560 Main St. Ansonia, CT 06401
Phone: (203) 732-0097
Dr. David D. Millen D.M.D. and our entire staff of healthcare professionals have one primary goal – we want to work with you to make your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. With proper care, you can keep your teeth for a lifetime. We assume most periodontists share this goal, but the way we work toward the goal is quite unique and personal. First of all, we do everything possible to avoid surgery, opting for more conservative methods of treatment combined with professional maintenance programs. Secondly, we take time to get to know you. Why is that so important? Because research has shown there are certain “lifestyle factors” that may make some individuals more prone to gum disease. By learning a little about you we can often recommend adjustments in your lifestyle that will be effective in helping you tackle your problems. In other words, we’re not only concerned about helping you have healthier teeth and gums, we want to help you become a healthier y-o-u. Now isn’t that worth smiling about?
Meet Dr. David D. Millen D.M.D.
Dr. David D. Millen D.M.D. has been a practicing periodontist for the past 32 years. He is a graduate of Tufts University Dental School and completed his specialty training at Temple University. He began his practice in New Haven, Connecticut in 1970 and then added a second office in Ansonia in 1977 to serve Valley area residents. Dr. David D. Millen D.M.D. has been a board-qualified member of the American Academy of Periodontology since 1968 and had been a faculty member of Yale University Medical School. For the past 15 years, Dr. David D. Millen D.M.D. has taken several courses dealing with nutrition and the immune response.
What are periodontal diseases?
The word “periodontal” literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal diseases are chronic bacterial gum infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. The main cause of these diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth, as well as your body’s response to this plaque. Daily home oral care, including proper brushing and flossing, is a must to prevent plaque buildup.
If plaque is not removed, it can turn into a hard substance called calculus (tartar). Calculus is so hard it can only be removed during professional cleaning. If calculus develops below the gums onto the tooth root, it makes plaque removal impossible, leaving you at increased risk for periodontal diseases.
Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums, causing infection. These toxins initiate the inflammatory process, which destroys the supporting tissues around the teeth, including the bone. Some patients have an overreaction to the bacteria, the body’s immune response, which causes further damage. Bacteria and your immune response to the bacteria can cause the gums to separate from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with even more plaque and more infection. As the diseases progress, these pockets deepen, more gum tissue and bone are destroyed, and the teeth eventually become loose. If periodontal diseases are not treated the teeth may need to be removed.
Your infected gums could be killing you.
It is now well established in the medical-dental professions that having a chronic infection and deep gum pockets create a major risk factor for developing several systemic diseases. This particularly includes heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and pre term low birth-weight babies, among others.
Once bacteria are present under the gums, two things can happen that link it strongly to a myriad of other diseases. First, the bacteria can get directly into the bloodstream and cause an infection elsewhere in the body, especially in more susceptible areas such as mitral valve defects and artificial joint replacements.
The second effect of having bacteria under the gums is that it causes increased inflammation throughout the body and triggers a release of corresponding inflammation chemicals. This is not a healthy state for the body. Other diseases and conditions caused by inflammation include Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and asthma.
Isn't it common sense that you would want to eliminate this serious infection?
Does traditional therapy mean that I need surgery?
As you can see, good periodontal health may be a key component of a healthy body, so it is important to understand treatment options that can help you achieve this level of health and keep you smiling.
Some patients think of “traditional periodontal therapy” as surgery. The fact is that the American Academy of Periodontology treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. You may not be aware that this is often accomplished through non-surgical or minimally invasive procedures.
Studies from the National Institute of Dental Research and Walter Loesche, University of Michigan (www.dent.umich.edu/research/loeschelabs) have proven that gum disease can be successfully treated with minimally invasive procedures.