Tag Archives: Gum Disease Treatment

link-between-gum-disease-and-heart-disease-san-diego-periodontics-&-implant-dentistryGum disease is a serious dental condition that can lead to further oral health problems if left untreated. But recent research indicates that gum disease can also have far-reaching effects on your overall health, especially the health of your heart. In fact, people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease, along with increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Here’s how:

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums caused when bacteria-filled plaque builds up around the teeth. The most common symptoms are red, swollen, or tender gums that can bleed easily or appear to pull away from the teeth. The best way to prevent gum disease is daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to your dentist. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and a breakdown of the gum tissue.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease refers to a broad set of medical conditions, including heart attack and stroke, and it is usually caused by the narrowing or blockage of vital blood vessels with another type of plaque. Arterial plaque is made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances, and it can build up around artery walls and restrict the flow of blood. If a chunk of plaque breaks off and clogs the artery entirely, a heart attack will result.

How does gum disease affect your heart?

While arterial plaque can be caused by many factors, most commonly smoking and an unhealthy diet, it can also form as part of the body’s natural response to infection. After finding oral bacteria present in arterial plaque, scientists suspect the oral bacteria present in patients with gum disease can travel through the body, stick to existing arterial plaque, and trigger an inflammatory response. The inflammation can cause blood vessels to swell and narrow blood flow, increasing the risk of clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Does gum disease always lead to heart disease?

Not everyone who has gum disease will develop heart problems, and many people with heart disease have healthy gums, so there is not a definitive cause-and-effect link between the two health issues. However, many recent studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk of developing heart disease. It’s important to practice daily oral hygiene, eat a nutritious diet, and get regular exercise in order to achieve and maintain optimal health. 

Is gum disease linked to other medical conditions?

Although much more research is needed to fully understand how gum disease affects the rest of the body, some studies have discovered that bacteria in the mouth can move to the lungs and cause infections such as pneumonia. Additionally, there are possible links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer such as kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers.

Gum disease treatment at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you are showing early signs of gum disease, it’s crucial to start treatment immediately before the periodontal bacteria spreads through the rest of your body. At San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, we specialize in periodontal health and can help you get the treatment you need. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at (619) 543-0905.

The LANAP protocol illustration

An astonishing 64.7 million American adults have some form of gum disease, according to a 2012 research study titled Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. That is nearly half of all American adults (47.2%), meaning one out of every two American adults suffer from either mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis. For years, gum disease has been treated with the same traditional surgery, but recently a new treatment method has emerged. The Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, better known as the LANAP protocol, is a more efficient and effective way to treat periodontitis. Here is a selection of some of the most frequently asked questions about the LANAP protocol.

What is the LANAP Protocol?

The LANAP protocol is a treatment for gum disease that uses the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser, allowing for a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. The LANAP protocol gives the potential to stimulate the growth of damaged parts of the gum tissue and mouth, including regrowing new periodontal ligament, new alveolar bone, and new cementum. Without these three components, complete oral functioning is not possible.

Who is a Candidate for LANAP Protocol?

Any individual with moderate to severe periodontal disease may be eligible for the LANAP protocol. This method is especially useful for patients who are fearful of surgery and don’t want to go “under the knife.”

What Should I Expect During the Procedure?

Before beginning the LANAP protocol, you will first be anesthetized with local anesthesia, where it will make the area numb. Then a tiny laser, no thicker than three human hairs, is inserted in between the gum and tooth, clearing away any infection or disease in the area. Once any damage is removed, the roots of the tooth will be scrubbed clean of any tartar and plaque. Afterwards the laser will be used again at a different setting to create a blood clot to seal the pocket. Once the procedure is complete the patient can drive themselves home or even return to work.

Can the LANAP Protocol Treat My Entire Mouth?

Yes it is possible for the LANAP protocol to treat the entire mouth in one session. In general, most patients like to split the procedure in two sessions based on chair time and comfort.

Will I Have Any Pain After the LANAP Protocol?

The LANAP protocol uses the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser instead of a knife or scalpel, avoiding any kind of cutting into the gums and the need for stitches. This means that patients will have mild pain or discomfort after the operation. Typically over the counter pain medications for a few days afterwards is sufficient.

How Long Is the Recovery Process?

Since the LANAP protocol is minimally-invasive, there is little to no downtime after the procedure. Most patients can resume their everyday activities less than 24 hours after the LANAP protocol. However there are some dietary restrictions that we will discuss during your consultation.

Where Can I Find a Dentist Who Offers the LANAP Protocol?

Only dentists who have completed comprehensive LANAP training are certified to perform the LANAP protocol, and the dental practice must also have a PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser. If you would like to schedule a LANAP protocol consultation, please give us a call at (619) 543-0905.