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It Bears Repeating… The Lowdown on Gum Disease
Dentistry has surely shifted its focus from cavity control, thanks to fluoride and early dental care. Now we are learning more about periodontal disease, and for good reason. These days, tooth loss is the likely result of gum disease.
Q. I used to come in twice a year for cleanings. Now the dental hygienist says I need more attention, more often. My insurer limits coverage to six-month visits. What's up?
A. First, we know more about diagnosing the disease and have come upon some very dangerous systemic relationships to other conditions. That is, if you have heart problems, diabetes, or you're expecting a baby, we'll have to watch you closer than the next patient. Ongoing treatment for advanced mouth disease (periodontitis), too, should be scheduled more often.
Q. OK. What will periodontal treatment cost? I want to keep all the teeth I have.
A. You'll have to contact your periodontist's office for specific pricing but to treat a light case of gingivitis - the very first stages of disease - is the least expensive. Deep pockets around teeth and apparent bone loss - a complex case - will cost more. Periodontitis that requires surgery, and maybe the services of a specialist, costs much, much more. A good argument for early gum disease treatment and prevention.
Q. When you're done with me, am I cured?
A. Periodontal and gum disease prevention is the best defense because nobody walks away from it. Unfortunately, periodontal disease is incurable. But with your help, we can keep it under control. So much of your tissue health depends on how much work you're willing to put in. There's nothing magical about brushing and flossing. You just have to do it.
Don't Forget to Floss!
Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. Decay-causing bacteria can hid between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between teeth and under the gum line.
Visit Our Office Regularly!
Take good care of your smile. Remember to visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
Mouthwash Is Important, Too!
Brushing and flossing may not be enough. The ADA now recommends using an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce plaque and prevent gingivitis.