Periodontal and Gum Treatment Services

Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Management of Periodontal Disease

The Prevalence of Periodontal Disease

According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease. This equals approximately 64.7 million Americans.

The Causes & Symptoms

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. In the more serious form of periodontal disease called periodontitis, the gums pull away from the tooth and supporting gum tissues are destroyed. Bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or eventually fall out.

Chronic periodontitis, the most advanced form of the disease, progresses relatively slowly in most people and is typically more evident in adulthood. Although inflammation as a result of a bacterial infection is behind all forms of periodontal disease, a variety of factors can influence the severity of the disease. Important risk factors include inherited or genetic susceptibility, smoking, lack of adequate home care, age, diet, health history, and medications.

The Perio-Systemic Connection

Several research studies have suggested that periodontal disease is connected to variety of other diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists believe that inflammation may be the basis for the link between these systemic diseases. While periodontists are experts in treating oral inflammation, additional research is needed to better understand how treating periodontal disease may reduce the risk of developing other inflammatory diseases.

Diagnosing Periodontal Disease

Dr. Tyler and our hygienists typically rely on a visual assessment of the patient’s overall oral condition in addition to charting pocket depths with a periodontal probe. This visual/mechanical method of assessing periodontal disease status can only tell whether or not disease is present. There are other tests currently available that go beyond basic and subjective visual assessment to provide dental professionals with the detailed genetic and biological information required to better determine the appropriate treatment regimen for each individual patient. This information includes evaluating the inflammatory burden that is causing periodontal disease, as well as looking at the patient’s unique genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease.

Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment

AAP treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical treatment.

Glaser Dental offers a wide range of non-surgical treatments which can eliminate the need for painful surgery in most cases:

  • Adherence to a regular schedule of office visits
  • Removal of plaque & calculus below the gum line (see scaling & root planing below)
  • Application of antibiotics & antimicrobial agents
  • Following a prescribed home care routine

Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing is often followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials and host modulation, as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Most dental professionals would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further active treatment. However, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain health.

Non-surgical periodontal treatment can have limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal health.

Surgical Periodontal Treatment

If the patient ignores, or refuses treatment early on, the disease may progress to a point where surgical treatment may be the only option to save the tooth/teeth. That is when a periodontist would play a role in patient care. They surgically cut the gums and clean out the disease.

Periodontal Pocket Reduction Procedures
Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth.

Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.

Mild PeriodontitisAdvanced Periodontitis
Your periodontist has measured the depth of your pocket(s). A periodontal pocket reduction procedure has been recommended because you have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine.

During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.

Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it's important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.

Call 715-359-4344 to keep your smile healthy or Make An Appointment online.