What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the loss of gums and bone around a tooth.
This loss creates a pocket for specific bacteria which cause inflammation and chronic or continual infection within the gums. If left untreated, it will continue to destroy the structures that hold teeth firmly within the jaw.
Patients often don't realize that they have periodontal disease until it is advanced which is why it is a leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
What are some signs and symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
- You might experience bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth
- You might notice bad breath
- Infection or pus around the teeth or in the gums
- Change in color of the gum tissue often becoming bright red or purple in color
- Teeth that have become loose or move easily
How do we screen for periodontal disease?
All adult patients will have an initial periodontal screening as a new patient and then yearly periodontal screenings during their Oral Wellness Visit. This screening includes radiographs and six different measurements around each tooth. We will also check for bleeding and gum recession during the screening. We will discuss different homecare techniques based unique individual challenges a patient might face.
How is periodontal disease treated?
The goal for most mild to moderate periodontal disease is to halt the progression of the disease. This involves removing the bacteria that is below the gum line. This procedure is known as scaling and root planing. This non-surgical gum treatment is completed with the use of local anesthetic, so that the patient is completely comfortable throughout the process. In most cases, antibiotics are often placed in treated areas to kill any remaining bacteria. A follow-up appointment is necessary 4-6 weeks after treatment to evaluate the tissues response.
Most patients with periodontal disease will require more frequent visits to maintain stable gum health due to the loss of bone which creates areas in the mouth that can not be cleaned effectively at home.
Is periodontal disease something to be concerned about?
Absolutely, the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and the bacterias involved in periodontal disease have been linked to significant health issues including but not limited to:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Increased risk of stroke and heart attacks
- Increase in pain with types of arthritis