Gum Disease: More People Struggle With it Than You Think

Dentistry has come a long way in the tools we use to treat everything from simple cavities to replacing teeth. Even with all the awareness about our oral health, problems still persist. A recently published report from the Journal of Dental Research found that 47% of the U.S. population over 30 years of age has Periodontitis. The study also found that 64 percent of adults 65 and older had either moderate or severe Periodontitis.

Periodontitis, also known as Gum Disease, is caused by food and bacterial build up under the gums leading to inflammation, bleeding and bone loss around the teeth. Next time you have your hygiene evaluation, listen closely to the numbers the hygienist is calling out to be recorded. These numbers are measured in millimeters and they tell us how far down the bone level and gum attachment is. Any numbers above 3 mm with bleeding can mean infection and gum disease.

The treatment for mild to moderate gum disease is Scaling and Root Planning, also known as a “Deep Cleaning.” In moderate to severe gum disease, the pockets are so deep that our instruments cannot get to the bottom of the sulcus or pocket. Traditionally, Periodontal surgery was required to treat these forms of gum disease. With mechanical incisions and debridement, flap surgery, and needing sutures placed for 2 weeks afterwards, the healing process is generally uncomfortable.

As we strive to provide our patients with the most up to date equipment and effective treatment, we have been treating Gum Disease with the LANAP protocol. LANAP, or laser-assisted new attachment procedure, uses a Periolase Laser to create micro flaps, debris disease and infected areas, and creates hemostasis. The laser is very selective by leaving healthy tissue alone. Since sutures are not required post-operative pain is reduced greatly. We have also found that gingival pockets have been reduced without the usual recession of the gums after Periodontal surgery.

Chances are that you or someone you know is affected by gum disease. There are many treatment possibilities and outcomes available to help with this disease. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding Gum Disease or your oral health.

Sincerely, Drs. Alan and Yoni Howard and the Dental Office Encino