(for You and Your Spouse About Periodontal Disease)
The following information has been prepared for patients and their spouses who have concerns about periodontal disease in order that they may better understand the disease process and the plan of treatment. It is presented to you in a series of answers to questions most frequently asked by our patients. We have found this to be very informative for you, your spouse or significant other to better understand periodontal care.
What is periodontal disease?
- Periodontal disease is a painless, bacterial infection of the gums that results in the loss of bone that surrounds and supports your teeth.
- Once loosening of your teeth starts becoming one of the symptoms, the disease is already in its advanced stages and if left untreated, you will most likely lose your teeth.
Why am I being sent to a periodontist at this time?
A periodontist is a specialist who treats this infection. This disease has periods when the bacterial infection gets worse. During these periods there is an acceleration of bone loss. Your dentist wants to prevent these destructive periods from happening. If he or she sees that one of these destructive periods could occur, or is occurring, he or she will send you to a registered SPECIALIST IN PERIODONTICS for a periodontal exam.
Before & After Treatment: Rebuilding lost Gum & Jawbone
Through advanced and specialised periodontal surgical techniques we can restore the lost soft and hard tissue that has been lost where teeth have had to be extracted due to advanced periodontal infection.
What are the consequences if I avoid treatment?
- You will begin to lose your teeth.
- FINANCES – If you avoid periodontal treatment now, as you lose your teeth the treatments become more complex. Like all diseases, the earlier we treat this, the simpler and less costly the treatment.
- APPEARANCE – If you lose your teeth you will prematurely age. The most dramatic effects for a person with dentures are a sinking appearance of the cheeks and wrinkling around the lips.
- YOUR HEALTH AND LONGEVITY – It has been shown in studies, that patients who have lost their teeth do not digest their food as well and live about ten years less than patients who keep their teeth. Recent studies have also found that people with periodontal disease are 2.7 times as likely to suffer a heart
- DISCOMFORT – The ads on TV make it look like you can live comfortably with dentures. This is not so. Dentures can be very uncomfortable and in some cases frequently painful. In addition, dentures make it very uncomfortable to eat and there is also the emotional discomfort and embarrassment that comes with wearing them. (For example taking them out in front of your spouse).
- UNHAPPINESS – People who keep their teeth are happier than people who lose their teeth. Losing ones teeth is a significant transition to “old age”. You cannot prevent aging but you can put off losing your teeth and all the discomforts associated with losing your teeth.
Can my teeth be saved?
The recent advances in periodontal treatment allow the periodontist to successfully treat most infections. However, this success is very dependant on a patient doing his/her job and showing up to see the periodontist on a regular basis. Delaying treatment can result in losing your teeth.
Before & After Treatment
Two teeth, that have had to be extracted due to advanced periodontal infection, replaced by fixed implants carefully placed in the correct position following rebuilding of the lost jawbone. The wearing of embarrassing removable dentures and living with toothless spaces is virtually a thing of the past in the 21st century, due to the evolvement of implant surgery, which is an integral part of the treatments we can offer the patient in PERIODONTICS.
Will I see my general dentist?
ABSOLUTELY – We do often alternate your cleaning appointments with the general dentist and periodontist. Your general dentist will be in charge of your overall dental health and do any restorative (fillings, crowns, etc.) that you need. We will be monitoring your periodontal condition in order to insure that it remains healthy.
At this stage, is it possible to tell me how much this is going to cost and how long it will take to treat?
YES – Dr. De-Waal will do an examination and inform you of your treatment options and costs. We will work closely with your dentist to coordinate treatment.
Is periodontal disease transmissible?
YES – New research findings, using DNA testing, have conclusively proven the transmissibility of periodontal disease producing bacteria from spouse to spouse and among family members. Therefore Periodontal Disease Screening is vital to you and significant others for reassurance that you are not “At Risk” for possible periodontal disease producing bacteria transmission, and periodontal disease reinfection.
What are possible symptoms of ongoing Periodontal Disease?
- PAIN is NOT a symptom.
- Persistent bad breath or taste.
- Red, swollen, sensitive or bleeding gums.
- Receding gums.
- Loosening teeth.
- Teeth that are moving or shifting.
- Food impaction areas between teeth.
- A family history of early tooth loss.
- Often people (especially female), with very little or no tooth decay may present with very severe forms of periodontal disease.
- Important accelerating factors of periodontal disease include: stress; diabetes; smoking; frequent grinding/squeezing of teeth and other oral habits; pregnancy/menopause/hormonal changes; aggressive and/or false oral hygiene techniques; various systemic and immune problems.