Periodontal Care

Periodontal care is any treatment involving the structures that support the teeth. The gums and bone around the teeth have to be maintained in a healthy state in order for the teeth to be healthy and functional in the long-term.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection around the teeth that results in loss of the supporting bone. It happens over a long period of time and usually does not cause pain. For this reason, many affected people are unaware that they have it.

The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which is inflammation and mild infection of the gums. Gingivitis is completely reversible with regular cleanings and good home care. However, gingivitis will often progress to periodontal disease if left untreated.

Does anything put me at risk for periodontal disease?

The factors that contribute to periodontal disease are incredibly complex. Most cases of periodontal disease involve poor oral hygiene, however other factors usually contribute.

Genetics seems to play a large role in the presence and severity of periodontal disease. Some people are very diligent with their oral hygiene and still get it, while others never get it even with poor oral hygiene.

Other risk factors include smoking, diabetes, certain medications, poor dental restorations, malnutrition and compromised immune system.

How do I know if I have periodontal disease?

We usually diagnose periodontal disease during routine dental hygiene appointments. 

Your hygienist will measure the space between your teeth and gums using a miniature ruler. Those readings tell us a lot about the health status of your gums and surrounding bone. We combine those readings with what we see on the x-rays and in our clinical examination to make a diagnosis.

What can be done about my periodontal disease?

Scaling/root planing is the first line of treatment for mild to moderate periodontal disease. We usually describe it as a deep cleaning. It is typically done over two or more appointments in order for the hygienist to thoroughly clean every surface of every tooth. 

We then do reevaluations and regular cleanings every four months until the disease has stopped progressing.  

Surgery is sometimes necessary in moderate to severe cases of periodontal disease. 

Regardless of the treatment, the most important determinants of long-term success are good home hygiene and regular in-office recalls.

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