In all his years as a dentist, Dr. Joseph D’Angelo cannot tell his patients how important a thorough brushing and teeth cleaning is as problems can erupt if the teeth are not clean.
One of the biggest problems is gingivitis or bleeding gums, which is caused by bacteria that lives in dental plaque.
“The best thing for patients to do is maintain a good habit of thoroughly cleaning the teeth, gums and tongue with a toothbrush twice per day and dental floss daily,” said D’Angelo. “In addition, regular visits to the dental hygienist every 3-6 months is important. This appointment should include a thorough scaling and polishing, in addition to instruction on how to best manage your specific home care needs and challenges. Careful and thorough technique is most important.”
D’Angelo further explained that if gingivitis is not controlled, it may potentially lead to more tense issues.
“When gingivitis is present, there exists an unhealthy lining in the gum tissue where the tissue meets the teeth,” he said. “This may exist in hidden areas, especially between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot get. This lining could have millions of tiny ulcerations, which allows bleeding to take place easily. The gum tissues should not bleed when brushing, flossing, or even when the dentist or hygienist is performing a thorough examination of the gums. In addition, gingivitis and periodontal disease do nothing positive for the freshness of your breath.”
When the gums bleed easily, then the bacteria from the plaque can get into the bloodstream easily. That’s where other health concerns begin, according to D’Angelo, who added that bacterial pathogens that are typically found in an unhealthy mouth have been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, low birth weight, and other diseases.
In D’Angelo’s practice, La Jolla Dentistry (www.joethedentist.com), located at 1111 Torrey Pines Road, Suite 101, in La Jolla, he and his associate Dr. Ashley Olson utilize laser cleanings to help alleviate potential dental issues.
“Although the use of lasers in the treatment of gum disease is no magic wand, their use as an adjunct to traditional procedures of scaling and root planing may have some benefit,” said D’Angelo. “In our office, we have been using the laser following the root planing procedure and at follow-up appointments.”
A low power application of a diode laser may be beneficial in reducing the bacterial load in and around the dental gum margin prior to dental cleanings and periodontal therapy. This is being done in an effort to help reduce the amount of bacteria entering the bloodstream during a cleaning appointment and the presence of gingivitis.
“Our patients’ experiences have been extremely positive, with many reporting a reduction in discomfort following non-surgical periodontal therapy.”