Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) Treatment
Note the inflamed gum and tartar (calculus) accumulation.
After a thorough cleaning and proper maintenance, the patient now has a much healthier, stable gum condition.
What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth that caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.
How do I know if I have periodontal (gum) disease?
Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. It is essential that you schedule an appointment with your periodontist if you have the following warning signs that can signal a problem:
gums that bleed easily
red, swollen, tender gums
gums that have pulled away from the teeth
persistent bad breath or bad taste
teeth that are loose or separating
any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
any change in the fit of partial dentures
It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important.
Do I need to treat my gum disease?
Definitely. Gum disease is an infection that eats away your jaw bone and gum tissue. If left untreated, it often leads to the loss of teeth and bone. Moreover, it's closely connected with your overall health:
What Happens in Your Mouth Doesn’t Necessarily Stay in Your Mouth
Research has shown an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among others. People with periodontal disease may have an increased risk for heart attack. Individuals with diabetes and periodontal disease may find it more difficult to control their blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk for diabetic complications. Women with periodontal disease may be at an increased risk of pregnancy complications, such as delivering a preterm or low birth weight baby. It is crucial that you pay close attention to your periodontal health.
Periodontal disease treatment
Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed.
Non-surgical periodontal treatment
Scaling and root planing, or "deep cleaning", is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing is sometimes followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials, systemic antibiotics, and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis.
Periodontal pocket reduction procedures
A periodontal pocket reduction procedure may be recommended because you have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine. During this procedure, the gum tissue is folded back and the disease-causing bacteria are removed. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy state.
Once you have been diagnosed with periodontitis, you will always be in periodontal maintenance. Periodontitis is a chronic disease, and because of this, periodontal maintenance will need to be performed. In order to prevent the progression and recurrence of periodontitis, maintenance is performed at intervals approximately three months apart. It’s important to note that the frequency of periodontal maintenance varies according to the individual and their needs.
During your periodontal maintenance appointment, our hygienist will perform a deep cleaning with both hand instruments and the ultrasonic scaler. Our hygienist will clean below the gums, measure the pocket depths, and periodically take X-rays. We do this in order to monitor the progression of gum and bone loss.
Contact our periodontists Dr. Ling and Dr. Tai for any questions you may have!
All the clinical case pictures shown on our website were patients treated by Dr. Ling or Dr. Tai. All rights reserved.
Individual treatment options and results may vary.