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Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

It is well documented that people who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to developing infections than non-diabetes sufferers.  It is not widely known that periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes; particularly when the diabetes is not under proper control.

Periodontal disease – (often called periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive condition that often leads to tooth loss if treatment is not promptly sought.  Periodontal disease begins with a bacterial infection in the gingival tissue which surrounds the teeth.  As the bacteria colonize, the gum pockets become deeper, the gums recede as the tissue is destroyed and the periodontitis eventually attacks the underlying bone tissue.

Diabetes is characterized by too much glucose (or sugar) in the blood.  Type II diabetics are unable to regulate insulin levels which means excess glucose stays in the blood.  Type I diabetics do not produce any insulin at all.  Diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Reasons for the Connection – Experts suggest the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease can worsen both conditions if either condition is not properly controlled.

Here are ways in which diabetes and periodontal disease are linked:

  • Increased blood sugar– Moderate and severe periodontal disease elevates sugar levels in the body, increasing the amount of time the body has to function with high blood sugar.  This is why diabetics with periodontitis have difficulty keeping control of their blood sugar.  In addition, the higher sugar levels found in the mouth of diabetics provide food for the very bacteria that worsen periodontal infections.
  • Blood vessel thickening– The thickening of the blood vessels is one of the other major concerns for diabetes sufferers.  The blood vessels normally serve a vital function for tissues by delivering nutrients and removing waste products.  With diabetes, the blood vessels become too thick for these exchanges to occur.  This means that harmful waste is left in the mouth and can weaken the resistance of gum tissue, which can lead to infection and gum disease.
  • Smoking– Tobacco use does a great deal of damage in the oral region.  Not only does tobacco use slow the healing process, it also vastly increases the chances of an individual developing periodontal disease.  For diabetics who smoke, the risk is exponentially greater.  In fact, diabetic smokers aged 45 and over are twenty times more likely to develop periodontal disease.
  • Poor oral hygiene– It is essential for diabetics to maintain excellent levels of oral health.  When daily brushing and flossing does not occur, the harmful oral bacteria can ingest the excess sugar between the teeth and colonize more freely below the gum line.  This exacerbates the metabolic problems that diabetes sufferers experience.

Diagnosis and Treatment- It is of paramount importance for people suffering from any type of diabetes to see the dentist at least twice yearly for checkups and professional cleanings. Please contact us or click here for an appointment. Studies have shown that simple non-surgical periodontal treatments can lower the HbA1c (hemoglobin molecule blood test) count by as much as 20% in a six month period.

Dr. Versman,  Dr. Heller, Dr. Beckman, and Dr. Thousand will use medical history, family history and dental X-rays to assess the risk factors for periodontal disease and determine the exact condition of the gums, teeth and underlying jawbone.  If necessary Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, Dr. Beckman and Dr. Thousand will work in conjunction with other doctors to ensure that both diabetes and the gum disease are being managed and controlled as effectively as possible.

Non-surgical procedures performed by Drs. Versman, Heller, Beckman, and Thousand along with our hygienists might include deep scaling, where calculus (tartar) will be removed from the teeth above and below the gum-line, and root planing, where the root of the tooth is smoothed down to eliminate any remaining bacteria.  Antibiotics may be applied to the gum pockets to promote healing.

Before and after periodontal treatment, the dentist and hygienist will recommend proper home care and oral maintenance as well as prescribing prescription mouthwashes which serve to deter further bacteria colonization.

If you have questions or concerns about diabetes or periodontal disease, please contact us.

Your Dental Health Starts Here. Request an Appointment.

Or call — 303-755-4500

  • Floyd VissatFloyd Vissat

    Had 2 molars extracted within 2 years. No discomfort during and after the procedure. Healing went well.
    Friendly staff

  • Zachary SpeerZachary Speer

    I had a great experience for my periodontal surgery and recovery wasn’t as bad as I thought. The team at periodontal associates were very caring and answered any questions during my recovery process.

  • Ryan BrunRyan Brun

    Dr. Thousand and his staff were great. Getting periodontal work done isn't fun, but Dr. Thousand and the team at Periodontal Associates made it as easy as possible. Front office staff is very helpful and take the time to explain any billing/scheduling questions. Dr. Thousands assistant for my procedure was great too! I hope I don't need to get any more perio work done, but if I do this is where I will go.

  • Roger RuppeRoger Ruppe

    Dr. Douglas Heller is highly skilled and knowledgeable. His work was perfect. The staff was excellent and very friendly, including Sulin in particular.
    This web site is NOT self explanatory and assumes that the patient knows how and where to enter their input.

  • Robin BergRobin Berg

    I felt well cared for by the Periodontal Associates team whether for my consultation visit, my tooth extraction or the two follow up visits. They are kind, professional, timely, and Dr. Heller is clearly an expert in his field. He had two potential plans of care for my procedure- one was tooth removal if absolutely necessary and the second to potentially save my tooth. Unfortunately the area was in bad condition so he was able to safely do the extraction and I feel SO much better (immediately). All points of contact at their office make you feel welcome, understood and well cared for. I'll be going back for periodic cleanings/ maintenance/ prevention for sure.

