Tag Archives: Gum disease

Can Periodontal Disease Be Cured?

periodontal disease

Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. If they’re puffy or red and bleed much more easily, then it is possible that you’re suffering from gingivitis, the most common form of periodontal disease. Although seldom painful, gingivitis shouldn’t be taken lightly. If left unchecked, gingivitis can spread to the ligaments and bones below the gums, becoming what’s known as periodontitis.

Without treatment, periodontitis can wreak serious damage on your teeth and gums, to the point that the infection causes a very painful tooth abscess and even make your tooth become loose and fall out.

Given how serious periodontal disease is, one might ask, can it be cured?

Treatable, But Not Curable

There are generally just two types of periodontal disease – gingivitis and periodontitis. Of the two, the former is a mild form and it is treatable with proper dental treatment in the dental office and good oral care at home. However, there is no cure anymore once gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.

Patients who develop severe periodontal disease, or periodontitis, will require extensive treatment at the dental office. This usually involves a special cleaning to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces called scaling and root planning, or sometimes referred to as deep cleaning. Medication to help control the infection and pain, as well as to aid the healing process are also necessary. Other treatments may also be involved as well, especially if some, if not all, of the teeth have been severely infected, or in worse cases, have fallen out already.

The extensive treatment process can take months. It’s also quite expensive as well, especially if you don’t have dental insurance. Even worse, once you’ve had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend you more frequent dental checkups. This is because periodontitis is something that can’t be cured, it can only be managed and kept under control via regular dental visits, deep cleanings and by practicing good oral hygiene at home.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

As complicated and as severe as periodontal disease is, you don’t necessarily have to suffer from it. Gingivitis can easily be prevented by following a program of good dental hygiene, one that begins at home and at an early age.

A good dental hygiene routine to follow is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. It would be an even better idea to brush your teeth after every meal. Brushing alone, though, isn’t enough, as you have to make sure that you do it effectively and thoroughly. It’s recommended that you take at least three to five minutes to brush and floss your teeth. Also, remember to floss first before brushing to help clean away any loose food particles and bacteria that may be lodged in between your teeth.

Most important of all, don’t forget to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. Although the frequency may vary, dentists do recommend getting a dental checkup as often as every six months to one year. Call today to schedule your checkup with Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111.

How to Keep Your Breath Fresh | Indianapolis Dentist

Chewing GumDo you suspect you have bad breath? If so, it might be an indication of other problems and not just a lack of proper oral hygiene. With perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

The medical condition dry mouth (xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth, by rinsing your mouth out as well. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. So make sure you drink your daily intake of water and avoid sugary drinks!

Keep coffee use to a minimum. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. If you feel like you can’t function without it, don’t quit completely. Instead, keep the intake to a minimum and have a toothbrush or sugar-free gum handy for afterwards.

Stay away from tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can not only make you more susceptible to health issues, but smoking gives people horrible breath. Keeping them out of your life will have multiple benefits.

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath smell less than fresh for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Wait for a good half hour after a meal before popping in a piece of sugarless gum. It can help with saliva flow, cleaning cavity-forming bacteria from your mouth before they can do any damage. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities, so feel free to indulge in this sweet treat after a good meal.

For more information regarding bad breath and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Why Athletes Have to Worry About Their Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

thinkstockphotos-166340009When we think about athletes, we think about strong healthy individuals that take their sport by storm with all of their physical ability. They train hard, they eat well to give their bodies the proper nutrition in order to perform at their peak. But what if I told you that athletes actually have more to worry about when it comes to their oral health. It’s true. We may all have the same basic guidelines when it comes to oral care, but an athlete’s lifestyle isn’t the same as ours and needs to be treated as such. During their training, athletes often have high-carb diets and drink lots of energy drinks to keep up with things. Those two things alone are driving sugars and acids into their mouths, and these are the main causes for tooth decay and cavity-causing erosion. What they don’t realize is that when you have issues in your mouth, it can progress to cause pain. These pains may not be directly involved in the sport, but it can cause issues with sleeping and training in general, two necessities for all athletes to perform their best. So, if you are an athlete looking to better your overall performance on the field, track, court, or ice, you should look into your oral health!

Recent studies done and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2012 showed that 18 percent of athletes who attended the dental clinic of the London 2012 Olympic Games reported that their oral health damaged their training and performance in the games.

