Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: A Two-Way Relationship

The American Diabetes Association defines diabetes as “a serious disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life.”

Diabetes and Oral Health

Approximately 23.6 million Americans have diabetes; however, 5.7 million of  them have not yet been diagnosed.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, you already understand the importance of keeping the disease under control. However, you may not know that good oral health not only keeps the mouth and gums free from periodontal disease, but also might have a significant impact on the control of diabetes. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory response to a bacterial infection that, if left untreated, may cause damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth, and may even lead to tooth loss.

People with diabetes are three to four times more likely to develop periodontal disease, which, like an other infection in the body, can impair their ability to process and/or utilize insulin. Additionally, people with diabetes tend to have more severe levels of bone loss, and often experience more aggressive disease activity. This can ultimately lead to tooth loss, which can make chewing and digesting food difficult. Fore people with diabetes, this can have a devastating impact on the ability to maintain proper nutrition and control blood sugar levels.

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

Just as diabetes can increase a patient’s chance of developing periodontal disease, research suggests that periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar. Periodontal disease increases the body’s systemic inflammatory signals that serve to increase blood sugar. This contributes to increased periods of time when the body functions with an unhealthy blood sugar level. Consequently, it is important for people with diabetes to treat periodontal disease to eliminate the infection for optimal metabolic control.

diabetes2

Periodontal Treatment for Those With Diabetes

Periodontal disease is a leading complication of diabetes. Therefore, it is important for people with diabetes to know their treatment options. If detected early, a periodontist can provide treatment that can stop the gum disease and bring the gums back to a state of health, preventing additional bone or tooth loss. IN fact, periodontal treatment has been shown to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, suggesting that treating patients’ periodontal disease could decrease insulin requirements.

Questions Your Periodontist Might Ask

Be sure to know the answers to the following questions that your periodontist may ask at your next visit:

  • When were you diagnosed with diabetes?
  • What type of diabetes do you have?
  • Do you take any medication? (Must provide a written list.)
  • If not, how is your diabetes being managed?
  • Are you insulin-dependent?
  • What is your baseline sugar level?
  • What method do you use to measure your blood sugar level?
  • How often do you measure your blood sugar level?
  • What is the name, address, and telephone number of your diabetes care provider?

Diabetes and You

If diabetes is well controlled, treatment will be similar to the treatment of someone who doesn’t have diabetes. In the early stages of gum disease, treatment usually includes scaling and root planing, a procedure in which plaque and calculus are removed from the pockets around the teeth and near the gums. People with diabetes may want to schedule their dental appointments early in the morning after they have eaten a normal breakfast in order to stabilize and prevent a severe or sudden drop in blood sugar levels. Upon determining a treatment plan, your periodontist and physician will work together to help you control both your diabetes and your gum disease.

Dental Implant Anxiety

Dental Implant Anxiety

We recently wrote about dental anxiety, which is very real for thousands of people. For many patients, there is nothing more terrifying than the thought of a trip to the dentist. Even scarier for a few is the prospect of replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant. However, as dental implants grow in popularity as a permanent solution to tooth loss, it is time to put nervous minds at ease.

Not Something to Fear

Studies conducted informally by the American Academy of Periodontology asked periodontal patients what factors stopped them from getting a dental implant. The second most popular answer given by respondents was “fear or anxiety.” However, the same survey also revealed that of those patients who had previously received a dental implant, more than half reported “very little to no pain or discomfort” experienced during the process. Only 33% described the procedure as “somewhat uncomfortable.” These survey results help demonstrate that although dental implant procedures illicit fear or anxiety in potential patients, the reality is that the actual experience is not something to be frightened of.

What Causes Dental Implant Anxiety?

Why is everyone so afraid of procedures such as dental implants? Perhaps fearing the dentist and certain dental procedures is something that is ingrained in our minds from a young age. Perhaps it is the result of ongoing, perpetuated stereotypes. Regardless of the cause, it is important to find ways to “unlearn” this fear, especially if your dental professional recommends a dental implant as the best course of your treatment. Seeing a dental professional regularly and trusting his or her advice will help you to best maintain your oral health and minimize expense, time, and discomfort.

shutterstock_234983530

Do You Need a Dental Implant?

If you decide to get a dental implant and are feeling anxious or fearful, find ways to feel more in control of your experience.

Ask Your Periodontist to Explain the Procedure

Knowing exactly what will occur when the dental implant is placed can help put your mind at ease. Dr. Joseph Cristoforo and Dr. Kenneth Neidhart are both experts in dental implant placement, and have placed countless dental implants over the course of many years.

