Gum disease (periodontal disease) is very common, yet many people know little about it and may even suffer from the condition without knowing. Gum disease is also called periodontal disease because it affects the periodontium, or structures that support teeth. They are:
The gums (gingiva).
The cementum (calcified covering over a tooth root).
The periodontal ligaments (attach a tooth to the bone).
The alveolar (jaw) bone with tooth sockets.
Periodontal disease is an infection that can damage the teeth, gums and supporting jaw bone if not treated in its early stages. In her Philadelphia dentistry practice, Dr. Lindsey Marshall emphasizes the importance of proper dental hygiene and oral care.
Gum disease starts as gingivitis, where bacteria have invaded the space between teeth and gums and damaged both structures. If gingivitis is not treated, it will progress to periodontitis, the second and more destructive stage of gum disease. Now bacterial damage extends below the gumline, starts to damage the tooth roots, and at some point spreads into the jawbone. Bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel around the body, causing problems with the heart, increasing stroke risk, and contributing to diabetes.
Periodontitis is thought of in three stages:
Chronic periodontitis – inflammation is ongoing and established.
Aggressive periodontitis – infection is spreading quickly through the gums.
Necrotizing periodontal disease – infection is entering the jawbone and causing significant pain, bleeding and loss of gum tissue, as well as chronic bad breath (halitosis).
In addition to gum therapy and soft tissue laser, Dr. Marshall also offers multiple periodontic treatment options. A local anesthetic may also be used to help numb the gums and the roots of the teeth. These include:
Scaling and Root Planning
This is what's called a deep cleaning method that will help remove the bacteria that is taken from below the gum line and your teeth roots. Local anesthetics will be used to help with the pain.
Root Surface Debridement
This procedure helps to remove any damaged tissue you may have in your mouth. This procedure is performed with an ultrasonic instrument or hand tools.
This procedure lifts away from the gum tissues so that it can be cleaned underneath. Often, this procedure is performed when your gum disease can not be cured by any drugs or antibiotics.
Gum or Bone Grafts
Gum and bone grafts are performed to help your bones and gums regenerate what is damaged or lost because of periodontitis.
If a patient loses their teeth because of periodontal disease or any other reasons, they can choose dental implants to help restore missing teeth. Implants are a crucial part of periodontics because we are fusing the bone with the gums. These implants act as a root for replacement structures but also require the same care against periodontal disease as other teeth.
– Steve B.
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