without treatment this often “silent” bacterial infection could cause you to lose gum coverage, supporting bone volume or eventually your teeth.
That’s not to say there can’t be noticeable symptoms like swollen, red, bleeding or painful gums. But the surest way to know if you have gum disease, as well as how advanced it is, is to have us examine your gums with manual probing below the gum line.
Using a long metal device called a periodontal probe, we can detect if you’ve developed periodontal pockets. These are gaps created when the diseased gum’s attachment to teeth has weakened and begun to pull away. The increased void may become inflamed (swollen) and filled with infection.
During an exam we insert the probe, which has markings indicating depths in millimeters, into the naturally occurring space between tooth and gums called the sulcus. Normally, the sulcus extends only about 1-3 mm deep, so being able to probe deeper is a sign of a periodontal pocket. How deep we can probe can also tell us about the extent of the infection: if we can probe to 5 mm, you may have early to mild gum disease; 5-7 mm indicates moderate gum disease; and anything deeper is a sign of advanced disease.
Knowing periodontal pocket depth helps guide our treatment strategy. Our main goal is to remove bacterial plaque, a thin film of food particles that collects on teeth and is the main cause and continuing fuel for the infection. In mild to moderate cases this may only require the use of hand instruments called scalers to manually remove plaque from tooth surfaces.
If, however, our periodontal probing indicates deeper, advanced gum disease, we may need to include surgical procedures to access these infected areas through the gum tissue. By knowing the depth and extent of any periodontal pockets, we can determine whether or not to use these more invasive techniques.
Like many other health conditions, discovering gum disease early could help you avoid these more advanced procedures and limit the damage caused by the infection. Besides daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque and regular dental checkups, keep watch for signs of swollen or bleeding gums and contact us for an appointment as soon as possible. And be aware that if you smoke, your gums will not likely bleed or swell—that could make diagnosis more difficult.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Understanding Periodontal Pockets.”
Is there a link between periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular disease? Medical researchers are endeavoring to answer this intriguing question, but early findings seem to say yes. If it bears true, the findings could advance treatment for both diseases.
There is one thing that can be said for certain: inflammation is a factor in both diseases’ progression. Gum disease begins as an infection caused by bacteria growing in plaque, which is made up of bacteria and a thin film of food remnant that adheres to tooth surfaces. The body responds to this infection through tissue inflammation, an attempt to prevent the infection from spreading. Likewise, inflammation appears to be a similar response to changes in blood vessels afflicted by cardiovascular disease.
While inflammation is part of the body’s mechanism to heal traumatized tissue, if it becomes chronic it can actually have a damaging effect on the tissues intended to benefit. For patients with gum disease, chronic inflammation causes connective tissues to detach from teeth, leading eventually to tooth and bone loss. Similarly, inflammation damages the linings of blood vessels in cardiovascular disease patients.
Researchers want to know what role bacteria may also play in the progression of cardiovascular disease. Initial studies seem to indicate that proactively treating the gum disease by removing all plaque from oral surfaces in patients with both conditions does appear to improve the health of diseased blood vessel linings. Whether this could ultimately reduce the occurrence of heart attack or stroke still needs to be ascertained.
As we learn more about the possible connections between these two diseases, there’s hope it will lead to new advancements that could improve health outcomes for both. It may prove to be the case, then, that maintaining a healthy mouth promotes a healthy heart, and vice-versa.
If you would like more information on the connection between gum disease and heart disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Inflammation and Heart Disease.”
When it comes to your dental health, it's not just about keeping your teeth clean - you also have to take care of your gums. Dr. Thomas Williams of Dedicated Dental Services serving Old Tappan, Sparkill, Tappan, Blauvelt, Piermont, Nyack, South Nyack, Palisades, Norwood and Orangeburg, NY, has offered some information about gum disease so that his patients can be more educated about this common oral condition.
What is gum disease?
As you probably know, when plaque builds up on the surface of the teeth, cavities can occur. The same bacteria in plaque can also affect the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. This tissue, called gingiva, responds to the bacterial buildup by becoming red, inflamed, and painful. Mild gum disease is called gingivitis; it is extremely common, affecting about half of adults in America. If gingivitis progresses before seeking treatment from your dentist, it can become periodontitis. This is the severe form of gum disease and can cause gum recession, bleeding, bad breath, and even tooth loss.
How is gum disease treated?
