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Gum Disease/ Periodontal Disease

The most prevalent disease of Americans is not what most people would guess, i.e. Heart Disease, Stroke, or Cancer, but in fact it is Periodontal Disease also commonly referred to as Gum Disease. According to major surveys, the National Institute of Health, and the American Academy of Periodontology more than 75% of adults have some form of Gum Disease/ Periodontal Disease and many are unaware they have this generally painless but destructive disease.

What is Gum/ Periodontal Disease?
Gum or Periodontal Disease is a bacterial infection that causes the loss of supporting structures of the teeth, i.e. the gingiva (gums), the periodontal ligament (attachment mechanism), and the supporting bone. It is caused by specific groups of germs that colonize the root surfaces of teeth forming highly organized masses of germ-life, called bacterial plaque or biofilm. The activity and by products of these microorganisms trigger an inflammatory response in the tissues that surround and support the teeth. The reaction of the body to these germs is an auto immune response and is responsible for most of the loss of structure associated with the disease process. The reaction is manifested by recession (gums, bone, and ligaments), and/or periodontal pocket formation and bone loss. Unfortunately, periodontal infections are painless and without major symptoms for many years and often the disease is not diagnosed until serious damage has occurred.
 Why is Gum/ Periodontal Disease so serious?
Research has produced strong evidence that the bacteria which cause gum/periodontal disease can cause the development of Heart Disease, as well as contribute to and/or increase the risk of Stroke, Diabetes, Respiratory Disease, Osteoporosis, and most recently Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. It may also increase a woman’s risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby. It has become more and more evident that everything that enters or affects the mouth has access to and can affect the entire body. There is a direct relationship between oral health and overall health because the mouth is a portal to the body. That is why at Wilton and Bethel Dental Associates we emphasize a highly effective and personalized preventive dental care program along with regular hygiene visits and state-of-the-art diagnostic technology. In our office we don’t call them “check-ups” because we can predict and prevent dental disease and as a result we call your hygiene visit a “preventative maintenance visit”. In addition we are not just interested in your teeth and oral health, but we are interested in you as a person and in your overall health

Is Gum Disease/ Periodontal Disease curable?
Although most dentists would say no because they are using old ineffective technology, at Bethel and Wilton Dental Associates we would emphatically say YES!!!! The reason we can say this as we have been utilizing for a number of years a new technology which eliminates the pathogens which cause periodontal disease. This technology is inexpensive, straight forward, and we are successful with everyone who follows our program. As a result 95% of our patients NEVER get any new dental disease.
 Are germs/ bacterial plaque the ONLY CAUSE of gum disease/ periodontal disease?
The answer is YES. Recent research reveals that there are about 1000 different varieties of microorganisms that can live in the mouth, but only about 20 species can cause periodontal disease. There are many things than can contribute to or predispose a person to periodontal disease such as smoking, stress, medications, alcohol or drugs, clenching or grinding your teeth, crowded teeth, Diabetes, hormonal changes, pregnancy, genetics, systemic disease, and poor nutrition, BUT none of these things can actually cause periodontal disease.

Does daily brushing and flossing stop or prevent gum/ periodontal disease?
NO, because research has proven that the bacteria which cause gum disease/ periodontal disease are anaerobic and like to live under the gums and between the teeth. To some extent no matter how hard you try, the action of brushing and flossing will push some of the bacterial plague further under the gums and in addition will not remove those which are located in the very bottom of the gingival crevise (also called the gingival sulcus) around the teeth nor remove the pathogenic bacteria which are living in the imperfections and porosities of the teeth. In addition the bacteria which cause periodontal disease have an incredible ability to quickly re-populate your mouth particularly in and around the gums/ periodontal structures even when you have done a pretty good job of removing them. So at best daily brushing and flossing can only reduce amount or rate of periodontal disease.

If I add a Waterpik or other irrigating device to my toothbrushing and flossing won’t that totally solve the problem and eliminate or prevent periodontal disease?
Unfortunately the answer is still NO. First of all it is important to understand that all a Waterpik or other irrigating device will do is wash away food debris and plaque which is you have loosened from the surface of the teeth with your toothbrush or floss. There will still remain bacterial plaque in the imperfections of the teeth and the surface porosity of the roots. The best oral hygiene home care will therefore not eliminate all the pathogenic bacteria and will not stop these pathogenic bacteria from repopulating the mouth quite quickly.
If toothbrushing, flossing, and Waterpiking/irrigation will not stop gum/periodontal disease and not keep my mouth totally healthy is there anything better?
The answer is absolutely YES. Dr. A. Vandiveer Strait, DDS, FAGD has developed a program that uses new technology to totally eliminate all the disease causing bacteria from your mouth. This is an easy process using the most efficient, effective oral hygiene devices coupled with non-toxic antibacterial irrigating solution and a fool proof direct evidence based system of identifying the disease causing bacteria, a monitoring program and even a trouble shooting guide to absolutely guarantee that anyone can be successful at stopping periodontal disease, preventing any new dental disease, and assuring a totally healthy mouth for life.

What if I have advanced gum/ periodontal disease can I stop it and keep my teeth?
The answer is YES in almost every case. In every situation eliminating the disease causing bacteria is still the only real solution. First we start with our unique anti-bacterial oral hygiene home care program. Then using the newest combined antibiotic therapy for one week combined with non-surgical in office periodontal therapy we are able to totally eliminate all the disease causing bacteria. This is confirmed with a special phase contrast microscope and the patient also sees this. Then all remaining areas in the mouth where effective oral hygiene/ home care cannot be maintained are corrected. Generally this means any periodontal pocket or gingival crevice/ sulcus that is over 4mm deep. Correcting any gum and bone deformities which stand in the way of successful oral hygiene and the prevention of new disease is the only time when periodontal surgery is justified. In correcting the loss of structure or where there is a periodontal defect we prefer microsurgical techniques and we prefer to regenerate new bone, gingival tissue, or periodontal attachment over any other surgical techniques. Once the deformities caused by periodontal disease have been eliminated it becomes only a matter of continuing our highly effective and efficient preventive maintenance program in order to assure that you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

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