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Posts for tag: periodontal disease

By George L. Landress, D.D.S., M.A.G.D.
June 24, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Periodontal DiseaseDo you have periodontal disease? Maybe the question doesn't keep you awake at night. However, periodontitis, or gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in the US, according to the CDC. Your dentist in Danbury, CT, Dr. George Landress alerts their patient to signs of this potentially disastrous condition and offers the best treatments in the area.

What is periodontal disease?

It's an infection of the gum tissue surrounding the tooth roots. Caused by bacteria which proliferate in plaque and tartar, periodontitis can be mild but quickly become overwhelming and severe.

In addition, gum disease affects systemic health. The American Heart Association cites a direct link between periodontitis and heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. The American Academy of Periodontology says this dental condition may be linked to osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and even some cancers in the male population. In other words, gum disease is nothing to ignore.

Signs of gum disease

While you may not be aware the symptoms of gum disease, your dentist and hygienist in Danbury, CT, will detect them on oral examination. Ranging in severity, the signs may include:

  • Bleeding gums when touched with a toothbrush or dental probe
  • Tenderness
  • Puffiness
  • Recession
  • Deep pockets between gums and teeth (as measured with a small metal probe)
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Pus between teeth and at the gum line
  • Change in gum color (red to dark and dusky)
  • Loose and drifting teeth
  • A change in dental bite
  • Oral sores
  • Pain when eating hard foods
  • Teeth which look longer than they previously did

What puts you at risk

People who neglect at-home and in-office hygiene develop gum disease even if they have no other risk factors. Some people, however, run into problems because of:

  • Heredity
  • Excessive alcohol intake (the CDC defines excessive as eight drinks a week for women and 15 for men)
  • Unresolved orthodontic issues, such as crowding
  • Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)
  • High carbohydrate diets
  • Smoking (the University of Rochester Medical Center cites research about e-cigarettes also harming gums and other oral tissues)

Prevention and management

The surest path to healthy gums is diligent oral hygiene. That means daily flossing and twice daily brushing to remove bacteria-filled plaque and prevent hard tartar.

Also, be careful what you consume. Avoid sugar in all forms, reduce your alcohol consumption to safe levels (one to two drinks a day only) and stop both smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes.

To control active disease, Dr. Landress may recommend tooth scaling and root planing, along with antibiotics to eliminate infection. For advanced cases, gum grafting may be in order. Your plan will be tailored to meet your specific needs.

They're your gums

Take care of them, won't you? And let Dr. George Landress and his team in Danbury, CT, partner with you in the effort. If you need a six-month examination and hygienic cleaning, call your dentist for an appointment: (203) 743-7608.

SeekImmediateTreatmentforthisAdvancedFormofGingivitis

It takes only a short time neglecting your oral hygiene before you begin to notice some unpleasant things with your gums: swelling, redness or even bleeding. These are all signs of gingivitis, a periodontal (gum) disease that arises from bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that builds up on tooth surfaces when a person doesn't brush or floss.

Fortunately, early stages of gingivitis can be treated effectively with comprehensive plaque removal during one or more office visits. If, however, it's not dealt with early, it can develop into something much more serious: acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This form does more than leave you with unattractive teeth and gums and terrible breath — it could eventually cause you to lose your teeth.

ANUG is also known as trench mouth, a common ailment among front line World War I soldiers without access to proper dental care and hygiene. It's most prevalent today among individuals who are under a great deal of stress, not sleeping or eating well and haven't cleaned or properly cared for their teeth for an extended period of time. Tobacco smokers also seem more susceptible than non-smokers to the disease, perhaps because smoke dries the mouth and changes the bacterial environment.

Unlike common gingivitis, ANUG can be quite painful. In effect, the gum tissues begin to die (necrotize), especially the triangular peaks between teeth known as papillae. Besides the other symptoms of gingivitis, the tissues may become yellowish.

