Periodontal Disease and Treatment

Overview

The #1 cause of adult tooth loss in America is periodontal disease. A recent ADA (American Dental Association) survey has shown that 75% of American adults believe they have "good dental health", while at the very same time, they admit their gums bleed after brushing or flossing. In fact, bleeding gums are an early sign of gum disease.

Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial plaque build-up that infects the periodontal (gum) tissues. This infection destroys the tissue and bone that supports the teeth.

Gum disease progresses most frequently without painful symptoms. That is why everyone should have a periodontal evaluation once a year. Delaying treatment will result in more advanced disease.

Mounting evidence relates gum disease to a variety of health concerns, some that are life threatening. A recent study describes the association between heart disease and gum disease to be at least as strong as the linkage of heart disease to cholesterol, body weight, or smoking.

It is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it because its symptoms are often painless. The best way to avoid or manage periodontal disease is by having good oral hygiene, and seeing your dentist for your routine dental checkups.

Periodontal Treatments

There are many patient-specific variables involved with treating periodontal disease. Much depends upon the stage of infection and the amount of deterioration involving your gums, teeth, supporting tissues, and bone.

After reviewing your x-rays and performing a thorough periodontal exam, your Dentist and Hygienist will discuss non-surgical or surgical treatment options with you, answer your questions, and explain what to expect, during and after the procedure(s), the number of office visits required for treatment, what to do at home as your gums heal, and how to keep periodontal disease under control after treatment is complete.

Non-Surgical

The most commonly known type of non-surgical treatment is scaling and root planing. This under-the-gum procedure involves a careful removal of plaque and tarter from the tooth roots. Root smoothing along with the practice of good oral hygiene can help prevent plaque from accumulating again and activating the periodontal disease.

The latest conservative gum therapy uses a laser. The laser gently disinfects and evaporates diseased tissues from around the tooth and inside the gum pocket. This new laser therapy is gentle, less painful and has a quicker recovery rate. While surgery may still be indicated for severely advanced periodontal cases, laser therapy is a much more conservative, effective, and comfortable option for beginning-to-moderate periodontal cases.

Surgical

Periodontal surgery may be needed to eliminate bone infections or to regenerate lost bone. The most common surgical treatments include:

  • Pocket Reduction
  • Bone Regeneration
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