What is Periodontal Disease?

The word periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease attacks the gums and bone that support the teeth.

Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into tartar. When plaque and tartar are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone.

Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it. Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affect these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums - They should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers that support the tooth to the bone.
  • New spacing between teeth caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath caused by bacteria in your mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums - A sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums - Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums - They should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort - Plaque, tartar, and bacteria irritate your gums and teeth.
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You and Us, Together

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Discover more about the following:

Step 1) Diagnosis

You’ll receive a periodontal exam from Dr. Ochev or one of our registered dental hygienists as part of your regular dental check-up.

We use a small periodontal probe gently to measure the pockets or spaces between your teeth and gums. The depth of a healthy pocket measures three millimeters or less and doesn’t bleed. As periodontal disease progresses, pockets usually get deeper.

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Step 2) Treatment

Dr. Ochev or one of our registered dental hygienists will recommend the appropriate periodontal treatment based on the severity of the disease.

Periodontal disease progresses as the pockets or spaces between your teeth and gums get filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues.

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Step 3) Maintenance

It only takes 24 hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into tartar.

Daily home cleanings help control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard-to-reach areas will always need special attention. Once we complete your periodontal treatment, we’ll recommend regular maintenance cleanings, usually four times a year.

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