Have Your Periodontist Explain Your Options

There are important reasons your periodontist is recommending a dental implant for you. Have them go over some techniques to control pain and stress, such as medications, anesthesia, sedation, or relaxation techniques that can make your treatment virtually painless.

Dental Implants Are Often the Best Solution

Not only did dental implant patients report little to no pain, they also reported extreme satisfaction with the outcome of the procedure. Over 70% of survey respondents reported being “pleased” and “extremely satisfied” with the results of their new dental implants. Not only can you put your mind at ease about the pain of getting a dental implant, but you can also look forward to the outstanding results!

INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG IS A COURTESY OF PERIO.ORG, WHICH GIVES PERMISSION TO SHARE CERTAIN ARTICLES WITH THE PUBLIC. 

The American Academy of Periodontology Patient Page is a public service of the AAP and should not be used as a substitute for the care and advice of your personal periodontist after a thorough exam. There may be variations in treatment that your periodontist will recommend based on individual facts and circumstances per patient. Visit perio.org to assess your risk and for more information on periodontal disease.

Are You Happy With Your Smile?

Did You Know Gum Disease Has an Effect On Your Actual Smile?

A smile is one of the most universally recognizable expressions. Smiling can demonstrate a person’s happiness, confidence, attractiveness, sociability and sincerity. However, the effects of gum disease or other oral tissue disorders cannot only be dangerous to your health and well-being, but can also have the potential to ruin your smile.

Luckily, periodontists are the experts in treating the tissues around the teeth. They have the know-how to treat the effects of gum disease or other oral tissue disorders and help improve your smile. There are a variety of periodontal cosmetic procedures that can improve and enhance the overall artwork of your smile.

Missing Teeth

Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. In the past, the only options for disguising tooth loss were dentures and bridges. Now, dental implants are a much more natural looking option because dental implants look and feel just like real teeth. They also allow the patient to speak and eat with comfort and confidence. During this procedure, a dental implant is inserted and, after a healing period, a dental implant crown is attached permanently, which blends right in with the rest of your teeth.

Root Coverage

Gum recession as a result of gum disease causes the tooth root to become exposed, which can make teeth look longer and can actually prematurely age a person. In fact, the phrase “long in the tooth” was used to describe the elderly, derived from this very issue. A periodontist can fix this problem with a procedure called root coverage, or gum grafting. During this particular procedure, tissue from the patient’s mouth palate or other synthetic materials are used to facilitate coverage of the exposed root.

Gummy Smile

Periodontists also have the ability to fix a “gummy smile” when a person’s teeth appear to be too short. The teeth may actually be the proper length, but they’re covered with too much gum tissue. Your periodontist can correct this by performing a procedure called crown lengthening.  This is a procedure in which excess gum and bone tissue is reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. The outcome is longer looking teeth and a winning smile.

smile man

Gums Are an Important Part of Your Smile

Your gums frame your teeth and play an integral role in the overall aesthetics of your everyday appearance. While taking care of them by brushing and flossing daily is the best way to maintain a healthy mouth, talk to your periodontist about the procedures available to maximize the potential of your smile.

INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG IS A COURTESY OF PERIO.ORG, WHICH GIVES PERMISSION TO SHARE CERTAIN ARTICLES WITH THE PUBLIC. 

The American Academy of Periodontology Patient Page is a public service of the AAP and should not be used as a substitute for the care and advice of your personal periodontist after a thorough exam. There may be variations in treatment that your periodontist will recommend based on individual facts and circumstances per patient. Visit perio.org to assess your risk and for more information on periodontal disease.

All About Dental Implants

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. If you still have questions about dental implants after reading this information, feel free to schedule an informative examination with one of our periodontists.

Advantages of Dental Implants

A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options.

Dental Implants Maintain the Integrity of Your Remaining Teeth

In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth, unlike other tooth replacement options such as bridges. A bridge is a tooth-supported, fixed appliance that requires the adjacent teeth to be ground down, regardless of how healthy they are, for the bridge to fit. When replacing multiple teeth, bridges and partial dentures rely on support from adjacent teeth, while implants and implant-supported bridges do not.

missing tooth hockey.jpg

They Also Maintain Bone Health

Because a dental implant will replace your tooth root, your jawbone is better preserved. Implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep your bone healthy and intact. With a bridge or denture, some of the bone that previously surrounded the tooth starts to deteriorate.

Implant Placement Is Easy and Quick

First, the dental implant, which looks just like a short screw, is placed into your jaw. Over the next few months, the implant and bone are then allowed to bond together to form an anchor for your artificial tooth or teeth. During this time, a temporary tooth replacement option can be worn.

Sometimes a second procedure is required to place an extension on the implant. This small metal post, called an abutment, completes the foundation on which your new tooth will be placed.

