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Understanding Periodontal Disease

Hearing the words “periodontal disease” might make you cringe, but it’s actually common and very treatable! This article is going to help navigate the slightly unknown world of periodontitis by explaining what it is, how it can be treated, and how it can be prevented in the first place.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis, also known as periodontal or gum disease, is an infection that affects the gums and bone structures in the mouth. It happens when bacteria gets into the pockets of the teeth under the gum line. Toxins from the bacteria irritate the gums and cause them to recede from the teeth. It can lead to or worsen tooth loss, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disease. Periodontal disease starts as a more mild form known as gingivitis. This causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed more easily. Gingivitis usually causes no pain and when left untreated can develop into periodontal disease.

How Can I Treat It?

Once the diagnosis for periodontal disease has been confirmed, treatment involves coming in for a deeper cleaning known as Scale and Root Planing (SRP). This involves scraping away the dental plaque and smoothing the exposed roots with a combination of hand tools, a laser, and an ultrasonic device. The procedure takes more than one appointment and will require a minor anesthetic.

How Can I Prevent It?

Periodontal disease is easy to prevent! Regular brushing and flossing with routine dentist visits will keep bacteria at bay and keep the teeth and gums healthy. Be sure to brush the gums! Cutting back on sugary foods helps for the overall health of the mouth and body. Smoking adds to the risk of periodontal disease as well, so quitting is a great way to help the teeth and gums!

If you believe you have the early stages of periodontal disease, early detection and treatment is key! Give us a call to schedule a cleaning and we can help keep your teeth and gums smile-ready!


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