The word literally means ‘around the teeth.’ So as the name implies it is a disease that affects the tissues that surround and support the teeth. This includes the gums and the bone.
At its worst, periodontal disease can cause you to lose some or even all of your teeth even if you have never had a single cavity. If it is not caught in the relatively early stages and treated promptly and consistently, it can easily progress to this dental armageddon.
Since the key to treating periodontal disease is early detection, the single best thing you can do is consistently see the dentist for checkups and cleanings. In fact, the single greatest common factor in most (not all) periodontal cases is the lack of thorough professional teeth cleanings.
When we do discover early to moderate periodontal disease, our first treatment is virtually always a scaling, otherwise known as a “deep cleaning.” This removes the tartar from the teeth and the root surfaces which helps the gums heal and slows or even stops the disease. The key here is to get the scaling done as soon as possible, and afterwards to consistently see the dentist for cleanings every three to six months.
If the disease has progressed beyond where a deep cleaning will suffice, we refer our patients to a qualified periodontist (gum specialist). These dentists have gone beyond dental school to learn more about advanced gum disease treatment. We believe strongly that they are the best people to take over at the later disease stages. Even then, we are a part of the treatment.
Since early detection is the key to keeping our teeth, what signs should you look for?
First, gingivitis, which is generally noticed by bleeding gums when you brush or floss.
Next, spaces opening or closing between teeth. Teeth that seem to have shifted significantly often indicate the loss of bone around those teeth.
Finally, teeth that just seem to no longer be solid when you push on them. Healthy bone and gums do not allow most teeth to move by any obvious amount.
The 3 stages of gum disease are gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis is caused by toxins irritating the gum line as a result of plaque buildup. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis can include swelling, sensitivity and bleeding of the gums during brushing and flossing. Gingivitis can be easily reversed through professional care and good home oral hygiene.
Periodontitis is categorized as irreversible bone loss that results from untreated gingivitis. The Gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line which traps food and plaque. Dental treatment and home care can help prevent from further damage but at this stage the results are not reversible. Advanced Periodontitis is when the fiber and bones supporting the teeth are destroyed. This may cause teeth to shift or loosen; teeth may have to be removed depending on how advance the disease has become and if treatments are non-effective. You can begin by preventing gum disease with good oral health. Pick up a brochure or ask your dentist today
Dr. Dean Dietrich founded Pleasant Dental® with the vision of serving his community by providing high-value comfortable care. Dr. D. has over 30 years of expertise and continues to be very passionate about his work. He and team enjoy caring for fearful patients and providing care in a unique upbeat, even fun way.