What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease refers to any inflammation or infection that is present in the gum tissue or supporting structures around the teeth such as the bone. It is estimated that more than 64 million Americans have some level of gum disease by the age of 30. Maybe you have brushed your teeth or flossed and noticed a bit of blood in your sink. Bleeding after brushing or flossing may be early signs of periodontal disease. Most people know how important brushing is to maintaining one’s oral health. It is equally important to take care of the gums, which are the supportive structures that hold the teeth in place.
A network of supportive structures that works together to hold the teeth in the jaw bone securely is called the periodontium. This network, consisting of hard and soft tissues to include gum (gingiva), bone, periodontal ligaments and cementum, has the primary function of protecting the teeth, nerves and blood vessels from injury and to absorb the forces of biting and chewing. The periodontium is a dynamic system that adapts to changes in the teeth and mouth over time while keeping the teeth stable in the jaw bone.
Periodontal Disease Causes
Gum disease, and in its more serious form known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory process which is mainly caused by bacteria. Depending on the stage of severity, it can affect both the soft and hard tissues and if left untreated can lead to tooth loss. However, if gum disease is caught early at routine dental visits, it can be managed and even reversed. Your periodontal specialist in Venice, FL works collaboratively with general dentists to provide the most effective treatment options for your unique dental condition. Our expert periodontal care will help get you back on track towards optimal oral health.
There are risk factors that increase the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease such as:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Poor oral hygiene
- Hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menopause
- Certain medical conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain medications that cause dry mouth
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
Just as there are stages of periodontal disease, people can experience different symptoms during each stage. The classic symptoms of gingivitis are bleeding gums when brushing and flossing.
Other symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Dark red gum tissue
- Gums that feel tender to the touch
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Painful chewing
- Spaces developing between teeth
- Receding gums or teeth that appear longer
- Changes in your bite
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to let your regular dentist know at your routine dental visit. Your dentist will be able to evaluate the health of your gums and determine if you should be referred to a periodontist.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
The good news is that periodontal disease can be treated! If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, there is hope for slowing the progression of the disease, restoring the health of the gums and preventing the disease from progressing further.
The treatments you receive will depend on the stage of gum disease you have. Sometimes changing your home care routine to include daily flossing can make great improvements in the health of your gums and teeth. For more involved cases, a deep cleaning procedure known as a scaling and root planing procedure, may be necessary to restore the health of your gums and teeth.
After your periodontal treatment has been completed, you should maintain regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and exams. Our team at Venice Periodontics and Implant Dentistry will work directly with your dentist to determine an oral health care plan that aims to treat and prevent periodontal disease and improve your oral health.
Periodontal Disease Maintenance And Supportive Care
At your initial evaluation, Dr. Turner will review your medical history, examine your mouth, measure your gum pocket depth and take x-rays. This data will help determine the grade of periodontal disease and provide enough information to create an individualized treatment plan. The goal of periodontal treatment is to preserve your natural teeth and the surrounding soft tissues, rid the gums of infection and prevent disease progression. At Venice Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, you will receive a personalized maintenance program to include routine visits with your regular dentist and a daily home care routine. We are devoted to providing our patients with the highest standard of care and ensuring the best oral health outcome possible.
Once your periodontal disease is under control, you will likely receive supportive periodontal therapy measures to help maintain and prevent the progression of the disease. Dr. Turner will work closely with your regular dentist to determine a schedule for supportive periodontal care.
At your maintenance appointments you can expect:
- Review of health history and update any changes
- Full mouth examination
- Pocket depth measurements around each tooth
- Assessment of home oral hygiene habits and additional instruction if necessary
- Teeth cleaning including removal of plaque and tartar which harbors harmful bacteria
- Dental x-rays to evaluate teeth and the bone supporting the teeth
- Identify any decay or other dental problems
- Check the bite and make sure teeth fit together properly, worn teeth may indicate abnormal forces exerted on teeth due to clenching or grinding at night
- Oral cancer screening