Periodontal Disease

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When left untreated, periodontal (gum) disease can inevitably lead to tooth loss. The term “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Therefore, periodontal disease affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

The infection starts when the gums become inflamed due to bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth. While this is often the main cause of periodontal disease, other factors can also be attributed to affecting the health of the gums and bone, including:

  • Smoking or Tobacco Use
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications
  • Diabetes
  • Poor Nutrition

Periodontal disease comes in many forms. Gingivitis is perhaps the mildest form of gum disease. While the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily, there is very little to no discomfort associated at this stage of the disease. Through a good oral hygiene regimen and treatment from your dentist, the results of gingivitis can be reversed.

Periodontitis is another form of periodontal disease and can be aggressive or chronic. Aggressive periodontitis displays rapid bone destruction and attachment loss in clinically healthy patients. Chronic periodontitis is one of the most common forms of periodontal disease and is frequently seen in adults. The stages progress slowly and can be recognized by gum recession and pocket formation.

Treatment and Prevention

Even when periodontal disease is in a fairly advanced stage, it is possible to improve or even reverse the condition with non-surgical procedures. Our doctors perform scaling and root planing to effectively treat gum disease. Scaling, which can be done above or below the gum line, involves the scraping and removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) from the tooth. In more extreme circumstances, it is necessary to go further below the gum line to thoroughly remove disease-causing bacteria and its by-products on the root surface. After the thorough cleaning of the tooth surface has been completed above and below the gum line, the root of the tooth undergoes a process called planing. This is a process of smoothing the root of the tooth so that any remaining tartar is removed.

With each of these procedures, we may prescribe ARESTIN®, an effective antibiotic treatment that continues to fight infection for up to 21 days after scaling and root planing.

In certain cases, periodontal surgery may be recommended when non-surgical treatment is ineffective. We may advise procedures such as pocket reduction, soft tissue grafts or bone regeneration. If a tooth has been lost due to periodontal disease, dental implants are always an option for permanent tooth replacement.

Good oral hygiene and regular visits with your dentist and periodontist can prevent periodontal disease. Daily brushing and flossing can keep plaque to a minimum and, in conjunction with professional cleanings 2-4 times a year, can keep your teeth healthy for life.

Please contact our office for a periodontal evaluation.