Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a serious bacterial infection that destroys the gums and the surrounding tissues of the mouth. Progression of this disease leads to tooth loss. It has been found that the bacteria found in periodontal disease are the same bacteria found in heart disease and stroke.
The disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs.
Even if often subtle, the condition is not entirely without signs.
Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease.
What causes Periodontal Disease?
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down.
Bacterial plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease. Plaque is the soft white deposits that accumulate on the teeth. However, other factors can contribute to gum disease.
Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease:
- Hormonal changes - such as those occurring during pregnancy, puberty, menopause and monthly menstruation.
- Illnesses may affect the condition of your gums. This includes diseases such as cancer or HIV that interfere with the immune system. Because diabetes affects the body's ability to use blood sugar, patients with this disease are at a higher risk.
- Medications can affect oral health because some will lessen the flow of saliva which has a protective effect on the teeth and gums. Some drugs can also cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.
- Bad habits such as smoking make it hard for gum tissue to repair itself.
- Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor for the development of gingivitis and periodontitis.
At the exam, your health provider will check for gum bleeding, swelling, firmness and measure pockets. Teeth movement, sensitivity and proper teeth alignment will also be checked. Dental x-rays will also provide much insight as to the state of your oral health as we can see if any breakdown of the bone surrounding your teeth is present.
Treatment options depend on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
Options range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues. Laser treatment is another option.
Should any patient be diagnosed with periodontal disease, Place D'Orleans Dental Office will recommend treatment prior to the initiation of any restorative or cosmetic procedures. The reason is simple. It is always better to build on a strong foundation! Since our gums and bone provide the foundation for our teeth, attempting to build a new smile on unhealthy gums is like trying to build the CN tower on a swamp!
STM Nonsurgical Therapy Program:
Our soft Tissue Management (STM) therapy is a comprehensive program involving clinical treatment using a non-surgical approach and a specific patient homecare regime.
A program is designed by the dentist and hygienist to meet the specific needs of our patients who suffer from periodontal disease. Generally these patients are given supportive periodontal therapy by the hygienist on a 3 month interval.
This frequency is necessary because the bacteria involved in gum disease regenerate within 90 days.
The goal of periodontal treatment is to promote reattachment of healthy gums to the teeth, reduce the pockets depths and swelling and to control the progression of the disease by reducing the number of bacteria around the teeth.
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