Routine Periodontal Treatment And Risk of Preterm Deliveries

Following are some of the procedures that periodontists use to treat patients diagnosed with a periodontal (gum) disease. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. Periodontists are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. In addition, they can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to help you achieve the smile you desire.
 
AAP treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment, including scaling and root planing (a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins), followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis.
 
Most periodontists would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further active treatment, including surgical therapy. However, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain health. Non-surgical therapy does have its limitations, however, and when it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal diseases and to facilitate oral hygiene practices.
 
Research recently presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine found that routine periodontal treatment in pregnant women did not reduce the risk of preterm deliveries. Some previous studies in this area have suggested that periodontal therapy during pregnancy can lessen the chance of adverse pregnancy outcomes. 
 
While the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has not yet received the opportunity to review the complete study findings, it continues to urge women to care for their periodontal health while pregnant, through regular tooth brushing and flossing, and routine visits to a dental professional, such as a periodontist, to screen for periodontal disease. 
 
These study results demonstrate the need for additional research to clarify the potential impact that periodontal disease has on the risk of preterm births; and if needed, what periodontal treatment modalities are most effective in helping to prevent premature deliveries. 
 
As the organization representing over 8,000 dentists specially trained in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease, the AAP is eager to analyze the complete study results, and provide women with accurate and effective recommendations on the management of periodontal disease during pregnancy. 
 
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