Periodontal disease (also called “gum disease”) is a progressive condition that begins with mild gum inflammation called “gingivitis.” The inflammation generally begins when bacteria living in the tissue surrounding teeth colonize and irritate the tissue. If the inflammation goes untreated, it progresses into an infection characterized by red, swollen, painful and/or bleeding gums.
Many people have gingivitis, and it is not uncommon for the disease to remain hidden from the patient until it advances. Regular tooth cleanings and check-ups will identify the disease even if you are not symptomatic.
Periodontal disease requires immediate treatment as it can advance to the stage where discomfort and unhealthy appearance are precursors of the jawbone receding from the infection and teeth becoming loose. Advanced periodontal disease is the primary cause of tooth loss.
Gum recession also may be caused by over brushing with a hard bristle brush, and may occur when a tooth is not positioned properly. In the absence of infection, gum recession still requires periodontal treatment to prevent further recession.
Before embarking on restorative and cosmetic treatment, we will treat any present periodontal infection. During the initial new patient exam and at every dental checkup, your dentist will thoroughly examine you for signs of gum disease. At teeth cleaning appointments, our hygienist will make a thorough examination.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
In the case of mild to moderate periodontal disease, we will focus on eliminating the bacterial infection with more frequent tooth cleanings in our office and instruction on the most appropriate oral home care. Your dentist will recommend the frequency at which you should have professional teeth cleaning done by the dental hygienist.
Sometimes a deep scaling is needed to remove the bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) from deeper gum pockets around teeth. Where periodontal disease is advanced and the jawbone has regressed significantly, more intensive cleaning may be recommended and loose teeth that cannot be saved will be removed.
Our in-office periodontist, Dr. Paul Bivens, is trained in all aspects of periodontal treatment, including restorative surgery to correct the damage of gum disease (such as pocket reduction surgery and gum grafts), and dental implant procedures to optimally replace lost teeth.