gum disease

care & treatment

what is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, or periodontitis and gum disease, is a common inflammatory condition most often preceded by gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. Periodontal disease affects the soft tissues surrounding the tooth. Irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, the gums have a chronic inflammatory response that causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue.  There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue. In more advanced stages the jawbone can be effected.  If left untreated, it can lead to shifting or loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.

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2 Major Types Periodontal Disease Explained

Chronic periodontitis 

This most common form of periodontitis is characterized by inflammation of supporting tissue, deep pockets and receding gums. At this stage there is a slow decline and periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis 

This form of gum disease generally occurs in healthy individuals and is characterized by rapid loss of bone and tissue. Localized areas, or the entire mouth can be affected. This form can happen quickly and without warning signs.

Two less common forms of periodontal disease are Necrotizing periodontitis and Periodontitis caused by systemic disease. They are generally associated with systemic health problems such as diabetes, respiratory and heart disease, and HIV, and can cause bone and tissue loss.

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Gum Disease Prevention

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated. Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease:

  • gums that bleed easily
  • red, swollen, tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • any change in the fit of partial dentures
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Gum Disease Treatment

Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease.  Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.  Your dentist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).

Depending upon the advancement of the disease and condition of the bone and tissue, one or more of the following treatments may be recommended:

  • Scaling and root planing – If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. In some cases a deeper cleaning is needed in order to preserve the health of the gum tissue. The mouth is numbed while bacteria and calculus (tartar), which initially caused the infection, are removed from above and below the gumline.  Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.
  • Tissue regeneration – When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures.  A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.
  • Pocket elimination surgery – Even after effective cleaning and regeneration has taken place ,pocket elimination, or flap, surgery can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums making teeth easier to clean.  This and jawbone surgery may be recommended to eliminate indentations in the bone which can foster the colonization of bacteria.
  • Dental implants – When you are dealing with tooth loss due to periodontal disease, the look and feel of your mouth can be restored by dental implants.  Tissue regeneration can prepare the jawbone for artificial replacements for natural tooth roots. Teeth made from titanium or other materials are well suited for the human body and can restore the ability to chew food and prevent sunken jaws or shifting bites.

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