Periodontal diseases take on many different forms but are usually a result of a coalescence of bacterial plaque biofilm accumulation on gingiva and teeth, combined with host immuno-inflammatory mechanisms and other risk factors which lead to destruction of the supporting bone around natural teeth. Untreated, these diseases lead to alveolar bone loss and tooth loss and, to date, continue to be the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
With the some three-fourths of our population who are likely to experience periodontal (gum) disease in their adulthood, bleeding gums shouldn’t be ignored as they are signals of serious potential dental and health problems.
What’s even scarier is that in most cases, the vast majority of people don’t even know they have gum disease. It’s not painful, and aside from a small drop of blood or two they may be inclined to let it go until it advances. By educating yourself and becoming aware of the symptoms, you have a better chance of catching catch gum disease early before it turns into something more serious such as tooth loss or heart disease.
Periodontal Disease is NOT the same type of infection as Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a precursor to Periodontal Disease. Gingivitis is reversible, however Periodontal Disease is NOT reversible. Once a patient is diagnosed with Periodontal Disease treatment options will be discussed in order to try to maintain their current bone levels and in hopes to inactivate the disease process. Treatment Options Vary depending on multiple factors like diabetes, smoking, poor oral hygiene, history of heart disease, etc… Patients are assessed as to the Periodontal risk factor and educated as to what treatment will best suit their individual needs.
Scaling and Root Planing: Scaling and root planing is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing is sometimes followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antibacterials, systemic antibiotics, and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis. One of our highly trained hygienists will numb you and perform your periodontal treatment. We typically treat one side of the mouth at a time, and we strongly recommend after treatment that you continue with continuing care every 3-4 months in order to allow us to remove bacterial toxins. This type of “deep cleaning” is extremely easy on the patient and imperative in order to help prevent further bone loss.
Periodontal Prophylaxis: Any patient that has been treated for periodontal disease should maintain a 3 month continuing care regimen. The average healthy patient comes in every 6 months for oral prophylaxis, however a patient with Periodontal Disease is not considered to be at health in their oral cavity. In order to try to inactivate the disease process we strongly recommend oral prophylaxis every 3 months. During these type of cleanings our hygienists will evaluate your probings (measurements taken in order to assess bone/tissue health). These measurements are imperative in order to try to assess infection or active disease. We believe in the use of ultrasonics in order to destroy bacteria and create a lavage effect in the mouth.
There are many risk factors that increase the likelihood of periodontal disease development, as well as increasing the severity and speed at which it may occur. Among the most common are:
Signs of Periodontal Disease: