Tag Archives: Periodontitis

Gum Disease Treatment and Diabetes

Millions of Americans have type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition that impacts the body’s ability to process blood sugar. Since diabetes primarily affects your blood vessels, the repercussions can ripple throughout your body, causing damage to your heart and kidneys, and wreaking havoc on your oral health.

The link between diabetes and gum disease is well documented, with research showing that people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis. But recently, a study in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology Journal found that the relationship goes both ways – gum disease can also make it difficult for diabetes patients to control their blood sugar levels. The good news is that treating gum disease can help improve their symptoms.

The Link Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is a persistent infection of the gums, characterized by redness, swelling, and bleeding. Left untreated, chronic gum inflammation can impact the surrounding bone and lead to tooth loss. People with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease because their elevated blood glucose levels make it harder for the immune system to fight off the bacteria located beneath the gum line.

Studies have also shown that diabetics with poor blood sugar control experience more severe periodontal disease than those who have their conditions in check. But the presence of gum disease can also contribute to higher blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. The link between these two serious health issues goes both ways, creating a negative feedback loop that can lead to an overall decline in wellbeing.

How Treating Gum Disease Helps People With Diabetes

A recent study of 264 patients suffering from both type 2 diabetes and periodontitis showed that treating gum disease can significantly improve the symptoms of diabetes. Not only did participants see improvement in their blood glucose levels, but their kidney and blood vessel function increased as well. While there is no definitive explanation as to why this happens, researchers theorize that treating the infection related to periodontal disease reduces systemic inflammation, which is believed to be a major cause of diabetes complications.

Treatment for periodontal disease in this study included whole mouth scaling and surgical therapy. Periodontal scaling removes dental plaque and hardened tartar from below the gum line; it’s usually accompanied by root planing, which smooths the tooth root to encourage reattachment of the gum. Pocket reduction surgery, also known as osseous surgery, is a surgical treatment that can halt the spread of bacteria and save bone tissue from being destroyed.

Preventing Gum Disease in People With Diabetes

Everyone should prioritize their oral health, but it’s especially important for people who suffer from diabetes, since taking good care of your teeth and gums can also help you better manage your blood sugar. Here are a few ways that people with diabetes can minimize the risk of developing gum disease:

  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Brush your teeth twice a day, for two full minutes. Be sure you gently brush teeth and gums. Also, don’t forget to floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque that brushing can’t reach.

  • Keep Your Glucose Levels Under Control

Since high blood sugar levels can encourage bacterial growth beneath your gums, make sure you’re following your doctor’s orders with regard to diabetes treatment.

  • Visit the Dentist Regularly

While some people can get away with a single biannual visit to the dentist, people with diabetes may benefit from seeing their dentist more often for cleanings, x-rays, and evaluation.

  • See a Periodontist for Serious Concerns

If you think you may have gum disease, a periodontist can give you a comprehensive exam and recommend a course of treatment. Signs of periodontal disease include red, swollen, or bleeding gums, as well as persistent bad breath or loose teeth.

Optimize Your Oral Health at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

While periodontal disease is frustrating and destructive, it is also highly treatable. San Diego Periodontics can design a course of treatment to reduce gum inflammation and improve the health of your smile. To find out more about our state-of-the-art, minimally invasive periodontal services, call us at (619) 543-0905.

why gums bleed when brushing teeth

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you might not think much of it. But even though a little pink-tinged toothpaste in the sink twice a day may seem inconsequential, it could be a sign of a big problem.

Healthy gums aren’t supposed to bleed, even a little, and especially not every day. There could be a number of different reasons why your gums are bleeding, from incorrect hygiene habits to chronic health conditions. Here are a few of the most common causes of bleeding gums.

1. You’re brushing and/or flossing too hard

Daily flossing and twice-daily brushing is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth. But using too much force when cleaning your teeth and gums can damage your gums, causing the gumline to erode. Signs of receding gums include soreness and bleeding, and left untreated, they can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Solution: The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. And when brushing and flossing, remember to apply gentle pressure, and go easy on your gums to prevent damage.

2. You have gum disease

A telltale sign of periodontal disease are gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss. In its early stages, gum disease takes the form of gingivitis, causing redness, swelling, and irritation where your gums meet the base of your teeth. Gingivitis can progress to a more serious gum disease known as periodontitis, which infects the deeper layer of soft tissue and can cause damage to your teeth and bones.

Solution: After a comprehensive oral exam, your dentist will recommend the right course of action to treat your gum disease. Depending on the severity and location of the infection, you may need professional cleaning, scaling and root planing, or surgical treatments. Most gum disease results from poor oral hygiene habits, so be you’re sticking to a regular recommended brushing and flossing routine, too.

3. You have an abscessed tooth

When a cavity or crack in your tooth goes untreated, harmful bacteria can enter the crevices and infect the dental pulp, an area of your tooth containing blood vessels and nerves. An infection at this depth can cause the tooth root to swell, creating tender, inflamed gums. Brushing and flossing along the area can not only incite bleeding, but it may be very painful as well.

Solution: To treat an abscessed tooth, your dentist may drain the area or perform a root canal to heal the infection while saving the tooth. In severe cases, though, the tooth itself must be extracted to completely eliminate the infection.

4. Your dentures or partials don’t fit properly

Dentures should feel comfortable and allow you to eat, speak, and smile with ease. But over time, as you experience bone loss in your jaw, your mouth will change shape, causing your once-comfortable dentures to become ill-fitting. Ill-fitting dentures can irritate your gums, causing pain, discomfort, and bleeding, and ignoring these symptoms can lead to long-term health issues, such as mouth ulcers or infections.

Solution: To prevent continued bone loss in your jaw, consider dental implants. Since dental implants mimic the structure of a natural tooth root, your jawbone gets the stimulation needed to maintain its density. And unlike dentures, dental implants prevent receding gumlines, keeping your gum tissues healthy and supporting your existing natural teeth.

5. You have an underlying health condition

Sometimes, bleeding gums can be caused by something other than your oral health or hygiene. For example, if you’re on a blood thinner, such as heparin or warfarin, you may bleed more easily when you brush your teeth. Pregnant women can also experience bleeding gums due to hormonal changes that contribute to inflammation, and occasionally, pregnancy-related gingivitis. Additionally, certain vitamin deficiencies can cause weakened gum tissue and impede your body’s ability to heal.

Solution: Ensure you’re eating a healthy diet, with plenty of Vitamin C. And if you’re concerned that an underlying medical condition may be causing your gums to bleed, make an appointment with your doctor for a full physical exam.

San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry can treat your bleeding gums

Whatever the cause of your bleeding gums, San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry can help you find the solution. Dr. Kwok is committed to understanding your periodontal problems, devising appropriate treatment plans, and providing the best service possible in a safe, comfortable, and professional environment.

Call us at (619) 543-0905 and let us help you develop a plan for long-term periodontal health.

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.