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Posts for tag: periodontal disease

By Great Meadows Dental Group
June 25, 2019
Category: Oral Health

GumsDo you have gum disease? Ranging from curable gingivitis to advanced periodontitis which leads to tooth and bone loss, gum disease concerns your dentists in Bedford, MA. Dr. Leo Kharin, Dr. Jessica Ristuccia and Dr. Nicholas Papapetros offer gum disease prevention, detection and treatment at Great Meadows Dental Group. Gum health is key to your oral and systemic health.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue caused by an overgrowth of oral bacteria contained in soft plaque and hard calculus, or tartar. Disciplined tooth brushing, flossing and healthy eating keep periodontitis, and its milder cousin, gingivitis, at bay, as do six-month cleanings and check-ups with your dentist in Bedford, MA.

However, poor oral hygiene, along with hereditary factors, smoking and some prescription medications, make more people prone to this destructive oral health problem. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that half of American adults have some degree of periodontal disease. That number increases to 70 percent in the elderly.

Do you have gum disease?

Some people have few to no symptoms when gum disease is in its earliest stages. However, unchecked, periodontitis produces:

  • Bleeding, swollen, tender gums
  • Tooth mobility (and eventual loss)
  • Bad breath
  • A changing dental bite
  • Mouth sores
  • Pus along the gum line and between the teeth
  • Receding gum tissue
  • Exposed tooth roots
  • Deep gum pockets

Dr. Kharin, Dr. Ristuccia and Dr. Papapetros measure the spaces between your teeth and gums (gum pockets) with a small probe. This painless check shows the dentist if your periodontal condition is changing. Pockets greater than three millimeters in depth indicate gum disease.

Treating this malady

It's important to treat this malady so that you can keep your teeth. Gum disease impacts overall health in the way of diabetes, memory issues, stroke, heart attack and more.

Most gum diseases are treatable with a deep in-office cleaning (tooth scaling and root planing) and follow-up care every six months, or as your dentist advises. However, some patients require more advanced treatments such as gum tissue grafting.

Dr. Papapetros, Dr. Kharin and Dr. Ristuccia agree that preventing periodontal disease is the most effective treatment. So, be sure to follow the at-home care and in-office regimen your dentist advises.

Find out more

At Great Meadows Dental Group in Bedford, MA, our professional team cares for all aspects of your oral health, including your gum wellness. Please Call (781) 275-7707 to arrange your routine hygienic cleaning and check-up with Dr. Papapetros, Dr. Kharin and Dr. Ristuccia! It's one of the best tools you have for a vibrant, long-lasting smile.

By Great Meadows Dental Group
August 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Although your smile wouldn't be the same without them, there's more to your gums than their looks. Besides helping to hold your teeth in place, they're also an important protective barrier for their roots.

Unfortunately, gums aren't immune to disease, especially periodontal (gum) disease. This bacterial infection, triggered by built-up dental plaque on teeth due to insufficient oral hygiene, can cause the gum tissues to detach from teeth and shrink back (recede). This can make your teeth more sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages, as well as put them at even greater risk for tooth decay.

To treat gum recession, our first priority is to stop any ongoing gum disease through aggressive plaque removal. Depending on severity, this could require clinical procedures like scaling or root planing to remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque deposits) at or below the gum line. This is especially crucial for improving gum tissue healing and stimulating potential reattachment.

Revitalizing gum tissues this way naturally has a better chance of occurring if we're able to prevent recession before it reaches the roots. If that does happen and we have sufficient gum tissue attachment remaining, we may need to give the gum tissue a helping hand through gum grafting surgery. There are a number of techniques depending on the circumstances, but they all use either tissue from another location in the patient's mouth or prepared tissue from another human donor. This type of surgery requires great skill and expertise, not to mention an aesthetic sense, to achieve a result that's both functional and attractive.

Other than daily brushing and flossing, the most important thing you can do for gum health is to see us as soon as you notice any signs of gum problems like swelling, bleeding or tooth sensitivity. The sooner we can diagnose and begin treating the problem, the less likely any gum recession will have a long-term impact on your health.

If you would like more information on gum health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gum Recession.”

By Great Meadows Dental Group
March 25, 2017
Category: Oral Health

If you suspect you have periodontal (gum) disease, it's important to get a correct diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you begin treatment the better the long-term outcome.

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that's most often triggered by plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces. Plaque buildup most often occurs when a person doesn't practice effective oral hygiene: daily brushing and flossing and professional cleanings at least twice a year.

The most common type of gum disease, gingivitis, can begin within days of not brushing and flossing. It won't always show itself, but you can have symptoms like swollen, red or bleeding gums, as well as bad taste and breath. You could also develop painful abscesses, which are localized pockets of infection within the gums.

If we don't stop the disease it will eventually weaken the gum attachment to the teeth, bone loss will occur and form deep pockets of infection between the teeth and bone. There's only one way to stop it: remove the offending plaque from all tooth surfaces, particularly below the gum line.

We usually remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) manually with special hand instruments called scalers. If the plaque and calculus have extended deeper, we may need to perform another procedure called root planing in which we shave or “plane” the plaque and calculus (tartar) from the root surfaces.

In many cases of early gum disease, your family dentist can perform plaque removal. If, however, your gum disease is more extensive, they may refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in the treatment and care of gums. Periodontists are trained and experienced in treating a full range of gum infections with advanced techniques, including gum surgery.

You can also see a periodontist on your own for treatment or for a second opinion — you don't necessarily need a referral order. If you have a systemic disease like diabetes it's highly advisable you see a periodontist first if you suspect gum disease.

If you think you might have gum disease, don't wait: the longer you do the more advanced and destructive the disease can become. Getting an early start on treatment is the best way to keep the treatment simple and keep gum disease from causing major harm to your teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When to See a Periodontist.”

By Great Meadows Dental Group
July 05, 2016
Category: Oral Health

After several treatment sessions your periodontal (gum) disease is under control. But, while we may have won this battle, the war rages on. To keep an infection from re-occurring we'll have to remain on guard.

Gum disease begins and thrives on a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque. The infection usually begins as gingivitis, which causes the gums to become red and swollen (inflamed). Untreated it can develop into periodontitis, a more advanced form that progresses deeper into the gum tissues resulting in bone loss.

To treat the disease, we must remove all the plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) we can find no matter how deeply they've penetrated below the gum line. Since the deeper it extends the more likely surgical techniques may be necessary to consider, it's better to catch the disease in its earliest stages when plaque can be removed with hand instruments or ultrasonic equipment.

The appropriate treatment technique can effectively stop and even reverse gum disease's effects — but it won't change your susceptibility. Constant vigilance is the best way to significantly reduce your risk of another episode. In this case, our prevention goal is the same as in treatment: remove plaque.

It begins with you learning and applying effective brushing and flossing techniques, and being consistent with these habits every day. As your dentist, we play a role too: we may need to see you as often as every few weeks or quarter to perform meticulous cleaning above and below the gum line. We may also perform procedures on your gums to make it easier to maintain them and your teeth, including correcting root surface irregularities that can accumulate plaque.

Our aim is to reduce the chances of another infection as much as possible. "Fighting the good fight" calls for attention, diligence and effort — but the reward is continuing good health for your teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on continuing dental care after gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Cleanings.”