Periodontitis or gum disease occurs when the supporting structures surrounding the teeth become unhealthy and compromised. Without proper home care including brushing and flossing, bacterial plaque can accumulate on the teeth and under the gums. Over time this will eventually result in inflammation and damage to the gum tissues and bone. If this continues, the gums will eventually become severely infected resulting in receding gums, bone loss, and loose teeth. Interestingly, the process of periodontitis often causes little or no pain until it is too late to fix the damage it has done. Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Antibiotics will only temporarily relieve symptoms unless the bacteria that causes the pockets and bone loss are eliminated. Corrective surgery restores normal healthy gums further down the tooth.
Non-surgical, conservative therapy is recommended as an extremely effective way to control periodontal infection and promote healing. These conservative procedures called “scaling” and “root planing” involve a specialized cleaning to remove infection from below and around the gums. This is usually done with local anesthesia for comfort and may involve antibiotics afterwards.
As with any medical procedure, patient cooperation with daily home care is essential to maintaining healthy gums and to keep periodontitis from returning or progressing.