Unlike most diseases, it’s painless. Worse, the conditions that cause periodontal disease are the same destructive processes that are found in many connective tissue disorders. So there’s the problem: painless, destructive, and related to other disorders you might not think could be connected.
Your gums are like a canary in a cage; an early warning sign that something is amiss. It could be from poor oral hygiene (lack of daily brushing and flossing properly) causing a bacterial infection. It might be a fungal overgrowth, diabetes, hormone imbalance, side–effect of some medications, or lack of certain nutrients.
Gingivitis is the first stage, and it is easier to treat. They start to look red and puffy, and may start to bleed a little when you brush or floss. Left untreated, the condition becomes destructive.
Periodontal Disease may seem no different when you look in the mirror, because the condition has advanced beneath the surface of your gums. At this point, the inflammation has produced chemical changes that literally melt the bone that holds your teeth in place. Perfectly good teeth can be lost, all without any pain!
WHAT WE DO ABOUT IT
We take x-rays to evaluate bone loss. Then we use a tiny probe to measure the depth of the gum pocket in six places around each and every tooth. Listen as the numbers are recorded: 3mm or less is ok. Anything over 4mm is cause for concern. More than 4mm is quite worrisome.
The next step is to take a small sample of plaque (the sticky stuff clinging to your teeth) and examine it under a microscope. You’ll see what’s there – and compare it to a chart of what could be found. This way we treat your condition effectively. It’s the same reason your physician needs a culture or sample before choosing medical treatment.
Additional easy testing of Zinc, Vit C and perhaps others completes the assessment.
Now we have a roadmap for you. Depending on the severity of your condition, there are different methods we use to remove the built up debris (called calculus or tartar) from beneath your gums. One procedure is a “root plane and scale”, but there are other times when a tiny laser does the job. This is the LANAP process: http://www.lanap.com/demo.php
Often this process requires a few appointments. It will all be explained to you with specific information about home care for your needs. During this time, we’ll work with you on your nutritional needs and proper supplementation. Remember, this is the same inflammatory process that can affect your overall health!
Follow-up care will be customized to the extent of your condition. Most people need to return more frequently until the disease process is under control. Like diabetes, it won’t go away, but it can be controlled.