1025 Vey Way • The Dalles, OR 97058 • 541.296.5766 • E-mail

Dennis Alleman, DMD, PC


Gum Disease- The Silent Killer

The American Dental association states that 75 to 85 per cent of all adults have or will have some form of periodontitis or gum disease. They have also reported recent findings that have shown a significant link between the presence of gum disease and increased incident of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. Smoking is directly related to the severity of both Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease.

Periodontitis is a bacterial infection in the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It can be divided into several categories.

The first stage is called Gingivitis and is characterized by gum tissue that is red, puffy, tender, and bleeds easily when touched by a toothbrush, floss, or a dental instrument. Gingivitis can be controlled by effective home oral home care or hygiene.

The second stage is called Early Periodontitis and is the start of the destructive process that destroys the teeth and surrounding bone and gums. Bone loss around the teeth averages about 4 to 5 millimeters. Early Periodontitis can usually be controlled with non surgical care by your dental hygienist and by effective home care. In some cases, special cleaning with anesthesia is needed. Your regular checkups will need to be done more often.

The third stage is called Moderate Periodontitis and is the point where the patient might notice bad breath, tooth sensitivity, headaches, gum recession, exposed roots, and loose teeth. Bone loss around the teeth averages about 6 to 7 millimeters. Moderate Periodontitis is probably misnamed, because it is severe and requires diligent effort to control. In addition to effective home care and non surgical care through your dental hygienist, very often gum surgery is required. In many cases the teeth that are loose have to be splinted together to save them. You will then need aggressive regular periodontal health maintenance care in addition to your regular checkups. We will probably need to see you every 2 to 3 months if you want to save your teeth and oral structures in comfort.

The fourth stage is called Severe Periodontitis. This is where bone loss exceeds 8 millimeters. The chances for successful treatment and maintenance of oral health in the face of this amount of destruction is generally hopeless. The treatment for Severe Periodontitis is usually removal of the teeth natural teeth and replacement with dentures.

Detection and Measurement of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal (gum) Disease can go on for years without pain and without detection unless specific examination procedures are performed.

Visual oral examination by itself (even by a dentist), will not reliably detect Periodontal Disease until it has reached an advanced stage.

Early detection and adequate diagnosis require measurement of pockets (the crevice between the tooth, gums and bone) with a periodontal probe and dental x-rays.

Dr. Alleman and staff can help you to effectively prevent and treat gum disease but, the damage caused as the disease progresses is irreversible for the most part.

Early detection and treatment is critical to prevent tooth loss and disfigurement. Although the periodontal examination is simple, effective, painless and takes only a few minutes, millions of American adults have never had it done.

Some signs of Periodontal Disease are bleeding gums, red, swollen, tender tissues, bad breath, receding gums and loose, ugly, and stained teeth.

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