Periodontal Disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gums and bone that supports the teeth. If periodontal disease is not treated, it can worsen and lead to tooth and bone loss.
Gingivitis is an irritation to the gums from plaque. Plaque is an accumulation of bacteria that typically rests along your gumline and in between your teeth. Your body’s immune system will try to fight off the bacteria, making your gums swell, redden and bleed. If plaque is left undisturbed (not brushing or flossing under gumline), it will mature and the bacteria will mutate into pathogenic harmful bacteria. Once this occurs, gingivitis progresses to Stage1 of periodontal disease.
In the beginning stages, periodontal disease is typically not noticeable as there is no pain. You may not be aware of the problem until after your supporting bone and gums are already damaged. Fortunately, once identified, periodontal disease can often be stabilized with gum therapy appointments (perio-cleaning & perio-maintenance) and a customized oral hygiene treatment plan from your dentist and/or hygienist.
Progression of gingivitis where the bacterial infection has now started to affect the bone around the teeth. This bone is vital to our teeth as it is what holds them in place. Once the bacteria eats away at the bone, this stage of gum disease is considered “chronic”. Chronic disease means it cannot be cured and you will always have the disease. Periodontal disease is managed by maintaining the proper home care and by consistent dental/hygienist visits every three to four months.
he bone will continue to deteriorate. You may or may not have pain at this stage. Your body is constantly fighting the pathogenic bacteria. Different factors will determine how quickly the disease can progress, such as oral hygiene and systemic factors.
Your teeth may be or become loose due to the extent of the bone loss. You may or may not have pain. Many teeth are now in jeopardy because of the deterioration/loss of the surrounding bone to hold them in place.
When treating periodontal disease, our goal is to keep the pathogenic bacteria down to a healthy, lower number. What that means is we need to disrupt the pathogenic bacteria at 90=120 day intervals so they do not colonize.
Your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend a gum therapy appointment (SRP). In this appointment, the tartar, plaque and bacteria will be removed from the tooth and root cleansing around the picket of the tooth will occur. This will allow your gums to heal and stabilize the bacterial infection. After this appointment, it is critical you maintain consistent hygiene appointments for the long term life of your teeth and gums.