The periodontium include the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth, like the bones and ligaments that hold the teeth in place. A periodontal procedure involves these structures. Your gums and bone that surround the teeth are the reason why they are sturdy in your mouth. As these tissues start getting inflamed and infected, your teeth become compromised.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gingiva (gums). This occurs when you do not visit the dentist for your cleanings, have poor oral hygiene, do not floss, take certain medications, or have hormonal changes, like puberty or pregnancy. Your gums hug your teeth tight to keep bacteria out, kind of like a turtleneck. If this “turtleneck” loosens due to any of the above listed reason, a pocket forms allowing bacteria to enter and wreak havoc on the periodontium. If the gum loosens any more than a certain amount, you will no longer be able to keep the area clean. When you get to this point you progress from having gingivitis to periodontitis, or the inflammation of the periodontium.
Periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease, affects the bone and ligament that hold your teeth in place. Periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss. Once you get to the stage of having periodontal disease, you need to have special cleanings called scaling & root planning, more commonly referred to as “Deep cleanings.” The dentist or hygienist cleans all the way to the bottom of the “turtleneck” (with local anesthetic of course) to make sure the bacteria and inflammation are removed. The dentist also sometimes uses a laser to clean and disinfect the area if a pocket is too deep. Once you get a deep cleaning, you will need to see the hygienist every 3 months for a periodontal maintenance. Studies have shown that the bacteria that causes periodontal disease takes about 90 days to re-colonize. A 3 month maintenance visit will make sure you do not get active periodontal disease again.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures.
Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, you may still have some degree of gum disease. In some people, gum disease may affect only certain teeth, such as the molars. Only a dentist or a periodontist can recognize and determine the progression of gum disease.
Treatments for Gum Disease
- Non Surgical Treatment
- Deep Cleaning
- Laser treatments – prevent surgery
- Surgical Treatment – if the disease can not be controlled with the above treatments, we will refer you to a specialist to evaluate for further treatment.