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Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is any type of disease process happening around the sides of the teeth. This can take place in the gum tissues directly connected to the teeth or the bone structures that hold the teeth in place.

What are the causes of periodontal disease?

Several factors can cause periodontal disease, and certain things can aggravate it. The main cause is bacteria in the mouth. Almost all types of periodontal disease have a bacterial component. However, factors like the individual patient's genetics, smoking, or other medical conditions, such as diabetes, can worsen the disease or make it more likely to progress.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Unfortunately, periodontal disease does not present many symptoms that patients can feel. If a patient doesn't get a thorough exam and an accurate diagnosis, they may remain unaware of their condition for years.

What other conditions are connected to periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is linked to several conditions that do not affect the mouth but are more medical issues, some of which include heart disease and related cardiac conditions or diabetes.

Can periodontal disease be cured?

In most cases, periodontal disease cannot be completely cured. It's a disease process that we manage over time. However, with treatment, periodontal conditions can be controlled effectively, resulting in an excellent outcome for the patient.

What treatment options are available for fighting periodontal disease?

When treating periodontal disease, the primary objective is to eliminate the bacteria from the mouth effectively. This is primarily the job of the periodontist and other dental professionals. Often, patients will undergo a deep cleaning, a procedure aimed at removing as much bacteria as possible from beneath the gum tissues. In moderate to advanced cases where deep cleaning is not enough, other surgical options are available.

Is the periodontal treatment process painful?

There are numerous methods to mitigate pain during periodontal cleanings or treatments. At Periodontics and Implant Dentistry of Tallahassee, one of our main goals is to ensure a comfortable experience for patients, regardless of the treatment required for their periodontal condition.

How can I schedule a dental appointment?

If you have additional questions or wish to set up an exam, please call us at the office line at (850) 909-9731.

What diseases are associated with periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a condition in the oral cavity, but has connections to other disease processes in the body. Many times, patients may have associated heart conditions or diabetes and other autoimmune conditions as well that can be affiliated or correlated with periodontal disease.

What is the progression of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that, if left untreated, will continue to progress. The gum and the bone around the sides of the teeth will, for lack of a better term, feel like they're melting away, eventually leading into loose teeth and eventually to tooth loss.

What is the role of inflammation in genetics in periodontal disease?

Fortunately, there are some people that are less susceptible to periodontal disease than others. The role of genetics in periodontal disease means that some people are not susceptible. Unfortunately, this is a very small portion of the population, so the vast majority of people, indeed, are susceptible to this process. The process occurs through an inflammatory-mediated process. It happens to be a very similar process in what occurs inside the body to other inflammatory conditions like heart disease.

How does periodontal disease affect heart health?

The bacteria in the mouth have been shown to be linked into the arteries near the heart. So although there's not a definitive link on definite causality, there clearly is a link in terms of bacterial progression, not only in the mouth, but into other places in the body.

What steps will dentists take to treat periodontal disease?

The goal of periodontal disease treatment is primarily around removal of bacteria in the mouth. So the goal with any treatment that's performed in a dental office or in a periodontist's office is to remove the bacteria through non-surgical and surgical treatments. That way, the disease process is less likely to continue. With the goal of us being able to have the patient clean their mouth, we will get rid of bacteria on a daily basis, as well as the hygienist having full access during their dental cleaning visits.

What can I do at home to treat periodontitis?

There are many things that can be done at home to try to help with periodontitis. Before I discuss the specific options, please keep in mind that any patient that has active periodontal disease has pockets or areas underneath the gum tissue that are so deep that they cannot be reached with at-home treatments. In addition to at-home treatments, professional treatments, oftentimes in a periodontist's office, are going to be needed to adequately treat the areas. However, the most tried and true technique to help with the treatment of periodontal disease as far as at-home treatments is to use toothbrushing with appropriate technique, which means two minutes of brushing twice a day. Additionally, appropriate interproximal cleaning of the area is very important. Interproximal means the areas in between the teeth. Many people use string floss, but there are plenty of other aids available that can also help with that, including other types of interproximal brushes, water picks, and other tools that may be easier for a patient to use than traditional string floss.

When should I schedule a dental appointment?

If you have any questions or concerns or think that you may have periodontitis, please give us a call at area code (850) 909-9731 so we can schedule a consultation and exam to evaluate your periodontal condition.

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