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Gum Health

The Primary Cause of Lost Teeth

Many people assume that tooth loss is due to decay. It’s not. It’s because of gum disease. And it can be completely unnoticeable right up until you lose your teeth. Symptoms include bleeding gums when you brush or floss and loose or shifting teeth. If you’ve been told you need gum surgery, you will be glad to know that it’s possible to control gum disease with a variety of non-surgical methods.

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Gum Disease Can Contribute to Heart Disease, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s

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Medical research has caused many doctors to conclude that gum disease, stroke, and heart disease are linked. Recent research has also connected the bacteria that causes periodontal (gum) disease with Alzheimer’s. It is clear that gum disease is a serious matter. The American Dental Association estimates that eight out of 10 Americans have periodontal disease. If this were any other affliction, such as AIDS or tuberculosis, it would be considered an epidemic! Most dentists think it is just that. They also knew that gum disease would never be labeled epidemic because “no one ever dies from it.” The worst is that you lose your teeth. Not pleasant – but certainly not life threatening. But that’s all changed.

The American Academy of Periodontology reports: “Studies found periodontal infection may contribute to the development of heart disease, increase the risk of premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes and respiratory diseases.” Periodontal disease is characterized by bacterial infection of the gums. These bacteria can travel into the bloodstream – straight to the heart, the brain, and more.

All cardiovascular prevention programs must include an oral/systemic component. Our office goes by the recommendations of the Bale/Doneen Method. Dr. Roca spent a day learning from the co-founders of the Bale-Doneen Method, Dr. Amy L. Doneen and Dr. Bradley F. Bale, internationally recognized pioneers in the prevention of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. The course taught her the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but more importantly she learned what physical signs to look for on her patients that increase the likelihood of a cardiovascular disease risk. Dr. Roca feels that knowledge about these conditions and physical signs has enhanced her skills and enables her to refer those patients who might need further cardiovascular disease assessment.

Inflammation is the cause of arterial disease, and the more we learn how to stop the inflammation we can prevent the high prevalence of heart attack and strokes. If we can keep the inflammation down in the mouth, it will greatly reduce the inflammatory process in your arteries. At Arlington Smile Center, we want to help you halt and stabilize arterial disease. Dr. Roca learned the particular pathogens involved in periodontal disease that generate the cardiovascular risk and generate arterial inflammation. During the class, she also learned the importance of endodontic infection in triggering heart attacks. Dr. Roca has invested time and energy in finding ways to report pathogen burden and to more accurately identify endodontic disease.

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Now the Good News

With advanced periodontal disease, the treatment is surgical. Gum surgery is never fun, but it is almost always successful in controlling the condition, and it’s usually covered by common insurance plans. With mild periodontal disease, there are very effective NON-surgical procedures which, coupled with improved dental hygiene, can virtually halt the spread of the disease. This, too, is usually covered under most dental insurance plans.

What’s So Bad About Losing a Tooth?

Losing even a single tooth can cause the other teeth to shift and move around. This can affect chewing and your ability to absorb nutrients from your food. Other bad things can happen; your face will change shape, often looking “sunken.” This can make you look much older than you really are. Your speech can be affected. Because it’s harder to chew with missing teeth, you may find yourself favoring softer foods and more carbohydrates, which can cause you to gain weight. The best way to treat a missing tooth (or missing teeth) is with dental implants. An implant can replace one tooth or many. They can be made to look so natural that even a dentist has to look hard to tell the difference.

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Defeat Gum Disease Painlessly

Dr. Roca is pleased to offer her patients a powerful weapon in the fight against gum disease. It’s called ARESTIN™. It comes in powder form and contains very tiny microspheres that are not visible to the eye. These microspheres deliver a time-released antibiotic directly to the site of the infection (the spaces between the gums and teeth). ARESTIN kills the bacteria that cause gum disease. The best part is that it’s all painless!

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Have You Been Told You Need Gum Surgery?

Our practice uses laser technology for the non-surgical treatment of gum disease, with results that might have been considered miraculous not too many years ago. The procedure is minimal and patient friendly, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. We have successfully treated many cases of periodontal (gum) disease without the need for traditional gum surgery. We use an advanced dental laser to ensure your treatment is virtually painless. This laser is safe and effective, and is FDA-approved. This breakthrough process actually can regenerate bone lost through years of gum disease.

Dr. Roca was awarded the award for Best Periodontal Student in her class at graduation, so you know you are in excellent hands.

We can help arrest your gum disease and bring your smile back to health. Give us a call today at (703) 237-7622.