Postmenopausal Women at Increased Risk of Periodontal Disease

Case Western Reserve University researchers found that postmenopausal women need more than two annual dental checkups. After menopause, women become more at risk for periodontal disease. The problem is believed to be due to estrogen deficiency that results in bone loss and inflammatory processes. Periodontal disease is best diagnosed early so that treatment can be started to prevent tooth loss.

Periodontal disease is an infection that affect the gums and bone that support teeth. These areas of concern can become infected with bacteria which, when left untreated, progresses to tissue damage including gum recession and bone loss. Furthermore, the teeth affected will become mobile and eventually lead to tooth loss.

At each dental preventative appointment, your hygienist checks the areas between your tooth and gums to ensure that we are treating your periodontal situation quickly and appropriately. The hygienist measures the depth of your gum pockets by using a probe with millimeter markings. A healthy mouth will have probe depths no greater than 3mm. The levels of periodontal disease are as follows:

0 Healthy

No bleeding while probing
Probe readings 3mm or less
No bone loss evident on x-ray

1 Gingivitis

Bleeding while probing
Probe readings 3mm or less
No bone loss evident on x-ray

2 Early Periodontitis

Bleeding while probing
Probe readings 4-5mm
Slight bone loss evident on x-ray

3 Moderate Periodontitis

Probe readings 5-7mm
Moderate bone loss evident on x-ray

4 Severe Periodontitis

Probe readings 7mm+
Severe bone loss evident on x-ray


Treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. If the disease is caught very early and no damage has been done, you may simply be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene.

Even with these measures, some patients develop more severe periodontal disease that must be treated. The first step typically involves a special cleaning, called scaling and root planning. Your hygienist will perform this deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces. This helps gum tissue heal and pockets to shrink. Dr. Pruneski may also recommend medications to help control infection. This is typically through the aid of an oral rinse or with an antibiotic (called Arestin) placed directly in the periodontal pockets after the deep cleaning is completed. This directly placed antibiotic is time-released medication directly at the spot of infection.

Dr. Julie Pruneski and the staff at Whispering Pines Dental are located at 690 Cooper Foster Park in Lorain. Contact us at 440-282-2023 or Check us out on facebook at and on our website at

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