What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition that affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth, eventually affecting the jawbone itself in the disease’s most advanced stages. Periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue, and is hard to detect as the initial symptoms are often mild. In addition, periodontal disease has been linked with some systemic diseases such as respiratory disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some research suggests that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter your bloodstream through gum tissue, possibly affecting your heart, lungs and other parts of your body. There are also numerous risk factors that increase the chances of developing periodontal disease such as age, smoking, genetics, stress, systemic diseases (diabetes & rheumatoid arthritis), poor nutrition and clenching and grinding.
Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis, which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue (stage 1: red, swollen gums & pain when flossing). A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat (Stage 2). Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the gum tissue and jawbone (Stage 3). If left untreated, it can cause shifting teeth, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss (Stage 4).
What Treatments are Available?
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.
At Parkway Smiles, we offer a range of surgical and nonsurgical treatments, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.
Here are some of the treatments that we provide for periodontal disease:
- Scaling and root planing
- In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially causes the infection must be removed. The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection. A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into a daily cleaning routine.
- 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
- Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums. Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.
- Dental implants
- When teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, the aesthetics and functionality of the mouth can be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone. Tissue regeneration procedures may be required prior to the placement of a dental implant in order to strengthen the bone.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of Periodontal disease, or if you need further information or advise, then please contact us now on or at . Our highly experienced team is ready to ensure that your dental health is restored comfortably, quickly and effectively.