What is Periodontal Disease (gum disease)?
“Periodontal disease is an infectious disease of the oral cavity which destroys the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth.”
It is caused by a growing colony of bacteria that live in our mouths called “plaque”. Plaque is a sticky film that is constantly forming on and around the teeth and needs to be removed daily with brushing and flossing. The reason it needs to be removed is that plaque contains bacteria that produce harmful toxins that cause your gum tissue to become inflamed, swollen and bleed and if not removed will ultimately damage the tissues and bone that support your teeth, and lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is a silent, chronic, painless and communicable bacterial infection. During the early stages of periodontal disease there is little, if any pain; therefore you may not notice the gradual onset of puffiness and occasional bleeding gums with brushing or flossing. The disease starts when tartar and bacteria under the gum line lead to infection. This is why a periodontal exam is done once per year along with diagnostic radiographs to detect early signs of bone loss.
The incidence of periodontal disease in the adult US population is estimated to be between 74-80%.
Signs and symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
- Gums are healthy pink in color.
- Gum line hugs the teeth tightly.
- No bleeding.
- Bleeding, puffiness and inflammation more pronounced.
- Gums may begin to pull away or shrink back from the teeth.
- Bad breath and bad taste.
- Slight loss of bone horizontally on radiographs.
- Pockets of 4mm deep between teeth and gums in one or more areas of the mouth.
- Gums may bleed easily when brushing or when probed gently during examination.
- Gums may be inflamed and sensitive or tender to touch.
- Gums between teeth may look bluish-red in color.
- Possible bad breath and bad taste.
- Gingivitis can often be reversed with dental cleanings, brushing and flossing.
- Teeth look longer as gum begins to pull back and recede; teeth may become mobile or loose.
- Abscesses or gumboils may develop.
- Front teeth may begin to drift and show spaces.
- Bad breath and bad taste.
- Both horizontal and angular bone loss on radiographs.
- Pockets of 4-6mm or deeper between teeth and gums.
- Roots may be exposed and are sensitive to hot, cold, and touch.
What is Soft Tissue Management?
During your exam your gums will be checked for bleeding, swelling, firmness, recession and sensitivity and gradual tooth movement. The pockets are measured around the teeth. A healthy pocket is 1-3 millimeters deep. Pockets 4millimeters or greater indicate periodontal problems. Deeper pockets indicate more severe disease. Periodontal disease left untreated may result in extensive bone destruction and lead to tooth loss. If detected in the early stages, periodontal disease can be treated and controlled.
An appropriate plan of treatment will be presented and explained to you by our dentist and hygienist. Our hygienist will perform the procedures to help eliminate infection, make recommendations to help you more effectively clean your teeth daily, and guide you through our efforts to achieve and maintain a healthy state for your oral health.
What is Root Planing?
What are Medicaments?
What are Locally Delivered Antibiotics?
What do we hope to accomplish with Soft Tissue Management?
- Gums that do not bleed. Healthy gums do not bleed.
- Gums that are not red, swollen or tender.
- Fresher breath and taste.
- Knowing how to effectively maintain good oral hygiene.
- Reduced pocket depths.
- Maintain or control Periodontal Disease. Bone will not grow back on it’s own, but it can be stabilized with supportive periodontal therapy.
Our non-surgical periodontal program is exceptionally effective in treating periodontal disease. However, once clinical treatment has been completed and oral hygiene instructions have been demonstrated and emphasized it is up to you, the patient, to maintain good and thorough daily oral hygiene home care. We are dedicated to promoting optimal oral health and helping our patients by recommending effective tools for your home hygiene.
What do we need from YOU, the patient, to make this treatment a success?
- Completion of the periodontal therapy prescribed by our dentist and recommended by our hygienist.
- Thoroughly cleaning all surfaces of your teeth two times a day by brushing and flossing.
- Maintain more frequent periodontal maintenance/recare visits with our hygienist.
There are times when non-surgical periodontal therapy is not successful. If this would occur we refer our patients to a Periodontist, a gum specialist, whom we work closely in monitoring and treating each patient on an case by case basis. This may include tissue flap surgery or bone grafting. These procedures are more invasive and require a licenses specialist to perform. Our goal is to diagnosis periodontal disease at a early stage to try and avoid more invasive treatments. Periodontal disease if caught at an early stage can be stabilized and treated effectively at our office.