What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection affecting the gums and the connective tissue that attaches the teeth to the underlying alveolar bone and eventually spreads to the bone itself.
Periodontal disease is characterized by symptoms such as:
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Pain in the gums
- Periodontal pockets around the teeth
- Loose teeth that easily fall out
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that may rapidly advance and lead to the loss of all your teeth. It can also affect the alveolar bone and cause bone loss.
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is usually caused by the following conditions:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Not brushing properly or frequently enough
- Failing to floss
- Skipping professional cleanings that remove dental plaque
As dental plaque develops into tartar and continues to spread unchecked in the mouth, it can lead to periodontal disease.
Can periodontal disease be cured?
Fortunately, periodontal disease is a treatable condition and if detected in time. It may be completely eliminated in most patients through a treatment that includes the following:
- Regular dental checkups
- Professional cleanings
- Treatment to scrape away dental plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth
All of this, combined with a regimen of good oral hygiene that includes brushing twice daily and daily flossing, and avoiding sticky, sugary foods, can help you get your oral health back on track.
What treatments are used to treat periodontal disease?
There are many steps to treating periodontal disease. In most cases, your dentist will prescribe a round of antibiotics to kill the bacteria and control the infection. A special procedure called planing and root scaling is typically performed. This procedure helps to remove harmful plaque and tartar from the roots of the teeth. In very advanced cases where bone loss has occurred, you may require a bone graft to regenerate enough bone to support teeth. Typically, once the bone graft has healed, implants may be inserted to replace missing teeth and restore normal chewing function.
What is a scaling and root planing procedure?
Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning procedure that is performed to scrape off plaque and tartar from the roots of teeth beneath the gum line. Scaling and root planing is typically performed in four sessions, with each session focused on a single quadrant. This ensures that the doctor can devote the required amount of time and focus to each treatment area, and also allows for one section to heal from the procedure before continuing to the next section.
Scaling and root planing removes plaque and tartar deposits from the surfaces of teeth as well as their roots, including difficult to reach surfaces below the gum line. This procedure controls the spread of infection in the gum and bone tissue and assists the healing process by causing the shrinking of periodontal pockets and the gums to tighten around the teeth. A scaling and root planing treatment may also be referred to as a periodontal cleaning or a deep cleaning procedure.
If you are concerned about bleeding gums or other signs of periodontal disease, please contact our office immediately to schedule an examination with Dr. Harding.