Gum Disease or Periodontal Disease is chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissues. It is a slow, progressive, and painless development. It is the major cause of about 70% of tooth loss. The cause of Gum Disease is Bacterial Plaque – a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth. This plaque develops daily and is an accumulation of bacteria, food, and bacterial byproducts. Hence, it is recommended to brush at least twice and floss daily. If this plaque is not removed consistently on a daily basis the remaining plaque can harden in to a rough porous substance called calculus (also known as tartar.)
The minerals from saliva cause the hardening of plaque into calculus. Toxins (poisons) produced and released by bacteria irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Patients may experience bad breath also known as Halitosis. These toxins cause breakdown of the fibers that hold the gums tightly to the teeth, creating a space between the tooth and gums, known as a periodontal pocket. Which fill with even more toxins and bacteria. As the disease progresses, pockets get deeper, it becomes more difficult to clean, and the bacteria moves down until it reaches the bone and dissolves the bone holding the tooth. If nothing is done then bone loss continues and the tooth can eventually get loose.
Research has shown genetics is also a factor as are lifestyle choices. A diet low in nutrients can diminish the body’s ability fight infection. Smokers and spit tobacco users have more irritation to gum tissue than non-tobacco users, while stress can also affect the ability to ward off disease. Diseases that interfere with the body’s immune system, such as leukemia and AID’s, may worsen the condition of the gums. In patients with uncontrolled diabetes, where the body is more prone to infection, gum disease is more severe or harder to control. Treating periodontal disease also prevents cardiovascular disease. Research has shown a direct link between periodontal disease, heart disease, premature birth, diabetes and many systemic other diseases.
In early stages, most treatment involves scaling and root planning of the tooth surface. This involves removing the plaque and calculus around the tooth and smoothing the root surfaces when the tissue is numbed with anesthetic. Antibiotics or antimicrobials
may be used to supplement the effects of scaling and root planning. In advanced cases, surgical treatment may be required. Research suggests that the use of lasers as an adjunct to scaling and root planing (SRP) may improve the effectiveness of this procedure. In addition, when the lasers are used properly during periodontal therapy there can be less bleeding, swelling and discomfort to the patient. Promotion of bone growth around the tooth is also seen and is a very effective soft tissue treatment.
Removing plaque through daily brushing, flossing and regular professional cleanings is the best way to minimize your risk for developing periodontal disease. We can design a personalized home care routine that fits your needs.