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Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth and is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Have questions about Periodontal diesease prevention and treatment in Omaha, stop on in.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth 
  • New spacing between teeth
  • Persistent bad breath 
  • Pus around the teeth and gums
  • Receding gums 
  • Red and puffy gums 
  • Tenderness or discomfort

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Gum disease begins with the inflammation and irritation of the gingival tissues which surround and support the teeth. There are genetic and environmental factors involved in the onset of gum disease, and in many cases the risk can be significantly lowered by taking preventative measures.

Some of the most common causes of gum disease include:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Pregnancy and menopause
  • Chronic stress and poor diet
  • Diabetes and underlying medical issues
  • Grinding teeth 
  • Medication

Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Common Signs & Symptoms:

Periodontal disease can progress without any signs or symptoms such as pain, which is is why regular dental check-ups are exceptionally important. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis.

  • Unexplained bleeding when brushing, flossing or eating food
  • Pain, redness or swelling for no apparent reason
  • Longer-looking teeth 
  • Bad breath/halitosis 
  • Loose teeth/change in bite pattern 
  • Pus

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Preventing periodontal disease is critical in preserving the natural dentition. Addressing the causes of gum disease and discussing them with your dentist will help prevent the onset, progression, and recurrence of periodontal disease. The dentist will initially assess the whole mouth in order to ascertain the progress of the disease. When a diagnosis has been made, the dentist may treat the bacterial infection with antibiotics in conjunction with nonsurgical or surgical treatment or both.

Severe periodontitis can be treated in several different ways, such as:

  • Laser treatment
  • Tissue & bone grafting 
  • Pocket elimination surgery

Dr. Bellinghiere has been using the PerioLase dental laser in treatment of periodontal disease since October 2005. The laser aids in the removal of diseased or inflamed tissues in the periodontal pocket. Clinical studies have shown cementum-mediated new periodontal ligament attachment (new tissue and bone growth). This is a revolutionary new process with no scalpel and minimal discomfort. The patients that have received this treatment have outstanding results. Check out the website www.millenniumdental.com for a better understanding of this procedure.

Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

It is well documented that people who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to developing infections than non-diabetes sufferers. It is not widely known that periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes; particularly when the diabetes is not under proper control. These conditions are linked through increased blood sugar, blood vessel thickening, smoking, and poor oral hygiene.

Experts suggest the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease can worsen both conditions if either condition is not properly controlled.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

It is of paramount importance for people suffering from any type of diabetes to see the dentist at least twice yearly for checkups and professional cleanings. 

The dentist will use medical history, family history and dental X-rays to assess the risk factors for periodontal disease and determine the exact condition of the gums, teeth and underlying jawbone. If necessary the dentist will work in conjunction with other doctors to ensure that both the diabetes and the gum disease are being managed and controlled as effectively as possible.

Periodontal Disease, Heart Disease and Stroke

The connection between periodontal disease, heart disease and stroke may seem unlikely, but research that shows there is little doubt that the presence of periodontal disease can exacerbate existing heart conditions. Theories include inflammation, infectious susceptibility, and the notion that oral bacteria affects the heart. The periodontist and cardiologist generally work as a team in order to treat individuals experiencing both conditions.


It only takes twenty four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar)! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.

Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, Dr. Bellinghiere and our dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance periodontal cleanings, usually four times a year. At these appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.

In addition to your periodontal cleaning and evaluation, your appointment will usually include:

  • X-rays
  • Examination of current fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Examination of all tooth surfaces for decay
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Oral hygiene recommendations
  • Teeth polishing