Q & A - Dr Richard Benveniste
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Q & A

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Dr. Richard Benveniste is a dedicated long-term periodontist who has served three terms on the California State Dental Board, which oversees the entire practice of dentistry by granting each doctor the license to practice.  In addition, he has also served as the regional chairman of the American Cancer Society.

Just what is periodontal disease?

The word “periodontal” means the soft tissue that envelopes the teeth where most oral infection happens.

Why is periodontal health so important?

The mouth is the pathway to the entire body and anything positive or negative in the mouth can affect the entire body.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

Any of the following:

  •   Gums that bleed when you brush or floss.
  •   Red, swollen or tender gums.
  •  Gums that have receded.
  •  Discomfort when chewing.
  •  Calculus-tartar build up.
  •  Teeth that loosen or change position.
  •  Changes in the bite.
  •  Clicking jaw joints.
  •  Loss of energy.
  • Headaches
  • Changes in the way your partial dentures fit.
  • Bad breath or chronic bad taste.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.

What are some of the diseases of the body that are strongly related to  periodontal problems?

Possible connection towards developing:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Lung disease
  • Alzheimer’s factor involvement
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Intestinal upset
  • Kidney Disease

There’s also been a strong correlation & possible link to certain cancers. Bacteria in the mouth travels throughout the body in terms of infection origination.  If the mouth is infected your body is at risk.

What are the risks specifically for women?

Hormonal changes throughout a women’s life can affect the body including the gums and periodontal tissues.

  • Puberty – hormones are infiltrating,  causing bleeding and swollen gums and mouth sores.
  • Child bearing years – oral contraceptives and pregnancy may cause the same symptoms of infection.  Most importantly women who have  periodontal disease may be 7X more likely to have a pre-term, low birth weight baby.
  • Menopause – hormonal levels usually diminish and therefore, pain, burning or dry mouth can facilitate the swallowing of produced infection.
  • In the singles world, control of the infection is especially important since swelling, bad breath, misplaced teeth, etc. may have a strong effect in attracting a desired date or mate.The connection of gum disease and health: 75% of adults over the age of 35 have some form of periodontal disease, however, 80% of those were not aware they had a disease, because it is usually painless.

How do healthy gums become diseased?

Bacteria painlessly forms on the teeth and finds it’s way to the gums and infiltrates beneath as well.  These bacteria without proper care continue to multiply until they provide not only gum and bone destruction, but produce a strong reservoir of infection delivered to the rest of the body.

How can the mouth and general body involvement be avoided?

In the early stages, infection can easily be eradicated through non-invasive procedures.  In advanced cases treatment may necessarily include gum and bone reconstruction to prevent further dental-gum deterioration and to prevent the continual flow of infection into the body.

If treatment is needed how does the process work?

After careful examination and discussion of the necessary treatment, if any anesthetic is necessary we use a no needle injector to initially provide a painless  route for needed anesthetic without discomfort and a patient will be comfortable during the procedure and in most instances go back to work or continue the day or night activity.

What are the costs involved?  

Treatment depends on what the patient wishes to accomplish, ranging from just basic infection removal in early cases, or in advanced cases, where there is obvious gum deterioration, bone-fill procedures are offered based on individual patient needs. The doctor and all of his staff are also patients themselves and therefore, treatment will always be provided in the most caring, comfortable, cost effective method available.

A Very Important Final Note:  

Very few diseases give warnings before it’s too late, since no one would suffer life threatening disease if they could feel the symptoms in the beginning stages.