Periodontal disease affects as many as four out of five adults in the U.S. Dr. Tim Kelly and his experienced hygienist will screen for early signs of the condition during your check-ups. With their Dental Fitness program, patients can receive guidance and instruction on the best ways to maintain good periodontal health.
Periodontal disease is a term we've all heard, I think, but maybe not quite sure what it means. Our mouths are susceptible to gum disease or periodontal disease just because as human beings we all have bacteria in our mouth, and if that bacteria gets out of control it causes a problem. The problem is red gums, bleeding gums, bad breath, and bad taste. Eventually it leads to bone loss. You hear dentists talk about that all the time. If you have that condition that's chronic, it leads to tooth loss. What I found very interesting is in a modern culture of today's society, the American Dental Association still states that probably 75% to 80% of our adult population has some form of gum disease.
So if patients come in and tell me, almost every new patient tells me, "I want to keep my teeth for a lifetime." Periodontal disease is the number one cause, it's got to be the number one thing that we look for and we treat.
The symptoms of periodontal disease often go undetected in the early stages. The first symptom is just red gums. The gums should be real smooth and pink colored, and the texture like an orange. We call it stippling. If you look close in the mirror and your gums are red and they bleed very easily when you floss, and the surface is real shiny like the surface of an apple as opposed to an orange, that means your gums are swollen and engorged with blood and they bleed easily. Those are the first stages of gum disease. Typically that doesn't hurt and people don't think they have a problem. The more advanced stages, they become sore, the gums are tender, it hurts when they eat, all kinds of problems. It's easier to treat it in the early stages as opposed to waiting until they're advanced stages.
The treatment for periodontal disease or gum disease varies depending on the stage, but the first phase of treatment is making sure each individual patient understands their role at home in taking excellent care of their mouth, because no matter what we do here, if they do the same thing day in and day out at home the success won't be as high. But as a team, with my hygienist and my staff that are wonderful people, very caring people that make a thorough diagnosis, we have a program where we do some cleanings here and deep cleanings, make sure the teeth are just spotless and then monitor how the patients are cleaning their teeth at home with a program we call Dental Fitness. Between the two, the gums heal up, they taste better, they look better, they feel better, and the most important thing is they can keep their teeth for a lifetime.