September 23, 2016
Semi-annual oral exams and professional cleanings with Lincoln dentist, Dr. Craig P. Vacek, prevent tooth decay and gum disease. For existing advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, Dr. Vacek and his associate dentist, Dr. Gufford, advise deep cleanings to remove bacteria, sticky plaque, and hard tartar that destroy gums and bone and lead to tooth loss.
What Characterizes Gum Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, 50 percent Americans over the age of 30 have gum disease to one degree or another. The more serious form of this oral health problem is called periodontitis. Periodontitis exhibits few noticeable symptoms at its earliest stages, but it quickly progresses to:
- Reddened, swollen, bleeding gum tissue
- Pus at the gum line
- Mobile teeth that are drifting out of alignment
- Persistent bad breath, or halitosis
- Gum pockets (spaces between teeth and gums) deeper than 5 mm
Twice daily brushing and once a day flossing help prevent gum disease by removing bacteria-filled plaque from food residues on and in between teeth. Harmful oral bacteria grows in plaque, and these microbes secrete acids that corrode tooth enamel and gum tissue. The result is cavities and gum and jawbone recession.
Additionally, research seems to show that individuals with active gum disease are susceptible to other health issues. These adverse conditions can include:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart disease
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Pregnancy complications
The Role of Professional Cleanings
In addition to at-home oral hygiene, Dr. Vacek and his team tell patients to come to their Lincoln office for dental cleanings every six months. A dental hygienist gently removes sticky plaque and hard tartar that regular brushing and flossing miss.
Included in a semi-annual check-up is a simple procedure which measures gum pockets. These spaces between tooth surfaces and the gums should measure 1 to 3 mm. As gum disease advances, however, gum pocket depth increases with a measurement over 5 mm being diagnostic for advanced gum disease and the need for periodontal therapy or deep cleaning.
What is Deep Cleaning?
Deep cleaning involves manual and/or ultrasonic cleaning of tooth surfaces and root planing. The hygienist smooths root surfaces so that gums reattach. Also, she may instill antibiotics at the gum line to quell active infection. Dr. Vacek also offers soft tissue laser treatment of advanced gum problems. Painless and practically bloodless, the handheld laser removes diseased gum tissue and seals them so they re-attach to tooth surfaces. The process is comfortable and requires no sutures.
Patients with gum disease, or who are susceptible to it, see Dr. Vacek for periodontal maintenance every 3 to 4 months depending on how well the condition resolves. While many people have gum disease simply because they do not get routine dental cleanings. Some people have a hereditary tendency toward gum disease, or they may be immunosuppressed. Dental cleanings at Vacek Family Dentistry are a weapon in the fight for best oral health.
Get an Exam and Cleaning
Dr. Vacek urges you to get your regular exam and cleaning. Preventive dental services preserve teeth, gums, bone and overall health. Contact Vacek Family Dentistry for your prophylactic cleaning.
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