Dental Tips Blog

Feb
13

Gum Disease – Is It Written in Your Genes?

Posted in Gum Disease

If you don’t floss and brush regularly, your teeth will fall out from periodontitis.

Well, that’s only part of the story.

From what we do know about gum disease, there are a few thoroughly-understood risk factors:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Stress
  • Compromised immune system
  • Smoking

For the most part, these are controllable. They affect how the gums react to plaque bacteria that cause gum disease.

But why is it that some folks with terrible oral hygiene never suffer more than a mild case of gingivitis while some avid flossers can’t kick periodontitis?

Research suggests that the presence of disease-causing bacteria isn’t enough to trigger the problem. Rather, the way your body responds to them may be more important.

A genetic marker has been cautiously pegged as an indicator of being prone to gum disease. It needs to be studied more, but it lines up with other research and observations indicating that there is some hereditary factor.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that smoking in itself has proven to be a far bigger risk factor in gum disease than the presence of that marker. Smoking ups your risk so much that it doesn’t matter whether gum disease runs in your family or not.

What’s the takeaway here?

While there appears to be a genetic factor at play in the risk for periodontal disease, there is not yet a sure way to predict your individual chances. The best you can do for now is lower your risk with great oral hygiene and not smoking. Your local dental team can help you develop a personalized preventative plan.

Posted on behalf of:
Feather Touch Dental Care
1175 Peachtree St. NW Ste 1204
Atlanta, GA 30361
(404) 892-2097

Sep
9

Why Periodontal Exams Are Important

Posted in Gum Disease

There might be part of your regular dental check-ups that you didn’t even know about – the periodontal exam. If you’ve ever overheard your dentist or hygienist charting the findings in this exam, it sounded like a list of numbers like 3, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, etc. Have you ever asked to find out what they mean, or why it’s such an important part of your routine dental care?

The periodontal exam is the part of your check-up that assesses whether or not you have periodontal disease (gum disease.) A small, smooth-tipped probe is placed under the gumlines to see how deep the “pocket” is around 6 different surfaces of each tooth. The bottom of the pocket indicates where the gum levels are attached, as well as whether or not there is associated bone loss in deep areas.

A healthy, disease-free pocket is any area that is 3mm or shallower. Periodontal pockets that are deeper than 3mm indicate that infection has caused the tissue to detach from the tooth. If moderate to severe pocketing is present, it’s impossible to keep your teeth free of disease with simple brushing and flossing. It also means that there is less security when it comes to keeping your teeth in place. Teeth then become mobile due to structural loss, and can even fall out.

Thankfully, routine periodontal exams can help identify areas of concern when they are as small as possible. This provides patients and their dentist with an opportunity to re-vamp oral hygiene skills and treat the area as needed. It is possible to achieve re-attachment of gum tissue, but it isn’t possible to get bone to grow back on its own. If you’ve never heard your hygienist call out these numbers, it’s time to ask about having a periodontal exam at your next check-up!

Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry

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Jan
27

Periodic Periodontal Exams

Posted in Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, which is a disease that destroys the gums and results in bone loss, affects approximately 80% of all Americans.  While the disease is painless, it impacts a person’s overall health and leads to a number of diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as a number of issues impacting the babes being carried by pregnant women.

In addition, when left untreated, the bone loss can ultimately lead to the loss of teeth.  Periodontal disease is treatable, provided it is detected early and treated effectively.  In addition to being treatable, it is also avoidable, mainly thru good oral hygiene and regular dental exams by both a dentist and a periodontal dentist.   As a result, it is recommended that dental patients, as a part of their semi-annual dental checkup, alternate these checkups with their regular dentist and a qualified periodontal dentist.

During the exam, the doctor will check for signs of gum disease, oral cancer and other oral health problems.  A removal of plaque and calculus will also be performed, as this is often a cause for periodontal disease.  During the initial exam, the doctor will collect data related to bone levels, pocket depths, bleeding points, and overall gum health.  In addition to providing a “base line” for future visits, the initial data will assist the doctor in providing the patient with the appropriate diagnosis, treatment plan and a prognosis.  Available treatments include surgical, non surgical and laser treatment.

The key to preventing periodontal disease is regular visits to a qualified and experienced periodontal dentist, as well as care by a patient’s regular dentist and proper oral hygiene!

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental

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