The Primary Cause of Lost Teeth
Many people assume that tooth loss is due to decay. It’s not. It’s because of gum disease. And it can be completely unnoticeable right up until you lose your teeth. Symptoms include bleeding gums when you brush or floss and loose or shifting teeth. If you’ve been told you need gum surgery, you will be glad to know that it’s possible to control gum disease with a variety of non-surgical methods.
Gum Disease Can Contribute to Heart Disease and Even Stroke
Recent medical research has caused many doctors to reach a startling conclusion: gum disease, stroke, and heart disease are linked. Since heart disease is usually fatal, it is clear that gum disease is a serious matter. The American Dental Association estimates that 8 out of 10 Americans have periodontal (gum) disease. If this were any other affliction, such as AIDS or tuberculosis, it would be considered an epidemic! Most dentists think it is just that. They also knew that gum disease would never be labeled epidemic because “no one ever dies from it.” The worst is that you lose your teeth. Not pleasant – but certainly not life threatening. But that’s all changed.
The American Academy of Periodontology reports: “Studies found periodontal infection may contribute to the development of heart disease, increase the risk of premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes and respiratory diseases.” Periodontal disease is characterized by bacterial infection of the gums. These bacteria can travel into the bloodstream – straight to the heart.
Now the Good News
With advanced periodontal disease, the treatment is often surgical. Gum surgery is never fun, but it is almost always successful in controlling the condition, and it’s usually covered by common insurance plans. With mild periodontal disease, there are very effective NON-surgical procedures which, coupled with improved dental hygiene, can virtually halt the spread of the disease. This, too, is usually covered under most dental insurance plans.
What’s So Bad About Losing a Tooth?
Losing even a single tooth can cause the other teeth to shift and move around. This can affect chewing and your ability to absorb nutrients from your food. Other bad things can happen; your face will change shape, often looking “sunken.” This can make you look much older than you really are. Your speech can be affected. Because it’s harder to chew with missing teeth, you may find yourself favoring softer foods and more carbohydrates, which can cause you to gain weight. The best way to treat a missing tooth (or missing teeth) is with dental implants. An implant can replace one tooth or many. They can be made to look so natural that even a dentist has to look hard to tell the difference.
New Laser Treatment for Gum Disease
Our office is licensed to practice the Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure™, a minimally invasive method of treating gum disease. LANAP is the only laser-assisted procedure certified by the FDA for treatment of periodontitis or gum disease. You may have heard about or experienced the remarkable results from laser treatments for vision correction and other medical procedures. That same technology has revolutionizing dentistry! With LANAP, gum disease can be treated successfully without scalpels or sutures, so healing and recovery is generally faster and less painful than traditional gum surgery.
Defeat Gum Disease Painlessly
Dr. Hale is pleased to offer his patients two powerful, non-invasive weapons in the fight against gum disease. The first is called ARESTIN™. It comes in powder form and contains very tiny microspheres that are not visible to the eye. These microspheres deliver a time-released antibiotic directly to the site of the infection (the spaces between the gums and teeth). ARESTIN kills the bacteria that cause gum disease. The best part is that it’s all painless!
The other is called Perio Protect™ which is just as easy, painless, and effective. It’s as simple as wearing teeth whitening trays! Gum disease can only be treated quickly and effectively when the medication remains between the teeth and below the gum line. The body has a continual flow of saliva that washes away medications in just a minute or two. The breakthrough of Perio Protect is that the special trays will keep the medication where it’s supposed to be for a much longer period of time. This means healing can occur very quickly.