Periodontal or gum disease affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. While the disease is rarely painful, it will continue to progress and, without treatment, may ultimately result in tooth loss. In the initial stages, known more commonly as gingivitis, the disease is easily treated. Three out of four people have some stage of periodontal disease and may not even be aware of it.
Signs and Symptoms
- Gums that bleed when you brush
- Gums are red, swollen or tender
- Gums have pulled away (receded) from teeth
- Pus between teeth & gums when gums are pressed
- Permanent teeth are loose or separating
- Change in the way your teeth fit when biting
- Any changes in fit of partial dentures
- Persistent bad breath
As the disease advances, bacteria spreads between the teeth and gums, causing pockets to form. These pockets soon become infected and gradually deteriorate both the gums and supporting bone, loosening teeth in the process. This advanced stage of gum disease is more commonly known as periodontitis. Unfortunately, at this point, while the disease can still be treated, the damage caused is mostly irreversible.
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done in 2-4 visits. In this procedure, tarter, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gumline. Arestin, is a common antibiotic used to kill bacteria and reduce the size and number of pockets. It is placed in the deeper pockets at the time of scaling and root planing. This procedure helps gum tissue heal, and pockets shrink.
Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, we recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year. At this appointment the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus will be removed from above and below the gum line. Good oral hygiene (brushing and FLOSSING) is a huge essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control!