Periodontal disease is another name for gum disease, a condition that affects about half of all adults in the U.S. It occurs when bacteria and plaque lodge below the gum line, causing inflammation, tenderness, redness and bleeding. Left untreated, periodontal disease can eventually lead to tooth loss. In some people, gum disease can be especially problematic, especially when the disease is more advanced or complex or when there are underlying health issues like diabetes.
Once it’s been identified, the first step in periodontal disease treatment is removal of the deposits of plaque and hardened material called calculus below the gum line. There are two primary methods of eliminating these harmful materials as well as eliminating pockets of bacteria that lurk at the base of the tooth roots. The first is scaling and root planning. In this procedure, the surface of the root is cleaned of plaque and other materials through a special ultrasonic instrument to remove debris at and below the gum line. In the second step, called root surface debridement, damaged tissue is removed to provide relief from inflammation and prevent it from recurring. At the end of the procedure, Dr. Stoner may use a special device to apply antibiotics to the root pockets to destroy harmful bacteria. In more advanced cases, surgery may be needed to correct the problems and reverse the course of the disease.
As noted, untreated periodontal disease usually leads to tooth loss, and it can also cause widespread decay affecting other teeth. Some studies have linked the bacteria that cause gum disease to other serious health conditions including cardiovascular disease. Periodontal treatment removes the bacteria and prevents them from spreading.
Checking for gum disease is part of a regular dental checkup. If you haven’t had a checkup lately or if you’re experiencing any of the telltale signs of gum disease, call our office today at (260) 484-4181 or schedule an appointment online.