  • Bridget B.Bridget B.

    Wow, from the moment I walked in I felt welcome. Super nice people and caring. I am a chicken and do not like dentist anything. Doctor Heller explained...

  • Lynne K.Lynne K.

    I've been seen by Dr Beckmann since he joined the practice. I know he and his staff truly care about their patients and their dental health. Very...

  • Carol ThurstinCarol Thurstin

    I have known Dr Versman and Dr Heller for 30 years. I don’t need periodontal treatment at this time but with the recent retirement of my General dentist, I was in search of a new dentist for my routine cleaning and dental health. Dr Heller suggested I visit Periodontal Assoc for my cleanings and I can say I feel like I got the best cleaning ever. My hygienist examined my neck and lymph nodes, which was never done by my previous dentist. I give this practice 5 stars.

  • Karen Pelling LevineKaren Pelling Levine

    Dr. Doug Heller is one of three of the doctors that make up the driving force in my efforts to save my teeth and my overall health. What started out as one broken tooth led to the possibility of my losing all of my teeth to gum disease. Panicked, I reached for a second opinion and found Dr. Heller, along with my regular Dentist & Orthodontist. I am now the proud owner of only 5 implants, as opposed to full upper and lower implants OR full dentures. Though dental procedures are hardly fun, Dr. Heller and his staff have made it a smooth process, from financial to face-changing....I couldn't be happier. 😁 You be the judge. My profile pic, there on the left, is a fine example of their handiwork.
    Double Bonus: Doorbell just rang. Beautiful plant has just arrived to cheer me in my recovery....Thank you, Dr. Heller and your wonderful Staff!

  • Jerome GilmerJerome Gilmer

    I was sent to Dr. Beckman on a referral from my dentist because of a slightly loose tooth. Dr. Beckman evaluated the situation and recommended a gum graft and bite adjustment. It is now six weeks since the procedure, and while the recovery was not painless, it was pretty much exactly as he said it would be. Upon evaluation earlier this week it was clear that the procedure was successful.

    Dr. Beckman and the staff were very nice, supportive and professional and I would highly recommend this practice to anyone needing this kind of help.

  • Tori Horton HamillTori Horton Hamill

    Dr Beckman performed a gum graft. I was nervous, but he explained everything clearly and thoroughly. The staff were very accommodating when I had to reschedule and they keep the schedule flowing on time so I was not sitting and waiting beyond the appointment time. The only downside was having to ask multiple times about the cost and what my calculated out of pocket would be. Would definitely recommend.

  • Ashley AndersonAshley Anderson

    5 stars! Dr. Beckman and the entire office staff provide superior customer service and care. I recently had a gum graft performed and from the very first meeting I felt at ease. Dr. Beckman took his time explaining the procedure and patiently answered any questions I had. On the day of the procedure they go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable- they use top of the line medical treatment for an effective procedure and speedy recovery. The team was very supportive and available through the entire process and even calls to check on you post procedure. I highly recommend Dr. Beckman and his team!

  • Doris BinderDoris Binder

    I needed to get some implants and Dr. Heller was recommended. Thankfully, he was absolutely wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect, but he explained everything that needed be done and the procedure began. Now it's not an over night process, but the weeks after each step was a piece of cake. I am so happy with my implants. I had to have a tooth pulled a few weeks ago, and I don't know how he does it, but I had zero pain, no complications and I needed no pain Meds. The staff is so friendly and I highly recommend them.

  • Kenneth McCallKenneth McCall
  • Jan BernsteinJan Bernstein

    Dr. Beckman and the staff couldn't have been nicer or more professional. I highly recommend the practice to anyone in need of a periodontist.

  • Chelsy LaForceChelsy LaForce

    Dr. Heller and the rest of the team is absolutely amazing. They are super helpful through the entire process and I knew I was in great hands. Thank you so much!

  • Terry Lavitt SeiverTerry Lavitt Seiver
  • Aprille Tripler MooreAprille Tripler Moore

    Dr. Beckman and the entire staff at Periodontal Associates are amazing! Dr. Beckman performed a gum graft procedure on me and to my surprise and relief I felt no pain. Not during the procedure or post op. The entire experience from consult through my last follow up appointment was topnotch.

  • Terry SandahlTerry Sandahl

    I have been a patient of first Dr. Versman and then Dr. Heller for over 20 years. This is an amazing periodontal group! I feel so comfortable having them take care of my needs~and there have been many! Dr. Heller is so easy going and I never feel like whatever he does will fail. They have a great support staff too! All their assistants are competent and friendly, and my hygienist Michelle is the best! Love these guys and wouldn't think of going anywhere else!

  • Holly DeLuise BodineHolly DeLuise Bodine

    I have some complicated dental issues but Dr. Heller and his team have handled them very well, and as painlessly as is possible. Dr. Heller explains things very thoroughly!

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