Periodontal disease is disease of the gums and bone that surrounds the teeth. It is extremely common, and it’s been estimated that four out of five people have it and don’t know it. It can also be extremely serious, and studies have linked it to heart disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and pregnancy complications.

Diagnosis

Early-stage periodontal disease often presents with no symptoms, which is why regular check-ups and cleanings are so important. When symptoms do appear, they include pain and sensitivity in the gums, bleeding, swelling and redness, and gum loss (recession). The good news is that, when diagnosed, periodontal disease is usually easily treatable.

Treatment and Maintenance

  • Scaling and Root Planing. Treatment for periodontal disease entails a kind of special, deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar are removed above and below the gumline, and any rough spots are smoothed. Scaling and root planning is typically done one quadrant of your mouth at a time, and anesthesia can be used to reduce discomfort.
  • Antibiotics. We prescribe antiobiotics for periodontal disease before your cleaning, typically Arestin and Atridox. Antibiotics control the bacteria causing the disease and reduce swelling.
  • Laser-Assisted Periodontal Therapy. For many patients with periodontal disease, we also recommend laser therapy. Used in conjunction with scaling and root planning, it can produce markedly better results. Laser therapy is completely painless, and it both kills excess bacteria and helps heal tissue after the cleaning procedure.

After your treatments, maintaining good oral hygiene is imperative to staying on top of periodontal problems. The importance of flossing can’t be overstated—it should be done at least once a day, and we’ll help you make sure you’re doing it properly.