Periodontitis is what happens to you when you don't take care of your teeth and gums. Periodontal Disease refers to the many different diseases that affect the tissues around your teeth (gums).
Examples of periodontal disease include:
Gingivitis - A mild form of periodontitis
It is caused by toxins found in plaque and shows up as a reddening and bleeding of gums around the teeth. Professional cleaning and proper home dental care can help reverse gingivitis.
Chronic Periodontal Disease - Commonly seen in middle aged patients
It is characterized by receding gum line and inflammation below the gum line with involvement of the bone tissue. Symptoms of the disease include bleeding when brushing, swelling of the gums, gum recession of an apparent lengthening of the teeth and eventually, loose teeth. (Other things like aggressive brushing or a hard toothbrush can cause some of these symptoms.)
Besides regular brushing and flossing, there are other things we can do to prevent periodontal disease. 1) Use a soft tooth brush. 2) Use antiseptic mouthwash. 3) Have regular dental check ups to identify possible early signs of the disease.
It is much easier and less expensive to prevent periodontal disease than it is to treat it especially in its later tooth loosening stages. If you've noticed bleeding, swelling or receding gums, schedule a visit today to learn what can be done to treat your gums and prevent further damage, even tooth loss.
Non-surgical periodontal treatments involve scaling and root planing which is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus from deep periodontal pockets. The tooth root is also smoothed to remove bacterial toxins. The dentist will generally follow such periodontal treatment with local application of an antimicrobial if indicated by an assessment.
Dental lasers have been used for scaling and root planing procedures with improved effectiveness and less side effects during periodontal therapy. For more information, please see Laser Surgery.
Although many patients will not require repetitive treatment, a majority should have ongoing periodontal maintenance therapy to maintain healthy gum and teeth condition.
For some patients with serious periodontal disease, periodontal surgery may be necessary. Typically tissue around the teeth is unhealthy and unrepairable with non-surgical treatment methods.
Some common surgical treatments include pocket reduction (deep pocket cleaning and bone smoothing), regenerative procedure (use of bone grafts, membranes, tissue-stimulating proteins to regenerate bone and tissue), crown lengthening (removal of excess gum and reshaping of bone tissue), or soft tissue grafts (to cover exposed tooth roots due to gum recession).
If you've lost a tooth to periodontal disease, dental implants may be a procedure of interest for permanent tooth replacement. For more information, please see Mini Dental Implants.
Perio Protect® tray is a custom shaped tray that fits over your teeth to deliver medication that will prevent or reduce the possibility of periodontal disease from occurring. For more information about this preventative therapy, see our section on Perio Protect.