How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Periodontal disease threatens healthy teeth by attacking the gums and jaw bone tissue. It is a major cause of tooth loss in older adults, and its prevalence among younger adults is rising. Fortunately, dentists can treat the periodontal disease successfully, slowing its progression and lowering the chance that patients will lose their teeth.
About Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is a chronic infection and inflammation affecting the gum and bone surrounding your teeth. Patients who do not practice adequate oral care and neglect to make recommended dental visits are at a significantly higher risk of developing periodontal disease.
In patients with periodontal disease, plaque, tartar (calculus), and food particles build up in deep pockets between the teeth and gums. The gum and bone begin to break down as these pockets collect toxic bacterial products. Eventually, the bone weakens, so it can no longer hold the teeth.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Red, swollen, bleeding gums
- Tender, sore gums
- Receding gums
- Unexplained bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
- More space between teeth
- Loose teeth
Stages of Periodontal Disease and Corresponding Treatments
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Your gums may bleed when they are brushed or flossed. If treated promptly, you can reverse gingivitis and keep it from progressing to periodontal disease.
Treatment involves professional dental cleaning, checking your restorations to ensure they are not irritating your gums, and stepping up your home oral care routine. You may need a prescription antibiotic mouth rinse.
Stage 2: Slight Periodontitis
The dentist diagnoses the stages of periodontal disease by measuring the pocket depth between your teeth and gums. If the pockets are between four and five millimeters, you have Stage 2 periodontitis. This condition has progressed to the point where it is no longer reversible, but you and your dentist can manage it with proper treatment.
At this stage, you will need scaling and root planing treatment. Scaling and root planing involve using specialized instruments to remove every trace of tartar and plaque above and below the gum line. When the tooth and root surfaces are clean and smooth, healthy gum tissue can adhere to them and shrink periodontal pockets.
Stage 3: Moderate Periodontitis
If your periodontal pockets have progressed to six to seven millimeters, your disease is moderate. At this time, the bacteria infecting your gums can progress into your bloodstream and affect your immune system.
Scaling and root planing also treat this level of periodontal disease, together with increased home care.
Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis
If you neglect to treat the prior stages of gum disease, you will reach stage 4. Stage 4 periodontal disease means you have a 50 to 90 percent chance of permanent bone loss that will lead to tooth loss.
If your gums are red, swollen, and ooze pus, or if you find it painful to chew, you may have stage 4 periodontal disease. You may also notice that your teeth are extremely sensitive to cold.
Treatments for end-stage periodontal disease include periodontal pocket surgery, where the dentist folds the gums back to allow the dentist to remove the bacteria, and laser periodontal surgery, where a strong beam of light cleans and sanitizes the gums.
Call Davis Gribble Hollowwa Dental
If you have known periodontal disease or have noticed any of the symptoms listed above, don't wait to call us for a prompt appointment. The sooner your dentist intervenes, the more likely it will be that you can preserve your teeth for a lifetime. Please call our Albuquerque, NM, office at 505-898-1976 for an exam and consultation.