Gum disease is the inflammation of the gums and is also known as gingivitis. If gum disease is not treated, it can develop into periodontal disease, which can weaken the bone supporting teeth. Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.
Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, but research also suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affect these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:
Early stages – gum disease
- Swollen or red gums
- Sore gums
- Gums bleeding when brushing teeth.
Advanced stage – periodontal disease
- Infected gums
- Pockets forming between teeth and gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Gum abscess
- Bad taste in mouth, metallic taste
- Changes to the bite and how the top and bottom set of teeth fit together.
Gum disease and periodontal disease are often treated with non-surgical procedures. The first non-surgical step usually involves a gum disease deep cleaning process called “scaling & root planing” to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces.
Scaling & Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)
Scaling & Root Planing is an effective gum disease treatment. At this level of periodontal cleaning, you are a candidate for periodontal deep cleaning. This includes the cleaning of plaque and tartar from your teeth and roots. This procedure can remove much of the plaque above and below your gumline. This is where bacteria produce toxins that irritate your gums and cause gum infections.
If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the bloodstream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.
Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in-depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingivitis and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.
Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing and should reduce bad breath caused by food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.