What Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is a slowly progressing infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal (gum) disease is usually painless and most people do not know ore realize that they have it.
Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. Think of plaque being similar to the grimy cover on your windshield on a cold, drizzly winter day. The bacteria in the plaque create toxins which can damage the gums and the teeth. Some of these bacteria also cause cavities that destroy your teeth. The plaque slowly turns into calculus (tartar) and it becomes impossible to remove with your brush or floss. Your toothbrush cannot remove the plaque once it hardens into calculus! The bacteria continue to multiply and flourish inside the calculus, which continues to accumulate more plaque, over time.
Periodontal (gum) disease begins with gingivitis. This can be diagnosed by red, swollen and bleeding gums. A normal cleaning generally reverses the problem at this early stage. Normal brushing and flossing can also eliminate most gingivitis, however an examination and professional cleaning is required to make sure that the disease does not progress.
Periodontal (gum) disease can progress to more advanced stages, as the calculus and plaque continues to build-up more bacteria and more toxins. In the middle to late stages, the progressing infection dissolves the bone around the teeth. As the bone is lost so is the support to the teeth. The teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
What are the signs of periodontal (gum) disease?
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- red, swollen or tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- bad breath that doesn’t go away
- pus between your teeth and gums
- loose teeth
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- a change in the fit of partial dentures
|Normal, healthy gums Healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place.||Periodontitis Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As plaque and calculus continue to build up, the gums begin to recede (pull away) from the teeth. Pockets form between the teeth and gums.||Advanced periodontitis The gums recede farther, destroying more bone and the periodontal ligament. Teeth even healthy teeth may become loose and need to be extracted.|
Did You Know?
The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can reach far beyond the oral cavity and are associated with other health issues such as:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory infection
- Pregnancy complications
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Kidney disease
- Oral cancer
Here at Comfort Dental we follow an oral/systemic approach that allows us to care for your total health. We educate YOU on the relationship between oral/systemic health and perform initial screenings for heart disease, diabetes, HPV, thyroid, and other systemic ailments. We work closely with your physician should our initial testing reveal any positive indicators. We take pride in being able to provide a Whole Health approach to our diagnosis and patient care. We are able to help our patients understand their total health and get any additional care that is needed.
What to expect at your first appointment
We will be completing a comprehensive exam which includes:
- Reviewing your medical history and your past dental history
- A complete periodontal charting to check your gum health
- A restorative exam
- Full set of dental x-rays
- Whole Health blood screening and testing
After the comprehensive exam and x-rays are completed we will be able to discuss the appropriate care for you.
What if you are diagnosed with Periodontal Disease?
Our Periodontal program is an organized system for early detection, diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of periodontal disease, and for the early detection of oral cancer. We have a non-surgical approach to diagnose, prevent, treat and manage the progression of early to moderate stages of periodontal disease. Our program will give you the best treatments to aid in improvement of your total health.
Our non-surgical approach is called Scaling and Root planning. This is the treatment of the diseased root surfaces below the gum line. A routine prophy (cleaning) emphasizes cleaning the teeth above the gum line in a generally healthy mouth. Root planning focuses on eliminating tartar and plaque below the gum line and detoxifying the root surfaces where the disease occurs. Obtaining smooth roots and flushing the pockets allows for healthy reattachment of the gums to the root surfaces.
What we hope to accomplish with our Periodontal program
- Gums that do not bleed. Healthy gums do NOT bleed!
- Fresher breath and taste
- Gums that are not red, swollen or tender
- Knowing how to effectively maintain good oral hygiene
- Reduced pocket depths
- Control of Periodontal Disease
CLICK HERE, FOR INFORMATION ABOUT CURRENT PERIODONTAL GUM DISEASE TREATMENT