Progression of Periodontal Disease
Trammell Periodontics specializes in treatment of periodontal disease and supportive periodontal therapies. Dr. Trammell and our team of dedicated professionals will assist you in understanding the causes, treatment options and oral and systemic health risks of periodontal disease to help you make informed decisions about your care.
Periodontal disease begins to develop when harmful bacteria remain on tooth surfaces and in "pockets" between the teeth and gums; eventually the bacteria are able to penetrate beneath the gums to the tooth root surfaces where it is impossible to clean with regular brushing and flossing. This creates a safe harbor for the bacteria to thrive and leads to oral infection.
If not treated, the disease-causing bacteria will continue to thrive and the infection will destroy gum tissue and even underlying jaw bone. This progression of destruction will lead to tooth loss, and, like any other form of infection, it can affect the health of the entire body.
As we mature, the risk of developing periodontal disease increases. Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontal disease. (www.perio.org)
It is important to know that in most cases, periodontal disease does not hurt. Signs and symptoms include bleeding gums, a bad taste in the mouth, receding gums, loose teeth and bad breath.
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is through regular dental examinations and cleanings with necessary xrays. At these visits, your dentist and hygienist will check your gums and use xrays to evaluate the underlying bone for any signs of periodontal disease. An effective home care routine which includes brushing and flossing at least twice daily is also critical to prevent harmful bacteria that cause periodontal disease from organizing and progressing.
Studies show that the infection and subsequent inflammation associated with periodontal disease may be linked to complications in diabetes, coronary heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The American Academy of Periodontology provides the latest information on the links between periodontal disease and systemic illnesses: http://www.perio.org/consumer/other-diseases
During a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, your periodontist will thoroughly check the health of the "periodontium", the oral soft tissues, jaw bone levels and joint function that support teeth and bite function. He will measure the gums to look for signs of recession, bleeding or infection. Dental xrays are invaluable in this process; they allow the doctor to "see" areas between the teeth and below the gum line that are not visible to the human eye. The xrays will reveal any areas of bone loss, root abscesses or other areas of concern so they can be addressed as early as possible.
Every person is unique. Your overall health and medical conditions play a role in your periodontal health and ability to heal. Your doctor will review your medical and dental history in detail with you and offer recommendations based on your specific needs.
Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy
The goal of periodontal treatment is to remove infected tissue and eliminate bacterial toxins from the gums and tooth surfaces, including the roots (root planing). If periodontal disease is detected early, it is often possible to treat it with non-surgical periodontal therapy.
Non-surgical periodontal therapy is performed with local anesthetic; your periodontist and dental hygienist will work together to thoroughly clean the mouth and treat infection. They will use instruments to access root surfaces and gum "pockets" around the teeth to remove hard deposits and toxins to help promote growth of healthy gum tissue. The areas that have been treated are irrigated with anti-microbial solution to help eliminate harmful bacteria.
Following non-surgical periodontal therapy, your periodontist and dentist will evaluate healing and response to assess any need for additional treatment. It may be necessary to treat any specific sites of extensive damage with periodontal surgical procedures.
Success factors in treating periodontal disease include learning about how eating habits and nutrition impact your oral health, as well as developing a strong home care routine. We may give you medicated rinses or special cleaning tools to assist you in keeping your mouth clean and healthy.