Specialist Periodontist Dr. Rima Abdallah Answers 3 Questions on Gum Disease Treatment
31 October 2018| Last updated on 31 October 2018
Dr. Rima Abdallah is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology.
She joins Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic with a decade of evidence-based approach in Periodontology and Implantology.
What happens during a patient’s first periodontal consultation?
During a patient’s first visit I would like to take as much data as possible, medical history as well as dental history. Gum disease is an inflammatory disease so any medical conditions that are inflammatory in origin like atherosclerosis or diabetes will increase the level of gum disease and gum disease will increase the level of those systemic diseases as well.
Then we would go over the full mouth radiographs to asses bone levels supporting the teeth as well as conduct a visual intra oral clinical exam to look for the signs of gingivitis or periodontitis (redness of the gums, bleeding, foul odor, swelling of the gums, gum recession, etc.)
The third and final step before diagnosis and treatment planning would be the periodontal charting, which is like a map of the gum level and extent of gum support around the teeth, this will allow us to classify and diagnose the level of gum deterioration and will allow us to give you the prognosis of the treatment.
Proper oral hygiene instructions and specific oral hygiene regimen will also be customized and demonstrated for each patient.
What do you want patients to understand about gum health?
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Symptoms include red swollen gums that bleed easily. Little or no discomfort is noted at this phase. Bad oral hygiene is the main cause of gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral hygiene.
Periodontitis is the second phase of the disease that is always proceeded by untreated gingivitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. The release of toxins by the bacteria in dental plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.
Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected.
As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen, and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
There are more than 500 species of bacteria in the oral cavity, some of them good and others harmful. I want my patients to know that gum and oral health are synonymous with balancing the good and bad. The regular you are with your hygiene and dental visits the better you are equipped at keeping these bacteria at bay.
I also need to emphasize that gum disease starts off as bacterial in origin but continues as an inflammatory disease, so it will be important to have a diet high in fatty acids and omega 3 as well as making sure any systemic disease like diabetes are kept under control. Smoking and obesity will be very harmful as they will exacerbate the inflammatory component.
What would you say to patients who are hesitant to see their dentist/dental specialist because they’re worried about pain?
I always recommend prevention and early intervention. The regular you are with your dental visits the less pain or discomfort you will have to endure. During your dental procedure we will go over your concerns and tailor your treatment to fit your level of comfort.
I always want my patient to feel in control of his appointment. You will be made at ease by being aware of the treatment procedure, length of procedure and level of discomfort that you might face so once you are in the know I am sure your worries will disappear.
Dr. Rima is now seeing patients at Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic in Umm Suqeim. For appointments and referrals, please call +971 4 394 9433.