It’s silent, practically invisible, and often painless at first. But once periodontal disease strikes, it’s only a matter of time until it makes its presence known with uncomfortable, unsightly, and quite possibly, irreparable side effects.
Periodontal disease, also know as gum disease, is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. There are several types and stages of the disease, all of which start with an infection of the gums that can move into the bones and ligaments supporting the teeth. In the beginning stages, it can be detected during regular checkups. If left untreated, gums and bone can become so seriously damaged that teeth may fall out or need to be removed.
More than half of all adults, and three quarters of adults over 35, have some form of periodontal disease. Even young children can exhibit signs. If you want your teeth to last a lifetime, it’s important to understand the causes, symptoms, and best methods for treating and preventing periodontal disease.
How can Periodontal Disease be treated?
We can treat periodontal disease with a thorough professional cleaning, if it's diagnosed in the early stage of gingivitis. If the disease progresses beyond gingivitis to periodontitis, we may need to treat it with a “deep cleaning” or “root planing.” This involves cleaning and smoothing of the root surfaces of your teeth to remove calculus and bacterial deposits below the gum line, so your gums can heal around them. This procedure may require several appointments, depending on the extent of your periodontal disease.
In cases of advanced periodontitis, when deep pockets have formed between the teeth and gums, surgery may be required to thoroughly clean the roots of teeth and eliminate the pockets. If there is not enough existing gum, we may perform a gum graft. In some cases of periodontal disease, when the gum and bone have been partially destroyed, we can apply certain surgical techniques to assist regeneration of these tissues.
New advances in medications for the treatment of periodontal disease are also available. We may recommend local delivery of antimicrobial or antibiotic medications, along with medications that control the body's response to disease-producing bacteria to help slow the progression of the disease.
How can Periodontal Disease be prevented?
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing every day, eating a balanced diet, and scheduling regular dentist checkups are essential to keeping periodontal disease at bay. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime.