What is Periodontal Disease, and What Are the Treatment Options?
Written by Scripps West Dental
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease (or periodontitis). Simply put, it’s an infection of the gum tissues and bone that support your teeth. This infection is caused by excessive plaque and tartar (calculus) buildup around the teeth. Our dentist and periodontists in Mira Mesa screens for gum disease during every routine exam to ensure the infection is intercepted as early as possible. At Scripps West Dental, our goal is to prevent gum disease before it starts and to treat it early before tooth loss occurs.
How Common is Periodontal Disease?
Gum disease/periodontitis is more common in some people than others. You often see it run in families. Is periodontal disease contagious? Not exactly. But access to dental care and oral hygiene habits tend to be the same in households, hence why periodontal disease may “run in families” in some cases. Usually, it’s a lack of proper cleaning and removing plaque around the teeth and gums that leads to periodontal disease.
It is the most common cause of tooth loss in Mira Mesa and the United States.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
You might have gum disease if you have consistent symptoms of:
- Bleeding gums
- Sore, swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Gaps between teeth
- Visible tartar buildup
- Chronic halitosis
- Food consistently catching between teeth
How Gum Disease is Treated
How periodontal disease is treated is different from preventative cleanings and checkups. For minor gingivitis, a professional cleaning and re-vamped home hygiene routine are usually all that’s needed. Gum disease is different. Depending on the severity of your oral disease, our periodontal experts and dentist in Mira Mesa may recommend therapies like:
Deep Cleaning/Scaling and Root Planing: To preserve natural teeth for as long as possible, deep cleanings are performed to remove the heavy buildup of bacteria below the gumlines. These periodontal procedures are typically performed with local anesthetic to ensure your comfort. Typically, our hygienist will clean half of the teeth at a time, having you return at a separate visit for the other half. We use special instruments that safely reach the root surfaces to lift away bacteria without harming the soft tissues around the tooth.
People with chronic gum disease will continue to follow their deep cleaning with a series of periodontal maintenance visits every 3-4 months. This measure prevents them from suffering a relapse and lowers their chances of losing any teeth.
Gum Grafting and Crown Lengthening: These two treatment options can help to stabilize severely at-risk teeth. By adjusting the soft tissues around your tooth, such as placing a graft on exposed surfaces, we can help prevent tooth decay or sensitivity. Whereas crown lengthening lowers the gumline level, reducing the depth of the “gum pocket” around your tooth. This measure ensures a more effective home hygiene routine, limiting the chances of relapse.
Bone Grafting: If your teeth are loose or have already fallen out, there may be severe bone loss in your jaw around those areas. A lack of bone support can lead to changes in your facial features, which makes it more difficult for teeth to remain stable during biting and chewing. Bone grafting adds back to the bone density of your jaw in that space, better securing your remaining teeth.
It’s Not Just About Your Mouth
Gum disease can also impact your overall health, putting you at greater risk for serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, infertility, stroke, and pneumonia. Periodontal therapy can improve your oral health and remove the infectious bacteria inside your mouth, lessening the overall strain on your body. This will help you to boost your immunity system, which can lead to better overall health.
Visit Our Periodontists and Dentist in Mira Mesa
How gum disease is treated will vary from person to person. Scripps West Dental is the best choice for gum disease treatment in Mira Mesa. Our highly trained periodontists are the specialists you need to save your smile and boost your oral health!