What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a serious infection and the number one reason adults lose teeth. As periodontal disease advances, the infection can destroy the ligaments and bone that support your teeth.
What are the symptoms?
If you have periodontal disease—
It is also possible to have no noticeable symptoms. In fact, most people who have periodontal disease are not even aware of it.
What causes periodontal disease?
The main cause of periodontal disease is the long term build-up of plaque, the sticky, colorless film of food and bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth.
It is hard to see plaque, but plaque can clearly be seen after it is stained with a disclosing tablet. When plaque stays on your teeth for two or three days, it hardens into calculus, or tartar.
The bacteria in plaque invade the spaces between your teeth and gums and produce toxins. These toxins, combined with your body’s reaction to them, destroy the bone around your teeth. And once lost, bone never grows back on its own.
If there is not enough support for the teeth and they become loose, they might have to be removed.
Diagnosis and treatment
To determine if you have periodontal disease, we perform a thorough examination which includes taking x-rays to determine how much bone has been lost.
We measure the depth of the sulcus (a tiny groove between the tooth and gum) with a probe. A reading of more than 3 millimeters could be a sign of periodontal disease, and we pay careful attention to those areas.
If we find periodontal disease,Dr. Andersen may recommend scaling and root planing to remove the plaque and tartar all the way down to the pocket between the tooth and gum. The root surfaces are smoothed which allows the gums to heal and naturally reattach to the tooth. This treatment may take more than one visit.
For patients without dental insurance, affordable periodontal therapy is available to participants in the Artisan Dental Health Plan.