There are two equally important concepts to consider if you want to keep your teeth for a lifetime...
- Taking care of the teeth
- Taking care of the gums
You might be surprised to know that we hear this from time to time..."Why do I have to go to the dentist every 6 months? I never have any cavities. I think I only need to go once a year."
Our response is always a gentle effort to bring the patient's level of knowledge up to date. Gone are the days of the annual "check-up," when you went to the dentist periodically for a quick exam to see if you had cavities. Modern dental practices are focusing as much on the health of your gums as they are on the health of your teeth, because 3 out of 4 adults have active periodontal disease (gum disease) and don't even know it. In fact, it doesn't matter how healthy your teeth are if you have periodontal disease.
The gums are the foundation of your teeth. If the gums become unhealthy, infected and fragile, then you will loose otherwise perfectly healthy teeth.
PERIODONTAL DISEASE (GUM DISEASE)
Periodontal Disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. It often has no signs or symptoms that are obvious to the patient. But it can be easily detected and prevented by a hygienist and dentist . More than half of all people over age 18 have at least the early stage of some type of periodontal disease. After age 35, some form affects about three out of four adults. It is a very subtle and slowly smoldering fire that is eventually irreversible.
Periodontal disease has been recently implicated as a contributing factor in heart disease. If left ignored, periodontal disease will eventually lead to tooth loss, and along the way painful and discouraging infections. To prevent the earliest stages of periodontal disease, you need to understand what causes it, recognize the earliest signs, and practice good oral health habits. The most important thing you can do is seek routine cleanings.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease (gum disease). Gingivitis affects only the gum tissue and does not permanently damage the bone around the teeth. At this stage, the disease is still reversible. If not treated, however, it may lead to a more severe condition - periodontitis. If your gums look red at the edges next to the teeth, or if your gums bleed when you floss or brush, then you have gingivitis.
This is the more advanced stage of gingivitis. Periodontitis (Periodontal disease) is an infection process that is a constant challenge to your immune system and is responsible for the irreversible loss of bone surrounding your teeth. At least half of the people who have periodontal disease do not know it. You can brush and even floss every day, and still have advanced periodontal disease. The only way to treat and eliminate it is to visit a dentist who does a thorough exam and prescribes a treatment regime of "deep cleanings" and sometimes gum surgery.
The goal of this portion of our web site is to educate you about the important connection between periodontal disease and your ability to keep your teeth for a lifetime. Periodontal disease has been shown to be connected to heart disease and other systemic illnesses. This could be very important information to you.