My Blog

Posts for tag: periodontal disease

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
November 19, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone, and overall health of millions of Americans. Are you one of them? Here at the St. Louis office of Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson, your dentists watch for signs of gum problems and offer today's best treatments. Read on to learn more about this preventable and treatable oral health issue, and how your dentists can help create your best possible smile.

Symptoms of periodontal disease

Gum disease develops when plaque and tartar, both bacteria-filled biofilms, collect between the teeth and under the gums. A carbohydrate-loaded diet, poor oral hygiene habits, alcohol abuse, smoking, and hereditary factors contribute to mild gingivitis and its more serious cousin, periodontitis.

Just what does gum disease look like? While gum problems are not always obvious to the patient, they are to Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson. Here at our St. Louis office, your dentist looks for:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bleeding
  • Bad breath
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Pus at the gum line
  • Loose, separating teeth
  • Changes in dental bite or in the fit of a denture
  • Pain upon biting and chewing
  • Gum recession
  • Exposed tooth roots
  • Periodontal pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) deeper than three millimeters

You should be concerned

Left unchecked, gum disease progresses and causes tooth loss. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults.

Additionally, periodontitis is inflammatory in nature, potentially harming all body systems. The American Heart Association reports a potential link to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and hypertension. Additional problems are type-2 diabetes, arthritis, dementia, erectile dysfunction, kidney, liver dysfunction, and more.

What you can do

Mild gingivitis may be treated with improved brushing and flossing at home, along with a low-carbohydrate diet and adequate hydration. However, more advanced cases of gum disease need to be addressed with in-office treatments such as:

  • Deep cleaning and root planing to remove stubborn deposits of plaque and tartar
  • Instillation of antibiotics at the gum line
  • Gum grafts to cover exposed roots

Your dentist will comprise a care plan specific to your stage of gum disease and other oral health factors. Most people respond well to more frequent in-office cleanings.

Are your gums healthy?

Know for sure. Contact the offices of Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson for a complete dental check-up and hygienic cleaning. Keep your teeth and your best oral health by phoning our St. Louis, MO, office at (314) 427-7400.

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
November 29, 2018
Category: Oral Health

After treating you for periodontal (gum) disease for some time, we may suggest you see a periodontist, a specialist in gum conditions and diseases. There are a number of reasons for a referral, including the specific type of gum disease you may have developed.

Here are 4 more reasons why seeing a periodontist might be advantageous at this stage in your dental care.

Advanced treatment. All dentists are skilled in basic treatment procedures for gum disease, particularly removing plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that cause and sustain infections. But if your disease has advanced deeper below the gum line and has resulted in infection-filled void pockets between teeth and gums or in gum recession (the tissues shrinking back from the teeth), you may need more advanced techniques and equipment provided by a periodontist.

Advanced Cleanings. Regular, twice-a-year office cleanings are part of every dental care program. But depending on the severity of your gum disease (and your own hygiene efforts) you may need more frequent and advanced cleanings to keep recurring infections at bay. A periodontist can provide this, as well as help you develop a daily hygiene plan that meets your needs.

Your general health. There are a number of systemic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease or pregnancy that can affect gum health. Many of these issues are tied to tissue inflammation, a major component of chronic gum disease, as well as slower tissue healing. As specialists in the gums and their relationship with the rest of the body, a periodontist can develop a treatment approach that coordinates with these other health issues.

Future restoration preparation. One of our treatment goals with gum disease is to try to prolong the life of natural teeth for as long as possible. In reality, though, some or all of your teeth may have a shortened life expectancy. If a comprehensive dental restoration is in your future, a periodontist can help prepare your gums for the inevitable. They may also be able to repair or restore gum tissues that enhance the appearance of a restoration to create a more attractive smile.

If you would like more information on advanced treatment for periodontal disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Referral to a Dental Specialist.”

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
October 03, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Good oral care is part of many people’s daily routine. However, only a fraction of people floss their teeth daily, a task that prevents serious gum diseasedental conditions like periodontal disease. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial research, periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, making its prevention crucial in maintaining your smile. Find out more about periodontal disease symptoms and treatments with Dr. Jeffery Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson in St. Louis, MO.

What is periodontal disease? 
Periodontal, or gum, disease occurs when the gums become irritated and infected with bacteria. These bacteria begin growing on the teeth, fed by the carbohydrates and sugars in the foods you eat, then harden into a sticky white substance called plaque. Plaque eventually hardens into tartar. The irritation in the gums causes pockets which form between the gum and the tooth, trapping bacteria and plaque, causing further irritation.

