Periodontal, or “gum” disease, is one of the most common dental problems in the United States. Periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss for Americans over the age of 35. We here at Alder Dental offer several periodontal treatments designed to prevent or treat periodontitis. Regular examinations with us can help maintain or improve your periodontal health, ensuring your smile is healthy and beautiful for years to come.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by the harmful bacteria found in plaque, the sticky biofilm on and around our teeth. The reason we brush and floss daily is to eliminate plaque buildup and prevent major dental problems. If plaque is allowed to build up, periodontal disease is likely to develop.
In response to plaque buildup, our immune system produces toxin designed to combat bacteria. Unfortunately, this toxin also targets healthy tissues as well, eventually causing infection in the periodontal tissues. This infection is also known as periodontal disease.
The Two Stages of Periodontal Disease
The beginning stage of periodontal disease is commonly referred to as gingivitis. Gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily during brushing and flossing. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), nearly 75% of Americans will experience gingivitis at some point in their lives.
Luckily, gingivitis is easy to prevent, treat, and even reverse with a proper at-home oral hygiene routine. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day is the general rule of thumb. If gingivitis is left untreated, it will ultimately progress into periodontitis, the second stage of gum disease.
On top of inflammation and discoloration, periodontitis can cause:
||Increased bleeding from the gums
||Persistent bad breath
||Receding gums, exposing the roots of your teeth
||Deep periodontal pockets that trap food debris and bacteria
||Changes in the position of your teeth, causing a malocclusion (misaligned bite)
As periodontitis advances, the infection will spread to the connective ligaments and underlying bone that support your teeth. Eventually, your teeth may become extremely loose or even fall out. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible.
There are several ways to treat periodontitis. During your consultation, Dr. Brian Alder will determine which treatment is most suitable for your situation. In many cases, we may recommend a procedure known as scaling and root planing.
During a scaling and root planing, we typically use an ultrasonic scaler to eliminate plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) deposits for the surfaces of your teeth. We may also use a metal scaler for, particularly stubborn areas. Once the deposits are eliminated, we will smooth out any rough sections on the roots of your teeth. This helps prevent plaque, tartar, and bacteria from re-adhering to the root and reduces the depths of your periodontal pockets.
If your treatment is a success, your gums should return to a pink, healthy state and fit snugly around your teeth. If your gums do not respond well to treatment, we may recommend other alternatives. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.
Schedule Your Consultation Today!
If you think you may have periodontitis, take action today! The longer you wait, the more likely you are to experience major oral health complications. Call (360) 831-0831 to speak with a team member and schedule your consultation now!