Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a big fancy word that means gum disease. What happens with gum disease is bacteria that are in your mouth have lived and stayed too long. These bacteria haven't been brushed away, they haven't been flossed away, and you haven't come in for your regular cleanings. They've created clumps and colonies that breed and multiply. This irritates all of the tissues in the area, including the gum and bone. The bone starts to recede and run away from all this bacteria. If the bone runs away too much, it can loosen the teeth and even cause them to fall out.

What are the causes of periodontal disease?

The cause of periodontal disease is 100% bacterial. To stop the progression of this disease, you need to clean out all that gunk that's sitting underneath your gums. This involves a professional deep cleaning to remove all the tartar, plaque, calculus, and other substances that have accumulated. After the cleaning, you must maintain cleanliness by brushing and flossing well at home and coming in for professional cleanings every three months.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

The number one symptom of periodontal disease is bleeding gums. Gums should not bleed when you brush or floss, so if they do, it suggests an issue. Another common sign of gum disease is teeth appearing longer because the gum has risen up or dropped down. In such cases, it's crucial to see a dentist to find out what's wrong.

What are the treatment options for periodontal disease?

The first step in treating periodontal disease is removing all of the bacteria. A deep cleaning, which is more involved than a regular cleaning, is often sufficient. The mouth is divided into four quadrants, all of which need to be cleaned. Regular cleanings every three months are also necessary. If the disease is advanced and there's significant bone loss, a deep cleaning may not be enough. In such cases, laser treatment may be needed to get deep into the areas and clean everything up. This also has to be done across the entire mouth, and regular cleanings every three months are still required.

Are teeth cleaning and periodontal treatments painful?

Absolutely not. While a tooth cleaning may be slightly uncomfortable if the teeth are sensitive, it should not be painful. If we have to do a deep cleaning and you're uncomfortable, we will numb you. There should be no pain during the treatment.

How can you schedule a dental appointment to see if you have periodontal disease?

You can schedule an appointment by giving our office a call at (440) 659-1455. We'd be happy to set you up with a consultation.

What diseases are associated with periodontitis?

We're observing numerous links between the mouth and the body. Periodontal disease has been associated with heart disease and diabetes. In pregnant patients, periodontal disease can lead to preterm low birth weight babies. Thus, maintaining your periodontal health is critical for overall systemic health.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

The symptoms of periodontal disease can manifest in various ways, including inflammation of the gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, receding gums, loose teeth, persistent bad breath, and changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite. While some patients may not notice any symptoms, it's important to know that periodontal disease can progress without noticeable signs and regular dental check-ups are essential.

Please note that periodontal disease can also exacerbate other health conditions. For instance, patients with periodontal disease often experience heart disease issues, increased coronary and carotid artery plaques, and increased risk of stroke due to increased body inflammation from mouth inflammation. Furthermore, there's a significant correlation between diabetes and periodontal disease. Treating periodontal disease can improve glycemic control and reduce sugar levels. Conversely, uncontrolled diabetes can worsen periodontal conditions, indicating that treating diabetes and periodontal disease can mutually benefit each other.

What are the correct symptoms of periodontal disease?

The correct symptoms of periodontal disease often include red, swollen, or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, gums that pull away from the teeth, loose or separating teeth, persistent bad breath or bad taste, changes in bite, changes in the fit of partial dentures, or sores in your mouth. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and should be evaluated by a dental professional.

What are the connections between periodontal disease and diabetes?

Diabetes is indeed connected to periodontal disease. We're seeing patients that treat their periodontal disease actually have an improved glycemic control. Their sugar levels go down if you actually treat the periodontal disease and you don't let it go unchecked. Diabetes and periodontal disease go hand in hand. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes often have worse periodontal conditions. So, treating the diabetes will improve the periodontal disease and treating the periodontal disease will improve the diabetes.

What steps do dentists take in treating periodontal disease?

In treating periodontal disease, once we diagnose you having it, we try and treat things as minimally invasive as possible. If your case is not very extreme, we likely can just treat you with a very deep cleaning, maybe a little laser treatment around the teeth to get rid of the destructive bacteria that are in the pocket and stabilize the periodontal condition. In more severe cases, you may require surgery. We make a small incision in the gum, push the gum away from the teeth, clean the roots really well, clean out all the bacteria that has invaded the root and the bone. We may have to lower the gum to a lower level to get rid of the pockets or we may do regenerative bone procedures, bone grafting around the teeth to regenerate the bone loss that has occurred around the teeth.

What can I do at home to treat periodontitis?

A good oral hygiene regimen is very important. I always recommend patients to brush twice a day, floss once a day. Electric toothbrushes, like the Sonicare toothbrush which I personally find very effective, can help remove a lot of the plaque and bacteria around the teeth. Water picks can also be a very good tool. I tell patients to put the water pick in the shower and after they brush their teeth, they get in the shower and they can go around with the water pick. That's also very helpful in removing plaque and bacteria around the teeth to lower the bacteria population so that the immune response can handle the bacteria load and keep things healthy.

When should I schedule an appointment?

If you realize that you have periodontal disease, or if you're starting to see some of the signs like bleeding after brushing your teeth, you should call our office and schedule an appointment with me, the periodontal specialist, at (440) 659-1455.

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a bacterial infection of the gums that affects the attachment apparatus of the tooth. This includes the bone, periodontal ligament, and supporting gum apparatus around the tooth. The infection triggers an inflammatory process resulting in bone and soft tissue loss. If not treated, it can lead to the loss of the tooth.

What are the warning signs of periodontal disease?

Patients commonly report bleeding when brushing their teeth, which is typically indicative of inflammation. Bacteria begin to form a biofilm around the teeth immediately after a dental cleaning. Although the initial bacteria are harmless, more destructive bacteria start to populate over time, triggering an inflammatory process that attacks the tooth's supporting apparatus. This process results in gum inflammation and, if not managed, eventual bone and tooth loss.

Can periodontal disease be cured?

While we can't cure periodontal disease, we can prevent it from worsening and keep it under control. It is crucial for patients with gum disease to get dental cleanings every three months to remove destructive bacteria and control the inflammatory process.

How does periodontal disease progress if left untreated?

If untreated, destructive bacteria will cause inflammation in patients susceptible to periodontal disease, leading to the destruction of the supporting apparatus and eventually tooth loss. Patients who are susceptible to or already have periodontal disease should get cleanings every three months to prevent this progression.

Can a patient get crowns with periodontal disease?

Yes, crowns can be placed if the periodontal disease is under control and not progressing. However, crowns should not be fitted on a tooth with active periodontal infection. An analogy can be drawn with a house: the crown is like the house, and the root is the foundation. If the foundation has 'termites' or bacteria compromising it, the tooth, like the house, will collapse.

What is a periodontal cleaning?

A periodontal cleaning involves the use of an ultrasonic cleaning device, such as a cavitron, to mechanically remove bacteria underneath the gum line. We can also use laser treatments to cauterize and detoxify the sulcus around the tooth, making the attachment apparatus healthier.

How can someone schedule a dental appointment with you?

You can schedule a consultation by calling our office at (440) 659-1455. I will evaluate your gums, go through your entire mouth and ensure that there is no active periodontal disease. We can then devise a plan to keep things under control.