Periodontal refers to the gums and bone that supports the teeth; the foundation for the teeth. Periodontal disease then is the breakdown of the gum tissue and bone caused by bacteria. Uncontrolled periodontal disease is one of the ways adults lose their teeth. We also now know that periodontal disease is an infection that not only impacts the mouth but also impacts the rest of your body in some fashion. Bacteria from the mouth enter through the infected gum tissue and travel through the bloodstream settling in blood vessels, organs such as the heart, and even in the brain the most recent research is showing. The bacteria raise the risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease. The inflammation that occurs as the bacteria enters into the bloodstream aggravates chronic inflammation based diseases such as arthritis, stroke. So, it is important that even a little bit of bleeding from the gums is an opportunity for bacteria to affect your total body health.
In our McHenry office we pay close attention to this from the very first exam. We make an assessment utilizing the Dental Fitness Exam to help determine if your level of health is consistent with the goals you have for your oral health. This is an educational tool that has great visual appeal software based process that records the presence of plaque, bleeding and bone levels around each tooth. It allows for an easy, visual comparison from exam to another, relating to your goals and medical history.
Periodontal disease treatment
Treatment is based on the findings of the Dental Fitness Exam. We know that since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, the lower the levels of plaque in your mouth, the less the risk of bone loss and impact on your systemic health. The focus during treatment is keeping the bacteria levels low. This can be done with coaching and instruction on proper techniques during hygiene appointments, so the patient can maintain control of their oral health. In other cases where bone loss may have started and heavier the therapy changes as the ability of the patient to effectively control. Our hygienist will often need to perform root planing sometimes referred to as deep cleaning to assist with cleaning areas that are beyond the ability of the patient to clean on their own. When these areas exist, there may be a need for more frequent monitoring of these cases.
We also have a new tool available to us in the form of bacterial DNA testing to identify the specific bacteria that are known to be more aggressive in causing gum disease, tooth decay and contribute to systemic diseases such as heart disease. The testing we use is the OraVital test. It is easy to perform by swabbing various areas of your mouth. These samples are sent out for analysis of the bacteria present. When the report comes back to us, we sit down with the patient and review the results. Many times, there are indications for some specific antibiotic rinses and creams, antimicrobial rinses with some specific techniques we will help you master. After a period of usually four to six weeks we have the patient return to measure the progress and discuss next steps. We have seen some amazing results with cases that were slow to improve using conventional methods alone. This is an important tool because it helps reduce systemic risks from bacteria as well.
It has become more rare but those few cases that are still not responding, we have great working relationships with periodontists, specialists that treat more advanced forms of periodontal disease. We have great communication between offices to make sure the patient’s needs and desires come first. We share assessments and imaging such as x-rays.
Contact Us Today!
Our McHenry dental team is committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. If you have any questions about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at 815-385-0777. Advanced dental equipment, the experience of our Dentist Dr. James A. Hasken, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating oral problems in many of our patients who visit us from different parts of McHenry and Crystal Lake.