Periodontal disease, ...
 
- Your initial exam...
- Periodontal disease...
- Digital radiography...
- Caring for your gums...
- New technologies...
- Crown front lengthening...
- Broken front tooth...
- What are porcelain veneers...
 
Periodontal disease is an infection that attacks the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. Plaque, a sticky, colorless film of food and bacteria, forms constantly on teeth. If not removed, plaque hardens to become calculus (or tartar) in as little as 24 hours. Your body responds to the bacteria in plaque and tartar by sending white blood cells (the body's natural defense) to the infected area. When these white blood cells reach your gums, they release enzymes to attack the infection. Unfortunately, these protective enzymes also attack and break down the bone and gum tissue surrounding your teeth.


Infected gums form pockets

Tartar buildup vastly complicates the battle against periodontal disease. If plaque or tartar is not removed, you become vulnerable to gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease. When you suffer from gingivitis, your gums swell, get red and tender, and bleed when you brush or floss. The natural space between your teeth and gums becomes infected, and deepens. Now, in this newly formed pocket, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can thrive. This sets off a downward spiral, since a toothbrush and floss can't remove the plaque in the depths of pockets. Untreated periodontal disease eventually leads to tooth loss, as the infection, coupled with your body's reaction to it, ultimately destroys the bone that holds your teeth in your mouth.
Scaling and root planing

Signs of periodontal disease

Most people who suffer from periodontal disease aren't aware of it until the condition becomes serious. This is because early periodontal disease usually doesn't cause any pain. The good news is that our staff can detect the signs of periodontal disease during your twice-yearly hygiene appointment. However, you should schedule an appointment immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

Your gums are red, swollen, tender, or bleed easily.
Your gums are pulling away from your teeth.
You suffer from persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
Pus appears when you press on your gums.
Your teeth are loose, or you notice a change in your bite.


New techniques

Prevention is the easiest way to fight this disease. A periodontal disease prevention plan involves following a dental hygiene discipline that includes brushing twice daily, flossing at least once a day, and visiting us twice a year for dental cleanings. We also recommend that you avoid smoking, eat a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy lifestyle overall, as periodontal disease has been linked to other medical conditions, including heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes, and respiratory infections.

Treating periodontal disease
After a thorough evaluation, the treatment of periodontal disease begins with scaling and root planing. Using special instruments, we carefully and meticulously remove the plaque and tartar that extend below the gum line. Then we smooth the root surfaces. This treatment allows the infected gum tissue to heal and to form new, healthier attachments to the root surfaces. We may also prescribe antibiotics or an antimicrobial mouth rinse to fight the growth of bacteria that leads to periodontal disease. In cases of advanced periodontal disease, and in cases where pockets fail to heal after root planing, we may also recommend periodontal surgery.


Moderate perio disease
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