Did you know that periodontal disease is the #1 undiagnosed disease in the United States leading to tooth loss?
According to the respected CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), "47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease." and "Periodontal Disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease."
It is unfortunately a too-often neglected part of your overall dental health picture, and Dr. Ashba believes that she would be doing a poor job taking care of your dental health - and contributing to the abysmal statistics cited above- if she was not highly aware of it and doing her best to detect, prevent and treat it as needed. This is why, at Advanced Smile & Dental Arts, we do a complete periodontal charting of your mouth, which means we measure every single tooth with a special probe in 6 different places to diagnose progressive and permanent bone loss.
The main culprit in the case of periodontal disease is good-old tartar, that hard substance made of saliva minerals and a zillion bacteria that forms on your teeth, between them, and eventually extend below the gums as damage is done and pockets created.
When pockets depths are 4 mm or more, the first non-surgical step in the treatment of periodontal disease involves a special cleaning known as scaling and root planning ( SRP) or deep cleaning. With a specialized instrument, the plaque and tartar build up found below the gum line is removed. What a relief for the gum tissues! Local anesthetic ("Novocaine") is usually used to alleviate any potential discomfort.
Depending of the extend of the disease, a localized antibiotic such as Arestin may be used to help control the infection and promote healing. Studies has shown that the combination of both the deep cleaning with the use of Arestin was almost 3 times as likely to reduce pocket depth and less frequent bone loss.
Unfortunately, it must be understood that periodontal disease is like hypertension or diabetes: it can hopefully be controlled, but unlikely to be eliminated at this point in time with current medical knowledge. After the treatments described above, it is extremely important to follow up with periodontal maintenance cleaning which will be scheduled 3 (sometimes 4) times a year. Failing to do so will result in poor healing , return of the inflammation of the gums and progression of the disease, with ongoing permanent bone loss. "A tooth is like a post in the ground"...If one digs enough around a post, it will eventually start moving, and then come out. This is what happens to periodontally-involved teeth, and our goal is to stop or slow down the process as much as we can!
Dr. Ashba will evaluate your periodontal health as part of her thorough dental evaluation, and will let you know the best way she can treat any potential issues.
For more information, you can click below on "Gum Health" (left), then on the videos
- Periodontitis and Your Health
- Hand Scaling and Polishing
- Deep Scaling and Root Planning
- Plaque and Tartar
- Gingival Recession
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