Often people assume tooth loss is due to decay. It’s actually not. It’s due to the presence of gum disease. It can even be completely unnoticeable right up until you lose teeth. Symptoms generally include bleeding gums when brushing and loose or shifting teeth. If you’ve been told you require gum disease treatment, you will be happy to know it’s possible to manage gum disease through a variety of non-surgical methods.
Recent research has led many doctors to reach a startling conclusion: gum disease, stroke, and heart disease are connected. Since heart disease is usually fatal, it is clear that gum disease should not be taken lightly. The American Dental Association estimates that 80% of Americans have periodontal (gum) disease. If this were some other affliction, such as AIDS or tuberculosis, it might be considered epidemic! Most dentists do believe that. They also realized gum disease would never be labeled epidemic since “no one ever dies from it.” The worst that might happen is tooth loss. Not pleasant – but certainly not life threatening. Now that has all changed.
The American Academy of Periodontology states: “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 as a bacterial infection of the gums. Bacteria may then travel into the bloodstream – directly to the heart.
With advanced periodontal disease, surgical treatment is necessary. Gum surgery isn’t exactly enjoyable, but it is usually successful in arresting the condition, and it’s likely covered by your dental insurance plan. With mild gum disease, there are highly effective non-surgical procedures that, coupled with better dental hygiene, may virtually halt the spread of the disease. This, too, is generally covered under most dental insurance plans.
Is it really a big deal to lose a tooth? Yes! Even losing a single tooth can cause the other teeth to shift and move around. This impacts chewing and the ability to retain nutrients from your food. Other issues can occur. Your face will change shape, often giving it a “sunken” look. This can make you look much older than you actually are. The way you talk can be affected. Because it’s harder to chew with missing teeth, you may find yourself favoring softer foods and more carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. The best way to replace a missing tooth (or missing teeth) is with dental implants. An implant can replace as many teeth as necessary. They can be made to look so natural that even a dentist has to look closely to tell the difference.
Dr. Simpson’s team is pleased to offer patients a powerful weapon in the battle against gum disease. It’s called ARESTIN™. It comes in powder form and contains invisible microspheres. These microspheres deliver a time-released antibiotic directly to the site of the infection (the spaces between the gums and teeth). ARESTIN destroys the bacteria that cause gum disease. The best part is that it’s all painless!
We can help arrest your gum disease and bring your smile back to health. Give us a call today at 602-943-4220 for preventive dentistry in Phoenix, AZ.