Preventive maintenance for your teeth and gums (and implants) should involve more than simply making sure your smile is as bright as possible. It is a wise move to schedule regular periodontal checks to coincide with your annual or semi-annual tooth cleaning and regular checkups by a general dentist. Even if you trust your dentist to inform you if anything in your mouth looks suspicious, the extra layer of caution might be of great benefit not only for your oral health, but for your overall well-being.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carried staggering statistics: Nearly 65 million Americans suffer from periodontisis, commonly referred to as gum disease. The sad part is, with regular periodontal checkups, much of the gum disease could be diagnosed early and reversed before it becomes a bigger problem. Poor dental hygiene is the cause of periodontal disease in many cases. However, periodontal disease remains a “significant public health issue for people of all backgrounds,” according to Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, president of the American Academy of Periodontology.
Know the Signs
Just as you probably would not ignore the pain of a toothache, you should not ignore sore, receding, swollen or bleeding gums. As an adult, if any of your teeth feel ‘loose,’ it is definitely time to schedule a periodontal assessment. Regular bad breath can be a sign of gum disease. And, if your general dentist suggests it, don’t fail to make that appointment.
Gingivitis is the usual first sign of potential serious periodontitis. Those red, inflamed gums are the early warning system that your mouth needs attention. Gum disease itself can be considered an alert for possible medical problems, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Some studies suggest that menopausal women also ought to be alert to the symptoms of developing gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease leads to bone and tissue separation and eventual tooth loss.
At Salcetti & Associates, we won’t fault you or your dental habits if you come to us with gum disease. In fact, we know that three out of four adults encounter mild to severe periodontal problems at some point in life. After age 35, more people lose teeth due to gum disease than as a result of cavities. Is it any wonder, then, that we encourage regular periodontal exams? We have the necessary knowledge and professional skills to successfully treat and reverse early symptoms. We can help you retain those pearly whites, healthy gums, and that brilliant smile for years.
Genetics, diet and nutrition and many other factors can have an effect on oral health. Stress, smoking, obesity, certain medications and the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth can increase your risk. Some evidence suggests that alcohol consumption may also be a factor. If you have a family history of gum disease, you might want to schedule a baseline exam to assess your current gum health; even if you have impeccable habits and see a dentist regularly, there may be deep pockets forming between your gums and healthy teeth. When those pockets are filled with plaque, periodontal disease sometimes progresses rather quickly.
If you have questions, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We’ll answer your questions as we perform an exam. The American Academy of Periodontology is committed to spreading the word about healthy gums: Take the Gums 101 Quiz and visit Perio News on Facebook for more informative articles.
Remember, also, that we are dental implant specialists and perform laser surgery in addition to periodontics. We believe that a healthy mouth full of sparkling teeth gives you a great reason to smile!