Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

More than half of the adult population in the U.S. have some level of periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease) is a disease that affects all tissue that supports the teeth, not just the gums. There are a number of factors contributing to periodontal disease and it is often preceded by gingivitis, which may be more familiar. The most likely cause is bacteria from plaque and tartar buildup around the teeth that destroys the supporting tissue.  In most cases involving healthy individuals, regular professional cleanings and effective home care can prevent periodontal disease.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Treatment may vary depending on the severity.  In earlier stages, scaling and root planing (commonly known as deep cleaning) is the recommended first step. This resets the mouth to clean start. It involves using special instruments to reach the depths that aren’t accessible with normal brushing and flossing.  As harmful bacteria build up in deep areas between the teeth and the gums, healthy tissue gets destroyed.  If left untreated, tooth loss may results.

Depending on the severity, it may require more than one visit to complete the treatment of the areas involved.  This is followed by re-evaluation of the sites treated around 4-6 weeks after the deep cleaning.  For those with periodontal disease, it is important to be seen at recommended intervals until condition improves or in advance cases, to slow down the progression of the disease.  The goal is to prevent tooth loss or try to keep your teeth for longer.

How does deep cleaning help with periodontal disease?

It removes the harmful plaque and tartar from root surfaces that may be destroying the surrounding tissue.  If treated early and maintained, periodontal disease may be reversible.