Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is a prolonged inflammation of the gum tissue that results in the destruction of the bone that supports the teeth. This is a common condition that can result from untreated gingivitis and poor oral hygiene. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to gum bleeding, infection, bad breath, and loosening and eventual loss of teeth. Unfortunately, periodontal disease is considered to be a chronic, progressive condition, which means that once a patient is diagnosed, the disease tends to worsen over time. Because of this, we aim to be extremely proactive with periodontal treatment, with the ultimate goal of halting any disease progression.
Healthy gum tissue
Early-stage gum disease (gingivitis)
Moderate gum (periodontal) disease
Severe gum (periodontal) disease
Once a diagnosis is made, the first step in treating this disease is known as scaling and root planing, or more simply “deep cleaning.” This procedure involves full cleaning to the depth of any pockets that have formed between the teeth and gums and subsequent smoothing of the root surfaces. Depending upon the severity of each case, this process may require some anesthesia to ensure that all areas are appropriately cleaned and smoothed. Typically, this treatment is completed over the course of two visits to avoid numbing both sides of the mouth simultaneously and to ensure that ample time is available to thoroughly clean all areas. Proper home care after this procedure is a critical component to the success of this process.
Deep cleaning of inflamed area
View of deep cleaning underneath gum tissue
In milder cases and in patients with good home care, one round of scaling and root planing is usually sufficient to restore a healthy state; however, we always recommend starting with 3 month maintenance intervals after the initial treatment. In patients who consistently demonstrate the ability to maintain healthy gum tissue, we can occasionally decrease the recall frequency. In more severe cases and in patients who don’t favorably respond to this first step, surgical intervention is required. To learn more about the next step in periodontal disease treatment, take a look at our Waterlase Periodontal Repair page.
If you’ve been told you have periodontal disease or have bleeding gums or loose teeth, call us today to set up an appointment.