Periodontal Disease

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A build-up of plaque and tartar for long periods can cause periodontal disease in the teeth and gums. Eventually, this can cause redness or swelling in the gums and erodes the supporting tissue around teeth. If left untreated, this can lead to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Without regular dental checkups, you can easily overlook the early stages of periodontal disease. Four out of five people in the U.S. have some form of gum disease (WebMD.com).

Many studies have indicated the correlation between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. In-office treatment of periodontal disease involves using an antibiotic delivered directly into the space between tooth and gum. Before we administer the antibiotic, the area is cleaned and irrigated.  You can discuss the protocol for using this method with your dentist and dental hygienist. Our Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH) are trained to administer the treatment in conjunction with the dentist’s diagnosis. Therapy can be repeated in areas of your gums that are infected, and referral to a periodontist will be made if indicated.

Diagnosing Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis is an early phase of periodontal disease. Plaque build-up irritates the gum tissue and can cause gums to feel sensitive or even bleed. Gingivitis is relatively easy to treat and reverse when caught at this stage.

Otherwise, this plaque hardens and becomes tartar, causing the gums to begin receding from the teeth. We can correct periodontal disease at this stage, but without treatment, the gums will continue to recede, creating pockets between teeth where bacteria gather. Ultimately teeth will become loose and eventually lost due to bone loss underneath the gums.

Your general dentist or hygienist can perform a periodontal examination, and ideally, it is a part of your regular check-ups. This type of exam can catch issues earlier rather than later, simplifying the treatment.

Treating Periodontal Disease

The treatment of periodontal disease will vary depending on how severely it has progressed. As periodontal pockets form between teeth and fill with bacteria, gums will continue to recede from the teeth. Underneath the gums, the infection will damage the bone that supports the teeth as well, eventually causing those teeth to become loose.

In the early stages of the disease, known as gingivitis, your dentist will advise one or two specific dental cleanings. Coupled with improved oral hygiene at home, that should reverse the gingivitis before it causes any further damage.

When the disease has become more advanced, a procedure called periodontal cleaning is needed. Periodontal cleaning involves scaling and root planning, which is deep cleaning, and your dentist will usually perform this on one quadrant of the mouth per visit. This procedure involves removing plaque and bacteria at and below the gum line, allowing the gums to heal. Medicated mouth wash is often advised after the procedure to aid in healing as well.

In cases where the periodontal pockets do not heal after periodontal cleaning, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, gums, and bone specialist supporting teeth. The periodontist may need to perform periodontal surgery to reduce pockets between teeth.

Periodontal Disease Maintenance

A great smile starts with good oral hygiene at home. Making sure to keep up on preventative maintenance is imperative, including brushing your teeth within 30 minutes of eating whenever possible. Doing so can prevent tartar build-up that can lead to periodontal disease.

The treatment of periodontal disease will vary depending on how severely it has progressed. As periodontal pockets form between teeth and fill with bacteria, gums will continue to recede from the teeth. Underneath the gums, the infection will damage the bone that supports the teeth as well, eventually causing those teeth to become loose.

Catching these issues early on makes treatments easier, faster, and cheaper. Also, your general dentist may recommend mouthwash and fluoride rinses to supplement brushing and flossing.

Dr. Bertrand Bonnick can diagnose several periodontal diseases.

If you have periodontal disease or would like to schedule a periodontal exam, call today at (336) 841-0000.