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Periodontal Disease
Houston, TX


A diagram of a tooth with and without gum decay at McDonald Dental in Houston, TX.Have you noticed bleeding while flossing or brushing your teeth? Are your gums sore, red, or swollen? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be developing periodontal (gum) disease. One of the most common dental problems in society today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of all Americans aged 30 or older (64.7 million in total) suffer from Periodontitis, the more advanced type of gum disease.

Here at McDonald Dental, we strive to make sure you have all the information you need to understand the dangers of this disease and how best to avoid it through proper periodontal care. Today, we’ll be answering some of the most commonly asked questions about gum disease, including causes, symptoms, exams, treatment, and maintenance. If you or a loved one believe you may have periodontal disease and have any questions not covered below or wish to schedule an appointment, it’s imperative to not wait and see if it gets better on its own. Please call us today at (346) 250-3575.

Learn more about the periodontal disease treatments at our practice:




What Is A Periodontist?


A periodontist is a periodontal specialist who studies, helps prevent, diagnoses and treats gum problems. They may also be responsible for the placement of dental implants.

What Makes Periodontal Disease Dangerous?


Unlike Gingivitis, which only infects the gum tissue, leaving this untreated can allow the disease to extend below your gums and into the bone, progressing to Periodontitis (It is important to note, however, that Gingivitis does not always lead to Periodontitis). This more advanced disease progresses to the soft tissues tasked with keeping your teeth in place as well as the bones which make up the mouth and jaw, destroying them along the way. Worse, dental infections may cause heart issues or exacerbate symptoms of diabetes. Point being, if you have any gum disease, it’s important to visit us as soon as possible.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?


The following are common risk factors for developing gum disease, some of which may be unique to individual cases or beyond your ability to control. These include, but are not limited to:

•  The most common cause is bacteria. On average, those of us who practice decent regular oral hygiene have an estimated 1,000-100,000 bacteria (ranging from 100-200 different species) living on our teeth’s surface at any given time. People who practice poor dental habits, however, can have 100 million-1 billion on every tooth. While some bacteria like those in saliva actually help protect our teeth and break down food, the majority are harmful if given free reign.
•  Poor diet and eating habits, which similarly allow plaque (a sticky layer of bacteria) to build up and harden on your teeth. This leads to Gingivitis, a milder disease that often precedes the more severe Periodontitis.
•  Smoking makes it more difficult for your gum tissue to repair itself and lowers treatment success.
•  Genetics.
•  Hormonal changes, such as in girls and women.
•  Age.
•  Illnesses like Cancer, HIV, AIDS, and their medications.
•  Underlying diseases. Ex- Diabetes lowers blood sugar and leaves you more susceptible to gum infections or cavities. Another example is heart disease.
•  Specific medications (Ex- anticonvulsant medication Dilantin, anti-angina drug Procardia, Adalat) may reduce your saliva flow.


What Are The Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease?


The good news is, even Periodontitis is usually treatable if not preventable when we catch it early. The first step is to know how healthy gums should look (pink, snuggly fitting around the teeth) so you can compare that against symptoms of infection. Education is the key to identifying when something’s wrong:

•  The earliest sign is recurring bleeding from the gums, during or after flossing & brushing. Bleeding can also occur when you eat hard foods or even without stimulation.
•  Bright red, dusky red, dark pink, or purplish gums.
•  Swollen, puffy, sore, or tender gums.
•  Gums receding or pulling away from the teeth (also known as “gum pocketing”), causing them to look longer than normal.
•  Loose or separating teeth.
•  Pus between the gums & teeth.
•  Sores inside the mouth.
•  Persistent bad breath.
•  Pain while chewing food.
•  Sensitivity in the teeth from eating, drinking, or, in advanced cases, mere contact with the air.
•  A change in how your teeth fit together when you bite.


What Are Periodontal Exams?


A periodontal examination is a clinical evaluation of a patient’s periodontium (soft tissues that surround & support our teeth). This exam can involve:

•  Gum probing.
•  Radiographic analysis- An imaging technique utilizing X-rays, gamma rays, or similar ionizing and non-ionizing radiation to view an object’s internal structure, typically with a projector or digital detection.
•  Gingival index- Recording clinical advancement of gingival inflammation.
•  Mobility charting- A method of classifying tooth mobility. This is generally done by applying pressure (with either the ends of two metal instruments like dental mirrors or a gloved finger) and trying to gently rock a tooth towards your tongue, then back outwards.
•  Lastly, evaluating the amount of gum tissue attached.


How Is Periodontal Treatment Done?


Dr. Louis McDonald will instruct you on how to improve your dental hygiene. In cases of mild Gingivitis, this is typically reversible with as little as flossing and brushing more often (at least twice every day, once in the morning and once before going to bed). For more advanced Periodontitis, we may implement scaling, root planing, laser treatment, or other surgical options. Rest assured, we will help you determine which route is best to treat, repair and even improve your ailing gums.

What Is Periodontal Maintenance?


The term “maintenance” refers to appointments aimed to clean and remove surface-stains from the teeth, flushing out any deep pockets that may have developed around your gum-line, and eliminating whatever plaque or tartar has formed on the surface of a tooth’s root.

How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?


•  Practice regular and diligent dental hygiene. Floss & brush!
•  Quit smoking, if you currently do.
•  Keep us informed of what medications you are taking, as certain drugs may cause, contribute to or worsen gum inflammation.
•  Follow the instructions provided by Dr. Louis McDonald.

Remember, if you or a loved one are concerned that you may have a form of periodontal disease and wish to schedule a consultation, please call McDonald Dental at (346) 250-3575.

Location


McDonald Dental
15757 FM 529 Suite A
Houston, TX 77095




Office Hours


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