About Gum Disease
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease, which is an infection of the two structures that hold the tooth in the mouth. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gum and bone which if left untreated can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease usually does not present itself with signs of discomfort, however seeking treatment promptly, regardless of pain, is imperative to restoring health to the smile.
Causes and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection caused by bacteria in plaque (sticky, colorless film that forms around teeth continuously) and tartar. Bacteria cause inflammation, swelling, bleeding of gums, and bone loss, separating the gum from the tooth forming a pocket. Gum disease is an infection that most often does not hurt, unbeknownst to the individual suffering from it. If you are experiencing any of these common symptoms, or have not visited a periodontist in over a year, we encourage you to contact our office for an evaluation.
Symptoms of gum disease:
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Loose Teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen, red gums
- Spacing or pus between teeth
Gum Disease Stages
There are two stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
The mildest form of periodontal disease. The infection of the gums at this stage does not cause bone loss. Discomfort is minimal.
If gingivitis is left untreated it can lead to periodontitis. Infection of the gums with bacteria penetrate into the pocket to further separate the gums from teeth and cause irreversible bone loss around them.
Health Risks Associated with Gum Disease
Research shows that there is an association between periodontal disease and chronic inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been linked to pre-term labor, stroke, respiratory illness, and certain cancers. Treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal disease, but other inflammatory diseases as well. When an inflammatory condition is suspected it is only important to consult with your physician but also with your periodontist.
Gum Disease Treatment Options from a Periodontal Specialist
Dr. Arta Farahmand is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology and is skilled in diagnosing and treating all forms of gum disease. To avoid oral and systemic health issues, we encourage you to contact our office if you suspect you have signs of infection.
Depending on your unique situation, Dr. Farahmand can reduce gum disease-causing bacteria and help restore your mouth to a healthier state using various techniques, such as:
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing involves cleaning the root surface from deep periodontal pockets of bacteria, plaque, and calculus to smooth the tooth root and remove bacterial toxins. Following scaling and root planing a reevaluation period to assess for active treatment is performed to see if surgical treatment will be necessary. A majority of patients will require on-going maintenance therapy to sustain health.
This treatment is necessary when the tissue around teeth are unhealthy and cannot be repaired with scaling and root planing. This procedure is done with a numbing agent to the area and aims to reduce the periodontal pockets around teeth by removing bacteria and plaque from exposed root surfaces. This procedure reduces bacterial numbers in the mouth and reduces further bone loss. During the procedure the gums are gently folded back from the teeth to gain access to bacteria and tartar that are harbored on the root surfaces. Roots are made completely smooth. The gum is then sutured back with tiny stitches that are removed 7-10 days later.