It's encouraging to know that gum disease, even when severe, can often be treated very effectively. Your Old Tappan, Sparkill, Tappan, Blauvelt, Piermont, Nyack, South Nyack, Palisades, Norwood and Orangeburg dentist will evaluate your condition and make recommendations based on what you need. Many people respond well to a treatment called scaling and root planing; tartar is removed from the area below the gum line using a hand-held tool. Medicated mouthwash can also make a big difference in fighting the bacteria and helping to heal the gums. Surgical procedures to encourage new tissue growth may be necessary to get periodontitis under control.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Since gum disease often starts in places that your toothbrush can't reach, your dentist reminds all his patients to floss daily. Flossing is an excellent way to ensure that you break up the bacterial colonies that form between the teeth and keep those areas clean. Mouthwash can also help with maintenance; talk to your dentist about the best types to use. Quitting smoking or using other tobacco products is also imperative; the chemicals in tobacco exacerbate the symptoms of gum disease.
If you think you might have gum disease, or for any other dental-related issues, contact the office of Dr. Williams serving Old Tappan, Sparkill, Tappan, Blauvelt, Piermont, Nyack, South Nyack, Palisades, Norwood and Orangeburg, NY today!
Archeologists can tell us quite a bit about our primitive ancestors. For example, because of their coarse, abrasive diet and a primitive understanding of oral hygiene, their teeth had a rough go of it. They simply wore out faster — a contributing factor, no doubt, to their short life spans of thirty or forty years.
But thanks to improvements in lifestyle, healthcare and diet, people live much longer today. And so do their teeth, thanks to advances in dental care and disease prevention. While teeth still wear to some degree as we age, if we care for them properly with daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, we can keep that wear to a minimum. Teeth truly can last a lifetime.
Unfortunately, it's still all too common for people to lose their teeth prematurely. The main reason: the two most prevalent dental diseases, tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Tooth decay arises from high concentrations of mouth acid that erode enamel, teeth's irreplaceable protective shell. Gum disease is an infection that damages the bone supporting tissues as it infiltrates deep below the visible gum line.
While they occur by different mechanisms, the two diseases have some commonalities. They both, of course, can lead to tooth loss. And, they're both triggered by oral bacteria found in dental plaque, a thin film of food particles built up on tooth and gum surfaces. Multiplying bacteria feed on plaque and produce acid as a by-product. And certain bacterial strains infect gum tissues.
Both of these diseases can be treated successfully, especially if detected early. But the better approach is to prevent them in the first place. This introduces another commonality — they share the same prevention strategy of daily, comprehensive brushing and flossing for plaque removal, regular dental cleanings and checkups, and a sharp eye for any signs of disease like bleeding gums or tooth pain.
With diligent dental care and close attention to your oral health, you increase your chances of avoiding the full threat of these diseases.Â And with healthy teeth, you have a better chance of living a long and healthy life.
If you would like more information on minimizing tooth wear, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How and Why Teeth Wear.”
Could your mouth be trying to tell you that you have periodontal disease?
Gum disease doesn’t have to happen to you. Our Sparkill, NY, dentist Dr. Thomas Williams gives you tips on what to look out for when it comes to the warning signs of gum disease. Find out if you are experiencing symptoms that warrant a trip to our office.
There are three stages to gum disease:
- Advanced gum disease
When you come in for a routine checkup our Sparkill, NY, general dentist Dr. Williams will also be able to detect the presence of gum disease. While we will provide a proper diagnosis, it’s always important that you are able to recognize the signs right away so you can receive treatment fast.
Fortunately, this stage of gum disease is reversible if it is caught soon enough and proper measures have been put into place to get your gums back on track. Common signs of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding gums, typically when flossing or brushing
- Puffy, red gums
- Receding gums that make teeth appear longer
- Bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away
When gingivitis has gone undetected it will continue to get worse until it turns to periodontitis. At this point, this condition can start to affect the health of teeth and bones, as well as your gums. Common periodontitis symptoms include:
- Inflamed, tender and red gums
- Pockets forming between teeth and gums (gums pulling away from the teeth)
- The presence of pus between the gums and the teeth
- A change in your bite
- Bad breath
This is the most serious form of gum disease you can have. Besides all the symptoms listed above, it’s also fairly common to notice loose teeth or to have experienced tooth loss. While you won’t be able to see it, this disease can also affect the health of your jawbone, resulting in bone loss.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it’s time to seek medical care right away. Contact Dedicated Dental Services located in Sparkill, NY, and serving the Old Tappan, Tappan, Blauvelt, Piermont, Palisades, Norwood & Orangeburg areas.