Here are some common questions about periodontal disease and issues as well as information about oral health and how to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Other questions? Please contact us.
What are common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms — particularly pain — may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, you should still be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms, which include:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or when eating certain foods
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your dentist or Dr. Morarend right away!
What can I do at home to prevent periodontal disease?
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to take good care of your teeth and gums at home. This includes brushing your teeth after every meal and before bedtime, flossing at least once each day, and seeing your dentist or Dr. Morarend for regular exams twice a year. Spending a few minutes a day on preventative measures may save you the time and money of treating periodontal disease!
Both of my parents have periodontal disease, and I'm worried that it may be genetic. Is there a way to determine my risk for developing gum disease?
First of all, congratulations on being proactive about your health! Recent research has shown that genetics may be involved in a person’s risk for gum disease, but there are a variety of other factors that also play a role.
Can children be at risk for developing periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is rarely found in children, and only sometimes found in adolescents. However, children should still learn the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy to prevent periodontal disease in the future. Children should brush their teeth twice a day and learn how to floss properly. (If children learn how to floss at an early age, they will be more likely to make it a lifetime habit.) These two simple acts will help protect their teeth and gums from periodontal disease. As a parent, you should also be aware of the warning signs of periodontal disease, which include red, swollen, bleeding gums or bad breath that won’t go away. If your child develops any of these symptoms, tell your dental professional right away. It’s also a good idea to ensure your dental professional knows your complete family history, as genetics can play an important role in the early development of periodontal disease.
Is there a link between periodontal disease and diabetes?
Research has suggested that there is a link between diabetes and gum disease. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal problems, possibly because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered one of the major complications of diabetes. Interestingly, the relationship between the two conditions goes both ways; just as diabetes can increase a person’s chance of developing periodontal disease, research suggests that efficient and effective periodontal hygiene may positively affect blood sugar levels.
Who should treat my periodontal disease: my general dentist or Dr. Morarend?
Instead of leaving your treatment to one dental professional, you should consider having both your general dentist and Dr. Morarend be actively involved in the diagnosis and treatment of your periodontal disease. This team approach will help your general dentist (who is familiar with your dental and medical history) and Dr. Morarend (who has extensive experience treating periodontal disease) collaborate to tailor a treatment plan that works best for your individual case.
Is periodontal disease contagious?
Research has shown that periodontal disease is caused by the inflammatory reaction to bacteria under the gums, so periodontal disease technically may not be contagious. However, the bacteria that cause the inflammatory reaction can be spread through saliva. This means that if one of your family members has periodontal disease, it’s a good idea to avoid contact with their saliva by not sharing eating utensils or oral health equipment. If you notice that your spouse or a family member has the warning signs of a possible periodontal problem (bleeding, red and swollen gums, or bad breath) you may want to suggest that they see Dr. Morarend for an exam. It may help to protect the oral health of everyone in the family.
What are the consequences of missing teeth?
There are actually several negative consequences of missing some or all of your teeth. First, missing teeth will affect the aesthetics of your face. Not only will your smile be affected by the gaps from missing teeth, but if you’re missing too many teeth, the skin around your mouth won’t be supported properly and will start to sag, making you appear older than you are. Additionally, missing teeth will make it more difficult to chew your food properly and may even affect the way you speak. Finally, missing even one tooth may have emotional consequences; many people feel less confident about their smile when they are missing teeth. If you are currently missing any of your teeth, consider replacing them with dental implants, which can look and feel just like natural teeth. For more information about implants, please talk to Dr. Morarend.
I have big gums and short teeth, so I don't smile very often anymore because I'm so self-conscious of my gums. Is there a way to improve my smile?
Yes, there may be a way to enhance your smile. It’s a good idea to discuss your options with Dr. Morarend first. He can explain the best way to create the smile you want, as well as answer any questions that you may have. For example, one procedure that can remove excess gum tissue is called crown lengthening. After the excess gum tissue is removed, the gum line is then reshaped in order to create the right proportion between gum tissue and tooth surface. Your general dentist and Dr. Morarend may also work together to coordinate additional treatments such as veneers or crowns.
What are the post-operative instructions following surgery?
POST OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
- Activity: After leaving the office, relax for the remainder of the day. Avoid strenuous activity for at least 48 hours. If you have been sedated, do not drive, operate machinery, watch children or make any serious decisions for 24 hours.
- Swelling: Some swelling and bruising may occur. Swelling can be minimized by placing an ice pack over the treated area, on the outside of the face. You may continue to use ice for 24-36 hours after surgery alternating on and off at 20-minute intervals.
- Bleeding: There should be minimal bleeding after surgery however slight bleeding or blood tinged saliva is normal for up to 48 hours. If you notice a “flow” of blood coming from the site, take a piece of gauze and make a firm compress and place it directly over the area which is bleeding. Apply steady pressure for 30 minutes. Placing a moistened tea bag over the area may be effective as well. If bleeding persists, call Dr. Morarend at 319-621-0763.
- Eating: Keep up a good, soft diet with plenty of liquids. Avoid hard foods like chips, nuts and popcorn and eat on the opposite side of the area of surgery. For the night of surgery and the day after, eat cold to lukewarm foods and avoid hot foods which can increase swelling. Avoid drinking through straws.
- Smoking: Do not smoke during the post-surgical period (at least for 48 hours) as wound healing will be delayed. Ask us about new treatments to help you quit smoking.
- Oral Hygiene: Do not brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for the rest of today. Tomorrow you may begin rinsing with a mouth wash if one was prescribed. This mouth rinse will keep the surgical area clean while it heals. Make sure to brush and floss the unaffected areas of your mouth as usual. Do not disturb the surgical area until given further instructions by Dr. Morarend at your post-operative visit.
- Sutures: Sutures are dissolvable, unless otherwise stated, and will loosen and come out on their own in 7-14 days. If you notice a loose or missing suture prior to this time, it is not urgent. Please contact us during regular business hours for instructions.
- Medications: Follow the instructions on the bottle for prescribed medications. If an adverse reaction occurs, (nausea, itching, swelling, severe diarrhea), stop the medication and contact the office immediately. Dr. Morarend normally prescribes medications to keep our surgical patients comfortable.
- Antibiotic – You will usually begin taking an antibiotic the day of surgery and continue taking until it is gone. Antibiotics can interact with some medications, be sure to consult your pharmacist.
- Non-narcotic, OTC, anti-inflammatory pain reliever – This will also help reduce swelling and reduce pain. You may take up to 800 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours if needed.
- Narcotic pain reliever – Although severe pain is unusual, you can take this medication every 6 hours as needed after surgery. It can cause drowsiness and is best taken before bedtime.
- Mouth rinse – Begin using the day after surgery as prescribed. It will keep the area clean during healing.
These instructions are for your comfort, safety and to help prevent possible complications following surgery. In the event you need to reach Dr. Morarend, please call the office at 563-239-1997 during business hours. If after business hours, you may reach Dr. Morarend on his cell phone at 319-621-0763. Please keep all scheduled post-operative appointments.
More questions about periodontal disease? Please contact us for answers and more information. We’re here to help!