Cleanings & Prevention in Mayfield Heights - Jason A. Schermer, DDS
A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.
Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.
Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.
Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr. Schermer at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
- Sealants: (if recommended)A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth.
- Fluoride treatment: Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
- Home care instructions: Your dentist and dental hygienist will educate you on proper brushing and flossing techniques and help you achieve and maintain a healthy smile.
Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums and loss of bone surrounding the teeth. Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy.
Signs and Symptoms
Bleeding when brushing, flossing or eating food is one of the most common symptoms of a periodontal infection. Other signs and symptoms include pain, redness, and swelling in the gums, longer looking teeth, bad breath, loose teeth, and pus.
Some of the causes/contributing factors of periodontal disease are poor dental hygiene, tobacco use, genetic predisposition, pregnancy and menopause, chronic stress, poor diet, diabetes, and medications.
Periodontal Disease as it relates to the entire body
Research studies have shown that there is a strong association between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications and respiratory disease.
Periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels which makes controlling the amount of glucose in the blood difficult. This factor alone can increase the risk of serious diabetic complications.
There are several theories which explain the link between heart disease and periodontitis. One such theory is that the oral bacteria strains which exacerbate periodontal disease attach themselves to the coronary arteries when they enter the bloodstream. This in turn contributes to both blood clot formation and the narrowing of the coronary arteries, possibly leading to a heart attack.
A second possibility is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease causes a significant plaque build up. This can swell the arteries and worsen pre-existing heart conditions. An article published by the American Academy of Periodontology suggests that patients whose bodies react to periodontal bacteria have an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Women in general are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease because of hormone fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Research suggests that pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease are more at risk of preeclampsia and delivering underweight, premature babies.
Periodontitis increases levels of prostaglandin, which is one of the labor-inducing chemicals. Elevated levels prostaglandin may trigger premature labor, and increase the chances of delivering an underweight baby.
Oral bacterium linked with gum disease has been shown to possibly cause or worsen conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Oral bacteria can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract during the course of normal inhalation and colonize; causing bacterial infections. Studies have shown that the repeated infections which characterize COPD may be linked with periodontitis.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. The Doctors and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment. If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Dr. Schermer may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).