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Periodontal Disease: Do You Have It?

Gingivitis, commonly called gum disease, is caused when plaque is not regularly removed & spreads beneath the gum line causing irritated & inflamed gums. If left untreated it can advance to periodontitis, a disease that affects the gum tissue that surrounds & supports the teeth. Patients who suffer from periodontal disease have gums that are separated from the teeth & form deep pockets that become infected. Unhealthy gums can result in bone loss causing the teeth to become loose, and if left untreated for long enough, potential loss of teeth. Periodontal disease has recently been linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis.  There are even some studies that are currently researching a possible link to oral cancer.

Symptoms of periodontal issues are usually mild, making it difficult to realize that something is wrong and only your dentist can diagnose early signs of periodontal disease with a thorough examination (probing) of your gum pockets and a radiographic (x-ray) evaluation.

The initial treatment for periodontal disease is called a scaling and root planing.  This procedure removes harmful bacterial plaque and calculus from the deep pockets allowing your gums to re-adhere to the tooth structure reducing the pocket.  By reducing the depth of the pocket you will be able to maintain healthy gum tissues with normal daily brushing and flossing.  Scaling and root planing is done either by your dentist or dental hygienist under simple local anesthesia.  Very often the procedure can be done using “Oraqix – the only FDA-approved needle free local anesthetic” The procedure is painless and recovery is extremely easy. 

Occasionally if the periodontal disease is too advanced a pocket reduction procedure is required.  This minor surgery is usually performed by a skilled periodontal specialist called a periodontist.  A periodontist can work closely with your dentist to help you achieve really healthy gums. 

Of course, brushing & flossing after every meal is the easiest way to prevent periodontal problems. And ePerioPerioarly detection is key, so if you think you may have any gum related issues, make an appointment to be checked today!

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