What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease. It is characterized by inflammation in your gums and surrounding tissue. It is a chronic condition that affects about half of the adult population.  Gum disease begins with plaque and tartar build up. Because plaque and tartar contain bacteria your gums become inflamed. As a result, the gums begin to pull away from the tooth. This causes a pocket to develop between your gum and tooth. As these pockets become deeper, bone loss ensues.

How do you treat gum disease?

Gum disease is treated with a deep cleaning. We will clean deep to the gum line to remove plaque and tartar. In many cases we can use numbing gel for the procedure. However, more advanced cases may require local anesthetic.

If not treated, gum disease leads to bone loss and tooth loss. Because gum disease is chronic, maintenance cleanings are critical. After initial treatment, it’s important to receive cleanings three to four times a year. This helps prevent further bone loss.

Are there alternative treatments to deep cleanings?

Initial treatment always includes a deep cleaning. However, after your deep cleaning we may debride the pockets with laser therapy (LANAP). This helps clean the pocket and promotes tissue regeneration. In certain cases, we can place a local antibiotic paste (Arestin) into the deeper periodontal pockets. This will help fight off persistent bacteria and promote the healing process.