You might be surprised to learn that nearly 80% of American adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. That's an awfully high number, and should make you at least feel better knowing that if you do have any form of gum disease, then you are not alone.
Periodontal gum diseases can range anywhere from minor gum inflammation to serious cases where major damage is being caused to the soft tissue and bone that support and hold your teeth in place.
Ultimately, when periodontal disease goes untreated, the end result is tooth loss.
Gum Disease Threatens Your Oral Health
Research shows that there are other health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth. Whether it is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums. The attention required will vary depending on each case, but ultimately you fix periodontal disease by consistently brushing and flossing your teeth, and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.
The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called "gingivitis." In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place. When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to "periodontitis" (which means "inflammation around the tooth.")
In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form "pockets" that are infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.
Bacterial toxins and the body's enzymes fighting the infection actually start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
How To Prevent Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
There are typically two types of treatments that you'll receive here at Rochelle Family Dentistry that will deal with periodontal (gum) disease. These treatments are called deep scaling and root planing.
Deep scaling is the most common nonsurgical way to treat gum disease, or periodontitis.
If your disease is moderate, but not severe, your dentist may recommend scaling to treat the disease and keep it from getting worse. But if you have severe periodontal disease and your condition may require gum surgery, your dentist and periodontist may recommend a scaling and root planing before the surgery, as well as a thorough teeth-cleaning prior to the procedure.
The sticky, bacteria-filled plaque that causes gum disease tends to accumulate in the area along and just below the gum line. If you have gums that are slightly receded from your teeth, you may be at increased risk for gum disease and your dentist may recommend scaling. Scaling is nonsurgical, but it is a different type of procedure from a standard dental cleaning because it involves cleaning the areas of the tooth below the gum line.
There are two types of scaling instruments and some dentists or dental hygienists may use both:
- Scaling with hand-held instruments. Your dentist or periodontist will use a dental scaler and curette to manually remove (scale) the plaque from the teeth. Because the dentist or dental hygienist can't see the plaque, they rely on touch to identify areas of tartar buildup and rough spots.
- Scaling with ultrasonic instruments. Ultrasonic scaling instruments clean plaque from the teeth with a vibrating metal tip that chips off the tartar and a water spray to wash it away and keep the tip cool.
Root Planing is where your dentist or dental hygienist uses special tools to smooth rough spots on the tooth roots. This process not only removes bacteria and helps reduce plaque buildup, but it provides a smooth surface for gums to reattach to the teeth.
Dr. Frazier and his staff at Rochelle Family Dentistry will conduct a thorough examination of your oral health and determine what is the best solution for dealing with any and all gum disease issues that may be present. If you are a patient with periodontis, then you need a professional dentist who is experienced and knowledgeable in dealing with all forms of gum disease and who has the expertise to know what treatment is best for each unique scenario.
And that dentist is Dr. Frazier and his team of professionals at Rochelle Family Dentistry.Back to Treatments List