Many people have heard the term periodontal disease, but may not be aware of what it is or how it can negatively effect their health. The word “periodontal” means “around the tooth”. This includes the gums,bone and ligaments that support the tooth.
In fact, over 80% of people have this silent, painless disease.
When plaque and tartar and their associated bacteria are not removed from the teeth and gums in a timely manner, a disease process begins. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause bone loss around the teeth, bad breath and ultimately tooth loss and/or a painful oral condition.
Periodontal disease has also been linked to increased problems with cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and low birth weight babies.
Fortunately, we can treat and even reverse most forms of periodontal disease. Our hygienists evaluate patients my measuring the space between each tooth and gum area and take note of any infections or irritations. We then determine whether your oral condition is:
- Healthy: Cleanings every 6 months
- Gingivitis: This is the first stage of periodontal disease indentified by tender, red, inflamed gums that bleed easily (No pocketing) Treatment is cleaning every 4-6 months.
- Early Periodontitis: Indentified by hardened plaque (calculus or tartar) with bacteria filled deeper pockets forming between the gms and teeth. Bone loss may be in the early stages. Treatment is scaling and root planing.
- Advanced Periodontal Disease: At this point, the teeth are losing their support of gums, periodontal ligament and bone. Bone loss is moderate to severe anc an be accelerating. Teeth begin to loosen and can be lost if untreated.
Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing
This is a non-surgical procedure during which the area(s) to be treated are first anesthetized with local anesthesia. The crown and root of the teeth are cleaned of calcified tartar and plaque using specialized instruments. The bacteria around the teeth are flushed out of the periodontal pocket with an ultrasonic flow of water or medicated liquid. The roots are smoothed of microorganisms and of roughness. This allows the gums to heal around the teeth on a healthy root surface. The end result is healthier teeth and gums and improved breath.
Depending on your individual situation, antibiotics may be used either around the teeth and/or taken orally to promote healing and prevent bad bacteria from reforming during the healing process.