Any patient who has received a diagnosis of periodontal disease is likely to have questions or concerns. It is a progressive disease that damages the tissues of the oral cavity, driving tooth decay within the soft tissues of the gums. This aggressive disease is caused by a buildup of naturally occurring bacteria found in the mouth. The disease has several stages. It is vital for patients to understand that this disease is only curable in the first stage. Once it progresses beyond that, there is no treatment to cure it.
The first stage is known as gingivitis. Most people have heard of this whether through commercials or social media, but most are unaware that this is the first stage of gum disease. Typically, symptoms include bleeding gums and general soreness in areas of the gums. When the disease progresses to late stages, there could be tooth loss or bone mass loss as the disease ravages the oral cavity. Treatments can alleviate some of the symptoms but not the disease. For those patients with questions regarding periodontal disease, they should contact our office.
Assessing Gum Disease
Our staff is more than capable of giving the patient a professional gum disease assessment to determine if in fact, they have gum disease as well as what stage the disease is in. By doing this, our staff can come up with the best treatment plan to combat the disease.
If the evaluation does not find periodontal disease, our staff will note any potential risk factors which might lend themselves to the likelihood that the patient might get the disease. They will look at the teeth and gums to see how bad the bacteria, tartar, and plaque buildup are on the teeth and gums. They will also take pocket measurements which is the space between the gums and teeth to make sure they are in a healthy range. We will also use x-ray technology to make note of any bone loss along the upper and lower jaws and determine if bone grafts might be warranted as part of the treatment.
The non-surgical treatments are generally reserved for the early stages of the disease when the symptoms are not as severe. They include periodontal maintenance which is a deep cleaning procedure which is much more involved than just the normal bi-annual cleaning. This is done to completely remove bacteria, tartar, and plaque to slow the disease. Another non-surgical treatment is scaling which employs a soft tissue laser to remove plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces. Root planing is also used to smooth the tooth’s surface to make it harder for bacteria to find purchase. Antibiotics are also used because the disease is bacterial in nature.
Surgical Treatment Options
The non-surgical options will work when the disease is in the earliest stages, but it will not be effective when the disease has progressed to the latter stages. Flap surgery is utilized to shrink the pocket size between the gums and the teeth. Gum grafts can also be used to restore diseased gum tissue. And if the jawbones have been compromised, then bone grafts are used to restore the lost bone mass.
Those patients who are suffering from periodontal disease should contact us at 206-791-2020 to schedule an appointment.