What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth that is most destructive in individuals that have a genetic susceptibility to the disease process. It is responsible for more tooth loss in adults than any other type of dental disease. Data acquired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 50% of American adults suffer from periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is chronic in nature and usually does not hurt until the disease has become advanced and tooth loss is inevitable. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you maintain your teeth for a lifetime.
Signs of periodontal disease include:
- Deep pockets around teeth
- Bad breath
- Inflamed gums
- Spaces that develop between teeth
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer-appearing teeth
Scaling and root planning is a non-surgical treatment of periodontal disease that is sometimes referred to as a “deep cleaning.” It is often the first line of treatment for people who suffer from periodontal disease, and for many people, is an adequate treatment for establishing periodontal health.
Surgery may be necessary if inflammation and deep pockets remain following scaling and root planning treatment. Traditional periodontal surgery involves reflecting the gum tissue away from the teeth in order to gain access to the root of the teeth so they can be adequately cleaned.
During periodontal surgery it is often appropriate to treat the bone defects that have formed during the disease process. This may involve the placement of a bone graft to regenerate the bone that supports the teeth.