What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, often refers to when the gums and bone that support the teeth are affected by disease. Disease may be caused by plaque (sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva) that’s been neglected and has turned into tarter. When tarter is left for too long, it wreaks havoc on your oral cavity and begins damaging the gums and bone. At Dr. Ejtemai’s dental office, our dental team cares that your gums and teeth remain in great health throughout the year and provide routine periodontal disease exams for your convenience.
How is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed?
Dr. Ejtemai’s dental office provides a thorough examination of your oral cavity during your routine visit. We use a periodontal probe (small dental instrument) to gently measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less does not bleed. The periodontal probe also helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
Most people are not aware they have periodontal disease, as it’s usually painless in its early stages. Periodontal disease is also characterized by the following:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Sensitive gums
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums pulling away from your teeth
Factors That May Increase Your Risk of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the number one reason for tooth loss. Over the years, research has shown that periodontal disease may be linked to other diseases such as:
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Medication usage
The Stages of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and more likely to bleed.
- Periodontitis is when plaque hardens into calculus (tarter). As calculus and plaque continue to build up causing the gums to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth, which then become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may also be present.
- Advanced Periodontitis is when the teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated immediately, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.
Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatment
If the disease has become more severe, we will perform a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), which requires us to numb the mouth. Tarter, plaque, and any toxics will be removed above and below the gum line (scaling) and on the rough areas of the root area are smoothed out (planing). This procedure will help gum tissue heal and those pockets to shrink.
Convenient Gum Disease/ Periodontal Disease Treatment at Dr. Ejtemai’s Falls Church Dental Office
While periodontal disease treatment varies on severity, Dr. Ejtemai’s dental office can properly evaluate your teeth and gums efficiently and provide treatment that’s convenient and comfortable. If we catch periodontal disease early, we may recommend two regular cleanings in addition to providing simple suggestions on how you can improve your dental hygiene routine.
We look forward to your next visit with us! Contact Dr. Ejtemai’s Falls Church dental office at (703) 237-6767 today.