Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, oral inflammation, “the itises” affects oral health globally. Increasingly, this oral inflammation — gingivitis and periodontitis — is being linked to medical conditions, namely heart disease, diabetes, and possibly obesity. Oral bacteria (germs that form a sticky adherent biofilm) collect and grow at the gumline. This so-called plaque must be effectively removed daily by brushing and flossing. My observations are that in general, fewer than 1 of 10 patients perform adequate oral hygiene. In fact, recent literature  suggests that “the prevalence of periodontal disease in the United States may be significantly higher than originally estimated.”  Either the objectives of oral hygiene are underachieved, or the patient fails to perform with consistency. Toxins are given off, initially resulting in an inflammation of the gums. If your gums are more red than pink and bleed easily, then we’re talking about gingivitis. As time goes on, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, which is characterized by a deterioration of the bone that supports the tooth. In an advanced stage of gum disease, teeth can become loose, migrate and change position, and eventually will be lost. The American Academy of Periodontology has a wealth of information regarding gum disease as well as treatment thereof.

Treatment of periodontal disease includes deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) and pocket elimination surgeries. The objective is to create access to cleanse root surfaces and accomplish effective plaque control. To prevent potential tooth loss due to gum disease, please, please, please commit to effective oral hygiene.