PatientInformation Section Print This
HOW TO GET THERE IF
I HAVE GUM DISEASE
Are you worried about gum disease or bad breath?
Have you been told you need gum surgery? Dr. Dilger has treated many cases of gum disease. Here is some information to help.
Ø What is Gum
Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is an infection
below the gum line causing destruction of the gum tissue and bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. Gum
disease starts with gingivitis. Gingivitis is red inflamed gum tissue, with no effect on the bone. The effects
of gingivitis are reversible. Once the infection has progressed to where it is affecting the bone, or is
virulent enough, the disease progresses to periodontitis, or as we will call it severe gum disease. As the
disease progresses the area between the teeth and the gums, called a “sulcus”, deepens to become what we call a
“pocket”. The deeper the pocket the more severe the disease is.
Ø How do I know
if I have Gum disease?
Most people are completely unaware that they have an infection
in their mouth. Generally it does not cause any pain or discomfort, and most people with out any dental
background do not see any change in the appearance of their mouth until the disease is very severe. Some may
however notice a bad taste, or have frequent bad breath. Coming to the dentist for a routine cleaning and exam
is the best way to be sure that your mouth is healthy. Our dental hygienist will take measurements around each
tooth of the “pockets”, observe the appearance and the texture of your gum tissue, will look for any recession
of your gums (areas where root surfaces of teeth show due to loss of tissue), and they will check your teeth to
see if they are loose. They will evaluate your mouth for signs of clenching and grinding, and other factors that
may be contributing to your disease.
Ø What are the
consequences of gum disease?
Gum disease affects the entire body system. The infection
spreads to the blood stream very easily due to the location of the mouth, and then is circulated to the rest of
the body. Gum disease can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis and even cancer. Having an
infection in the mouth also makes the immune system less responsive to fight off viruses and bacteria that
constantly attack the body’s defenses. A person with untreated gum disease is more likely to catch a cold, the
flue, or worse.
Consequences of gum disease in the mouth include recession, bone
loss, loose teeth, bad breath, red swollen gums, cavities, and eventual loss of teeth. Bone loss is critical
because once too much bone is lost, we cannot save the teeth.
Ø How do I
prevent gum disease?
Preventing gum disease is the best option. Prevention is best achieved by daily care of your
mouth with flossing around each tooth in a “C” shape slightly under the gum line, and
brushing all surfaces of the teeth thoroughly. We recommend and use the Sonicare toothbrush.
Living a healthy lifestyle by not smoking, eating healthy foods, and
staying physically active, are other ways to help prevent gum disease. Healthy people are less likely to have
gum disease, due to having a healthy immune system to help combat infection, and nutrients to build and
rebuild cells in the body.
***I have a video that shows how to floss. Click here to watch it. ***
Ø How is gum
Once gum disease has progressed past gingivitis it is necessary
to take action to treat the infection. Gum disease in its earlier
stages can be treated with a process called scaling and root planning. This process requires three appointments.
Generally this procedure would be performed by a dental hygienist. The dental hygienist would work on one side
of the mouth one day and then the other side shortly after (the following day is preferred). Most patients
like to be numb for this procedure. The dental hygienist will be cleaning and smoothing the root surfaces
below the gum line. This process removes bacteria and the toxins they release under the gum line, as well as
tarter, and debris creating an environment that will allow for healing of the tissues. The third appointment
occurs one month later to polish the tops of the teeth and review home care.
More aggressive and severe stages of periodontal disease would
be treated by Dr. Dilger with the Periolase, using the LANAP procedure. LANAP is
very successful, and causes patients very little post procedure discomfort.
Any stage of gum disease can and should be treated, and once
treated must be maintained on a regular basis with home care and more frequent dental hygiene visits. Gum
disease is just that, a disease, like heart disease. Like heart disease periodontal disease is not ever cured,
it is a constant lifelong process that one must battle with, and take the proper measures to minimize the ill
affects they cause.
Back to Oral Health Directory
Ready to appoint? Call Julie at (503) 378-0466,
orRequest An Appointment