Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums. Bacteria that is found in plaque produces poisons that irritate the gums, causing them to turn red, swell, or bleed easily. If the irritation continues, the gums pull away from the teeth, which causes pockets of space to form. As the disease progresses, the gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorates, and it can lead to tooth loss.
The following links provide additional information about Periodontal disease:
- American Academy of Periodontology
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Mouth Healthy, brought to you by the American Dental Association
How can I prevent gum disease?
The best prevention is to brush and floss every day. Professional cleanings and visits to dentist make sure that any signs of periodontal disease are addressed or prevented. Adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise also affect the health of your gums. The mouth is actually a good indicator of a person’s general health.
Is gingivitis the same thing as gum disease?
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. It is reversible with professional treatment and good home oral health care.
Why does my dentist tell me I need more than a regular cleaning?
When more than the recommended time passes between cleanings, tartar can excessively build up on the teeth. It may require more than a single appointment to remove. Bacteria sticks to tartar, which makes it very important to address this issue in order to stop disease progression.
How many appointments will I need to take care of my gum disease?
Your dentist will advise you how many appointments will be required for your particular situation, depending upon the amount of tartar build-up and the overall health of the gum and bone tissue. After the initial cleaning treatments, it is necessary for the patient to return for periodontal maintenance appointments every 3-4 months.
What are periodontal cleanings?
Full Mouth Debridement (FMD) is the removal of heavy amounts of plaque and tartar above and below the gumline.
Scaling and Root Planing (SRP) is a deep cleaning that removes plaque, bacteria, tartar, and stain from the teeth above and below the gumline. It also smooths any rough areas on the tooth to promote healing.
Periodontal Maintenance Cleaning is the type of cleaning performed every 3-4 months to help maintain optimal gum health. It removes plaque, bacteria, and tartar from the teeth and may include site-specific SRP if necessary.
I have heard that other health issues can affect my gums, is that true?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than from cavities. Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial plaque that sticks to your teeth. However, a number of other factors can also contribute to gum disease, including:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
- Substance abuse