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What is a Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
An estimated 80% of American adults have some form of gum (periodontal) disease.
A Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
The initial disease is a simple gum inflammation, called 'Gingivitis'. If not treated, it may advance to a more serious disease called 'Periodontitis'.
In Gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen. They can bleed easily. Most people can reverse this with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Untreated gingivitis can lead to Periodontitis. The gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected with dental plaque, toxins and tartar (calculus). If not treated, the bones, gums and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed and the teeth may become loose and may be lost.
Periodontal disease is usually a slow, painless, progressive disease. Most adults with periodontal disease are unaware they have it. If diagnosed and treated early, however, the teeth can be saved!
Diseases Associated with Periodontal Disease
Studies have shown that gum disease sufferers are at higher risk for developing other systemic diseases. The underlying cause is related to the periodontal chronic inflammatory process, which has an effect on the whole body, not only on the localized mouth area.
People who suffer from a periodontal disease have increased risk of developing:
• Heart attack or stroke
• Delivering preterm, low birth weight babies
• Type II Diabetes
• Chronic kidney disease
• Osteoporosis and Osteonecrosis
• HIV-Associated Gingivitis
• Herpes-Related Gingivitis
• Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, such as: Crohn's disease, Multiple sclerosis, Lupus erythematosus and CREST syndrome
How is periodontal disease treated?
The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease, how you responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Any type of treatment requires that you keep up good daily care at home.
Flap / Osseous Surgery
Surgery might be necessary if inflammation and deep pockets remain following treatment with deep cleaning and medications. A flap surgery may be performed to remove tartar deposits in deep pockets or to reduce the periodontal pocket and make it easier for the patient, dentist, and hygienist to keep the area clean.
Bone and Tissue Grafts
This common surgery involves lifting back the gums and removing the tartar. The gums are then sutured back in place so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth again. In addition to flap surgery, Dr. Sperling may suggest bone or tissue grafts. Grafting is a way to replace or encourage new growth of bone destroyed by periodontitis. Different types of bone grafts and membranes currently exist and can be used successfully.
This surgical procedure, in which gum tissue and bone are removed in order to expose more of the tooth structure, is performed in cases where the tooth is fractured, decayed or too short to be restored by a crown (cap)
Deep Cleaning (scaling and root planing)
This is a method to remove the plaque through a deep-cleaning procedure. Your gums will be comfortably numbed and the tartar and plaque will be scraped off above and below the gum line.
Local Antimicrobial Therapy
Antimicrobial therapy is the use of antibiotics to fight periodontal (gum) disease that is caused by certain oral bacteria .It is usually used in combination with Scaling and Root Planing.