Do I have periodontal disease? 
While many people mistakingly believe that bleeding gums while flossing is a sign that they should stop flossing altogether, this is the opposite of the truth. Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from not just between the teeth, but under the gums, too. The process may cause your irritated gums to bleed at first, but will also clear out the bacteria causing the inflammation. Most patients notice that their gums stop bleeding after about two weeks of continued flossing. Other signs of gum disease include:

  • loosened teeth
  • unexplained bad breath
  • swollen or irritated gums
  • gums which pull away from the teeth
  • receding gums
  • sensitive teeth and gums

Treating Periodontal Disease in St. Louis
Most cases of mild to moderate periodontal disease clear up with a professional teeth cleaning and continued flossing. However, other, more serious cases, may require a more in-depth periodontal cleaning. Very serious cases require flap surgery, which cleans the tooth all the way to the tip of its root. Consult with your dentist to determine the best course of treatment for your periodontal disease.

For more information on periodontal disease, please contact Dr. Jeffery Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson in St. Louis, MO. Call (314) 427-7400 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
February 15, 2017
Category: Oral Health

It takes only a short time neglecting your oral hygiene before you begin to notice some unpleasant things with your gums: swelling, redness or even bleeding. These are all signs of gingivitis, a periodontal (gum) disease that arises from bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that builds up on tooth surfaces when a person doesn't brush or floss.

Fortunately, early stages of gingivitis can be treated effectively with comprehensive plaque removal during one or more office visits. If, however, it's not dealt with early, it can develop into something much more serious: acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This form does more than leave you with unattractive teeth and gums and terrible breath — it could eventually cause you to lose your teeth.

ANUG is also known as trench mouth, a common ailment among front line World War I soldiers without access to proper dental care and hygiene. It's most prevalent today among individuals who are under a great deal of stress, not sleeping or eating well and haven't cleaned or properly cared for their teeth for an extended period of time. Tobacco smokers also seem more susceptible than non-smokers to the disease, perhaps because smoke dries the mouth and changes the bacterial environment.

Unlike common gingivitis, ANUG can be quite painful. In effect, the gum tissues begin to die (necrotize), especially the triangular peaks between teeth known as papillae. Besides the other symptoms of gingivitis, the tissues may become yellowish.

ANUG can be treated effectively. The first step is to relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation through medication. The focus then shifts to treating the underlying cause, bacterial plaque. Besides plaque removal common in any treatment for gum disease, we may also need to initiate antibiotic therapy. Metronidazole is a common antibiotic that's been demonstrated effective against the specific bacterial strain associated with ANUG. We might also combine this with an antibacterial mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine.

The final step belongs to you: to keep ANUG or any other gum disease from reoccurring, it's important for you to adopt a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits for thorough teeth cleaning and checkups. Taking this proactive approach will help ensure you won't suffer from this painful and unattractive form of gingivitis again.

If you would like more information on acute gingivitis, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
September 23, 2014
Category: Oral Health

Do you have gum disease? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about half of the adults in America have a mild, moderate or severe form of this disease. But if you’re 65 or older, your chance of having it goes up to 70 percent! Periodontal (gum) disease is sometimes called a “silent malady” because major symptoms may not appear until it has reached an advanced stage. How can you recognize the early warning signs? Here are some clues to look for:

  1. Redness and irritation of gums. Having red, swollen or sore gums can be a sign of gum disease; however, it could also result from brushing your teeth too vigorously, or using a brush with hard bristles. That’s why we recommend using a soft-bristled brush and a gentle cleaning stroke. If you’re doing this but you still have irritated gums, it could be an early signal of gum disease.
  2. Bleeding when you brush. Despite what you may think, this is never a normal occurrence. If your gums regularly bleed after brushing, it’s usually an indication that gum disease is present. You should come in for an examination as soon as possible.
  3. Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Bad breath or unpleasant tastes could be caused by what you ate last night — or they could result from gum disease. If the odor or taste is persistent — that is, if it doesn’t seem to go away over time — it could indicate a problem with your gums.
  4. Gum recession. When you have gum recession, the healthy, pink tissue surrounding the teeth begins to pull back, or recede. This exposes more of the tooth’s structure — even its roots — and makes teeth look longer. While gum recession is a common condition that is primarily caused by periodontal disease, many people don’t realize they have it because it occurs so gradually. They also may not realize that by the time it is noticed, some underlying bone tissue has already been lost. Gum recession is a condition you shouldn’t ignore: If left untreated, it can result in the destruction of more gum and bone tissue, and even tooth loss.
  5. Tooth Sensitivity or pain when chewing. Many things can cause tooth pain or sensitivity: an old filling, tooth decay, even a cracked tooth or a root canal problem. Gum disease can also cause this unpleasant sensation. Receding gums may expose the tooth’s roots, which aren’t as well protected from the mouth’s harsh environment as the chewing surfaces; this may cause a sensation of pain when chewing or brushing. If this sensation persists, it’s time for an examination to find out what’s causing it.

Gum disease is a widespread problem — but it’s also very treatable. If you would like more information, call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Warning Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease” and “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”