Periodontal Disease

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The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.

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. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

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 – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

To our valued patients,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward with hope.

While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety. Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are designed to keep you safe and comfortable.

We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe. Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA).  We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued.

We’ve made a few changes to help protect our patients and staff.
For example:

  • Please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
  • Use hand sanitizer that will be available when you enter the office.  Each patient will be asked to complete a Covid-19 screening questionnaire upon check-in, after sanitizing.
  • Our waiting room no longer offers magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
  • We ask that you not bring additional guests with you so we can reduce the number of people in the reception area with respect to social distancing recommendations.  If your appointment requires you have a driver, your companion will be asked to wait in the car and we will notify them when your appointment is nearing completion.
  • Air purification units have been installed in treatment rooms that create the potential for aerosols.  This is a new sound around here, you are welcome to listen to music on your own device if you would like.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at 509-468-1685 or visit our website at www.childfamilydentistry.com.

Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.

Sincerely,

Dr. Brent L. Child and Team