Periodontal disease has been misunderstood for a long time, but in recent years, new information about its effects on your overall health has come to light.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation and infection of the gums. It often occurs when plaque and tartar are not sufficiently removed from the teeth on a regular basis. This build up causes irritation under the gums, the gum tissue pulls away from the tooth, and a pocket is formed. This pocket is the perfect environment for the growth of disease-causing bacteria. The more of these you have, the higher your bacterial load.
The fact is, as bad as this is for your oral structures, (untreated, you can expect to experience tooth loss), that’s not all the damage that periodontal disease does. Because the mouth is the entryway to your body’s systems, the bacteria in your mouth can easily migrate to the rest of your body. It travels via swallowing, respiration, and is carried in the bloodstream when parts of the gum are irritated and bleeding.
The Mouth-Body Connection
it’s for this reason that the effect of periodontal disease has been called the mouth-body connection. There are a number of illnesses that research has shown a greater risk for patients with periodontal disease.
- The risks of heart disease and stroke greatly increase with untreated periodontal disease.
- Pregnant mothers with gum disease are at increased risk for having low birth weight for babies.
- Bacteria inhaled into the lungs can be responsible for respiratory illness
- Periodontal disease contributes to bone loss in the jaw
With this in mind, you probably want to know more about how to prevent periodontal disease, and what kind of treatment options exist, as well. The good news is that prevention is easily accessible at your dentist’s office. Regular dental cleanings that remove plaque and tartar buildup, paired with a good checkup, are usually all that is required to keep your mouth healthy and disease free. Keeping an eye on problem areas can help prevent the need for extensive treatment, too.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
For some patients, traditional cut and stitch surgery may be the best option for treatment. For others, with mild-to-moderate damage from gum disease, laser dentistry may be able to provide a less invasive treatment. Only a dentist who has been well-trained in laser dentistry, such as Dr. Mandera can evaluate your condition and suggest the best course of treatment for you. Like any medical or dental condition, not all conditions can be treated with lasers.
What can Laser Dentistry do for Periodontal Disease?
In cases that can be treated by laser dentistry, the laser removes only the affected area, leaving only healthy gum tissue. The heat of the laser has a sanitizing affect. After this treatment is performed, the healthy gum tissue can readhere to the tooth, improving, and sometimes reversing, the periodontal disease and resulting pockets.
Patients who’ve undergone treatment for periodontal disease usually require more frequent dental cleanings and checkups to keep the bacterial load under control and prevent the spread of the disease. Drs. Sparks and Mandera will encourage you to maintain the schedule that is best for you. We want you to have healthy, strong teeth for life!
If you need preventive dentistry or would like a consultation for laser dentistry, call New Hampshire Family Dentistry at (603) 625-1877. We look forward to hearing from you!