Periodontics (Gum Disease)

Periodontal (gum) diseases are bacterial infections of the gums, bone and periodontal ligament (fibers that support the teeth and hold them in the jaw). The disease destroys the gums and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. As a result, teeth may loosen and fall out or need to be removed and replaced with dental bridges or implants.

Periodontal procedures include but are not limited to:


Diagnosis of Gum Disease

We use multiple techniques to determine if you have gum disease or periodontitis.

There are 2 main classifications of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis- the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
  • Periodontitis - Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. Periodontitis is the number one cause of lost teeth in the United States!

Treatment of Periodontitis

Most periodontal disease can be treated by effective non-surgical treatment, which includes scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) followed by adjunct therapy such as local antimicrobial delivery if need. For the majority of our patients this “deep cleaning is effective at removing the calculus, and bacterial toxins around the tooth and the root and allowing the gums to regain their health. Since periodontal disease is a chronic disease we often keep our patients who received non-surgical periodontal treatment on recall and maintenance therapy to sustain gingival health. 

Non-surgical periodontal treatment is not a cure-all for all patients and at times surgical periodontal treatment is necessary. Periodontal surgery restores the bone anatomy damaged by the periodontal disease and facilities proper at home dental care.

 

Maintenance

It only takes one day for plaque that is not removed from your teeth during normal brushing and flossing to begin to turn into tenacious tartar! Home cleanings help control theplaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.

Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, we will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings. The interval for periodontal maintenance is usually every three months or four times a year. Three months is the average amount of time studies have shown that the “bad bacteria” take to invade and produce toxins after a “deep cleaning.” At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is adhered to the tooth will be removed from above and below the gum line.