Periodontal Disease

Did you know that 75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal disease?

When your gums and the bone anchoring your teeth are damaged by periodontal infection, there is less support for your teeth.  Just as metal can turn to rust over time, the bone supporting your teeth can deteriorate.  As this support disappears, your teeth first become loose and then may be lost.

When periodontal treatment is recommended by your dental health team (general dentist, hygienist, and periodontist), it is important that you get started immediately to stop the deterioration that has already begun.

If the infection is allowed to continue, the teeth that are lost will need to be replaced with more complex dental work.  Nothing is better than your own teeth and so prevention is the most cost effective and long-term solution.

Treatment of periodontal disease begins with a comprehensive periodontal examination, which includes diagnostic imaging, evaluation of the deep periodontal pocketing in the spaces between your teeth and gums, and a detailed discussion about your particular oral situation.

There are non-surgical and surgical solutions for periodontal disease.  In almost all cases, Dr. Fritz and Dr. Schuldt recommend non-surgical therapy for generalized periodontal disease of all stages and grades.

This process involves a “deep cleaning” with one of our registered dental hygienists over a series of appointments.  Our hygienists use a variety of specialized tools to remove the infection living in the pockets between your tooth, bone, and gum.  Some of these tools include a very large variety of hand-held manual instruments, a series of ultrasonic instruments (which work by way of water and vibration), and most recently introduced to our arsenal of instruments, guided biofilm therapy (GBT).

Studies in our office reveal that after undergoing non-surgical therapy, such as a deep cleaning with one of our registered dental hygienists, only 7% of patients require further surgical treatment to combat periodontal disease.

Yes… and no.

Non-surgical periodontal therapy, sometimes referred to as a “deep cleaning” removes the disease causing bacteria and biofilm and effectively halts periodontal disease in its tracks.

However, once you have experienced bone loss due to periodontal disease, you will always have a reduced periodontium and therefore will require regular supportive periodontal therapy and maintenance visits with your hygienist and periodontist.

If periodontal disease goes untreated, the bacteria residing in the crevices between your tooth and gums will continue to proliferate.  This biofilm-producing bacteria will dig deeper and deeper into the pockets causing bone loss.  Without proper treatment of periodontal disease, your teeth will become loose and can even be lost.

Periodontal disease is often called a silent assassin, because it can progress without causing pain.

However, some warning signs of periodontal disease include: 
– red, swollen, and inflammed gums
– gums that bleed when brushed or flossed
– loose or shifting teeth
– persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth

Periodontal disease is the natural progression from gingivitis.  Both gingivitis and periodontal disease are caused by a build-up of bacteria and plaque on the teeth and below the gum line.

Some environmental and genetic conditions can impact our likelihood of developing periodontal disease, but it is most commonly caused by poor oral brushing and flossing habits.

Uncontrolled diabetes and smoking are independent risk factors for periodontal disease.

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