Periodontal disease damages the surrounding soft tissues and bone that support the teeth. It is predominantly caused by the accumulation of bacteria, mucus and other particles in the form of plague or tartar that sit between the teeth and the gums. Periodontal disease can range in severity from a simple gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, to a more serious inflammation of the periodontal tissues. Left untreated periodontal disease can result in significant tissue damage and eventual tooth loss.
The problem with periodontal disease is that often the progression is painless. As a result, the affected individual may not be aware of an ongoing disease process. This is why, it is so important to recognize the signs of the earliest stage of periodontal disease, which is gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis typically include red, swollen and bleeding gums. Treatment instituted at this point is often sufficient to reverse the course of the disease and to avoid any permanent damage to the periodontal tissues. A series of deep dental cleanings, an improved home care regimen, and a commitment to regular maintenance may be all that is required to prevent this stage of periodontal disease from progressing.
Left untreated, gingivitis can escalate into periodontitis. However, there are other factors that can contribute to the escalation of periodontal disease, including smoking, genetic tendencies, and unchecked diabetes. In either case, when periodontal disease has progressed to a more advanced stage there is usually clinical and radiographic evidence of damage to the bone and soft tissues supporting the teeth. Periodontal treatment in this phase is designed to halt the progression of the disease and to restore tooth support as possible. This may involve medications to control the bacteria and reduce the size of the pockets between the teeth and gums, gum surgery, as well as bone and tissue grafts.
Most people don’t realize that periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every two adults over the age of 30 in the United States has periodontal disease.
You may be surprised to learn that the human mouth is home to a wide variety of microbes. The fact is that over 700 different strains of bacteria have been detected in the oral cavity. Although some of these bacteria are beneficial, others are harmful to oral health. Without proper oral hygiene and routine dental care, these harmful bacteria can cause tooth decay and gum disease, compromising both your oral health and overall wellbeing.
In addition to inadequate oral hygiene and infrequent professional care, other factors, including smoking, genetic tendencies, and unchecked diabetes, can contribute to the escalation of periodontal disease.
Your gums and teeth have an interdependent relationship, which means healthy teeth depend on the support of healthy gums. Also, taking care of your smile does more than keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition; good oral health also supports systemic health. In addition to being the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, researchers are finding more and more links between periodontal disease and a number of medical problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory problems, and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as pre-term and low birth-weight babies.
If you notice that your gums are bleeding with the slightest pressure while brushing or flossing, it’s a sign of gingivitis. Although gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, it can easily be reversed with deeper cleanings as well as an improved regimen of oral hygiene at home.
In the absence of professional treatment and better home care, gingivitis progresses to the next stage, which is known as periodontitis. In this stage, the connective tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place begin to break down with an increase in pocketing between the teeth and bone, gum recession, and bone loss. Without proper treatment by your dentist, periodontitis will progress from a mild to moderate loss of supporting tissue to the destruction of the bone around the teeth.
Although gingivitis can often be reversed with improved oral hygiene and professional cleanings, as periodontal disease advances, more extensive procedures are required to halt its progression. Based on a complete assessment of your periodontal health and a review of possible contributing factors, our office will recommend the best options in care. Treatment for periodontitis may include a series of deeper cleanings known as root planing and scaling, surgical procedures to reduce pocket depth, bone or tissue grafts, laser procedures, or antimicrobial medications.
The cost of care depends on the type of procedures required to restore your periodontal health. If you have dental insurance, plans often cover treatment to prevent gum disease as well as many procedures to treat the various stages of gum disease. Our goal is to help patients restore and maintain good oral health. We do all we can to help you begin care without additional stress or delay. Our business office works with you to maximize your benefits and provide easier, more convenient payment options.
By seeing our office regularly for care and doing your best to eat a healthy diet and practice good oral hygiene, you can keep your smile in tip-top shape as well as protect your overall wellbeing.
At the office of LI Dental Group, LLP, we provide a comprehensive range of services to address all your oral healthcare needs. You can rest assured that your smile is in the best of hands at our office. Our skilled and experienced team maintains a position at the forefront of advances in care and remains dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate treatment.