What Is periodontal (Gum) disease?
Periodontal (Gum) disease is an i n fection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because periodontal (gum) disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. In the early stage of periodontal (gum) disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. In the more advanced stages of periodontal (gum) disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
What are the signs of periodontal (Gum) disease?
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath that doesn't go away
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
How can I prevent periodontal (gum) disease?
The good news is that you can help prevent periodontal (gum) disease by taking good care of your teeth every day and having regular dental checkups. Here's how to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush your teeth well at least twice a day
- Clean between your teeth every day
- Eat a balanced diet
- Visit your dentist regularly
Curettage-a scraping away of the diseased gum tissue in the infected pocket, which permits the infected area to heal.
- Flap surgery - Involves lifting back the gums and removing the tartar. The gums are then sewn back in place so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth. This method
also reduces the pocket and areas where bacteria grow.
- Bone Grafts - Used to replace bone destroyed by periodontitis. Tiny fragments of your own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone are placed where bone was lost. These grafts serve as a platform for the regrowth of bone, which restores stability to teeth.
- Soft tissue grafts - Reinforce thin gums or fill in places where gums have receded. Grafted tissue, most often taken from the roof of the mouth, is stitched in place over the affected area.
- Guided tissue regeneration - Stimulates bone and gum tissue growth. Done in combination with flap surgery, a small piece of mesh-like fabric is inserted between the bone and gum tissue. This keeps the gum tissue from growing into the area where the bone should be, allowing the bone and connective tissue to regrow to better support the teeth.
- Bone surgery - Smoothes shallow craters in the bone due to moderate and advanced bone loss. Following flap surgery, the bone around the tooth is reshaped to decrease the craters.
This makes it harder for bacteria to collect and grow.
- Medications - In pill form are used to help kill the germs that cause periodontitis or suppress the destruction of the tooth's attachment to the bone. There are also antibiotic gels, fibers or chips applied directly to the infected pocket. In some cases,
a dentist will prescribe a special anti-germ mouth rinse containing a chemical called chlorhexidine to help control plaque and gingivitis. These are the only mouth rinses approved for treating periodontal disease.