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Periodontitis/Gum Disease Symptoms Treatments and Remedies

Gum disease before photo is a major health issue that more people are now starting to hear about.  It is also known as gum disease and it is caused by bacteria in your mouth.  Periodontitis can affect not only your mouth but your overall health because it is a bacterial infection. Medical studies are now showing that infections from periodontitis can get into your blood stream, thereby affecting all sorts of health conditions and chronic inflammatory disorders.  The more inflamed the gums become, the easier it is for bacteria from your mouth to get into your bloodstream.  Periodontitis increases your risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.  These are nasty bacteria that can cause chronic inflammation in your body and affect not just your mouth but all of your immune system.

Periodontitis affects the roots and gums holding your teeth firmly in place, which can lead to tooth loss and loosening and bleeding gums.  Healthy gum pockets are usually 1-3mm deep, unhealthy gum pockets are 4-5mm deep, and very diseased gum pockets are 6-12mm. The deeper the pocket the more bacteria present and the longer they have been there, which also leads to even more chronic inflammation.  Study after study now is showing that low grade chronic inflammation is very bad for your health.

More about Gum Disease

LANAP laser detail imageHealthy gums are pink and firm.  They do not bleed when brushed or flossed.  Healthy gums cover all of the root surfaces too.  Periodontitis changes all of this.  Periodontitis and gum disease start off slowly.  For a lot of people it starts with bad habits like not brushing or flossing enough.  The actions of brushing and flossing remove bacteria that cling to the white part of the tooth.   If these bacteria aren’t cleaned off they will slowly creep down your tooth and into the gums by your tooth roots.  Once they are in the gums it is hard to get them out.  They like to hide and multiply in dark, wet areas that are lacking oxygen, which is exactly what it is like when they get under the gums.  This is how periodontitis starts.  It is not painful at first, nor are you likely to notice many changes in your mouth right away.  But this is the start of a bacterial infection on your roots and gums.  Because it doesn’t hurt or cause dramatic changes in the teeth most people don’t seek any treatment to help it.

Another extremely bad habit for gum disease is smoking.  Smoking slowly kills many of the blood vessels that supply the gum tissue with healthy nutrients and oxygen. This makes smokers more susceptible to get periodontitis.  Smokers generally don’t get the bleeding gums part of periodontitis but that doesn’t mean the bacteria aren’t there under the gum line eating at the supporting structured of the tooth.  Smoking is probably the most preventable ways to avoid gum disease.

Diabetes and other autoimmune disorders are also a huge risk factor for gum disease and periodontitis.    Diabetes and periodontitis are a two way street.  Diabetes can worsen gum disease and gum disease can worsen the ability to control blood sugars.  Patients with diabetes and gum disease are also more likely to have major health issues like heart problems.  If we can control the gum disease, then we can have better control of diabetes.

Now genetics are also a factor in periodontal disease.  We all have bacteria in our mouth and most of them come from our parents.  Some strains of bacteria are more virulent when it comes to gum disease.  If your parents have the very virulent bacteria that cause gum disease you are more likely to get it too.  This genetic factor cannot be overlooked.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is everwhere.  Over 50% of the adult population has some degree of it.  We used to think it only affected the teeth, breath, and gums.  We now know this bacterial inflammation gets into the blood stream and can cause chronic inflammation throughout the body and make it hard to control diabetes and other autoimmune disorders.  It also increases risk of heart attack and stroke.  So, periodontitis is a pretty serious condition.  Well, the good news is that in today’s field of dental technology we have better ways of treating it and making you well again.

MVP-7 therapeutic laser LANAPTraditional ways of treating periodontitis include scraping the teeth and roots with a procedure called scaling and root planing your dental hygienist.  If the gum pockets aren’t too deep, then scaling and root plaining can be quite affective. The hygienist gets you numb and does a very thorough cleaning to get under the gums and literally scrape away the bacterial deposits that are clinging to the roots. This is usually don’t for your whole mouth in two separate appointments.  You need to follow this up with periodontal maintenance cleanings three to four times a year to ensure the periodontitis doesn’t come back.

For those patients with deep pocketing, severe inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease we have an even better treatment option.  This new revolutionary treatment is done with a laser.  Now there are many lasers used in dentistry now, but there is only one laser that is FDA approved to help stop and even reverse gum disease.  Yes, I just said reverse gum disease.  This used to be impossible! The laser is called the LANAP Periolase laser, and it can help regrow bone that has eaten away by periodontitis bacteria.  This is a very powerful laser with a very special wavelength of light that kills bacteria with laser beam pulses and also stimulates the bone to regrow around the areas of destruction.  The LANAP Periolase laser is the only way get this level of healing and reduction of inflammation.  If you get laser gum work done please ensure it is with the LANAP laser.  Clinicians who use this laser are highly trained and awarded a license to practice with it.  This LANAP Periolase laser is the most exciting thing to happen to periodontitis treatment in a very long time.

Heath Lampee, DMDIf your gum disease is truly bad unrepairable then it is time to say goodbye to the teeth.  The chronic infection and inflammation from these hopeless teeth is not worth the risk to your health.  The great news is that in one day we can remove the teeth, clean out all of the chronic infections from periodontitis, place dental implants and give you a new smile.  This new set of teeth is secured with four to six implants per jaw and is the strongest and most aesthetic to replacement possible.  We call this Teeth in 24 and it is truly remarkable and has given hope to thousands of our patients.

Periodontitis and the bacteria associated with it are very bad for overall health.  They cause chronic inflammation and overwork our immune system, making it easier to get infections, and more likely to have heart attacks and strokes.  Periodontitis also make it hard to control diabetes and other autoimmune disorders.  By treating gum disease we can get rid of these nasty bacteria and allow you to live your best life.  Good dental health and a great smile have never been so important sp visit our Portland dentist today.