The Oral Health Connection
April was Oral Cancer Awareness Month
“An oral cancer screening is a quick and painless part of your ordinary dental examination,” says Dr. John Reckner, F.A.G.D. “Although we perform cancer screenings all year long, in April we supported OralCancerCause.org, a national foundation that helps patients and their families undergoing treatment for oral cancer. We donated $2 for every oral cancer screening that we did and we matched the donations of our patients.” We are pleased to announce that we raised $4,000 during the month of April, 2015.
Patients signed an OralCancerCause.org card with their name to hang on the wall in each office. We educated our patients about oral cancer and what can be done to prevent and catch it early. Weaver Reckner Reinhart Dental Associates is a Platinum Partner of the Oral Cancer Cause (OCC). As an OCC partner, we support the not-for-profit organization’s mission to improve the quality of life for oral cancer patients.
Oral cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. and will be diagnosed in more than 40,000 Americans this year alone. When caught early, the survival rate can be as high as 90 percent. Dentists are the first line of defense against oral cancer. That is why we advocate for and provide our patients with bi-annual screenings. Being an OCC partner lets us lend our voice to raising national awareness about oral cancer, and educate patients on the life-saving potential of regular screenings.
Assessing The Health of Your Gums for Periodontal Disease
Dr. Todd Weaver discusses the risks periodontal disease has on overall health, and how important it is to have your gums examined in order to detect and treat gingivitis in its early stages.
Half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease*. Gum disease, an inflammation of the tissues that surround and support your teeth, is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth can eventually harden into tartar causing gingivitis. When caught early gingivitis can often be treated by a dental cleaning, and a commitment to thorough home care. There are other factors that can contribute to gum disease including hormonal changes, diet, medications, illness and stress, Many patients may not realized they have the beginning stages of gum disease because they may not have any symptoms, however some patients do notice early warning signs which include bleeding, swollen or tender gums, bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
At our practice, we screen patients regularly for periodontal disease and other mouth disease. “Diagnosis is paramount. Our patients have their gums checked regularly with instruments that measure gum pockets, and regular x-rays are used to see what cannot be seen in the oral exam. ,” says Dr. Todd Weaver, “We have patient education videos called Guru to watch at our office or online, and we use mouth cameras to help educate as well. With good diagnosis, education, and patient commitment to treatment, we can plan for a healthier future for our patients.” *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Keeping Your Gums Healthy
Diana Whittaker, R.H.D., explains what it is like for patients when they come in for a dental hygiene appointment. Excerpt from video:
When you come into our office for a dental hygiene appointment we make sure their teeth and gums are healthy. If we see any changes with the gums, any bleeding, or inflammation we will ask about your home care to see if you brushing, flossing and reaching all of the areas you need to reach. If you are, then we look a little deeper to try to figure out if there is a systemic cause that may be related to your gum issues. If we notice inflammation or other health concerns we may refer you to a physician. Sometimes diabetes or arthritis can be diagnosed by how the gums look in the office so there are many factors to consider at a dental visit.
We check your gums every time you come in with a periodontal screening . You may remember that we are checking each of the pocket areas and a 3 or 4 mm can be inflammation and gingivitis. If we find anything deeper than that, we are more concerned and those areas may need to be treated. The good news is that we are here for you, and we are helping to figure out what is the cause of the problem.
Usually we can take care of these issues in the office with a treatment called scaling and root planing. You may need to come back for a second visit and get numbed in those areas so we can really clean the bacteria out. We have very good results with this kind of treatment. Early detection is key, so it is important that you come in for your hygiene appointments every six months. Some people can benefit from coming back three or four times a year if twice a year is not enough for keeping ahead of these issues. During your visit we also ask about your family history to see if there are members of your family that have had gum concerns, since that can be an indicator that you may be at a higher risk. At Weaver Reckner Reinhart we want to help you maintain your healthy gums and healthy teeth.
Patient Education Resources
Guru Video: Healthy Mouth Baseline
Explains how having a healthy smile improves your overall health.
Factors Contributing to Periodontal Disease
At dental visits we discuss with our patients how lifestyle factors can impact oral health and the chance of developing gum disease.