Periodontitis and Gum Disease Treatment
It's natural to want to lump people together in some Big Category. Natural, but wrong. Like, "Baby Boomer." President Clinton and home run slugger Mark McGwire are both "Boomers." But are these two guys exactly alike?
It's the same in health and dental care. Your oral chemistry is as unique as your thumbprint. Yet magazine stories claim "you" need only one dental appointment a year to stay healthy. They don't know you. They're referring to an "average" patient. Insurance plans also tend to believe in this mythical "average patient" and may not pay for more than a biannual visit.
Sure, two visits are fine for many patients, even most. But some mouths build up more tartar than others. Others are naturally decay-prone. Still others - and this is critical - may be showing signs of periodontal (gum) disease.
Bleeding gums need to be taken seriously. They're signs of an infection that can be a significant risk factor for heart disease, and, in fact, many serious illnesses. If you had a bleeding sore on your hand that didn't heal you'd get to a doctor for a checkup, right? Type I periodontitis (gingivitis) consists of tender gums and a little bacteria-filled pocket between your tooth and gum. It's easily treatable at this point. But if the infected pockets are allowed to enlarge and you get swollen gums, that inflammation can extend to the bone beneath and erode it.
Your periodontist's concern is for your health and your teeth, not whether you've made the standard number of appointments for this year. He or she wants the chemistry to be right in your mouth... and between the two of you.
DR. GARY SIGAFOOS