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Rapid Fire Dental Q&A: Cosmetic & General Dentist Explains Dangers of Periodontal Disease

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We're headed into 2015 and a new year means many will be looking to achieve a new smile. So we tapped Dr. Anoosheh Shahkarami, a cosmetic and general dentist to get her opinion on the symptoms and effects of periodontal disease. Check out what the expert had to tell us in our rapid fire Q&A:

So Dr. Shahkarami, what exactly is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease refers to either the inflammation of the gum tissue or in more severe cases the loss of bone structure.

What causes this disease?

This disease can be genetic, meaning that if a patient's family has periodontitis, they are pre-disposed to getting it.  It can also be caused by poor oral hygiene and overall dental negligence. 

Is there pain involved?

Periodontal disease doesn't hurt until it has progressed to a fairly severe state and there is acute infection in the mouth.  It is very important to be seen regularly by the dentist so they can evaluate a patient's periodontal health and recommend courses of treatment. 

Any bad habits people should avoid?

Smoking can exacerbate periodontal disease, as does general dental negligence.

What's the best way to prevent periodontal disease?

It is very important to be seen regularly by the dentist so they can evaluate a patient's periodontal health and recommend courses of treatment.  At early and moderate stages of periodontitis, only a dentist and hygienist can tell if there is a problem; there are no symptoms at this point for a patient to detect.  Moderate to advanced periodontitis has been affiliated with heart disease, diabetes and issues with pregnancy.   

Can periodontal disease lead to other dental issues?

It will lead to the loss of teeth and bone structure as it progresses.

Is this disease curable?

Once the damage due to periodontitis has been caused, it is irreversible and can only be controlled to avoid further damage, but the bone loss can never be regenerated. Again, I can't stress the importance of regular visits to see your dentist.

What's the best way to treat the first signs of periodontal disease?

I can't stress the importance of regular dental visits, X-rays for diagnosis and following recommended courses of action.  We hear a lot of resistance to X-rays, more frequent cleanings or check ups with the periodontist.  These are all so very important to maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal problems away

Additional dental tips and tricks?

See the dentist and don't ever forget to floss!

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