What is periodontal disease and what can I do about it?
- Periodontal disease, or sometimes called gum disease, is a serious and often times chronic infection of the gum tissue and bone that surround, support, and anchor the teeth.
- Infection process begins when the bacteria in plaque gets out of control and causes inflammation of the gum tissue.
- There are three stages of periodontal disease which include gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease
- According to studies, it is said that at least 80% of adults have some form of periodontal disease, the majority of which do not know a dental problem even exists.
- Symptoms usually include red, swollen/puffy and inflamed gums, and the gum tissue may easily bleed when eating hard foods or brushing
- If left untreated the disease can progress to the next stage of periodontal disease called periodontitis.
- Periodontitis is a disease process that goes deeper beyond the gum tissue and invades the bone that anchors the teeth.
- Gums may begin to separate or pull away from the teeth which can result in “pockets” where toxic bacteria invade.
- Bone below the gum line will start to erode.
- At this stage non-surgical, in-office procedures are performed by the hygienist in hopes of preserving those teeth. Methods of our in-office procedures include scaling and root planning, which is a deep cleaning of the root surfaces below the gums to remove plaque, calculus, and tarter followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery of antimicrobial medications that are placed directly under the gums in the affected pockets.
- It is usually recommended that patients be seen every three months periodontal maintenance therapy to sustain proper health.
- Final stage of periodontal disease is called advanced periodontitis.
- Surgical intervention is typically recommended at this point.
- Treatment may include extracting (removing) the loose teeth or cleaning out abscesses (infections) that may have formed.