What Periodontal Disease Is and How to Treat It
Periodontal disease is a progressive gum disease that evolves over time. Unlike some other diseases, anyone can get periodontal disease. The conditions under which periodontal disease develops are controllable, but millions of people still succumb to this disease, either through lack of education or effort. It will do everyone good to recognize gum disease risks.
How Does Periodontal Disease Start?
Periodontal disease and general gum disease risks begin with poor oral hygiene habits. Those who fail to brush and floss after each meal are more likely to develop periodontal disease over time. Brushing and flossing is the number one way to prevent periodontal disease.
The mouth is full of bacteria, and this bacteria feeds on some of the food that we eat. Bacteria growth and buildup leads to plaque, which is the sticky substance on your teeth that you find when you awaken in the morning. If you don’t remove the plaque with brushing and flossing, it can harden and become like cement on your teeth.
Plaque is another one of the gum disease risks that bacteria thrive on, so when the plaque hardens, it becomes impossible for you to just brush away. Periodontal disease then starts to take hold, at which point professional help is required to get rid of it.
What Are Gum Disease Risks of Periodontal Disease?
The signs of periodontal disease include the gums pulling away from the tooth, bone loss, shifting of teeth and denigration of the oral tissue surrounding the teeth.
A periodontist has several methods available to combat periodontal disease, including scaling and root planing and prescriptive antibiotics.
What is Scaling & Root Planing?
Scaling is a method that dentists use to remove the plaque and calculus below the gum line. The specialized tools that dentists and hygienists use are designed to remove calcified deposits on the teeth that can sabotage the health of the teeth and gums. The dentist may use a metal instrument or an ultrasonic scaler.
Scaling is usually followed up by a process called root planing, a procedure where the dentist smooths the surface of the root. The purpose of root planing is to make it more difficult for bacteria to grow on the roots of the tooth in the future. Root planing also helps gums heal and reattach to teeth, shrinking pockets and reducing future infection.
Periodontists recommend scaling and root planing when patients exhibit certain symptoms and conditions during the course of a dental visit. One thing that dentists check for is the size of pockets surrounding the teeth. Using a tool, the dentist measures each tooth pocket, or loose area around the tooth, and below the gum line.
Other gum disease risks and signs that scaling and root planing may be needed include receding gums, chronic halitosis, and inflamed or bleeding gums.
How are Oral Antibiotics Used to Treat Periodontal Disease?
Antibiotics kill the bacteria that contribute to periodontal disease. One common antibiotic that periodontists rely on is injected directly into the oral cavity, right at the site of the bacterial infestation. Most patients respond very favorably to oral antibiotic treatment, and the process of healing from periodontal disease begins immediately.
Once you have been diagnosed and treated for periodontal disease, it’s imperative that you continue to have regular checkups with your periodontist. In this way, periodontal disease can be kept in check so that you never have to worry about it again.
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that can, in worst case scenarios, lead to other health conditions including nutrition problems, heart disease and stroke. Call or email today to learn more about periodontal disease, gum disease risks and the treatments available at Central Florida Periodontics.