If you have been diagnosed with and treated for periodontal (gum) disease, regularly-scheduled supportive therapy is vitally important to your success in management of disease progression. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “Following a course of active periodontal treatment and periodic ongoing care at regularly prescribed intervals is essential. Because periodontal disease or infection can recur, continuous maintenance is absolutely necessary to prevent this periodontal infection from becoming active once again and from it destroying what healing has occurred.”
The following treatment is included in your periodontal maintenance appointment:
- Evaluation of oral health to detect subtle signs of disease recurrence
- Appropriate debridement of teeth and gums (professional cleaning and polishing)
- Antimicrobial therapy to destroy difficult-to-reach bacteria, as deemed necessary by Dr. LoVerdi
- Evaluation of home-care regimes and aids
- Oral health evaluation, including oral cancer screening, necessary dental films, and decay detection
- Recommendations based on individual needs as a result of medical and dental histories review
Scientific studies support the belief of experts that the most important aspect of periodontal treatment is the long-term maintenance therapy. Individuals vary in their response to periodontal disease, and resistance to the disease varies at different times of life. When periodontal disease recurs following treatment, it may do so without signs or symptoms to the patient. Dr. LoVerdi and his team of periodontal therapists are well trained in recognizing the very subtle signs that may signal detrimental changes. Ask Dr. LoVerdi and your hygienist what interval of care would be in your best interest for achieving lifelong oral health.
Q: What is periodontal disease?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often times bleeding during brushing or flossing. If treated in a timely manner, these conditions can be reversed, preventing periodontal disease from developing. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even from a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss―teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
According to Caesy Dental Education, “Ailments associated with periodontal disease include respiratory disease, pneumonia, strokes, ulcers, difficult-to-control diabetes, low birth weight babies, and infective endocarditis (a dangerous infection of the heart valves). Researchers recently discovered that this chronic infection in your mouth creates an open doorway for plaque bacteria to enter the bloodstream. These bacteria (streptococcus sangguis) may cause blood clots that can block your arteries and even trigger a heart attack.”
Q: I brush every day, but my breath just is not fresh. Is there anything else I can do?
A: Millions of people struggle with halitosis (or bad breath) despite daily teeth brushing. Here is a checklist of procedures that can eliminate the problem: twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and tongue cleaning; regular professional cleanings; and, careful cleaning of any dentures or removable dental appliances. However, if your hygiene is meticulous and the problem persists, we can offer several additional solutions.
First, we can provide you with a plastic tool called a tongue scraper that cleans away bacterial build-up on your tongue, significantly alleviating odor. Or, we can recommend a specially-prepared rinse or toothpaste designed to actually breakdown the odor-causing sulfur bonds that cause bad breath. Finally, if we suspect a systemic or internal problem, such as an infection or another underlying condition, we may recommend you visit with your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.
Q: My gums bleed; why is this?
A: Gums affected by periodontal disease become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your periodontal disease can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even from a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss―teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t diagnose and treat periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
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