Periodontal disease is a progressive bacterial infection of the gums. Bacteria multiply, spread and being to form deep pockets in the gumline causing the gum tissue to swell and pull away from the teeth. Gum disease causes a chain reaction of secondary health and oral health issues that can begin to take a toll on a person’s overall well being.
Routine dental checkups can help prevent the spread of periodontal disease. They also provide the opportunity for Dr. Overholtzer and our team to look for oral signs of larger health concerns that can impact the health of the gums. In the earliest stages, gum disease is known as gingivitis. During this stage, gum disease can be manageable and eliminated with more frequent teeth cleanings and improved at home oral hygiene. Dr. Overholtzer offers personalized treatment plans that are designed to control disease-causing bacteria and to restore damage caused by the progression of gum disease.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TREATING GUM DISEASE
In addition to being a leading cause of tooth loss, gum disease has been linked to an increase in systemic disease. Patients with gum disease are more likely to have diabetes, be obese, and to have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. It is important to treat gum disease before it spreads to the bloodstream to prevent increased health risks.
Patients who have gum disease may experience these common symptoms:
- Bleeding gums
- Tender, swollen gums
- Receding gum line
- Change in the fit of an oral appliance
- Loosening of teeth
If you notice any symptoms of gum disease contact your Bishop, CA dentist right away to schedule a periodontal screening. Dr. Overholtzer provides visual screening for gum disease at every routine dental exam.
PERIODONTAL THERAPY: WHAT TO EXPECT
Treatment for gum disease will vary depending on the stage of the disease and the secondary dental concerns it may have caused. Dr. Overholtzer will thoroughly examine your overall oral health to help you build a treatment plan that will restore your oral health. He also works with you to manage oral symptoms that can impact gum health such as dry mouth, often the result of medications being taken for other health issues.
Patients with advanced gum disease known as periodontitis often have tooth loss, gum recession, and even bone loss. Dr. Overholtzer may recommend the use of dental implants, laser therapy or other restorative treatments to rebuild a stable, healthy bite. Skyline Family Dentistry provides patients with full-service implants and gum contouring all under one roof, eliminating the need for additional specialists.
There is a range of systemic disease that is believed to be caused by internal inflammation, often the result of the body’s response to elevated bacteria in the mouth due to gum disease.
When the gums are compromised as bacteria levels rise, they begin to lose their ability to serve as a barrier between the mouth and the bloodstream. This stimulates the body’s immune system which can become overactive and lead to internal inflammation.
Maintaining healthy gums reduces the risk of developing additional health issues and also makes existing disease easier to manage. For many patients already struggling with certain medical conditions, side effects of both disease and medications can lead to dry mouth and other dental health-related concerns. We work with patients individually to help them improve both comfort and overall oral health and to reduce the risk of larger problems, including tooth loss.
Patients who have diabetes often experience the signs and symptoms of gum disease due to an increased risk. This is the result of high levels of sugar in the bloodstream if the disease is difficult to manage.
Conversely, chronic gum disease may be the warning sign of developing diabetes as rising sugar levels impacts the health of the gums, creating the “perfect” breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
Dr. Overholtzer not only looks for changes in the health of your gums during regular visits but offers personalized dental care and oral hygiene advice to meet your specific needs and concerns. He works with diabetic patients on an individual basis to help them manage gum disease, maintain oral health and address any side effects of prescribed medications that may affect the mouth.
The connection between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease continues to be demonstrated as ongoing studies show that this is often a “two-way street”. In the presence of gum disease, certain types of bacteria can enter the bloodstream and lead to inflammation affecting the heart and cardiovascular system. Untreated, this can lead to stroke and heart attack.
Patients with existing cardiovascular disease may find it difficult to manage their oral health and suffer from side effects of medications prescribed.
Pregnancy leads to hormonal changes in the body that affect the gums. Expecting mothers may notice that their gums bleed when brushing or that are red and irritated at times. While a normal side effect, it is important to visit with us regularly to make sure that the gums are remaining healthy and bacteria is not building up on tooth or gum surfaces.
If gum disease develops, it can lead to internal inflammation that an affect the ability of the body to maintain a healthy pregnancy and has been linked to low birth weight in infants.
Dr. Overholtzer will work with you during this exciting time to help maintain all aspects of your oral health. Personalized care takes into consideration your medical history, concerns and lifestyle habits.