Dr. Robert Levine on the Importance of Treating Gum Disease
“It is crucial to treat gum disease because gum disease is a major factor why adults lose their teeth. And once you start losing teeth, you lose obviously the ability to chew, function, as well as to smile because the teeth that are usually frequently lost are the back teeth and not actually the teeth that support your front teeth, which is your smile. The importance also of treating gum disease is that it can affect your overall health. And frequently we see patients that have a lot of different medical issues, and one thing the medical profession is not really in tune with is really the oral health of the patient. Whereas us as dentists and periodontists, we deal with this every day. So as part of an initial examination in our office, we look at risk factors, periodontal risk factors.
They could be anything from smoking, we know as an effect can really increase bone loss around teeth up to seven times. We know compliance is a major issue – meaning that if you haven’t been to the dentist in many years, the likelihood is that you will be diagnosed with gum disease, as well as dental cavities, dental caries, and we see that even more so with patients that are on multiple medication-induced xerostomia type drugs, and this is dry mouth related medications. And most patients who see us, they are on a number of medications. We know that if your family members may have worn dentures or had periodontal disease or missing teeth due to pyorrhea, you more apt to have that. Having history of diabetes also puts you more at risk of having gum disease. And I mean, just having a member in the family, a mother or father, puts you more at risk at having periodontal or gum disease.
Parafunctional habits, such as grinding or clenching your teeth, will take teeth that are strong and can make them loose. And in the presence of existing periodontal disease, the repetivity of the bone loss and the atrophy of bone around the teeth is really striking. So we look at our risk factor analysis is part of what we do in our initial consultation and we work that into the treatment plan in how we could really improve the patient’s overall health.”
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