What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a common gum disease found in many adults around the U.S. Periodontal diseases range from simple inflammation of the gums to very serious conditions that can cause damage to the soft tissue and gums that support the tooth. When not taken seriously, this can cause one to lose teeth.
What causes Periodontal Disease?
With our mouths full of bacteria & mucus, this forms a small layer of plaque on your teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of the plaque, but when not taken care of properly, plaque can harden and form “tartar” which can only be removed by dentist or dental hygienists.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Red, tender, bleeding or swollen gums
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Bad breath that wont go away
- Painful Chewing
The longer the tartar sits on the teeth, the more your gums will become inflamed which is called gingivitis. In gingivitis, the gums become red, inflamed, and can bleed easily. It is a mild stage that can be fixed with daily dental flossing and brushing along with regular dental cleanings with a dentist.
If gingivitis is not treated, it can advance into periodontitis, which means inflammation around the tooth. When this happens the gums pull away from the teeth leaving gaps/pockets that become infected. If not taken care of, this can lead to losing the support of the teeth and eventually needing to remove the tooth entirely.
- Smoking – Most significant risk factor
- Diabetes & other illnesses
- Hormone changes in women/girls
Deep Cleaning Treatment
The best treatment of periodontal disease is deep cleaning, known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is done by scraping plaque and tartar from the teeth above and below the gum surface. Root planing occurs along with scaling by smoothing rough layers of the teeth. Both procedures promote healing of the periodontal pockets by removing destructive bacteria and closing areas where bad bacteria can grow. A local anesthetic may be provided during the deep cleaning. Oral anti-microbial rinse may also be prescribed to further neutralize the bacteria and promote healing. If the depths of the pockets reduce or stabilize as a result of the treatment, the disease can be controlled with quarterly or semiannual visits to Dr. Roach who is a leading periodontal dentist in Kennewick and Tri-Cities. Should the treatment be less successful, the patient may be referred to a Periodontist for possible surgery.