Periodontal Care and Maintenance
Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease can destroy both the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. This means the gums, teeth, upper and lower jaw, as well as the tongue can all be affected.
While most people consider diseases as conditions contracted from others, periodontal disease is different. It is caused by the patient's own body. When the patient fails to floss and brush regularly (twice daily), the naturally occurring bacteria in their mouth begins to spread and grow to toxic levels. The bacteria then begin to attack the oral cavity tissues.
There are several levels of periodontal disease but the first is known as gingivitis. This is widely considered the most important level of the disease. This is the only stage in which the disease can be completely cured. If it progresses beyond the first stage, periodontal disease can never be cured. Beyond gingivitis, the only treatment available is to treat the symptoms as they occur, but not the actual disease. Periodontal maintenance is a deep cleaning procedure that is done several times a year to help slow the progression of the disease. Any patients who have questions or who are concerned about gum disease are welcome to come into our Artistic Dental offices to discuss it further.
Assessing Gum Disease
An evaluation, or assessment, is needed in order to determine the appropriate treatment course for each patient. It is important because it allows us to first determine if the patient has the disease and if so, what stage it is in. After determining the stage, our staff can easily comprise a treatment plan to best combat the disease. There are key factors when assessing a patient for periodontal disease. We will evaluate the patient’s teeth and gums to measure the amount of plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth. We will also measure the depth and size of gum pockets at the base of the teeth. Gums can pull away from the base of the teeth in the early stages of periodontal disease. X-rays are also used to determine the health of the jawbone. It is important to make sure there is enough bone mass to properly support the teeth. When there is diminished bone mass, it can be an indicator that the patient has periodontal disease.
It is important to note that all treatments do not involve surgery. When detected in the initial stage, known as gingivitis, there are several, non-surgical treatments available. Scaling can be used to remove bacteria, tartar, and plaque build-up on the teeth which can agitate the gums. Root planing is another technique that smooths the root, so it is more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the surface. Periodontal maintenance is a cleaning procedure employed three times yearly to deter the progression of the disease.
Surgical options can include gum grafts, bone grafts, and pocket reduction. These are utilized when the disease progresses to the later stages.
Those patients seeking more information on periodontal maintenance and care can come see us at Artistic Dental. We can be reached at (848) 222-3984.