Brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining the health of your mouth. Also, an important component of optimal oral health is regular dental visits for cleanings and exams. Ignoring any part of your oral health routine can lead to periodontal disease. Commonly called gum disease, periodontal disease is a progressive condition. Left untreated for too long, it can have serious consequences, including tooth loss. At Gregory A. Williams, DMD, PC, we can help to stop the progression of gum disease and restore your oral health with periodontal therapy.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an oral disease that affects the health of your gums, your teeth, and their supporting structures. It occurs when plaque and tartar irritate the gums, leading to inflammation. This early stage is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss. Unfortunately, these symptoms often go ignored or unnoticed, and the disease continues to progress. The infected tissue starts to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and start attacking the periodontal ligaments and jawbone as well as the gum tissue. The gums begin to recede as the pockets grow deeper and the teeth become loose as the ligaments and bone become weak. Eventually, loose teeth may even fall out.
The earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, is the only stage that can be stopped at home. However, because periodontal disease is not often noticed or diagnosed until it has progressed beyond this stage, professional treatment is required. Plaque, the sticky substance that collects on your teeth, hardens into tartar. Tartar is impossible to remove with a toothbrush. So, too, is the bacteria that have fallen below the gumline into periodontal pockets.
Some treatments for periodontal disease are invasive, and may even include surgery. These treatments often lead to a significant amount of discomfort and swelling. Periodontal therapy provides a non-invasive alternative, using a treatment known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is the deep cleaning of the visible surfaces of your teeth, with special attention given to the areas of the teeth at the gumline. Root planing is a process that removes buildup and toxins from the roots of your teeth, smoothing them so that bacteria and other debris cannot adhere. While non-invasive, irritated and swollen gum tissue is sensitive, so this procedure is done under a local anesthetic. When your treatment is complete, we will schedule you for a follow-up visit 6 to 8 weeks later.
There are some instances in which a single scaling and root planing treatment are not enough to fully eliminate periodontal disease. In the event there is still some lingering bacteria, periodontal disease will continue to progress. Should we find that scaling and root planing has not stopped the periodontal disease, we may then recommend periodontal maintenance. This treatment is a series of regularly scheduled visits for exams and cleanings. The frequency of your visits varies depending upon your specific circumstances. Some patients require visits every two months, while others have visited every six months. We examine the condition of your gum tissue, measure your periodontal pockets and take x-rays. We also perform a deep cleaning of your teeth. The goal of periodontal maintenance is to monitor your mouth to ensure that it is healing, instead of getting worse.
Call to schedule your consultation
Periodontal disease does not get better on its own. In fact, the longer you ignore it, the worse the effects become. Treating periodontal disease is essential for halting its progression and restoring your oral health. Call Gregory A. Williams, DMD, PC today to schedule your consultation and find out how periodontal therapy can help at 503-620-2020.