Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
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Periodontal Disease (also known as gum disease or periodontal infection) is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection leads to an inflammation under the gums, and if not treated, this inflammation can destroy the bone around your teeth. This results in tooth loss. 75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal infection.
More importantly, research has associated periodontal infection to several serious medical problems; including heart disease, diabetes and stroke (see the The Consequences of Periodontal Disease section). As ongoing research continues to define how periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, oral health maintenance is essential. Periodontal health is a key component to a healthy body.
What is an ongoing infection?
Have you ever gotten a sliver of wood caught under the skin of your hand? Because the wound is open to bacteria, the site may becomeÂ infected and so appear red and inflamed. In time, your immune system fights off the bacteria and your hand heals when the sliver has been removed.
During an ongoing infection, however, your immune system is unable to conquer the bacteria on its own, and the pain and redness continue to worsen.
Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection in the pockets around your teeth. You cannot fight off the infection alone, but with periodontal therapy, we are able to remove debris and bacteria from the site, allowing the gum to heal as your hand had.
What Can Cause a Burst of Infection Activity?
People with periodontal disease have low resistance to periodontal bacteria. This causes an ongoing gum infection that grows in bursts of activity. Each time it grows, more support for your teeth is lost. Some factors that can cause this to occur may include:
Poor oral hygiene
Stress or tension
Smoking / Tobacco
Getting Periodontal Infection Treated Right Away
When your infection has a burst of activity, or when there are signs that this is about to occur, your general dentist may recommend you see a periodontist.
Symptoms of Periodontal Infection
Periodontal infection is usually painless until it reaches an advanced stage. However, there are some symptoms which can indicate the presence of periodontal infection.
These may include:
Red or swollen gums
Bleeding when brushing (pink toothbrush), or at other times
Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
Receding gums (teeth beginning to look longer)
Pus between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Loose, separating or protruding teeth
Spaces between teeth
If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact our office and ask for a periodontal evaluation.
Important Note: Your gums can look and feel quite normal and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection can still be present. To be certain about any periodontal disease, ask Dr. Slater to examine your gums for signs of infection.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that penetrates into the gums and into the bone around your teeth, causing inflammation. Periodontal inflammation leads to bone loss and possibly tooth loss and may contribute to other medical conditions.
The periodontal infection must be removed and the area given a chance to heal.
The Perio Protect Method
Perio Protect is doctor-prescribed and patient-applied. When you receive your custom Perio Trays, your dental team will show you how to place a small amount of prescription medicine in each tray. You wear it for just minutes each day. Your dentist will also design a treatment plan specifically for you, as the duration and frequency varies for each patient.
The trays are designed with a patented seal to place and hold medication where it is most effective—at the site of infection deep below the gum line. A low concentration of hydrogen peroxide gently and thoroughly cleanses the periodontal pockets, combatting bacteria, whitening your teeth and freshening your breath.
For some patients, the non-invasive Perio Trays reduce the need for surgical intervention. For others, it can be a potent compliment to traditional treatment methods, helping to ensure a more successful outcome.
While there is no “cure” for gum disease, it can be managed with daily treatment to prevent pathogenic bacteria from recolonizing. When the desired results have been achieved, your dentist will revise your treatment plan to maintain the results.
The Perio Protect Method is an appealing, minimally invasive option for advanced periodontitis and early-stage gum disease alike.