Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

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.

The advantages to the pregnant woman are plentiful.  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 dental education and recommendations to the pregnant women on 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 ask your dentist.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

7/9/2019--Over the past several years I had a number of dental problems which were addressed by several Doctors in the Dr. Ted Filandrianos and Associates Service. These included regrouping of some teeth (Dr. Steve Bader), installation of implants (Dr. John Govostes) and restoration (Dr. Ted Filandrianos). In all cases I found the service and the quality of the work to be of the highest quality. The regrouping of the teeth and the installation of implants were very successful. Dr. Ted Filandrianos in particular, with whom I had interacted for a longer period of time, in addition to his outstanding technical skills and the use of state of the art digital imaging tools, he worked patiently over a number of months to address difficult anatomical problems towards an excellent outcome. Also, the Dental Assistants, that I interacted with during my treatment, were very skillful and highly professional. Similarly, I found Zuzana, the dental hygienist, to be highly professional and skillful. She makes your periodic visits to be something you look forward to it rather than to dread it. It will not be an exaggeration if I say that Zuzana is the best hygienist I have had during my entire life. Finally, Emily and Ali, who run the front office, are highly professional. They were always strive to accommodate the patient's needs and time requirements. Particularly, if you are facing a dental emergency they will always figure out ways to accommodate you. In conclusion , during my long life with a number of difficult dental problems I sought treatment in a number of dental services in the Boston area. I found the dental care that I received by the Dr. Filandrianos and Associates Service to be by far the best.

Theodore Moustakas

06/19/19--A recommendation for a dentist: His skill, his up to date equipment (computer driven replacements of tooth decay) and the efficiency of his office.
Dr. Filandrianos is the most efficient, and thoughtful and - yes - pain free doctor in his field that I have ever encountered. I have had dental work done in Ohio, Washington , New York, Baltimore, Guatemala city and Panama city....and the care and treatment I have had from"Dr. Ted", as he is known, surpasses them all. He is a very kind person. His staff is always excellent, considerate and efficient. His notifications of appointments and willingness to make changes in scheduling , when necessary, have made him and his office people and dental assistants the most appreciated in their field, I cannot give a higher recommendation . I am grateful to have found this office whenI first came to live in Boston.

Gay P. Lord

06/18/2015--Carolyn Z.

I wish there were a Yelp "location" category called "The Universe"...because Dr. Ted Filandrianos and the outstanding dental team in his Newton Centre office are the absolute BEST in the Universe.

I should know. I've had it all there...cleanings, fillings, root canals, extractions, bone grafts, implants, crowns...and every single treatment was performed impeccably...and as an added treat, with chair-side manners that make you feel relaxed, anxiety-free and...dare I write this about a dental experience?...well-loved! Dr. Ted and his colleagues will do everything they possibly can to save a tooth. And when they can't, these brilliant, topnotch specialists will spring into action with their specialties...and save the day!

Dr. Ted has saved or restored so many of my teeth. He is the perfect blend of scientist and artist and his work is second to one. Add to that the warmest and most empathetic treatment I've ever received from a dentist (I used to dread the dentist!) and you have, as I said, the best dentist in the Universe. I also want to say that if you ever, ever need a dental implant, and I needed two...and a bone graft...right after an extraction of an infected tooth...and you are nervous about it...periodontist Dr. Jean-Marie Biebuyck aka "Dr. B" will remove that anxiety when he puts his talents to work. I could not believe it. He calmed me, he assured me that all was going well, he made me laugh a few times and, most importantly, he was visibly proud of how well each procedure turned out and put me at ease each step of the way.

And how about those dreaded root canal treatments? Not here. Just this past weekend, I was in horrific pain from an infected lateral incisor (top). Dr. Ted put me in touch with my now-hero Dr. Barry Goldberg, the endontist in his office - and Dr. Goldberg called me and put me on an antibiotic immediately (on a Sunday!) so that I'd be prepared for the next day's root canal appointment. His chair-side manner is exceptional as well...and he put me at ease from "hello". I love how he explains what's going on with the tooth while we look together at the x-rays - and the steps he is going to take. Even the way he administers Novocaine is a pleasant experience if you can believe that. I just went back yesterday so Dr. Goldberg could fill the canals and put a temporary filling - and everything went perfectly. No more pain - and he saved my porcelain crown...he was so careful when working on it! Next step - permanent filling with Dr. Ted.

I could go on and on (which I already have!) but I also need to mention that Zuzana is an outstanding dental hygienist who knows I can act like a 3-year old baby when it comes to the probing during a cleaning - and she makes it as painless as possible with her talent and skill.

And the dental assistants (I apologize for not remembering all the names from the past several years) are wonderful...topnotch...and a huge component of the overall positive experience I've had in Dr. Ted's office...so I want to thank Marina and Wendy for being the best and taking good care of me.

Now...last but in no way least...I need to give a shout out to the very professional and vibrant Emily and Ali who are at the front desks - and who help ensure that Dr. Ted's practice runs smoothly. Whether it's a phone or in-person conversation, you will feel like the only patient in the practice...because of how Emily and Ali greet you, treat you, listen to you and reassure you that you are in the best dental office...in the Universe! Dr. Ted struck gold when he found them!

But don't take my word for any of the above. Experience it yourself - and you'll see what I mean!

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Theodore Filandrianos, DMD | 1400 Centre Street, Suite 101, Newton Centre, MA 02459

Phone: (617) 440-9198