Periodontal Treatment

It might seem normal for your gums to bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth. However, these symptoms can indicate the presence of a disease called periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a serious condition that destroys the supporting structures of your teeth including the gums and bone. It can start with simple swollen and/or bleeding gums and will progress over time to affect your overall health. Scientists have determined a connection exisits between periodontal disease and diabetes, respiratory disease, stroke and heart disease.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease begins with simple dental plaque that hasn’t been properly cleaned from the teeth. Plaque is the yellow substance that sticks to your teeth and, if not brushed and flossed away, results in tooth decay. Gums that are swollen and bleeding indicate an infection from the bacteria found in plaque. Swollen, bleeding gums are early signs of periodontal disease.

Eventually, plaque will spread along the gum line where it’s difficult to remove. When your gums swell, a space is formed between the gums and teeth, encouraging more bacteria to grow. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause teeth to become loose and will eventually result in tooth loss.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Brushing and flossing regularly, as well as visiting your dentist twice a year can prevent periodontal disease. However, there are many additional ways to prevent periodontal disease:

  • Avoid using tobacco – smoking increases the risk and severity of periodontal disease
  • Clean crowded teeth – if your teeth are crowded or supported with bridgework, your dentist can recommend special tools for those hard-to-reach areas
  • Keep from clenching your teeth – the excess pressure can add to the symptoms of periodontal disease; a night guard may be recommended
  • Drink water – a dry mouth results in plaque build-up, so it’s important to drink plenty of water every day

How Is Periodontal Treatment Treated?

Another way to prevent and treat periodontal disease is to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a standard exam and cleaning. Your dentist can talk with you about options if you require a more in-depth periodontal treatment.

Periodontal treatment consists of periodontal scaling and root planning. This type of treatment requires more time and a certain amount of anesthesia depending on your personal needs. If you have any trouble at all with your teeth or gums, see your dental professional as soon as possible to take the best possible care of your smile.