Periodontal disease are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque and tarter is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions. BEAUMONT DENTAL ASSOCIATES, Board-Certified Periodontists, Dr. Park and Dr. Piepgrass, are available to take care of your periodontal needs.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Systemic Diseases (example: Diabetes)
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
- Hormonal Changes
- Periodontal Disease
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily, also known as gingivitis. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. The first stage and only reversible stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Gums pulling away from the teeth, making them appear longer
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between the gum and tooth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
At BEAUMONT DENTAL ASSOCIATES we will complete a periodontal exam annually (unless otherwise indicated), which includes our hygienist or dentist gently placing a small measuring instrument called a periodontal probe in the pocket between the teeth and gum to measure pocket depths, usually in millimeters. Probing depth ranging from 1-3mm is considered healthy, 4-5mm may indicate mild periodontitis, 5-6mm suggest moderate periodontitis, and 7mm or greater may indicate severe periodontitis. In addition to probing depth measurements, X-rays may be taken to evaluate the health of the bone supporting the teeth.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Once your periodontal health has been evaluated, your hygienist and dentist will work with you to determine the best options to control your disease and bring your mouth back to health. Treatment can vary depending on the disease progression. If diagnosed and treated in the early stages, simple non-surgical scaling and root planing may be sufficient. If periodontitis is diagnosed in the moderate or advanced stages, surgical periodontal therapy may be indicated.
Once your periodontal disease has been controlled, you will require periodontal maintenance procedure to sustain dental health. The maintenance phase will allow your dental team to assess your periodontal health and make sure that your infection remains eliminated or under control. During these appointments, the hygienist/dentist will re take your periodontal measurements, new calculus and plaque will be removed. Without ongoing maintenance, periodontal disease can and often does recur.