Periodontal disease is a mostly preventable inflammatory disease that infects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth.
In its early stages, called gingivitis, the gums are red and swollen due to inflammation caused by the body’s attempt to fight harmful bacteria. If gingivitis is left untreated the infection can progress into the bone and cause loss of bone and potentially loss of teeth.
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen gums
- Gum recession
- Bleeding gums! Healthy gums do NOT bleed.
- Loose teeth
- Shifting teeth
Periodontal disease is caused by the accumulation of bacterial plaque on teeth. This plaque, if not cleaned off the teeth with flossing, brushing and routine visits to the dental hygienist, will harden into what we call calculus. Calculus can only be removed from the teeth by a competent dental hygienist or dentist. If bacterial calculus is left on the teeth then permanent damage to gum and bones (periodontal disease) occurs. The following are causes and contributing factors to periodontal disease:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Crooked teeth
- Failing dental restorations
- Fluctuating hormones (pregnancy)
- Teeth clinching and/or grinding
- Systemic disease (diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, etc.)
- Poor nutrition
- Flossing once/day
- Brushing twice/day (electronic brush is best)
- Regular dental exams with x-rays (every six months for most people, more often if a history of periodontal disease or high risk)
We examine each and every patient for signs of periodontal disease each time they visit our office. Each of our dental hygienists are meticulous in looking for signs and symptoms of this preventable disease. We will also offer recommendations to help treat any signs of gingivitis (earliest stage of periodontal disease) and offer encouragement and support. WE WILL NEVER JUDGE, LECTURE OR CONDEMN ANYONE WITH DENTAL DISEASE. We are here to help our patients achieve optimal dental health and we believe the best way to do that is to educate, encourage, praise, lift and support our patients.
Periodontal disease is a successfully treated disease IF IT IS DISCOVERED IN ITS EARLY STAGES. We treat early stages of periodontal disease with education, motivation and a simple teeth cleaning. More advanced stages of periodontal disease (where bone loss has occurred) requires more in-depth treatment. This treatment can include education, motivation, scaling and root planing, life-style changes, antibiotics and more frequent visits to the dental hygienist. In cases of severe periodontal disease where scaling and root planing are not adequate to treat the condition we may prescribe periodontal surgery. This procedure is often done as a last resort to save a tooth. Periodontal surgery is often performed using a laser and is virtually painless. In our office, any periodontal surgery is performed by a periodontal specialist Dr. Steve Kallaos who is a member of our dental team.
WARNING! If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease and have been told you need scaling and root planing but you feel your mouth is pretty healthy you may want to seek a second opinion; ESPECIALLY if you have HMO dental insurance.
Little-known Facts About Periodontal Disease:
- This is a contagious disease: if you have a perfectly healthy mouth and have regular teeth cleanings and exams but your partner has untreated periodontal disease then you too can contract the disease.
- Periodontal disease has been directly linked to diabetes, heart disease, strokes, respiratory disease and premature births.
- New research shows a possible link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In today’s world, with the technology we now have to prevent, diagnose and treat periodontal disease, absolutely no one should ever have to lose a tooth to this highly preventable disease. If you suspect you or your partner might have periodontal disease, please call our office for a complementary exam to see if you have this preventable and highly curable disease. 714-838-0760.