Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a harmful chronic infection of a patient’s gums. Periodontal disease is actually one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults. The problem is that it often develops without any obvious symptoms; many people don’t even realize they’re dealing with a problem until the infection is quite severe.
Gum disease develops when bacterial plaque builds up in a patient’s mouth. Over time, oral bacteria weaken and damage the patient’s gums, as well as other oral tissues. As the infection intensifies, it spreads below the gum line. At this point, the patient may develop periodontal pockets, which are spaces along the gum line where the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth. This can cause the gums to bleed, develop bone loss, bad breath, etc.
Gum disease develops in two stages:
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. You may not notice any symptoms at this point, or you may experience mild symptoms like puffy gum tissue and oral bleeding after flossing.
Periodontitis is the second stage of periodontal infection. At this point, your gum tissue, as well as connective and jawbone tissues, may become seriously and irrevocably damaged. Some patients develop loose teeth on the way to experiencing tooth loss.
Our dentists will tailor your periodontal treatment to address the severity of your ongoing infection. We may refer you to Dr. Isler, our in-house periodontist, who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease.
Regularly scheduled professional cleanings can help you avoid developing gum disease in the future. Brushing regularly, flossing between your teeth, eating a healthy diet, and drinking enough water can also help you maintain healthy gum tissue in the years to come.
There’s no need to put off periodontal treatment due to fear or anxiety. Our periodontist provides comfortable gum disease treatment. We even offer nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation for patients who need a little extra help staying calm and comfortable.
In our office, an important part of periodontal treatment is understanding how gum health is connected to whole-body wellness. This relationship is called the oral systemic connection. Our knowledge of the oral systemic connection enables us to better treat oral infections and help patients prevent gum disease in the future.
The best way to defeat periodontal disease for the long-term is to tailor gum disease treatment to suit the individual patients' needs. The specific type of treatment from which you will benefit—root planing, dental scaling, and/or medications—depends on the severity of your infection.