What is periodontal (gum) disease
Periodontal Disease is the inflammation and destruction of the gums and bone that surround your teeth.
What causes it?
Not brushing and flossing- right? Absolutely - But why?? Because, you’re not getting the plaque off of your teeth.
BUGS! Not food, not debris, not deposits. Living bacteria. Yeasty Beasties that are in your mouth all of the time.
In most people, the fight between the bugs and the body occurs primarily in the gum tissue with the resulting problem being inflammation of the gums. This is called Gingivitis. Any type of inflammation is harmful to the body and bleeding gums should be addressed! But for some people, it can be worse. In susceptible individuals, the battle spreads into the bone beneath the gums and the bone is destroyed. This is called Periodontitis. It is a more serious condition that must be treated – for the health of your mouth and your body! Fortunately, periodontitis responds well to therapy in most cases.
Who gets It?
Life is not fair! Not everybody gets Periodontitis. Not everybody has to brush and floss effectively to keep from losing bone. Two things are necessary for Periodontitis to occur: one is plaque and the other is susceptibility. In conjunction with treatment, if you get the bugs off the teeth once each day, you can control the disease. And it’s not just your teeth that are at risk. Research has established that the inflammatory process associated with periodontal disease is linked to more serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, ulcers, pneumonia, premature birth, and low birth weight. Good oral hygiene may not only save your teeth - it may save your life!
Is ONCE a day enough?
Yes!! It takes bacteria about 24 hours to re-colonize on your teeth. So, if you brush and floss once a day effectively you can maintain health. Do it more often for your mouth to feel clean and your breath to smell fresh but do it at least once a day -THOROUGHLY - for health. Please see the Home Care Instruction Section for more information.
What is the Impact of Smoking?
Smoking causes more bone loss at a faster rate and limits the potential for healing. Of course, it also causes lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema. So if you smoke, do yourself and your teeth a BIG FAVOR......
What does periodontal treatment usually involve?
Good question. Effective oral hygiene takes care of the bugs above the gums. In a healthy mouth, the gums are firmly attached to the tooth with very little space in between. But when you have Periodontitis (gum disease), bone has been lost creating “pockets” between the tooth and gums. It is the Periodontist’s and the Hygienist’s job to clean these pockets below the gums.
There are basically two approaches. One consists of “deep cleaning” to try and detoxify the contaminated root surfaces under your gums. This technique is good for when the “pocket” - or space between the tooth and the gum - is relatively shallow. Typically, it is better to numb the gums so the patient is completely comfortable during the procedure.
The more bone that has been destroyed, the deeper the pockets are and the harder it is for you to clean. So, in more involved cases, Periodontal Surgery is necessary to reduce the depth of the pockets. YIKES – Surgery? Fear Not. At Periocare, we perform Laser Surgery utilizing the LANAP Protocol – a minimally invasive approach with no cutting / no sutures and yet, we have the ability to grow back new bone. There is typically, very little, if any discomfort with this approach.
Is There Science Behind LANAP?
Absolutely. There are two human studies documenting efficacy. Please see the Laser Surgery Section for more information regarding this revolutionary approach to treatment.
How does Gum Disease Affect My Overall Level of Health?
The exact mechanisms have not been thoroughly delineated, but what is clear is that the inflammatory process involved in periodontitis increases your risk factor for a number of systemic illnesses. A healthy mouth is part of a healthy life!
Can you Cure Gum Disease?
No, but you can keep it in check. This requires 3 elements : Definitive Treatment / Effective Home Care / Routine Maintenance Therapy. Please refer to the Home Care Instruction and Maintenance Therapy Sections for additional information.
What If I am interested in Dental Implants?
First, go to our Section on Services and read the information available there. Then:
If you have ANY questions that have not been addressed, please call PERIOCARE and we will make sure your questions are answered!