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Periodontal Disease and Treatment
Periodontal disease ranges from simple gum inflammation to a serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
The dentist, periodontist, or dental hygienist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means removing the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease.
Following scaling and root planing it is extremely important for the patient to practice good home care. Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed, or gets worse depends a great deal on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day. It’s also vital that you see us for more frequent checkups, typically every three or four months.