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Learn how gum disease can affect your daily life and the health of your whole body.

At Dr. Higham and Dr. Sauchelli’s office, we are often asked by our patients, “Why do I need a dental hygiene visit every 3-6 months?”

The reason is Prevention!  Our hygienist, Caitlin, is comprehensively trained to detect and treat problems before permanent damage can be done.  Prevention is the key and what we strive for in our office.

periodontal disease toothTo the left is an example of healthy and diseased gums. Do you know how your gums measure up?  One of the methods to diagnose problems is the measurement of your pocket depth.  The space between the top of the pocket and the place where the bone actually is supporting your teeth.  The higher the number the worse your periodontal disease is, 2 is normal and healthy.


Why is Prevention so important?

Periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss today, and a significant contributor to many systemic health problems.   Anyone at any age is susceptible to gum disease.   Routine visits to our office is the best way of detecting and treating gum disease in the early stage.  Gum disease will not go away by itself or with intense brushing. The only way to treat the disease is to get to the cause of the disease with comprehensive assessment, anti-infective therapy, individualized home care routines and lifetime monitoring.

What is gum disease and periodontal disease?

Both terms are interchangeable and equally damaging to your gums and the bone that support your teeth if not diagnosed early.   Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold the teeth in the mouth.   Left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss.  The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on teeth.   Once you have had gum disease you will always be susceptible to recurring problems so it is very important that you continue to visit us for preventative maintenance appointments.

During your exam these are some of the signs we look for, if you notice any of the following please notify us immediately.

  • Bleeding gums during/after you brush
  • Red, swollen, puffy or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or several loose teeth
  • Pus between your teeth
  • Hard deposits, “tarter, calculus” by your gums
  • Sores or infections that persist
  • Teeth darkening
  • Dry mouth
  • Fruity odor of your breath
  • Uncontrollable Insulin levels
  • Sores that do not heal within two weeks
  • Red or white spots on your tongue, cheeks, throat and gums
  • Changes in your bite or the way your teeth fit together
  • Gums that are receding


Periodontal disease has been linked to:

periodontal disease in the body

Obesity Systemic inflammation
Weakened immunity
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sleep apnea
Several types of cancer
Alzheimer’s disease
Sexual dysfunction
Heart Attack
Premature wrinkling
Slow healing
Secondary Infection after surgery


What can I expect at my hygiene appointment?

At your appointment, Dr. Higham or Dr. Sauchelli will examine and assess your current dental condition, conduct any necessary updates or additional procedures in order to provide an accurate report. Together we will prioritize treatment for you.

  • Your current medical history – medications and systemic diseases like Diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
  • Conduct a head and neck cancer exam
  • View and explain your current x-rays
  • Thoroughly examine your gums for signs of infection, and measure the level of bone you have.
  • Conduct a MyPerioPath Saliva test to determine your risk assessment based on the types of pathogens (bacteria) and their concentration in your saliva. This will better allow us to track your oral health progress with individualized treatment and predictable clinical outcomes.
  • Examine teeth for cavities and check the integrity of current restorations, crowns, implants and partial dentures.

Once we have completed this assessment our goal is to devise the best course of treatment necessary to create a healthy environment for your mouth and body.

The Doctors have prescribed a procedure to help eradicate the pocket depths that are over 3 mm- it is called scaling and root planing.  You have been diagnosed with measurements exceeding these at your last visit.  We are very concerned about the progression of this disease.  Recent research has connected periodontal disease and risk of heart attacks.  Over 50% of heart attack victims have periodontal disease.  With the prevention methods described above, we can help you.  Please call 561-746-8095 to schedule your cardiac care visit with us.


About Our Practice
We want to exceed our patients’ expectations in every possible way and are committed to excellence in all of our services to our patients so that we may help them achieve the highest level of dental health in an atmosphere of trust and empathy. Our highly proficient and technologically advanced dental team has been in Jupiter since 1986 bringing quality dental care to our community. We continually strive to learn all the newest treatment modalities and bring a new meaning to oral health care. Dr. Higham & Dr. Sauchelli stress that overall health begins with the mouth. We will treat you like family! Our office is conveniently located at 500 Maplewood Dr. Suite B1 (right next to the bowling alley). Our office phone number is (561)746-8095 and our website is  *New patients always welcome.