What Is Periodontal Disease?
The word “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that attacks and damages the gum and bone tissues supporting the teeth. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Diagnosing and treating gum disease early on is your best chance of reversing the condition and maintaining your healthy smile.
What Are the Causes of Periodontal Disease?
The primary cause of periodontal disease is plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, saliva, and food debris. If not removed by daily brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleanings, the gum tissues become inflamed, leading to redness, swelling, and bleeding. The good news is that the early stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, is usually reversible with periodontal treatment and meticulous oral hygiene practices at home.
Factors that increase the risk of periodontal disease include poor oral health habits, defective dental work, smoking or chewing tobacco products, hormonal changes as those related to pregnancy, poor nutrition, and a genetic predisposition.
The Solea Laser vaporizes tissues using light, without any contact, whether we’re treating gum, tooth, or bone. It utilizes a wavelength of light delivered in thousands of pulses per second, which provides an analgesic effect, minimizing the need for local anesthetics. The Solea experience is incredibly unique, allowing you and your family members to enjoy comfortable and effective dental care.
How Does Periodontal Disease Affect Your Health?
Periodontal disease does not only pose a risk to your oral health, but it can also impact your general health. Studies show a link between periodontal disease and various chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. That's why Dr. Nallasamy and her team emphasize the prevention, treatment, and management of periodontal disease.
How Does Periodontal Disease Progress?
If not treated, the ongoing inflammation can lead to a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis, with devastating effects on your oral health. The gums will begin pulling away from the teeth forming spaces called pockets that trap plaque, bacteria, and debris. As the condition advances, the pockets will deepen, chewing may become painful, and the teeth may loosen or shift. Untreated periodontitis may eventually lead to tooth loss or the need for extraction.
How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
The first line of defense against gum disease is a non-surgical deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is similar to what you experience during your regular dental cleanings. It involves removing plaque and tartar from your teeth and just below your gum line with a dental scaler and other dental instruments. Next is root planing, which involves cleaning and smoothing out the rough areas on the tooth root surfaces. That helps provide a clean surface that promotes gum healing and reattachment.
Depending on your unique needs, you may require antibiotic treatment using ARESTIN (minocycline HCl). The antibiotic is placed directly into the infected gum pockets after your scaling and root planing treatment. Unlike oral antibiotics, it's delivered right where it's needed, at the site of gum infection. ARESTIN combats the harmful bacterial left behind after scaling and root planing.
What Happens After Periodontal Disease Treatment?
After scaling and root planing, we typically recommend recall visits every three to four months rather than the standard twice-a-year dental exams and cleanings. We will clean your teeth, evaluate your gum health, and provide any needed intervention to ensure the condition does not progress.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home. Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash. With proper oral care, you can stop the progression of gum disease and maintain your healthy smile.