Periodontal disease is caused by plaque on the gum line that hardens into tartar and becomes infected. Over time, the infection attacks the gum tissue that is holding and protecting your teeth. This is the first stage of periodontal disease known as gingivitis, characterized by bleeding gums after brushing and flossing.
If you do not have gingivitis treated, it may develop into periodontal disease, which weakens the bone support for your teeth and will eventually result in the loss of the tooth.
Periodontal disease has also been linked to other diseases including diabetes, heart palpitations and low birth weights of babies. That is why we recommend treating periodontal disease quickly and thoroughly.
Periodontal Disease: Prevention and Intervention
The best way to avoid gingivitis is to make a concerted effort to look after your gums. This includes brushing properly twice a day, flossing once a day and visiting the dentist regularly.
If we spot periodontal disease, our first course of action will be to remove as much of the tartar as we can so you can nurse your gums back to health. The initial stages of gum disease are often reversible. If the problem persists, our on-site periodontist, Dr. Maayan Inger, can recommend a number treatment options to resolve your condition.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Every evening when you brush and floss your teeth, look for the following:
- a change in the colour of your gums (redness)
- blood on your toothbrush or floss
- puffy gums
You can also keep an eye out for symptoms throughout the day:
- persistent bad breath
- a metallic taste in your mouth
- overly sensitive teeth
While these could be indicative of other conditions, periodontal disease may be the culprit
Periodontal disease risk factors
Age: In Canada, seven out of ten people will eventually have gum disease. The better care you take of your gums, the more likely you are to be one of the three.
Smoking: This has been shown to be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.
Genetics: Some people are predisposed to gum disease. If the marker is identified, we can begin preventative treatment.
Stress: Many periodontal diseases are infections and stress can magnify the damage caused by infections.
Certain medications: Oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines are among the biggest offenders. Be sure to tell your dentist about any new drugs you have started since your last visit.
Bruxism: This is the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, and it can lead to a weakening of the gums, teeth and supporting tissues.
Poor nutrition: The healthier you are, the better able you will be to fight off infection anywhere in your body.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
Nonsurgical periodontal treatments
This is the removal of tartar and bacteria from teeth and gums, performed with either instruments, a laser or ultrasonically.
This is the smoothing of the root surface to remove tartar and bacteria and prevent more from depositing, and to reattach gum to tooth surfaces.
Topical or oral antibiotics can help control bacterial infection. Topical antibiotics can include antibiotic mouth rinses or the insertion of gels containing antibiotics in between your teeth and your gums after a deep cleaning. However, even if topical antibiotics are used, oral antibiotics may still be necessary to help control the bacteria.
Flap surgery (pocket reduction surgery):
The gums and bone supporting the teeth are surgically corrected to prevent the progression of gum disease.
Soft tissue grafts:
Tissue is placed in the gum line to build up the gum tissue, prevent further damage to your gums, and make your teeth look and feel better.
If your gum disease has infected or destroyed some of your jaw bone, donor bone can be placed in the jaw to build it back up.
Many factors impact the cost of periodontal treatment including the amount of treatment required to address your disease. At your initial assessment, your dentist will be able to provide a cost estimate for treatment. The estimate can then be sent to your insurer to determine if the proposed treatment is covered under your dental plan.
Have you noticed bleeding in your gums when you brush or floss?
Book an appointment with your dentist who will examine your gums for periodontal disease.