What is Periodontal Disease or Gum and Bone Disease?

Periodontal disease in an infection that destroys the gum and bone surrounding your teeth. The main cause of periodontal disease (gum and bone disease) is bacterial plaque. This bacteria, if left untreated on your teeth, causes damage to your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontal disease is an interaction with your immune system and this plaque which can lead to premature tooth loss. There is a genetic predisposition to periodontal disease.

Signs and Symptoms

The only definitive way to detect periodontal disease is through a periodontal evaluation. Pain is not a good indicator of periodontal disease. If you have any of the following symptoms, it maybe a sign that you have periodontal disease:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily while brushing and flossing
  • Gums that bleed during a professional cleaning
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A receding gum line or "getting longer in the tooth"
  • Loose teeth or teeth that develop spaces between them
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Mouth sores or irritation that does not heal within two weeks
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Pain is NOT a symptom of bone loss

Some factors affecting the health of your mouth:

  • Tobacco use, which is associated with greater calculus formation, greater loss of bone, and gum tissue. Don't forget the increased risk of oral cancer. Chemicals in tobacco also slow down healing, and can decrease your chance of success following any periodontal treatment.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of oral bacteria infection and periodontal disease.
  • Female hormones, which can increase periodontal disease risk during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Pregnant women can experience changes in teeth and gums, and should consider their periodontal health in their plan for prenatal care. Women can also experience gum swelling, bleeding and mouth sores in the day’s right before menstruation.
  • Treating periodontal disease will help lesson the burden of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious medical conditions.

Types of Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)

  • A very thorough version of a dental cleaning. This is sometimes an initial treatment designed to remove all biofilm (soft plaque) and calculus (tartar) from above, and within the deep pockets of the gum line.
  • Scaling and root planing often the first step toward achieving periodontal health and stability.
  • With proper management, it can halt the progression of periodontal disease, reduce inflammation, and reduce periodontal pocketing.
  • Depending on the patient’s condition, this procedure can be completed in one or more appointments. Typically scaling and root planing is completed under local anesthetic (numbing), for comfort and thoroughness.
  • In some cases patients may elect to be sedated for this type of cleaning as well.

Pocket Reduction Therapy

  • Pocket reduction therapy, also known as Osseous Pocket Reduction Therapy.
  • With this procedure, the gum tissue is moved away from the teeth to eliminate the bacteria, and infected tissue, then the gum tissue is secured back into place.
  • In some cases, irregular surfaces are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide; allowing the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy tooth and bone.
  • Increases the probability of retaining natural teeth, and removes the bacterial cause of the periodontal disease. This results in reduced inflammations and decreased periodontal pocket.

Bone Grafting Therapy

  • Sometimes periodontal disease will result in holes or depressions in the bone around teeth.
  • After the teeth have been cleaned and sterilized a bone graft can be placed to fill in these holes and depressions.
  • The purpose of a bone graft is to re-grow the lost bone around these diseased teeth, and gain back the missing support that was lost due to the periodontal disease.
  • If this is indicated for your treatment Dr. Grimard will have a discussion with you regarding your different bone grafting options.

Laser Therapy

  • Laser therapy uses a specific type of laser light to help sterilize the tooth surface from bacteria after scaling and root planing.
  • Laser therapy is for specific situations. Dr. Grimard will discuss with you if it's appropriate for the management of your periodontal disease.
  • Laser therapy is considered a surgical intervention for the management of periodontal disease.

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