What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an extremely common infection of the periodontal tissues (gums and bone) that are responsible for supporting the teeth.These infections are caused by bacterial plaque that forms on the teeth near the gum line due to inadequate brushing and flossing practices.Periodontal disease is known as gingivitis during its earliest stages, which is typically characterized by a sore, swollen gums that may bleed easily.Unless treated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, causing pain, receding gums and pockets between the gums and teeth.
This type of periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults
Preventing progress of periodontal disease
Periodontal disease cannot be cured. Once the disease process has begun it is beyond the patient’s ability to control on their own. Professional intervention by a periodontist can slow the progress of the disease and promote return to a disease-free state.
The appropriate treatment at this point is a combination of scaling and root planning followed by Periodontal Maintenance, which consists of re-treatment of all involved teeth at three-month intervals, along with periodic re-evaluations to monitor the progress of the disease.This regimen, along with consistent flossing at brushing at home has the potential for improvement enough to allow the patient to return to a healthy state. At this point Periodontal Maintenance is no longer needed.
Patients who are successful following this treatment plan have an excellent chance to avoid the need for more extensive surgery.
Did you know?
Periodontal disease has been associated with several risk factors aside from poor brushing and flossing habits. In fact, the risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis increases if you have a systemic disease like heart disease, as well as conditions like diabetes and AIDS. Other factors that may contribute to the development of periodontal disease include stress, genetics, crowded teeth, faulty dental restorations, and the use of certain medications that may cause dry mouth. According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are also at an increased risk for periodontal disease when they are undergoing hormonal changes, such as with menopause or pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have periodontal disease?
You may have gingivitis or periodontitis if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. However, the only way of knowing for sure whether you have a periodontal disease is via a professional dental exam. Keep in mind that you may have periodontal disease and be asymptomatic; so be sure to visit your dentist for a thorough exam and cleaning at least twice per year.
What will my periodontist do if I am diagnosed with periodontal disease?
Your treatment will depend on whether you are diagnosed with gingivitis or periodontitis. Minor cases of periodontal disease are frequently treated with a thorough cleaning and topical antibiotic.If, however, your periodontal tissues have begun to deteriorate and your gums have begun separating from your teeth, you may require a more complex surgical treatment.
Will I need to do anything to prevent periodontal disease from returning?
Yes. Periodontal disease can reoccur – especially if you do not make any changes to your brushing and flossing habits. By brushing after every meal, flossing once daily, avoiding tobacco, and getting frequent professional dental cleanings, you could help prevent periodontal disease from returning in the future