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What Is Periodontal Disease?
When most people think of a beautiful smile, they think about white teeth free of decay. However, your gums are equally important to your oral health, both aesthetically and functionally. For this reason, periodontal (gum) disease is a serious oral health issue that can drastically affect your smile. At Shoreline Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease because we want our patients to maintain a healthy, dazzling smile!
The first and most common form of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. This beginning stage of the disease is characterized by gums that are swollen and red. Unfortunately, the symptoms of gingivitis are subtle and progress slowly. If you suffer from gingivitis, your gums may also bleed easily during brushing and flossing.
Luckily, gingivitis is easy to treat and reverse with improvements to your daily oral hygiene routine. Regular flossing can get your gums back to a healthier state relatively fast. If gingivitis is left unchecked, it will ultimately progress to the second stage of gum disease, periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is the breakdown of the hard and soft tissues that anchor the teeth in the jawbone. It is caused by the body’s reaction to a plaque biofilm, which is formed by the bacteria that normally reside on and around the teeth. When this biofilm is not mechanically disrupted, it works its way underneath the tissue, forms calcified tartar deposits, and produces an overactive response from the body’s immune system known as inflammation. This inflammation is reversible in its early stages. However, when allowed to progress, it results in the separation of the gums away from the teeth (pockets), destruction of the supporting bone, and eventual loosening and loss of the teeth.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Much like tooth decay, periodontal disease is caused by the harmful bacteria found in plaque, the sticky biofilm on our teeth. When plaque is allowed to build up, our immune system produces toxins to combat bacteria. Unfortunately, these toxins also target healthy tissues, causing the infection we refer to as periodontal disease.
The infection starts with the gums. It then spreads to all tissues that support your teeth. Without treatment, it will likely cause tooth loss for one or more teeth.
Treating Advanced Periodontal Disease
As a periodontist, Dr. Hoge specializes in treatments designed to prevent or reverse the effects of periodontal disease. While some of the damage to your tissues may be irreversible, our treatments can still get your periodontal health back on track. One of the most common treatments for advanced periodontal disease is a procedure known as a scaling and root planing.
A scaling and root planing is similar to a conventional cleaning. During the procedure, we use an ultrasonic scaler to eliminate plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from the surfaces of your teeth. Next, we smooth out any rough surfaces on your roots to prevent plaque, tartar, and bacteria from re-adhering below the gum tissues. This process is extensive and may require more than one appointment, depending on the severity of your periodontal disease.
After your scaling and root planing, your gums should return to a pink, healthy state. Healthy gums also fit snugly around each tooth. To prevent a reoccurrence, be sure to implement a strong oral hygiene that includes daily flossing.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
Maintaining proper periodontal health is one of the best ways to protect your smile! Call 920-452-8802 to schedule your appointment today!