Gum disease, sometimes called periodontal disease, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Most of the times, periodontal diseases are caused by bacteria from the dental plaque which is adherent to tooth surfaces.
In case of bacterial infections, the first barrier is the gum. In the absence of treatment, the infection progresses to the periodontal ligaments and the alveolar bone involving the progressive loss of the alveolar bone around the teeth which can lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth.
The bacteria that cause this dental disease have been lined to serious health problems such as heart problems, poor circulation leading to diabetic concerns, strokes premature and even low birth rate babies and even cancer. When we treat gum disease, our concern is for your overall health, not just your teeth. Even with all the advancement in prevention, 70% of all adults still have some form of gum disease present in their mouth. For this reason we always do a thorough evaluation so we can prescribe the right level of cleaning.
Actually there are 3 different levels of gum and bone disease. Even in 2012 approximately 75% of the adult population still has some form of gum disease. Given all the advances in our service and technology this isn't a particular proud number for our profession since it hasn't significantly changed in the last several decades. If your one of the 25% - congratulations! A preventive (or regular) level of cleaning works well for you if you have no evidence of disease in your mouth. For the other 75% there are two levels of therapeutic cleaning you need to know about.
The symptoms of gum disease may include:
- Gums bleeding to brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Sensitive or shifting teeth
- Deeper and wider periodontal pockets
- Bone loss
- Tooth loss
The non -surgical treatment usually involves:
- A deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic,and the use of loupes and headlight.
- Medicated gum treatment with local Antibiotic agent, antibacterial and desensitizer irrigation.
- Laser bacterial reduction
- Advanced oral hygiene instruction and tools for home periodontal therapy.
The Surgical gum treatment for advanced stages may involves:
- Laser gum surgery
- Close surgical curettage
- Open flap curettage
- Pocket Reduction Surgery
Many patients postpone and ignore their gum treatment because this disease is traditionally painless till advanced stage.
In summary always remember there are levels and unless you're one of the fortunate 25% these other levels should be part of your conversation with your dentist and hygienist. In fact, doing a basic cleaning with disease present can actually be harmful to you. Call us if you would like to learn more; and remember, "it's not just a cleaning."
Contact us today for a free consultation!