Periodontitis - What is it?
Periodontitis is the term that describes an attachment loss around the teeth. The teeth are surrounded by gum tissue and supported by bone. Overtime, and usually many years, the inflammation in the gingiva, and the inflammatory response of the immune system leads to loss of bone around the teeth. When the bone loss becomes severe the teeth can become loose, or actually fall out.
For patients with a history of periodontal disease (non-active), a more frequent recare schedule of every 3-4 months known as a periodontal maintenance program is recommended to keep the inflammation from recurring and halt the progression of the disease.
Signs of Periodontal Disease:
- Halitosis - Bad breath
- Bleeding gums when flossing or brushing
- Loose or mobile teeth
- Pain when biting due to loose teeth
- Loose, red, swollen inflamed gum tissues
- Heavy calculus/tarter build-up on the teeth
How can we treat Periodontal disease?
Unfortunately, there has really been no reliable way to recreate the attachment loss that results from years of chronic inflammation of the gum tissues. The aim of treatment is to remove the buildup on the teeth where the bacteria colonize to stop the inflammation, and halt the progression of the bone loss. This is accomplished by what is known as scaling and root planing 'a deep cleaning.'
So, What is a Deep Cleaning? Do I really need it?
Deep cleanings are useful when the pockets formed by the bone loss around the teeth are moderate in size. These are pockets of 5-6mm in depth. By removing the calculus trapped on the roots of the teeth below the gums, the gum tissue will reattach to the teeth, and the pockets will decrease.
Once the attachment loss gets to a higher level, 6mm+, a specialist is needed to recontour the remaining bone around the teeth the reduce the pockets formed, as the gum tissue can not heal that much. That is called Osseous Surgery, and is normally (and should be) performed by a specialist known as a Periodontitis.