Now that you’ve been diagnosed with periodontal disease, there is some important information you should know. Since periodontal disease is progressive in nature, it is best to treat it as soon as we see the first signs of bone loss. Periodontal disease is not reversible, but manageable if caught in the early stages. Lancaster Smiles is dedicated to giving you the best care so that you can maintain good dental health despite this diagnosis.
Periodontal disease is a slow progressing infection that destroys the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. If not carefully maintained, it leads to mobility and tooth loss. Unfortunately most individuals who have this disease don’t realize it until it is too late. This disease causes the gums to separate from the teeth and form “pockets”. These pockets fill with bacteria and become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s enzymes fighting the infection break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bone, gums, and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and may have to be removed.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless plaque on teeth. Brushing and flossing helps to eliminate plaque, but sometimes it is not enough. Plaque that is not removed hardens and forms bacteria-harboring calculus or “tartar” that can only be removed by a professional cleaning. In Periodontal Disease the tartar forms below the gum line causing an infection which starts to break down the supporting structure that holds teeth in their sockets. If ignored, the damage progresses and leads to mobility and early tooth loss.
Studies show that periodontal disease is not only a threat to your oral health, but has been linked to other systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, respiratory infections and even cancer. Whether it is stopped, slowed or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day, and for the rest of your life.
How is Periodontal Disease treated?
The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient maintains good daily oral habits at home. Additionally, modifying certain behaviors, such as quitting tobacco use, might also be suggested as a way to improve treatment outcome. Options for treating periodontal disease depend on the severity of the infection. If diagnosed in the early stages, the most conservative option is non-surgical scaling and root planing in conjunction with locally placed antibiotics.
What is Non-Surgical Scaling and Root Planing?
Non-Surgical scaling and root planing, or SRP, is when the dental hygienist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method. Scaling is the removal of tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps to remove bacteria that contribute to the infection. Often times a localized antimicrobial is placed directly into the area of treatment; this will make your therapy more effective by killing bacteria left behind after SRP. Anesthesia is sometimes used to make sure that you are comfortable during this procedure.
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