Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is generally painless, so you may not be aware that you have the disease. There are three stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. The main cause is plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly builds up on the teeth. Periodontal disease is very serious and may result in tooth loss. It may also contribute to the development of heart disease and increase your risk of stroke.
Your first visit to our office will include a thorough dental exam, where we will look for the following symptoms of periodontal disease:
To diagnose periodontal disease, we will review your complete medical history with you. We will discuss any medications you are taking and any medical conditions you may have that might affect your periodontal health. We will perform a painless evaluation of the gum tissue. A measuring instrument will be placed between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of your periodontal pockets. A three millimeter pocket or less is a healthy reading. More than this may be a sign of disease.
Treating periodontal disease includes scaling and root planing, which is a type of professional cleaning that removes plaque and tartar from the teeth and smoothes the root surfaces. Antibiotic fibers may be placed between the teeth and gum tissue to reduce infection and speed the healing of the tissue. A local anesthetic may be used to make the procedure more comfortable. Following scaling and root planing, professional cleanings will be required every three to four months. Regular cleaning and good home care should stop the progression of the disease.