What is gum disease?
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, however, you may not know you have it.
In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, call us immediately:
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
- As gingivitis worsens, gums begin to pull away and recede from the teeth. Pockets of bacteria form and deepen, reaching the bone and destroying the bone that anchors the teeth. The advanced stage of this disease is called periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated.
During a hygiene appointment, we use an instrument called a periodontal probe. This determines if there is any breakdown in the attachment of the gums to the teeth or early development of pockets between the teeth and gums. The depth of the pockets is measured in millimetres with the periodontal probe. Up to three millimetres is considered normal…deeper than three millimetres indicates a potential problem. X-rays are taken if there is concern over possible bone destruction.
More than 75% of North American adults over 35 have some form of gum disease (or periodontal disease). Most who have the beginning stage of this disease don’t even know it.
In many cases gingivitis is a precursor to periodontitis, so all forms of gum disease should be seen as serious and not neglected. This disease is serious enough to be called the “silent epidemic” by former Surgeon General, David Satcher. When symptoms become severe, with gums bleeding and teeth becoming loose, we tend to start paying attention. Unfortunately, this level of belated intervention is now at the crisis level and can cause serious bone, tissue, and tooth loss.
Periodontal disease treatment
In our office, we provide various types of intervention treatments for all stages of the disease. Extremely minor symptoms are typically treated non-surgically with some patient education, a professional quality cleaning and careful attention to follow-up visits.
For patients with moderate gingivitis through severe periodontitis, our office offers the convenient, comfortable Perio Protect® treatment.
The Perio Protect® system, which is very easy to use, has been proven in clinical studies to kill harmful bacteria within 72 hours. Within days of using the medication, inflammation and swelling are reduced and bleeding gum tissue decreases dramatically. Bad breath, for many patients, is eliminated.
How periodontal treatment works
You will be fitted for custom-made mouthpieces (Perio Trays™), which are similar to athletic mouth guards. They are very thin, soft and comfortable.
The trays are made by an FDA-registered laboratory to the exact dimensions of your teeth. You will then take them home and add the doctor-prescribed medications (which are usually in a gel form – similar in consistency to toothpaste) and wear them according to the doctor’s instructions. This gel seeps above and below the gum line, killing the bacteria, which allows your gums to heal.
You will be instructed on the frequency of usage based on your diagnosis. A great advantage of this method is that the entire treatment is done in the comfort of your own home. The medications used in this unique treatment also whiten your teeth and freshens your breath.
If you are in need of periodontal treatment,
Call Eguren Dentistry immediately to book an appointment – 780-432-3430.