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Treating Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is the collective name for many types of diseases that can affect the gums and teeth. Periodontal disease can result in symptoms as varied as minor gum inflammation (gingivitis), to loss of teeth due to serious damage to soft tissue and bone. When gingivitis, a very early form of periodontal disease, is left untreated, gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets, which then become infected by bacteria, leading to a diagnosis of periodontitis. If no intervention is done to correct this infection, soft tissue and bone can be destroyed and teeth lost.What are the major risk factors for periodontal disease?

- Poor oral health care- Smoking- Genetics

- Medical conditions, such as diabetes, or hormonal changes in women

- Use of certain medications

Luckily, if you have been told you have periodontal disease, it can be treated, especially if it is caught early and a course of treatment is prescribed and followed closely.

How is periodontal disease treated?

Once periodontitis has been diagnosed, your dentist will go over your medical history and make suggestions that will help keep the infection from spreading, and lower your risk for continuing periodontal issues. These may include smoking cessation or recommendations for changes in medications being used.

Once lifestyle factors are addressed, a course of deep cleaning will be prescribed. This deep cleaning is also known as planing and root scaling, and will remove tartar from above and below the gum line, while helping to smooth out any rough areas in the teeth to keep bacteria from gathering there. Deep cleaning is generally required more frequently than typical twice-yearly dental check ups in order to keep the disease under control.

Depending on how severe the periodontal disease is, medications may also be prescribed. These can include antimicrobial mouth rinses, antibiotic gels, oral antibiotics, and several other treatment options.

Surgical treatments for advanced periodontitis

If inflammation and and deep pockets persist even after a course of deep cleaning and medication has been followed, flap surgery may be necessary. Flap surgery reduces the size of the deep pockets that have become infected, making it easier for the patient to care for the disease at home. It is not an uncommon surgery.

Severe periodontal disease may require bone and tissue grafts. Grafting can replace and encourage new tissue and bone growth in areas where gum disease may have destroyed the original bone and tissues. Grafts generally require the patient to closely follow a very specific course of home treatment in order for them to be successful.

If you think you may have periodontal disease, please give us a call as soon as possible at 734-677-2156 or visit our website to schedule an appointment for a periodontal examination. It is important that your periodontal disease is treated as soon as it’s suspected in order to keep your mouth healthy.


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