Achieve Healthy, Strong Gums with Periodontal Care
More than half of Americans have some stage of periodontal (gum) disease. To help prevent gum disease and keep your mouth healthy, it is recommended that patients maintain proper oral hygiene through regular flossing and brushing, as well as dental exams and cleanings. In the event that you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, Dr. Robert F. Berger can treat your gums to restore optimal health. With proper periodontal care, patients in the Columbia area can take confidence in knowing that their teeth and gums are in good health.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a condition of the gums caused by excess bacteria in the mouth. The disease affects the gums and supporting structures (bones) around the teeth. The condition can seriously affect teeth, gum tissue, and jawbone structure.
If periodontal disease is not treated in a timely manner, serious dental and overall health problems can result. Periodontal disease has been linked to increased potential for heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes complications, and low birth weights.
Patients suffering from periodontal disease may experience mouth pain, gums that bleed when brushing and flossing, gums that appear to be receding, increased space between teeth, swollen or tender gums, and chronic halitosis (bad breath).
Types of Periodontal Disease
Plaque is the clear, sticky bacterial film that constantly coats your teeth. When you do not brush and floss, plaque can evolve into hard tartar (within just 48 hours), irritating gums and promoting infection. This is known as periodontal disease or gum disease.
All forms of periodontitis are serious and can lead to permanent damage to the gums, or even tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is categorized according to its severity. The first and mildest form is gingivitis. The main symptom of gingivitis is swelling and bleeding of the gums. Fortunately, practicing good oral hygiene can reverse the effects of gingivitis.
The advanced form of gum disease is called periodontitis. In this stage of periodontal disease, the gums pull away from the teeth, causing pockets of infection. This bacteria can grow and spread, breaking down the bone and tissue that secure teeth in place. All forms of periodontitis are serious and can lead to permanent damage to the gums, or even tooth loss.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
In addition to poor oral hygiene, there are other potential causes of periodontal disease, which can include:
- Hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Certain medications such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and some heart medications
- Grinding your teeth, which can destroy the supporting structures of the mouth
- Poor nutrition. which compromises your immune system
Fortunately, the earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, can often be treated by practicing good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing can reverse its harmful effects. To help reduce gingivitis, Dr. Berger may suggest that you begin using a prescription oral mouthwash.
Scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning, can also help fight gingivitis. Scaling involves thoroughly cleaning the tooth root surface, while root planing smoothes rough areas on roots, beneath the gum line.
Patients with advanced periodontal disease could require surgery, such as soft tissue grafts. Dr. Berger will review your specific case with you and devise a treatment plan that is appropriate for your oral health needs.
Schedule Your Dental Exam
Dr. Berger provides thorough dental exams and cleanings, which will help you maintain optimal oral health. If you are showing signs of periodontal disease, or want to find out more about periodontal care, schedule your appointment today.