Periodontal Disease Treatment
Periodontal disease or periodontitis (otherwise known as gum disease) is a chronic long-term infection of the supporting structures of the teeth. In many cases, periodontal disease can go undetected for years before the damage is diagnosed. Like other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, periodontal disease is described as a “silent disease” as many signs and symptoms are easily overlooked in the early and moderate disease stages. Even once periodontal disease reaches more advanced stages, many people describe an absence of pain or discomfort, and may only notice bad breath or “pink in the sink” (bleeding) with brushing or flossing. Although periodontitis can be a silent disease, the following signs or symptoms may be noticed:
- Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender
- Bleeding during brushing or flossing
- Teeth that look longer because your gums have receded
- Pain or sensitivity during chewing
- Gums that have separated, or pulled away from your teeth, creating a pocket
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Changes in the way your removable appliance fits
- Pus coming from between your teeth and gums
- Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth
The primary cause of damage from periodontal disease is our immune reaction to certain strains of bacteria that infect the gums, ligament, and bone that support our teeth. Once our bodies identify that more harmful bacteria and bacterial toxins are present, the immune system will kick into overdrive to destroy the environment in which these harmful bacteria thrive- pulling the gums and periodontal ligament from the tooth, and deteriorating the bone supporting the teeth. Additional factors that could increase our risk of periodontitis are smoking, crowded teeth, inadequate home-care techniques (incorrect brushing and flossing), nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, side effects of prescription medications, health history, and genetics.
The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease can be treated and respond very well to therapy. Treatment usually involves periodontal therapy such as scaling and root planning. Often we use a laser to assist in reduction of the bacteria that are causing the infection. Special mouth rinses and toothpastes may also be prescribed. We also train our patients in correct home care techniques. More advanced cases may require referral to a periodontist for therapy, which could include surgical procedures to help establish health. The goal with these treatments is to stop the damage from progressing. Lost bone and recession do not typically regenerate, but with proper treatment and establishment of good home care practices the disease process can be halted and teeth can be preserved. If you think you or someone you care about has periodontal disease, please call Mountain Spring Advanced Dental for an evaluation!