One of the most common dental issues seen in patients, periodontal disease afflicts more than three million Americans. This disease starts out with simply bad breath, but morphs into a debilitating disease that can greatly impact a patient’s quality of life. It requires diagnosis by a dental professional, as well as a long-term plan for treatment.
What is periodontal disease?
Imagine having a cut on your finger that’s constantly infected. It would be difficult to do daily activities like washing the dishes or combing your hair. Periodontal disease is a persistent infection of the tissue surrounding your teeth. If it isn’t treated in time it can spread to your jawbone and surrounding ligaments and ultimately leads to tooth loss, bad breath, and low self-esteem. Treating advanced periodontitis is expensive while preventing it is simple.
By brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist twice a year you are doing a large part in preventing this embarrassing disease.
The Stages of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. It’s marked by red, swollen gums. At this stage, you’ll typically experience gums that bleed when they are brushed or when you floss. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible. Through a good cleaning at the dentists and a healthy oral hygiene routine, you can get your mouth back on track.
Periodontitis is the second stage of the disease. It is irreversible because supporting bone and tissue that typically holds your teeth in place have been damaged to the point of no return. Additionally, at this point pockets have formed below the gum line that collect food and lead to more decay. Improving your oral hygiene routine can prevent further damage, but a dentist will need to treat you to stop the disease from progressing.
The final stage of periodontitis is called advanced periodontitis. Patients in this stage of the disease have teeth that are loose or falling out. Treating this stage of the disease often requires dental extractions, antibiotics, and prosthetics like dentures to help restore function and appearance.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to avoid getting it in the first place. This is accomplished by brushing twice a day, visiting the dentist regularly, and flossing once a day. It’s also important to avoid unhealthy foods like simple carbs as they are a favorite for bacteria to feed off of and lead to decay.
As periodontitis becomes more advanced you’ll require more advanced treatments. Scaling and root planing is one of the most common treatments used to help stop the progression of the disease. This is a deep cleaning works to remove the infection and positively impact your mouth’s overall health. Dr. Quartano starts scaling and root planing by examining your mouth and taking x-rays. This gives him a clear picture of what your mouth’s overall condition is.
During the scaling and root planing procedure, Dr. Quartano will remove plaque, tartar, and calculus – all of which lead to infection. The scaling actually removes calculus and plaque from the surface of your teeth and targets below the gumline so that antibiotics are delivered to that area.
Root planing removes cementum and surface dentin that’s embedded with toxins and bacteria.