Dental Hygiene Monthly: Periodontal Disease

Dear Patients,

Periodontal disease has always been a hot topic in dentistry. It is a bacterial infection that involves the gum tissue, the bone around the teeth, and the fibers that connect the gums and bone to the teeth.

When gingivitis is not treated it may progress into periodontal disease (commonly called gum disease). If the bacteria in the oral cavity are not removed manually, your body attempts to kill the bacteria involved in the infection. This process causes damage to the periodontal tissues. The damage to the bone around the teeth is permanent.

Facts about periodontal disease:
– Can be prevented through good oral hygiene
– Causes irreversible bone damage
– You may not experience any symptoms
– Has been linked to systemic health issues

Severe periodontal disease can lead to tooth mobility and tooth loss. Other possible complications from periodontal disease include gum recession, foul smelling breath, and dental abscesses. Periodontal infections can be diagnosed by your Dentist or Hygienist. The diagnosis will usually include the use of radiographs, measurements of the gum tissue, and clinical examination. Treatment for the infection involves deep cleaning of the tooth and root of the tooth. This cleaning is often combined with the use of antibiotics and prescription mouth rinses to combat the bacteria.

The damage to the bone around the tooth is permanent, but with treatment the progression of damage can be halted. Periodontal disease will not usually produce any noticeable symptoms. This means that it can go undiagnosed for years. For this reason, people who have not been to a dental office for extended periods are usually shocked to hear that they have the infection. In addition if it has been present for a long time the damage may be quite severe. This is why it is so imperative to keep up with dental exams. When you have an exam the Dentist is not only looking for cavities but also signs of periodontal infection. The sooner the disease is detected and treated the better the outcome.


Laura Dagostino, RDH

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