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Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

More on Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

By Austin, TX Dentistry - Austin Smile Creations

Researchers have shown that periodontal disease in expectant mothers actually exposes their unborn child to many different risks, particularly if they also happen to be diabetes sufferers.

Periodontal disease generally begins with a bacterial infection in the gum (gingival) tissue, which progressively destroys the tissue and the underlying bone.  If left untreated, the bacterial infection causes an inflammatory reaction in the body, which can significantly deepen the gum pockets (space between the teeth and gums), and forces the gum and jawbone to recede.  Eventually, the progressive nature of periodontal disease causes the teeth to become loose and unstable, and eventually fall out.

Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes which increase the risk of the expectant mother to develop gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontal disease.  These oral problems have been linked in many research studies to preeclampsia, low birth weight of the baby and premature birth.  Expectant women should seek immediate treatment for periodontal disease in order to reduce the risk of pre-natal and post-natal complications.

Reasons for the Connection

There are many different reasons why periodontal disease may affect the health of the mother and her unborn child:

  • Prostaglandin – Periodontal disease appears to elevate levels of prostaglandin in mothers who are suffering from the more advanced forms of the condition.  Prostaglandin is a labor-inducing compound found in one of the oral bacteria strains associated with periodontitis.  Elevated levels of prostaglandin can cause the mother to give birth prematurely and deliver a baby with a low birth weight.

  • C - reactive protein (CRP) – This protein, which has been previously linked to heart disease, has now been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and premature birth.  Periodontal infections elevate C-reactive protein levels and amplify the body’s natural inflammatory response.  Periodontal bacteria may enter the bloodstream causing the liver to produce CRP which leads to inflamed arteries as well as possible blood clots.  These inflammatory effects can then lead to blocked arteries causing strokes or heart attacks.

  • Bacteria spread – The bacteria which colonize in the gum pockets can readily travel through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body.  In pregnant women, research has found that oral bacteria and associated pathogens have colonized in the internal mammary glands and coronary arteries.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There are many safe, non surgical treatment options available for pregnant women.  It is of paramount importance to halt the progress of periodontal disease in order to increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery.

Initially, the dentist will assess the exact condition of the gums and jawbone in order to make a precise diagnosis.  Scaling and root planing are two common non-surgical procedures used to rid the tooth-root surfaces of calculus (tartar) and remove the bacterial toxins from the gum pockets.

With treatment, the risks of pregnancy complications caused by periodontal disease are reduced by as much as 50%, and these treatments will alleviate many unpleasant and harmful effects associated with gingivitis and periodontal infection.

Dentists can provide education and recommendations to pregnant women about effective home care which can reduce risks that may affect her and/or her child’s health. Risks of periodontal disease can be vastly reduced by proper home care, smoking cessation, dietary changes, and the ingestion of supplementary vitamins.

If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its affect on pregnancy, please contact our practice.

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Testimonials

If you are reading this testimonial, I assume you are looking to alleviate pain in one or more of your teeth or to improve your smile cosmetically. Either way you can save yourself some time, stop right now and go make an initial evaluation appointment with Dr.Gotun and his staff at their cozy, comfortable office with a relaxing peaceful view of Eanes Creek. You can search the 1200 or more listings in the Austin area and the BEST you could hope for would be to find another dentist equally as skilled and talented as Dr.Gotun. I do NOT think it is possible to get BETTER quality dental work than what you will get at this office.

The one thing that made everything so simple for me was the photographs. During the initial exam Dr.Gotun takes a series of photographs of your teeth along with x-rays. You then get to see your teeth on a laptop screen, in color, up close and larger than life. If you can live with what you see then you can count your blessings and Dr.Gotun will let you be on your way, unless of course you would like to schedule a cleaning!

In my case I could see the damage, decay and buildup from many years of poor oral hygiene and neglect. In addition to the problem teeth that brought me to the dental office I could easily see that most of my teeth were in need of some type of restoration work. Dr. Gotun has my permission to show all of my records to anyone interested in seeing them. I am sure you will be as amazed as I still am at what Dr. Gotun was able to accomplish considering the very poor condition my teeth were in at the start of the process.

The cost was substantial in my case due to amount of work that was required. However, the work was spaced out over several years which made the cost much easier to budget. Dr.Gotun was not on my dental insurance plan, so I accessed some savings and my credit to finance the work and paid it off like any other significant asset I have purchased. My teeth are the most rewarding investment I have ever made.

If I could give anyone one bit of advice other than my story, it would be “do NOT let dental insurance be the major factor that guides your decision-making”. I was never happy with any of the experiences or results I had when I tried to use the dentists that were covered under my plan. I am proof that 12 years on with regular flossing and brushing, the investment in your restoration work done by Dr.Gotun can still be yielding satisfaction and compliments from friends and random strangers.

I have never gone to bed without flossing and brushing after seeing those photographs in my initial visit. Good luck and I hope to be reading your success story here sometime in the future.

Chuck M. Austin, TX

Dr. Tor Gotun probably saved my life and he's added some years to it. You don't usually say that about your dentist, but I believe it in my case.

More than 10 years ago, after many years of neglecting my teeth and an unhealthy life style, I went to Tor, my neighborhood dentist, even though he wasn't on my State of Texas dental insurance network.

I soon learned of the challenges to getting my gums and teeth back to a healthy status. The way Tor explained it, I knew it was complex and that Tor had the skills and vision to get me there, as long as I did my part. I also knew it would take time and not be cheap.

Now, years later, I still have most of my original teeth and only a few very nice, state-of-the art crowns. I am following Tor's advice for taking care of my teeth and gums, including his regular cleaning schedule. What my dental insurance didn't cover, I was able to use Austin Smile Creations' association with Care Credit to finance the costs without any interest charges as long as I pay off balances within a year of each charge.

By the way, we had only one procedure that didn't work out as planned, but Tor made good on it and the solution turned out as good or better.

As a bonus, all of Tor's top flight members are both professional and personable, always considerate of my needs, interests, and schedule.

Bottom line, Tor is better than my expectations. He pays attention to more than just how my mouth looks; he's concerned about my overall health and how my life-style affects, and is affected by, the health of my teeth and gums.

Bill H. Austin, TX

I have been going to Dr. Gotun since he used to have his practice on William Cannon Drive ( 20 years now). Now he is located in Bee Caves. He is an excellent dentist.

The thing I like best about Tor Gotun is he is relatively pain free when administering his shots to numb your mouth. Dentists I have had before always seemed to be a bit heavy handed in this activity.

He is very up to date with modern dental technology. He can make a crown or cap in his office at the moment of your appointment and have you leave with a fully functioning mouth. I have friends who use other dentists who must wander the city of Austin for at least a week with a hollowed out molar stuffed with gauze as they await their topping to arrive by mail to their dentist's office.

The staff is very friendly, and Dr. Gotun will never talk down to you. He is very good at explaining why he is doing something or why he wants to do a procedure. He may have gotten two of my wisdom teeth, but I will still try to hold onto the remaining two regardless of his explaining the safety factors of hanging on to them as you get older.

Randy S. Austin, TX

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Austin Smile Creations
2724 Bee Cave Rd
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 329-5555 URL of Map
Austin Smile Creations Rated 4.7 / 5 based on 25 reviews. | Leave Us a Review