The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. “Periodontics” refers to the dental specialty that deals with prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease that affects the gums and jawbone. The gum tissues serve to surround and support the teeth and the underlying jawbone anchors teeth firmly in place. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. It is caused at least in part by plaque which is a bio-sticky film consisting of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults living in the developed world, and should be taken very seriously.
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages and slowly (many years) advances.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research (one of Dr. Hutton's research areas) suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:
Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.
There are two approaches to treatment for periodontitis. For the less sever instances a non surgical approach has been shown to be quite effective. In our office this heavily relies upon your dental hygienist for root planing and multiple and rather frequent supportive periodontal sessions. Dr Hutton will monitor your progress and inform you as how to proceed.
For more severe periodontitis a surgical approach should be considered and referral to a specialist may be recommended.
If you have questions about periodontal disease or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.