The replacement tooth will then be created by your general dentist and attached to the abutment.

Long Term Benefits of Dental Implants

In the long run, dental implants are aesthetic, functional, and comfortable. If you are considering a bridge, keep in mind that gums and bone can recede around a bridge or denture which leaves a visible defect, deteriorated bone from bridges and dentures can lead to a collapsed and unattractive smile, and cement holding bridges in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that are anchoring the bridge.

Finally, removable dentures can move around in your mouth, reducing your ability to eat and talk. This is why bridges and dentures do not last very long, whereas dental implants can last for the rest of your life with proper oral care at home (brushing and flossing) and by maintaining your regular cleaning and check-ups.

INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG IS A COURTESY OF PERIO.ORG, WHICH GIVES PERMISSION TO SHARE CERTAIN ARTICLES WITH THE PUBLIC. 

The American Academy of Periodontology Patient Page is a public service of the AAP and should not be used as a substitute for the care and advice of your personal periodontist after a thorough exam. There may be variations in treatment that your periodontist will recommend based on individual facts and circumstances per patient. Visit perio.org to assess your risk and for more information on periodontal disease.

Targeting Tobacco Use

Smoking Doesn’t Just Hurt Your Lungs

You are probably aware of the devastating effects that smoking and tobacco use can have on your heart, lungs, and other organs. However, you might not be familiar with the whole other “mouthful” of problems caused by tobacco use. For example, tobacco use is a significant risk factor in the development and progression of periodontal disease, which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

The Sooner You Quit, the Better

The sooner you take aim at your tobacco use and quit, the closer you will be to healthy teeth and gums. Tobacco users are more likely to have calculus, dental plaque that hardens on your teeth and can only be removed during professional dental cleanings. If this calculus is not removed and it remains below the gum line, the bacteria in the calculus will infect the gums causing redness and swelling, otherwise known as inflammation.

This inflammation damages the tissues that support the teeth, including the bone itself. When this happens, the gums can separate from the teeth, forming pockets. Tobacco users often have deeper pockets than people who do not use tobacco. These pockets can then fill with more bacteria, which leads to more inflammation. If the infected pockets are left untreated, the gums shrink away from the teeth, making teeth appear longer and causing them to become loose and fall out.

I Use Tobacco. Do I Have Periodontal Disease?

The detection of periodontal disease is often more difficult in tobacco users. This is because the nicotine and other chemicals found in tobacco products can hide the symptoms commonly associated with periodontal disease, such as bleeding gums. Since the detection of periodontal disease in tobacco users can be difficult, necessary treatment is sometimes delayed. The only way to know how your oral health is doing is to continue to go to your regular dental check ups to ensure you follow up with your dental hygienist and dentist so they can monitor your teeth, gums, and bone as well as screen for oral cancer.

How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?

How Will My Periodontal Disease Be Treated?

Treating periodontal disease in tobacco users can be a difficult task, but not an impossible one. Smoking and tobacco use reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gingival tissues, weakening the body’s defense mechanisms. This can slow down the healing process and make periodontal treatment results less predictable. For example, dental implants that are placed in a tobacco user’s mouth fail more often than they would in a patient who does not use tobacco. Additionally, the actual treatment of periodontal disease can vary widely depending on how far the disease has progressed. If caught in the early stages, simple non-surgical periodontal therapy may be used.

Tips to Help You Quit

  • Pick a stress-free time to quit
  • Ask for support from family and friends
  • Start to exercise to relieve stress and improve your health
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Join a support group
  • Brush your teeth often
  • Spend more time in places where smoking is prohibited
  • Find a substitute, such as sugarless gum

Your Oral Health Is Extremely Important

Because the treatment of periodontal diseases can be more difficult in tobacco users, your periodontist will urge you to quit your tobacco use. Quitting seems to gradually erase the harmful effects of tobacco use on periodontal health. One study showed that 11 years after quitting, a former smoker’s likelihood of developing periodontal diseases was not much different from one who had never smoked.

With the increasing amount of research indicating that periodontal health may be related to your overall health, reducing your risk of periodontal disease is more important than ever. Start taking aim at quitting your tobacco use today and move one step closer to a lifetime of periodontal health and happy smiles!

INFORMATION IN THIS BLOG IS A COURTESY OF PERIO.ORG, WHICH GIVES PERMISSION TO SHARE CERTAIN ARTICLES WITH THE PUBLIC. 

The American Academy of Periodontology Patient Page is a public service of the AAP and should not be used as a substitute for the care and advice of your personal periodontist after a thorough exam. There may be variations in treatment that your periodontist will recommend based on individual facts and circumstances per patient. Visit perio.org to assess your risk and for more information on periodontal disease.