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Have you been probed lately?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports half of Americans over the age of 30 have periodontitis.  That equates to almost 65 million Americans having advanced periodontal disease!

Exactly what is periodontal disease?  Inflammation due to the presence of bacteria affecting both the soft tissue and bone which support the teeth.  Periodontal disease is typically painless as it progresses and undermines the supporting structures for your teeth.  As it advances, bacteria increase in number and become more pathogenic.  Advanced cases destroy bone and ultimately are one of the most common reasons for tooth loss.

When you have your teeth cleaned by a dentist or hygienist, it is paramount that they assess the attachment around each tooth.   Your gum attachment should be measured with a device called a periodontal probe at least once a year.  Your provider will record numbers as the probe is inserted around each tooth. The procedure is relatively painless and only takes a few minutes.  The beginning stages of periodontal disease can not be detected on radiographs and will not be treated by a typical “cleaning.” 

Because the disease is painless and its progression is typically slow, it is important that your dentist or hygienist routinely measure the attachment around each tooth.  If attachment loss is caught early, it is more treatable and the disease progression can usually be stopped.  If the disease progresses and attachment loss is advanced, more pathogenic bacteria create an environment in which they can thrive and treatment is much less predictable. 

Because periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease it affects more than just your mouth.  Chronic inflammation can exacerbate problems such as cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.  Bacteria associated with severe periodontal disease have also been found in the brain lesions of those who suffer Alzheimer’s.  Both smoking and uncontrolled diabetes are risk factors for periodontal disease.

At Fox Family Dental we strive to do our very best in diagnosing and treating periodontal disease.  We have built a team of hygienists who work hard to detect and educate patients on their periodontal health.  We have increased the time our hygienists have with each patient so your needs can be adequately assessed and met.  Come see how our team can help you improve your oral health.

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