What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (pyorrhea) is the breakdown of the bone that supports the teeth in the jaw. It is caused by bacteria that hide beneath the gum and often times is not removed by the patient on a daily basis. In the early phase of periodontal disease, the gums will bleed very easily when brushing, flossing or during the dental examination. This phase is called gingivitis and is reversible if proper oral hygiene habits are put into place.

How Do Dentists Find Periodontal Disease?

All thorough dental exams should include a probing, which simply involves measuring the depth of the gum pockets and noting if they bleed when probed. This is usually performed by the hygienist or the doctor on the initial visit.  Periodontal measurements from 1-3mm are considered healthy.  Four(4) mm pockets are noted as gingivitis and pockets over 5mm are considered periodontal disease and are associated with bone loss due to the bacteria in that area.  

How Do You Treat Periodontal Disease?

The deeper pockets should be treated more aggressively  with scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) with anesthesia, to make the patient comfortable.  This procedure allows the hygienist to go deep  beneath the gums to the base of the pocket with powerful tools and hand scalers to remove the tartar (calculus) and bacteria from the roots.  This jump starts the healing process and helps to reduce the pocket depth.  

It is important to remember that periodontal disease (gum disease) does not cause any pain so most people would not know they have it unless a Raleigh dentist checks for it with specific dental tools and radiographs.  Visit your dental office twice per year and remember not every dental problem will cause pain.  We are here to help you stay dentally healthy. Contact us today to make an appointment.