Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease): What It Is and How We Treat It
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection in the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. The American Dental Association estimates that 75-80% of adults will develop some form of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can destroy the bone supporting the teeth, leading to eventual tooth loss.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease can be categorized into four stages:
- Gingivitis: This stage is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
- Initial periodontal disease: Infection in the gums has started to cause damage to the bone supporting the teeth.
- Moderate periodontal disease: Pockets have formed around the teeth, and further damage to the bone is occurring.
- Advanced periodontal disease: Significant bone loss has occurred, and tooth loss is likely without aggressive treatment.
Our Treatment Options
At Westchester Smile Design, we offer a variety of treatments for periodontal disease depending on the stage of the disease:
- Scaling and root planing: This procedure removes plaque and tartar from the gum tissue before the infection has progressed to the bone.
- Pocket reduction procedure: When pockets have formed around the teeth, our periodontist will remove bacteria and smooth rough surfaces on the bone to prevent bacteria from hiding. The gum tissue will be put in place again.
- Gum treatments: Our periodontists offer various treatments to address the damage done to the gum tissue by the infection, such as lasers to remove excess tissue or grafting to add to the gum line and fill it out.
- Dental implants and bridges: We also offer effective treatments for tooth loss resulting from periodontal disease.
The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Your Health
Studies have shown that there is an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Research also indicates that untreated periodontal disease can increase the risk of stroke, respiratory disease, and premature births.
Why Is This the Case?
Although experts cannot say for certain, they believe that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and injure major organs, and that inflammation may be the link. Inflammation is the underlying problem in many diseases, such as heart disease.
What to Do If You Think You Have Periodontal Disease
If you think you have gum disease, make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will examine you and ascertain if you have periodontal disease and the extent of the disease. If you do have it, you will be referred to our periodontist and undergo treatment.
If you need to see a dentist about gum disease or have bleeding gums, call us today to make an appointment. Our team of experienced periodontists is here to help you achieve optimal oral health.