New Look at Periodontal Disease

Dentist in Chicago Loop

Dentist in Chicago Loop

Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth that causes tooth loss. Gum disease is one of the top reasons that adults lose their teeth. During each regular checkup, we look for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums. We will talk with you about how to treat the disease here in our office with non-surgical methods.

What Causes Gum Disease?
Think of gum disease as an autoimmune disease. Your body wants to get rid of the debris on your teeth and unless you get rid of the debris, your own immune system will get rid of the debris for you. It will do so by getting rid of the tooth. GET IT? If you remove the debris, you will save the tooth. This process if very hard for a person to know if it is going on. It is painless. The only sign you may have is that your gums bleed a little bit. Traditionally, we have told you to brush, floss, brush, come have your teeth cleaned and then floss more, and floss more. We are starting to realize that despite all the talk, some people simply will not floss, (we don’t always work out like we are supposed to either . . . we say “life gets in the way”). So what we do is find something that will work for you and your desires. Maybe you don’t really care if you lose teeth, maybe you want us to clean them for you more often, maybe a different tool will work for you between your teeth, maybe a rinse will help. Again it’s YOUR CHOICE, we just have to learn who you are and find the protocol that works for you.

Everyone falls on a spectrum of periodontal problems. Some people never floss, have their teeth cleaned once a year and are told that everything looks great. This means you are lucky in the line of genetics. (Some people don’t need to work out to maintain proper body weight too. Again, genetics.) Others come in and are absolutely frustrated with us telling them to clean better, because they are doing everything they can at home, but to no avail. Others don’t try hard and it shows. Where are you on the spectrum? We will honestly let you know.

If you have gum disease, think of it as a long-term problem. We cannot fix it; it can only be maintained. An Integrative approach will include things such as: supplements for anti-inflammation and bone-building supplements, debridement with irrigation on a regular basis, salivary testing for specific bacteria, and systemic antibiotics if the problem is severe.

To learn more about gum disease, visit ada.org, click on “Public Resources” and then click on “Oral Health Topics.”