Periodontal Disease Can Affect More than Your Smile | Dr. Colin Richman

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Periodontal Disease Can Affect More than Your Smile

January 12, 2015

By: Dr. Colin Richman

Certainly periodontal disease can have devastating effects on your smile, potentially causing tooth and bone loss in its most advanced stages. However, the consequences of periodontal disease are not necessarily confined to your mouth. Gum disease has been linked to a variety of systemic health issues, so getting effective periodontal treatment can benefit your overall health in addition to your oral health.

Although the exact mechanism is not known, there appears to be some correlation between gum disease and chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Gum disease also has an association with pregnancy problems like pre-eclampsia and pre-term birth.

Gum disease develops when bacteria attack the gums and cause inflammation. That inflammation has similar characteristics to the inflammation associated with those systemic conditions listed above. Therefore, periodontal treatment that eliminates that inflammation can ultimately benefit your entire body.

A procedure like LANAP, which stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, can eliminate diseased gum tissue, reduce the size of the pockets and promote a healthy new attachment between the gum and the tooth.

With this type of periodontal treatment, the periodontist will use a laser at a specific frequency to target and remove the affected tissue. Healthy tissue is not disturbed. The laser is then used at a different setting to promote the formation of a fibrin clot, which offers some protection as the gums heal from the procedure.

Laser gum treatment offers patients a less invasive treatment option than more traditional interventions that require a surgical procedure. Not only does this quality improve patient comfort, it also results in a faster recovery time after the treatment.

The procedure is performed in a periodontist’s office, and many patients need only a local anesthetic. Those who tend to be particularly anxious or have a condition that can interfere with dental treatment, like a strong gag reflex, may benefit from sedation, as well.

If you have periodontal disease, it’s important to get treatment not only to protect your smile but also to protect the rest of your body. Talk to our skilled team of periodontists to learn about your gum disease treatment options. Call 770-442-1010 today to schedule your visit.

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Signs and Symptoms of Advanced Dental Disease Including Periodontal (Gum) Disease


Chronic disease anywhere in the body is insidious, thus advanced symptoms may only appear late after significant damage has occurred.

Warning signs of periodontal (gum) disease include:

- Redness, tenderness, pain, swollen gums
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing or biting into an apple
- Insufficient long term flossing over a lifetime
- Receding gums, frequently described ‘getting long in the tooth’
- Teeth moving or shifting
- Loose teeth
- Appliances no longer fit comfortably
- Previous history of tooth loss including parents
- History of smoking, diabetes or other metabolic diseases