Our Newton dental practice is always seeking out ways to prevent periodontal disease, but many of our patients come in and already have gingivitis or other signs of periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some point in their lives. Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial plaque — a colorless film that coats your teeth and extends down below the gum-line. Left unimpeded, plaque hardens into tartar (also known as calculus).
The bacteria trapped below the gum-line can lead to irritation. If the irritation is prolonged, the gums start to draw back and separate from the teeth, causing hollow pockets to form. As periodontal disease progresses, supporting gum tissue as well as the bone that holds your teeth in place starts to deteriorate.
If left untreated, gum disease leads to tooth loss. In fact, for Americans over the age of 35, gum disease causes the loss of more teeth than cavities do.
RISK FACTORS FOR GUM DISEASE
There are common medical conditions that may increase your chances of periodontal disease. These include:
Signs of gum disease include:
Daily brushing and flossing can help prevent periodontal disease. However, once present, periodontal disease cannot be eradicated. Periodontal therapy can slow or even arrest the progression of the disease. Treatments include scaling, root planing, and antibiotic therapies.
Periodontal maintenance is performed in our office. Plaque is carefully removed from below the gum-line, and the gums are stimulated to encourage health and vitality. This scaling and root planing procedure is designed to over the course of several visits. Following this initial series of visits, patients visit our office (or the periodontist) every 3-4 months for periodontal therapy.
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