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Periodontal Disease: Serious But Treatable

Periodontal Disease

Healthy gums and supporting bone structure are the building blocks for a healthy mouth. Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the bone and soft tissue that support the teeth. A major cause of tooth loss in adults, it is usually painless in its early stages, so many people don’t know they have it until it’s too late.

Two of your worst enemies could be lurking around in your mouth as you read this. They are serious, vicious, sly and oftentimes successful. So, what makes up this evil pair? Tooth decay and periodontal disease. These two nasty conditions are created by naturally occurring oral bacteria, and the acids they produce.

Unchecked, tooth decay leads inevitably to periodontal disease, which even conservative estimates say is present in at least 80% of the population, and most don’t know it. Periodontal disease, in turn, is responsible for up to 70% of adult tooth loss, and it does not give clear warning signs that an untrained eye would notice.

Periodontal disease has been identified as a potential link to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pre-mature births, and low birth weight. It is an infection of the gums and the bone supporting your teeth. The bacteria, and chemical by-products of your body’s attempt to fight the bacteria, can enter the blood stream and cause serious problems in distant parts of the body.

The good news is that Periodontal disease can be treated and prevented. Special toothbrushes, toothpastes, rinses and even prescription medications can help. Our dental team can help you prevent and manage both gingivitis – the milder and reversible form of periodontal disease – and periodontitis, the more serious, destructive form of periodontal disease.

Beat Periodontal Disease with Careful Flossing

Your mouth’s constant supply of normal bacteria produces a sticky “plaque” that is deposited on your teeth. Foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) combined with plaque form a strong acid, which erodes your enamel and breaks down gum-tooth connecting fibers, thus allowing further bacteria and toxins to invade unprotected tissues. This process allows your teeth, and supporting bone to become susceptible to damage or destruction.

Bacterial build up in the mouth causes tooth decay and Periodontal disease. Proper brushing cleans visible tooth surfaces, but cannot clean between the teeth. Various types of brushes and water irrigation devices are often used in an attempt to avoid flossing, but nothing will clean between the teeth as effectively as flossing.

Ask about our:

• Diagnostic Services – All patients are checked for periodontal disease during each regular hygiene check-up. The “pocket” between the tooth and gums is measured by a periodontal probe to ensure that it measures three millimeters or less. Deepening of pockets from visit to visit is an indication that periodontal disease has progressed.

• Soft-Tissue Management Program – If periodontal disease has progressed, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended, along with an antibiotic applied systemically or locally (under the gum). This helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink.

• Periodontal Surgery – If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. We may also recommend that you see our on-site Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone) for a free consultation.