Periodontal Disease occurs when a bacterial infection develops in the areas surrounding your teeth and begins to destroy the tissues, nerves, bones, and even your teeth. With millions of particles of bacteria found in a healthy mouth, it is easy to see that without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can quickly get out of control and bacterial infections can easily develop.
As bacteria grow in your mouth, they build up on your teeth and gums and form an almost transparent layer of film called plaque. As the bacteria grow, the plaque continues to build up in the area where your teeth are set in your gums. Your gums are the first area that is targeted by Periodontal Disease, becoming softer and weaker as the infection develops.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
At first this is a gradual weakening, and people who have Periodontal Disease are often not even aware that a bacterial infection has set in. The beginning stages are easy to miss. Initial symptoms may include a change in the color of your gums and a little bleeding when you brush your teeth.
As the condition develops, the plaque becomes a harder form called tartar, which begins to push open a space between your teeth and gums. Initially these pockets may not be very noticeable, but unless the tarter is removed, it will continue to create a larger opening. At this point your gums may become more sensitive and swollen. More noticeable symptoms may include:
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Mouth sores
- Loose teeth
Bleeding may also be more noticeable, especially when brushing or flossing. As the bleeding intensifies, the blood flow feeds the bacteria, giving more opportunity for the Periodontal Disease to penetrate beneath the soft tissues of your gums and into the bone area and will begin to target the bone that holds your teeth in place.
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What You Can Do
Continue proper brushing and flossing and see your dentist before Periodontal Disease causes further damage to your bones, tissues, and teeth.
Periodontal disease is responsible for 75% of adult tooth loss. When periodontal infection takes over, your gums and bone become too damaged to support your teeth. They become loose and — in most cases — are lost. The oral health effects of periodontal disease are severe, and if treatment has been recommended it’s important to begin right away. Learn More
But there is more to this bacterial attack than the damaging results it has on your gums and teeth. The medical consequences are possibly more alarming and far-reaching than the dental consequences. Learn More
Periodontal Disease Treatments
Proper cleaning of your gums and teeth above the gum line is your first line of defense in preventing this condition to develop.
Once Periodontal Disease has developed, it is important to assess how much damage has been done. A routine cleaning may be all the treatment needed if the plaque buildup can be removed in your dentist’s office. But more aggressive treatment may be necessary if the condition has destroyed tissues or bone.
The American Academy of Periodontology treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment, including scaling and root planing (a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins), followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery of antimicrobials and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis.
After scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further active treatment. However, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain optimal oral health.
Non Surgical Periodontal Treatments
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is an effective non-surgical option to treat gum disease in appropriate patients whose disease is not severe. Scaling and root planing cleans between the gums and the teeth down to the roots. Learn More
Periodontal Maintenance Therapy
Periodontal disease is similar to other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension. The key to controlling gum disease is early diagnosis and treatment, followed by regular preventive treatment. This entails periodontal maintenance procedures (PMP). PMP helps to control the progression of the disease and increases the chances of keeping your teeth. Learn More
AZ Perio uses a variety of techniques to manage periodontal disease. In some cases, we can utilize a dental laser to manage gum disease. Our laser generates a specific wavelength that attacks bacteria and tartar and decontaminates the periodontal pocket. Learn More
Surgical Periodontal Treatment
Pocket Depth Reduction
In a healthy mouth, the teeth are firmly surrounded by gum tissue and securely supported by the bones of the jaw. Periodontal disease damages these tissues and bones, leaving open spaces around the teeth referred to as pockets. The larger these pockets are, the easier it is for bacteria to collect inside them, leading to more damage to the gums. Without treatment, eventually the supportive structure degrades to the point that the tooth either falls out or needs to be removed. Learn More