Sorry it has been so long since our risk factor series, but here we are. In a previous post, I discussed the risk factors associated with caries, everything from your habits, to your previous dental history. Now, I want to discuss the second area that I focus on as a dentist when doing your examination – This has nothing to do with your teeth, but has everything to do with how long you keep them.
It is your periodontal health. What is that?? Well, that involves all the structures that hold your teeth in your mouth like your gums and the bone around your teeth. Periodontal disease can be silent and painless for many, many years and is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. When we do a comprehensive exam, we do measurements around all your teeth to get a baseline of the amount of bone loss and swelling around each tooth. Based on your measurements, we then decide on a plan to get your gums and your bone to optimal health and to keep them that way. the cheapest way to keep your gums healthy is to just get your cleanings done every six months. Even if you have other dental work that you cannot do at this time, at least keep your dental hygiene visits current. Here are some of the risk factors for periodontal disease that we take into account when planning your treatment.
1 Previous history – How long has it been since you’ve seen the dentist? Do you have a history of gum disease? Are your gums bleeding? etc.. 2. Periodontal Measurements – A tooth brush bristle can only go about 3-4 mm below your gums, therefore, if your measurements are above this, we need to reduce those measurements so you can easily maintain your gums healthy over the long term. 3. Smoking – Yet another reason not to smoke !! 4. Diabetes and other systemic diseases – Some chronic diseases can decrease your healing ability and cause more bone loss and swelling of your gums. I hope this helps you to see how important your bone and gums are and to better understand what we are doing when we’re looking in your mouth.
Here is an example of a severe periodontal disease case before treatment and after treatment.
Until next time.