Researchers surveyed and examined 302 athletes from 25 sports and concluded these results:

  • Fifty-five percent had dental caries, the disease that causes cavities
  • Forty-five percent had dental erosion
  • More than three-quarters had gingivitis and 15 percent had gum disease
  • More than 40 percent of athletes were “bothered” by their oral health with 28 percent saying it impacted their quality of life and 18 percent saw an impact on their training and performance
  • Nearly half of the participants had not had an oral exam or hygiene care in the previous year

This just goes to show that oral health is an important tool and element of overall health, as it can effect one’s overall performance. And if you are in a sport that is more physical, make sure to see your dentist for a custom-fit mouthguard to ensure your teeth are protected from those tough hits. Preventative measures are key to keeping your entire athletic machine running in tiptop shape.

For more information on dental care for athletes and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

The Terrible Ten Smile Saboteurs | Indianapolis Dentist

Beautiful smile with withe teethThere are lots of reasons our teeth may not be the brightest at all times. We go to the dentist for regular cleanings, but in the end, they always seem to go back to the way they were. But why? What are we doing to make our smile dingy or flawed? A lot of times, it isn’t how well we clean our chompers. In many cases, discolored or damaged teeth are the result of our own bad habits, says Indianapolis dentist George Kirtley; other problems are caused by chemicals that entered teeth during childhood. The way we eat,what we put into our mouths, even habits you don’t realize you’ve picked up, like biting your pencil, can all do small damages to our teeth. The biggest offenders he sees in Indianapolis:

  • Drinking tea. Hot or cold, tea stains teeth more than any other kind of drink.
  • Smoking, because tobacco yellows teeth.
  • Drinking coffee; it stains the teeth.
  • Drinking red wine; it stains the teeth.
  • Consuming too many soft drinks, which leave sugars on teeth that can create cavities.
  • Eating highly acidic foods, including starchy snacks such as potato chips and tortilla chips. They can drive enamel-busting acids deep into teeth, breaking the teeth down.
  • Ingesting too much fluoride during childhood, which can actually damage teeth.
  • Treating childhood diseases with antibiotics, such as Tetracycline, that can discolor teeth.
  • Chewing ice or your nails; it cracks teeth.
  • Grinding teeth; habitual grinding damages teeth.

For more information on habits that can cause damage to your smile and/or to make an appointment, call Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynnedale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

The Different Types of Gum Disease

gum diseaseGum disease is an inflammation of the gums and is caused primarily by the bacteria found in plaque. If you didn’t already know, plaque is a colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. The more often you brush your teeth, the less time that plaque has to build-up on your teeth and the lower your risk is for gum disease. If, however, you let plaque buildup by not brushing and flossing every day, the bacteria can end up infecting your gums, teeth and eventually, the tissue and bone that support your teeth. The result? A severely infected tooth that has to be removed by a dentist, or in worse cases of infection, the tooth may fall off on its own.

There are three stages of gum disease and these are:

  • Gingivitis. This is the earliest stage of gum disease and is also when the inflammation of the gums are evident, mainly due to plaque buildup at the gumline. The resulting infection also causes the gums to bleed as well, which you may notice when you’re flossing or brushing your teeth. It is important to note that gingivitis is still reversible, but only through proper dental care and by observing proper oral hygiene at home.

 

  • Periodontitis. At this stage, the damage is usually already irreversible. There may also form pockets below your gum line, which can trap food and plaque and make your condition much worse. Frequent visits to the dentist and improved oral care at home is important to help prevent further damage to the teeth and gums.

 

  • Advanced Periodontitis. This is the final stage of gum disease and is where the infection has not only affected, but has already destroyed the fibers and bone supporting your teeth. This can result into your teeth shifting or being loose, which can severely affect your bite and eventually cause tooth loss. At this stage, aggressive and constant periodontal treatment is the only way to save the infected teeth and gums. Although treatment is not always enough and the infected teeth may already be beyond saving.

How Do You Treat Gum Disease?

Gingivitis, as mentioned earlier, can still be reversed via proper brushing and flossing. Rinsing with mouthwash isn’t necessary, but will still help. If you take proper care of your teeth and gums, you’ll prevent plaque from building up in your mouth and prevent, or even reverse, gum disease.

If, however, you have failed to take proper care of your teeth and let plaque buildup and let it harden to become tartar, your only option is to go to a dentist for a professional cleaning. The only way to remove tartar that’s found above and below your gum line is to scale your teeth. If scaling isn’t enough, a root planing procedure may be necessary. This is a procedure that will help smooth out any irregularities on the roots of your teeth to help prevent plaque buildup in the future.

