Periodontal Risk Assessment
If you have one or more of the above listed risk factors not only is it much more likely for gum disease to develop in your mouth, but it also makes it more difficult to eliminate periodontal disease once it has started. Recent research has shown that periodontal disease increases your risk for serious chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, erectile dysfunction, and respiratory and kidney diseases. Check off the boxes on this periodontal risk assessment and find out more information about how your specific health history can affect the condition of your mouth and entire body!
Inflammation anywhere in the body is harmful and is now identified as the root cause in many of the chronic diseases associated with aging. It has been established that the mouth is a significant source of inflammation when periodontal disease is present. These inflammatory mediators present in your mouth are the same as those associated with other inflammatory diseases. Reducing the inflammatory burden in your mouth may help to reduce inflammation throughout the rest of the body!
You are already are at risk for heart disease, but tobacco use makes it more likely for periodontal disease to develop as well. Periodontal disease itself is also now recognized as a risk factor for heart disease. Thus, it is especially important for you to do whatever is necessary to eliminate any periodontal disease.
If your blood sugar is not well controlled, you are at increased risk for serious complications associated with diabetes. Research has suggested that the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease goes both ways – gum disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar and that diabetes increases the risk of periodontal disease. Eliminating periodontal disease can improve your blood sugar control and reduce the likelihood for serious complications.
When you are overweight, your body over-produces the same inflammatory mediators that cause periodontal disease. In fact, obesity is now recognized as a risk factor for periodontal disease. The latest research suggests that inflammatory mediators released when periodontal disease is present may affect appetite.
A study showed that those who had moderate to severe periodontitis had more than twice the risk of arthritis compared to those with mild or no periodontitis! Some bacteria associated with periodontal disease have been found to induce change in the immune system that causes rheumatoid arthritis. Reducing periodontal disease can help lessen the crippling effects of arthritis.
Family History of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease has a strong genetic basis. Research is suggesting that people with a family history of periodontal disease are not only at increased risk for periodontal disease, but also for other inflammatory diseases.
The stress that results from life altering events (divorce, loss of job, moving to a new area, etc.) can make one more prone for periodontal disease to occur.
The jaw bone is no different than other bones in your body. If your bones are thinning due to osteoporosis you are at an increased risk for thinning bone in the jaw and associated periodontal disease.
Three important strategies
- Clean all bacteria from below the gum line
- Brushing only helps to break down what is above the gum line
- Requires ultrasonic and specialized instruments utilized at your dental hygiene visit
- Boost your resistance!
- Accomplished through medication, diet, exercise
- Partner with us to make sure gum disease does not return!
- It takes about 3 months for the bacteria to reform
- If you are at risk, increased frequency of visits may be required
If you have one or more of the factors for periodontal disease we may need to treat you more aggressively. Our goal is not just to help you avoid losing teeth, but to help you reduce the likelihood of promoting other more serious diseases of aging. Even if you have insurance you may have to pay out of pocket for this care which is intended to reduce the disease causing inflammation in your mouth. Rest assured, we will not recommend care unless we feel that it is worth it – the expected outcome will justify the necessary time, effort and cost.
No more, “Well it doesn’t hurt, can’t it wait.”
Because of your risk factors we will be recommending recommend treatment at the earliest signs of disease since watching and waiting can be dangerous in your case – things can get worse in a hurry. By the time periodontal disease hurts significant damage to your teeth and overall health may have already occurred.
More Frequent Monitoring
Periodontal disease is a silent disease. You can have it and not even know it. Often only a dentist or hygienist can tell if there is any inflammation of the gums in your mouth. We will recommend seeing you more frequently than twice a year. We know through solid research that it takes approximately 3 months for bacteria to reorganize and cause disease. Since it is easier for bacteria to lead to problems in your case we may need to see you more frequently to make sure that we prevent any exacerbation before they turn into bigger issues.
May Need More than Just Cleaning
Typical cleaning may not be enough in your case. Fortunately, there are adjunctive treatments that can really help eliminate gum inflammation and then keep it at bay. Rest assured we will only recommend additional therapy when the expected benefit to your oral and overall health more than outweighs your out-of-pocket expense.
May require referral to a periodontist (gum disease specialist)
Because of the significant role that periodontal disease plays in overall health, we work closely with our Periodontist. We’ll treat everything, but some areas may not fully respond. You may need further treatment by a Periodontist. If so, our treatment will minimize what the Periodontist needs to do and will allow them to get a better result.
We are innovative in our treatment protocols. Our personalized approach will use the specific techniques for you that will most efficiently eliminate the inflammation in your mouth.
Your oral and overall health are at stake!
h/t Dr. Tim Donley