According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every two Americans over the age of 30 have periodontal disease. Many people aren’t familiar with periodontal disease and there are many adults who don’t even realize that they have it.
Our hygienists and dentists routinely evaluate your gum tissue health to make sure that you are receiving the best level of care for them.
So What Is It?
Periodontal disease is inflammation that is specifically affecting the bone and tissue that support your teeth.
Periodontal disease symptoms may include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums, especially when flossing or brushing
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Change in bite alignment
- Deep pockets surrounding teeth
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that is in your mouth. We all have bacteria in our mouth, some of the bacteria is good and some is bad. When the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria problems can result. Often this creates inflammation and overtime it can lead to destruction of bone that surrounds your teeth.
The imbalance of bacteria in its earliest stage is referred to as gingivitis.
There are several signs of gingivitis such as redness of tissue or bleeding gums. While many people think it is normal for their gum tissue to bleed when they brush or floss, it actually could be a sign that your gum tissue is not healthy.
In gingivitis, only your gum tissue is affected. The good news is that with proper home care and routine cleanings, gingivitis can be reversed. Thus, it is important to catch in its early stages.
If the bacteria that has caused gingivitis is not managed promptly, the disease can progress to periodontal disease. This is a more advanced disease that affects the supporting structures, such as ligaments and bone levels.
What Should You Expect As Far As Treatment?
Treatment can vary depending on how advanced your periodontal disease is. There are different stages of this disease, from early to moderate to severe. Periodontal disease may affect many teeth in your mouth, but it is also possible that it can be localized and only affect one or a few teeth.
If you have periodontal disease, our dentists will likely recommend a procedure called scaling and root planing. Patients with periodontal disease often have deep pockets, and this type of procedure allows your hygienist to clean deep into those pockets and remove the bacteria that is causing problems to your gum tissue.
Following treatment, maintaining a clean mouth is essential. Your dentist and hygienist will want to see you every 3, 4, or 6 months for perio maintenance appointments. At these routine appointments, they will check the health of your gum tissue and determine what maintenance interval is best for you. They will also clean your teeth and clean into the pocket areas to ensure that the bacteria is managed well.
In severe stages of periodontal disease, you may be referred to see a periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes solely in treating the gum tissue and its supporting structures.
What Happens If You Don’t Actively Treat It?
We don’t suggest ignoring gum disease. Gum disease is never something that just goes away on its own. Periodontal disease isn’t reversible. It can be managed with proper care, but once you have it, it will always need maintenance through perio maintenance appointments.
If the disease isn’t actively treated and then maintained, it will continue to advance to its later stages, which can lead to tooth loss. Tooth loss can also lead to many other factors such as expensive tooth replacement, additional bone loss, and difficulty chewing food.
While periodontal disease refers to inflammation in your mouth, these sneaky and harmful bacteria don’t stay put in just your mouth. This disease has been found to have systemic effects as the bacteria have are in other areas of the body. Many studies have linked it to other health conditions such as heart disease.
What Are The Treatment Options For Bone And Gum Loss?
There are many different treatment options for bone and gum loss, including:
- Flap surgery
- Gum grafts
- Laser therapy
- Periodontal abscess treatment
- Regenerative procedures such as bone grafting
Flap surgery, also known as periodontal pocket reduction, is a surgery in which your gum tissue is folded back. This allows the surgeon to be able to remove the bacteria that is causing this infection.
Gum grafts can involve taking tissue from the roof of your mouth and using it to cover an area where gum tissue has worn away. This can help bring comfort to patients who are experiencing sensitivity in areas of exposed root surfaces.
Laser therapy can sometimes be used to remove diseased tissue and to promote bone regeneration in patients.
Regenerative procedures such as bone grafting are also a possibility. Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that is done to replace bone that is missing.
Do Your Dental Benefits Help With Periodontal Exams?
While dental benefits vary by plan, some include benefits for periodontal maintenance, exams, and treatment appointments.
Unfortunately, some insurances don’t offer coverage for periodontal benefits. While having dental insurance is a bonus, insurance companies don’t always cover the best treatment for your unique case.
Your health is of utmost importance. You can be confident that we thoroughly evaluate your specific needs and recommend the best treatment for you.
Don’t Be Ashamed! A Lot Of People Have It!
One out of every two adults over 30 has periodontal disease! It’s pretty common in the dental office, and you don’t need to be self-conscious of your diagnosis. We will be sure that you get the proper care that you need to get your oral health back on track at our office.
When it comes to the health of your gum tissue, the most important thing to remember is that catching things early is key! Bleeding gums are not healthy gums, so if you notice that you have bleeding gums, don’t wait to get them evaluated.