Dr. Horschman believes that preventative care and conservative treatment, not a watch and wait approach, helps preserve your natural teeth while keeping dental visits and expenses to a minimum.
Studies show a link between oral bacteria and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer's, and even certain types of cancer. The relationship between a person’s oral health and their whole-body health has never been more understood than it is today.
Bleeding gums provide a direct pathway into the bloodstream, a journey that oral bacteria can quickly take. If an open wound existed on your skin, infection would be a concern, and bleeding gum tissue should be looked at no differently. This helps explain why researchers continue to identify oral bacteria deposits in various areas of our bodies.
People who smoke, have diabetes, or other auto-immune disorders have a lowered ability to fight infection, allowing uncontrolled gum disease to advance faster and with more destruction. Research also confirms that inflammation in the mouth can aggravate diabetes, making it harder to control. This two-way relationship between two chronic conditions emphasizes the importance of proper oral care.
Hygiene Visits and Oral Cancer Screening
Our comprehensive hygiene program, combined with Dr. Horschman’s regular exams and oral cancer screenings, help catch early signs of tooth decay and periodontal disease. This approach helps prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease while the treatment plan is small instead of waiting for a larger and more costly solution.
At each visit, our team does a medical history update and performs an in-depth oral cancer screening. Even the smallest change in the soft tissues of your mouth will be examined closely. Early detection of oral cancer saves many lives each year, and our team is highly trained to detect even the smallest abnormality.
While excellent oral health is a partnership between you and our team, we depend on you to make sure your teeth and gums stay strong and healthy between appointments. A regular home prevention routine usually consists of brushing at least twice a day and cleaning between the teeth at least once per day. Our hygienists are up to date with the latest products and tools and can create an individual plan to help protect your smile.
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, affects about 30% of the adult population and is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. It is caused by an infection in the gums that leads to the destruction of the supportive bone. While not curable, it is controllable with regular professional hygiene appointments and consistent home care.
Dr. Horschman and our hygiene team measure and chart the depth of the pockets in between your teeth and gums checking for signs of gum disease like red, swollen gums that bleed easily and loosen teeth.
After establishing the severity of your gum disease, we can develop a personalized treatment plan. In milder forms with little or no bone loss, one or two visits with our hygiene team may bring the condition under control. When you leave our office with a strategy for daily home care and an established professional maintenance schedule, little additional treatment may be needed.
Scaling and Root Planing
Once the inflammation has advanced and measurable bone loss is visible, we will suggest periodontal therapy, otherwise called scaling and root planing. Over a few visits, sections of your mouth will be gently numbed and deep cleaned. The infected pocket around each tooth, including the mineralized tartar, will be carefully cleaned out using both hand and ultrasonic instruments.
Dr. Horschman and her hygiene team may suggest a medicated rinse, an electric or ultrasonic toothbrush, and other specific strategies to help you with your home care routine. Following your scaling and root planing, our hygiene team will put you on a shortened recare schedule, usually every 3-4 months. Remember, gum disease can be controlled but not cured. Consistent home care is required to control the disease and prevent further bone loss.
Topical Fluoride Varnish
Fluoride helps strengthen any areas of weakened enamel and can remineralize places that are beginning the process of forming a cavity. Dr. Horschman may recommend adult fluoride treatments for patients who have:
Exposed root surfaces and general tooth sensitivity
Compromised immune systems