Periodontal disease or periodontitis is a bacterial infection that makes the gums recede. This exposes them to even more bacterial infection and can even cause tooth loss. Periodontitis is preceded by a previous stage of infection called gingivitis that isn’t as severe. Gingivitis also infects the gums and bone that surround a tooth.
This infection can do lasting damage to your teeth, so we must take immediate action if you’re showing symptoms of it.
What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease manifests the following symptoms. Let us know right away if you experience any of them:
[[[Gums that bleed or recede
~Clear fluid or pus near or under the gum line
~Bone loss (only visible on an x-ray)]]]
How does Periodontal Disease Advance and Progress?
When you neglect your teeth, bacteria forms on them that produce plaque. When plaque hardens, it becomes tartar and only a dentist can remove it with special tools. If too much plaque and tartar build up beneath the gum line, your gum tissues will become inflamed, malleable, and will recede from the tooth.
A gap will then form between the tooth and gum, where plaque and tartar will continue to form. If nothing is done to reverse this, it can cause tooth loss. Periodontal maintenance is the primary treatment prescribed to address this condition.
What are the Differences between Periodontal Treatment and Routine Dental Cleanings?
During both periodontal treatment and regular dental checkups, we’ll perform professional cleanings. To some patients, the cleanings in both can seem rather similar. But during periodontal maintenance, the cleaning is at a more advanced level than what you’d normally receive.
The first difference is that periodontal treatment is undertaken after the periodontitis diagnosis. Because this disease poses a greater threat to your dental health, we need to employ stronger means than what we’d use during a routine cleaning. Dr. Schiffer will remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum line in treating periodontitis, while routine cleanings don’t touch anything beneath the gum line.
We recommend getting professional cleanings every 6 months, but if you have periodontitis we’d like you to receive periodontal maintenance around once every 3 months. Scaling and root planing is used in periodontal maintenance, but it’s not done the same way as in routine cleanings. Rather, we use it as a precedent for a regular periodontal maintenance routine. We may also need to give you antibiotics if you have an infection that needs addressing during the process.
How is Periodontal Disease Prevented?
Sadly, periodontitis has no permanent cure after the disease has begun. Preventing periodontitis is easier than treating it. Do this by brushing and flossing twice a day, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding tobacco use.
No matter how well you take care of your teeth, their porous composition and the constant formation of plaque make them ever subject to decay. If you think you might have periodontitis, we strongly encourage you to start periodontal maintenance, which is highly successful in preventing the disease from progressing, as well as stopping tooth, tissue, or bone loss.
For more information, please contact our office at (470) 222-8983.