More commonly known as gum disease, periodontal disease can cause serious damage if not treated immediately. “Periodontal” simply means “around the tooth”; thus, periodontal disease affects the area around the tooth, including the gums, tissues and roots. A bacterial infection in this area is what causes gum disease to occur and can lead to weakening of the bone and possibly tooth loss. Gum disease is best treated in its earliest stage, known as gingivitis. During this stage, your gums will become red, inflamed or swollen. Many times, this inflammation can be attributed to the bacteria found in plaque, the sticky film that can form on the teeth. However, gum inflammation can be caused by many other factors, including medical conditions, poor nutrition, smoking and even stress. Even with red, swollen gums, you may feel little discomfort, which causes many people to ignore the warning signs of periodontal disease. With treatment from your dentist or periodontist and proper oral hygiene, the effects of gingivitis on your teeth and gums can be reversed. The more advanced stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. Periodontitis comes in two main forms: aggressive and chronic. With aggressive periodontitis, otherwise healthy patients experience accelerated bone deterioration. On the other hand, chronic periodontitis is the more common form that progresses at a slower pace but still requires immediate treatment.
Periodontal disease can be treated several ways, depending on how advanced it is.Non-surgical treatments may include prescription mouth rinses or scaling and root planning. For those with periodontitis, surgical treatments may be recommended, such as soft tissue grafts, pocket reduction or bone regeneration.
During your initial visit to our San Francisco office, Dr. Vaksman will perform a comprehensive dental exam, including an oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation, evaluation of existing restorations and evaluation of tooth surfaces for decay. If necessary, Dr. Vaksman may suggest preventive care options that include fluoride treatment, sealants, professional breath control, and periodontal (gum disease) treatments designed to help you maintain your smile’s health and beauty. Of course, the best treatment for periodontal disease is prevention. This means brushing and flossing daily, along with regular visits to your dentist for dental cleanings and examination, which can ward off gum disease and keep your smile healthy now and in the future.