As early as today, make the necessary changes to your oral hygiene and take better care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once and rinse with mouthwash, preferably one that’s prescribed to you by your dentist. If you do all these, and visit your dentist regularly, you significantly lower your risk for gum disease. Also, in the off chance that you do have gum disease, you increase the chances your dentist catching and treating the infection before it spreads and causes serious damage to your teeth and gums.

What is Gingivitis? | Indianapolis, Il Dentist

Smiling woman with perfect teethGingivitis is one of those things none of us want to hear we have. Hearing you have gingivitis can be embarrassing, since it probably means you haven’t been keeping up with your home oral care. Gingivitis is not the same thing as periodontitis, although sometimes a person may be affected by both. Gum disease is mostly caused by improper oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums. Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed.

But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease(Source: medicinenet.com)

The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva. If harmful bacteria is not removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the underlying bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.

Gingivitis can be prevented by proper and consistent oral hygiene. Make certain to eat a balanced diet and visit the dentist regularly. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. As always, floss your teeth every day!

For more information on oral health and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com 

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park.

Easy Steps to Preventing Gum Disease | Indianapolis, IN

If you are a coffee drinker, you need to be extra careful. Coffee can contribute to the buildup of plaque and tartar and accelerate the progression of gum disease.

There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis, an inflammation of your gums caused by plaque, and periodontitis, a more advanced version of gingivitis that results in a gap between your teeth and your gums. Gum disease, when caught in the gingivitis stage, can be treated and, in the future, prevented. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is more difficult to treat and, due to the gap between the teeth and gums, may cause your teeth to become loose and fall out.

Coffee affects your mouth in two ways. First, it lowers the temperature of your mouth and gums. Second, it reduces the blood flow to your gums. The combination of lowered temperature and restricted blood flow means your gums do not get all of the necessary oxygen they need to continue functioning properly.

Saliva contains oxygen and specialized enzymes which help prevent gum disease by killing the unnecessary bacteria in your mouth. However, drinking coffee can cause dehydration and reduce the amount of saliva you produce, thus increasing your chances of developing gum disease.

For more information on the prevention of dental disease, contact Dr. George Kirtley DDS at 317-841-1111 or visit his website www.smilesbygeorge.com.

 

 

Woman’s Fertility Linked to Oral Health | Indianapolis, IN

According to a fertility expert in Stockholm Sweden, research shows that gum disease can potentially lengthen the time it takes a woman to become pregnant by an average of two months.

In the study they analyzed data from over 3,400 pregnant women from Western Australia. They found that women with gum disease took two months longer on average to conceive than women without gum disease (seven months instead of five). Non-Caucasian women appeared to be the group most affected. They were likely to take more than 12 months to become pregnant if they had gum disease.

Researchers say all women that are about to plan a family should see their general practitioner to make sure they are in good health. In addition, they are now recommending all women should see their dentist to have any type of gum disease treated and make sure they are in good oral health before trying to conceive.

The study also confirmed additional negative influences on a woman’s time to conceive; being over 35 years old, being overweight and a smoker. In addition, the study also demonstrated conclusively that treatment of periodontal disease does not prevent pre-term birth, and the treatment does not have any adverse effects on the mother or fetus during pregnancy.

Contact Dr. George Kirtley to make an appointment to ensure your dental health is not compromised. 317-841-1111 or visit his website www.smilesbygeorge.com.

 

Content source: DentalTribune.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardiovascular Disease linked to Periodontal Disease

Current research shows a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease in some patients. Though there is not concrete evidence as of yet, health-care providers and patients should not ignore the risks gum disease contributing to heart disease.

Patients should be getting a comprehensive periodontal evaluation from their dental professional at least once a year. This should entail a full examination of teeth and gums, overall health status and age. Patients who are diagnosed with periodontal disease should inform their health care provider to reassure better incorporation of their care.

According to Pamela McClain, DDS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology , “There is no compelling evidence to support that treating periodontal disease will reduce cardiovascular disease at this time,” McClain said, “but we do know that periodontal care will improve your oral health status, reduce systemic inflammation and might be good for your heart as well.”

Schedule your next dental checkup today, don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Dr. George Kirtley DDS at 317-841-1111 or visit his website www.smilesbygeorge.com.