When plaque bacteria accumulate below the gum line, periodontal disease (also called gum disease) occurs. Inflammation caused by bacteria can eventually cause the erosion of gum tissue and bone that supports it. If untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease generally falls into two phases – Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis is reversible and only affects the gums. Periodontitis is non-reversible and affects the gums and supporting bone structure.
The mildest gum disease is gingivitis (gum inflammation). Gingivitis has the following symptoms:
In most cases, gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene and is reversible. Your dentist and/or hygienist can help you adjust your cleaning regimen to restore healthy gum tissue.
If untreated, gingivitis will lead to periodontitis, which is irreversible. Leaving plaque, tartar, and bacteria in the mouth can cause the gums to recede over time. These bacteria cause chronic (long-term) inflammation. If left untreated, this inflammatory response will eventually result in tooth loss.
Although periodontitis is a more serious condition, it actually has less noticeable symptoms. Periodontitis is usually detected at your regular check-up as the dentist will gently check the gums. Bone loss is also detected on bite-wing x-rays that are regularly taken. This is why it is important to visit your dentist regularly.
Planned periodontal treatment and assessment
To provide you with a bespoke treatment plan, measurements and x-rays will be taken of your gums. We will also measure the depth of any gingival pockets. X-rays are taken in order to determine the extent of bone loss. After explaining the clinical and radiographic findings, we will discuss treatment options.
Treatment of periodontitis without surgery
Deep cleaning, also known as periodontal therapy, is a non-invasive method of preventing gum disease. Deep cleaning removes plaque, bacteria, and other toxins below the gum line, reducing the risk of the disease progressing. Periodontal disease can be treated with oral antibiotics, as well as antimicrobial mouth rinses, if necessary.
At this point, the effectiveness of the treatment will be assessed. As with the initial consultation, a clinical examination is conducted to determine if further treatment is necessary.
To reduce pockets following non-surgical periodontal (deep cleaning) treatment, regenerative procedures such as gum contouring may be recommended. By reducing pockets, the chances of tooth loss and further disease progression are reduced.
Please schedule an appointment to speak with a member of your dental team if you are worried or concerned about your gum health.Back to Advanced Dentistry
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