Recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that one out of every two American adults over 30 have periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth. Not only does periodontal disease lead to tooth loss when left untreated, but research has also shown that it is related to other chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Periodontal disease is bacterial; if your gums are bleeding or receding, a mouth odor is present or teeth are becoming loose or shifting, seek an examination from a dentist at once. The sooner treatment begins the less complicated and costly the aesthetic treatment will be,” says Staten Island, NY cosmetic dentist Louis F. DeSantis, MD.
Periodontal disease may initially appear as red or swollen gums, but Dr. DeSantis says it can advance to where there is underlying bone loss. “Teeth may start to shift, flare out or develop spaces. Patients may find themselves seeking cosmetic care because new spaces are developing between their teeth. If the bone loss is severe, the teeth themselves may be lost.”
Periodontal disease can also cause a loss of gum tissue and teeth that appear uneven or too long, which Dr. DeSantis says can require cosmetic periodontal surgical procedures such as bone and tissue grafting. In the event that there is tooth loss, there are cosmetic options as well. “Crowning and splinting remaining teeth using porcelain bridges or placing dental implants to create a realistic cosmetic replacement tooth,” Dr. DeSantis adds.
According to lead author and CDC epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Eke, the new findings could affect public health policy. “We have demonstrated a high burden of periodontal disease in the adult U.S. population. Periodontal disease is associated with age, and as Americans live longer and retain more of their natural teeth, periodontal disease may take on more prominence in the oral health of the U.S. adult population. Maintaining good periodontal health is important to the overall health and well being of our aging population. Our findings support a need for public health programs to improve the oral health of adults.”
In the meantime, with the prevalence of periodontal disease, The American Academy of Periodontology recommends scheduling a comprehensive periodontal exam with your dentist every year.
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