Laser Dentistry San Diego and a Natural Program For Gum Disease
Natural Care for Oral Health and Restorative Dentistry
Upon examination of a patient, an experienced dentist who finds swollen gums and loose teeth knows that not only restorative dentistry such as dental crowns are needed to treat oral health. Veterinarians know that the mouth is always an indicator of vitality for an animal and the same is true of people: your teeth and gums tell a story about your overall wellness and the support you need for healing.
As of January, 2009, the National Institute of Health reported that 80% of the US population has some stage of periodontal or gum disease. Gum disease is an actual disease, and as such it is contagious. Reversing inflammation is key, and this is where laser dentistry can help. It is also a good idea to make sure that gum disease is under control before any restorative dentistry is done, like setting the table before a good meal.
Sore gums, bleeding gums and gingivitis, where swollen gums are also inflamed, are the first stages of illness. Periodontal infection leading to gum disease is generally caused by a combination of stress, acidity and improper oral hygiene. Redness and bleeding gums upon brushing and flossing signal inflammation, indicating that the immune system is releasing white blood cells to resist the build up of bacteria. As immune cells die off the bacteria tend to survive relatively unaffected. This is the beginning of gingivitis.
Meanwhile, proteolytic enzymes meant for bacterial break-down is released into the swollen gums, causing the tissue to break down instead. This causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating open pockets that breed more bacteria. As this process continues, bone around the teeth will be re-absorbed until an advanced stage of gum disease where tooth loss may occur. At some stages of gum disease, laser dentistry can intervene to begin to reverse the effects, however, sooner is always best.
As inflammation associated with gingivitis and gum disease advance, bacteria from the gums may access our bloodstream, traveling to the brain and other organs such as the heart. There has been a lot in the media recently about the link between gum disease and other problems. Three out of four people already have or will have gum disease, which affects more people than heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes combined. Research has been published showing that fatal coronary heart disease is twice as likely and stroke is three times more likely in patients with periodontal infection than in those without.
Periodontal infection is involved in other conditions as well such as pre-term births, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Smokers are three times more likely to have gum disease and to actually lose some of their teeth than non-smokers. Gum disease also increases the risk of pneumonia for respiratory sufferers.
Gum disease may occur without any symptoms or pain, which is why in 2000, the Surgeon General called it "the silent epidemic". Research shows that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to periodontitis or gum disease, which is also communicable and can be passed between family members. Nutrition and stress are important factors. Too much sugar creates an acidic environment in the mouth and too much stress makes it difficult for the body to resist infection, leading to bleeding and sore gums and gingivitis. Medications like anti-depressants, oral contraceptives and some heart medicines can also affect oral tissue.
Treatment matches the stage of gum disease. When gum pockets are so deep they can no longer be restored, the only treatment possible has usually been costly and painful periodontal surgery. Laser dentistry can reverse the inflammation found in gum disease through bio-stimulation of the gum tissue using light energy. This approach is done as part of a holistic, monitored program of cleaning and maintenance, with careful home hygiene on the part of the patient and, in some cases, nutritional support. Special rinses to kill the bacteria causing bleeding, swollen gums and gingivitis may also be used.
In all cases, early discovery and treatment of gum disease is vital. The support from laser dentistry and a positive outcome for restorative dentistry is always most effective when gum disease is treated at the earlier stages. Bleeding gums and gingivitis respond well and our methods have an excellent success rate with prevention and reversal of gum disease. When the patient participates fully in the program, inflamed, swollen gums can actually return to their naturally pink state.
A holistic approach using lasers also reduces pocketing, tooth mobility and bad breath. Combining laser dentistry as part of a natural program of support has been successful in stabilizing loose teeth and making periodontal surgery unnecessary in many cases. Besides promoting healthy tissue for sore gums and preventing loose teeth, laser dentistry also supports healing in restorative dentistry for dental crowns, bridges and dental implants.
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