Gum Disease. All of us have it. It’s also called Periodontal disease. It has different stages in its long existence. Each of us have it in some form or other. Meaning, it falls into one of these categories- Either Mild, Moderate or Severe Periodontitis. It literally means inflammation of the gums.
Bleeding on touch, reddish gums, bad breath, painful, puffy gums etc are some of it’s symptoms. It’s mainly caused due to poor oral hygiene and by the constant accumulation of plaque and calculus. It’s usually a chronic condition and is usually ignored by the patient until it’s too late. When it’s long standing it transforms into the severe stage where it may manifest itself into an abscess in addition to the existing inflammation. Pain is what that brings the patient to the Dentist. Periodontitis or gum disease in itself is very dangerous to the general Health of our body. Does not matter which stage it is in, it must be treated immediately to prevent it from heading to the next stage which may be much more severe. Scientific studies have proven that there is a very strong link between gum disease and Heart disease. This is why Dentist’s advise you to get your teeth cleaned at least every 3 months. But only a handful of patients do listen. The rest are willing to bet on their overall health.
The reason for having your teeth and gums cleaned Professionally is to prevent the disease in the first place. No one but the Dentist know the anatomy of your teeth in order to clean it to perfection. Once it transforms into the severe stage, surgery may be needed to control the disease. The disease itself is incurable, but with the assistance of certain topical and/or systemic antibiotics we should be able to bring it back to its new state of Health in a controlled environment.
On an average we eat 3 meals a day, 2 snacks, and a few drinks. This is all that we consume just for one day. Imagine the abuse we are putting our teeth and gums through. Now add it for a year with no maintenance. This is the count only for the activities performed while we are awake. Now consider, night grinding and clenching on top of that during your deep sleep. So in essence our mouth is being abused 24/7 , that is non stop. Our teeth and gums are also soaked in saliva round the clock. Now imagine the hard candy that we put into the mouth, the sodas being consumed, acid reflex, anorexic situations which erodes the teeth, and the way by which we open a bottle cap with our teeth etc. This is just a short list of everyday abuses our teeth take on our behalf.
If we do not see the Dentist periodically as suggested by our Dentist, this abuse may lead to irreparable and irreversible damage. It’s like running a car non-stop for a year without having an oil change. Do you do that to your car? I don’t think so. But we are doing this to our teeth. We are taking more care of our car than our teeth. We can replace a car with a new one, but your teeth are meant for a life time and cannot be replaced. So why do we hesitate to take care of ourselves and shower our love and money on our car, which is just a material possession. It depreciates in value and one fine day it dies down. Imagine we do that to our own bodies.What would happen? People do spend tons of money on materialism but fail to invest in their own health.
Materials are just passing fads. Designs of gadgets, cars, computers, TV’s etc may come and go. Only what is constant is your health. This cannot be replaced.
In severe stages of gum disease, the supporting bone which has been in the process of being eaten away for many years begin to give way. Now the teeth has no supporting bone to support the tooth. It starts getting loose and most likely need to be extracted. We advise you strongly to avoid this situation by following a preventive maintenance schedule. With periodic examination, continued maintenance, daily oral hygiene, and getting educated on the subject of teeth, it is what you may need to keep your teeth for life. Some patients do get scared of getting exposed to X-rays for obvious reasons. Without X-rays we are not seeing below the water surface, meaning that what’s below the gum level. So few necessary X-rays are recommended during periodic intervals as suggested to you based on your Dental Health. Also today’s X-ray units are digital thereby minimizing your radiation exposure. If your gums are bad we may recommend you to see us every month, every 2,3,4,5, or 6 months as the case may be. The insurance industry is a system in which dental visits every 6 month is set to be used ONLY as a guide. It’s your teeth and it’s your Oral Health. Insurances are companies running their business in their best interest. What’s your’s ? So it’s your decision and it’s in your best interest to follow our recommendations that is specifically customized for your situation.
Imagine that you have very severe gum disease and you come in only every 6 months, during the time of your next visit we may be seeing you bring your teeth in your hands. Gum disease is so prevalent that no one is even aware that it exists in their mouth. Only when symptoms start appearing will the patient realize that they have moderate to severe gum disease. Like all things in life, prevention is the key. Prevent the disease before it has a chance to sneak in. As Dentist’s we can only recommend you on what you need to do to maintain a healthy mouth. It’s up to you to follow suit. Like the saying goes, “We can only take the horse to the water, but we cannot make it drink”.
Most of us ignore the importance of a missing back teeth. As you already know, front teeth are for incising, the canines are for tearing and the molars and premolars are flat topped to enable grinding and chewing. So what happens when a few back teeth are missing. We lose the chewing efficiency. This leads to improperly chewed food, this leads to indigestion in the gut, delay the digestive process, leading to less absorption and more excretion. In the end only a fraction of it is absorbed by the body for energy. People are more concerned about their looks than the normal functionality of their bodies. On the same token, if a front tooth is broken, people will be cancelling all other engagements to address this first. Because aesthetics is THE top priority for all. Our society is all based on looks. So why not look and feel our best, meaning look wise and health wise?
Daily brushing, flossing and rinsing are the 3 basic essentials of Oral Hygiene in addition to Professional examination and cleaning visits. Both you and your doctor are partners in your dental Health. As a patient you need to be doing your part at home and as dentist’s we do our part by educating you and keeping a keen eye on your overall Dental Health. Both of us need to work together to make it happen. It does not work if it is done as a one way street. Most important of all is for you to schedule your appointments and keep them. We cannot do this for you. Only you can do this. So please help us help you by doing your part.
Lack of flossing also contribute to the exacerbation of gum disease When we brush we are only brushing three of the five surfaces of each tooth. Who is going to brush the other two? We cannot brush them due to the presence of the adjacent teeth. Hence all we can do is to floss. Most people have no clue how to floss right. If we do not know about something we need to get educated on the subject.
For information on flossing: http://www.SSOLFO.com
We are not sharks to have our teeth rotated throughout our lives. We only get two sets of teeth during our lifetime. Nature had given us a second chance by providing a set of baby teeth first and then another set of adult teeth. So as kids if we had made mistakes on our baby teeth by failing to maintain them, as adults we need to wake up and take care of our adult teeth. If we do not listen to nature, it will not listen to us.
Listen to your dentist, keep up on your appointments, be educated, ask questions and thereby hopefully you may keep your teeth for life.
Take care of your gums and it will take good care of you. Your teeth may thank you someday.