Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and the bone that surrounds the teeth. These infections are a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Millions of people have some type of periodontal disease, but are unaware that they have a problem. These diseases are almost always painless, and may go completely unnoticed in their early stages.
There are two stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a superficial infection of the gum. Periodontitis is more advanced infection involving the surrounding bone and ligaments. The primary cause of these infections is the sticky accumulation of bacteria called plaque. Plaque forms continuously, so it must be removed daily with regular brushing and flossing. If plaque is allowed to build up, calculus (tartar) forms, which cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. The bacteria’s toxic waste products and the body’s own immune response to them will begin to destroy the bone surrounding the teeth.
Treatment of periodontal disease includes:
- Complete removal of plaque and calculus by scaling and root planning
- Possible anti-microbial therapy
- Regular dental visits to avoid relapse of the disease
Once the accumulated plaque and calculus has been removed, the gums and supporting tissues are able to heal. Depending upon the extent of the disease, the treatment may take several visits. In this way, Dr. Price and the hygienist can assess the progress of treatment and alter tactics if necessary. Following initial therapy, cleanings may be necessary every 3 to 4 months increasing long-term success and reducing the risk of relapse.
Periodontal Disease and Your Health
Factors influencing periodontal progressions:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Specific medications
- Genetic inheritance
- Drug abuse
- Personal oral care
Health Issues Associated with Periodontal Disease
- Heart disease
- Low birth weight babies
It is important to have your gums assessed regularly and to learn how to keep your teeth clean. Dr. Price and his hygienists are dedicated to helping you learn how to keep your teeth for a lifetime.
If you have any further questions regarding dental cleaning or other procedures to improve your smile, please ask the dentist or any of our staff at Riverstone Dental.