Periodontal Disease

1) What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease occurs when plaque sits below your gums.

  • This plaque then hardens and becomes tartar.
  • If this tartar remains, the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth creating pockets. These pockets cannot be cleaned by conventional means.
  • If left untreated, the bone and tissues that anchor your teeth will start to be destroyed.
  • As bone is lost, your teeth will begin to shift from their normal position, become mobile, and can eventually be lost.

2) What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is often called a "silent disease" because there may not be any symptoms you are aware of. Some symptoms you may experience include:

  • Bleeding gums when brushing
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth which causes your teeth to appear longer
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

3) What causes this disease?

There are many factors that cause periodontal disease. The main cause is plaque (bacteria) and your body's response to the bacteria. Issues such as genetics, your immune system, smoking, diabetes, oral hygiene habits and frequency of dental visits all may play a role in the extent of the disease.

4) How is it treated?

There are many different methods of treating gum disease, including both nonsurgical and surgical methods. The methods used are dependent on the severity of your disease. Non-surgical methods include, but are not limited to, scaling and root planing (or deep cleanings), better hygiene, frequent maintenance intervals, and antibiotic therapy. If you are in the advanced stages of gum disease, you may benefit from having surgery. You may also benefit from periodontal laser treatment. There are many items in the marketplace at this time that state there is a "cure" for periodontal disease, or there are items that are used commonly by some practitioners that create great revenue for their offices but do little in terms of actually stabilizing the disease. If you have any questions about a product or procedure that you've heard of, please discuss it with Dr. Berube at your evaluation.

5) Laser periodontal therapy

Laser therapy is a non-surgical, less invasive way to achieve pocket reduction. While traditional procedures involve "surgery", periodontal laser therapy uses two lasers to help correct the pockets. There is no magic bullet in treating periodontal disease and maintenance, home care and many other factors can affect the long-term prognosis. This is the case for any treatment rendered, however, we have found periodontal laser therapy to cause less fear, less recession, less postoperative sensitivity and therefore, better compliance. We use two lasers with differing wavelengths to achieve maximum results.

6) I've heard that periodontal disease is linked to heart disease and other systemic conditions. Is this true?

Yes. There are many conditions that have been linked to gum disease. These include, but are not limited to, heart disease, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, smoking, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy complications, and stress. Inflammation is the key that links all of these processes together. Now, more than ever, it is important to not only maintain a healthy body, but also a healthy mouth as well. Please see our medical information tab for more information.