ANUG can be treated effectively. The first step is to relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation through medication. The focus then shifts to treating the underlying cause, bacterial plaque. Besides plaque removal common in any treatment for gum disease, we may also need to initiate antibiotic therapy. Metronidazole is a common antibiotic that's been demonstrated effective against the specific bacterial strain associated with ANUG. We might also combine this with an antibacterial mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine.

The final step belongs to you: to keep ANUG or any other gum disease from reoccurring, it's important for you to adopt a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits for thorough teeth cleaning and checkups. Taking this proactive approach will help ensure you won't suffer from this painful and unattractive form of gingivitis again.

If you would like more information on acute gingivitis, 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 “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”

WinningtheWaronGumDiseaseRequiresPost-TreatmentVigilance

After several treatment sessions your periodontal (gum) disease is under control. But, while we may have won this battle, the war rages on. To keep an infection from re-occurring we'll have to remain on guard.

Gum disease begins and thrives on a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque. The infection usually begins as gingivitis, which causes the gums to become red and swollen (inflamed). Untreated it can develop into periodontitis, a more advanced form that progresses deeper into the gum tissues resulting in bone loss.

To treat the disease, we must remove all the plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) we can find no matter how deeply they've penetrated below the gum line. Since the deeper it extends the more likely surgical techniques may be necessary to consider, it's better to catch the disease in its earliest stages when plaque can be removed with hand instruments or ultrasonic equipment.

The appropriate treatment technique can effectively stop and even reverse gum disease's effects — but it won't change your susceptibility. Constant vigilance is the best way to significantly reduce your risk of another episode. In this case, our prevention goal is the same as in treatment: remove plaque.

It begins with you learning and applying effective brushing and flossing techniques, and being consistent with these habits every day. As your dentist, we play a role too: we may need to see you as often as every few weeks or quarter to perform meticulous cleaning above and below the gum line. We may also perform procedures on your gums to make it easier to maintain them and your teeth, including correcting root surface irregularities that can accumulate plaque.

Our aim is to reduce the chances of another infection as much as possible. "Fighting the good fight" calls for attention, diligence and effort — but the reward is continuing good health for your teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on continuing dental care after 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 magazine article “Periodontal Cleanings.”

5WarningSignsYouMayHaveGumDisease

Periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection caused by plaque, is one of the most prevalent and destructive dental conditions. Left untreated it can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

Although people are often unaware they have gum disease, there are a few warning signs to look for. Here are five gum disease signs that should prompt a dental visit.

Gum Swelling and Redness. Like all infections, gum disease triggers an immune system response that releases antibodies into the gums to attack the bacteria. The ensuing battle results in inflammation (swelling) and a darker redness to the gum tissues that don’t lessen with time.

Gum Bleeding. It isn’t normal for healthy gum tissue, which are quite resilient, to bleed. In a few cases, bleeding may indicate over-aggressive brushing, but more likely it means the tissues have weakened to such an extent by infection they bleed easily.

Tooth Sensitivity. If you notice a shot of pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold or when you bite down, this could mean infected gums have “drawn back” (receded) from the teeth. Gum recession exposes the tooth roots, which are more sensitive to temperature and pressure changes in the mouth.

An Abscess. As weakened gum tissues detach from the tooth, the normally thin gap between them and the tooth deepens to form a void known as a periodontal pocket. This often results in an abscess where pus collects in the pocket and causes it to appear more swollen and red than nearby tissues. An abscess needs immediate attention as bone loss is greatly accelerated compared to normal gum disease.

Tooth Looseness or Movement. As diseased gum tissue causes loss of gum and bone attachment, the affected teeth will start to feel loose or even move to a different position. This is a late and alarming sign of gum disease — without immediate intervention, you’re in danger of losing the tooth.

If you encounter any of these signs, contact us for an examination as soon as possible. The sooner we can diagnose gum disease and begin treatment, the less damage it will cause — and the better your odds of regaining healthy teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on gum disease, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Warning Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease.”