Treatment of Periodontal Disease
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal disease happens when chronic bacteria infect the gums and bones that support the teeth. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Because bone is the primary structure around our teeth, periodontal disease is actually a bone disease although sometimes it is referred to as gum disease.
HOW DOES ONE GET PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal disease (gum disease) happens when chronic bacteria infect the gums and bones that support the teeth. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Because bone is the primary structure around our teeth, periodontal disease is actually a bone disease although sometimes it is referred to as gum disease.
When the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) builds up in our mouth and is not removed regularly at home or by a dentist, it causes inflammation of the gums (swollen gums), or gingivitis. Evidence of gingivitis can be experienced as gums that are sore, red or puffy, bleeding gums during brushing and/or flossing, receding gums, sensitive teeth and bad breath. Dry mouth can be a contributing factor for gingivitis.
If gingivitis is not reversed, gums start to pull away from the teeth (receding gums) causing periodontal pockets, or periodontitis. All at once, fibers detach from the root surface, bone loss is initiated, and bacteria travel deeper along the root surface. Other signs of periodontitis gum disease include swollen gums, sensitive teeth, bad taste in mouth and bleeding gums. Dry mouth can also be a factor.
If periodontitis is left untreated, advanced periodontitis occurs, resulting in significant loss of bone and attachment. The risk of tooth loss is also increased.
Periodontal disease can also occur as a result of other genetic, hormonal or lifestyle factors, including: smoking and tobacco use, genetics, pregnancy and puberty, stress, medications, clenching or grinding teeth, diabetes, poor nutrition and other systemic diseases.
TREATMENT OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
According to studies, patients with untreated periodontal disease (gum disease) lose a greater number of teeth per year.
Periodontitis or gingivitis treatment is dependent on the severity of periodontal disease, but should never be an unpleasant experience. Typically our patients go through the following steps:
- Comprehensive periodontal and oral examination
- Oral cancer screening
- Home care instructions
- Non-surgical treatment: Scaling and Root Planing
- Re-evaluation following scaling and root planning
- Periodontal procedures / surgery: Pocket Reduction Therapy, Regenerative Tissue Procedures, Soft Tissue Grafts (see Treatment of Gum Recession), Replacement of Teeth via Dental Implants
- Long-term maintenance: two semi-annual visits with Dr. Chinwalla
For patients that have already lost a tooth to periodontal disease, dental implants are currently the best option. With dental implants it is possible to prevent bone and tooth loss in the future. The scope of dental implant therapy varies based on the number of teeth lost, severity of bone loss in the area to be treated, and the site of the mouth where teeth need to be replaced.
POST-OPERATIVE EXPECTATIONS AFTER PERIODONTAL PROCEDURES
Once the periodontal procedure is completed, recovery time depends on the periodontitis or gingivitis treatment and the patient. Here is a general schedule that you can expect to follow:
- The next day: you can return to work
- Over the next 2-3 days: you will experience minimal discomfort and soreness in the area of the procedure
- After 2-3 days: you can brush and floss the area of the procedure
- After 2 weeks: you will have a 10-minute, follow-up appointment
MAINTENANCE AFTER PERIODONTAL DISEASE TREATMENTS
Long-term studies have indicated that maintenance visits with a periodontist are essential for a lifetime of good, stable oral health.
Periodontitis and gingivitis treatments are very predictable; however, that predictability diminishes if you are a smoker or do not follow adequate oral care at home. If stringent bacterial control is not followed after the resolution of periodontal disease, recurrence of the disease is a given. Bacteria build-up will cause further bone loss. Maintenance is the key to long-term, successful therapy. We will educate you on proper techniques of home oral care and will work with your family dentist. In addition, we provide long-term follow up care to protect your oral health.
We offer our periodontal disease treatment to DuPage County, IL areas including Darien, Downers Grove, Naperville, Bloomingdale, Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates.