Why is Periodontal Disease a problem?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Click the image above for an educational video on Periodontal Disease.
But recently, periodontal disease has been proven to be a threat to more than your teeth. Research has linked the bacteria associated with gum disease with an increase risk in:
What is Periodontal Disease?
Both periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque - a sticky colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at and below the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth beginning within minutes after cleaning. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This cannot be removed without professional cleaning.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process beginning in the gums. The bacteria found in plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. However, don't be fooled. With periodontal disease, bleeding, redness and swelling do not have to be present.
Pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. Untreated, the disease progresses down the root surface into the underlying bone. The end result is the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate resulting in bone loss which destroys the support of your natural teeth leading to tooth loss.
What are factors that impact Periodontal Health?
The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal diseases is by daily tooth brushing and flossing techniques and regular professional examinations and cleanings.
Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Factors that Increase Chances of Periodontal Disease
Steps to prevent periodontal disease include:
Periodontal treatment is necessary when various conditions affect the health of your gums and the regions of your jawbone that hold your teeth in place. Retaining your teeth is directly dependent on proper periodontal care and maintenance. Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth, like a frame around a beautiful painting. When your gums become unhealthy, they can either recede or become swollen and red. In later stages, the supporting bone is destroyed and your teeth will shift, loosen or fall out. These changes not only affect your ability to chew and speak, they also affect your smile.
Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Friedman are very conservative in their approach to treating periodontal disease. They believe in non-surgical treatment whenever appropriate. However, if periodontal disease is advanced, they will refer the patient to a periodontist.
Debridement is the removal of heavy plaque and tartar from your teeth; it is usually the first step in treating periodontal disease. The plaque and tartar are removed with an ultrasonic scaler. Gentle and effective, this tool removes the build-up with water and high-frequency waves.
Scaling & Root Planing
For plaque and tartar below the gum line, we use scaling and root planning, a conservative, non-invasive and efficient treatment method.
The initial stage of treatment is a thorough cleaning that may include scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gum line.
The tooth roots may also be planed. This procedure smoothes the root surface, allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth.
In some cases, the occlusion (bite) may require adjustment.
Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, we may place antibiotic fibers in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. These antibiotics control infection and encourage normal healing.
A few weeks after this procedure is completed, the pockets around the teeth are measured to determine if treatment has been effective and they have reduced in size.
When deep pocket areas do not resolve the patient may be referred to a periodontist.
Gum Disease Laser Therapy
The latest conservative gum therapy uses a laser. The laser gently disinfects and evaporates diseased tissues from around the tooth and inside the gum pocket. This treatment interrupts the bacterial destruction of the tissues and bones, giving the gum pockets a chance to heal
Repeated visits, generally 2-8, allow the gum pocket to be disease-free and sometimes allow tissues to reattach to the pocket back to a normal or near-normal depth.
Laser therapy is gentle and has a relatively quick recovery. While surgery may still be indicated for severely advanced periodontal cases, laser therapy is a much more conservative, effective and comfortable option for beginning to moderate periodontal cases.Return to top