Every year, about three million people in the U.S. will get some form of periodontal disease (essentially gum disease). In dentistry, it’s one of the most common problems dentists worldwide see. Fortunately, it’s also one of the most preventable. Periodontal disease is brought on by consistent poor dental hygiene. Not brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly can result in red, inflamed gums and gum recession — both common symptoms of periodontal disease.
If you suspect you might be suffering from periodontal disease, schedule a free consultation at Stanley Dentistry.
The mouth is filled with bacteria. Periodontal disease, a type of gum disease, begins when certain bacteria in plaque produce toxins and enzymes that irritate and inflame the gum. This inflammation may be painless but can damage the attachment of the gums and bone to the tooth. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta GA, nearly half of American adults over 30 suffer from some form of periodontitis.
Unlike tooth decay that causes discomfort when advanced, it is possible to have periodontal disease without obvious symptoms. This makes regular dental cleanings and wellness exams especially important. Over a short period of time, plaque buildup hardens into tartar. The tartar provides an ideal home for even more bacteria and plaque. Missing your regular dental cleanings can cause the spread of bacteria and inflammation of the gums as well as bone loss.
Although some patients may not notice symptoms, some signs of periodontal disease include:
Many factors can put you at greater risk of developing periodontal disease, including:
Gum tissue and tooth loss are not the only potential issues caused by periodontal diseases. Some research suggests there may be a connection between periodontal disease and other health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease, stroke and increased pregnancy concerns.
Preventative treatment is always our first recommendation. If you are concerned that you might have periodontal issues or have already been diagnosed, please contact our office to schedule a cleaning appointment. Since there are various stages of periodontal disease, regular dental checkups and professional cleanings are increasingly important in the early diagnosis of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will check for symptoms and be able to help you plan treatment to manage periodontal disease properly.
Once a definitive diagnosis has been made, there are several courses of action depending on the severity of the disease. Stanley Dentistry follows treatment guidelines established by the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA recommends scaling and root planing (SRP), which involves removing tartar and plaque from the teeth and root surfaces. Additional treatments include regularly scheduled periodontal maintenance and special mouthwash. Depending on the disease progression, site-specific subgingival antibiotics may also be recommended. As treatment is administered, the dentist and hygienist can evaluate its efficacy and decide on next steps for optimal oral health.
At Stanley Dentistry, we often collect a saliva sample from the affected patient for oral DNA analysis. The purpose is to properly identify the strain of bacteria linked to the individual’s periodontal (gum) disease and therefore prescribe the most effective antibiotic to aid healing.
Once initial diagnosis and treatment have been made, it is imperative the patient schedules and keeps their supportive periodontal maintenance appointments. Continued periodontal maintenance is the only way to keep gum disease in remission and therefore prevent reinfection, bone loss, gum recession and tooth mobility (tooth loss).
If you have one or more of the risk factors, a family or personal history of gum disease, or have not been evaluated for periodontal disease, call us today for a free consultation.
One of the most common side-effects of severe or late-stage periodontal disease is gum recession. As bacteria grow in the gums, the ability for the gums to stay attached to the teeth deteriorates. The teeth will begin to look “long” as the gums gradually pull away from the teeth.
Unfortunately, gum recession is permanent. The gums are very resilient but they cannot grow back without some assistance. If your gum recession is severe, we will recommend a gum graft which is a way to artificially repair recessed gums. Dr. Rob uses artificial tissue to “graft” over the affected area, similar to a skin graft.
If gum grafts sound a little intimidating, there is an alternative. For less severe cases, we can use a kind of collagen called AlloDerm that regenerates gum tissue. If you’re interested in getting gum grafting or Alloderm at the Stanley Dentistry office, schedule a free consultation today.
The number one cause of periodontal disease in our patients is poor oral maintenance. Not brushing, flossing, or going to the dentist for regular cleanings can cause gum disease. The best way to avoid periodontal disease is to take your oral health seriously.
We typically recommend scaling (or deep cleaning) for patients who have periodontal disease. Scaling includes removing all of the disease-causing bacteria from the gumline. Although scaling can mean a much cleaner, healthier smile, it will not reverse damage caused by periodontal disease.
A loose tooth, which is a byproduct of gum recession, is not something that can be fixed with scaling. However, a mixture of gum grafts and bone grafts may be able to help save it. The earlier you detect a loose tooth, the better.
If you notice a slightly loose tooth, come into the Stanley Dentistry office immediately.
Advanced gum disease is not something that you can treat at home. Periodontal disease is not just “dirty” gums — it’s continually growing disease in the gums. That disease won’t just go away on its own, unfortunately. To prevent gum disease, we encourage our patients to brush and floss regularly.
If that still won’t keep the gums healthy and pink, we recommend getting special anti-bacterial toothpaste that can help fight off early gum disease.