Periodontal diseases are caused by bacterial infections that attach gums, ligaments and bone. Although the body has some natural defenses that resist bacterial attacks, these may not fully protect gum and bone tissues from inflammation and infection.
If you notice any of the following signs, see Dr. Vette immediately:
· Gums that bleed easily.
· Red, swollen or tender gums.
· Pus between the teeth and gums when the gums are pressed.
· Persistent bad breath or bad taste.
· Permanent teeth which are loose or separating.
· Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
· Any changes in the fit of partial dentures.
The mouth contains a large number and variety of bacteria that form a sticky film called plaque. In this film, the bacteria that cause periodontal diseases create toxins (poison), which irritate the gums and bone. Even if you brush and clean between your teeth every day, you may not completely remove plaque, especially around and below the gunmline.
Plaque that is not removed can harden into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar. Tartar can only be removed when your teeth are cleaned in the dental office.
Although tartar that forms above the gumline has not been shown to cause periodontal disease, tartar on the teeth below (under) the gumline makes it more difficult to remove plaque. This creates chronic inflammation and infection.
Checking for periodontal Diseases
During your checkup, Dr. Vette will examine your gums. This is called a periodontal examination. An instrument called a periodontal probe is used to gently measure the pocket space between each tooth and gum. This will determine the depth of periodontal pockets. A pocket size of three millimeters is considered normal, unless gum recession is present. Generally, greater pocket depths indicate more advanced stages of periodontal disease.
Dental x-rays may be taken to evaluate bone supporting the teeth and to detect other problems not visible during the clinical examination. If periodontal disease is diagnosed, the dentist may provide treatment or may refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases. In most cases, if surgery is not required, Dr. Vette can manage periodontal disease.
Treating Periodontal Disease
Treatment depends on the level of periodontal disease presented.
The first step is usually a thorough cleaning that may include periodontal scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gumline. The tooth roots may also be planed to smooth the root surface allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. This treatment is usually provided in two to four separate visits and can be provided by either the hygienist or Dr. Vette. Local anesthetic is administered to provide comfortable treatment. Nitrous Oxide, (laughing gas), is also available upon request.
· Tobacco Use
· Bridge – Improper Fit
· Poor Diet
· Medication and Chemotherapy
· Systemic Disease
· Improper Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Following a period of active therapy, your dentist will want to see you at regular intervals. More frequent visits may be scheduled. In some cases, you may be referred to a periodontist for alternate dental checkups and cleanings.
You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between teeth, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.