There are several stages of periodontal disease, also called gum disease. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that begins with mild gum inflammation and can advance over several years through increasingly destructive stages including gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
Left untreated, periodontal disease will result in tooth loss.
What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease develops when harmful bacteria grow in plaque left on the tooth surface. The bacteria cause an infection in the gums surrounding a tooth.
Gums begin to pull away from the the teeth, creating a pocket that exposes the tooth root. Untreated, the pocket will grow as infection causes increased loss of the connective tissue holding the tooth in place, and of the supporting bone. With no structure remaining to keep it in place, the tooth will become loose and fall out.
Even the most mild periodontal disease should be treated promptly to ensure the best outcome.
Types and Treatments for Periodontal Disease
Removing oral plaque and calculus buildup is essential to halt progression of gum disease. Periodontal disease may have symptoms such as red gums, swollen gums, painful gums or bleeding gums. In other cases, symptoms may not be noticeable to anyone but the periodontist.
- The mildest form of gum disease
- Swollen gums, red gums or bleeding gums may be present
- Minor plaque or calculus buildup.
- Possible small gingival pockets (1 -3 mm) where gums pull away from teeth.
- Often caused by poor oral health care
- Reversible with treatment
Gingivitis is treated with a thorough professional cleaning at our office, which may include scaling and root planing. Treatment may include additional steps to cure the underlying infection.
- Gum infection can cause bone and gum tissue breakdown.
- Moderate to heavy swelling and bleeding
- Moderate to heavy plaque and calculus buildup
- Gingival pockets measure between 4 - 6 mm deep
- Mild to moderate bone loss.
- Loose teeth or shifting teeth are possible.
Mild to moderate periodontitis is treated by cleaning plaque and calculus out of the gingival pocket. It may be necessary to encourage reattachment of the gum tissue to the tooth using LANAP (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure) laser surgery is one of the advanced techniques Dr. Aldredge employs for this task. Depending on progression, periodontitis may be treated with guided tissue regeneration, gum tissue grafts and bone grafts.
Antibiotics may be prescribed to cure gum infection.
- Very severe periodontal pockets measure 7 mm deep or more.
- Gums may have receded to the very ends of the tooth roots.
- Moderate to severe bone loss
- Loose teeth
- Advanced periodontitis is treated with surgery for guided tissue regeneration and gum and bone grafting.
Dr. Aldredge Treats Periodontal Disease to Save Teeth
Dr. Aldredge is a board-certified expert in saving teeth from periodontal disease. A comprehensive periodontal examination is the first step. Dr. Aldredge will examine your teeth and gums and review your x-rays for symptoms of disease. He will give you a thorough explanation of the results, and his recommendations to keep your teeth where they belong: in your mouth.