Periodontal Health

Progression of Gum Disease

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

Periodontal Disease

Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Treating Periodontal Disease

Initial treatment includes root planing to remove all calculus deposits.  This is done with an injection or often with just topically placed anesthetic (a needle-free option).

When this has healed, if gum pockets are still present, periodontal surgery may be necessary.  Other new, non-surgical approaches exist.  One approach is Dr. Carpenter easily delivers antibiotic into your deeper gum pockets and the antibiotic is slowly released over a seven-day period, killing all harmful bacteria.

A second approach is called the Perio Protect System.  Dr. Carpenter takes impressions and has special FDA-approved custom trays made.  These easy to wear trays deliver medicines into the infected gum pockets.

Dr. Carpenter is extremely excited about LASER treatment for periodontal disease. By combining laser treatment to disinfect and kill the bacteria that cause periodontal disease with root cleanings, periodontal disease can be treated very conservatively.