The Dangers of Periodontal Disease and How Periodontal Therapy Can Help

When you think of oral care, you likely focus on your teeth. It’s natural to consider your teeth to be the most important features of your mouth. After all, your pearly whites are certainly the most visible parts of your smile. However, other areas of your mouth are just as crucial to your oral health as your teeth. In fact, these periodontal structures are also vital to your teeth and your overall health.

Periodontium means “around the teeth.” This term refers to the gingiva (gums), bone, and ligaments that surround and support your teeth. Without your periodontium, your teeth would not be secure and healthy. Unfortunately, periodontal disease is a rampant problem in the United States. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that half of all American adults suffer from some form of it. 

The office of Dr. Steven L. Wilson, DDS, has provided the information below to make sure you’re aware of the importance of good periodontal health and how they can help with periodontal therapy.

What are the types of periodontal disease?

You may hear people refer to periodontal disease as “gum disease,” and it’s true that the problem usually begins in the gum. Gingivitis is the term for the early stage of the disease. With gingivitis, your gums become infected and inflamed by the bacteria present in plaque on your teeth. Symptoms of gingivitis may include:

  • Sore or swollen gums.
  • Gums that bleed easily.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • Receding gums or gums that pull away from your teeth.

Gum disease may progress to a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more advanced form and involves the destruction of bone and other tissues that support your teeth. Although tooth decay is the top cause of toothaches, periodontitis is the second most common cause of tooth pain. Other symptoms of periodontitis are loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

What are the dangers of periodontal disease?

In addition to troublesome consequences such as pain, oral bleeding, foul breath, and gum swelling, this dental disease can also lead to permanent damage to your mouth and general health. When periodontal structures begin to break down from chronic disease, tooth loss is an inevitable result, and the loss of even a single tooth can have a negative effect on your remaining teeth.

When a tooth is lost, your remaining teeth may shift out of position. This shifting not only has cosmetic consequences, but it can alter the alignment of your bite as well. Also, tooth replacement may prove difficult, since advanced periodontal disease may destroy the integrity of the bone underlying your teeth, making dental implant placement challenging or even impossible. In severe cases, bone destruction from this dental disease can alter the shape of your chin and face.

There are also well-documented connections between this disease and systemic health conditions. Periodontal disease, even in its early stages, may contribute to or aggravate diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy complications. The health of your mouth is intimately connected to the health of your entire body.

How can periodontal therapy help you?

Dr. Wilson is both a general dentist and a periodontist, a member of the American Academy of Periodontology. As such, he is uniquely qualified to provide any periodontal therapy, or periotherapy, you may need at our Hutchison, KS, dental office. Depending on the severity of your case and your personal factors, periotherapy may include non-surgical cleanings, laser treatments, or surgical gum grafts.

You may be able to reverse mild cases of gingivitis with increased diligence when brushing and flossing. More advanced cases might require antibiotics from Dr. Wilson and his team, or a non-surgical treatment called scaling and root planing, where we clean beneath your gumline and around the roots of your teeth. You can rest comfortably during this procedure as we always use anesthetic to keep you pain-free. After the procedure, you’ll likely experience only minimal discomfort that is easily controlled with over-the-counter pain medication.

One of our most advanced offerings is a laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP). Dr. Wilson uses LANAP in place of traditional surgical resection, or cutting, to treat infected gum pockets. Even the most skilled hand cannot avoid removing some healthy tissue along with dead or diseased tissue in traditional gum surgery. However, LANAP uses a special dental laser that destroys diseased tissue and bacteria while sparing healthy tissue. As a result, this advanced technology reduces treatment time and provides you with a more comfortable experience. Also, the LANAP laser creates a fibrin clot at the treatment site once the gum pockets are clean. In other words, LANAP actually promotes healing, eliminating the need for stitches and giving you a quicker healing time compared to conventional surgery.

If you have periodontal disease or you’ve experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above, take action. This type of dental disease won’t resolve on its own, and you need definitive periotherapy to prevent lasting damage to your gums, teeth, bone, and system health. Contact a periodontal team you can trust for advanced treatment.