Periodontal Disease (Gums)
Periodontal disease (often called gum disease) is a progressive condition which begins with mild gum inflammation called gingivitis. Because the gum tissues serve to surround and support the teeth and the underlying jawbone anchors teeth firmly in place, disease of these structures is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world, and should be taken very seriously. Periodontal disease is typically signified by red, swollen, painful, or bleeding gums, but in some cases has no noticeable symptoms.
Periodontal disease generally begins when the bacteria living in plaque cause an infection in the surrounding tissues of the teeth, causing them to become irritated and painful. Eventually, this infection will cause the jawbone to recede and the tooth to become loose.
Many periodontal concerns can be taken care of right in our office. For some more extensive treatments, however, you may be referred to a periodontist, who specializes in the function, health and aesthetics of the jawbone and gum tissues.
Reasons for periodontal treatment:
Mild to advanced gum disease
– This occurs when the gums are bleeding, swollen or red. As it advances, this affects the gums around all teeth and the jawbone begins to recede.
In the case of mild/moderate periodontal problems, the focus will be on curing the underlying bacterial infection and then providing advice on the most appropriate home cleaning methods to prevent worsening.
Sometimes a deep scaling is needed to remove the bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth and tissues. Where periodontal disease is advanced and the jawbone has regressed significantly, more intensive cleaning may be recommended and loose teeth that cannot be saved will be removed.
Localized gum recession – The infection which propagates moderate or advanced gum disease often begins in one area. Gum recession may also be caused due to over brushing with a hard bristle brush, or due to a tooth that is not positioned properly. Immediate treatment is required to prevent further spreading.
Crown lengthening – The dentist may lengthen the crown of the tooth by removing surrounding soft tissue to provide more tooth exposure.
Ridge augmentation – This procedure, often called “recontouring” may be required to correct an uneven gum line. Before embarking on treatment, a dentist needs to treat any bacterial infections and periodontitis.
Because periodontal disease is progressive, it is essential to remove the bacteria and calculus build up to halt the spread of the infection. Dr. Creager and our skilled dental hygienists will be happy to advise you on effective cleaning methods and treatment options.