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If you have been told you have periodontal disease or gum disease, you’re not alone. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of the disease. Periodontal disease ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. At the end of the day, if the process goes unchecked and untreated, you can even loose your teeth.

The problem is that dentistry offers very few easy and simple ways to handle and reverse gum disease. There are differing opinions and treatments that are offered depending on the doctor you choose. I’ve actually had cases where one dentist does not recommend any treatment beyond simple cleanings, a second dentist recommends an involved appointment and treatment protocol including root planing, and a third dentist recommend referal to a periodontist who is a specialist who does gum surgeries to eliminate the pocketing and diseased tissue. Keep in mind all three recommendations were for the same patient.

How can there be such a difference of opinion and recommended treatment you might ask? Well, the simple answer is that people, including doctors, are a product of their education and experience. If they were taught to refer involved cases out, they will do so. If they were taught that root planing is the right treatment for any gum pocketing, that is what they are going to recommend.

In the end the patient is left with little good news. They have to choose between treatment recommendations that are involved, expensive and painful, when all they want is a cleaning. Many patients will just not pursue the treatment, besides, “I’ve gone this long without doing all this fancy and expensive gum work. Why should I do it now?”

 On the other hand not addressing the problem doesn’t work either, as it will continue to worsen until you reach a point of no return and face either gum surgery or losing teeth. So there is a real motivation to treat the problem as early as possible and not to wait. If a dentist says that you have gum disease and/or pocketing, my recommendation is that you don’t ignore it. You have a condition that needs treatment to reverse and hopefully cure. Based on the above some of you may be thinking, “Is there any good news doc, or are you just trying to depress me?” Well, there actually is some good news I can share that might help.

Over my 25 years of practicing dentistry, I have seen every kind of situation and treatment protocol out there. Based on the questions I have been asked over the years, it seems that the overiding interests people have are, “What treatment will work and what is the minimum that I can do to take care of this situation?” As a holistic dentist in San Diego, my patients gravitate toward conservative approaches using natural products and treatment whenever possible. This approach dovetails well with my personal and professional philosophy. As it turns out, I have found the conservative approach can often be very effective in treating gum disease.

I will explain in detail what I mean by this in tomorrow’s post. I will use real life examples from my practice of cases that I have treated and the actual products and sequences that worked. As always if you are looking for a San Diego holistic dentist you may call us to discuss your case. Often times a second opinion when it comes to gum disease is time and money well spent.