Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal disease, or simply gum disease, is the single most common cause of tooth loss in adults. This inflammatory disease attacks the gums, bone, and other supporting structures of the teeth.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a colorless film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Plaque mixes with sugars and starches in the diet to form acids and other by-products in the mouth, irritating the gums and causing them to become red, tender, and swollen. It also causes the gums to bleed easily. If not removed daily (within 24 hours), plaque hardens to form calculus (tartar) around the necks of the teeth.

The irritants in plaque can destroy the tissue that attaches the gums to the teeth. The gums pull away from the teeth and small pockets form between the teeth and gums. These pockets become filled with more plaque. As the pockets deepen, it becomes impossible for you to clean the plaque out. Eventually, the bone structure supporting the teeth can be destroyed.

What are the signs?

  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that have receded or shrunken away from your teeth
  • Pus between your teeth when you press your gums with your finger
  • Pain when chewing
  • Calculus or tartar buildup
  • Teeth that seem loose or that change position
  • Changes in your bite
  • Changes in the way your partial denture fits
  • Bad breath or chronic bad taste in your mouth
  • Teeth that are overly sensitive to hot and cold

Treatment

The type of treatment you require depends on how advanced your particular case is. Individualized treatment may include any of the following:

  • Full Mouth Debridement. Full Mouth Debridernent or FMD is an initial cleaning of the gross debris on the teeth. Sometimes this is the treatment when you show signs of gingivitis but no further problems.
  • Scaling and root planning. Scaling is removing the calculus deposits from your teeth; root
    planning is the smoothing of the root surfaces so that the gum tissue can reattach to the tooth.
  • Currettage removes the soft tissue lining the periodontal pocket. This helps the gum tissue heal.
  • Gingivectomy is surgical removal of the periodontal pockets when the disease does not involve the bone.
  • Flap Surgery allows us to gain access to the root of the tooth for the removal of deep calculus, plaque, and diseased tissue. The gum is then secured back into place. Flap surgery is sometimes accompanied by osseous (bone) surgery, in which the bone around the tooth is reshaped or part of it is removed.

More than half of all adults aged 35 and over have some form of this disease. Three out of four adults are eventually affected by it. Periodontal disease is the primary cause of lost teeth after age 35. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent periodontal disease in your mouth. If caught in its early stages, gum disease can be reversed.