Periodontal Therapy in Gahanna, OH
Just how serious are bleeding gums and heart disease? What if every time you washed your hands, your cuticles bled? Would you be concerned? We bet so, and yet, every day people brush their teeth and are not at all alarmed by the blood they spit. If it were your fingers, you would probably run to the doctor, but some people rarely if ever visit the dentist. You may not realize that persistent sore, swollen, red, or bleeding gums as well as bad breath are warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) – a serious infection that, left untreated, may lead to tooth loss as well as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, and premature/underweight newborns.
Gum disease can affect one tooth or the whole mouth. One of the common signs of gum disease is bleeding gums. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed. The plaque produces a biofilm which is a magnet for those toxin producing bacteria.
In the least harmful form of the disease, gingivitis, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily. There is little to no pain or discomfort. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene and it is estimated that up to 90% of the adult population may suffer from some form of gum disease. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Leaving Bleeding Gums Untreated
If untreated, gingivitis usually advances to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gum tissue. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Bad breath, while unpleasant, is not exactly an emergency situation. Right? But it is probably the first sign of progressing gum disease. Left untreated, teeth become “loose” in their pockets and the progression to tooth loss is inevitable.
We know that periodontal disease is caused by specific bacteria. We also know that some of those bacteria are tissue invasive. At StoneRidge Dental Care we can look at the pathogens from your mouth using a microscope to determine the amount of bacteria. We can also send a culture of those pathogens to a lab to tell us what types and how many.
For the first time in dentistry we have the ability to identify the periodontal pathogens causing infection that are specific to you. By knowing the cause and amount of the infection we can customize the proper treatment to help keep you well. Our goal is to keep your oral health as healthy as we can, for as long as we can, and help you address times when it is not.
Did you know that the expression “looking long in the tooth” is actually describing advanced gum disease? As the infection progresses and gums recede, the teeth look longer. So an age old expression actually relates to an age old problem. The good news is that even if you have advanced gum disease that may require surgery, at StoneRidge Dental Care we have the latest technology to treat you comfortably.
Laser dentistry is an alternative to traditional gum surgery. Have you been told you need traditional gum surgery using scalpel and suture technique? There is a laser alternative and StoneRidge Dental Care is one of only a handful of practices in Ohio to own the Millennium® Periolase and provide laser therapy for gum disease. It is estimated that 100 million Americans have gum disease, the major cause of tooth loss in adults. But it’s not just tooth loss-we now know that gum disease is linked to heart disease, pancreatic cancer, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes - the list goes on and on. At times when gum disease becomes too advanced for customized therapy alone, surgery may be the only way to get rid of the infection and close up the pockets. Until now, that meant surgery and sutures. But today, some dentists offer LASER PERIODONTAL THERAPYTM (LANAP), a patient-friendly, minimally-invasive procedure that’s a great improvement over standard gum surgery.
How does LANAP work?
Call our office to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Conkey or Dr. Moberger to explain how laser dentistry works and give you a demonstration. We will take X-rays to make a definitive diagnosis and determine the extent of the gum infection. When you return for your first LANAP treatment, you’ll receive a local anesthetic to eliminate any possible discomfort. A tiny laser fiber (about the thickness of three hairs) is inserted between the tooth and the gum, and the infection is cleared away. The procedure is very fast: It takes just two 2-hour sessions. We will treat one half of your mouth at each session…and you’ll probably feel good enough to go right back to work afterwards. Most of our patients report minimal discomfort and certainly none of the pain associated with traditional gum surgery. There really is no reason not to follow through with treating gum disease. This LANAP is making believers out of patients who were afraid of the pain and time associated with traditional gum surgery.